Why Top Online Marketers Are Changing Their Business Model

by Adam Kreitman

The times they are a-changin’Bob Dylan

Going behind the scenes this month to bring you some BIG changes taking place in the online marketing world.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking shop with some online marketing friends – guys who are world class (a term I don’t throw around lightly) in PPC and SEO. And all of us are changing the way we approach our businesses and online marketing.

I want to share some of what we’re changing (and why) with you cuz it’s got big implications for your business and how you tackle online marketing.

First a little history…

Let’s go back to the good ol’ days. Just 5 or 10 years ago. Click costs in AdWords were cheap. And it was still pretty easy to rank high in the organic and local search results.

Yes, for those with just a little knowledge of how the search engines worked, life was good.

Well, y’all know those days are long gone!

Now you’d be hard pressed to find a niche where you don’t have to fight tooth and nail against a legion of competitors trying to claim that precious real estate on top of Page 1 of Google for themselves.

Google AdWords Ain’t Just About Search Any More

In AdWords, there was a time you could focus just on campaigns running on Google.com (and maybe the Display Network if you were more advanced) and be just fine.

But now, in addition to Search and Display Networks, there’s Remarketing, Product Listing Ads, Video ads, mobile optimized settings, ad extensions, all sorts of new bidding structures, automated rules, scripts, etc.

And that’s just the surface level stuff. You can dig layers deeper on any one of those topics.

There’s always been a “Stupidity Tax” in AdWords for those who didn’t know what they’re doing. These days, the tax is MUCH higher and Google (and your competitors) will devour you if you’re not careful.

SEO has seen tectonic shifts recently as well.

You can’t go out and buy a bunch of links to catapult your site to the top of the search results any more. Yes, links still matter. But you gotta be VERY careful about how and where you get them. And you need to focus more on regularly creating truly unique content, social signals, Authorship, etc.

The Changes Search Engine Marketing Firms Are Making

There was a time when all we focused on here at Words That Click were AdWords Search campaigns. And that was enough.

There was a time when my buddy who’s a top SEO expert only worried about SEO and building backlinks for his clients. And that was enough.

But just doing those things ain’t enough anymore.

These days, to really make AdWords work, a company like mine can’t put its blinders on and just focus on keywords, ads and bid prices.

Not to say we can’t get improvements focusing on those things because we can and do. But it’ll only get us so far before we hit a wall.

See, to really compete in AdWords (and/or SEO) and truly make significant improvements to a campaign, we HAVE to focus on the landing pages and Conversion Optimization too.

We have to work with businesses on their messaging. Their offers. Their calls to action. Their entire sales funnel really.

All that stuff needs to be addressed to make an AdWords campaign truly fly these days.

But, wait, there’s even more!

Because even if you have great landing pages in place, traffic from Google can still be pricey (though if you’ve optimized your landing pages, you can afford to pay those clicks MUCH easier than your competitors who ignore conversions).

Or, sometimes there are situations where a site’s pretty well optimized and AdWords is driving about as much traffic as we can squeeze out of it so the question becomes how to drive more prospects to a site.

So if we’re really going to our job of helping customers achieve the objective of growing their businesses, we have to look for other sources of paid traffic besides AdWords.

And there’s no shortage of them out there…

  • Bing (and other search engines)
  • FB ads (which have become much more viable for a wider range of businesses lately)
  • Retargeting platforms like Simpli.fi and AdRoll
  • PPV platforms like Trafficvance
  • Content Recommendation Engines like Outbrain
  • and on and on

See, my friends and I in the industry all have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in the world of online marketing. We get to go behind the scenes of hundreds of companies in all different markets. We study both the successes and failures of various marketing campaigns.

And from that view of the world, we see what the companies dominating their markets are doing.

We see the truly successful companies know their numbers and are obsessive about measuring results (remember this… if you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it).

We see the truly successful companies put a lot of resources into Conversion Optimization and are obsessively testing ways to get more prospects to raise their hands and enter their sales funnels.

We see the truly successful companies never EVER rely on just one source of traffic… they diversify by using a wide range of paid and “free” sources of traffic.

And in seeing all this, it’s crystal clear that as marketing firms we can’t afford to be one trick ponies. Firms that only focus on AdWords or SEO and nothing else are going to go the way of the dodo.

If we’re gonna help our clients’ marketing campaigns be as successful as they can be, just focusing on clicks, backlinks and Quality Scores ain’t gonna make it happen.

What Lessons Should You Take Away From This?

Well, you, as a business owner, can’t afford to be a one trick pony either when it comes to your marketing.

In my 11 Simple Principles report I originally wrote 5 years ago, I said this:

Relying on just one source of traffic and sales to drive your online marketing efforts puts your business in a very dangerous position.”

And that’s even truer today than it was then.

You HAVE to diversify your traffic sources.

You HAVE to work the conversion side of your website.

And you HAVE to carefully measure results so you know your numbers and see EXACTLY what’s putting money in your bank account and what’s siphoning money out of it.

The webs a-changin’.

Yes, it’s a more challenging environment. But your prospects are still looking for you there.

And it’s the companies that adapt by adding more sources of traffic, focus on Conversions and watch their numbers that are gonna turn the lion’s share of the prospects into customers.

So, the question is, is it going to be you or your competition that get them?

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