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How you can grow your traffic and business–without Google

In my last Biznology post, I’d talked about what Google really doesn’t want you to know about search. But if search is falling, where else can you get qualified traffic to build your brand and business? What other options exist to help you grow in the marketplace? In short, how can you grow your traffic and business without Google?

You’ve actually got more options than you may realize. While each has its benefits and weaknesses, you can find customers and drive increased revenues from loads of sources. Here are just a few to get you started.

Social

In many ways, Google’s loss I described last time is social media’s gain. Social and mobile really go hand-in-hand, leading to rapid growth among your customers for both mobile and social. Most of the major social networks recognize this fact, working hard to gain market share relative to Google and other competitors.

For instance, Facebook has introduced call-to-action buttons you can place on your company’s Facebook page to drive customers to your shopping cart, contact page, app, and the like. We’re also seeing sites like Instagram and Pinterest add buy buttons to drive transactions directly through social activity (Google, not to be outdone, is testing a similar concept). As customers grow more accustomed to these tools, you should expect to see greater uptake and increasingly significant results. Early research shows that browsing Pinterest leads to purchase, so it’s certainly worth testing to see how these channels work for you.

Many businesses also see terrific results from paid advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Given the robust targeting options these sites provide, it’s realistic to expect that you can reach your customers effectively using these tools. Again, test and see what works for your business to get the most out of social on mobile.

Email

I love email. Really. Mainly because of the fact that the easiest way to gain more business is to sell more to the people you’re already selling to. They’ve already proven they’re interested in your products and services. They’ve proven they’re willing to give you their money. What more could you want?

Still need convincing? Alright, consider that Millennials use email, the channel continues to provide outstanding ROI, and that it works well in conjunction with your overall content marketing strategy. Pretty sweet, eh?

Continue to grow your email database and use that email database to reach customers inexpensively on all devices. Plenty of research shows that customers still read email on mobile more than any other channel. Follow industry best practices for growing your email list. Remember: without a list, you have no one to market to.

Organic search

With all this said, don’t forget the power of organic search. Wait, what?!? You thought the whole point of these last couple posts was that organic search was fading, right? Well, while it’s true that Google is losing search share to apps, it’s still huge overall with more than 60% of all searches conducted on mobile. This isn’t about abandoning search; it’s about casting a wider net.

Continue to focus on creating content that will attract Google and other organic search tools (you can use that content in your customer emails, too). Follow best practices to ensure your website doesn’t suck and to ensure your site works well in mobile search too. The point remains: search on mobile may compete with apps; but it isn’t going away anytime soon. Make it core to your offering, then build around it with social, email, and, where appropriate, channel partner apps.

Channel Partner Apps

I debated whether to include channel partners in this list at all. For one thing, you use search, social, and email specifically to avoid using channel partners. And, let’s be fair, not all “partners” always actively work in your best interest.

That said, many channel partners have had great success in driving app adoption amongst customers, and may prove a valuable way to drive revenues and sales for your business. Just be sure that the ones you’re choosing work as a true partner and not in competition with your own direct efforts.

The best way to distribute your products or services via a channel partners’ app is an exceedingly complicated topic, well beyond the scope of this simple post. However, there are a few questions you should consider to help select appropriate partners to work with. Ask yourself:

  1. Can this partner reach a customer I can’t?
  2. Can they do that at a reasonable cost?
  3. Do they provide access to the end-consumer’s data? (So you can continue to build your list and decrease your dependence on partners overall)

While that’s a relatively simple list, it will help you evaluate whether a given partner can help you gain new customers or whether they’re simply competing with you for existing customers. I don’t know about you, but that seems a good place to start.

Conclusion

You don’t need to depend solely on Google grow your business. Clearly, organic search will remain a key component of driving traffic and conversions for your website for the foreseeable future. At the same time social, email, and channel partners’ apps can also help you put your products and services in front of customers on mobile inexpensively and effectively and can help you grow your brand’s traffic—and business—with or without Google.

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Tim Peter

Tim Peter built his first website in 1995 and loves that he still gets to do that every day. Tim has spent almost two decades figuring out where customers are, how they interact with brands online, and delivering those customers to his clients’ front door. These efforts have generated billions of dollars in revenue and reduced costs. Tim works with client organizations to build effective teams focused on converting browsers to buyers and building their brand and business. He helps those companies discover how marketing, technology, and analytics tie together to drive business results. He doesn't get excited because of the toys or tech. He gets excited because of what it all means for the bottom line. An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, web development, search marketing, and analytics, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results. He is a member of the Search Engine Marketers Professional Organization (SEMPO), HSMAI, and the Digital Analytics Association. Tim Peter’s recent client work covers a wide range of digital marketing activities including developing digital and mobile marketing strategies, creating digital product roadmaps, assessing organizational capabilities, and conducting vendor evaluations for diverse clients including major hospitality companies, real estate brands, SaaS providers, and marketing agencies. Prior to launching Tim Peter & Associates, LLC, a full-service e-commerce and internet marketing consulting firm in early 2011, he worked with the world’s largest hotel franchisor, the world’s premier independent luxury hotel representation firm, and a major financial services firm, developing various award-winning products and services for his customers. Tim can be reached at tim@timpeter.com or by phone at 201-305-0055.

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