I recently heard about a company that was working on having their site optimized and wanted to increase those efforts. Instead of doing so, they dropped the idea due to "lack of funds" and transferred that money over to Social Media. Another company brought their PPC in-house because it was becoming too expensive to outsource. And yet another that I know of decided to have one of their minimum wage workers manage their Social Media campaign because they were already paying too much for SEO and PPC.
What do all of these companies have in common? They all want to grow, but are pulling back on their investments when they should be investing more.
Let's take a look at each of these to dissect where they are going wrong.
The first company will definitely get some traction from increases in Social Media efforts. But, with a site that isn't fully optimized, they are pouring water into a leaky bucket. I'm certain that they'll build some brand name recognition, see their traffic increase, and make more sales as a result of increasing their Social Media budget. But, will it be the same amount of increased traffic and sales if had they kept their SEO budget in tact?
Hard to say, but my guess is no.
Social Media is a great vehicle to drive relevant traffic and build links. Like a good infomercial, it gets people's interest. SEO is about attracting those who are already interested. The difference between the two is huge. With Social Media, you have an additional layer of conversion. You have to get them interested and then make them want to buy, and then convince them to buy from you. With SEO, they are already interested, and you just simply show them that you have what they want.
The process of optimization is building a site that gives searchers more of what they want. You want to make sure your site meets their needs, not just peaks their interest.
The second company, the one pulling their PPC and bringing it in-house, is also likely to lose ground. Not that there is anything wrong with doing things in-house, unless of course you really don't have the knowledge, skill, or manpower to handle it. And, that is the case here. From what I understand, the hourly rate this company was being charged had not changed in the last 5 years. The company managing their account, at long last, wanted to bring the rate in line with their current pricing. For the company being managed, the new "expense" is just too much.
What's likely to happen is, as their in-house team struggles to learn the ins and outs of PPC, they'll start to see their click troughs decrease and cost per clicks jump. It won't happen overnight, but unless they have the time to invest fully into their PPC knowledge and management skills, and include ad and landing page testing, their campaigns will begin to suffer, as most inactively managed campaigns do.
In the attempt to save a few dollars, any savings will be lost in poorer PPC campaign performance. Instead of a campaign that continually increases profit, it'll stagnate, at best, and lose money, at worst.
The last company has a good SEO campaign going, and they have been advised for some time to engage in Social Media, a plan which they have back-burnered for years. Only recently have they begun moving forward with it. The problem is, that even though they know about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, and the like, they have no idea how to leverage them properly.
In sports terminology, they know who their best players are, but they don't know what positions they play, or, for that matter, how to create a winning play using each player properly. Will they figure it out? Well, they may manage to stumble along long enough to learn a few tricks. But, will their Social Media profiles be optimized to reach the most people the quickest? Highly doubtful.
When moving forward with Social Media, the set-up is the most crucial part. Setting it up wrong is like building a house on sand. It works great for a while... until you realize that you need a better foundation. The whole house has to be moved, and that's not an easy task, nor does it always allow for a seamless transfer. And, often times, pieces get lost along the way.
They've already made a number of rookie mistakes that, if not corrected, will cost them dearly later on. Again, they are saving a few dollars by having their in-house employee get their Social Media together, but this is no expert. It's someone who's knows how to use Social Media, but not how to market with it. That's like hiring a coach based on his extensive experience watching sports on TV!
Online marketing is no Little League game. This is the Big Leagues. Whether it's SEO, PPC, or Social Media, you can't play T-ball when you are trying to compete in the Majors. If you're lucky, holding back on your online marketing investments can prevent you from building up the momentum you need to overcome your competition. If you're not lucky, it's gonna cost you a lot more money to fix it later than to do it right to begin with... right NOW. That's not just money lost, that's more profits lost too.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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