Paul Sheals Rocketfish - The Underwhelming Success of Google
Date: Dec 17th, 2011 7:12:20 pm - Subscribe
Paul Sheals: Paul Sheals Rocketfish
Let me start by saying I do not think this is Google’s fault. However I deal with and have dealt with hundreds of small business owners and the vast majority believe that if they get their web site to the first page of Google they have struck gold and huge volumes of leads and sales will come flowing into their business. They almost sacrifice any other thought or form of marketing in an endless pursuit of what they see as the holy grail which is first page of Google for a meaningful phrase in their industry.
I sometimes liken this to “Eddie The Eagle Edwards” or “Eric The Eel Moussambani” both of whom you may remember had a dream of competing at the Olympic Games and ultimately achieved their goals but when they finally arrived were ill equipped to take advantage of the situation they found themselves in.
I have dealt with clients where we have achieved hundreds of first page positions on Google with meaningful phrases for their industry and are unhappy with the outcome and at the same time dealt with clients where we have achieved 10 first page positions and they are absolutely thrilled with the outcome. The main difference is that one is better equipped to maximise the opportunity they have been given whereas the other isn’t.
If we take three phrases and utilise Google’s “Keyword Estimator Tool” - this is the tool within their Adwords area which tells customers what they believe would be the clicks a customer would get to his web site from a particular phrase and the estimated cost on a daily basis.
The first phrase we will look at is “Running Shoes” which received 246,000 local searches last month alone. Google estimate that this will result in 298 clicks to your web site at a cost of £423 per day. If we assume that a retail shop makes £50 profit per shoe (a little high I suspect) and they close the industry standard of circa 2% sales from clicks then they will achieve 6 sales with a total profit of £298. Therefore in this scenario they would make a loss of £125 per day! It is also worth bearing in mind that industry standard conversions only happen if the client is well equipped to deal with any visitors and clicks they might get.
If we now look at the second phrase “Wedding Dresses” which received 1,830,000 local searches last month alone. Google estimate that this will result in 2178 clicks to your web site at a cost of £1520 per day. If we assume that a retail outlet makes £250 profit per dress (an average estimate across all dresses) and they close 1% sales from clicks then they will achieve 22 sales 9I suspect there would be a lot of window shoppers in this industry) with a total profit of £5445. Therefore in this scenario they would make a profit of £3925 per day! The problem here however is that the small business would need the courage and cash flow to stand spending £1520 per day to start with and be well equipped to manage and re-market too leads after they visit the web site (as I suspect there would be a long lead time from initial enquiry to sale in this industry).
Finally if we look at a very popular and competitive phrase “Car Insurance” which received 4,090,000 local searches last month alone. Google estimate that this will result in 3721 clicks to your web site at a cost of £40,410 per day. If we assume that a broker makes £100 profit per policy (a little high I suspect) and they close the industry standard of circa 2% sales from clicks then they will achieve 74 sales with a total profit of £7442. Therefore in this scenario they would make a loss of £32,968 per day!
I am not suggesting that getting to the first page of Google is a waste of time for business owners (far from it) but for the vast majority of small business owners it is very difficult (almost impossible) for them to make Pay per Click work. If they have a seasonal product or a very niche product or a product with very big profit margins then they may have a chance however for most companies this is not the case.
Because of the huge costs involved small business owners tend to set a daily budget when it comes to Pay per Click so that they limit their exposure and the amount of money they spend each day however the problem here is that as with any sales funnel if you are only on top of Google for part of the day you have no idea wether you are going to get the quality leads click on your web site. You could quite easily spend all your daily budget with existing customers clicking on your site, competitors clicking on your site to run down your budget or even SEO Companies or Pay Per Click companies looking at your adverts and landing pages in order to offer you advice on how better to handle your campaign!
Natural or Organic SEO is without doubt a much better option for small business owners with click through ratio’s being much higher than that on Pay per Click (often as much as 10% higher) and because you are not paying on a per click basis you can remain on the first page of Google all day every day (as long as you maintain your SEO program).
However even with Natural or Organic SEO it is essential that small business owners understand that this in of itself isn’t going to be enough to achieve online success. In order to make on online marketing program work a small business owner must ensure they implement the following:
Keyword Matching - if you select a phrases like “Red Running Shoes” as a primary phrases for optimisation make sure the page you optimise is dedicated to “Red Running Shoes” - obvious right? One of the main issues we see when we are dealing with small business clients os that the only page within their web site that has been optimised is their home page which talks about everything but “Red Running Shoes”. If a searcher doesn’t find exactly what they are looking for when they click on your site from Google you WILL be losing customers like a water through a colander. if you are optimising for “Red Running Shoes” then have a page dedicated to “Red Running Shoes” and make sure it is exciting enough for visitors to want to buy or at least leave their details so you can re-market too them later.
Web Site Functionality & Usability - Really look at your web site, what do you want it to do? Your web site isn’t a brochure, your web site isn’t something you simply need to have because everyone else has one or everyone else tells you, you should have one. Your web site is the most important piece of marketing collateral you have and are likely to have for many years to come. Have you really treated it with that amount of respect? Make sure your web site is easy to use and does what you want it to do, be really objective when you look at it and canvas opinion from people who are not frightened to tell you the truth.
Data / Lead Capture - One of the most over looked aspects of a companies web site. If your web site simply has a “contact us” button and your telephone number on it then you do not have data capture! You are told with every form of marketing that you do that you need a Proposition or a Hook - give the potential customer a reason to buy from you, visit you or get in touch with you and once you have done this make it really easy for them to do so. You will have people who visit your web site from various points within your buying process, they could be early stage researchers in which case confronting them with a big long web response form where you ask for their life history will be off putting. However you will also have people who visit your web site that are ready to buy now in which case asking them relevant questions about the purchase they are going to make is more than ok. Ensure your site has multiple data capture points to cater for multiple different visitors from multiple points on the on buying process.
Lead Management Software & Re-Marketing - It is a sad fact that it takes between 5-7 contacts before a prospect becomes a sale and most small business owners give up at 2? How much business are you leaving on the table? Most business owners know this fact (it is not a new fact) but they are not equipped or do not have the time to see through 5-7 contacts. Ensure you have a good very easy to use Lead Management tool or Software that allows you to manage your leads easily and gives you the facility to create diary reminders for recalls and the facility to email market to leads with targeted messages. www.rocketfishltd.co.uk , www.salesforce.com along with Act & Goldmine offer great solutions for small business owners.
Look at your web site now, be really objective, implement the suggestions in this article and start seeing some major uplift in the sales you achieve from your online activity.
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