What is the difference between SEO, SEM, SMM, and SMO?
A quick tour of the internet will reveal that these four acronyms are being used everywhere and they really seem important, and they are. Not too long ago, I had never heard of SEO companies, let alone the other three, and then I found out that unless I had my new website SEO-d, I would not have anybody visiting my fabulous expensive new site. If no one visited my new site, then I had wasted a lot of time, money, and energy. I could not afford to waste my resources like this, so I decided to find out about these foreboding acronyms.
First let’s look at the basic meanings of the acronyms and then how each applies to a basic website.
- SEO– search engine optimization; following some of the Google rules in order to increase the chances of the Google search engine listing your site near the beginning of a list for particular keyword searches.
- SEM– search engine marketing; in addition to doing SEO to get to the “top” a website owner can now buy advertising or pay to have an ad at the top of a search engine results list; these can be things like pay per click or Yahoo or Bing ads.
- SMO– social media optimization; basically when using social media ( Facebook, Twitter, etc.) you are making your profile more visible, your social network activity and published content can then be found more easily by people searching for resources and information that matches your content.
- SMM– social media marketing; in addition to the SMO, you guessed it, you pay to have an ad on the social media. This is how the Facebook ads show up on your page.
Search Engine Optimization Plans
As you can see from these definitions, the acronyms work in tandem. Every website marketing plan is going to have an SEO component. It is the granddaddy of all of them and without a solid SEO plan, your business website will most likely get lost and never show up on page one for any search other than a specific search for your business name and location.
Improve Your Rankings
Ask yourself, when you do a search, how deep do you go to find a business that you are going to contact. Most of us will never go past the first 10 listings, so showing up on page one is important. A good SEO team can help improve your rankings by making your website more visible. Google openly states several things you can do and a really great SEO team spends time and energy doing all of them. It is definitely worth your marketing money to hire the experts and let them do what they are good at so that you can run your business and do what you are good at.
Jennifer Bagley, a well-known speaker and internet marketing guru goes into more detail in this video. Check it out.
When Does SEM Coming into Play?
Since I have such good SEO, why would I need to add SEM? As you can see from the definition, this is a definite way to budget advertising dollars into a system that has measurable results- namely you can see when your advertising is on page one and measure the internet traffic going to your site from that ad. How many conversions do you have for those visitors? On the other hand, once again talk to yourself, and ask, how many times do I click on one of those ads and go to those sights? Ask your friends and enemies the same question and decide whether that is a good place for your marketing money. It works well for some businesses and not at all for others.
Let’s Talk SMO
SMO will definitely increase the visibility of your social media profile. You want that to happen. It is a great way to network and meet potential customers without putting forth a great deal of money or effort. By driving others to your website or blog through SMO, it will be easier to share in their circles of influence, which helps build a community around your brand. Once again there are specialized marketing companies, like CI Web Group who specializes in handling this while they handle your SEO, freeing you up to manage your business.
Advertising on Social Media
Do I really need to pay to advertise on social media? SMM broadens your customer reach and allows you to build your brand like you used to with bulk mail outs. SMM is the digital version of the old neighborhood shopper’s guide, only better. Notice that you get an ad right after you searched for an item on the internet. That is because the internet keeps no secrets and what you are looking for lines up with what someone else is advertising. It works out for both parties. You can easily “window shop” for items you want or need and the seller builds his client base within the designated area of his business.
Growing Your Business
If you want your business to grow, you must broaden your internet marketing base. To broaden your base, you must increase your SEO and SMO strategies and then decide which advertising strategies really work for you, SEM, SMM, or both. CI Web Group can help you analyze your internet presence and offer expert solutions that meet your goals and budget. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Social Media Preferences
Social media is ever-evolving and so should your strategy on how to acquire new customers online. We are seeing more frequent engagement on different types of uploaded files and messaging. For instance, we see a lot of engagement on videos around 15-30 seconds that are posted with 2-3 sentences of light-toned verbiage. People prefer cool-toned geometric with splashes of yellows and greens over the harsh reds and blues that are often so widely used in the world of home contractors.
CI Web Group is in the process of rolling out a newly-upgraded social media plan at the same cost to our customers, BUT with the added bonus of a social media library that you can choose and instantly post from. The library will include graphics, .gifs, and even videos!! We are so excited and will be adding the link here soon.
Pros and Cons of HVAC Pay Per Lead Programs: Is It the Right Choice For You?
HVAC pay per lead programs can offer fantastic results in the right digital environment. There are many benefits that can be achieved through an effective pay per lead program implementation, but not all pay per lead programs are created equal.
To reach your desired results and to convert those leads into the sales you are looking for, you have to follow the right channels, otherwise your hard-earned money will go down the drain.
What’s HVAC Pay Per Lead All About?
In essence pay per lead campaigns are carried out by a company whose sole goal is to scan the internet for genuine interest in your services, while also gathering prospective client information for you. In most cases the agreement between you, as the advertiser, and the third-party company will state that you only pay for leads which are generated on the destination site that belongs to the third party. While many may click through and look around, if they don’t sign up, you don’t pay. A legitimate lead usually entails contact information, service type (replacement, repair etc), and demographic information.
Why Pay Per Lead Could Be The Right Option for your HVAC Company
The benefits of such a campaign can have telling effects on your revenue if properly implemented. This kind of program does not come cheap, and you really must weigh up whether what you put in will be eventually justified by the ROI.
Pay per lead programs can offer a higher return on your investment, increase your conversion rates, increase acquisitions, and ensure that your customers are happier than ever before.
Warm Vs. Cold Leads
The wonderful thing about leads generated in this way is that there is already interest on the potential customer’s part. They have shown an interest in your product or service and are looking for validation that they have made the right choice. This is a far cry from cold calling and starting the uphill battle of convincing the person on the other end of the line that they need our product or service. The leads you receive through pay per lead programs are more likely to be converted to sales. The conversion rate is much higher when compared with that of cold-calling techniques.
Who Will Benefit from Pay Per Lead Campaigns?
Pay per lead programs do render results, however, depending on the industry, one lead can run into costs of around $300 at the top end of the scale. Taking this into account it is easy to see why such campaigns would be more suited to larger, more stable companies than smaller, emerging ones. Most micro, small, or emerging companies just don’t have the disposable cash to throw into a campaign of this sort, even if the conversion rate of the generated leads is much higher. It would be wise for a micro, small, or emerging company to get their brand firmly placed in the market by leveraging organic methods before diving into a costly campaign which may leave them without the cash flow to complete the work and generate the income.
It is vital to remember that certain factors will affect the success of a particular pay per lead campaign and these factors need to be considered when you make the final decision:
- The weather
- Program participation
Large companies or those that are stalwarts in the industry will have access to a larger amount of disposable cash (marketing dollars), which they can willingly plough into a pay per lead campaign as they know they will make their money back tenfold on the converted sales. This is largely due to reputation within the industry, customer reviews, and an outstanding brand.
Different Strategies That Work in Different Ways
Pay Per Lead is a much speedier method to acquire leads, and is literally worlds apart from the set of strategies we use to generate organic leads on behalf of our clients.
Content and SEO marketing lead generation – organic
This type of campaign is not as cut and dried as you might think. Depending on the market that you want to target, the focus will be placed on different areas. Direct to the dealer leads and campaigns: These leads are referred to a new dealer form where all leads are posted to each dealer’s lead sheet. Focus areas for this type of campaign would lie in the areas of:
- Content and SEO Campaigns,
- Direct mail promotion drops to site visitors.
The lowest volume and lead quality mix
A campaign directed to micro-regions would require the leads are distributed to the dealers. Focus areas for this type of campaign would lie in the areas of:
- Regional/brand landing pages,
- Pay-per-click advertising,
- Lead distribution
Content and SEO marketing is where most customers click through. These are the intelligent buyers who put thought and planning into their decision to purchase. In most cases these customers are looking for a company to build a relationship with rather than just undertaking a once-off purchase. They are less sensitive to prices. The dealer must rate a 4-5 star to receive the majority of these high-quality leads as they will have the most opportunity to convert these to sales. 90% of organic searchers will click on the top three links on a Google search.
Organic leads are generated by placing the dealer in the top ten positions on page one of Google. This is achieved through content, blogging, website optimization, link building, schematic markup, web administration, code optimization, and site speed improvements.
Not an Overnight Solution
This kind of campaign is not an overnight solution. It can take anything from 30 days to many years. This is dependent on the competitiveness in your area. You can expect a lower quantity of leads at a higher cost to begin with but as time passes, your lead quantity will increase and the price per lead decrease.
Pay-per-click or pay-per lead – paid strategy
A minority of customers click through on these ads and they are usually in urgent need to purchase the product or service. There is less thought, or planning involved in the purchase and it is more spur of the moment. These customers tend to be concerned with the price factor. A quick response time is imperative. Around 40 – 60% of these leads are converted to sales.
Multiple landing pages are the order of the day with offers designed to attract localized leads. Specific audiences are targeted, and traffic driven to the predetermined landing pages in our network. The leads are qualified using a series of questions to ensure that they are genuine leads. Once this has been determined we distribute the leads to the various dealers according to the prearranged agreement in place with any specific dealer.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
In high population markets where the industry is competitive and search volumes are excessive, a high quantity of leads can be generated quickly. In low population areas, the search volume is too low to make this a profitable venture due to excessive costs per lead. In any instance, the turnaround and response time of dealers must be on point to ensure that leads are converted to sales. Urgency is the key factor here and if a customer is not helped quickly enough, they will simply move onto the next dealer.
The pros for implementing a pay-per-lead campaign far outweigh the cons, however, each situation is different and must be evaluated on its own merit. Undertaking such a campaign needs to be strategically planned when your company can stand to benefit from the initial outlay of paying for the leads.
Pay-per-lead can do amazing things for your business and your revenue, however, the way you implement such a strategy is key. Many new companies are hungry to get moving and increase their business flow. However this may not be the best of times to explore this option as your benefits may not be as impactful as they could be if you waited just a few months or say a year longer.
While it may be easier to close warm deals, other factors do affect the final decision made by the customer and as a new business, you may not have those ducks in a row just yet. Bide your time, strike while the iron is hot and reap all the benefits for your dollars spent.
So, is it the right choice?
Yes, pay-per-lead programs are the right choice but under the right circumstances and at the right time. What may work for an established HVAC company may not yield the same results for a startup. Factors like how seasoned are your sales team, timing, and budget all come into play.
Do the necessary homework on all your options and implement the right things, in the right order, at the right time. Don’t jeopardize results by rushing into something before your business is fully ready. Strategy is key in business if you want to grow and excel in your industry. Let us help you evaluate your unique circumstances and make an educated decision based on data, by clicking here.