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The Truth About SEO and Digital Marketing

Business spending on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital marketing, including Pay Per Click advertising, has increased exponentially. Smaller companies are feeling the pressure to include digital marketing in their stack in spite of the fact that it frequently consumes 100 percent of their available budget. Is it worth it?

As a Marketing Strategy Consultant, it is very rare for me to have any conversation about marketing that does not have a heavy focus on SEO and digital marketing these days. Most business owners are very concerned about driving traffic to their website and appearing at the top on Google, but should this be the primary goal of your digital marketing budget? What does it do for your company?

Agency retainers and management fees are increasing, ad rates are increasing, SEO is not a “once and done” effort, so these channels can consume a lot of your budget – or, if you are doing it yourself, your time. However, many business owners are concerned about what will happen to their business if they do not use these methods, so most companies’ marketing budgets have become heavily focused on SEO, PPC, remarketing, and other digital marketing activity. But are they getting a good return on their investment? What is the truth about the traffic generated by digital marketing? As it turns out, the answer is “It depends.”

First, let’s acknowledge that not all digital marketing firms are as good at getting you results as others. If you have one that is getting you the results you want, stick with them. If you’re unhappy with your results however, don’t immediately assume it’s because digital marketing won’t work for your company. It could just be the agency you are working with. If you’d like to find a reputable digital marketing agency, feel free to contact us, we’ll be delighted to give you a few that we know are good.

It’s also important to remember that digital marketing activities are not designed for the same purpose, so matching the method to the purpose is key. Remarketing (or retargeting) is designed to reengage previous visitors to your website, not find new ones. And you will want to focus your organic search efforts (i.e., SEO) on being in front of prospects when they are still researching ways to address their needs. The majority of digital marketing agencies are reputable and very good at targeting and driving traffic to your site. That still doesn’t provide a true Return on Investment (ROI) however.

At the end of the day, you need to drive traffic that converts to sales. Your marketing campaigns need to move the audience through all of the stages of a buyer’s journey – and that takes a programmatic approach and solid strategy. If your digital marketing agency can deliver on this three-step process, should see a decent ROI:

  1. Attract the right searchers;
  2. Provide content that captures their attention; and
  3. Engage them in a way that captivates and converts them to customers.

Make sure your agency’s strategy is solid and addresses every aspect of your marketing program – or bring in an independent marketing strategy consultant to make that happen. Because traffic should not be the end goal; increasing sales and maximum ROI should be.