In many markets today it’s fair to say that “why search marketing?” simply wouldn’t be a valid question.  Kevin Francis (CEO) has covered one potential reason for why New Zealand lags behind in global terms in his recent blog post Online Advertising: Are New Zealand advertisers really receiving the best service from their agencies..?

Nielsen NZ tells us that just 3% of marketing spend goes online, yet in the UK, online has just overtaken TV in terms of total advertising spend. But in just about every piece of New Zealand online industry research First Rate has conducted recently, it can be seen very clearly that by and large NZ organisations aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities search marketing presents. So what are these opportunities and why do you need to take advantage of them?

The SEO and PPC Opportunity

We know from Google that in today’s market at least half of all customers research online before making a product purchase. That’s right: half of all the people who could be buying whatever it is that you sell are already looking for it online. And the wealthier they are, the more likely they are to rely on search engines for their product research.

Here’s another quick Google stat (approximate only): Of all search engine traffic, about 25% goes to paid search results (your Adwords ads, or if you’re not doing any, your competitors’ ads) but 75% goes to the free or natural search results (I’ve heard people claim this figure to be higher than 90%).  So if you’re doing Adwords already and not SEO you need to consider why you’re not competing for the majority of the opportunity – read on if you’re not convinced yet. And if you’re not even doing Adwords then the next few paragraphs are going to come as a real shock to you…

New Zealander’s actually spend more online in an average transaction than their Australian counterparts. Bet you didn’t know that? Despite the perception that wages and spending levels are higher in Australia, the truth is that online we spend more per transaction. And when that’s worth nearly US$40 each transaction, why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?

The offline space is horribly crowded, especially in the run-up to Christmas, think how many “Buy Now – Christmas Sale” ads you’ll see in the next few weeks. And how many of them actually speak to you or relate to a need you have at that time? If your advertising agency told you they could put your ads only in front of people looking for your products at the time they’re looking for your products, you’d be pretty excited I imagine.

Well, that’s exactly what we do for our clients with their pay per click campaigns and it’s not difficult to understand why one has fantastic ROI and the other simply doesn’t have measurable ROI at all.

Personally, I would be happy if I never received another piece of untargeted junk mail again in my life. And the chances of getting me to buy something from a flyer in my letterbox have decreased exponentially with the arrival of the information surplus that is the Internet, to the point where it’s just wasted money.

Again: half your potential customers are searching online for your products and services so why would you run a TV ad or print a leaflet that didn’t reference your website? They’re going to go and look for the information anyway – don’t you want them to get it from you?

But remember, for what you pay for a full page newspaper ad you could implement a fantastic SEO project that would not just make money now, but next month, and the month after, and the month after that, and so on.

How does that ad in the newspaper look now..?

To what extent are New Zealand Consumers using the Internet?

Fact: Every shopper in New Zealand is now accessing the Internet (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “OECD Broadband Portal,” October 24, 2008)

If every New Zealander was going to a particular shopping mall you’d make sure you were there wouldn’t you? – So why not the Internet?

Obviously because that’s where your customers are, right? So why would you let your online shop (which you’ve invested time and money in) be somewhere where noone can find it?

And that is really at the heart of why you must do SEO: People are searching online for whatever it is you do, or make, or sell in hundreds or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of searches every single month.

Let’s Talk

Hands up if your marketing budget is under less pressure than 2 years ago? – No? I didn’t think so.

The old adage that “half my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half” is no longer funny, applicable or acceptable in this new era of accountability and transparency.

Yet again and again we hear of advertising campaigns with no ROI nor measures in place to test if there might have been ROI. Of course, branding can be important – but when there’s a marketing medium which will allow you to see exactly how much money you’re making from it, why wouldn’t you use it..?

Even if your advertising agency isn’t recommending it I can just about guarantee that there wouldn’t be a CEO or CFO in the country who wouldn’t want to see absolute, demonstrable ROI from every marketing dollar.

There’s a shopping mall where people go when they’re looking to buy what you sell, or make, or offer, or do.

In New Zealand we call it Google, you know it well and your customers know it well.

Talk to First Rate and make sure they see you next time they’re there!