You work in marketing for a small business. You’ve faced all the challenges small businesses face and you’ve worked miracles with a small budget and have a killer digital strategy that can compete in a saturated market.
Your plan is almost complete, but you know you need to begin investing in or invest more in an SEO strategy to supplement your marketing activities. Your competitors are on Google’s first page and you’re on page five (or 50) and you know you’re leaving money on the table.
But you can’t get the budget approval and buy in from management to invest in SEO, either to do internally or hire an agency.
The obstacles for making this internal sale for SEO are plenty: perhaps the CEO doesn’t understand SEO and therefore doesn’t want to put money into it. Perhaps upper management has heard bad things about this “witchcraft” that magically puts your website in the number one Google spot. Maybe your company has been burned in the past by a junk SEO agency. Or the budget is too tight or the CEO is too busy to think about it or is overconfident in the company’s ability to grab market share or, or, OR…
Bottom line, you face a difficult sale for an intangible product. Fortunately, you’re not without the tools and the means to make this pitch.
I’ll share with you one tactic that has worked for me numerous times on the agency side and which I’ve seen others use successfully internally as well. The key is to find keywords; show consumer intent, volume, and successful competitors; and demonstrate ROI. This process is 100% doable for any industry.
First, find keywords with a good volume of searches that show intent to buy. For example, if you’re an electronics repair shop, don’t use “computer repair” or “fix an iPhone screen” as an argument that people are searching for your company. The CEO or manager can easily make the argument that people aren’t searching for you but are, perhaps, searching for DIY solutions or aren’t even in your geographical market. Rather, use less generic keywords that show intent to take action in a way your company could offer the solution, such as “computer repair [city]” or “fix iPhone screen [city].”
Geography is only one way to show intent. You can also make a solid case for keywords for a product or service you specifically specialize in, such as hard drive restoration or cell phone repairs for older mobile phones. And look into keywords that involve your competitive edge, such as speed or reliability.
Find ten or so keywords and then use four or five to craft your presentation. Be sure to use a good, diverse mix of geography, specific specialties, and competitive edge. And have the rest of the keywords as backups for additional Q&A at the end of your pitch or conversation.
In the presentation, be sure to highlight the trade off for long-tail keywords and lower volume of searches. Explain that although a search term may be lower volume, it’s more specific and therefore inherently has a higher conversion rate.
Compare Your Competition
Once you have a few solid keywords and the related volume, the next step is to find where your competitors rank for those keywords and show your boss that your competitors are SEO-ing. Show in a nice little chart that your top three competitors rank for all four or five keywords and that you rank for maybe one of them, and only toward the bottom of page one. Showing your competitors outdoing your company is sure to get your manager’s attention.
If you find a compelling keyword that no one is ranking for, include that one as well and show that you can be the first to capture the part of the market searching for that term–before any of your competitors.
Lastly, demonstrate an ROI for SEO, whether you’re planning on doing SEO in-house or planning on hiring an agency. Numbers speak louder than any picture you can paint, so show the monetary benefits of SEO.
Based on click-through rates for the top spots on a Google search results page and the volume of searches your target keywords have, estimate the probable number of visitors and apply your current conversion rate. Compare that against the cost of your SEO investment in-house or with an agency and there’s your ROI.
Speak in clear, business terms and the CEO will hear you. Go into the meeting or discussion prepared with your keyword and competitor stats and succinctly outline the argument.
Have your solution ready: know who you want to hire or which agency you want to partner with. If you’re going with an agency, choose one with a free website consultation and already have the consultation completed before you approach your boss. If you’re uber prepared, you’re much more likely to see success.
If you’re looking for a good place to start your agency hunt, check out the free website consultation offered by Boostability!