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5 Things Every MD Needs To Understand About Online Marketing (Part 4)

For many marketing managers, keeping on top of current thinking is relatively easy; the difficult bit is explaining what needs to be done to the MD. So this week I thought I’d cover five really basic points which still need making in 2013, not that they’ll be news to you, dear reader, but in the hope that my explanation might help when it comes to making the point to the boss.

4. Google itself doesn’t generate nearly as much new business as you think.

Most companies look at their website visitor statistics and see that perhaps 50% or 75% of the visits come from the same place: Google. This is huge: the next highest single source of visitors might be 5% or less. The tendency is then to think that most of these people are new prospects, generated by people searching for the type of products your company makes. The reality is that Google probably isn’t generating nearly as many prospects as you might imagine.

Here’s the thing. Take a more in-depth look at the traffic Google sends to your website, and you’ll probably find that the vast majority of it comes from searches on your company name, or brands. It’s not coming from searches on the type of products you sell.

Why is this? It’s because Google is the quickest route to your company website for the majority of people. Whether they’re holding one of your business cards in their hand, or are staring at an article about you in a magazine, most people won’t type in your website address. They’ll type your company name into the address bar of their browser, which will take them to the Google results for your company name. Assuming the first result is your company website (which it usually will be), they’ll click through from there.

Disregard those people (not that they’re unimportant – far from it), to find the real number of people who were using Google to find suppliers of a particular product and came through to your website. It won’t be that many, unless you’re performing spectacularly well in the Google results. Most companies aren’t. And sadly – despite what the “search engine optimisation” companies will tell you – there’s no way to change that situation without spending an eyewatering amount of money externally, or making a long, concerted effort in-house.

Google might be the place where many prospects turn to when they’re sourcing a supplier, but it’s not sending you anything like the number of visitors you probably think it is.

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