There are a great deal of questions that business owners pose when looking at the future. Recently, many businesses are openly wondering: What will happen to us if we do not make a legitimate investment in our online mobile branding efforts? Personally, I feel there is only one answer to this question, and it becomes apparent when we consider the mountains of data:
- Worldwide, more than 1.72 trillion searches were conducted in 2012.
- Last year, nearly one-third of searches were conducted on mobile devices.
- In October 2012, Google announced that 50% of mobile search queries are LOCAL.
From this data, we can make a rough estimation that around 285 billion search queries happened on mobile devices in 2012. That is 780 million localized mobile searches per DAY. That is twice the population of the US in daily search volume. With more smartphones than any country, you could quickly surmise that a vast majority of those searches happen in the United States. From here, it is difficult to miss the obvious conclusion:
If your business does not rank on the first page of search engines during mobile searches for your business, you are unlisted in today’s phone book. Your business is losing money every second that you are un-optimized for search engine rankings.
As mobile search volume continues to grow, businesses can expect that exponentially greater percentages of their customers are being driven toward (or away from) their business due to Online Visibility. The general consensus of the tech industry seems to be, as search volumes increase, businesses that are not attentive to their online presence will fade into the backdrop, eventually closing their doors to businesses that had the foresight to join the Online Marketing revolution when it knocked on their door. This quote near-perfectly exemplifies my personal opinion on Online Marketing:
I think that Qualman says this because Social Media is one of the prime factors related to your online visibility. I agree with him for the most part, but I think he’s missing something important. I extrapolate a different thought from what he says: if your business does not invest in their online visibility it is guaranteed to fail due to the increased use of the internet as the primary source of ALL known information, about everything, ever . . . including local businesses.
I am not here to join the league of Social Media doomsayers who blindly agree and vehemently obey Qualman’s quote. I am more confident in the assertion that (taking partially from the original quote) the ROI of increasing your online visibility with an excellent internet marketing campaign is that your business will still exist in 5 years.
Yes, I am fully aware that does not sound nearly as eloquent as what Qualman said, but I disagree with Qualman in the lack of scope. Social Media is not the sole factor in determining online visibility. It is not becoming the sole factor in determining online visibility. Yes, it will vastly improve the credibility and authority of your business if you invest in your social media presence. No, your business is not guaranteed to fail if you are not meticulously managing every aspect of your social media.
Simply extrapolating on Qualman’s idea ad infinitum, we see the diversity of the internet would be bottlenecked and the website structure itself would become obsolete in favor of the social media profile. There would be no reason to invest in a website if all we need is a good Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ page. Once you take it that far, it seems ludicrous. That is why I broadened the perspective to include aspects of Online Visibility outside of Social Media.
What Qualman hits that most may have missed is this: Your Social Media directly influences how people relate to your business, and vice-versa. If you do not create content that is friendly (i.e. easily sharable) to social media, your content will only fall on deaf ears. This is where Qualman is correct. Businesses that spend no time trying to relate content to their clients via Social Media will lose touch with their target market and fade into obscurity. Their sales numbers will drop without a considerable effort to connect with their customer base through the best tool available: Social Media.
So, is Social Media Marketing a silver bullet for any company, in any industry? No. However, it does address the single most pertinent issue that small business owners contemplate. In this Constant Contact Small Business Pulse Survey, when asked what “keeps them up at night,” small business owners resoundingly replied that “attracting new customers” was the single most stressful issue. Why? If you are not attracting new customers organically to your website with a calculated Internet Marketing Strategy, you are losing a great deal of money and opportunity in your industry.
After weighing this information, I feel optimistic, hopeful and confident that great SEO companies have more to gain (and lose) in 2013 from Social Media and Content Marketing than ever before. Oh, and Mr. Qualman, if you read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m fairly new to this side of the industry, and after sorting through all the trash, I see possibility for our industry that I never imagined. I hope everyone else sees it also.