When you are in a specific industry, doing something every day, it is easy to get carried away with your product or service. This is the proverbial "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" saying. Chad and I had an interesting experience this week that reminded us that search marketing just does NOT work for all businesses.
Some businesses are better suited for Internet Marketing than others. Clearly, any business in a direct-to-consumer sales model will likely be able to use the Internet to more quickly bring buyers to the product. Although, even here there are some exceptions. When your business is hyper-local, Internet marketing may or may not work. There are certainly cases where a local business has benefited from local organic search results. Likewise, geo-targeting your Internet ads is something many people don't know about. This is another great way to use search marketing for a local audience. But some local businesses are still dominated by walk-in traffic. Some purchases are just not going to be completed on the Internet. While you can often craft a way to "assist" the purchase through search marketing, you have to have a longer view on the return on investment.
On a more national level, business-to-business promotion through search marketing can be very tricky. It is here that we have often seen clients have difficulty finding how they can tap into search engines to boost sales. The problem here is that many businesses don't goto Google first when researching a new product. Some do. But in many spaces they just don't. Other products are very esoteric. These more specialized products just don't have much search volume. Perhaps people just don't know about them, or perhaps there are not consistent phrases that would represent those products in a search engine.
In summary, it is easy for us to view the world through Google-colored glasses. But after a few years in this space we have realized that some search marketing plans are just not going to work. It is best to know this before dumping a bunch of money into a strategy that will not return value for you.