How To Think Beyond Search Marketing In 2016
Search is no longer marketing’s safety school.
Don’t rely on search marketing in 2016. It won’t ensure that you’ll appear on your audience’s radar if your other marketing fails.
Like a college applicant, you must hedge your marketing bets to reach your maximum potential audience.
Hoping search marketing in general or Google in specific will succeed is myopic. Google, like Facebook, changes its algorithms without notice.
More importantly, focusing on a tight search marketing definition misses the key issue:
Digital marketing has evolved into contextual marketing.
Therefore: think beyond search marketing in 2016.
Your audience’s context is key to providing an appropriate marketing response.
Examine who and what has a hold on your target audience’s attention and pocketbooks. To know what’s on your customer’s mind, understand what’s in their hands, what they’re doing, and where they are.
Mobile has matured. Think mobile first, not mobile only. To be effective, make your marketing cross-platform.
Even if you’re standing in front of your prospect, there’s a good chance you don’t have her undivided attention.
You no longer compete against marketing messages from your direct rivals and close substitutes.
Instead you compete in real time against input from her family, friends, boss, work associates and social media connections. Your message has to fight for her attention along with her personal life, work responsibilities and other interests.
I learned this lesson working for my father’s hyper-local print newspaper in Queens, NY. Often, local merchants had to weighed the cost of advertising against taking their wives out to Saturday dinner.
When money was tight, you could almost see the owners sweat their advertising decisions. Advertising results were intangible. Listening to their wives’ disappointment wasn’t. It was a tough call.
You’re vying for your readers’ and customers’ time, focus and discretionary purchasing power.
Due to the competition for audience attention, no one marketing approach alone can yield the optimal results to build your audience.
Think beyond search marketing in 2016
You need a combination of marketing strategies working together to reach your maximum potential audience. To yield optimal results, use a mix of owned, social and third party media.
Numbers can be deceptive.
You don’t need everyone. You only need the people interested in your offering.
To succeed in today’s contextual marketing environment, plan your coordinated marketing approach. Think both macro-level audience attention and micro-level audience attention.
Macro-level audience attention: The major players
From a macro audience attention level, assume the top players across platforms have at least one major entry point to your potential audience.
Remember Google extends beyond search marketing. It owns YouTube, a video platform that’s the second largest search engine after Google. Further Google offers Gmail, Google Docs (and other Microsoft Office competitive options) and Google Analytics for free. These business tools yield other non-search entry points.
Just as Google is no longer the only search option, the other major players have multiple ways to reach and connect with your prospective audience.
Here are 5 key macro-level audience attention players. Assess their sway over your key audiences’ attention when you look beyond search marketing in 2016.
- Facebook continues to dominate global reach and time on the Internet and apps. Facebook isn’t just social media. It’s also messaging via FaceTime and WhatsApp. Instagram provides another prospect entry point.
- Amazon is where 44% of shoppers turn first online for product information. Where they ultimately purchase doesn’t matter. Amazon is the granddaddy of review sites. More importantly, Amazon requires sign in, unlike most non-social media sites.
- Apple dominates the app world via the iTunes store. This translates to entry via podcasts and apps.
- Voice search continues expanding its reach. Your fingers no longer have to do anything to search. Convenience rocks. This includes Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. Expect voice search to cut into Google’s mobile search position.
- Niche rating and review search alternatives such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are go–to sites and apps. If you’re in one of these verticals, be present and rank well. Otherwise, you’re invisible. Want more rating and review information check Dan Lemin’s ManipuRATED.
Micro-level audience attention: Diversify marketing options
Marketers face increased challenges to attract and retain their micro-level audience attention.
To increase your chances of reaching your potential audience, diversify your marketing to maximize return. Translation: Think beyond search marketing in 2016.
Reduce or even better, eliminate once and done marketing. As a result, you’ll decrease your marketing spend. It’s a necessity as marketing budgets stop increasing and start requiring measurable ROI.
Marketers will extend their content marketing efforts to include the entire business, not just the marketing department. This will streamline content creation, eliminate duplicate activity, and reduce costs.
Here are 5 key internal micro-level audience attention tactics. Assess their audience reach when you look beyond search marketing in 2016.
- Make your blog the jewel in your marketing crown. A successful blog supports your customers, social media, search and influencers.
- Be part of your audience’s content inner circle or be invisible. Where possible, build customer relationships directly.
- Atomize content across the organization. When content is created, develop additional presentations for owned, social and third party media. This reduces costs by creating all of your marketing materials at once.
- Extend content distribution and repromotion. Most content is only distributed for a day, week or month. Where appropriate, batch schedule content distribution over a longer time horizon. Plan for 3, 6 or 12 months at a time.
- Actively republish and update existing content. This helps balance your workload while giving your content a second lifetime of distribution. Incorporate enhanced existing content marketing.
Think beyond search marketing in 2016 to extend your potential audience.
Embrace contextual marketing to maximize your content marketing, social media and mobile spend while eliminating redundant activities.
Understand your potential audience’s context when they seek your information regardless of their need, device, location, or step in the purchase process.
Remove the barriers that hinder your prospects ability to access your content and give it their attention.
Be ready to serve your audience when they turn their focus to your marketing.
If you don’t you may lose them forever.
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Joe Pulizzi, and the team at The Tilt.
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