• Mark Steckman

The Secret to Improving Your Online Search Results is Not Online

Over the last ten years, digital marketing agencies have done a wonderful job convincing business owners that the only way that consumers will ever find them online is by buying a beautifully designed custom website from them, that is optimized for search engines (SEO) with the proper keywords, tags and content, and then supported with a consistent monthly dose of paid online marketing (SEM). While this strategy indeed can work well for some businesses, there is another option that is now getting the attention of businesses and marketers alike.

Before we go any further, lets think for a moment about the typical business in America. Generally, every business has some amount of competition within their market space. For local businesses like automotive dealerships, lawyers and restaurants, the competition can be daunting. Oftentimes there are hundreds of competitors within their own immediate geographic market. In other categories, the competition may only reflect a dozen or more competitors, however, in either case, being visible online using only SEO & SEM tactics requires constant attention and a much larger online marketing investment than ever. The competition using Google and Facebook has grown dramatically over the past few years, particularly because of their auction-style advertising bidding models. Since bidding can occur from businesses anywhere, even outside of the geographic market from regional or national corporations targeting the same consumers, bid prices have risen substantially.

Additionally, because consumers are being targeted later in the buying process (ready to buy immediately), there is a perceived premium value for their attention online, which ultimately increases the competitiveness to reach them, leading to a higher cost-per-lead, regardless of the eventual purchase outcome. Furthermore, as Google continues to modify its search result analytics and home search page layout, it is even harder for businesses to show up in the meaningful top search listings.

Consider this example. Just moments ago, I searched Google for "Tampa Plumbers". Below is a screenshot of the first page of results visible without scrolling down my desktop screen. Take note that there are 717,000 results, however without taking additional action and scrolling down my screen, there are only 4 actual listings shown: 3 of which are paid listings for plumbers and 1 that is a paid listing for the Better Business Bureau.

Ultimately, when I did scroll down my screen deeper into the search results, the next several listings included directory services like Yelp, Home Advisor and Angies List. So, in reality if your business isn't shown in one of the top 4 paid ad positions, it's unlikely you'll have as good an opportunity at being found or selected.

With all of this competition, how can a business improve their online search results?

The answer is simple - but it is not online. It's offline. In fact, the answer is in using the largest reach broadcast medium that is proven to deliver online results: RADIO. Yes, Radio!

Recently, the R.A.B. in conjunction with Media Monitors, Sequent Partners, and in4mation insights, conducted extensive research that proved that radio advertising produces measurable online search result lift to the tune of an increase of 29% in incremental online Google searches across the 8 brands analyzed. The research analyzed 31 major markets, and 250,000 actual commercials within numerous competitive categories. Google trends & AdWords were utilized to analyze each of these brands baseline search history, and the impact that the radio advertising had during the measured periods.


- R.A.B. study, July 2017

The data revealed from this study is no shocker, especially if you read the July 2017 article from Roy H. Williams at who told us of a speech given recently by Ryan Deiss of Ryan is the CEO and founder of Digital Marketer, and a well respected leader in the digital marketing industry. When speaking to a roomful of advertisers recently, he told them them that it was possible " generate more online leads and increase their online closing ratios while cutting their online ad budgets by half..." using radio.

Ryan went on to reference a major HVAC company that operates in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Tucson, whose ".......cost of lead generation for A/C system replacement was about $441 per lead" until they ".... cut {their} online budget by half and moved all that money into 52-week radio. Two years later, the sales volume of {their} 78 year-old company had more than doubled, and {their} cost per online lead these days bounces around between $39 and $47.”

This specific example resonates with my local clients, as highlighted by this email I recently received from one of the largest radio advertisers in the Tampa, Florida market, who spends millions of dollars annually in broadcast advertising:

"We actually just cut all PPC - we upgraded our software to allow us to track the lead all the way to closing and while the cost per leads were good the cost per closing was horrific."

So, the answer is clear. Research proves it, digital marketing experts are talking about it, and local businesses are using it to increase leads and profits. If you want to improve your online search results in a highly competitive online marketplace, the secret is offline marketing. And radio is the best offline marketing platform to deliver the biggest audience at the lowest price.

Mark Steckman is a Senior Broadcast & Digital Media Marketing Consultant with Beasley Media Group - Tampa Bay. He is a marketing expert that utilizes over 25 years experience in business operations and as an entrepreneur to serve clients across a broad portfolio of categories including: automotive dealerships & aftermarket, home service providers, professional services, local & regional retail stores, online businesses and recruitment.

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