How to grow your business, not Facebook’sPosted by Chris Garrett / March 26, 2014
Many businesses feel like they are in a whirlpool of intangible marketing ideas – where the outcomes are vague and the cost is high.
Instead of learning to swim, let’s get out of the pool.
Marketing techniques come and go, nowhere quicker than the Internet.
- Is SEO dead?
- Is content still king?
- Why aren’t my online marketing dollars increasing my sales?
As long as people use search engines to find businesses and information, SEO will always have a place. Whether it demands the same budgets as it once did, is yet to be seen.
Search Engine Optimisation has changed so drastically in the past 12 months, that it barely resembles its former self.
A quick history of SEO
1. First it was about keywords. Businesses started overloading their webpages with keywords until Google put some rules in place about keyword density and relevance. White / grey / black hat delineation was born.
2. Then it became about link building. Businesses employed SEO companies worldwide to build as many links as possible. The more the merrier! Last year Google cracked down on its quality scale and started penalizing for the ‘bad’ links.
3. Now it’s about quality content. This has resulted in SEO companies doing less rubbish link building and more rubbish content writing – bloating the Internet with irrelevant noise
4. Next it’s going to be about your ‘social wealth’ – who’s talking about you and who’s linking to you socially. But, sadly this will be abused until social marketing is no longer social and Google will need to find a different way of gauging a businesses’ ‘relevance’ within its commercial market.
SEO Isn’t dead, but it’s certainly getting its affairs in order.
Facebook Increases Costs to Businesses
Facebook is leveraging the shift towards social marketing, according to Time Magazine by reducing the percentage of business followers who see posts from 12% in October to just 6% in February 2014. This is predicted to drop to 1% – 2% eventually.
Businesses will have to pay for almost all communication with their Facebook audience. Facebook claim this is to ensure better quality content.
They claim that the increased sharing and members has resulted in an overabundance in the amount of content available for consumption. It has necessitated the need for relevancy algorithms to determine what you might like to see. This, no doubt, will be influenced by the budgets of advertisers.
So, similarly to Google, businesses now need to spend significant coin to be seen and heard, despite their efforts in building an audience over a period of years.
How to market on-the-cheap
So, how do you cost effectively share your quality ideas, tips, advice, recipes and events with an interested audience?
The big social sites shouldn’t be your only marketing channels. Top 10 search rankings or 1,000’s of followers are not reliable commodities. They are expensive to obtain and will be worthless if the rules change.
We’ve seen many businesses decimated by Google and Facebook changes recently. And then, throw more money into the same channels to resurrect their visibility. Their strategy relies on the decisions of other businesses.
Email marketing to the rescue
Call me old fashioned, but you need to be building wealth in your own business, not others’ – wealth in the form of an email list.
We may have come full circle. Should the ol’ eNewsletter make a comeback? Large retailers certainly haven’t forgotten its power.
- It’s cheap
- It’s a great way to share info, advice, etc.
- It gives the customer control over what they see
- It’s not (or shouldn’t be) packed with advertising
- Your customers don’t have to sacrifice ALL their privacy to follow you
- And, it’s not subject to the whims of multinationals
This is not to say you should delete your Facebook account and ignore Google rankings. These (and others) are still effective channels; however use them to build your contact list, not theirs.
(The link is in the header. Click it. It will make you smarter / better looking / wealthier. Choose 2.)
Create incentives to be on your list. Give your list extra privileges and promote that across social media and your website. Creating ‘Likes’ shouldn’t be the end result.
Just remember whose business you are building? Yours? Or these guys’?