This episode’s question comes from Bruce Calder, from Bull & Bear Special Assignment, who asks, “With Google threatening to withdraw their search engine capability in Australia in retaliation for paying for news content, some ideas for Plan B please?”
This episode is the seventh in a nine-part series answering listener questions. For each episode and question, an amazing marketer from my network will join us and provide some different points of view and advice.
In this episode, Colin Anstie, from RD Consulting, an agency that focuses on marketing, communications, and change management, with a particular focus on government (but they also work with SMEs as well), joins us to answer Bruce’s question.
As part of the service, I have had this episode transcribed. Transcribing, proofing, and editing a podcast episode is A LOT of work. That’s why I use a service called REV who provide professional freelance transcriptionists who are vetted for quality. While they offer a 99% accuracy guarantee, I do not proof-read their work extensively. Instead, I simply copy and paste below and, as such, please note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the episode and I have trimmed things like the intro, close, and mid-show ad.
Colin, welcome to the show. I know you and I have known each other for a long time. And your business, RD Consulting, is going absolute gangbusters, super busy, and it’s really grown from strength to strength. But it’s also evolved over the last couple of years. So please, tell us about what RD does for clients and the types of clients that you really like to work with.
We’ve grown a lot. And look, we focus specifically on marketing, communications and change management are our real go-tos. We work particularly in Canberra and work across right through from the small business, but spend most of our time with government and large enterprises, is where we spend our time.
As I said in the intro, Bruce Calder from Bull&Bear Special Assignments has submitted a listener question for this miniseries. And Bruce asks, “With Google threatening to withdraw their search engine capability in Australia in retaliation for paying for news content, some ideas for plan B, please.”
So Colin, firstly, obviously this question, it’s been with me for a while. It’s taken me a while to get to it. And it was quite topical a few months back, but I often say to people that we really shouldn’t put all our eggs in one marketing basket anyway, because the rules and regulations can change quite quickly. And we might not have any say in how and when that happens.
So, let’s talk hypothetically. Let’s assume that Google Search is going to become less and less useful for us in attracting clients and customers, or maybe a situation restricts our access or something along those lines. And let’s say that a business very heavily relies on Google Search results and ads and retargeting to get business to their website. What would your advice be if they were worried about the changes and wanted to do something about it in terms of rejigging their marketing approach?
Great question. Number one is the brutal answer is, it is trouble. So, it is one of the absolute go-to spots is Google advertising and Google Search. And so, look, just the very literal or brutal answer is another service will take its place. So another search engine or another way to organize the world’s information will just take that spot.
So that’s a bit more about what could play out. Look, I don’t see it as super likely for longterm. I saw it happen very short-term, but in terms of that plan B, there’s 89 different marketing channels that can be used. And so look, the next go-to is absolutely around social media advertising and putting out content, putting out ads, getting ranked well and getting known well on your best social media platform. Which is often, in Australia, going to be one of Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn type direction I’d suggest.
But look, to be really honest with you, year 2000, going back a little while now, email marketing used to be the absolute go-to thing. You get a promotion or a discount email to your inbox and it says,” Hey, buy this lamp for $10 off.” People would go crazy and buy the lamp probably. Whereas now, you’d delete that email. Your spam filter should pick that up.
And so, what my view is, you get these windows of time and I was just back casting back to 2000. And if I look at 2021, so where we are today, you’ve got this phenomenal opportunity with a Google AdWords and Google Search as you do with social media marketing. And so, I’d probably be doubling down on those. I’d be focused on them and utilize them whilst they’re working well for your business.
So yes, I know it’s a risk. But to be fair, it’s a risk with any number of these marketing channels. Whilst they’re working for you in the market, use it, adopt it, live it, breathe it. And then be ready to be adaptable as things change.
So, that segues nicely into my next question, which is all about relying on audiences that a business doesn’t own. Because you spoke about doubling down on social media and those channels that are working now. That makes sense. But relying on audiences that a business doesn’t own, whether that’s traffic from Google or maybe it’s groups that they’ve built on Facebook, they’ve got a large following. Or even if it’s old school, like viewers seeing ads on TV or hearing ads on the radio, that’s fraught with danger because those businesses can’t access those people directly. What’s your advice to mitigate that issue?
I love this question. So look, the absolute, single best piece of advice here is you must own your own channels and have full control of them. And the number one channel there is your own website. And so, if you imagine the full marketing universe or galaxy or solar system, your website should be the sun. Right in the center, the biggest, the most important and the hottest.
And so, attracting people there, getting your content there, whether that be videos, articles, information, even your promotions, your product, your services, your people, your prices, your website is the game. Because you’re 100% right, Daniel. Free-to-air TV is a beautiful example. That could disappear soon and probably will to be fair.
And so, being able to control that audience and own that and create their experience is really important. Plus, you don’t have to have the outlay of funds. So yeah, I’d absolutely be thinking along those lines. I think it’s a very wise way to think.
You also spoke about email before, and then you just spoke then about making your website a hot sun in the universe and getting people there. What’s the goal when we get people to a website? Is it just to get them to call us or should we be trying to convert them into a database? What should we be trying to do?
It depends a little bit. So for some audiences, if you’re selling lower value and higher transaction items, so let’s say a lamp for example, or candles, then yeah, getting the sale is probably what I’d be thinking about. Or getting an email address and name and phone number into a database, or just a big list of everyone’s details.
If you’re a mortgage broker, so you help people buy a home, it’s much more likely to book an appointment, or book a phone call, or book a meeting type thing. And so, just depends a little bit on your business, but it is the first entree or the first moment or interaction you should be looking to collect, is how I would think about it.
But interestingly, all of those interactions that you spoke about involve some sort of exchange of contact information for the visitor, that’s going to the website, right?
Colin, if Bruce or anyone else wants to get in contact and continue this chat, or maybe learn more about RD Consulting, what can they do? Where can they go?
Our website’s got everything on it, so rdconsulting.com.au. Or hit me up on LinkedIn. So Colin Anstie on LinkedIn is a great way to get in touch and all our details are on our website. So phone number, contact form, have a look through what we do. And look, we’d love to catch up. Love to chat. And yeah, happy to catch up for a coffee for sure.
And of course, we will put links in the show notes at marketingbuilder.net. So you can find your way directly to RD Consulting or Colin’s LinkedIn profile. Now, Colin Anstie, CEO of RD Consulting, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your expertise and advice and answering Bruce’s listener question about that plan B for Google traffic.
Absolute pleasure. Thanks a lot, Daniel.