I have spent countless hours in my career trying to figure out how to grow businesses, and in almost every instance simply creating awareness for potential customers was the hardest, but most important, step. If you can get the word out to the right people, you’re nine-tenths of the way to profitability.
As I was driving down the Interstate recently, it hit me that having a strong online presence is the digital equivalent of owning a huge billboard that points directly to your store. The difference? Having a great website that appears on the first page of Google search results can be far less expensive and much more effective.
Imagine a main road in your own area. It’s likely packed with billboards, and some of those billboards are probably owned by the business they advertise. Many businesses choose locations near major roads and freeways just for the free advertising.
Your Website Is Your Best Billboard
Now, think of the front page of Google results as a major thoroughfare, but one where the only people on the road are customers looking for the kind of services you provide. Having a top-notch website that ranks organically is like having the biggest, shiniest billboard on the street. Having only a bare-bones website, or none at all, is like having a retail store located on the outskirts of town in a sea of warehouses.
Rest assured, your customers are on that digital street. Research from Flieshman-Hillard shows that in 2012, 89 percent of customers went online before heading to a store when buying things that cost $500 or more. With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, that percentage has only increased.
Once your customers are on your digital street, they are open to your messages. According to the Flieshman-Hillard study, more than 80 percent of shoppers went online when looking for things such as healthcare, personal finance, travel, consumer electronics, utilities, and anything having to do with children. In almost all categories of goods and services, at least two-thirds of people were searching online in an attempt to save money.
The Direct Path to Your Front Door
All of this brings up another question: What is the most direct path between people who are searching online and your business? The answer, irrefutably, is organic search. An Econsultancy study conducted in 2012 found that organic searches get 94 percent of clicks, while paid ads get only 6 percent. By slight margins, women and older people were more likely to click on the paid ads but even among the oldest searchers, only 23 percent favored the ads.
Additional research shows the importance of high placement in those results. In February of 2015, that most recent date for which data are available, the top result gets clicked about 27 percent of the time, according to an interactive chart published by Advanced WEB RANKING. That drops to about 20 percent for the second result, 15 percent for the third result, down to 8 percent for the fifth result and only 4.5 percent for anything past the first page.
How Is Your Online Billboard?
If your site is your billboard, the good news is that you don’t have to rent the space. You own it, and you control 100 percent of the messages. With the right technical setup, you can also dramatically improve your chances of standing out on the biggest superhighway in your industry — the number one page on Google. Click for a free website checkup or get in touch with us at 801-261-5700.