It has been ages. At long last I have a spare 40 minutes to write a blog post for myself. Here’s some stuff I’ve been saving for a time like this!
What’s your best marketing weapon?
Marketers go to extraordinary lengths to pin down the likely characteristics, desires and behaviour of the audiences they sell to. And it’s all really good stuff. But most marketers forget their most powerful marketing weapon of all, something that delivers a wealth of consumer insight.
The thing is, we’re all consumers. Whether you’re operating B2B or B2C, you’re selling stuff to your fellow human beings. Not to corporations or job titles, not to businesses or brands, to actual people, to folk like you.
If you’re about to launch a campaign that you personally feel is overly intrusive, makes unrealistic assumptions, doesn’t quite hit the mark, is confusing, unclear, obscure, or – frankly – a bit rubbish, there’s a good chance your instinct is right. As a consumer, you deliver powerful marketing insight. Never forget you’re a consumer as well as a marketer.
Nightmares for workers in the delivery sector
We moved from Brighton to north Devon in January. The move has involved ordering a whole load of stuff online, everything from new bedding and furniture won at local auctions to topsoil, cement and a garden shed. And it all has to be delivered.
I take my hat off to the delivery people. I wouldn’t want their job – it’s horribly stressful. Many of them are forced to deliver to a severely restricted timescale, pulling out all the stops not to miss strict deadlines. Sometimes they’re given a slot of just an hour to aim for.
The guys who delivered our garden shed, for example, drove down from Birmingham. The traffic was terrible, and they were delayed by four hours. Nobody could have predicted the delays, not least the new computer system that schedules in their deliveries – and, as you’d imagine, often drives them nuts.
The people who work for the delivery firm are regularly given more or less impossible delivery slots, and they work their backsides off to achieve them. These particular guys had two more deliveries to make in Bristol, and reckoned they wouldn’t get home until 9pm that night.
They’re far from unusual. The bloke who drove our new lease car down from Darlington on behalf of the leasing firm was also delayed by traffic. He arrived at our place three hours late, at 8pm. He had to pay for his own transport home, and we gave him a lift to the nearest rail station, but he missed the London train by two minutes and there wasn’t another until just after midnight. He’d been on the road since 10am and didn’t expect to get home until 5am the next day. That’s no way to live. It’s inhuman.
As a consumer I don’t demand instant gratification. I’m a grown up, not a spoiled child. I’d rather exercise a bit of patience and take some of the pressure off my fellow human beings. There’s a lot of talk about zero hours contracts, but I reckon the delivery sector is an even bigger employee rights scandal waiting to happen.
Google’s ‘Mobile Only’ index knackers my natural search positions
I’ve recently lost visibility in natural search for a tranche of my best keywords. Luckily I have more than enough work coming in through word of mouth and – still – natural search, so to be honest I’m not that bothered. If I was much more visible I’d sink under the sheer demand for great content. But if you’re keen to grow your business, losing natural visibility can be a marketing disaster.
I know what’s going on with my own site. Google’s Mobile First Index is the culprit, a new index of websites that’s designed to supersede the old one.
A search engine index is simply a collection of pages and documents discovered by search engine bots crawling the web. Until recently Google bots crawled from a desktop browser point of view. Not they’re crawling from a mobile browser point of view. It leaves sites that aren’t wholly mobile friendly at a disadvantage.
What does Google say? According to SearchEngineLand:
“Although Google wants you to have a mobile site, it will crawl your desktop version instead. Google says if you only have a desktop site, they’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if they’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.
If you have a mobile site, then you need to make sure the content and links on the mobile site are similar enough to the desktop version so that Google can consume the proper content and rank your site as well as it did by crawling your desktop site.”
I know, I know… my own site isn’t that mobile friendly. It looks crap on a small screen. I need to carry out a redesign, and it’s on the cards. As I mentioned a few posts ago I have a new, more relevant URL ready and am all set to do the site migration thing. But I just don’t have the time right now. I’m too busy writing copy for clients – the irony!
If you want to grow your business and care about natural search, but your website isn’t properly mobile friendly yet, it’s time to do the decent thing and make it so. If you’d like to read more about Google’s Mobile Only index from an authoritative source, here’s a link to the SearchEngineLand post on the subject.