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2 Myths Preventing Your Established Business From Investing In and Growing Through SEO

2 Myths Preventing Your Established Business From Investing In and Growing Through SEO

Kahl is the Founder of Rise Marketing, a marketing agency that builds high-performing websites and SEO campaigns for fast-growing brands.

One of the most challenging parts of business success is that it can be blinding. Many leaders cling to decades-old strategies that led to today’s success—without realizing the limitations they’re placing on their businesses as a result. In the case of B2B service businesses hoping to gain new customers in coming years, holding on to traditional tactics (e.g. in-person networking and face-to-face sales) and avoiding investing in newer strategies (e.g. digital marketing and SEO) is a recipe for failure.

According to McKinsey & Company’s latest global B2B Pulse survey, winning B2B companies have several things in common. This includes a willingness to experiment with new sales technologies, such as chatbots and other automations, for attracting leads. The most successful B2B companies also provide customers with a cocktail of traditional (face-to-face), remote (inside sales), and self-service (e-commerce) channels.

The answer to success is loud and clear. Digital marketing isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s embedded in the strategies winning B2B companies use today and those predicted to help them win in the future. Fundamental to these digital strategies is SEO, which enables your company to be found through Google. However, misconceptions held by established companies prevent them from seeing the need to invest in digital marketing. I’d like to bust two common myths my digital marketing agency often hears from prospective B2B clients and show how these myths prevent growth. 

Myth #1: “Any decision-maker who can pull the trigger on a ten-million-dollar project already knows who we are. We don’t need to invest in SEO.”

When you’ve been in business for many years, you likely have built a strong reputation and countless relationships in your industry. Business is good. You’re growing. But relying on relationships held by decision-makers of the current workforce isn’t sustainable for ongoing growth. 

As the current workforce moves up in position and eventually retires, preexisting relationships will expire. New employees need to be able to learn who the authority is on services in their industry without relying on other people to inform them. This applies to roles with high turnover and jobs on all levels—from entry-level individuals who are new to the industry and tasked with getting service quotes… to first-time executives who didn’t inherit relationships from predecessors. While current decision-makers might know who you are, how will future decision-makers and employees working for them discover you if you can’t be found online? 

The Gartner B2B Buying Report adds more color to how decision-making among organizations is evolving. While decision-making may have been previously reserved for higher-level executives, today’s B2B buying journey is now including individuals with cross-functional representation in organizations. This emphasizes the importance of being “discoverable” by new, often younger, and increasingly digital-savvy employees. 

Furthermore, established businesses often don’t consider that new start-ups need a way to discern who to contract their services with. Your current network might not be able to spread the word to newer companies; they need another way to discover your services and reputation.

Truth: If you’re an established business, not everyone knows who you are. And even if much of your industry does today, the new workforce might now know you tomorrow. 

Established businesses need to ensure they can be discovered and presented as trusted authority, even if they’ve been in business for years. But B2B buyers of today aren’t just networking in person to discover new businesses. They’re doing it in a new way, and that’s where digital marketing, and specifically SEO, comes in.

Myth #2: “They don’t go to Google for this. This is a social game. People hear about us through word-of-mouth.”

Historically, this was true. Established business owners have forged many lucrative relationships with industry leaders and individuals in high levels of management through traditional, word-of-mouth and in-person networking. But times are changing.

With 72% of B2B buyers starting the buying journey online, an established web presence is critical for B2B relationship-building. And online research doesn’t stop at the outset of the process. According to Gartner, the B2B buying journey includes researching, meeting with various suppliers, and getting the consensus of their team—but these steps happen concurrently and repeatedly as buying groups vet various companies. “At various times, stakeholders are accessing your website, looking at social media, using an interactive tool or using some other digital channel.” 

Truth: B2B decision-makers go online to find service companies to contract with, and they continually do so throughout the buying journey. 

To stay competitive, B2B companies must adapt to the evolving buying journey by implementing a strong SEO strategy, or they can expect to miss out on leads. For example, if a prospect searches on Google for services you offer, and you show up in the first spot, the percentage of clicks your page will receive (click-through rate, or CTR) is 27.6%. The second page only garners 0.63%. If you want to win clicks and business over competitors, you have to rank well on Google for searches related to your services and other relevant topics (e.g. price calculators and informative blogs). You can only do so if you have an SEO strategy in place. As more B2B companies plan to increase their budgets for SEO, now is the time to spend on SEO if you hope to remain competitive. 

The Ultimate Truth: SEO builds long-lasting equity for your business

As a business owner, I understand the hesitance to cut into your bottom line. But fellow business owners can find solace in the fact that SEO is equity building. Once your web pages rank and your authority builds, your dollars are essentially parked in your optimized content and web domain. 

If completed by an expert, your business’s SEO efforts will continue serving your business over time, and your ranking power will only get stronger. So, even if you stop spending on an SEO campaign, you can still get leads from the work completed. 

SEO enables you to be discoverable. It creates fertile grounds for cultivating relationships—fertile grounds that don’t have a time limit and will facilitate connections for decades to come. 

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