SEO vs. PPC: Which Strategy is Right for Your Small Business? – Skip Blankley | Juxt Media

If you’re a small business owner looking to grow, you should be investing in your advertising and marketing. Not only will this increase your visibility but it can also help boost your bottom line. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Skip Blankley, Marketing Director for Juxt Media and nobox creatives, to walk us through SEO and pay-per-click strategies for small businesses. 

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks so much for joining us, Skip.

Skip Blankley:
Absolutely. Great to be here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, sure. You’re probably one busy guy right now with all that’s going on out there in the marketplace, as small business owners try to get more than their fair share of the business that’s out there. And so let’s jump right in right now for the people that are tuning in and listening to us, who are small business owners and entrepreneurs. Tell us from your perspective, what is SEO and pay per click, if somebody is not familiar with those terms?

Skip Blankley:
So I think the best place to start would be Google, which is what we all are very familiar with. And so whenever you perform a search on a Google search, on the Google search engine, the results you see that have the little ad icon next to them, that’s pay per click. So someone is paying to be located in that particular position in the search results. And everything below that, that doesn’t have the little ad icon would be considered search engine optimized content. And so that content was produced in a way, created in a way and optimized in a way that allowed them to climb in rankings to get to those top positions. So that’s probably the best place to distinguish between the two, again. Pay per click being they paid to be there. Well, obviously if you hire someone to manage your SEO, then you’re paying for that result as well. But it’s more of a long game. Whereas pay per click, you could set up an ads campaign today and be in the number one position tomorrow if you’re willing to pay for it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And which one is better in your opinion?

Skip Blankley:
Loaded question with a lot of variables to consider, but I would say search engine optimization is a better long-term strategy. I think anyone that’s in business needs to be thinking long term, and search engine optimization is hands down the best way to think long term. If you’re really … if you’re just getting started though in business, or you just don’t have a strong enough online presence, and you know that it’s going to be a very long climb to get to the top from an SEO perspective, then setting up ad campaigns is a good way to get the ball rolling, to get some leads coming in, to generate some sales that can then be used to dump into SEO. And so I would say if I had to pick one, I would say a strong search engine… SEO campaign, or series of campaigns would be the best long-term strategy.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. And the pay-per-click campaigns allow you to really rank high on the page, as you were saying, even over maybe the top competitor, or even the top provider in that particular industry. So you might be a newcomer and to something and saying, “Well, we just opened up a year ago, or what have you, and we don’t have that ranking yet.” But you could jump right above your top competitor with a strong pay-per-click campaign and garner those people that are actually looking for your competition. Right?

Skip Blankley:
Absolutely. Yeah. A small mom-and-pop shop can compete with the Nikes of the world without… You’d have to pay for it. Obviously, when you’re competing with such large companies and competitive industries you would expect to spend more, but yes, you’re absolutely right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, sure. This is one of those areas too, and I’ve spoken to a number of business owners that … they’ve got their store set up and they’ve got their employees, and they’ve got their inventory levels where they should be. But so many times they leave off the list the proper marketing dollars. And what I would say to people listening to us have this discussion right now today is that before you set up your budget, meet with either Skip or somebody like Skip that can set up a proper marketing budget for you. And don’t leave that out, because it’s so vitally important. The store is great. The fixtures are great, to have the people in the right seats ready for action and ready for business is awesome. But without a good marketing plan and it all starts in on the internet as well as social media, which we’ll talk about in a second.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But if you don’t have that set aside, then everything else that you did is almost, I don’t want to say a waste of money, but you’re really not going to be able to run efficiently. Right. Skip, is that a fair statement?

Skip Blankley:
Yeah, absolutely. Word of mouth can only get you so far. Referrals can only get you so far. And in some industries word of mouth is often enough. But if you really want to grow, then you definitely need to be spending 10 to 20% of your revenue on … you need to be rolling at least that much back into marketing and advertising.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And when you say revenue, you mean that top-line number, not the profit per se, but if your top line is $50,000 a month, then you need to be spending $10,000 of that in marketing. And so many small business owners, and you know who you are, leave that off the budget list and say, “We’ve got a couple of thousand dollars, but we want 50 or $100,000 to come in the front door or to call or click.” And it’s just unrealistic for many small business owners. And then when you talk to them later, they’re like, “That’s the one area that we left off the budget. We didn’t think it was that important.” And it is so vitally important.

Skip Blankley:
Indeed.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
As I said, get with Skip or somebody like Skip that you feel good about, obviously we like Skip. He’s got a great company. He does a great job, but you need to definitely look in this area and make sure that … It’s the old adage about SEO. You were just touching on it, Skip about for small businesses out there that longevity. They’re brand new and maybe some of their competition is already out there with blogs and articles and PR releases and things like that, which will rank higher in an SEO environment.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But what’s the old adage about when is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When’s the second best time? It’s today. So don’t put off another day thinking about and putting together an SEO strategy, because you don’t want to be sitting here a year from now going, “Yeah, we never really focused on that. And now we’re a year behind again.” So if you can Skip, share with our viewers a few SEO search engine optimization tips for small business owners that they can implement themselves.

Skip Blankley:
I think the first place to start would be just gaining a general knowledge of SEO and how the search engines work. And a really good place to start is in the title and the meta description that are included for every page or blog post on your website. And so if you do a Google search, the result that’s in blue for anything that you’re looking at is the title of that page. And the meta description is that gray text just below the blue text. That’s a little bit smaller point and font. And so what you want to start with first and foremost is updating titles and meta descriptions of the pages because that’s what you’re telling Google. That’s the one of the first things that Google scans and one of your first opportunities to tell Google what your page is about. If you’re selling women’s running shoes, you want women’s running shoes in the title of any page that is actually selling that particular product.

Skip Blankley:
If you’re selling, if you’re a plumber or an electrician, you want to make sure that you have plumber or electrician. And then especially if you’re a local company. If you’re not e-commerce and you’re … Again using the plumber as an example. If you’re a local plumber, you want to make sure you have plumber and the city that you’re located in that title and the meta description of that particular page. And so that’s an easy update for … It depends on the platform you’re on, but that’s something that’s usually pretty easy to do because at this point, most websites are built on WordPress or Squarespace or Wix or others. And all of these have built-in tools that with a 10-minute YouTube video, you can learn how to make those updates.

Skip Blankley:
And you’d be surprised, especially in a lot of less competitive industries, especially when they’re local, how making simple updates to … especially for local service providers again, plumbers, electricians, contractors of various sorts. How easy it is to start to climb in rankings because you realize pretty quickly that a lot of people are asleep at the wheel when it comes to SEO. And so we’ve seen a lot of early wins with a lot of companies because not a lot of people are focused on SEO. And so making just those simple tweaks is a really good place to start. And then just beyond that, the next thing is just creating more content that the people that you are trying to market to want to consume.

Skip Blankley:
Just creating that content. A lot of DIYs. Plumbers I’ve seen. We actually just had our home … we had a rate on treatment done with the tarp and the crawlspace. And there was a company Crawlspace Ninjas that I had watched a lot of DIY videos because I was attempting at least at the time, was going to attempt to do it myself. And so I went to YouTube and watched a bunch of DIY videos and the content that Crawlspace Ninjas created actually turned me into a paying customer because I quickly realized that their—, that it wasn’t going to be something that I was going to be doing myself. But I quickly became a paying customer because I knew that they were experts, and they had provided me with a lot of DIY advice that helped me start down that road. And so you can apply that to just about any industry for any business.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And can videos help? YouTube videos, will they help in SEO?

Skip Blankley:
Absolutely. Yes. I mean, YouTube is the second largest search engine right behind Google. And YouTube, obviously being owned by Google. More and more people are going to YouTube to find out how to do every DIY. I mean, you go to YouTube and type in DIY anything, and there is a ridiculous amount of views and subscribers for a lot of these channels. And so video is quickly becoming the winner when it comes to the types of content that you can create. Again, it depends on your industry. But yes, video is a big win for SEO.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And it also allows that small business owner to be an authority and a thought leader in their specific industry, much like that tarp situation that you got in your crawlspace there where you felt very good about these people because you’ve watched their videos before. When time comes to make the call, you’re going to be going with them. You feel comfortable about it. And that’s so much the case with anything, whether it be a restaurant and you’re sharing recipes or whatever. You’re a chef, and you want to say, “Hey, here’s a quick recipe that you can fix at home or what have you.” Or if you’re a plumber, as you were just talking about whatever the industry is. Might be a florist. Whatever it is, you can do your own video on it. It does not matter really about the quality of that video. So don’t get hung up on that. Right, Skip? I mean, so many people get hung up and oh my God, it’s got to be perfect. No it doesn’t.

Skip Blankley:
Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
In fact, a little bit of, or to say a lot of unperfect videos can go very far because they’re authentic, and people can relate to them. If they look too polished, then that can actually work against you. And so my recommendation and Skip’s got great advice here. Get out there and do your own videos and make sure that you get your own content out there. You may not think it’s in impressive, or you might not think it’s important, or you might think it’s everywhere else on the web. You’re making a big mistake, put yours out there, and you’ll be amazed as to where the next customer comes from.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
The other thing I want to add is what you just mentioned. These tips cost zero, $0, right, Skip? To a business owner that’s out there. This isn’t a separate fund that you’ve got to put together. And I know that I’m contradicting myself by saying you didn’t put enough money aside for marketing. But the great part about this is that when you do videos and you do blogs and you put content out there, that doesn’t cost you anything except your own time. And if your time isn’t worth growing your business, we then get out of the business altogether. So I think those are great places to start, Skip. And I appreciate that. And certainly on the video side and you’re right, it’s the second. I know it’s what I go to. Sometimes I go to it first, so let me see if there’s a video on it or let me see what’s out there. Right?

Skip Blankley:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Very, very good stuff. So talk to us. Can you share a few tips with regard to what owners should do when they sit down with a marketing company like yours? To say, okay, here’s, what should we be looking at? What should we be expecting? Is it something that if we come and meet with Skip and we say, “Hey, Skip, we’ve got $5,000 a month for marketing.” How quickly will all of this take place? Is it over a course of a month, six months, a year? What could we look at there?

Skip Blankley:
Yeah. And so it would vary by industry, by company. But if you’re talking … When you sit down to speak with someone about marketing first and foremost, you want to make sure that they have results that emulate what the results you’re looking for. Essentially, you want to make sure that they have experience and they have case studies showing that they’ve taken Company X from A to Z over X period of time, and they’ve been able to prove that time and time again. One of the best things to look for when sitting down with a marketer is making sure that they’re listening to your goals because and essentially, I guess it’s two parts. So one part is listening to your goals and then two is taking their expertise and their experience and meeting you where you are at.

Skip Blankley:
I see oftentimes we’ll sit down with clients and they’ve worked with other companies in the past. And the other company has this plug-and-play system that may work in certain industries or for certain companies, but when they try to apply it to their company, then it just doesn’t work. And so they’re not bridging that gap between where the client is, what their goals are and what they actually want to achieve and what systems they have in place. And so them having … the marketer having that flexibility and even that experience and working with a multitude of different companies in various industries. Having that proven track record and being able to meet the client where they are is a huge piece because you … sales and marketing is all about listening. And if you’re not listening to your client and providing, and meeting them where they’re at, then I’ve seen it time and time again, it doesn’t really … The goals don’t get met, essentially.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. I would totally second that because we as business owners, my wife and I, we’ve seen it all out there. When we sit down, marketing comes, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We do that. We do that.” And all they’re trying to do is take your strategy and put it into their cookie-cutter automation that has nothing to do. There’s a disconnect. And then you don’t realize that until thousands of dollars have been spent and you’re 90 days in or you’re six months in and you’re scratching your head going, “Well, where’s the traffic? Where are the conversions? What’s going on here?” And then you find out that, “Oh yeah, yeah, we don’t actually do that. We do this over here.” And you’re like, all right, “Well, we really need this to be done, not that.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So that’s very great. That’s very good advice. That make sure there is an alignment there with your industry, with your company, with the market that you are in and what that provider does. Because they may take your money and say, “Oh yeah, yeah, we’re going to put you in with the rest of the clients.” And that doesn’t always work. In fact, it often doesn’t work. So you want something much more customized to you, to what your needs are and also to what the expectations are. It’s not like you flip a switch and business starts pouring in the front door. Right. It doesn’t work that way. Whether it be SEO or pay per click, you’ve got to be out there. You’ve got to rank. You’ve got to get these things going. But as I said earlier, now is the time to do that. Don’t wait another minute.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And for those of you that are saying, “Well, we are coming through the COVID situation, and we don’t know that the business is there.” The business is there. Believe me. Everybody needs product. Everybody’s looking for product. Everybody’s looking for the next restaurant to go to. Whatever industry that you are in, you need to be out in the marketplace. And the marketplace today isn’t on Main Street. They’re not walking up and down looking at stores. They’re on one of these right here. And they’re saying, “Where’s the next place I’m going to purchase a product from?” And you better be represented there. Otherwise, if you’re not on here, you’re actually not in business to some degree. Right. You may have a store and it might be someplace, but man, that better be a heavily trafficked area because this is where you want to be. You want to win the game right here. Any last thoughts, Skip or suggestions for our viewers today on media, on SEO or pay per click?

Skip Blankley:
Yeah. Absolutely, I think the main thing, and we talked about this briefly last time that everyone in business needs to be doing is creating content. Whether it’s video, the written word from a search engine optimization standpoint. You’re not going to get found if you’re not creating content that your target demographic wants to consume. Google is going to favor websites that are constantly providing useful, valuable information for their ideal customers. And same thing applies to YouTube. But again, if you’re camera shy, find someone in your company that’s not. If you have a good … if you have someone who majored in English or wrote at some point in the past and is ready to start cranking out content, then put them to work in their spare time. Because the creation of content from a search engine optimization standpoint is absolutely critical.

Skip Blankley:
And then even from a pay per click standpoint, I tell my customers, my clients all the time that if you’re going to spend money to get people to your website, then you need to make sure that you’re providing them with the information that they’re actually looking for. And that really boils down to well-written copy, well-produced videos or even DIY selfie-style videos. It really doesn’t matter.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Skip Blankley:
And you need to make sure if you’re going to spend the money to get someone to your website, that they actually stick around and find what they’re looking for. So content is king.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Yeah, no question about it. I appreciate those comments and those suggestions. I know that our audience does as well. Skip Blankley, marketing director of Juxt Media and nobox creatives. I love those names. Those are very cool names. And if you’re looking at you for a marketing company, start right here. Skip. You just heard right from the horse’s mouth here. These guys know what they’re talking about. We want to be bringing you great solutions, sound solutions to operate your business better. They’re not going to cost you an arm and a leg, but you got to start somewhere. Skip, can they give you a call or email you and say, “Let’s meet, or let’s have a cup of coffee or something. And let me tell you where I’m at currently and see what kind of suggestions you have for us.”

Skip Blankley:
Yeah, absolutely. Skip@juxtmedia.com.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
We’ll show it on the screen here as well. Skip, thank you so much for joining us here you on ASBN. We very much appreciate it. I’d love to have you back because I got about 24 more questions about social media and pay per click and SEO and everything else. And I know you’re the guy to answer them, so thank you so much.


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