Business owners and managers need to behave like consumers

08.08.2018

In the new digital age it’s no longer acceptable to be ignorant to what your competitors are doing. In a time long forgotten it was relatively easy to learn what your competitors were doing to market and promote their wares and services. Pick up the Yellow Pages, listen to the radio, read the local paper or even watch TV – it was fairly obvious what your competitors were doing because old advertising methods made it obvious. However, these methods were typically very much a shotgun approach where businesses blasted the masses in the hope of hitting the few in their target audience, and then relying on repetition to drill home the message to stimulate the desired audience into taking action.

Search for your wares, not your name

In the modern digital world it’s no longer obvious what your competitors are doing to promote themselves and how you compare. The old ways of scanning newspapers and directories, listening to the radio and keeping an eye out for advertising signs just aren’t going to cut it. Instead, because of the incredibly defined and targeted marketing methods now available you need to behave like a consumer searching online for your wares and/or products. That way you’ll find out what you competitors are doing and, more importantly, gauge how well you are performing online as a business

When was the last time you did a search for your products or service online? Do a quick simple exercise and search in Google for your product and or service in the location or locations where you operate? In other words, search for what it is you do, where you do it. Do not search for your business name because potential clients probably don’t know your name, they just know they want what you provide.

Google Ads (formerly AdWords)

Five years ago it was more than enough to simply rank in Google searches. If your business came up in the organic search results you were almost guaranteed inquiries. But acting like a consumer today, particularly on a mobile phone, may well show you that the search results situation has changed alarmingly, particularly in highly competitive fields.

It appears that Google is making it difficult for consumers on mobile phones to get to the organic or naturally ranked results behind the paid listings. Instead or organic results, searchers are seeing – and clicking on – the advertisements which appear above the organic listings. Evidence from our Google Ads (formerly AdWords) clients would suggest the vast majority of clicks are coming from mobile devices.

While it’s very easy for consumers on desktop screens and laptops to skip the ads and go straight to organic search results, it’s not so easy on mobile devices. Consumers are being groomed to click on the paid Google advert links which top and tail the organic listings. The following example is for the simple search “plumbers Geelong”

 

It is reported in various circles that Google paid Apple up to $US3 billion to be the default search engine on IOS in 2017. There is no doubt: Mobile devices is where it’s at for Google.

Facebook Ads

Facebook knows a hell of a lot about everybody who uses the social media platform and it has an almost-frightening ability to drive into target markets with incredible efficiency. The Cambridge Analytica controversy highlighted Facebook’s targeting capabilities and was incredibly effective using it to their advantage. The entire General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) instigated by the EU shows how concerned global lawmakers are about what data becomes accessible and what doesn’t. Regardless of your opinion of Facebook, as a business owner or manager you need to take action so you’re seeing what your consumers see. And you will only see what you need to see if you behave in a similar mindset to your clients.

It might be a bitter pill to swallow but consumers no longer care about your business’s products or services; they care about solutions to their problems, in their location.

Remarketing or Retargeting

It’s too confusing to figure out which is which and this article isn’t about how to do it but more the power of it. Call it “retargeting” or “remarketing” – the terms are so interchanged these days they are effectively the same thing, although some will argue remarketing is emailed-based.

Ever visited a business’s website and then been stalked by ads for the business across the web and on your mobile? That’s remarketing/retargeting. As a business owner or manager you need to understand the basics of what it is and how it works.

How does it work? Quite cleverly, actually! Simply explained, remarketing/retargeting involves your website inserting special hidden code into the browsers of visitors to your site! People viewing your website can be tagged generically as a visitor or more in depth based on the specific pages they visit on your website. With the information gathered about their visit to your site you can then serve those visitors ads focused on their interests for defined periods up to two years.

There is a lot of science here and some right ways and some very wrong ways about doing this form of marketing but when done properly it is an incredibly powerful form of promotion.

As a business owner or operator you need to learn how to assess what your competitors are doing or have someone do this for you. You also need to know how to get actively involved.

Feel free to contact Goop Digital if you would like a review of your competitive landscape.