Online marketing for small business

Online Marketing is Changing and Why That’s Likely Good News for You

If you are newer to the whole strategy of marketing your business using online strategies, you might be saying to yourself, “Changing? I haven’t even figured out what’s going on now”. Trust me, I totally get that. Stick with me though.

In all reality, marketing, whether online or off, has always been in a constant state of change, reinvention, updating and shifting. However, one thing that is different now, the speed at which things change is unprecedented.

Not Your Father’s Marketing

Think about it like this: For a quite a long time  we’ve had printed leaflets/flyers,  ads in print media like newspapers, ads on radio and TV, ads on stationary signs like billboards, and of course, the yellow pages.  Each one of these mediums came on the scene and basically has remained the same or similar for decades.
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Photo via by jbcurio

Then came the Internet and all kinds of things changed. Everything from how we get information, to how we interact with people, to how we shop and of course, how we promote our businesses.

Unlike the other media I just mentioned though, what we do online today looks very different from what we did even two or three years ago, let alone ten years ago.  Remember the world B.F. -before Facebook?

The Early Days

Don’t worry, this is not going to be a long drawn out history lesson (not my thing). But there are 3 key points that are important to note.

1. In the early stages, approx 1o years ago give or take, you could pretty much put up a website, be found or drive traffic to it and get people’s attention. There were less sites and for the general public, it was something new, so those who were at least somewhat interested, often wanted to participate further.

2. Eventually,  people basically figured out keywords and how the search engines use them to give results to people like you and me who were looking stuff up whether it was low fat recipes or how to change a tire.

During this phase, the strategy was to fill your site with keywords to make it more search engine friendly. Some of the less scrupulous types also figured out that if you overloaded a site with keywords, it would help the page come up high in results. Unfortunately, what the searcher often got was a page of keywords and nothing helpful at all.

3. Google decided that wasn’t good for searchers and they began working hard to tweak the results formulas to look for sites that were relevant based on keywords, but also actually helpful to the searcher.  Creating good content on blogs and other parts of a site became the recommended strategy.

That’s pretty much where we’ve been for about 4 or 5 years, with things tightening up with regard to what is quality content over the  past year or so. The biggest thing about this strategy is is means writing or otherwise creating lots of content. Which is great if  you like to write or do video and have time to do it as well. What’s not so great is if you don’t have the desire or time. What’s also not great is that the average person is often in a state of overwhelm whenever they go online. I’m sure if you think of your own experience, it won’t be hard to come up with plenty of examples.

Where We’re Headed

If the current/most recent trend could be summed up as “more is better” what I’ve been reading about future trends lately may be labeled “less is more”.

Simplicity may be where we’re headed (or where we’re returning to) and for most of you, I’m betting that’s good news.  People still want and expect good and useful information, we just may not need to churn out quite so much.  I believe this is partly due to the unfortunate decline of attention spans, but it’s probably also due to that constant state of overwhelm I mentioned earlier. No one likes to feel that way so, it makes sense to me that those websites that  provide clear, useful, engaging content and navigation, should be at the front of the pack.

Will that happen because of search engine results or people driven results or both? Too early to know. But if it’s a choice between simplicity or overwhelm, I don’t think too many people will struggle with the options.










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