Google is a force to be reckoned with.
As online marketers, we typically look at all the ways to send traffic to a website in one of two ways: Paid or, “Free.”
Taking a step back, here’s what’s truly incredible about this logic.
One company, Google, controls both the Paid and Free online marketing channels!
Conspiracy theories aside, this is one powerful company that can make or break a company, politician, individual, or product.
When you are talking about implementing some sort of SEO campaign through a consultant (myself for example) or you are looking to pay your way to get customers and traffic to your website through pay per click advertising, Google most likely is the one company you are looking to deal with for maximum and the best results.
Even today with all of the upstarts, shifts to mobile browsing, and whatever new advances pop up, Google maintains a HUGE share of the search market.
Take a look at the latest marketshare reports released from Statista for desktops:
As you can see since January 2010, no competitor has even come close to usurping the beast. Google today STILL remains the most prominent search engine, and most likely will for the foreseeable future.
Think about it: Over 6 years of ONE company being number 1 for something critical to our lives and and every day.
In the age of the internet, 6 years is an absolute eternity.
Heck, you don’t “Bing,” something, you “Google,” something. It’s even a verb.
So what can we do as marketers, business leaders, or consultants do?
We can use this insight to our advantage. Let me explain.
Google is a crowded place. When planning a paid or free advertising campaign, you most likely do not consider the other search engines that are actually waiting in your marketing arsenal.
This is foolish!
While smaller engines will not have the same reach, they each have strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited.
For example, because Bing comes as one of the default search engines on almost every single PC sold in the world, it actually has a much older demographic. These customers are also generally less techy, less advanced.
Though a little dated, Aborg.com presents this information pretty a easy to understand chart.
Have a product catered to senior citizens? Perhaps someone who is less tech savvy?
Instead of going with the big G, you can try saving some money and going with a competitor like Bing.
With SEO focused campaigns, these algorithms also are not as up to date and do not get updated as frequently as Google.
I am never an advocate for less than ideal practices when trying to rank a website, but if you might be surprised how quickly an extra link or mention can increase your rankings on these smaller engines.
We all get that social media is important, but have you had any TRUE success on Facebook or Twitter besides expanding your audiences on their platforms?
Expanding your reach into alternative online marketing channels is huge.
It reduces your susceptibility to losing everything with an algorithm change or price increase.
One platform I have seen plenty of success is on Facebook. Facebook is really impressing me lately with their ad platform.
Facebook’s ad platform includes RIDICULOUS fine grained targeting capabilities, generally lower costs, and ability to drive substantial traffic.
This Facebook ad for Kabbage shows up because its targeting previous visitors to their page, people who might be in the market for a loan, and my favorite feature, I “look-a-like” their customer base in terms of demographics and usage on Facebook, so I get the ad served to me.
Instead of putting $10k into a PPC campaign, I am now advising my customers and clients to really consider Facebook and shift some funds into this new channel.
Impressive. But what’s not to love?
Though you can bid and pay in a similar style to Google, the buying intent is TOTALLY different on Facebook.
Buying intent is a phrase that online marketers use to identify and qualify where in the funnel a prospect is in relation to making a purchase.
Think about it this way: When you are posting photos of your family, are you thinking that you need to buy a brand new car right then and there?
This means your buying intent for a new car is low at that time on Facebook.
Compare that experience to the buying intent when heading over to a search engine and typing in “New cars for sale.”
Your buying intent is much different. You as a buyer are much further down that funnel, and more valuable to a car dealer.
While I have seen some limited success with e-commerce stores, Facebook is really a great channel to leverage sharing of content, providing whitepapers, and building retargeting lists down the road.
Oh, and its cross platform. Since you are logged in to your PC, Tablet, and Cellphone, Facebook can show your ad to the same users no matter where or what device they are using. That’s Drool-worthy.
In some other posts I’ll share a bit more about Facebook advertising.
Email is still incredibly popular and is an extremely powerful tool to leverage.
According to the National Email Client report of 2015, ROI from email is almost £38 (or $54.60). Try getting that on a PPC campaign.
In order to send email you really only need two things:
Firstly, you need email marketing software.
Secondarily, you need an email list.
Beyond that, get ready to make it rain new customers! Just kidding, I know, it takes more than that.
I’ve worked with big and small email providers (also known as ESPs). My favorite for small business and increasingly more for larger organizations is MailChimp. It’s extremely powerful in regards to working across a multitude of industries, as well including many different ready-to-go integrations, workflows, and list management features out of the box.
Internet marketers selling digital products tend to go with AWeber.
Larger companies (that send out millions of emails per month) usually select solutions provided by ExactTarget, or SilverPop to get even more integrations, custom workflows, and enterprise level support.
If you are just getting started with email marketing, you can do a Google search (coincidence of course) for a solution that works for you. Definitely look for a free trial.
Finding email addresses, maintaining your lists, and ensuring results is a whole other topic similar to Facebook advertising that I will dive into in a future article. But, you can start simple with your existing customers.
If you are a retail based business, you can simply leave an email signup at your cash register for deals and coupons. If you are in the service based industries, simply send out a monthly update to your customers.
I have not even scratched the surface on other alternative channels or capabilities that can compliment or compete against Google when it comes to search, advertising, email marketing, or driving traffic. (Talk to Zach and I’ll be happy to explore solutions that work for your business.)
While inherently Google is not bad or evil, as a bit more of a risk adverse marketer I prefer to leverage and take advantage of any and all opportunities that will show longer term benefits and provide more success to my clients in the event the landscape changes overnight.
Knowing these facts about what other opportunities exist out there should provide you the confidence when selecting an outsourced company to help you with marketing.
Sure, every single legitimate SEO company out there is going to try to get you an increased ranking on Google, but what results do they have to show with alternative’s like DuckDuckGo? And how long has it taken for competitive keywords?
Likewise, every single PPC or online marketing firm is going to focus on Google Adwords. But what about Bing AdCenter where costs might be lower or alternative advertising solutions with a content focus?
So the real question is not what’s after Google, but rather, what are you doing right now to not even need Google?