At the dawn of the Internet, the focus by advertisers was on broad, mass appeal advertising. Brands were consumed with generic level keywords and dominating positions around these terms was the sole focus of many companies – and make no mistake, it worked well for those fortunate enough to dominate the search landscape. Over time, things have changed….Web users are savvier, they don’t want generic answers, they want specific answers. This scenario has created a world of opportunity for advertisers who can now more firmly focus on a niche rather than just a broad based objective.
A focus that I feel adds value to brands is understanding what their identity is and truly defining their demographic. By working to segment your target audiences and understanding how they engage with your product offering or service, smart marketers are able to offer different channels for prospects to enter and engage. For example, if you run a company that provides repair services to cell phones, you need to find customers who need this service. You break down the needs around different demographics and create funnels for the consumers to enter. I always feel semantics play a large part in driving the right targeted traffic. In many cases, we recommend setting up several different websites with very specific niche focuses to entice customers to engage.
The Internet is a large, ever growing playing field. The more real estate you have on the Web, the more chance you have of being found. The ability to focus in on a niche and dominate the niche while expanding that same process across to your other demographics will provide you with a campaign strategy that outpaces your competition.
One of the most difficult things to do is revive a dead brand, but I have to give Yahoo credit for doing everything they can to make it happen. I recall the days that Yahoo was the champion of the search space and “the” place to go for online news. They were the success story coming in and pulling away the market share from AOL in the early days of the online revolution. Somewhere along the way, Google came in and with little advertising or fanfare blew away Yahoo into an afterthought.
Yahoo went through some very lean times and made a bold move in bringing Google royalty, Marissa Mayer, on board to turn the company around. Yahoo also added the purchase of Tumblr to stay current and find a way to stay with the pack in regards to innovation. But, have any of these changes and innovations actually helped increase market share or, more importantly, boost interest in their advertising product? Not in my eyes.
Rankings and advertising on Yahoo are seen as a secondary channel compared to Google. Google continues to be the place for people to go to find things, and I always view Google advertising as having more “proactive” consumers…people who do searches with the intent of making a purchase. Yahoo’s belief is you come in for the news with Katie Couric and you stay for ads – but will it work? Likely not, but hats off to Yahoo for trying; with big salaries like Mayer and Couric and billion dollar purchases like Tumblr, the reality is Yahoo has likely positioned itself for a horrific and epic fall.
There will be a day someone will knock Google off its perch and gain the market share in the search space but that company won’t be Yahoo.
Will Yahoo! Adding Katie Couric revitalize their brand?
Growing up in the 80′s, the holiday gift buying season seemed to start only a few weeks before Christmas and I could hardly wait for those first holiday related commercials to start airing after Thanksgiving. Nowadays, holiday commercials are starting before Halloween. With the advertising change, the gift buying process has evolved immensely. The craziness of Black Friday has been curtailed as Cyber Monday has been ushered in as one of the largest drivers of holiday sales.
Some of the biggest changes that have occurred with holiday shopping have manifested the last few years. Last year, Walmart did a tremendous job leveraging social media with their “Walmart Elves” providing real-time updates of products and monitoring the shortages and missteps of other retailers to engage and entice potential buyers. This was a huge success for Walmart. This year, it is expected that most large retailers will utilize the same sort of process to attract customers through the chaos of what Black Friday has become.
The Joys of Black Friday Shopping Last Year
|It’s not just big retailers who are taking advantage of social media and online efforts to tap into potential customers. Their continues to be a trend of smaller e-commerce only retailers doing their best to leverage different shopping channels to provide lower cost products to have customers make initial purchases on “loss leaders” with the hope that they stay to buy other products. Additionally, these purchases now become prospects that they can continue to market to over the course of the year.|
When you look hard at the changes in holiday shopping over the past decade and how many consumers now do their gift buying online, it’s interesting to contemplate the changes that the next decade will bring us. Who would have imagined 10 years ago that you could do holiday shopping via your mobile phone or be able to see real-time sales via sites like Twitter and Facebook? Who would have thought you could avoid the long lines and rushing around by simply sitting back on your computer and waiting for your boxes from Amazon and other retailers to arrive at your door step?
I for one embrace the changes to our digital society, but I will admit to reminiscing a bit about the anticipation of waiting to see the old J.C. Penney catalog arrive in the mail.
The industry is abuzz once again related to an update by Google. Unlike it’s more nasty and mean spirited predecessors, the Hummingbird update is less of a concern and more of an enhancement. Driven by the evolving nature in which web users actually engage the Google search engine, the new algorithm will provide more insight in to what has long been called “Conversational Search”. Focused on the undeniable migration of search being done more and more by mobile devices, Hummingbird will provide mobile users with a more useful return of results.
So, what does this all mean for your business and your rankings? In my eyes, the update enables companies that don’t have great visibility around branded terms to actually begin to see more benefit from conversational based search queries. I feel the update begins to level the playing field and that the fight for prime natural search real estate has expanded once again.
Make no mistake, any update has winners and losers but in this scenario, the losers are those that haven’t begun to evolve with the changing of web users in general. Web users are more experienced now….more savvy. They don’t enter generic terms to the degree they once did, they want more specifics…they want more focused results. As usual, Google continues to move in the right direction and for the most part, we can all consider this Hummingbird, relatively friendly!
The results are in and I couldn’t be more excited to announce Inc. Magazine has once again named WebiMax one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States. Coming in at #104, WebiMax is proud to be recognized among a prestigious list of U.S.-based, privately held, and independent companies for the second consecutive year.
Apart from the criteria listed above, companies were chosen for the list based on their growth the past three years. The September issue of Inc. Magazine shows that WebiMax experienced a 3,367% growth during that time and accumulated $8.7 million dollars in 2012 revenue. These numbers wouldn’t be possible without the best group of online marketing minds in the business and fantastic clients.
When I started WebiMax in 2008, we were a start-up with four people. Today, we employ 125 online marketers and are recognized both nationally and internationally for a full array of Internet marketing services.
The most exciting aspect of the Inc. 500 list is where we are headed. We are stronger than we have ever been as a company. I am very fortunate and proud to have developed a team of dedicated, experienced and driven employees. Without the team that WebiMax has built, we would not be able to accomplish the accolades we have received. I look forward to what is to come in 2013 and beyond. Our focus is around growing new channels of opportunity and expanding our reach on an international scale.
Be sure to grab the September issue of Inc. Magazine for the full list, and contact us anytime to learn about the people and services that make us one of America’s fastest growing companies.
When I first became involved in online marketing – some 12+ years ago – how a company gained traction online was very different from the methods of today. Back then, companies could create paid search ads on Google and start to see immediate benefits from those ads. It wasn’t so much that businesses needed to be marketing specialists; they just needed a big enough budget to outpace their competitors. Most Web users didn’t even understand the difference between a paid advertisement and a natural search listing.
Fast forward to 2013, and Web users are much more sophisticated. Many of them don’t trust paid search ads and a lot of them are viewing websites via a mobile device. What does this mean for marketers trying to reach their audience online? It means that you need to evolve.
Is Your Site Optimized For Tablets?
Today, most Web users are very savvy as they have years of experience shopping online for products that interest them. They do more due diligence and compare more before they make a purchase or engage a service provider.
The need to connect with your audience has never been greater. Key drivers of engagement include blogs and the ability to create good, useful content that your audience gains value from.
Web users are searching for companies that are actively updating their websites, a stale website can be a conversion killer. If you have a news portion on our site, don’t let it sit idle for months upon a time, update it frequently. The Web users of today pay attention to more details than ever before and disqualify websites based on many different factors; these factors can be anything from how easy it is to navigate a site to the fact that a site appears to have been last updated in 1996.
Marketing in today’s online space is difficult and requires more tact. Before you could just say “we have the best product,” and if your ad came up first in the paid listings, you probably sold a lot of that product. Nowadays, Web users will research your claims and your products, while looking at competitor’s products to find which one they feel truly is the best.
The Internet is a great way to level the playing field between big companies and small, but at the end of the day, connecting with your audience will be the biggest driver in your success online.