On October 8th, the world woke up to the news that Google had once again closed the doors on an underperforming product, and there are some of the lessons to take away from this announcement. This is not the first of Google’s closed tools, but it is an important one because the decision wasn’t simply due to a lack of interest, it also came in the wake of a security flaw and can have far-reaching ramifications.
Google+ was created to compete with Facebook and Twitter as a social media powerhouse, but it never attracted a viable market share for users to leap to the platform. Reportedly, users spent an average less than 5 SECONDS on the platform. Unlike many conclusions, Google+ is not immediately shut down. The company is phasing out the product over the next 10 months. This is a gift for some because many times users are left with little recourse to access any information they may have loaded to an abandoned platform.
Your Online Tools are Ever Changing. Something that we try to warn our clients about is that your marketing should be diversified. Even though social media may be a cost-effective tool, the platform you are on can disappear or completely change overnight. What would your marketing scheme look like if Facebook, LinkedIn, Etsy, or Pinterest suddenly shut down? Would you have access to your customers via a locally stored database, e.g., a newsletter mailing list or traditional mailing list, or would you wake up to zero access and have to rebuild your entire customer base?
If you do store your contact list online, how often do you export it? All of us are guilty of making changes directly in provider portals, but rarely downloading the current contact list and this should be a regularly scheduled event.
Your Data Storage Should Not Be Consolidated with One Provider. What would happen if you had awoken to all of Google being gone? Highly unlikely as Google is mammoth, that’s very true, but it is absolutely a real possibility, so what is your back-up plan? If all of your marketing graphics and reviews were only stored in your Google drive, how long would it take you to recreate your resources? This could be true for any provider, not just Google.
Third-Party App Providers are Changing the Landscape. One of the ongoing problems Google is combating is criticism that Gmail is being affected by third-party application providers. Many companies host their email service with Google and are exploring the possibility that they will have to host their email service themselves or elsewhere. Every year, it’s good practice to discuss your email service and web-hosting service provider with an IT professional to evaluate options and build a contingency plan. If a change is planned, it’s important that your marketing team know each location that would need to be updated.
If you provide an app to your customers, you’ll also want to track changes that could impact the delivery and function of your app. At the very least, bi-annual reviews with your developer can help address any changes and allow your marketing team to freshen and update your app.
Time, Creativity, Marketing Dollars and Manpower have an ROI. One of the reasons our clients renew their contracts is they don’t have time to dedicate to manage their online presence. If you had been dedicating a great deal of time to Google+ and are just now learning that many users spent less than 5 seconds on the platform, are you disappointed? Would you be shocked to learn that 70% of the content on Instagram is never seen? Yes, there are tips and tricks to beating the various platforms’ algorithms, but at the end of the day are you using your analytics to determine your marketing ROI? Google Analytics, Pixels, and many other tools can help you manage your analytics.
Diversify Your Impressions. Your online presence should legitimize your business, but not be all encompassing. Yes, many, many businesses operate solely online, but that’s why you’re seeing many companies branch their sales simultaneously across platforms like Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and Amazon, in addition to their own online store. Large companies, like Pottery Barn, Publix, and Pier One, still diversify their marketing tactics with email campaigns, sales ads, mailed catalogs, billboards, bus stops, and, of course, television, radio, and their digital counterparts.
These are crazy times and the takeaway is to not put your marketing eggs in one proverbial digital basket. Plan, diversify, and rely on solid marketing practices to keep your business in front of your customers.