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The number of searches conducted online has quadrupled since only 2007: when a searcher reaches your site, the quality of a lead can be very high. There is a great chance that a search engine visitor is going to be a solid new business lead.

This is John Wanamaker.

Many years ago, he set up and ran one of the world’s first department stores, Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia. The man was a marketing pioneer. He famously once said:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

He was, of course, speaking at a time when it wasn’t possible to measure the effectiveness of your advertising. Nowadays, it’s easy to discover where your site’s visitors come from, how they found you, and importantly, how much they buy.

Which is just one reason why search marketing has become so popular.

Here are six more reasons why search marketing, (or inbound marketing as it’s often called) is essential to your online success.

1. Search is growing

When looking for products, services or information many consumers’ first stop is a search engine. Google handles hundreds of billions of searches every day.

More and more people are comfortable with buying online and are doing so in ever increasing numbers. As a result, the value of goods sold online continues to grow too:

US e-commerce retail graph

These figures do not include some of the biggest segments online – travel, downloads and event tickets so the actual figure for online sales is even greater.

How can inbound marketing help you?

The conclusion probably doesn’t need spelling out, but search marketing can give you access to GROWTH and a rapidly expanding market of product buyers. E-commerce offers substantial opportunities to nearly every business.

At a time when few markets are expanding that’s an invaluable advantage.

2. Search traffic is highly targeted

We might describe the traditional marketing that John Wanamaker knew as ‘Push’ marketing. It interrupts the consumer; it pushes content at potential customers.

Search marketing is different. Often it’s called “PULL Marketing” or “Inbound Marketing”. People searching on Google aren’t passive or otherwise busy; they are actively looking. 

While offline advertising interrupts people, search allows you to sell what your customers want, when they want it.

We know that searchers look in three ways. Searches are:

1.   Navigational – The searcher might want to find another website or a specific page. So, you might see keywords such as Amazon, Ebay, Facebook or other brands.

2.   Informational – The searcher is looking for information. For example: You might ask: How tall is Tom Cruise? Will it snow today? What are the benefits of green tea? 

3.   Transactional – The searcher wants to complete a task. They might want to buy something, or simply download a free e-book. Examples might be: Cheap Xbox, download Google Chrome.

Which means, as a marketer, you can target potential buyers at different stages in the buying process.

When someone reaches your site, the quality of lead can be very high. There is a great chance that a search engine visitor is going to be a solid new business lead. We might say the visitor has INTENT. Often, they’ll be looking for what you have.

You don’t get this intent with outdoor advertising, TV, radio or even direct mail.

How can inbound marketing help you?

Inbound marketing provides more targeted lead generation than any previous marketing system.

3. Inbound is marketing

Many people think that search engine optimisation (SEO) is simply about the technical details of setting up your website. While that’s important, it overlooks the role that your existing marketing can play in successful SEO.

Let’s look at an example of a badly run online marketing campaign. A few years ago, just after Christmas, Lurpak ran a poster campaign for its butter, with the strapline: Leftovers, we call them ingredients.

The message was simple – use Lurpak butter and turn leftovers into special meals. A neat message delivered just at the time when people are wondering what to do with their turkey leftovers.

Lurpak leftovers advertising campaign

In many ways, it was a well-orchestrated campaign.

HOWEVER …

Lurpak hadn’t optimized its website for any of the keywords around its target niche.

So, Lurpak’s site didn’t rank on the first five pages for any of these keywords, which was a problem because lots of Lurpak’s competitors did rank for those keywords. So, all those valuable advertising dollars were spent sending traffic to competitors’ websites.

So, here’s a really important point about search engines: successful SEO can piggyback on your existing marketing efforts. You just need a little SEO know-how to make sure your marketing has online impact.

How can SEO help you?

Inbound marketing can help you can increase the returns you get from your existing marketing campaigns.

4. Inbound marketing generates higher returns

I am a big fan of paid search advertising. But, reliance on advertising alone is rarely a successful way of making the most profit. We know that lots of businesses have tried advertising on Facebook. But, very few have made a success of that platform.

Even newer media, such as Twitter, suffers from poor click-through rates.

As do banner ads.

What does inbound marketing do for you?

Inbound marketing can give you a lower cost of acquisition, meaning your advertising budget goes further, allowing you to invest in innovation.

5. There’s less competition for local

For years small businesses have found it difficult to compete with the buying power and marketing budgets of their larger competitors.

Yet, recent changes at Google have returned some power to smaller (local) businesses. With its Venice update (in 2012) – a change to the way it ranks sites – Google introduced local results into the main organic listings.

This means that local businesses no longer have to compete with rest of the nation to get to the top of the search results. So, whether you’re an electrician in Minnesota, or a florist in Chelmsford, it’s now much easier for your local customers to find you, provided you have a small understanding of SEO, and are active in your online community.

What does inbound marketing do for you?

For local businesses, it’s easier than ever before to get to the top of Google’s results, for a whole range of highly profitable keywords.

6. Inbound marketing lets you track your leads

Let’s return to that quote from John Wanamaker.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

As we’ve seen, it’s difficult to track the effectiveness of traditional advertising. But, with search marketing, it’s possible to calculate a much more accurate return on investment.

Free tracking software such as Google Analytics allows you to pinpoint where your traffic and sales come from. You’ll know the exact keywords your customers are using to get to your site and which keywords are generating the most sales.

Unlike with traditional media, once you discover a profitable keyword, it’s often possible to attract more, similar traffic.

What does inbound marketing do for you?

No reasonable person would claim that inbound marketing is guaranteed to make money. Far from it. Online success depends on some old-fashioned values: hard work, determination and great ideas.

But what’s new about digital marketing is that you needn’t waste your time talking to people who don’t want to listen.

What next?

The internet can help you grow your business. But, it’s an opportunity that won’t last forever. If you’d like help with your inbound marketing plan, please get in touch using the contact form below:

 

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