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Justifying SEO Services in Salt Lake City

As is with any major city, as I drove around Salt Lake City I was bombarded with advertisements for various local businesses.  This got me thinking more about why local businesses are still throwing so much money into traditional offline advertising. There are so many more effective ways to find new clients, thanks to the internet.  It’s plausible these local companies might not be aware of the online opportunities available to them.  Today, I want to compare SEO Services Versus Paid Advertising.

We deal with clients of all sizes, from the small local business to the fortune 100 companies.  I’ll be the first to admit that not all businesses are a good fit for internet marketing.  There are some businesses that just don’t do well with internet marketing, and others that thrive with this medium.  I’ll help you identify whether your business is a good fit for SEO or not.  Since we’re located in Salt Lake City, I’ll do the analysis based on local business; however this applies to any business in any major city.

If you’re not sure what SEO stands for, I suggest you read this article first:  What is SEO?   To get to the nuts and bolts of it, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it refers to the process of ranking your company high in search engines.  The top ranking sites generate the most leads and clicks compared to sites ranking in lower positions.  For example, if you were to search for something like:  “Salt Lake City Law Firm”, it will return a list of local law firms.  The law firms with the best SEO will rank higher than their competition.

Traditional Advertising Compared to SEO Services

Salt Lake City Advertising Agencies
In Salt Lake City, if you want to promote your business you can try traditional advertising methods such as billboards, radio ads, signs, newspapers, direct mail, etc.  These forms of marketing have been popular for over a century, and still work today.  There are plenty of SLC advertising agencies available for you to chose.  Salt Lake agencies rival some of the big brands found in New York City.  There are a lot of good choices for you, but keep in mind these ad agencies will require a decent budget.  Most local marketing campaigns will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 a month or more.  If your budget is less than that, you can consider working directly with media partners and bypassing ad agencies.  But even then, you’ll want to have a sizeable budget to get any kind of results.

Advertising Pros:
* Immediate 
* Good for Branding

Advertising Cons:

* Expensive
* Disruptive (Annoys or Frustrates People)
* Low ROI
* Not Guaranteed

Salt Lake City SEO Services
When it comes to choosing a Salt Lake City SEO Company, there are quite a few options too.  Because we do so much white label SEO work with different firms, we have to be careful what we say here as we don’t want to favor one of our partners over another.  Obviously, you can hire us directly if you feel we’d be a good fit for you, or you can search and review any of the legitimate Salt Lake City SEO Services.  For local SEO, our pricing ranges from $1,200 to $5,000 / month on average.  If this is within your budget feel free to fill out the form and I’ll get back to you or one of my amazing associates will.   While I’d love to have you as a client my goal today is to help you understand and compare your options first.  No pressure from us, ever!

Salt Lake City SEO Expert
Scott Paxton: Local Salt Lake City SEO Expert

SEO Pros: 
* Not Disruptive (Buyers Already Seeking Your Service)
* Affordable
* Low Risk / High Reward

SEO Cons:

* Takes More Time
* Requires a Website
* Not Every Business is a Good Fit
* Can’t Hire Just Anyone (Requires Proven Expert)

 

Is Your Business a Good Fit For SEO?
Surprisingly, there are several types of businesses that don’t do well online.  If your business isn’t a good fit for SEO we’ll tell you before we ever charge you a dime.  But this isn’t the case with every SEO Company.  Some will take your money regardless of whether it makes sense for your type of business or not.  To help you get around this, we’ve created a list of questions that will better help you identify whether you business is a good fit or not:

1) Do You Have a Website?
This one might seem obvious, but it’s something we encounter all the time.  If you don’t have a website, we can’t optimize it or help it rank anymore than a barber can mold a bald man’s hair.

2) Do You Sell a Product or Service?
If yes, SEO is almost always a good fit.  If you don’t have a tangible product or service it will be difficult to justify doing SEO.

3) Do Customers/ Clients Search for Your Type of Business Online?
If no, then there is no need to do SEO.  If no one is searching for your product or service online, then it’s probably going to be hard to find buyers.  SEO works because it taps into an existing source of clients that are searching for your product or service already.  If you’re launching a new product that hasn’t been created yet, then traditional advertising is probably a better fit.

4) Is Your Business Short-term and/or Change Products Frequently?
Generally long-term businesses do better.  However, there are seasonal or event type of businesses that can still do well with SEO.

If your business passed the above questions OK, then you’re probably in good shape to consider doing SEO or having it done for you.  Salt Lake City offers you a lot of options when it comes to online marketing.  What I’ve found with nearly every business I meet with is that most have a limited marketing budget, or none at all.  If you don’t have a marketing budget, that’s ok.  Before we move forward, let’s look at how to identify how much value each client brings your company and whether or not creating a budget is necessary.  Not all businesses will need an SEO Budget.

Should Your Business Invest in SEO?
The answer:  It depends.

Even if your business seems like it’s a good fit for SEO the cost of doing Search Engine Optimization may not be a good investment for you.  The question really comes down to how much money you make per new client versus the cost to obtain the client.  If you think about the value of one new client over their life it will help you make a smart decision about what marketing methods to use.  The life of the client is determined by the amount of money one client will generate on average.  To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the value of a client for one month and for one year.

How Much is Each Client Worth to My business?
Let’s compare two very different businesses:

Hair Salon:
1 Haircut = $20
Frequency = 60 days
Retention = 50%
** Monthly value = $5 / month after adjusting for retention
** Yearly value = $60

Accident Attorney:
1 Completed Case = $30,000 (amount the attorney takes home)
Frequency =  Once
Retention = Once
** Monthly value = $2,500 / month
** Yearly Value = $30,000

Using this sample, we can quickly identify the value each new client brings your company.  I purposely used 2 widely different local businesses to illustrate the contrast that exist.  Likely, your business will fall somewhere between these two examples.  As a general rule of thumb, the higher amount of revenue you generate per client, the less amount of leads needed.  If your product or service is low cost you will need to generate a lot of leads to justify any marketing expense.


Once You Identify the Worth of Each New Client, it’s Easy to Calculate ROI
Before you do any kind of marketing, including SEO, it’s ideal to plan out your break even cost.  How many new clients are needed to cover your expenses?  The math is simple — all we have to do here is take the cost of the marketing and divide it by the client value.

Let’s stick with the same examples above.  Break Even Equation:   Cost / Revenue

Hair Salon –  $1,500 / Month SEO Plan  |  Client Value = $60
$1,500 Divided by $60 = 25 New Clients Per Month

Accident Attorney – $3,500 / Month SEO Plan | Client Value = $30,000
$3,500 Divided by $30,000 = 0.12 (about one client every 8 months)

To calculate the potential ROI from SEO, plug in the number of new clients expected from the marketing channel.  For SEO, this is simplified because we already have the data that shows us how many people are searching for your products each month.  We can easily plan out the income that will be expected based on forecasting rankings and by using common conversion rates for your industry.  I can’t speak for all SEO firms, but I can tell you that we won’t accept a new project unless we can confirm a decent SEO ROI for you.  The good news is that regardless of who you hire, any good SEO company will show you the numbers of what to expect.  This makes it easy for you to determine the risk versus reward of doing SEO.  Not every business will be able to justify a positive return on investment from SEO.  It mostly comes down to two things:  1) The cost of your service;  2) the number of people searching for your product/ service.  If either of those are out of balance, then it’s best to not invest in SEO.

How Much Money Can You Make from Doing Search Engine Optimization?
The goal of doing SEO should be to grow your businesses, to help it thrive.  We like to use realistic scenarios to understand the potential or lack thereof.  The break even analysis is a good start but it only gives you the bare minimum needed before losing money.  A good SEO plan should double, triple or even return ten times your money.  We’ve seen all sorts of big success stories from SEO.  It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise as it’s really all about getting you in front of buyers that are already searching for your product or services.  Unlike traditional advertising that uses generic demographics to target potential clients, the internet provides you with exactness.  It cuts through the noise and hyper focuses on getting your site in front of people already looking to buy.  As long as your business is a good fit for SEO, it should be no brainer!

If you’re not doing SEO today, it might be time to take a closer look.

Scott Paxton
About Author
Scott A Paxton is an award-winning SEO Consultant who specializes in creating smart technology to better understand search algorithms. Since 2006, Scott has been working full-time in search optimization and has helped some of the nation's biggest brands thrive online. He's passionate about SEO, and loves his wife and three kids.
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