Going global without billions to spend
June 23, 2011
You have a small business, an even smaller marketing budget, but desire to reach a truly worldwide market? Is that possible?
It is doable, in large part thanks to the World Wide Web. But, in order to get the global reach you want, you first need to know how today’s Internet really works and how the rapidly shifting landscape for web marketing creates both new opportunities and unprecedented obstacles to overcome.
There is both good news and bad news about the circa 2011 Internet that bears on your ability to succeed worldwide.
Let’s talk about the GOOD news first: making a website is NOT a budget buster.
Creating a website is not necessarily the big ticket spend it used to be. In the ancient web history of about eight years ago, many companies either hired full-time web developers in-house or farmed out their website development to an often pricey web design firm. The coding that created user-friendly content management systems was typically cobbled together by programmers in idiosyncratic and proprietary ways. If your website needed to grow because your company changed (and all do, eventually!) or to keep up site rankings (see below), it usually involved even more expense.
Now, there are several open source website development frameworks such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal that are FREE. Better yet, there are many ready-made web design templates using open source web development frameworks that often will fit the bill and can draw upon the ever-expanding libraries of FREE add-on widgets or ready-made code plug-ins in the public domain. What do these websites look like? Take a look at our company site – www.globalb2bcommunications.com – price tag US$1200. (Full disclosure – of course, the pen that brings you this article also was the free SEO copywriting source for the site and I happen to know a thing or two about web copy and global lead generation.)
Good news! Search engine optimisation (SEO) is affordable, too!
Search engine optimisation in large part boils down to mathematics – VERY sophisticated mathematical search engine optimiser tools built with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence algorithms that can dynamically map your company’s competitive landscape on the web and give you step-by-step instructions for search engine optimisation that tell you how to move up – often JUMP-in rankings very methodically. If you think your company cannot afford such competitive intelligence tools, think again! I conducted a two-year search for our global PR company (which happens to have many mathematics, science, technology and engineering-based clientele) to find the best-in-class maths-based website optimisation tools to be had in the world. Surprisingly, the only search engine optimisation tools that truly work in synch with today’s Internet algorithms currently cost only US$119/month.
So, we have discussed how website design and development and the mathematical tools needed for search engine optimisation are not budget busters. That’s good news for any small company trying to go global. But now let’s talk about some cautions.
Beware: ALL search engines now favour local companies.
If you and I both typed into a Google search bar ‘Thai restaurant’, our results page would look entirely different. That’s also true if you or I ‘Googled’ (or Yahoo’d or Baidu’d) for ‘direct marketing consultant’. In their efforts to make search engines more user-friendly, all the search engine developers began using localised search algorithms that favour local companies in any search, so local companies now tend to take up the prime ‘real estate’ of first page listings. This shift in how the Internet works that has enormous impact on small companies’ online marketing capabilities, came at about the same time as the global recession – which may be one reason why it has been underappreciated. This could mean a little or a lot to your company, depending on your location, your competitors’ locations, your prospects’ locations and the particular service you are selling as reflected by your various keyword choices. Localised search is here to stay. You need to heed it and deal with it (see below).
Beware: Personalised search algorithms are impacting your site traffic, too.
Every week I seem to have a conversation with a company president of VP Marketing that thinks they can simply plug their keywords into their search bar, see where their company falls, and know their true site ranking. Alas, that’s not how it works. In fact, even if you turn off “personalized search” in a browser like Chrome—because you probably have signed up for some Google account at some time—Google knows that it is YOU and not me /Amy that is doing that search. What you get and what I get will be different, even if we were sitting side by side in the same room but using our own computers. (Note: there are some techie ways to bypass this- but chances are 99.99%+ that your prospects do not know them so they are irrelevant.)
Good News! Personalised search algorithms can become ADVANTAGES and not obstacles!
The real key to understanding ‘personalised search’ is that the term is a misnomer. Actually, what the search engines are doing is finding the various ways that people tend to search and typing you or me or anyone as X kind of searcher. If you understand that this is at work, the good news is the same low cost, artificial intelligence tools for search engine optimisation that dynamically map your company’s unique competitive landscape can mathematically grade your web copy in terms of how well it is doing in transforming personalised search algorithms from obstacles to opportunities.
Good News! Publications moving online open new doors to get your company’s story told.
Although it varies from one continent to another, most publications are moving online and innovating new ways to turn online publishing into monetary opportunities. From the perspective of someone who has run a successful global public relations firm for decades, I can report that the opportunities this migration of publications from print to online offer are almost unlimited. Always one of the highest return-on-investment approaches in the marketer’s toolkit, global PR is for many companies the key to the link-building needed to make Internet marketing a success.
Amy Munice is president of ALM Communications Inc, now also doing business as Global B2B Communications. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: +1 872-B2B-SEO1 (+872- 222-7361) or Skype: ALMCommunications.