If your customers either research, source or buy your products and services online, SEO should form a key part of any inbound marketing strategy. Yes, of course a PPC campaign will generate quicker results, but SEO represents a more stable long term investment, and ensures that every piece of traffic doesn’t carry a cost, unlike PPC. Also, whilst organic search algorithms work on fairly consistent, predictable and stable rules, with PPC you are totally exposed to both the search engine’s pricing model and your competitor’s activity, and this potential volatility carries risk.
Your website is an asset
Once you know your target audience is searching online for your products and services, you can invest in your website with confidence, knowing that a) when it begins to rank on page one it will generate leads, b) you will see a return on your SEO investment and c) that the value of your website as an asset will appreciate. A website that is delivering strong lead or sales results will also make you more attractive to buyers and investors in the future.
Part of the marketing mix
By not investing in SEO, you are effectively devaluing every other marketing campaign you implement. SEO should serve to underpin and amplify all other marketing activity, particularly if it is a digital strategy looking to drive traffic to the site. As part of the sales cycle, consumers will move from awareness of the brand, through consideration and hopefully on to make a purchase, but we can’t control this process. However, if we can see that our prospects are clearly using search engines as part of the ‘consideration’ and ‘purchase’ process, we have to ensure we are putting our website in front of that audience, irrespective of when or why it happens.
Whilst there are some (albeit few) exceptions, SEO remains an extremely effective way to generate leads and sales, when compared to other marketing strategies. For example, when you compare the cost per call rates and cost per lead rates between SEO and other marketing functions, rarely does it lose. Having said that, an SEO campaign does rely on other marketing activity to drive its own success, in particular brand awareness, social media and PR.
Do it yourself
Many none-digital marketers view SEO as a technical discipline, but in reality the major search engines algorithms work on very simple principles and there is a lot which a business can do in house. Take content for example. We continue to see regular examples of where a) a businesses website doesn’t feature all the keywords it wants to rank well for and b) the website isn’t being regularly updated around the subjects they want to be viewed as an authority on. Two simple functions that can be managed and implemented in house for relatively small cost.
In summary, investing in SEO is a solid medium to long term strategy that will not only deliver a return on your investment, but it will magnify the impact of your other marketing strategies whilst giving you a stable platform for growth.
Northern Media is a Wakefield based marketing agency that specialises in SEO and digital marketing. For more information call 01924 367 105.