Like everything else, the internet is a double edged sword and honestly I think the big tech companies have opened a can of worms that is their own fault. As internet users concerned with privacy begin to fight back, the small business using the two biggest players in this market get hurt in the crossfire.
Here are some of the trends we are seeing that could affect your online marketing efforts.
- More devices and web browsers are blocking ads. That's great for the user but not so much for the advertiser. Digital ad spend has increased over the years. Digital ads, website retargeting and other forms of display ads is just really starting to take hold for small local businesses. With moves like Apple, who has enacted privacy policies that will block much of Facebook and Google advertising tactics, are you considering alternatives.
- COVID has pushed us indoors and away from each other. Networking is the lifeblood of many small businesses but it not as effective over a zoom call as it once was over a cup of coffee or a beer. How is your business adapting to changes in networking to make sure you stay connected with small businesses and consumers in your community?
- Small local businesses are being pushed out of organic search and being replaced by other business directories. A typical search for a contractor now is covered by 7 or more directories in the organic search results. That leaves 3 spots for actual businesses. There are also 3 spots in the Google local directory if it shows up in the search and those positions have a lot to do with distance from the searcher (among other parameters). SEO in this scenario is all but useless. If ranking is important to you, will you divert your SEO budget to Google Ads and pay per click? That is of course what Google is hoping but as the paid ads get crowded, visibility becomes even more expensive. How much are you depending on Google for business and website lead generation? What are you doing to get out of this trap?
2020 was a time to pivot and 2021 will be a decisive year for many businesses and some won't make it. There is no single answer. It is worth taking a comprehensive look at your overall marketing strategy and actually planning out the entire year. Include in your plan stop gaps and alternatives should something fall through. We split test all the time. It's time to track ALL of your marketing activity so you can focus your efforts on the things that you know are working and divert funds from the ones that are sucking you dry.