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Ask Suzen: Why Your Small Business Needs SEO

5 Good Reasons, and there are so many more

A forum where you, the small business owner, asks me, the marketing professional, your most pressing questions about how to get your company exposure (not the kind that will get you arrested), lead generation, traffic to your website, all you’d ever want to know about online marketing, Search Engine Optimization, best use of your marketing dollars, and whatever else might cross your minds in the business growth arena. No dating questions here or how to handle your out-of-control toddler, just the business facts, ma’am. 

Last week I received an email from a gentleman asking:

I keep hearing that SEO is essential if I am building a website today. I also keep hearing that it's very expensive and I'm not ready to make that kind of a monetary commitment without knowing that it's really going to work for me. My website needs help but I don't know what to do. What do you suggest?

I'm going to answer this question with an article I wrote recently addressing this very issue:

I’ve been reading a lot of statistics lately. Happy to report, these are some of the more impressive numbers. Companies need to think long and hard about where and when to spend their hard earned marketing dollars, and Return On Investment has never been more important. So a responsible marketing company needs to take that all into account when devising a marketing plan for/with that company, and the results need to be measurable. As with any marketing plan, analytics is what is going to tell us where and to whom we are being effective. Make sure that when you begin any marketing plan you install a good analytics tool into your website to be able to gauge what's working and what's not, and remember that there are no magic bullets; all marketing takes time to take hold and cinvert business, and SEO is no exception.

If your business is reliant on attracting clients, customers or patients, here are 5 good reasons why it's really important to instill at least a bare bones SEO plan:

1) With SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, customers are searching for you, rather than you searching for customers. Marketing 101 tells us that as soon as someone starts to try and sell us something, we become defensive and back away as a natural instinct. But what if the search engine did the selling for us, and all we had to do was get our website ranked in the top few positions and just sit back and wait for customers to come to us? Sounds pretty simple right? Well once your website is ranked, it really is that simple.

2) Studies have shown that search engine marketing is 60 percent more cost effective than traditional marketing means. Let's face it, small businesses don't have huge marketing budgets like monopolies do, so every penny we spend on marketing needs to be spent effectively. With other marketing, this simply isn't the case. But with SEO, a good campaign truly is 60 percent more cost effective than traditional marketing because SEO is a long term investment — once a website ranks near the top of search results, it is relatively inexpensive to hold on to that ranking.

3) 40 percent of SEO campaigns deliver an ROI in excess of 300 percent. What possible other projects can your small business take on that could deliver a return on investment greater than 300 percent? SEO can be such a powerful tool that not only will it pay for itself, but it will do so 5 times over!

4) SEO builds your reputation and builds trust in your company. If you search for Soda Pop on Google, you are likely to find Coke and Pepsi. But what if the third result is Bob's Soda Company? The fact that Bob's Soda Company can rank with billion dollar corporations says numbers about his company to people searching for Soda Pop, and it truly does help brand your company, build an image, and increase the public's perception of your small business. Adversely, if you search mattresses on Google and 1-800-Mattress shows up on page 4, while Dial-A-Mattress shows up on page 1, where do you think most people will be buying their mattresses from? Unless you are name searching, 1-800-Mattress is not going to be your source for that new bed, because less than 15 percent of all consumers make it to page 4 of any search engine.

5) Local search has become a must for businesses in your community. There are many more choices now for local search than even 3 years ago. Both Google, Yahoo and countless local directory and review sites make it easy to point searchers to your site and location, and once you are listed on them will link back to your your website, raising your visiblility even higher.

So go get ‘em. Get Found, Get Heard, Get Crackin’

Have a question about bringing your small business into the 21st century? Send Suzen your questions at Suzen@omaginarium.com or leave them in the comments section below. Be sure to include your name, the name of your business and contact information with your question.

Dr. Jared DiLorenzo April 12, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Hi Suzen, I have been following your posts now for several weeks and I just want to thank you for all your helpful information. As a Chiropractor in Danbury one of the best ways to grow my business is patient referrals and speaking engagements. I have been thinking lately (could be dangerous) about making some online videos.Do you think this would be useful for my business?. If so how long should they be?, where would I post them?, what health information do you think people would be interested in learing about? Thank you for your help, Dr. Jared DiLorenzo
Suzen Pettit April 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Hi Dr. DiLorenzo and thanks for writing. I absolutely think that creating short(3-5 minutes max) online video's is a great idea for a doctors website. As a matter of fact I have a GP client who also has a holistic practice, for whom we just embedded video's for on subjects his holistic patients would be interested in. There are 2 directions you could go here: either creating your own video's, with you either demonstrating a technique or talking on a subject right to the camera, or by grabbing a professional video-there are many out there. I suggest the former if you have the time-much more effective in creating a sense of trust in you, and showing your expertise, not to mention personality, to potential patients who are exploring their options. As for what topics, why don't you take a survey from your existing patients to see what they would be most interested in learning more about via video's? I'm going to delve into promotional video's to market your business more next week in the column, so stay tuned.

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