When you market your business online, it’s important to consider the customer journey and explore consumer trends and insights relating to your target audience.
Online search is changing and any business wanting to keep up with, and get ahead of, the competition, needs to recognise and understand these changes and adapt online marketing strategies to reflect them and maximise the opportunities.
An online marketing workshop for UK SMEs Microsoft and Infoserve hosted at the Microsoft London office highlighted these changes.
Infoserve SME customers heard that consumers are now searching differently. Consumers are now research-obsessed, with mobile searches for “best” and “reviews” growing over the last two years; growth in “best” mobile searches is up over 80% in the past two years.
- Same-day searches spike first thing in the morning
- “Near me” searches are growing more than 130% year-on-year
- Mobile searches related to “Same-day shipping” have grown over 120% since 2015
Vikas Arora, Senior Business Manager with Bing Ads UK, Microsoft Search Advertising, presented at the event, and reiterated the message that search is changing. He told us that:
- 74% of people trust search engines almost as much as they trust the website or brand
- By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human
- ½ of all developer teams will be embedding AI (Artificial Intelligence) into their apps by 2018
- 50% of search will come from image or voice by 2020
- 74% of online consumers get frustrated when irrelevant content appears
Vikas spoke of the “Three new protagonists of search” – Users, Digitals assistants and Bots.
He urged those businesses present to keep current with their online content, to share content, to be different and to keep it flowing.
Emphasis was also given to speed; 53% of website visitors are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%.
There was much discussion about how a small or medium size business can compete online and stand out, and retain personality and the human touch. Some members of the audience argued they preferred to deal with bots; they found them more reliable than humans.
What is important is that you know your customers and what works best for them. If you find out as much you can about the search behaviours of your target audience, you can tailor content to capture and retain them.
There are analytical tools you can use to gauge trends and consumer search behaviours that will give you key insights; Google Analytics is one free tool that any website owner can use to track and analyse data about web traffic, but there are lots of others.
Don’t be afraid to try different things either. If you run a campaign, for example, try some split testing and see which campaign brings the better results, then modify further to maximise the results of your efforts.
First ensure you get the basics right. Is your brand presented consistently online? Are there obvious calls to action on your website? Are your contact details displayed correctly and prevalently?
- Build a local presence – ensure your business is listed across all possible sites and directories with consistent, rich content.
- Search engine friendly website – make sure your website has the basics in place to give it the best chance of ranking organically.
- Ensure any PPC (Pay Per Click) budget is spent effectively – use PPC to drive relevant, targeted traffic to your website.
- Make the most of your PPC traffic – don’t lose valuable traffic by ensuring potential customers can clearly see the benefits of using your business.
- Track the effectiveness of your marketing activity – Track valuable actions such as phone calls, form fill and online purchases to ensure you understand the full value of your web traffic.
People have got used to instant access to whatever they want. A statistic from our London presentation was:
- 20 billion expected Internet of Things units by 2020.
With so much information now at our fingertips, businesses need to think of the most effective ways to reach potential customers. This may be through social media, it may be email marketing, it may be through PPC campaigns, it may be through blogging.
Understand your consumers and their search behaviour and you will stand a greater chance of being effective in converting and retaining them.
If you need help with your online marketing contact Infoserve. Established since 1999, we have over 80 staff at three UK offices. We are unique in our offer as a Google Premier Partner, Bing Elite SMB Partner and UK Yahoo Local Partner.
We are a one-stop shop for online marketing for SMEs, offering web design, Pay Per Click, local listings, social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
To speak to one of our experts call 0800 089 0879, or visit www.infoserve.com for more information.
We are planning to hold more online marketing workshops for SMEs. If you would like to attend one, let us know what location would suit you best, and which particular subjects you would like to learn about. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org