The Financial Impact of a Strong Web Presence and Marketing Strategy
1. Why does my web presence matter?(If I acquire clients via word of mouth, or I’m pre-revenue, why does it matter what my web presence looks like?)
Your website is the foundation of your entire web presence, which spans social media channels, directory listings, staff profiles and more. It’s the one thing over which you have complete control. From an SEO standpoint (optimizing for organic traffic from search engines), having a website starts the process of building authority for your domain.
Even if it’s just a “coming soon” splash page, put a stake in the ground. This will have wide-reaching effects over time, particularly in terms of how authority relates to content strategy and development. In short, if you have future aspirations to do business online, you need to pay attention to your website and overall web presence from Day 1.
2. What’s the difference between organic and paid search?
Organic search traffic is the result of your website and individual pages ranking for various search terms on search engines like Google. While it can be seen as “free” traffic, it may take significant effort to make a website competitive and to maintain rankings. That effort entails building a website’s authority (a reflection of who’s linking to you and how much authority they have) and content (high-quality blog posts that demonstrate your expertise, for instance).
Paid search is more akin to a water faucet, where you turn on the tap by paying for clicks, and turn off the tap at will. Google is by far the largest platform for paid search and there are a number of tools available to advertisers, including the Search Network (text ads that show based on search terms), the Display Network (where banner ads show across millions of websites), YouTube, Shopping Ads, Remarketing and more.
3. What KPI’s should I use? (e.g., cost per lead, cost per conversion, CPM)
The ability to track and optimize for Key Performance Indicators is one of the primary benefits of digital marketing. For a B2B Manufacturer, for instance, the KPI might be “new customer acquisition cost.” The digital marketer should have the ability to derive the “lead acquisition cost” and then additional work would need to be done to determine how many leads convert to new customers, which leads to the KPI. Every step in that customer journey is an opportunity for analysis and optimization.
A cautionary note is to avoid reliance on secondary metrics like cost-per-click or click-through rate. These metrics may be helpful in diagnosing issues, but they aren’t “key” in the sense that they often don’t exhibit a direct relationship to a company’s actual KPI’s. For instance, a high cost-per-click is largely irrelevant if the acquisition cost is sustainable.
4. How should a B2C SaaS or B2C Retail company market itself online?
That’s largely dependent on the target audience. For instance, a fashion brand may be active on Instagram and TikTok, while a personal finance SaaS platform might find their audience via Google Search & Facebook. Branding and design should be reflective of that target audience.
What’s common to any B2C company? A clear value proposition, an understanding of the problem or pain the company is solving and responsive, dedicated customer service.
5. How should an Enterprise B2B SaaS Company market itself online?
Understanding the target market is essential. How Microsoft markets Office 365 is likely quite different from a SaaS platform like MailChimp. With this knowledge comes an understanding of the business model and sign-up incentive, be it freemium or a 30-day trial or annual discount.
For instance, MailChimp has a Free plan for small businesses, and as that business grows revenue, they are in a position to take advantage of the feature set MailChimp offers at higher tiers of service. To that extent, MailChimp is very much aligned with their customers, providing features at the free plan that can help a company grow and communicate with their audience.
6. How should a B2B Manufacturer market itself online?
Manufacturers need to understand their customers and what makes them tick. Particularly for manufacturers of commodities, defining the value proposition is essential. That could be same-day service, a national parts network, a lifetime guarantee, or something else that differentiates them from competitors.
An awareness of how the brand is perceived in the marketplace is also important, as is an understanding of how to maintain positive brand equity. For instance, a Manufacturer that decides to outsource customer service from the United States to South Asia in order to save money may not be able to provide the service to which their customers are accustomed, and thus may see chatter on social media that reflects poorly on the brand, which could have long-term ramifications.
7. How big should my business be before I start marketing / SEO / etc?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as a discipline is resource-intensive and thus can be quite expensive for businesses to invest in. That said, the work and results are foundational: building a good website with high-quality content and increasing authority over time will pay dividends for years to come.
How a business is funded may also play a role. If there is immediate pressure from investors to acquire customers, then Google Ads, social ads, etc. may be the right near-term solution. If there is a longer runway to achieve success, then SEO-related initiatives such as content strategy and backlink development may be appropriate.
Whatever stage of growth a company is in, it’s imperative to understand the customer, listen to feedback and always strive to improve. This commitment can fuel growth at any stage, and goes hand-in-hand with any marketing initiatives.
8. What’s the difference between marketing and SEO?
SEO falls under the marketing umbrella. It specifically refers to the processes and work done to improve a company’s web presence. While these efforts are generally focused on a website, it can apply to optimizing content on other channels, such as YouTube.
Boiled down, an SEO strategy includes brand building, content development and earning backlinks from other websites. All of this contributes to increasing authority. High-authority websites generally rank very well for target keyword searches, reaching an audience based on what that audience is looking for.
9. How can I maximize the impact of my ad spend?(I feel like I’m spending too much on Google Ads currently and not seeing much return – how can I increase my effiency?)
Defining ROI (return on investment) goes hand-in-hand with establishing KPIs (key performance indicators). The KPIs help us define ROI. The narrowest interpretation of ROI links spend to performance using last-click attribution. In other words, did the click to the website result in a conversion?
A more holistic view of ROI might take into consideration brand impressions and multi-channel attribution, where advertising on Google results in lift of conversions from social media, for instance. Advertisers generally expect progress towards positive and sustainable ROI, which makes the case for increased spend.
10. How does an internal marketing firm and external web marketing firm work together? Do I need both?
This is a great question that is generally answered by understanding the scope and expertise of the internal marketing team. For instance, an internal team may have expertise in developing marketing collateral, print, and newsletter communications. They may need support in running Google Ads, due to the complexity of the platform.
Marketing is such a broad discipline that it is very unlikely a single individual or very small team has the expertise to take on every single aspect of digital marketing, in particular. An external agency can help plug those knowledge gaps. Great communication and accountability helps build trust and teamwork between internal and external teams.
11. I can’t quite break even financially, or get to the next stage of revenue growth. My marketing department says to spend more. My finance team says we need to cut costs. How can I make an informed plan to figure out my investment to grow sales? And/or know when to scale back marketing?