It’s been a busy quarter in the online marketing industry, with a crowd of want-to-be, used-to-be, already-are companies vying for a seat at the front of the technology bus.
But perhaps the most surprising turn of events is the emergence of organic SEO (search engine optimization) as the second-place finisher in the online marketing field. E-mail marketing still occupies the No. 1 position, used by 87% of online marketers participating in a recent study by Social Media Marketer. Organic SEO is second with an impressive 65% usage.
Online ads, which included Google AdWords, the expensive but undisputed darling of the pay per click industry, has dropped to the No. 6 position with only 38% usage.
Studies show that Internet searchers are more apt to click on an organic listing first than a sponsored link (pay per click ad). Consumers today are much smarter and understand the difference between a carefully crafted message from an online marketer and the “organic” or pure results from Google or Bing’s search engine algorithm. Studies also show that people are also willing to go hunting for the diamonds on pages 2 and 3 of the search engine results instead of just quickly browsing the first page.
In today’s economy, it comes as no surprise that folks are willing to spend the extra time it takes to find the right product or service to meet their needs.
Customer Retention Preached But Not Practiced
With the emergence of social marketing as a viable online marketing tool, using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to build your brand and customer loyalty has become dogma in online marketing. However, when it comes to customer retention and brand loyalty building, it seems that most modern marketers are not practicing what they preach.
A recent survey of marketing executives by Acxiom/Loyalty 360 showed that 84.5% of business-to-business and bus-
iness-to-consumer companies use customer retention programs. However, less than half of these same companies believe their retention strategies are actually working. In fact, 11.6 % don’t believe their retention programs are working at all.
With the average business losing anywhere from 20% to 40% of its customers or clients each year, retaining even a few more customers can be a big boost to the bottom line. If used properly, social marketing could become a powerful customer loyalty and retention tool. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on what constitutes best practices in the social marketing arena. It’s time to cut through the “fuzzy-wuzzy” speak about what works and doesn’t work in social marketing and deliver some easy-to-understand how-tos backed by actual research.
Tech Facts & Trends
• Publishers march to mobile. Major publishers are jumping on the mobile bandwagon, upgrading their advertising options on the tablet versions of their publications. With tablet and smartphone usage going through the roof and recent research showing that 71% of tablet users want to read their publications on their tablet, this looks like a brilliant move by the publishing industry.
• Tablet wars to heat up. As Samsung and Amazon refine the technology of their tablet products to compete with Apple, Google prepares to launch its own tablet product. The good news is that as long as Apple stays in its high-price/high quality niche, there is plenty of room for everyone at the tablet table. For quality seekers, however, there is still only one choice: the iPad.
• Pinterest becomes No. 3 social network. According to an Experian trends report just released, web traffic to online bulletin board Pinterest has increased 50%, catapulting it ahead of the other socials to occupy the coveted No. 3 position behind Facebook and Google. Users create a virtual bulletin board of their favorite products and services, sharing the information with their friends. According to the Experian study, Pinterest users are 60% female, aged 25 to 44, spanning everything from shopaholics and do-it-yourselfers to business owners.
• Google transforms SciFi into reality with Project Glass. It isn’t enough for Google to download every piece of information in the universe and place it at our fingertips. With Project Glass, it is putting this information right before our eyes as we walk through our daily routine. These augmented reality glasses are Google’s first venture into wearable computing. It is pretty amazing stuff. And yes, they look a lot like the visor worn by Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” For a peek at the product, just view the YouTube video called “Project Glass: One Day….”
Ken Mays is president & creative director of Mays & Associates (www.ad-mays.com), a web site development, online marketing and graphic design company located in Columbia. Mays specializes in responsive web site designs that automatically adapt to mobile devices, SEO, online advertising, e-mail and social network marketing. An award-winning writer and designer, he can be reached at 410-964-9701 or at email@example.com. Send him a Facebook friend request or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mays_associates.