If your entire marketing plan is paid marketing prepare to continually increase your paid marketing overtime. Paid marketing or pay-per-click is an effective way to reach new areas you weren’t previously in or areas where you want to further grow. Paid marketing though is not where you want your marketing efforts to be spent. You need to be looking at building up the content of your website for organic (e.g. free) marketing. Free marketing doesn’t mean it’s free though. It means you must do things the “old fashioned way” by working for it. You need to be updating your products, your services, and start a blog.
It’s not hard but you need to try or hire someone to do the effort for you. Often, hiring someone for the effort is the best option. Your employees are awesome as they know your products and services. When you ask them to go outside their expertise you are taking them away from their strengths and away from your customers. At first it might not seem that way as you allocate time to your employee to do the work. Soon their work is no longer focused on great customer service but marketing on social media. This is a completely different job and requires that you have a person specifically assigned to the role of digital marketing.
Search engine optimization or SEO is something that takes years to learn and master. It also requires diligence. If someone knows SEO you can expect they will only truly need to spend 2-6 hours per month. If they are not SEO experts expect that time to be between 24-30 hours. The difference is easy to explain as well. Both will achieve the same result. The difference is your expert is spending time outside of your website keeping aware of the latest changes coming from Google and Bing. These are your two big search engines that feed many of the smaller search engines.
If you maintain a mindset of if I build it, they will come you will most certainly fail. When it comes to search engines you either need tools to improve your efficiency (e.g. the expert users use this) or you need labor hours to achieve the same results. We always prefer the tools after we train our SEO team members. Why manual first? It’s the best way and we don’t consider an SEO team member ready until they have gone through over 200 hours of solid training and then they are still helped along the way. We also believe in putting team members through a minimum of 40 hours of training per year on SEO certifications to keep them aware of the past changes over the last twelve months.
It doesn’t stop there either. Based on we deal with over 100 industries we look for trends across industries and use our tools to help us further optimize. The two main tools we use are YEXT for local search directories and SEM Rush for our SEO digging. When it comes to SEO digging we have two types of SEO. We have the SEO that optimizes for just local search which is our SEO Business Improvement Plan. This is a great plan to get out within your local community.
The other integrates your SEO with your social media marketing. Yes, we’re talking paid marketing and we believe you should pay. Nothing in life is free but we believe in spending marketing dollars wisely and just not into throwing money around. We believe that a new website should spend money on PPC with Google and Bing minimally and only for a short period of time. The longer you do it we’ve seen organic reach drop and paid money increasing which no one wants to continuously do. Where we’ve seen the best use is spending $5 per area per week that you want to reach across social media. For many a combination of Facebook and Instagram but also on Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Twitter we are sorry to say most don’t benefit from it.
We’ve mentioned that organic search is key and the key to organic search is to really write content. For many of our local service organizations we work with what we’ve found is a menu structure like below. This structure works well but does require content to be written and updated. Remember, you can’t just build it, hope they come, and continue to grow if you sit on your laurels and do nothing. Today you roll out a beautiful site, all updated content, now six months later Google is coming back, seeing no change, their visits will become less and less frequent. Your only recourse is more paid advertising. If you added content, added events happening in the area (not necessarily yours), add a tips and tricks blog (like this), and keep your information fresh and relevant your website will grow organically.
Yes, that is the entire trade secret of the internet. It’s not fancy animation but content (with graphics that go with the content), that will make your business grow. Don’t worry about recreating the “next great thing”. Save that for companies with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in marketing revenue. Focus on your strengths – your customers and let your greatest sales tool work for you rather than against you.