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Marketing in a crowded market

    Six years ago we wrote about how crowded the digital marketplace was. Today, the volume has become so dense that the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics census didn’t include internet usage statistics because there was no point – over 99% of people are connected to the web.

    On one level, that’s great for businesses and organisations. If  you have a website, almost all of your potential clients will be able to find you.

    But can they?

    The use of the internet by consumers has been mirrored by the use of website design and SEO by business, hobbyists, hackers and bored people starting a blog.

    New answers have emerged for the dilemma of how to stand out in a crowded market. Siteefy calculates that there are 175,000 new websites created every minute. So if it takes you six minutes to read this article, one million new sites would have added to the clutter online.

    It’s little wonder that organisations report they are increasing their digital marketing spend, year after year. However, much of it is being wasted because organisations don’t pay attention to research. In other words, they aren’t devising digital strategies based on facts.

    For example, we still meet with potential clients that are chasing the wrong keywords. They have a belief about what people search for in their sector but they haven’t backed this up with independent research (eg. Google). As an Adelaide SEO consultancy, the first thing we do is map actual data against company beliefs to see where there are both connections and errors in focus.

    A lot of people are ploughing too much of their budget into social media. Yet a study by Bright Edge has found that organic search generates 11 times more traffic than organic social media.

    “Despite several seismic shifts in consumer behavior, the rise of mobile search, and the dramatic changes to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) layouts, including Local 3-Pack, Knowledge Graphs, Videos, and Quick Answers, which push more organic searches below the fold, Organic Search is the channel that delivers the most traffic to web sites by a wide margin,” the research found. You can read the full study here. 

    What does this cost in lost opportunity? Industry expert Jakob Nielsen estimates that making data-driven decisions can improve a website’s performance by “several hundred percent”.

    SO if you want to stand out in a crowded market, using search engine optimisation should be a key part of your strategy, with social playing a secondary, feeder role for most companies. What status you give to the two will depend on your organisation, your sector … and what the data tells you for both.

    In 2016, we wrote:

    It’s an age old problem that doesn’t just apply to business. For example, private schools have had to work hard on this for decades – but now government funded schools are finding that they too have to promote themselves effectively or suffer the consequences of declining enrolments. This in turn makes the task more difficult for independent school marketers.

    The list goes on and on: charities vying for the shrinking fundraising dollar,  established law firms fending off start ups; the ever-changing motor vehicle sector; pubs responding to the rise of small bars throughout Adelaide’s CBD are other good examples.

    So, is it truly possible to stand out in a crowded market?

    The standard advice is to find a niche and aim to dominate it. The other piece of wisdom is to find a point of difference and promote that – hard! The problem with both of these strategies is that advantage is often fleeting in today’s fast-paced market.

    Competitors are quick to spy your latest marketing tactic and they can mimic it online within an hour. In fact, if their budget is bigger than yours, they can swamp the market with Google Ads, mobile, email and social media – as well as other forms of paid advertising, and leave you in their wake.

    What that means is you have to be flexible in your marketing approach. You have to be open to new ideas and emerging opportunities.

    Here’s one way to look at the problem of how your business can be found in an overcrowded market.

    Imagine you are looking for a particular person at a large concert. Using sight alone, your chances are very slim.

    Now what if that person was dressed in a fluorescent green jacket and was waving a flashing light above their head? Obviously they would be easier to find, except for the fact that many people wave mobile phone lights above their heads at concerts.

    So what if that person was standing on a platform, so they were two feet above the crowd, and waving a light? Ah! There they are, you found them.

    Today’s marketing is much the same. You have to put your business on a platform to rise above the competition. In the old bricks and mortar world, that meant a sign that cut through the cutter (good luck with that), letters to clients, clever advertising and cold calling.

    Yet with so many people now going online to do their research before they go shopping (or choosing a school law firm, finding a hotel etc), it makes sense to maximise the online profile or your organisation. At the simplest level that means:

    • Start with a stunning website that reflects your brand.
    • Ensure that you have call to action elements in prominent positions (eg. Make A Booking, Enquire Now).
    • Make sure you have Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools in place and check them at least monthly. Use this data to improve your site – or get a knowledgeable company to assist you.

    Many companies never get any further than that – and it’s a big mistake. It’s like the old adage “build it and they will come”, which we know is rarely true. Doing the basics is not enough anymore.

    To beat the clutter of a competitive market, you have to stand out. Kids might dream of a viral marketing campaign that will rocket them into the digital stratosphere but this is such a rare phenomenon and very hit and miss. So like your business and the way you run it, you have to start with the basics and build from there. Hopefully you can answer yes to each of the following “basics”:

    1. Is Google showing your website in its results?
    2. Are you ranking for all the right words, or do you ran for keywords that nobody uses?
    3. If you aren’t ranking for high traffic keywords, have you looked at Adwords and what that might cost? A free telephone number linked to your online ads would allow you to really track your success, so have you explored that option?
    4. Are you showing up in Google Maps search results, especially if you are a location-based business?

    Update: Six years later, all of the above remains true – but even more important. Mass market advertising on TV and in newspapers is dying a slow death. In many cases, it is used to drive people to a company website.

    Why is that?

    Because statistically we know that over 90% of online experiences start with a person typing a query into a search engine. And the number one search engine in Adelaide, and across Australia, is Google – which has aover 93% market share. 

    If you need a stronger digital presence or help with your Adelaide SEO, please feel free to contact us todiscuss your next project.

    By the way, it’s also important to stand out with your graphic design. Here is useful information to consider:

    Graphic design as part of your business strategy

    Graphic design – the key benefits

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