When it comes to ROI, every company wants more of it. But what’s the best way to get a higher ROI? Should you use paid search, SEO, or run ads on social media?
At Sure Oak, we strongly believe SEO is the best way to increase your ROI. It’s a great long-term investment that can pay huge dividends for years. Here’s how to sell the value of organic search to the corner office.
Why you need to explain the ROI of SEO to your executives
As an SEO, you probably get pushback from other departments when trying to implement your strategies. You’re not alone. Many organizations have hurdles that make this difficult including:
- Multiple decision makers, leaders, and managers,
- Each decision maker has a different goal and area they’re focused on,
- Other teams, i.e. developers, content marketers, etc., frequently don’t understand how powerful your SEO data can be in helping them accomplish their goals.
To overcome this, ask yourself “who within the organization is best equipped to build engagement throughout the organization”. Here’s how C-level buy-in helps you do that:
- Helps secure funds to accomplish your goals,
- Ensures other teams aren’t prioritizing their goals ahead of yours,
- Breaks down silos to create a holistic marketing strategy,
- Shows the value of SEO and how it contributes to the entire team’s goals.
What metrics are most important to the executives in your company?
Keep in mind that CEOs are decision makers, not problem solvers. Unless they ask, don’t go into all the details of how you’re going to achieve your strategy. They are pretty focused on getting results, so don’t talk to them about schema markup or canonical tags.
Speak their language by focusing on revenue growth: How much new revenue can it bring in?
Start by having a meeting with your company’s leaders to understand where their head is at. Make it a discussion-based meeting to learn what’s important to them. What you and the SEO team think is important might not be important to them. What are the KPIs (key performance indicators) they care most about?
How do those metrics align with SEO KPIs?
Now that you know what metrics the C-suite cares about, you need to figure out how those metrics fit with your KPIs. While different channels have different goals, remember the overall goal of the company.
Monthly recurring traffic
One of the most powerful things about SEO is monthly recurring traffic. I define it as qualified and targeted prospects (potential customers) coming to your business’s website every day, week, month, and year. Whether the CEO is looking for leads, e-commerce sales, or new customers, these people are seeking you out and finding you through SEO.
The benefits of monthly recurring traffic are:
- Stability & consistency: Once you’ve built up your SEO, it should be pretty consistent,
- Predictability: It’s very unlikely for your organic search traffic to drop off unless you’ve implemented some spammy practices or get hit by an Google algorithm update,
- Easier to scale: If you’re already getting a high volume of website visitors every month and you move the needle by 2%, that can greatly increase your company’s revenue.
How monthly recurring traffic increases revenue
Monthly recurring traffic is a primary driver of monthly recurring revenue, as well as monthly recurring revenue growth.
Let’s say you have a SaaS (software as a service) product and customers pay $100 per month. For every new customer you acquire with SEO, if the average customer lifetime is 2 years, then you will have added $100 in MRR for the next 2 years. As you acquire more new customers with SEO, you will multiply the added MRR for the company.
Also, SEO can be incredibly complimentary to other marketing strategies in your company. Take paid acquisition for example. Once consumers have come to your website through SEO, you can retarget them with paid ads on Google. This will help bring them back to your website and potentially convert into a sale.
The ROI of SEO vs PPC
Paid search provides instant gratification. You put money in and you should immediately get some results. However, the minute you turn off your paid search budget, you lose its leads or sales.
SEO is a long-term strategy that pays dividends. Yes, it takes time to build momentum and is competitive, but one well-ranking blog post can bring in a lot of traffic for years to come.
How do you get buy-in from your senior leadership team?
To get the attention of your executives and get them excited, you can bring up several items. I’d approach them with the following:
- Competitor analysis: Show them how your competitors are beating you in organic search on prime keywords for your business. They’re protective of the company and will want to win.
- Communicate ROI with SEO data: Use Conductor Searchlight’s specialized business case report to estimate how an improved SEO presence will increase the company’s revenue. This tool acts like an ROI SEO calculator.
- Show keyword data: If you’ve found relevant keywords that have a high search volume but the business isn’t ranking for them, show that to the executives. It’s a great way for them to see all the opportunity SEO can bring,
- Explain multi-channel attribution: Having a strong organic search presence helps other sources of traffic as well. In Google Analytics, you can see this in the multi-channel attribution section.
Keep in mind, and make sure they know this as well, that SEO is an investment. It usually takes several months to see improvements. But, once the site is gaining more visibility, it can continue to rank for a long time.
When you’re trying to sell SEO to the executives at your company, teach them about the benefits of it and focus on the metrics they care most about, such as revenue growth and the bottom line. Show them data to back up your argument so they can see how SEO will benefit the business in the long term.