Online Marketing Works And Your Website Needs It

Online marketing customers ask a lot of questions and over the course of 17 years I've heard them all. Everything from, "How do we speed the process up?" to "What type of guarantee can you give me?" has been uttered by impatient and anxious business owners. The most commonly asked question however is "why do I need search engine optimization?" Even those clients whom possess a firm understanding of what inbound marketing actually is, seem to have trouble grasping why online marketing campaigns are so important or at least why their business needs a campaign driving it forward from behind the scenes. Not only is this question extremely common among people who call us with inquiries but with those who call other firms as well. What is it about online marketing that so frequently raises this question?

Existence Is Futile

In a nutshell...
Anyone can start a business these days and the internet gives those who do so the opportunity to be successful. Success in the modern world however is dependent on marketing to be precise. A business can do/have the following...
  • Sell the planet's greatest products/services
  • Have fantastic customer service in place.
  • Have affordable products
  • An incredible website the likes of which the world has never seen.
...and yet success will remain illusive without a website that's been optimized for search engines. Some people will try to obfuscate things in order to make online marketing seem more complicated than it actually is but without a strong online marketing campaign working to drive traffic to a business' website very few, if any, people will be aware of that business' existence; it really is that simple. The reality is this, 79% of people now shop online. That means that the majority of the population is also using search engines to find what they need and rarely leave the house to check stores around town. More to the point, by the end of 2018 Google has estimated that over 73 billion phone calls and business inquiries will be generated by mobile computing devices alone. These incredible numbers clearly demonstrate the need to run an online marketing campaign. Any business that wants to be found online, especially those with fierce online competition, will need SEO if they want to have any real shot at being successful.

Your Competitors Are Already Doing It

You know that site? Right, the one that always comes up when you do a search for your own products/services? It's not your company's website. Instead it belongs to a competitor. What you may not know however is that their site shows up in the search engines like it does because your competitor is paying for an online marketing campaign. It might be tempting to imagine that your competitor ranks well in Google because they are unique, have an eesome website, operate in a small industry, just waited long enough for the rankings, or were just lucky but that would be foolhardy. No, instead your competitor ranks well and has usurped all others because of search engine optimization. Your competitor may be spending very little for that or they may be paying a significant sum but one thing's for certain. They are marketing their site and business online and you are not. You may believe that having a website online merely for the sake of presence is all you and your business need. You may also believe that people will eventually find your website simply because you've got great products. This type of thinking is willful ignorance at it's most dangerous and detrimental. While your competitors (and we all have them) continue running their digital marketing campaigns your website sinks further and further into obscurity and/or irrelevancy simply because it's not being marketed online or being marketed effectively.

It is often stated that there are just two types of businesses, the "quick and the dead". Quick and proactive businesses have themselves marketed online and are always looking to stay one step ahead of their competition. These are the businesses you see on page 1 of Google and other search engines. Moreover, these are the businesses that enjoy the greatest success. And what about the dead? Well, the dead or dying businesses spend their final weeks and months insisting that digital marketing is nothing but hooey, a modern scam, and then wondering what went wrong, why their websites received little to no traffic. To be an effective business person one must either have an aggressive streak in them or they must adopt one. Business persons must be engaged with the modern world, accept and adopt new technologies, and always have an eye on the future. When a business begins an online marketing campaign the parties responsible for it must be prepared to either match what their competitors are doing online or find a firm that employs clever marketing strategies based on the holes in their competitors campaign. When it comes to online marketing campaigns I say this, "Just Do".... er...I mean "Do It Already"

Isn't It Just A Scam?

Have you ever considered trying out a new restaurant, retail store, hotel, website, or product but then balked after reading a few negative reviews online? Have you ever gone ahead with your plans anyway only to discover that the negative reviews you read don't come close to matching the experience you had at these places or with some product? Isn't it ironic how a few poor reviews can make the brain forget about all the positive reviews that encompassed those negative ones? This is very similar to how things work in the world of search engine optimization. As is the case with any product or service, there are going to be some dissatisfied customers/clients regardless of how well their campaign is doing, how awesome their results are, and how well their questions and needs are addressed, etc. Those whispers and warnings you hear are a very similar to those negative reviews you see online and they often make business owners deaf to all the good things people say. You might hear any or all of the following:

  • Online marketing is a waste of money
  • So and so told me his/her business got nothing from their campaign
  • It's all a scam
  • I get business from my website and it's not being marketed
  • I was guaranteed something and never got it
Having worked within the online marketing industry for 15 years and having owned my own marketing firm for the past 11 years I've heard all the negative comments from dissatisfied persons. Some, such as Mr. B, and others familiar with my penchant for candor and the truth will likely criticize my broaching of this subject as it's considered "negative" or putting doubt into the minds of potential clients. I say let them criticize all they like, especially since their 30 years experience in a wholly unrelated field has no bearing on nor carries any weight in this industry. Not exposing my readers and potential clients to these things is dishonest. I do not believe in sweeping things under the rug nor directing an individuals attention to something more "pleasant". Being upfront and honest about both the good and the bad has been a big part of what's made Next Evolution Online successful and kept us in business for 11 years. 

So let's address the aforementioned comments shall we? Keep in mind that the angry, cynical, and dissatisfied online marketing clients are the very vocal minority and are not representative of the whole. If they were, both my company and all other marketing firms would be out of business. Food for thought...

"Online marketing is a waste of money" - Given the fact that there is evidence to the contrary peppered all over the internet I'm always a bit taken back by comments such as this. Ironically this statement often comes from uneducated persons who've never tried running a campaign, quit running a campaign after a very short time, hired a less than reputable (outsourcing) company, or are simply parroting the things they've heard from others. Contact any of our clients and ask them if their 8 year plus campaigns has been a waste of money. Contact any of the businesses you find ranked respectably in Google and ask them if they regret spending money on an online campaign.

"So and so told me his/her business got nothing from their campaign" - Hearsay shouldn't carry much weight for anyone. Business owners need to think critically and do their homework before they let this type of comment dissuade them from hiring an online marketing firm. Those who get little or nothing from their campaigns are often business persons who want results the morning after they pay their first bill. Consistent and solid results are often not seen for 6-9 months no matter how good a marketing firm is and no matter how much money a business pumps into it's marketing budget. It's important to remember that it is Google that sets these rules and not any marketing firm or individual marketing specialist. Again, it behooves cynical business owners to do some research. Pick up the phone and call businesses found in Google and ask what their opinion of online marketing is. Contact various SEO firms and ask a bevy of questions as well.

"It's all a scam" - It sure is! The sky is also red, humans are immortal, and the Earth is flat.

"I get business from my website and it's not being marketed" - Believe it or not this occasionally happens. This occurrence is the very rare exception however and not the rule. If it happened all the time my marketing firm and all others would...once more, be out of business. It's also important to note that those websites that do get turnover without an online marketing campaign running aren't getting a great deal of business. It's also very likely that their business is so unique or odd that they don't have much or any competition online at all, another rarity. There are then those websites that benefit from new Google algorithms in that they are left standing because they have no marketing that can be penalized by the new algorithm while all previously ranking sites take a massive hit and disappear, albeit temporarily. Consider any website that gets rankings without online marketing driving those rankings to be tantamount to winning the lottery. 

"I was guaranteed something and never got it" - Some online marketing firms are more concerned with making a sale and/or the quick dollar than they are with actually helping businesses succeed online. It is these companies that make all sorts of guarantees. These guarantees are meant to erase doubt from the minds of the skeptical business persons, to misdirect them, and to bury questions they might have about marketing services. The simple truth of the matter is that there are no guarantees in online marketing and anyone whom attempts to convince you otherwise is being dishonest with you. Yes the process works but not every business reaches the same heights, has the same levels of success, nor does every business spend the same amount of money on an SEO campaign. This truth might frighten some business owners away and that's truly a shame because it shouldn't. Instead it should illustrate the need for an online marketing campaign, the need to stay grounded, and keep one's head out of the clouds. The minute any marketing firm starts making you guarantees that's your cue to hang up, tune out, delete the email, move on, and start courting another marketing firm. Whatever you do however, don't walk away from the process altogether. There are many online marketing firms out there and there's a lid for every pot.

Final Thoughts

Don't be this business owner
Around the turn of the century/millennium online marketing was in it's infancy. It was also unrefined, largely black hat, and the budding industry was made up of mostly individuals learning as they went along rather than firms that employed seasoned professionals. In those days the process worked but didn't do for businesses what it does now. In the year 2000 optimizing websites for search engines was still optional and not vital to the success of a business. Nearly two decades later that's no longer the case, no matter how bad some business owners want to believe that. The process works, not all firms are running scams, and a business can no longer grow beyond a certain point without inbound marketing. The next time you hear things about online marketing that give you pause or raise concern remember that a vocal minority isn't the silent majority nor do the people uttering those things represent the whole of a thriving and necessary industry.

This epitomizes online marketing

Inland Empire Online Marketing, Riverside Search Engine Optimization, Orange County SEO

~Scott Jarvis (President, Next Evolution Online)
Phone: 714-820-9935