Morgan Flores, Search Marketing Manager & Steve Ryan, Founder & CEO, RyTech, LLC
Previously published in National Shoe Retailers Association Magazine
You’ve been in the shoe industry for years and know your products and customers well, but to quote Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changin.” Websites are the new business cards in which potential customers go to verify your credibility, check out your products and read more about your company. And consumers won’t scour the internet and click to page three of search results to locate the perfect pair of black Nine West pumps. Consumers want to find what they’re searching for and quickly—they want immediate satisfaction. Does your website successfully satisfy the needs of consumers? How can you tell? Is your website ranking on the first page of search results when you type, “local shoe stores?”
What is Search Marketing?
Search marketing involves both paid and unpaid (organic) tactics to increase brand visibility and traffic to a website from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. From implementing new pay-per-click (PPC) bidding strategies to investing in a sound Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to be easily discoverable—search marketing combines efforts for maximum return-on-investment (ROI).
PPC is typically described as a faster way to get in front of customers when they are ready to make a purchase, while SEO is a more long-term approach to garnering quality organic traffic to a website. With search marketing, you can measure the number of users, gender of users, age, geographic location, how much time they are spending on each page and more—a stark comparison to billboards and newspaper ads where companies measured the probability of sales by media impressions.
PPC Advertising and Search Engines
According to Smart Insights, “In 2017 46.8% of the global population accessed the internet and by 2021 this figure is projected to grow to 53.7%.” Google being the most popular search engine, accounting for approximately 3.5 billion searches a day. The great thing about PPC is that it levels the playing field, allowing smaller businesses to compete with larger ones. Advertisers (that could be you) pay a fee each time one of the ads is clicked. The more customized, relevant and targeted the ad, the better.
Example of PPC Search Ads
How Does This SEO Thing Work?
The practice of SEO ensures that your online presence is both articulated properly and discoverable to potential customers. This is done through various methods including technical SEO, keyword research, on-page web content optimization, link building, Google My Business optimization and more to connect the right people to your business. All of which contribute to boosting search engine rankings to earn you the coveted first page ranking businesses long for. For example, the query ‘Chicago shoe stores’ receives approximately 105 searches per month. If your business is in the first few positions on the first page, this could result in highly qualified traffic and generate significant revenue. Additionally, data is being collected the entire time the user is on your website—helping you fine tune your website for increased sales and performance.
A local SEO approach is ideal for the small to midsize businesses with brick and mortar locations. This type of SEO focuses on local citation building (Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages etc.), on-page verbiage that incorporates the store location, link building through local partnerships, Google review acquisition and optimized Google My Business listings for each location. This is an essential element of snagging those ‘near me’ queries like, ‘women’s shoe stores near me’ and being listing in Google map listings like this one:
Why Potential Customers Can’t Find You
They aren’t looking past the first page of search results. Consumers want it and they want it now! In your case, this could be the difference in not moving last season’s Ultraboost Adidas off the shelves. If your website isn’t appearing on the first page, it could be for a number of reasons.
5 most common mistakes our team encounters:
To fully understand your websites performance a website audit is necessary. Learn how your website stacks up against the rest and what you can do to make it better. A successful search marketing campaign is a combination of many elements involving several rounds of keyword research, competitor research, manual searches and data analysis. While sometimes a laborious process, it is an integral part of running an effective campaign that generates sales.
From crafting a unique marketing campaign to reporting on the results, an informed digital marketing strategy can result in lower customer acquisition cost over time. As searcher intent matures, so should your plan to capture additional customers in this growing digital world. The first thing you can do is determine how many hours per day or per week are spent on your business's search marketing efforts. Do you have the internal talent and resources to launch a full search marketing strategy?
With more than 77% of Americans going online daily, you can’t afford to wait for potential customers to find your business—you have to find them first.
You can learn more about search engine optimization here or reach out to our team with any questions.