When meeting with small to medium sized business owners, here in San Diego, CA, I have found that most people fall into one of two different categories, when Search Engine Optimization is discussed. The first stance are SMB’s that fully understand the value in potential clients finding them online and have a program in place or are looking to put one in place. The second stance is one that is based in a lack of understanding about SEO principals and what value it brings to their business.
Those that understand how SEO works, have probably been in the “game” for a while and have seen that over time they do indeed realize a solid ROI gaining business from organic searches. Those that have a lack of understanding have likely been in business for quite some time and think that this is just another “fad” that will go away soon and they can continue to do business the way they always have. Well, the reality is that most SMB’s are increasing spending significantly in this area and those that are not putting a strategy in place are falling behind.
I like to equate SEO to things that are more easily understood for business owners. I assume that most people I meet with in business are of an age that they remember the shift from VHS to DVD to the era of Netflix ect. If you had a retail store that refused to make the switch from VHS to DVD you were dead in the water quickly, I am positive of that. The reality however is that most businesses made the switch from the analog world to digital, regardless of industry. Meaning they put together a basic website at minimum and have some digital presence. That being said, I believe that many businesses never made the switch from DVD to the Netflix world. Meaning that they understood the switch from one tangible item to another, but when it came to something that they could not always hold, touch, and see, it became more difficult to understand the value. Netflix would be a pointless service if you didn’t have the logins to watch movies and shows, right? But that DVD, whether you had a DVD player or not you can still hold in your hand and show people that you have every James Bond movie ever made.
My point in all of this nonsense about VHS to Netflix is that people, businesses owners, and everyone are reluctant to change if they do not see or understand the value, especially when it comes to non-tangible items like SEO. A lot of people want concrete ROI’s and things that are impossible to give. So what value does an SEO program bring to the table for SMB’s? Well the answer is simple, with a solid SEO program you are hiring a top notch sales person for your business, which will almost always bring qualified leads to the table and have a massively HUGE closing rate. But why is this?
Well with SEO you are driving traffic to your site that is already looking for your service. We have all done the cold call route, but I would argue that any sane person would prefer to be talking to someone who is already interested in their service and a qualified lead, rather than having to explain the value over and over again until they realize how awesome you are, right? Not to mention if you have a solid website, with video content ect., that really explains you product and service, your sales people may be more like order takers and they can spend a lot of time focusing on growing your business.
Plain and simple, no nuts and bolts, this is the value that SEO brings to the table. Now I certainly am not claiming that you can turn on a switch and the phone starts ringing, it is nowhere near that simple. I am only stating that it is a sound marketing investment to bring qualified leads to the table, but it takes time, know how, and lots of work. This is why it is important to have the right person doing the work for you that will set realistic timelines and expectations for your budget. All and all we are in the next phase of marketing and have been for quite some time, so if you know someone that is behind the times, give them a nudge and explain the value in digital marketing strategies.