We have already spoken of how digital commerce is based around injecting you business into the information stream. The question now becomes one of how to achieve that?
If we were to consider search engines as a compilation of all the information on the internet, then the answer isclear.
Whether you intend to or not, if you are on the internet, you will end up on Google. Although there are some drawbacks here for the individual, this is great for a business. If you want to generate business, what could be better than being placed on the notice board of the internet? At some level, you are already being advertised as a search hit on Bing or Yahoo search and definitely Google. The real problem is, so are the countless others who are running the same services as you.
Traditional methods of advertising usually required huge investments in billboards, newspaper advertisements or running TV Ads. The marketing industry was highly competitive and agencies could basically extort you for all that you were worth. Unfortunately, you had very little choice in the matter; the well being of your business depended on it. In fact, you had no guarantee if the marketing strategy would work and the risk of sunk advertising cost was always a looming threat.
The internet has brought to us a new and almost free information transmission channel. Before you could only receive market and business information, but now anyone can create it. The process is uncomplicated, does not require documentation or large capital investments. Business owners can become part of the domain of market information, in whatever ways they want. If you hire a marketing company that does this for you, they will advertise in a way unique to your business identity and requirements. The shift from generic marketing to a higher degree of customizability and direct access to the user’s online experience can do wonders for your marketing goals.
Information Transfer and Consumer Decision Making
On an average, people spend about 24 hours a week on the internet. This number is especially significant because you can now dedicate an entire day of advertising to your prospective customers. Throughout this time, you can walk them through the entire process of the customer chain. Think of it like this; what if you were to sit in a class lecture for a full 24 hours. It would be tiring of course, but the amount of knowledge you can fit in to the stretch is considerable.
The internet user does not go through the internet at a continuous stretch, but that doesn’t change the fact that the same amount of information can be accessed. This bodes well for everyone all around because we can now walk them through the entire customer process. From anintroduction of your service all the way to buying it from you, you can create a stream of stimuli that lead from one stage to the other.When you form your business plans, you obviously do it keeping a demand in mind. If the customer wants your service, it’s really a matter of pointing them in the right direction.
If any prospective clients look for a service, they will do this through a search engine. The search engine is where the customer process begins.An effective SEO will convince your clients to go to your websites or social media pages. If the initial spark catches, then it won’t be long before you are on fire with clients coming in left, right and center. The seed will only catch root if you manage to be more convincing than the competition.
When looking to enter an existing market or to create a new market, it helps to understand the consumer decision making process. The client spends money on specific services based on some very basic factors:
- The availability of the service (This could also be the novelty of the service)
- The pricing of the service
- The reliability of the service
- Whether the initial prod was convincing enough
These four factors form the basis for a value judgment for your service. If your client answers these questions in your favour, then you can get a sale. For you the question becomes: How will I let them know what I can offer? When you pose this question you have hit the heart of the concern.
Business dynamics in a digital world are centered on the flow of information. Organizationsthat can inform their customers well can grow large enough to dictate entire market dynamics. The ability to present data to the client that they would find useful creates an aura of expertise, excellence and reliability that can drive away all competition.
This brings us back to the importance of Search Engine Optimization. When a client searches for the service you deliver, you will show up with all of your competitors. The competition will be local and international. The winner in the race for customers will be determined by who has managed the most immersive marketing. If you get your SEO right, then you have proven yourself to have an in-depth understanding of your client and having created a service that can fulfill their needs.
While the client may not be aware of these subtle hints, at some corner of their minds they think: “this is exactly what I was looking for”. In that admission, they have implied some things that mean you have succeeded as a marketer. Therefore, it is important to present the right kind of information, in the right manner to gather around you a substantial consumer base. This information will show up on search engines, which literally serve as the hub of all information on the internet. So think carefully when you talk about yourself out there. Invest in smart SEO and you may have a better shot at commercial success than you thought.
The SEO exercise is a very subtle form of marketing. It requires co-ordinated efforts across your entire communications platform.
The idea is to create a network of content connection over the internet. The end goal is to make sure that your markets know that you are somewhere around. In a sense, it is trying to become omnipresent in the internet experience. The internet is a compilation of separate blocks of information, that comes together to create something meaningful. SEO is intended to create a specific kind of meaning; you have what your clients need.
When attempting to penetrate an existing market, you face immense pressures. To differentiate yourselves,you can create a novel service, or you overshadow them. Considering that most online businesses are emerging; they cannot afford to invest in R&D. For them to compete on the basis of innovation may be possible, but realistically, they can’t afford taking on corporate giants.
Traditionally, competition was based on how well a business offers up its services or the efficiency and pricing. The internet has gone a long way in bringing everyone to even grounds. As much of the service vacuum in the market is filled by the big boys, there are small gaps that still exist. Always remember; large corporations cannot create specialized solutions; they are restricted by scale of operation to generic services. These gaps may not be huge from a percentage stand point, but the numbers are still pretty large.
Generally, many businesses tend to capitalize on these market gaps, since these are optimal points of demand fulfillment. When you fit into these gaps, the major concern is to sufficiently differentiate yourself from the big players in the market.
For example: Apple may produce the iPhone with high resolution display, an LCD manufacturer is central to the production process. The manufacturer may serve as a vendor to multiple businesses, yet might be overshadowed by Apple. This happens for many reasons such as:
- Apple LCDs could be produced more than those produced for other purposes.
- LCDs are generally associated with phone screens and televisions.
- Very few people have an understanding of differences between the different grades of LCDs.
The information on LCDs in our hypothetical is restricted to just about phone screens or other commercial purposes. The LCD manufacturer gets caught in this reductive narrative on the screens and may not be able to get word out about their other services. In our case, the revenue from servicing the healthcare industry could be higher than revenue from Apple. Since they supply to Apple no one really thinks of them as an industrial supplier also.
In this case, it is essential that they create boundaries by pushing out content that demarcates them from just their consumer good services. This would involve creating a connection of content (ideally optimized for search engines) that reinforces their identity as an industrial producer also. What most people do not realize is that on the internet, they can separate themselves from generic overarching trends through Search Engine Optimization. The true power lies in the potential to create unique identities amongst similar businesses. While you may get listed amongst some of the larger players that serve the same markets, you can differentiate yourself based on small differences in your services.
SEO offers this potential to enhance the perceivable differences between yourself and your competitors. This creates a much more visible segmentation of the market. You are better able to track your competitor’s activities, you can begin to define the dynamics in your niche and use it to expand into other markets with SEO. Since everyone does it, the market becomes far more vivid for clearer analysis and better decision making.
The need for coordinated SEO
Since the SEO sprouts up in small ways across the entire communications channel, it is important to co-ordinate your activities accordingly.
Think of the SEO as a thousand-piece puzzle that fits somewhere in the larger narrative of your organization. At any point in time, different users or business prospects come across a specific part of the SEO; never all of it together. The key to creating an efficient SEO is to prod them into completing the picture. This picture will build your perception as the only service provider worthy of their business.
Considering how SEO forms the foundation for the internet user experience, it needs to be subtle. Luckily, since most companies now offer low cost web development that incorporates SEO, many businesses have created intricate SEO strategies. These strategies take into account the amount of information given to the customer and in what time frames.
As a general rule, to achieve the right effect from a message, the timing is crucial. Giving all the information together takes away much of the impact; good story telling requires some theatricality. Establishing your presence among the many that already work in the industry requires comprehensive strategizing. Through SEO, you are not only marketing your services; you are bringing to life an entire web based entity that acts with the intent to serve its customers.
Smart SEO decisions incorporate such a co-ordination. When you are presenting yourself to the customer, it is essential that you leave room for further expansion and organizational development. The co-ordination is required in the same time span across different channels, but also across different time spans. Effective SEO is crucial in the development of your brand’s identity. To this identity, you need to include considerations from your core business into your marketing. In an ideal situation, the SEO represents the crux of who you are as a service provider.
A true representation of your business will be affected by your work processes, organizational structure, financial and corporate goals. Since the SEO is a core component of your branding process, it is essential that you align it will larger business goals. When placed in the larger picture, you SEO strategy will be link between the various steps you take as you take your business to new heights.
DeveByte are a marketing agency in Edmonton, Alberta specializing in digital marketing. We offer holistic digital marketing solutions that include Google Adword, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing and Web Design.
We create unique business marketing strategies that form consistent and effective narratives about our clients. Contact our representatives for more information or premium consultancy with experienced marketers today.