One of the questions I am asked most often when quoting on an SEO or social media project is, “How long is it going to take for this to start showing results?” It’s a valid question. Frequently, the business investing in my time is a small business with limited resources, and their SEO or social media spend represents a significant proportion of their marketing spend and plain profits. I remember well the pain with which I parted with any marketing money at all when I had a retail shop, and I really empathise with my clients.
It is important to note that search engine optimisation and even design overhauls take some time to begin to bear fruit. While Google has recently changed its algorithms to give higher value to more recent content, it can still take up to six weeks for a website to be indexed, and even then there is little guarantee of a first page rank.
It is helpful to think of SEO and design as essentials: they may not guarantee success, but without them, success could be extremely elusive. Imagine it like this: you may have a great candy shop running in your garage. This is your business.
Unfortunately, no one knows it’s there, so no one ever comes to buy from you. To address this need, you have beautiful flyers designed. You know that the better the flyers look, the more likely they are to attract clients, so you invest wisely in great looking flyers that really convey the message effectively. This is your website.
However, until you hand out the flyers, no one will find you. This is SEO. Once people have your flyers, they can find you (especially if the flyers include a map!). But without the flyers actually reaching the clients in their cars at the traffic lights, you’re invisible. No matter how good your products and systems are, until people know you’re there, you’re not.
Now, as your business grows, you may decide to move to a mall. The passing foot traffic is bound to result in sales and your business should grow. Only you can ensure a successful retail shop in a busy mall, but your chances of success inside the mall are much higher than they would be in your garage off a quiet side street in the suburbs. This is social media: you take your business TO the people.
And finally, you realise that you could have clients from further afield. Perhaps you commission a billboard or a radio ad. Maybe you hire a sales rep and send him out on the road. Maybe even television (radio and television work very well with web, by the way). This is Google Ads and Facebook Ads (among others): online advertising on a cost-per-click (CPC) model. It’s like putting up a big sign on a busy high street that drives traffic to your little store, in a mall or even in your garage.
Without these things, people will have a hard time finding you. With these things, they may still not find you, or if they do, you may not be the right fit for the client, but the chances of success are exponentially improved.
Remember: marketing is all about getting found, but once you’re found, make sure you have what your clients want.