Tens of thousands of dollars are allocated to advertising initiatives, yet you’d swear you’re asking for the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl when requesting more budget for search engine optimization and content marketing efforts. Why is that?
There’s a couple reasons that are most popular without diving too deep into this discussion. Organic search visibility is often misunderstood as “free” traffic. It’s not. The efforts needed to achieve organic success are not free and often are time consuming. However, the combination of SEO and content marketing can allow your business to enjoy long standing success when done right. SEO is also intimidating and scary due to its technical nature. You know like how the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers often scare off the competition (sorry, football starts this weekend, I had too!).
Understanding the reasoning behind the hesitation from your company’s team to search engine optimization will give you the priority areas to focus your presentation around. Using those push back cues within your preparation with give you a better chance of success.
Now onto the real agenda at hand, what can marketers do to increase their search engine optimization budget?
1.Education! Education! And more education!
Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy. Having the entire team on board is critical to securing the budget and time needed to show its success. Educate your managers, executives and staff that SEO and content marketing is an investment that everyone needs to play their part in. Things aren’t what they used to be.
The days of adding some keywords on a page, writing some content and VOILA, you’re #1 are gone. Your content needs a purpose. It needs distribution. It needs promotion. All of your marketing efforts need to collaborate in order for that content to achieve a goal. The combination of those efforts are what will help build organic search visibility. On-page changes only go so far.
2. Effective Content Marketing is not cheap!
As noted above, all of the pieces need to work together. Just putting content up on your website or blog will have minimal success. Showcase how to take that content beyond just a blog post by creating a content development and distribution strategy. SEO and content marketing are complex so a visual calendar and schedule will make a strong case for what you are aiming to gain budget for.
Within your content distribution channel, highlight how a single piece of content can not only be just placed on the website, but its use on multiple channels – Social media, email marketing, imagery, video, etc. Most importantly, focus on the long-term rewards. Search engine optimization is a constant process that should be incorporated into all marketing initiatives. It’s not a one and done effort if you want to be successful.
3. Showcasing ROI is a must!
Often it is said that showing the ROI for SEO is too hard. That’s not true! The key is focusing on the right metrics. Though important, metrics such as sessions, bounce rates, etc. don’t show the true success of your content marketing efforts. Instead highlight conversions/leads from organic sources. What are the visitors doing after reading a content piece? What pieces are driving the most conversions as next steps?
But don’t stop there! Calculate the value of an organic lead. Now you can use that number to take things a step further and assign dollar figures to content pieces and organic conversions. Use that to calculate the cost per lead for an organic visitor. How does it compare to other initiatives? But wait, you can keep going! After establishing the cost per organic lead and dollars earned for a content piece, you can begin to calculate the lifetime value of a content piece. Overtime, that piece of content will continue to generate additional results, especially when amplified as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
Show your team an example, even if hypothetical on the valuation and process for determining ROI and presenting the lifetime value of a content piece. It will go a long way in helping understand the potential growth waiting for the business!
Search engine optimization is the foundation of your website’s online success. It compliments and works alongside all other areas of marketing including online advertising, email, direct mail, commercials, social media and the list continues. SEO has gotten a bad rap due to black hat tactics but the true art of search engine optimization is here to stay. No matter how many times we’ve heard “SEO is dead”, it still reigns on. Now go get that budget!!! And Go Pack Go!