It doesn’t matter if you’re a mega-enterprise brand or a small local business. And it doesn’t matter if your SEO is handled in-house or via an agency or consultant. No matter what your setup, here are some questions your SEO provider should be asking you:
1) What is the average dollar value of a new sale (not a lead, a sale)?
-I’ll explain why this is critical in a moment
2) On average what is the close rate of business that is referred via the website? (1 out of 10, 1 out of 100, 1 out of 1,000)
Some of you reading this will undoubtedly wonder what in the heck this has to do with SEO. Others will read this and instantly understand where I’m coming from. A few will also realize that these two questions are critical underpinnings of not just SEO, but virtually all other online marketing channels.
See here’s the thing; if you’re serious about delivering true business value (e.g. increased revenue and profits) it’s crucial to understand how SEO translates into cold hard cash. Still unclear on the connection? Let me give you a concrete example:
Let’s say that my business makes an average of $500 every time we complete a sale (we’ll call this the “lifetime value” of a new customer). And let’s also say that 1 out of over 100 visitors to my website that come from natural search engine results end up becoming a customer. Some quick math tells me that if one new customer equals $500 and I can typically generate one new customer out of ever 100 SEO visits, my average value per SEO visit is $5.00.
For those that like equation format:
If 1 customer = $500 and 100 visitors = 1 customer
then 100 visitors=$500 or 1 visitor=$5
Note: You can apply this same logic to figuring out the average dollar value of a lead form submission or a phone call.
Interestingly, as I mentioned before, some of the folks reading this will think to themselves, “Duh! Hugo. All you did is figure out a way to calculate a cost per acquisition (e.g. CPA) target.” Others will read this and say to themselves, “that’s all fine and dandy, Hugo, but I’m just the SEO, so all I worry about are rankings or visits or conversions.”
Here’s the bottom line:
If you’re an SEO provider (in-house, agency, consultant, etc) and you’ve been working under the assumption that rankings, visits, or even conversions were the end-all be-all in terms of your analytics reporting, think again. Your objective should be much more fundamental than that. In other words, you should strive to demonstrate how your efforts translate directly into revenue growth.
By the way, once you start going the extra mile in this regard, you’ll quickly figure out that your clients (whether small mom and pop or Fortune 500 brand) may not have all of the data necessary to generate the aforementioned calculation. If that’s the case, you should strive to help them connect the dots (ex: figuring out how many leads it takes to get one sale or figuring out the lifetime value of a new customer). You’ll quickly find that doing so will help you a) ingratiate yourself with the client b) get an even stronger grasp of your client’s business model. Both of those things will pay huge dividends in terms of the long-term health of your relationship.
P.S. If you’re a marketing manager whose SEO agency hasn’t asked these questions at any point, you know what to do…