Going into the FIFA World Cup 2014, Argentina’s prolific scorer, Lionel Messi, widely considered the world’s best attacker, was expected to steer his team to victory. But he didn’t score a field goal in four games at the knockout stage — and his team lost in the finals!
Just like soccer, digital marketing is also a team effort. To win in the long run, each element of your omni-channel marketing plan, including SEO, should work in concert with and build upon the others to power your business to massive success.
- Do you work in a large organization, selling online and offline, locally as well as globally?
- Is your marketing strategy comprehensive, overwhelming, even confusing? Does it engage multiple in-house teams, as well as outside consultants and media agencies?
- Do you feel you could be doing more in your marketing but don’t have time for it all?
Then cheer up, because this series of articles is perfect for you.
Even if you answered “no” to these questions, this series can still help. Consulting on SEO with large clients who have complex business strategies guiding multi-billion dollar sales has taught me many precious lessons that are relevant even for smaller businesses.
Let me first introduce the basic concept of how SEO matters in omni-channel marketing, then share some tips to optimize your overall SEO strategy to drive more customers, sales and revenue than ever before.
Some Background On Google’s Role
Google has firmly wormed its way into the consumer journey. In a recent survey by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, 89 percent of consumers reported using search engines to inform their purchase decisions. Thus, if you ignore Google, in effect you’re sending prospective buyers to the competition. That’s why optimizing for search engines is a high priority.
This fact applies to any company, large or small, regardless of whether you sell products or services, do it online or offline, locally, nationally or internationally. Your marketing has to integrate organic search into the overall business strategy.
SEO is complex and ever-changing. What SEO consultants do today is different from what they did even two years ago. As Google evolves, and its algorithms become more advanced and complex to ensure searchers get the best results possible, your site’s ranking will depend on variables out of your control — like the device a searcher uses or the location from which they browse.
You must start thinking of your analytics reports as an iceberg, where only a part of the real picture is revealed. Intuiting what’s beneath the surface is critical. And only experienced and expert SEO consultants have the breadth and depth of knowledge to do this, with
- Multidisciplinary expertise across all marketing activities.
- An in-depth understanding of how Google works.
- A broad and clear picture of your company’s situation and business goals.
- Knowledge of what you should do to get more customers and sales.
Drawing up an integrated strategy is essential. It’s also extremely challenging. Don’t blindly trust people using the words. Question them. Have them explain and prove it to you. Don’t just follow your gut or heart. Involve real experts to save yourself trouble later.
What Omni-Channel Marketing Really Means
Omni-channel is about the customer. It is user-centric, not about improving channel efficiency. It is distinct from multi-channel marketing, which generally refers to how a brand or business presents a consistent look and feel to its prospects.
Omni-channel is about true continuity, providing a customer with a seamless experience no matter where they are — online or offline, on a desktop or mobile device, on a telephone or inside a brick-and-mortar store.
Omni-channel marketing fosters brand loyalty by providing a customer with exactly what he or she wants. And omni-channel with SEO makes for a winning team — because your business, your products or services and your offers and deals are what will be in front of your ideal prospective buyer.
Companies might achieve great results even without an omni-channel strategy, so they may not see a benefit in making a change. But changing your mindset to go omni-channel can help you grow even faster.
- You’ll get more “free” search traffic from Google and other search engines than ever before.
- You’ll attract more customers and make more sales.
- You’ll gain market share quickly and inexpensively.
Just imagine things a few years from now. The investment you made three years ago in SEO (money, time and employees) will still be effective. Unlike paid advertising, you won’t start over again every year. Specific content you created will keep driving new business. Your website will continue to send traffic to your offers. You’ll keep getting relevant leads and qualified customers. Sales and revenue go on increasing steadily. Your finances look healthier year after year.
You can get more out of less and reach your organization’s business goals — faster, easier and cheaper.
I’ve consulted with leading Norwegian companies, as well as Fortune 500 businesses. I advise them to “think omni-channel,” with less silo thinking and channel focus. That’s how your customers will become your primary focus, and whatever you do becomes carefully tailored to ensure that customers will find you, no matter where they are or what device they use.
In the coming years, SEO will grow more popular. Once business leaders realize how critical Google is to their financial results, organic search will get a larger and more integral role in an omni-channel marketing strategy.
In local retail businesses, some leaders view the internet as a threat and are scared that it might destroy their business some day. People working in shops selling furniture, or products like stoves, washing machines or baby strollers should know that with an omni-channel online marketing approach, they can get more customers and sales. Just look at the huge search volumes, study how people use online search to analyze and purchase products and services, and you’ll realize the incredible potential lying untapped.
Marketing has grown very complex. Marketers have to deal with more challenges today than in the past. The tempo is getting faster and faster. Evolution and change will happen even more quickly in the future. Businesses must be able to deal with these frequent changes and updates. Every year will feel more overwhelming than the last.
Those who can adapt to this brave new online world will win — big.
So, what are three things to take away from this article?
- SEO is critical for business success. The days when SEO meant web development based on technical factors are long gone. Today, SEO is about customers, revenues and business growth. Search engines have become business-critical resources that determine your sales and financial results. Evolving a robust SEO strategy is a high priority that every business leader should take seriously and approach professionally.
- SEO is important in omni-channel marketing. This is especially true for large businesses that execute comprehensive marketing strategies. If you run or manage such a behemoth, SEO could transform the future of your organization.
- The reason SEO matters so much is that it helps you connect with the human beings you want to reach and get them to do what you want them to. With search engines carefully integrated into your overall marketing, you will contact more prospects, boost sales and revenues and bring in more money. It’s as simple as that. And having a marketing and sales strategy based on omni-channel marketing and an integrated SEO strategy will drive higher profits and grow your business faster.
If this introduction to omni-channel SEO marketing has you excited about implementing these ideas in your business, then look out for Part 2, which will go deeper into things you can start doing right away — and tips for doing them well. Stay tuned!