Recently Google rolled out a large change to how it presents its paid advertising. This freaked a number of people out for a bunch of reasons, not least of which were the scale of the change and the lack of warning of its implementation.

A growing number of businesses rely on Google Search as their main source of leads. So significant change, like the one just seen, can cause concern and even prompt people to consider their options other than Google.

So let’s say the proverbial really does hit the fan and Google is effectively removed as an option for your marketing. Where would you turn next?

Unfortunately, you can’t simply switch to Search Engine B and enjoy the same results as Search Engine G. But you do have a range of options that, when correctly implemented, should help lessen the loss.
This article outlines a few of them.

#1 Email Marketing. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you the tried and tested channel of email marketing. In this scenario we know Google search is a no go, but if you have someone’s email address and their permission to use it, and as long as you keep the content fresh and relevant, there will always be a direct link between your marketing and them. Sound good?

So go and grow your email list with gusto. It’s the best insurance against change in the online marketing space. Then you can unlock the smarts of the channel by linking it to your CRM system and follow up with those who engage most with your emails. People have been predicting the death of email marketing for years but still it keeps going. Checked your email today?

#2 Google Display Advertising. This is a bit of a cheat because it is a Google product. But I am going to assume that your total relationship with Google is not destroyed – just your ability to be seen in search.

Display Advertising is where you present image banners and text ads through the Google advertising network of websites that are browsed by your target audience. Finding the sites your prospects visit and placing the right ad in the correct space to get them to click is no mean feat. Hence we always recommend solving the Google search advertising problem first before heading into Display. With that job done, Display hops to the top of the queue.

There are a few chunky benefits to Display. One is that your marketing is relatively hidden from your competitors. While everyone can see who is bidding on what search keyword, trawling the Internet to find the exact websites you advertise on is a lot harder. Get it right and you can have dozens of websites sending individual trickles of quality traffic that collectively add up to what you used to get in search.

#3 Display Remarketing. The next option I offer is a derivative of the first – display remarketing. Here you present banner and text ads on the same advertising network as the Google Display product but with the added feature of targeting them to people who have visited your website before.

This is a common strategy for those wanting to recycle low-converting Google search advertising traffic. However, many forget that it can actually be used for all traffic types. This is especially true when you can target your advertising to match the profile of your visitor groups; for instance those who have arrived from specific geographic regions, or people using specific devices (computer, iPad, mobile phone). With good remarketing, you become a super recycler of traffic compared to your competitors who hope their conversions are completed on the first visit.

#4 Social Media – I put social media last because, like Google search, it is run by corporates who could change the space at will and leave you in the lurch. Social media marketing as like advertising in a place that you rent. With email marketing, you own the building.

That caveat aside, you can do some great work in social channels that are well suited to your audience. For some that could be Instagram and Facebook; others may get more traction with LinkedIn. Pick the channels that your prospects live in, invest in the right content, and gradually build a following that has a good prospect of converting. And always remember that the first – and valuable – conversion may simply be subscribing to your email list.

That’s four alternatives to get you going – and it’s a good set. Every week I come across businesses that rely solely on Google Search to deliver leads. If those businesses adopted two or three of these strategies, their risk would be substantially less.

So here’s a challenge: invest time in one of these alternative this month. Let me know if you need any help.
Chris Price is the Founder of Ark Advance – An Online Marketing Company established in 2002 to help businesses thrive by thinking and acting smart in the online space.