We live in a digital world where people are connected 24 / 7. Every day, we see between 4,000 and 10,000 advertising messages, which makes it much harder for brands and marketers to wedge in their message between 10,000 others and be seen.
But the growth of the digital world has brought the growth of search engines, and now, the buyer’s journey begins with an online search. This has created an opportunity for brands and marketers to use inbound marketing – a strategy that helps customers find you when they’re ready to buy instead of you forcing your way into their life and putting your message in front of them when they’re not ready to buy.
89% of buying processes begin with an online search – and that’s where inbound marketing comes into play.
Which brings us to the topic of this post: SEO, or search engine optimization, is the foundation of modern marketing because it lets your audience find you during their buying journey.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a discipline within marketing that is focused on improving web site traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. Traffic that comes from searches not generated by a paid ad is called organic traffic, and SEO aims to improves the quantity and quality of organic search traffic.
Search engines use algorithms that read web page code, indexes pages, and returns them as results when users search specific terms, or keywords. The goal of SEO is to rank as high as possible so when a potential customer is searching for a product or service that you offer, they find you.
As an example, if you specialize in providing accounting services to small family farms, you’d want your web site to show up when someone searches ‘family farm accountant’ or ‘bookkeeping for small farm.’ SEO improves the likelihood that happens by making sure that the on-page copy and back-end technical web site code is optimized so search engines understand that your page should be shown to people searching those keywords.
Inbound marketing helps potential customers find your company. It happens before your potential customer is ready to purchase and targets people that have a need for the products and services you provide but are just beginning their buying journey.
A key difference between inbound marketing and ‘traditional,’ or outbound marketing, is that while outbound goes looking for customers, inbound marketing focuses on visibility, so your potential buyers come to you. Making contact early is crucial because buyers form opinions and create ‘companies I should contact’ lists well before they reach out to any.
Inbound marketing involves tactics to help you get found, like being on social media, creating content that consumers find valuable, and search engine optimization.
Here’s another analogy: SEO and inbound marketing is bypassing the large lake crowded with lots of other boats and fishermen, and dropping a line in a much smaller lake, but one that has the type of fish you like to catch, and that are biting. It might be more work to find that smaller lake, but the results are much better!
SEO is the foundation of modern marketing
As noted, people are overexposed to advertising messages, so marketers have adapted to strategies that attract customers that are ready to buy: inbound marketing. It allows you to reach customers at every stage in their buying journey and well before they ever contact you. SEO is working for you even before you know it is!
Here’s one more analogy: Not optimizing your site for search is like opening a store on a road in the middle of nowhere, with no car or foot traffic, no address on the building, and no sign outside with your name and a description of what you do. Even though you have a product that every person in the world needs, no one will ever come into the store because they can’t find it.
That’s why SEO is the foundation of modern marketing.
Can’t I just throw some SEOs into my business?
SEO is a skill that not every marketing agency offers. It’s kind of like (our last analogy, we promise): Anyone can hum a tune, but it takes training, experience, and skill to translate those sounds into musical notes. It takes even more skill for a songwriter to turn those notes into a song, and yet more experience and talent for a producer to take that song into a recording studio so musicians can perform it and create a finished product.
That’s what SEO does – it takes keywords that represent your product or service, optimizes them, and gets them ranked in the search index so that your business is returned as a result – sending people to your website looking for your product or service. SEO turns your hummed tune into a hit record.
SEO isn’t easy. It’s a learned skill, honed through years of practice and constant learning and education on the topic, because search is always changing and adapting to consumer needs. But if you build SEO into your marketing strategy it will work for you and deliver traffic to your site.
Now, we’d like to inject a bit of caution when it comes to expectations about SEO: it takes time before it starts generating results so it’s not realistic to think that SEO work done on a Friday will create thousands of new website visitors by Monday.
Most experts agree that it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to see any measurable increase in website visitors and inbound leads. We like to say that SEO is playing the ‘long game’ because of the time it takes to reap its substantial benefits.
Don’t let your business go ‘un-found’ – give it some SEO mojo so people that need what you provide can find you when they begin their purchase journey.
DRM is a marketing agency, strong in SEO, that uses creativity to connect your brand to your audience and help your business grow. We were founded to do what we are passionate about: Putting creativity to work and connecting brands to their audience, connecting audiences to your company goals, and connecting your business to the success it deserves. Let’s connect!