It’s not much of a stretch to think of your website as the sign hanging outside your business’s front door.
When you build a website, you hire a designer to make your sign the most beautiful sign it can be. And most designers will give you an amazing new sign that represents your business or organization, your brand, etc. You’ll love how it looks, and so will your customers, clients, volunteers and donors.
You also typically hire a web developer to make sure your sign is functional. They help ensure that the sign doesn’t fall off the building, to start, but they give it all the bells and whistles you want. They make your site functional.
Some organizations even hire a copy writer to help them refine the message on their sign, making sure it’s got content that tells the story the right way.
So now you figure you’re all set, right? Launch the site, pat your team on the back, pay your vendors, and launch the site.
Unfortunately, that’s where most organizations stop. They launch their site, satisfied with their beautiful new sign. But they don’t stop to ask: how are my target audiences going to see or find the sign?
Sure, assuming your designer and developer and copy writer have done a good job – and if they’re worth their salt at all, they will have – they will have properly hung the sign above your organization’s front door.
Now, let’s pause for a minute. How much did this whole thing cost? And how long will it take for you to pay for that great new sign in the form of increased donations / business? In other words, what’s your plan for making this new site pay for itself? Where’s your ROI going to come from?
What Your New Sign Can Do For You
Well, certainly you’ll have achieved one goal: People who already know your organization will be able to find the building.
In the world of search engine marketing, since they know your organization, if they don’t have your site bookmarked or know the URL well enough to type it into their browser’s web address bar, these folks will likely use branded keyword searches to find your organization. And your website will pop up on page 1 of Google, they’ll click through to your website, and it’ll be great. In SEO, we call this branded traffic.
(We have seen cases where the web designer / developer / copywriter hangs the sign up in the basement, where not even your existing clients can see it. It’s not that common, but it can happen, especially with vendors who a) think they’re right and Google is wrong or b) are too focused on creating a slick, fancy-looking interactive website that has zero crawlable content.)
If you’re lucky, you’ll have achieved a second goal: people walking down your street will see the sign and say to themselves, “Hey, that’s an awesome sign, I should check that place out”. They may not have known your organization before, but your sign has made them aware of you. In SEO, we call this non-branded traffic.
The trouble is, not very many people in your target market walk down the street where your business is located.
What about all the people (customers, clients, donors, volunteers, employees, etc.) who travel down the Interstate a half a mile away and are looking for an organization or business like yours, but have no idea it exists?
If you want your organization to grow, isn’t that the real opportunity? And if you can bring that traffic to your site, wouldn’t that not only a) help your mission but b) help your website pay for itself?
All those folks traveling at 70mph down the highway are in your target market. They could use your product, your services, or make a donation or contribute in some other way. They’re ready to buy, ready to buy in, ready to engage with your organization in important and essential ways that will help you achieve your mission.
But we’re sorry to say: all those people in your target market, they’ll never see your sign.
You Need A 300-Foot Pole
How do you get visibility for your sign? How do you raise it up on a 300-foot-tall pole so those folks in your target market speeding down the highway see it? And how do you do that without spending gobs of money on advertising from here to infinity?
The answer is: SEO.
The easiest way to expand your client / customer / donor / volunteer base is to attract new people who are already interested in what you do, but have never heard of you. Those folks are actively searching for your product/service/topic using non-branded keyword searches. Remember, because they’re ready to “buy”.
But if you don’t optimize your website for search engines, most likely it won’t show up when they search on those keywords.
So then our question to you is, how are you going to get ROI on all the money you spent on your beautiful new sign without attracting new clients or donors to your organization or business? It’s going to take a long time, and by then you might be spending money on yet another new website.
SEO can help you maximize the ROI of your website. It can show you how many people in your target market are traveling down that Interstate highway, and it can show you exactly how to make sure they see your new sign.
So please, don’t just hang up your beautiful new sign outside the front door. Put it up on that 300-foot-tall pole.
Want to learn how you can raise your website up on that 300-foot pole? Contact us and we’ll set up a time to talk!
Header Photo Credit: Ann Wegner LeFort