How to survive without Google Product Search

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John Hayes is currently EMEA Business Development Executive at iContact and previously worked at multichannel management specialists ChannelAdvisor. As an expert in lead generation and multichannel channel strategy he has long recommended Google Product Search as a free tool to generate sales for online retailers. Today he looks at strategies for retailers to mitigate the loss of Google Product Search and start and retain and increase the value of existing customers.

The Facts

The news that Google is scrapping its free comparison shopping service in the US will undoubtedly be sending shockwaves up and down the spines of retailers on both sides of the Atlantic. Small retailers, who have struggled to find margin in paid search, will be particularly concerned.

Google Product Search is quite simply a massive driver of traffic and revenue and is much loved by marketers because, bar a little optimization, needs very little management. For many retailers, it is the only cost effective channel for marketing their entire product range.

With the demise of Google Product Search retailers will need to come to terms with three basic facts.

Fact #1: it’s going to get a lot harder and more expensive to remain visible on Google

Fact #2: As acquisition marketing becomes ever more expensive, retention marketing (i.e. marketing to your existing clients) will become more important

Fact #3: With free traffic in decline, retailers will need to start optimizing their sites to ensure higher conversion rates and maximise organic opportunities through SEO and social media activity

Google Product Search has for many years provided a somewhat “lazy” marketing solution. Now there is, soon to be, no such thing as a free lunch, it’s time to get strategic and start working towards making up for the shortfall.

3 Strategies to Counterbalance the Demise of Google Product Search

1. Optimise Your Email Marketing Lists and Campaigns: Your existing customers provide the most lucrative and cost effective marketing opportunities. Email Marketing works at its best when it is engaging and relevant. Take your time to segment your lists according to previous interactions and only deliver targeted campaigns. iContact provides a low cost email marketing solution perfectly suited to small and medium-sized business and offers a free 30-day trial to test the waters.

2. Optimise Your Content Marketing Strategies: Google loves regularly updated content. If you don’t have a blog on your site, it’s time to consider adding one now. As with your email marketing campaigns, your content needs to be relevant, engaging and informative. Great blogged content will not only aid your SEO efforts it will provide much needed content for your email and social media strategy. Remember without content you have no social media strategy.

3. Optimise Your Landing Pages: Make it as easy as possible for customers landing on your site to convert. This would ideally be a sale, but you should also plan to make it as easy as possible for a visitors join your email marketing lists or to engage with you either socially, via email or (if possible) by telephone. Analytic tools such as Google Analytics will help you understand how well your pages perform. Constant testing will help you improve your landing page performance – so start experimenting and tweaking.



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