A great deal of our book, Search Engine Marketing, Inc. turns on the business case for search marketing. We try to explain that search marketing is more search than marketing, but people who haven’t bought the book keep asking me questions. Mostly they want to know, “How can I get my company to invest in search marketing?” We spend a few chapters in the book on this, but I have a shorter answer here.
The simplest business case for search marketing is, “If they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.” But most flinty-eyed accountants would not accept that for an answer.
What they want is hard numbers.
Here are a few ways for you to go about it:
- Proclaim it. Sometimes, people listen when you show them enough studies and statistics. It’s the easiest way to get buy-in, so it’s the place to start first. We show a lot of persuasive evidence in our book, but the absolute best compendium of search marketing stats is MarketingSherpa’s Search Marketing Benchmark Guide.
- Test it.. If your company spends any money on other forms of marketing, you’ll usually find search marketing to be more cost-effective. A 2003 study by Piper Jaffray & Co. showed the cost of a lead acquired through search marketing to be $0.45 vs. $0.55 for e-mail, $1.18 for Yellow Pages ads, $2 for banner ads, and $9.94 for direct mail. Suggest shifting a small amount of money to search and test this at your company.
- Project it.. Every time someone searches for something you sell and you aren’t found, it might be costing you a sale. We developed a search opportunity spreadsheet you can download and customize to your situation.
One of these methods will probably work at your company. Consider what your company finds persuasive and pick the one that has succeeded in the past.