For years, business owners and marketers have understood that an online store is the most important digital investment a business has made. Having one is essential as it helps you drive potential customers from the web right to your door. However, this is no longer true. A lot of things have changed.
While your website and ecommerce store are still important to your brand, a shift in consumer behavior has changed the rules. Company ecommerce stores are no longer the primary point of online engagement. Digital maps, listings, search results, etc. are where customers today engage with businesses.
Here some of the most popular articles that you can check: How to Use Voice Search Marketing To Your Advantage
According to a study of data retrieved from Yext Analytics of 20,107 business locations’ listings profiles across Google and other search engines, maps, local directories, and apps where their businesses live, brick-and-mortar-only companies receive 2.7 times as many views of listings on apps, maps, GPS systems, search engines, and social media networks than they do on their websites and online stores. In some business niches, this disparity is higher. As a matter of fact, in the food industry, it ranged up to 10 times more impressions in apps, maps, search engines, and social networks than on websites.
The reason is simple. When you pull out the phone to search for coffee, all you need to do is click a coffee shop on the map and it will pop up to get directions without scrolling through the store or their official website.
This order has high revenue implications. Engagement drives transactions and 76% of location-specific searches result in a business visit within 24 hours and 28% result in an immediate purchase.
So, what does this mean for your business?
Driving an in-person business using online tools requires you to re-examine your marketing strategy.
Luckily, there are a few guiding principles that can help you modernize your digital strategy.
Here are three principles you need to keep in mind:
1.Focus on The Decentralization of Your Business
Businesses don’t just live on websites and online stores any more. They are defined across apps, maps, digital assistants, voice search tools, GPS systems, search engines, and social networks.
It is a bit overwhelming to throw up your hands at the task of maintaining your business in all those places, however, if you don’t have a strategy for updating the content on all of those platforms, boring and outdated information will define your brand in the customers’ mind.
And you don’t want this. That is why you need to embrace the disintegration of your business and brand.
2. Don’t Confuse Value with Ease of Measurement
Customers today are engaging with you in different places and some of those places are hard to measure. This, however, doesn’t mean that these places don’t matter.
While communication and interaction with customers off the company online stores and website shave gone unreported, they are only becoming more important as customers turn to Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook, and other sources to decide whether or not to visit your store or purchase your products.
New tools are popping up every day to put a focus on this activity and empower you to use it to expand your customer base.
3. Invest in Attractive Off-Site Content
You spend resources to have a helpful, well-designed online store that promotes your brand and gives your potential customers the information they need to choose your product over a competitor’s. But, your online store is not where the action is happening which is why you need to do the same when it comes to searching.
All the information you have on your ecommerce website needs to be visible right in the search results or else customers won’t be able to see it and engage with you. Online search is moving far away from the blue links on a page we all remember toward a more structured data that shows you quick results when you search “vegan Italian restaurant near me”. Address, name, and phone number are not enough. You need to have product information, up-to-date hours, customer reviews, and other information. By adding all the necessary information, your business name will show up in the search and convince potential customers to choose you.
Having an ecommerce website is helpful but not enough. As a matter of fact, the day will come when businesses no longer need websites or online stores. In China, many brands don’t even create websites. Customers can easily find the listings on Baidu, WeChat, and other search platforms. This trend is coming to your customers as well and your marketing strategy needs to consider these changes.
Improvements in search technology have changed the way we search online. It started with GPS and mobile search, however, AI (Artificial Intelligence), voice search tools, augmented reality, self-driving cars, and other technologies are creating a better future thanks to smart search in which the online knowledge about your business will define you and your brand. In the years to come, we may see consumer engagement moving to new platforms. So, if you haven’t tailored your marketing strategy according to the new digital ecosystem, it is a good idea to start right now.
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