What sort of return on investment can you expect from business to business search engine optimization?
What does a business to business sales lead cost you? For most businesses, the cost of a qualified sales lead is several hundred dollars at a minimum. Think of what you spend on your sales staff, on advertising, trade shows, public relations, direct mail, customer events. Now take that number and divide it by the number of qualified leads you got last year. It’s a pretty big number, eh?
You still likely need to continue such efforts to reach out to prospective customers. Sometimes, though, it’s a lot of educated guesswork. Am I advertising in the right media? Are we going to the right trade shows? How good is my list for direct marketing? Am I hiring the right salespeople, and are they prospecting effectively? All of these are outbound efforts tied to your ability to find your target customers. With search engine optimization, you don’t have to worry about finding them. It’s about them finding you.
Three primary factors for success in retail. They determine whether you’re going to have traffic and sales, whether prospective customers are going to find you. It’s no different on the web—no matter what business you’re in. If you’re not in the top search results for the search terms for your business, your online efforts have little value.
Location matters. Sure, if prospects type in your company name into Google, your site may rank very high—but that’s not how people search. They use terms like “respiratory equipment”, “intellectual property attorneys”, “aluminum extrusion equipment”, “electrical contractors”, and “conference room furniture”. You get the picture.
According to a recent study of business to business purchasers, 93 percent go online to research a business purchase. And for 64 percent of them, a search engine is the first place they go to do that research. Regardless of whether they know your company, they go online. They want to know who else is out there, whom they should be talking to.
If you show up in the top search results, people who don’t know you will find you. That creates sales leads.
If you show up in the top search results, prospects will perceive you as a leader. That creates sales leads.
Advertising, trade shows, direct mail, sales calls, and customer events are all brief moments in time. Their success depends on whether your prospects saw the ad, attended the event, received the direct mail piece, or got called. Their success also depends on whether your contact occurred when the prospect was in a buying mode.
Optimizing your website for search has long-lasting effects. Search engine results are available 24/7—whenever someone in the buying mode is looking. And depending on your search terms, your high rankings may not change very quickly.
And unlike many traditional efforts, search engine optimization results are much more quantifiable. You’ll be able to clearly see where you rank for desired search terms. With high-ranking search results, your website traffic will likely increase dramatically, and, with standard web analytics software, you’ll be able to measure the results. Most importantly, you’ll generate and capture sales leads and inquiries. (And you’ll likely see your cost per sales lead go down dramatically.)
When you think of all the money you’re spending through traditional marketing channels, hoping to find the right prospects, doesn’t it make sense to spend a fraction of that money ensuring that they’ll find you?
When it comes to business to business search engine optimization, the question isn’t, “Should we invest in optimizing our site?” The question is, why aren’t we.