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.

Today's Web Users

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.