Gone are the days when customers came to you. The internet may be compared to a massive shopping-mall, but it is, of course, so huge, there is no way anybody could possibly walk pass your shop (website) unless they knew it was already there.
There are some websites that capitalise on this phenomenon, due to their reputation. They may display a select niche unavailable elsewhere, or provide a service that is second to none. They certainly will have a select following who sing their praises, and word-of-mouth and referrals can be the backbone of a business’s survival.
The alternative, while you are trying to obtain these dizzying heights of recognition, or fine-tune your reputation, would be to increase your visibility. To confirm my first statement, you need to go where your customers are, as well as being very easy to find.
Of course the optimum place would be on the first page on Google (every Search Engine Optimisation provider’s objective), but this is notoriously difficult to achieve. Google positioning is as unpredictable as the British weather. Research into patterns of how visitors use search engines show that many don’t pan below the ‘fold’, the area underneath what is visible, and approximately 80% don’t go further than the first page of their search.
You could spend some money on a pay-per-click campaign (Google Adwords) to achieve your first page position, but bear in mind that only about a third of surfers look at the sponsored ads. And unless you know exactly what you are doing, a huge portion of your marketing budget could be whittled away, especially if you don’t know what your objectives are.
There are alternatives to raising web-visibility. Social networking sites (Facebook is the most visited website online; Twitter is aimed at increased PR and brand awareness; LinkedIn is aimed at professionals and their Answers section could certainly raise your expertise status), blogging (which should act as an interactive hub of your online presence) and YouTube (where adverts are watched far more than on TV, and are searchable for criteria and keywords) should certainly be added into the equation, and form a considerable part of your online-marketing stategy.
So my questions are: what are you doing to bring your online presence to where your customers are? And if so, are you reaching out to the right kind of customer, or are you frequenting the correct social media for your target market?