Facebook and Google Are Decimating Paid Advertising, Forcing Businesses to Get Serious About Long-Haul Marketing Strategy

“If you build it, they will come.”

This quote is the single biggest misconception people have about marketing their business online.

It’s impossible to know the exact number, but experts estimate there are about 1.7 billion websites on the internet. The total changes every day as more websites are launched and others disappear into the mists of time, never to be heard from again.

Just one popular website design system – WordPress, the one we use here at New York Ave – accounts for 661 new websites every day. Since most people use social media to do what they used to do on their private “homepages,” the vast majority of these new websites represent businesses.

In the midst of those staggering numbers, it’s easy to have two “not very helpful” reactions:

  • Despair – “It’s probably impossible to get the kind of attention I need, so why bother?”
  • Looking for “instant, targeted traffic” – the kind advertised on shady Twitter accounts

But those claims of “overnight success” don’t just come from obvious scammers. One of the biggest culprits is Google! In Central Florida and beyond, the Big G watches like a hawk for new business registrations and then welcomes entrepreneurs with free Google Ads.

The promise? YOU can access Google’s billions of users and get started right.

The truth? Dazed by the glitz and glamor, most business owners plug in a few simple ads, point them to their website’s main page, and hope for the best. They immediately burn through the money. And unless they’ve set up their account carefully, they may lose hundreds or even thousands more.

Dream, meet reality.

Paid advertising has always been fraught with peril, and it’s only a perfect match for some very specific use cases. But things are getting worse – so much so that even brands that have seen ads perform well need to pivot to a long-haul marketing strategy independent of social media algorithms.

Before we talk about solutions, let’s define the problem.

Google and Facebook Are Making Paid Advertising Worse for Just About Everyone

Google controls the world’s largest digital advertising platform. The company yielded nearly $182 billion in revenue in 2020, principally from ads. And make no mistake – the business model has always been more about those who lose out than those who win.

In any given industry, the thousands who’ll gain no business value from their ads “subsidize” Google for the handful whose success within the system keeps their individual advertising costs down. As so many users essentially get nothing, they continue to drive up the costs for those who are successful.

The same is true on Facebook – with some further twists.

Facebook has long been involved in limiting “organic reach” – how widely a post is likely to be seen if you don’t pay for advertising. In 2018, organic reach was at 7.7%. By year’s end in 2019, it was 5.5%. Now, the average reach for an organic Facebook post is a measly 5.2%.

And it’s still going down.

The purpose is obvious: Get more brands to rely on Facebook advertising. But for some brands in some industries, that’s becoming all but impossible. Just like reach, the average social engagement rate is in free-fall at just 0.25%. Can your business survive on just 0.25% of your audience?

For most companies, the answer is “no.”

Mix in the fact that people are just plain sick of ads and the situation gets even more foreboding. About 27% of all American internet users block ads. Ad blocking is a worldwide phenomenon, with nearly 50% of those aged 16-24 participating. As they get older, they are unlikely to change their position.

To them, advertising is an agreement between you and the platform they have no part in.

Today’s Digital Advertising System Wasn’t Built for You – Why Not Break Free?

Paid or organic, more of  your social media posts are being rendered invisible:

  • Organic content can dwindle into obscurity unless lots of people who see it also share it
  • Advertising is getting more expensive, yet only a fraction of advertisers see concrete ROI
  • Even if you get through everything else, fewer people in your audience want to see ads

Hearing all this, you might feel a temptation to throw up your hands.

There’s an alternative.

It’s simple, yet subversive: Stop playing games within a rigged system.

As time goes on, online advertising with Google and Facebook will be the best move for a smaller and smaller proportion of Central Florida businesses. If you’re among them, a digital marketing firm like New York Ave is the perfect partner to help you leverage a platform’s potential while saving money.

But even in that group, it’s time for a sea change when it comes to digital marketing strategy.

Consistent, long-term marketing has been growing in importance for years. In 2022, Central Florida businesses that want to connect with qualified customers (and retain existing ones) will need a long-haul digital marketing strategy. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a philosophy, not a single technique.

It means your marketing may take some time – typically around three months – to start showing the signs of momentum. Waiting might hurt at first. But once you hit your stride, all your initiatives capture compounding value. You’ll be better off in the end, like a “detox” for your digital brand.

Instead of a single tap of traffic that turns off when you stop paying, you can get steady, relevant online traffic that’s always growing. In a matter of months, you have the chance to blaze past your competitors who are still burdened with costly, underperforming ads.

Within a year, you’ll have enduring competitive advantages few others can meet. And there will be no way for anyone – even large, entrenched competitors – to take away your strong showing in relevant organic searches simply by paying more money than you can.

Paid online advertising is now an adjunct to campaigns, not a driver of strategy.

Strap in and let’s talk about what it means to go “long haul.”

How Central Florida Businesses Can Get Started Strong in Long-Haul Marketing

“Long-haul marketing” is just what it sounds like.

It exchanges short-term bursts of online visibility for long-term, targeted traffic that builds up over time. Using the data your website, social media, and other digital properties collect, enables continuous improvement so you get superior results month after month.

Imagine if, instead of paying for visits to your website, you could see a solid 10%-20% increase every 30 days on the dot. Depending on where you began, that could add up to thousands or millions more visitors. At the same time, you strengthen your ability to convert more of that traffic into customers.

The key is developing a strategy with a handful of carefully selected approaches you can use to generate traffic, deepen relationships, and win more sales. It’s not necessary to do everything at once or to do everything perfectly. Consistency is the key, and that’s where a digital marketing agency helps.

Let’s dive into the marketing tactics truly right for the long haul:

1. Content Marketing

Content is everything you publish, post, or share that helps website visitors meet their needs.

Think about the first time someone lays eyes on your website. They probably know nothing about you or what you do. But they do know they have a problem or question – maybe one you can help with – and they need answers. If you came up in search, it’s likely your company is relevant.

Content is what ensures their needs are met.

With the right content, you’ll be a trusted advisor standing with them throughout the buyer journey:

  • Awareness: They’ve discovered a problem or opportunity and they need to learn more
  • Consideration: They’re starting to build out the buying criteria for a potential solution
  • Decision: They’re comparing their “short list” of solutions to pick the one that fits best

The buyer journey remains the same even if your business has a straightforward value proposition that everyone understands. For example, everyone knows what a dentist does, but most patients don’t start out looking for one. Instead, they’re looking for facts on why one tooth looks discolored.

Have an answer to that simple question and you start to position yourself as their future dentist.

The same concept applies to all industries. Uncover the questions that first-time visitors are most likely to ask and you can develop a library of content on those topics. Most such content is evergreen – it’s widely useful, but the facts rarely go out of date. That means you’ll need to do very little maintenance.

With each piece of content, you respond to more needs and capture more visibility in an online search.

And with professional blog writing from a digital marketing agency, it can all be done for you.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most powerful things in your digital marketing toolkit.

Because it lets you reach ten, a hundred, or a thousand people at virtually the same cost, it is likely the most scalable communication platform a brand can have. Even more remarkable, email has the highest ROI in digital marketing. For every $1 spent, businesses yield about $38.

We consider email marketing the king of long-haul marketing. It lets you communicate in a relevant, personalized, recurring way with leads who aren’t ready to buy. Whether it takes them a week or six months, your emails can continue adding value to their lives.

All that makes them less likely to switch to a comparable competitor.

Email marketing is also a secret “fast forward” button for your company.

Any time you want to speed up the process of getting more business, just deliver a limited-time special offer to your email subscribers. The larger your list, the more revenue you’ll see every time you send out an offer that resonates with your audience. That perks things up when your calendar looks bare.

In the end, your subscriber list is one of your most valuable assets. Now, that’s “long-haul!”

3. Targeted Face-to-Face Marketing

It’s not just about digital marketing. Traditional marketing techniques are seeing a resurgence.

As the public health situation comes under control and travel restrictions fade, Central Florida communities are coming back to life. 2022 is dawning, and it’s an ideal time to make a strong impression by upping your face-to-face marketing game in ways that make sense for you.

Face-to-face marketing can take many different forms, and it’s easy for digital and traditional marketing to reinforce each other. Start by making sure you have a clear brand identity. Your brand’s unique value and story should be reflected in all your collateral, especially your business cards.

Whether you’re sponsoring them or simply making an appearance, community events will be crucial – especially in cases where beloved events are being celebrated for the first time since 2019. Be prepared to meet and greet, because there’ll be plenty of real enthusiasm for you to join in on.

4. Referral Partnerships

Referral partnerships are also back with a bang in 2022.

After all, your business isn’t the only one that people are looking forward to patronizing in person. They are sure to go to their favorite restaurant, stop by the salon, book some time with the chiropractor, and even swing by their accountant or investment manager for an update on their retirement funds.

It’s fair to ask yourself: How many of those people could be sending business your way? Some referral partnerships are an obvious, natural match. Others make less impact, but every little bit counts. Non-competing business owners will often be glad to send referrals your way for a finder’s fee.

5. Video Marketing

Any type of digital marketing you’re already doing can be enhanced with video storytelling. Videos get shared widely on social media. They make blog posts more findable in search. And they help create a human connection for future customers who haven’t met you yet.

The most potent video marketing content puts the business owner at center stage. But don’t worry – you don’t have to be a performer or a videographer. At New York Ave, we operate the equipment, help you decide what to talk about, and give you the training to feel confident in front of the camera.

It’s easier than it looks – and because video is easier to watch and remember than plain text, it’s more likely to inspire your website visitors to give you a call.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is based on digital best practices that do two things:

  • Provide a faster, easier, all around better experience to your website visitors
  • Draw search engine attention and expand visibility in relevant online searches

In our fast-moving digital world, SEO is the beating heart of long-haul digital marketing.

It touches all the other aspects of your strategy, helping you secure more value from them. On a practical level, it aligns content you’re producing with subjects your prospects are actually interested in – based on relevant, accurate data that spotlights precisely what they’re typing into search engines.

It may seem like magic, but it’s science: Dozens of subtle tweaks to your content and website, a whole adding up to more than the sum of its parts. Central Florida digital marketers can orchestrate it for you.

When You’re Ready for the Long Haul, Use the Digital Marketing Team That Will Stick With You

Long-haul marketing is a journey for the lifetime of your business. There’ll be memorable milestones and great results along the way. To maintain the stability you need to stay on course, choose a digital marketing partner who’ll be with you every step of the way.

At New York Ave, we’ve introduced the principles of long-haul marketing to Central Florida businesses of all kinds. It doesn’t happen overnight – most good things don’t – but business owners like you find themselves with more customers, higher transaction value, and more time to do what they love.

With the right expertise on your side, slow and steady really does win the race.

Contact us today to learn more or get started.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by nirsonline.org. 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.