It’s more important than ever to understand how your company’s online presence stands on its own and against competitors.
There are two ways you can acquire customers: First, you can pay for the acquisition in the form of paid marketing. The second way is to develop and deliver great content to attract customers through unpaid digital channels, which is called organic marketing.
With organic search accounting for 53% of site traffic (compared to 15% for paid search), and with conversion rates that are almost always better than paid, organic marketing is usually the most effective way to attract new customers and increase your online revenue. Organic marketing is how most customers find what they are looking for. Who owns organic marketing at your company and how are they doing? Showing up first when your customers are looking for you can be critical for business success and revenue generation.
It’s well-known that most organic clicks come from the first search results page, so the value of investing in organic marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) is self-evident. Getting onto page one when your customers are looking for you is key. If you’re not there, someone else is (likely a competitor), and they are getting that customer’s attention.
Your website and all of its sales possibilities are a click away for most consumers. Despite this ease of access, it’s still common for companies to fall short of showing up to earn the click. Answering the question of how your digital presence meets customers is essential in effectively generating traffic, leads, conversions, and revenue.
HOW ARE YOU SHOWING UP ONLINE?
It’s more important than ever to understand how your company’s online presence stands on its own and against competitors. Many customers do some form of research before making direct contact with any company. Before marketing even has a lead, consumers are evaluating not only your product but also your brand, business practices, and existing customers. Each search is an opportunity to answer a customer’s question and deliver content that helps them. This is your digital presence, and it’s all about helping people with the right content.
Say a company marketing executive is searching for the best leadership development program for their management team. They might enter “best leadership development programs” into the search bar. If you are in the leadership development program space, you should have a lot of content on your website that refers to that topic. If you do, you have the opportunity to show up near the top of the results and earn that executive’s click.
Earning that click means you likely have the best content. Great content has a compounding effect. When the search engine returns your content and it is clicked, the algorithms learn that it’s relevant and valuable. Over time, your content continues to be displayed and delivers long-term lead value to your company.
ORGANIC MARKETING IS UNDERVALUED
Organic marketing makes up a significant portion of most lead volume and often converts to revenue at much higher rates than other lead sources. Do you know how much of your company’s lead volume is coming from your organic marketing content?
Despite the effectiveness of organic, many companies are underinvested in it. While it’s true that effective organic marketing doesn’t always generate leads immediately, it has the potential to provide sustainable leads. Over months, quarters, or even years, high-value leads will start coming and continue indefinitely. With paid marketing, leads often stop as soon as the campaign ends.
Well-branded websites and strong outreach strategies go a long way toward establishing sustained lead generation. At the same time, if that effort isn’t supported with quality SEO, it will still struggle to generate quality leads that convert to revenue.
Managing the SEO of your website is a science. It takes a team, and—given the wide-ranging impact and foundational importance it has across enterprise marketing strategies—is often best developed and managed in-house, where knowledge can be built upon instead of outsourced to an agency. It may be more effective, more controlled, and clearer to measure, and it’s usually less expensive. Digital marketing efforts that lack a strategy for SEO will ensure a company appears lower in search results and reaches fewer customers.
BALANCING YOUR SPEND
Balancing your demand generation spend across lead sources is important. However, demand generation marketers often overlook organic—the most efficient lead source—because they perceive it as free or the channel owner sits on a different team.
Investing in organic can also create a moat to protect you from budget cuts. We saw this during the pandemic as companies that didn’t invest in organic were left with no leads when budgets were cut, whereas many of those with great SEO prospered.
Paid marketing is by no means ineffective, but it should only make up part of your total demand generation strategy. By taking the time to measure attribution through to conversion, you can effectively evaluate your return on marketing investments to understand where you can and should grow your organic efforts. Having a dedicated team devoted to SEO and strategy is the best way to focus on organic marketing. Paid campaigns may yield quick results, but investing in organic marketing provides lasting, long-term benefits at far better returns.
MOVING TOWARD GENERATING REVENUE
Making the most of your marketing spend requires paying close attention to creating leads that generate revenue. In tandem with paid efforts, investing more in organic could drive more leads and higher conversion for longer periods of time, and have an incredible impact on your company’s revenue results.
Organic marketing takes patience. In the demanding environments that shape the relationship between marketing and sales, it’s easy to conclude that content strategies aren’t delivering when they don’t generate immediate results. However, reorienting your company’s focus to a long-term strategy and allowing it the time to come to fruition lays the groundwork for more consistent revenue generation overall.
Your website and how you show up digitally is a science and requires a dedicated team to ensure you get the right long-term results. Ignoring organic marketing could mean you are leaving money on the table and your market share is declining where your customers are trying to find you.
This article first appeared in www.fastcompany.com.
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