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You Can't Produce Results If You Live In A Search Engine's Virtual Vacuum

Nov 6, 2007
Do yourself a favor. If you rely solely on your listings in the search engines to generate business, stop right now. Why? Because putting all your marketing dollars into a channel you can't hope to control, is a fool's game at best.

Just ask the myriad of businesses - large, small and medium - that woke up last week to discover their sites had suffered a substantial drop (or had disappeared altogether) in Google's page results. You can almost hear their shrieks of protest, and their howls of "WHY ME!"

Of course, this happens every time Google makes a change to its algorithm. And each time it makes me wonder why some people (and I'm including serious marketing people with big budgets here) just never learn this basic truth: you cannot produce results if you live solely in a search engine's virtual vacuum.

Google and other search engines should never be relied upon to generate consistent traffic to your website. They should never be relied upon to generate sales. If you want your business to succeed in the long term, you need to invest in a solid, strategic, well-rounded marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, there are too many businesses out there that are indifferent to marketing in other channels, let alone know how to use online and offline channels to create a competitive advantage.

So, as a reminder to everyone who thinks they can put all their marketing eggs in one basket and still succeed, here are some fundamentals:

Product:

Are you sure your product is the best it can be? Is it better than your competitors? Does it provide something valuable to your potential customers? If you can't answer "yes' to these three questions and clarify your answer, you need to go back to the drawing board and set some objectives.

Price:

Whether it's a good thing or bad, the Internet means that customers can shop around for the best deal from the comfort of their armchair. As a business owner, you can complain and moan, but it won't help you sell any more products. Make sure you offer the best deal and that your price is competitive, but don't get caught up in price alone - there are other ways to convince consumers to buy from you.

Place:

Go ahead and put a billboard up in the middle of the Nevada desert. Use it to announce your latest product launch. Then sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet. That's what you're doing if you expect your website (and the search engines) to generate sales for you. A better way is to identify other marketing channels to promote your products.

Promotion:

What's your offer? Why should consumers buy from you? If you know your customers and know your product, you'll already have the answers. Look at using incentives that appeal to your target audience and complement your product. Consider direct mail, print, media and public relations and make sure you spend enough to deliver impact. The money you spend on promotion whether online of offline is an investment in the long-term success of your company.

Of course, following the above guidelines does not guarantee success, but they should at least encourage you think about and diversify your marketing efforts instead of relying on the whims of a search engine.

To your success,
Julia
About the Author
Julia Hyde is an advertising copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and traditional advertising. She currently runs Creative Search Media, a full-service advertising and search engine marketing agency. http://www.creativesearchmedia.com
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