SEO, if applied effectively and consistently, is probably the ultimate online advertising tool for your business. While tactics like PPC campaigns and banner ads can cost a fortune to give you lots of publicity and have to constantly be maintained in order to be effective, at a cost of hundreds to thousands of dollars per month, well realized optimization essentially gives you long term results at no financial cost, at least if you take care of it DIY style and eschew SEO firms that in many cases don’t even deliver results unless they really know what they’re doing.
That said, Let’s go over some of the fantastic sales benefits of SEO that you can create for your small online business or blogging effort if you decide to take on your own long term, well planned SEO campaign and stick to it.
We’ve already covered this as an essential selling point of optimization as a marketing tool, but it bears going deeper into since it’s so important. Simply stated, nothing, no form of advertising or paid promotion, will equal a strong optimization campaign in terms of building long term exposure amongst exactly the people most likely to buy your products and services.
If you start your SEO efforts off from the very beginning and apply a daily regimen of creating valuable content, networking amongst other high value sites in your niche and developing your exposure through the social media oriented side of optimization, you will eventually create a steady base of avid readers, followers and fans.
This will cost you lots of effort but it should not require you to spend lots of money, and this is a wonderful thing; while money spent is just money spent, regardless of whether it brings in sales, the experience you gain from doing your own DIY optimization is something you can apply and build on over numerous campaigns. SEO is an investment in skill instead of just an investment in sales revenues.
You’re Creating Fans, Not Just One Time Customers
The best sort of business success involves creating repeat sales from a base of loyal customers that trust you; in essence, creating your “1000 True Fans” to quote from the famous essay by Wired Magazine founder Kevin Kelley. The very nature of SEO, especially modern SEO, which has moved away from spam oriented tactics, is to create perceptions of real value in the form of information and benefits that deliver help to your niche audience.
Because of this, if you apply a well-developed optimization strategy to your business site or its blogs, you will by default be delivering value and creating trust. In doing this, you’ll be turning what could have simply been one time customers who pay no more attention to you into long term followers. By receiving free and paid for value from you, they will thus give you long term monetary value in return, in the form of long tail sales.
The ROI for your typical online advertising campaign is usually fairly easy to calculate: You simply factor in all the financial costs of a given advertising run and measure them up against your sales returns. While this can lead to great returns on investments, it often also simply gives over net losses, despite the time and money put into planning your ads and marketing.
With SEO, things are a bit different in marked ways. For one thing, for the most part, you’ll be investing money instead of time into your campaigns. However, while time itself is also a valuable commodity to a business owner, in this case it is not time that’s been wasted even if it doesn’t lead to immediate results. The reason why: SEO is cumulative; every new effort put into it slightly increments your exposure to customers and your chances of increasing sales. Thus, your ROI can be measured over a much longer time-span and assuming you follow through with your campaigns, the net benefits can be much greater than their associated costs.
Few advertising campaigns offer this same cumulative investment value creation and even on a basic level that’s measured in terms of sales per x number of visitors, studies have shown that SEO driven site arrivals are more than twice as likely to make a purchase than those that hit your site through a placed ad.
Far Better Brand Credibility
One of the most important goals for any sales hungry entrepreneur is creating credibility for their brand. They know that credibility offers competitive advantage and competitive advantage in turn leads to better sales overall.
This is where SEO really kicks ass as a sales tool. It’s simply much more trusted than any paid advertising method. People put more weight behind what Google search results give them at the top of the page, and they put further trust still in sites that they find being recommended to them by their friends in social media and by other sites that they’ve already come to respect. Since all three of these are major aspects of defining your optimization over time, the eventual benefits they offer will also include the pleasure of naturally looking more credible to your potential buyers and not having to convince them as much when it comes to buying.
Dramatically Improved Information Access
Building brand recognition and business sales through a mostly SEO driven campaign of self-promotion has the added benefit of giving you a deep wealth of analytics information about your target visitors. Assuming you connect your site to online tools like Google Analytics, you’ll be able to examine an assortment of details about how your readers found you, what words they searched for and what exactly they were looking for.
All of this information can then be used to improve your campaigns, content and the products you deliver, thus further increasing your sales conversions and ROI.
Know Your Guest Author:
When Matt Ellis isn’t writing poignant articles about technology and the business world, you can find him reviewing outsourced sales from Acquirent or working on his forthcoming book.