The Costs of SEO & Content Marketing for the Industrial Market

Industrial marketers wonder about the costs of SEO vs. content marketing. Content marketing provides a much larger payoff. As long as you have patience

SEO_ResultsNobody knows better than me the cost of a website and good search engine optimization (SEO)  I founded  Market Pipeline, in 2006, a web development company to address a critical need in the marketing departments of mid-size B2B manufacturers and industrial suppliers.

We jumped in early to the search engine optimization (SEO) game. We built many websites and optimized them with customers’ critical keywords. We heard kudos from many customers saying things like, “You have done more to help our marketing than any other effort in the history of our company.”  Kudos to the web also.

Boy, did we think we were hot stuff.

We built attractive sites and did a good job of placing the appropriate keywords on the right pages so that web-users searching our customers’ products could be found easily. It was “set it & forget it” for the owners and marketing managers. Sure, they would call us occasionally to make minor changes to their websites. In addition, we occasionally bothered them to request more content on their websites to keep Google happy.  Some helped us out…and helped themselves. Most did not.

Typically, we charged between 5k and 35K to develop a website depending on their needs.  Obviously the customers that had extensive product offerings required more webpages and more cost. Often, after the site went live, we would get phone calls that went something like this. “Man or man, I wish we started this web stuff sooner, we just landed a big job as a result of our new web site and SEO.”

Suddenly, we had a believer. For a while anyway.

Then the phones would go silent for a few years until the customer needed to make some changes in their website. Things were going well. I know that many of customers continued landing customers simply because of their presence on the first or second page of Google. I also know that many were reluctant to tell us of their success, afraid we would raise our rates on them.  I had several “lieutenants” tell me so.

Typically, depending on how many keywords were important, we would charge between $200 and $500 per month for monthly SEO maintenance.  This included extensive keyword research to understand the customers’ business. This also included writing “articles” and deploying them on the web to create “back links” to our customers’ websites. Back then, we considered it good SEO practice. At the time, back links were the “currency of the web”. Now, writing articles is a no-no. We also wrote press releases and deployed them on sites such as  Online press releases are still good SEO practice.

But…we probably spent the most time bothering the customer for more content. For several years, Google has been warning all businesses to “earn” your top ranked position by providing your prospects and customers quality, helpful content. “Quality”, meaning content the web-user actually consumes by reading or downloading. Content is the new “currency” of the web.  In my opinion content, great content will be the currency for a long time.

The bottom line?

Based on the fact we lost only 2 customers in 6 years, most were happy and received a positive ROI from their web marketing efforts otherwise they would not have continued our services.

Step forward to 2015.

No longer can you just build a website. You might as well throw your money in the compactor behind your building. That way you provide a positive benefit to society. Maybe some lucky dumpster diver will find his fortune. I can assure you, just building a website with the current rules of the road, as dictated by Google, will be a money losing business tactic.

Many now describe your website as the “mothership” of your marketing efforts and the center of your online branding efforts. I agree, but it must be so much more.

In my opinion, today’s industrial marketing strategy must transform into “The Force”.  “The Force”, from the Star Wars franchise, was a metaphysical and spiritual power. Generally speaking, with a positive moral compass.

For many, rust-belted, industrial marketers it will take metaphysical, spiritual power to transform their marketing to leverage the new digital marketplace.

The wise industrial marketers will also use a moral compass to fashion content their prospects and customers truly want, and love. My friend, Marcus Sheridan calls it the “Honest Economy

Just from my last statements it is obvious that your new website…no, your new growth strategy, will not be a “set it & forget it” exercise. It will take substantially more resources than your first website. Your marketing budget will have to shift more resources to online.

And…don’t expect a quick ROI, as our first clients enjoyed 6 years ago.

The costs and resulting payoff now is much more substantial than the wimpy ROIs of the past. As the web sits today, the potential payoff for savvy industrial marketers is much, much larger.

Be honest. Be helpful. Be genuine. Be authentic. Maybe even spiritual.

May The Force be With You.

Interested in learning more about content marketing…the fuel that now feeds the SEO machine?  Grab our e-book titled Beginner’s Guide to Industrial Content Marketing 

Maybe you are ready to raise your hand and say, “Help”.   Click the graphic below for a COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute consultation.  

Author: Tom Repp

A traditional industrial a passionate evangelist for leveraging the digital channel for lead generation.

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