The prospect of starting a search engine marketing campaign can be a daunting one, especially if you’re already paying out for promotion in traditional print or audio outlets. As a local or small to medium sized business, you’re probably spending a large part of your budget buying banners in newspapers and magazines, developing ads for radio, or even directing your own TV commercials to try and encourage more people to warm to your company over your closest competitors. This is what is called ‘outbound marketing’.
Effectively, you have to buy interest from the public by paying for advertising space.
But what if you could encourage customers to come to you instead?
‘Inbound marketing’ allows you to do exactly that. By creating a buzz around your brand, particularly on the web, distributing fresh, interesting and relevant content directly to your target audience and educating people as to why they should buy from you, you’re allowing customers to find you and make up their own minds. And it goes without saying that the customer definitely likes to be in control!
This fantastic infographic explains the differences between inbound and outbound marketing in greater detail.
Take a look at the stats listed here in favour of inbound marketing – you’ll be impressed by the fact a campaign using this method costs, on average, 62% less per lead than outbound marketing efforts.
The key here is that an inbound marketing strategy provides your consumers with valuable information that allows them to make up their own minds as to whether they want to make a purchase from you. There’s no hard sell, no grating jingles and slogans, and the individual doesn’t feel pressured into parting with their cash, yet it’s proven to be a cheaper and much more efficient way of getting your message to the masses.
So How Does SEO Work?
If you’ve ever used Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or any other search engine to look for information, you’ll know that you rarely need to click beyond the first couple of pages to find a result that interests you. These types of websites rank each result based on its relevancy, so you’d expect the most useful sites to appear near the top.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is, quite literally, the process of ‘optimising’ your site so that it appears higher up in the listings when someone types in a search query that’s relevant to your business. It helps establish your site as more powerful and relevant for the keywords that best reflect what you have to offer, meaning you get great levels of visibility and are exposing your company to each and every person who is conducting a search for your products or services.
But why do I need to reach the first page, I hear you ask? Well, a staggering 62% of search users click on a link that’s displayed on the first page of search results. That means that if there are 2,000 web users searching for a keyword in any given month, 1,240 of these people are likely to click through to your site if it’s listed within the top 10 positions. In addition to this, the very top result for any given search query will, on average, receive over 35% of all clicks.
It’s important to mention that achieving such prominent positions for your website takes a great deal of hard work. SEO is a gradual process, and depending on the competitiveness of your targeted keywords and your industry, it can often take months to get your business showing up within the top few pages. However, once you get there, your company’s virtual shop window will reach the eyes of a much larger and highly targeted audience, and you’ll be getting a great return on your initial investment as the web traffic and consequent enquiries start flooding in.
In contrast to traditional marketing methods, you won’t need to renew a contract with a publication or spend a fortune paying marketers and producers to put together ad material for you. Your site will be in a position to be seen day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Exploring Your Options
By ignoring the potential of SEO, you’re denying your business the opportunity to flourish and expand by gaining more exposure in a channel that can generate so much revenue.
However, while we’re fiercely preaching the many benefits of search engine marketing here, we’re not suggesting that you should give up on offline marketing tactics altogether. For maximum exposure, we’d suggest splitting your marketing budget so that you’re able to promote your company via traditional outlets AND invest in hard-hitting web marketing strategies.
And SEO is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re serious about getting your name out there on the web, you could consider spending more time updating and managing your social media pages – plenty of consumers research brands using Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. You could also opt to make use of Google’s paid search, or Pay Per Click, system. This model allows you to directly bid for major advertising space within relevant search results, so is a great option if you want to spend a little more money and quickly get seen above your competitors.
Get in touch to learn more about any of the services listed here. We specialise in putting together affordable yet effective search engine marketing campaigns for SMEs and local companies that want to get ahead and start promoting themselves to a wider demographic.