Do you find Web marketing has got too complicated and wish there was an easier solution? Online marketing’s an ever-evolving area but it seems to get more and more difficult to achieve results. Let’s have a look at the evolution of online marketing so far and the future of Web marketing.

The Evolution of Web Marketing

Web Marketing 1.0 – the golden days of Web marketing when things were simple and easy.

1998 – 2002 – When I started my own Web Marketing company 15 years ago it was hard to convince businesses they needed a website. But because there was less competition online it was easy to get companies who were prepared to take the plunge and set up a website to rank well in the search engines. And because there weren’t many companies with a great website the pioneers cleaned up. Pay Per Click advertising on Google was also reasonably cost effective.

Web Marketing 2.0 – Web marketing became more and more complicated, competitive and expensive and less effective.

2003 – Web marketing became more established and companies who pulled out of traditional marketing avenues such as the Yellow pages and set up a website to market themselves online never looked back. But online advertising started to get more expensive and getting a good ranking with the search engines became harder.

2008 – Facebook, Twitter and many other social media platforms were already well established in 2008 then they took off and became mainstream. Now everyone and their mum is on Facebook. Some people even set up dedicated pages for their pets and brands started to get involved with social media too, with the best ones creating their own content and engaging with their followers and client base through social media.

2010 – Bloggers became recognized as influencers with a wide reach and engaged audience and brands started working with bloggers in all niches and across all social media platforms.

2013 – The rise of mobile and the power of social media for getting messages out fast and cheaply became undeniable. Innovative marketers like Tourism Montreal announced that they will pull all other forms of travel marketing apart from social media over the next few years.

In addition, Google clamped down on all the SEO practices which used to work well including paid hyperlinks and multiple postings of press releases to PR sites. Brands scrambled to get free incoming links by using infographics, guest posting or contests for bloggers but online publishers see through these bids for free advertising and such requests usually go unanswered.

Web marketing’s been on quite a journey. There’s no doubt that Web marketing these days is hard but don’t despair because things are changing and for companies with vision there’s a window of opportunity right now to make it easy again.

Web marketing 3.0 – New opportunities opening up which are easy to adopt, hugely effective and very cost effective.

So what is the future of Web marketing?

First let’s look at the three main things that are influencing Web marketing and set to bring about big changes in Web marketing over the next few years.

1. Great reviews are the most convincing form of marketing there is.

According to a Nielsen survey, 72% of consumers trust online opinions, even if they are posted by strangers, which is a much higher trust rate than for website content, emails, newspaper editorials or TV adverts.

2. Online reputation is everything

Google now displays search listings with a star rating under the company name which can range from zero to five stars.

Having five stars under the name makes a listing pop immediately but more importantly, it also allows Web readers to immediately see which companies have a great reputation and which don’t.

3. Consumers reviews can make or break brands

Social media has brought about a loss of power to brands. Consumers are no longer passive users of brands or viewers of advertisements. They’re active and involved. When things go wrong PR disasters can and do happen. But when things go well consumers give free online publicity to brands they love on their social media channels or by leaving five star online reviews.

Since consumers trust other consumers more than they trust advertising they have the power to drive more customers to a business or turn them off it for good.

Introducing Web Marketing 3.0: Review Marketing

I’m no clairvoyant but you don’t have to be to predict the future of web marketing. Here in Australia we trail behind the USA by about two years and the three facts listed above have seem a huge leap in what’s known as Review Marketing in the USA.

Review Marketing is the chance for brands and companies to market themselves by getting great online reviews and building up a five star online reputation that gives them the market lead.

Why Review and Reputation Marketing is Easier

The great thing about Review Marketing is that it helps brands get more reviews, have more control over those reviews and exercise damage control when needed. And of course the fact that reviews have an uncanny ability to convert leads into customers.

Unlike blogging and social media which are time consuming and need to be constantly updated Review Marketing is easier because, as long as you’re providing the great service your customers want and have a Review Marketing strategy in place, your customers will do the work for you by leaving glowing online reviews which in turn attract more customers.

So finally there’s an easy Web marketing solution again. Because Review Marketing is brand new few companies in Australia know about it yet so it’s like the good old days of web marketing back in 1998 when there was very little competition.

Better still the sooner a company starts using Review Marketing the sooner they will start noticing an uptake in business and the harder it will be for their competitors to catch up with them. That’s because if a company gets a strong reputation marketing strategy in place early they may be able to get an advantage of hundreds or even thousands of good reviews making it hard for competitors to catch up.

That’s a powerful advantage because having no or very few reviews makes a company look unpopular and customers will always choose a company with a great reputation and lots of happy customers over one with no reputation at all.

So if you like the sound of Review Marketing and want to give it a go there’s never been a better time because Web marketing doesn’t get any easier or more effective than this.

Want to find out more about Online Reputation and Review Marketing to give your business the leading edge over your competitors? Contact us now.