The Goldilocks Spot
All businesses are also customers. Even if it’s only office supplies we’re talking about, the people ordering the supplies can and will share their experience. The supply order taker at the water cooler may say, “Wow, I ordered supplies online from XYZ Company this morning, and they delivered them this afternoon! Really made me look like a hero to my boss who needed a couple of things.” Then, sure enough an engineer, who will probably never order supplies for the company, will walk away from the break room having an affinity for XYZ Company. Thus, without XYZ Company being able to track it, they have a positive offline brand impact directly due to their online service offering.
Office supplies is an obvious case of supplier and customer. But, many businesses that are not web-based businesses may not see themselves as a customer of soft services like search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The biggest challenge about this is that having a savvy appearance online is no longer an option. Being engaged in the online conversation via social media is no longer an option. Especially important, being found when someone searches for your particular offering must be part of the business growth model. So, the question becomes, how does a non web-based business have a strong presence in a whole other business: the web. Well, we at Leopard Digital believe the first thing you have to do is Find Your Spot!
We define your “spot” as having a place on the web that accomplishes 3 things:
1. Your website is easily found if someone searches your name or any of your product offerings
2. When a searcher clicks on of your results, they find a trustworthy and current experience
3. The amount of money spent to be found is in line with your growth and brand budget, which would include sales, marketing, service, and even corporate service responsibility budgets
Many companies can accomplish all of these goals of the web without being the number one result at the top of every search result in everything they do. That is a very expensive and often cost-prohibitive approach to an online strategy. Yet, if you are on page 3 of search results, or if you have no current social media posts, not only are you missing a lot of visitor volume, you can also be detected as untrustworthy or out of touch with modern business. The point is for you to get engaged while staying within your comfort zone of budget and online appearances. So, here are my 1-2-3’s to help you Find Your Spot if you are not a web-based business.
- Design your budget around being competitive versus trying to be competitive within a pre-defined budget. Either do the research or hire someone to do the research to understand the scope of opportunity in the field of your business. For instance, if you are in oil & gas manufacturing and you make level measurement technology, you can see how many monthly searches on average there are in words like: site glass level gauge, liquid level gauge, magnetic level, etc. You can learn how many searches per month, what the average cost per click is in the search terms, and who is competing for those terms. If the clicks are expensive and the competition is tight, it is best to decide one or two products to compete in online based on your offering. So, if “magnetic level gauge” is $7/click and very high competition but “site glass gauge” is only $1/click and low competition, then the goal could be to be a 3rd or 4th search result in one versus a first result in the other, respectively. Make sense?
- Track the ROI all the way through LTV (life time value). This is a long-range goal if you haven’t started working on this yet. But the idea is to know how many people visited your site from search or social media posts, relate it to a marketing/sales code, and watch the value of the buyer over time. Now, generally, manufacturing like level gauges are not capable of completing purchases online. Therefore, there needs to be training in the conversation of sales and coordinated tracking of rate of increase in traffic to the site to rate of growth in overall sales and perception value. This step is a detailed blog within itself, but we would be happy to explain in further detail if you want to Connect With Us.
- Track your share of voice in the marketplace. Remember that brand value is critical in a longer sales cycle product, like manufacturing tends to be. In the case of level gauges, if the average customer only buys them once every 7-15 years, then you cannot afford to miss their purchase, or else you have wait ANOTHER 7-15 years! So, it is important to continuously track the search volume in the industry and how your competitors rank in getting their share of the volume versus you. All of this can be done by using “listening” software that is available today. Hiring an expert like us can offer you insights into the nuances of the industry and give you alerts of moves your competitors may be making both on spend as well as product pushes.
Again, it’s really too late to decide if you want to compete for online impression share. The evolving goals are the decision points. Are they for direct sales or brand impression and trust? Deciding what your comfort zone is should begin with where the competition already is and backing into a plan that you are comfortable with. Your Goldilocks Spot doesn’t need to mirror anyone else’s, but you do have the try the porridge to stay competitive!
Thank you for your time,