Monday, September 30, 2019

Generating $2.2 Million Through SEO & Paid Advertising in the Consulting Industry

In the past years, companies were able to use a single online channel like SEO or Paid Ads to drive growth for their business. Specifically, with SEO, the goal was to rank your site to show up #1 in Google and watch the traffic and leads pour in.

In 2019, the internet has changed and companies need to adapt in order to see meaningful results from their online marketing campaigns. It’s no longer about focusing on a #1 ranking, but increasing your share of voice (SoV). Your share of voice is determined by how visible your site is compared to your competitors when looking at the keywords you have in common (most often your product or services). When our client, a custom software development company came to us with the goal of driving new leads through their website, we followed our own advice and create an omnichannel marketing plan that we could tie directly to the change in leads & revenue.

Our Plan

One of the first things we did was to create a market analysis to understand what strategies were working in their industry, and what tactics their competitors were using. One of the tools we used (shoutout to Ryan Stewart at WEBRIS) was a traffic forecast to identify the opportunity available using SEO as a potential channel for growth.

Traffic Projection Tool

(Sample numbers shown above)

Additionally, we need to understand the business metrics so we can create goals and understand if what we are doing is impacting is generating an ROI. The main metrics we identified at the beginning of the project were:

  1. What is your current customer lifetime value? (CLTV)
  2. What is your current customer acquisition cost from online channels? (CAC)
  3. From the proposals that you send out, what is your close rate?

As an example, if a customer spends $60,000 over their lifetime with your business, and your gross margins are 50%, your true customer lifetime value is $30,000.

Now if for every 4 proposals you send out, you close 1 of them, then we predict that each new proposal you send out is worth $7,500 to your business.

Taking it one step further, if it takes 10 leads (whether that is via phone call, submitting a contact form, etc.) to send out one proposal, we now can attribute a value of $750 per new lead to your business.

Great, with that information, we know that if we can bring in new leads for less than $750 each, we are generating a positive ROI. Bringing in leads for $150 each would equate to a 5x ROI while bringing leads in at $75 each would equate to a 10x ROI.

Once we had our numbers set, we built out a quick dashboard in Google Sheets to track our progress.
Inbound Worksheet

Our dashboard was meant to be a living document, where we could test new channels and monitor the results on a bi-weekly basis. This framework allowed us to have apples to apple comparison when testing channels against each other like:

*SEO vs Google PPC Ads
*Sponsorships vs Email Marketing
*Facebook Advertising vs Linkedin Advertising

Tactics

We broke out our tactics into two high-level strategies, organic growth & paid acquisition. For organic growth, we focused on a content first SEO strategy. For our paid acquisition we leveraged a combination of Google Ads & direct sponsorships.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO has become an ambiguous term with a negative connotation. I believe that’s the result of it being somewhat of a “magic box” which attracts smooth sales professionals to sell it to unexpected buyers. This is unfortunate because SEO is still a critical strategy for long term growth.

Let’s simplify SEO in 2020. For B2B companies, SaaS startups, and local service providers, SEO = Content. That’s it.

You need to create content that helps guide your target buyer through the buying process. Most of our clients are selling services that are $10k & up, which means clients aren’t making spur of the moment decisions to buy. These sales cycles can be anywhere from 30 days to 6 months from the first contact.

So our SEO Strategy went something like this:

1. Identify keywords that would be helpful to our target buyer.

2. Prioritize keywords that have enough search volume, and have a low difficulty to rank in Google.

3. Create a content calendar to publish new articles.

4. Conduct blogger outreach to get new links, mentions, and shares from other sites & influencers in the space.

Paid Aquisition

As I mentioned at the start of the case study, we’ve shifted our focus away from aiming for the #1 spot in Google (which we still hit as a result of our process), into owning the search results. What does that mean exactly? Stop for a second, and grab a pen. This is important.

When someones searching for your product or service you get results that look like the below.

search results

Let’s break this down because there’s a lot going on. Let’s say you’re a software development company in Atlanta, and someone in searching for your business. The results in orange are the ONLY ones that link directly to the company page. Everything highlighted in blue is an ad, green are local results (Local SEO, different than ranking in Google’s page #1), and everything in pink is a directory site.

Okay so what does this mean? It means that out of the 24 possible links to click on in Google, only 4 of them lead to company sites. So if you’re only strategy is trying to rank for a specific keyword related to your company, you’re going to have a bad time.

This is where the idea of owning the search results comes in.

If we can run Google Ads (blue), local SEO (green), and build relationships with the directory sites through sponsorships (pink), we can significantly improve the search visibility of our client.

So we put this strategy to the test, and in 12 months, here’s where we ended up,

Results

Google Analytics Traffic

As you can see above, over a 12-month timeframe, boosted traffic by 93%, and more importantly, drove up new leads by +97%  (501 vs 254 in the previous 12 months).

An increase in leads and traffic sounds great, but we really need to tie these numbers into real value for the business. When we attributed each closed deal that came from one of our campaigns, we accounted for more than $2.2 Million in sales at an 8X Return on Investment.

We work on these types of strategies each days for our clients. If you’re a B2B or SaaS owner, or just looking to grow your business, reach out and let’s see if we can help you.

Author
Brandyn Morelli

B2B / SaaS Growth Marketer specializing in the technology space. I have an unhealthy obsession with data & analytics.

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