SEO & Marketing Budget Tips from SF University

November 14, 2023 / Career & Networking

SEO Toolkit and Marketing Budget Tips

Latest SF University, ‘Marketing Tools For Success’ covers tips on tailoring your marketing budget & curating your SEO toolkit to boost your brand’s marketing efforts. Read our event recap or watch the presentation recording below and don’t forget to take advantage of your Free SEO Audit. Offer ends December 1st!

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What is SEO

Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO, is a set of practices and strategies aimed at optimizing a website or online content to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase traffic to a website from search engines and these sets of practices will make up your SEO toolkit.

Have you ever been reading a blog and clicked on a hyperlink? Have you ever left a website because the page was not loading fast or you couldn’t find what you were looking for quickly? Have you ever gone to Google and typed in ‘places to eat near me’ and ordered food from a resulting match? These are all real-life examples of you interacting with good and bad SEO. Businesses who have good a good SEO toolkit with the right keywords, a good user experience, and are successfully being crawled give better results with more leads and higher conversion rates of those leads into paying customers.


build your SEO toolkit

If used correctly, an SEO toolkit can build your online presence, increase visibility, and attract more organic traffic to your website. SEO toolkits include use of keyword research, content creation, improved user experience, technical SEO, link building, local SEO, and analytics & tracking. For help with your SEO toolkit, take advantage of our Free SEO Audit offer running now through December 1st 2023. We’ll analyze your website and come back with reports on all of your SEO metrics with advice on where to focus your marketing dollars for improving your organic traffic and conversion rates

SEO Toolkit


Marketing Budget Factors

Building a marketing budget tailored to your unique business needs involves careful consideration of various factors, including your business goals, target audience, and revenue. To start building a marketing budget, you need to first define these various factors for your business.

Goals IconGoals – Some examples of business goals could be increasing the number of leads, increasing the number of customers by converting more leads to paying customers, or lowering the cost of customer acquisition to improve budget efficiency.


Audience IconAudience– Your target audience will greatly affect how you decide to allocate budget as demographic and generational trends vary widely between different marketing tactics. For example, you may get more views on digital spends or you may get more quality views on print & mail spends depending on your target audience demographic, geographic location, and seasonal trends and goals.


Revenue IconRevenue– Your overall revenue will also greatly affect your budget. You can build a productive marketing budget and make use of marketing tactics like SEO whether you are a non-profit with an annual budget of $3,000 or a luxury senior living facility with an annual budget of $300,000. A common rule of thumb is to spend between 2-5% of your revenue on marketing for B2B businesses and 5-10% on marketing for B2C businesses.


Marketing Budget Math

To determine your marketing budget, you must first analyze your current spend, the number of leads you are receiving, and the number of paying customers you are receiving. Determine your cost per lead by taking your total spend and dividing it by the number of leads you received. Determine your cost per customer acquisition by taking your total spend and dividing it by the number of leads you had converted to customers. Below is an oversimplified example.

SF University Marketing Budget


Your Marketing Dollar

After you do the marketing budget math, you are ready to outline a marketing budget. Let’s say you’re a luxury senior living facility with a goal of getting 100 new leads a month. You would take your data on cost per leads you just worked out in the math above and funnel marketing dollars into different marketing tactics like direct mail, digital web & social media advertising, print advertising, website & SEO, PR & communications, events, collateral, advisory services, outreach, and more.

SF University Marketing Budget Example


Full Event Recap

Watch the video below for a full event recap on SF University: ‘Marketing Tools For Success’ presentations, Q&A section, tips, tricks, and more. Need help with your marketing budget planning and SEO toolkits? Contact our experts at or 443.548.3500

SF University Session Recap

Steven Gorlewski: So I got SEO here, what is SEO? Using your brand. So what is SEO? I get a lot of, I say, “Yeah I work in the SEO department at Strategic Factory.” I get a lot of perplexed looks, like say I do SEO for a living, people say you know, what is SEO? What do you do? Are you a coder? A graphic designer. I got actually, lately, Geek Squad and Best Buy…So a lot of people don’t know what I do, almost 98% of people don’t know what I do so, I wanna do some audience participation here.

Does anybody know what SEO is? Yes, It actually is Search Engine Optimization, that is correct. So what does SEO look like? There are a lot of things involved in SEO, one thing is backlinks, you know backlinks can be a little confusing. There are things like internal backlinks where you can actually link to other pages on your website–that’s link authority. For example, if you’re an orthodontist you can link on your own page to other service pages on your orthodontist page. 

Other things too, there’s a lot of things, like link juice, so, say for example we’re Strategic Factory, we’ve created infographics a nice infographic about SEO, and the American Marketing Society, they put that on their website and it links back to our website. Google’s gonna say “Wow you’re obviously an authoritative website.” That is called link juice, that’s backlinking. So you want more of that, a lot of things like infographics, video, a lot of rich media, really helps with backlinking. 

Then there’s loading speed, obviously, you’ve been on things like websites where anything loading less than three seconds–you’re probably out of there. It’s just so frustrating. So that’s SEO as well. And user experience, you know back in the day it was all about content, writing, but these experiences are huge now. It’s all about, authentic images, navigation, things like that. 

And then Metatags, that’s a little bit more on the technical side, but metatags, meta descriptions, title tags, that’s kind of the first things people see when you type in your brand on the Google Search Result, it’s almost like an advertisement. So, call to actions, unique selling propositions, keywords should be front-loaded, so that’s important too. All of that right there is SEO. So how do you build your brand? People will come to us, a lot of clients come to us and they say “We want to build our brand, how do we do that?”. One of the first things we say is, through your wesbite, through SEO because it’s a twenty-four hour shock. 

One of the first things we say is keyword research, some people say that keyword research is dead because it’s all about design, but keyword research is not dead. Keyword research, that’s one of the biggest opportunities you have, you have to identify your audience, identify keyword opportunities using keyword research tools, and then implementing them on the page through keyword intent. And then content creation, it’s just not about fluff anymore. Ten, twelve years ago you put just any type of content on the page, just fluff with all these keywords, ectetra, and then you’d rank high. But now it’s about answering the customers questions, being unique being authoritative, having FAQ’s on the page, videos, that type of content. 

Like I said, improving the user’s experience. Is your website fast? Can you navigate well? Is there authentic images? Is it good for handicapped people as well? Is it mobile-friendly, can it be indexed properly? We just did an audit for a potential client, he has a website and it is not being crawled by google. So he paid all that money for a new website and it’s not even being crawled by Google, so that’s just terrible news. 

Audience member: What does being crawled by Google mean?

Steven Gorlewski: It means that his page is not being found on google at all, he’s not being index he probably just doesn’t have the site map. So if someone types in his brand, someone types in non-branded keywords, he can’t be found on Google at all. He likely doesn’t have his sitemap. 

The link building as well, like i mentioned there, that’s very important. It takes a little bit

more time, but through unique content, especially rich content, videos, infographics, reaching out to people who’ve mentioned your name in articles or blogs, that will be very helpful. 

You can never forget local SEO, especially with local businesses, especially when it comes to like a restaurant, a roofer, anything like that, a hospital, people just don’t type in, you know like for example, we have–We’re gonna show Genova’s, people don’t just type in pizza all the time. They type in pizza near me, pizza in Hanover, pizza Owings Mills. So they’re always looking for keywords in a type of city. You have to consider that when people are searching for things. Also, updating your google business location, too. 

Also, when it comes to that, you kind of have to have a local twist in your website, when it comes to directions, city search. Also, things that are happening in your area, whether it’s events, communities, community events, any type of better business bureaus in your areas too. 

You can’t forget about Analytics and tracking we always say we never do anything just to do it. We don’t optimize your homepage just because we feel like it. We’ll optimize things because bounce rates are higher, exit rates are higher, the keywords are low-hanging fruit and we think that it can increase on the first page. So this is all SEO, it’s all around us at all time. 

So this is an example of the paid versus organic results, you’ve probably seen this, a lot of times it’s what you see on the Google search results. You’ll see the ads first, then you’ll see the organic results and this is called rich snippets here. Sometimes it changes a little bit depending on what industry you’re in, or just if you’re on your mobile phone etc. Sometimes what the people ask is below the organic search results, sometimes you’ll see google business. A lot of the time the paid Google search is first, where people have to bid on the keywords and paid to be on this. But secondly, the organic search results. This is kind of how the organic search results looks now. You can put images in paid search, and this is, obviously, the organic, it’s called the rich snippets. These are organic questions, are used for FAQ’s. If you go on that website, this is probably on some typoe of FAQ, so that’s why we have a lot of emphasis on FAQs on websites. 

This is a case study we did, I know a lot of people here locally who’ve heard of Genova’s and have eaten there or saw the commercials. They came to us in December of 2022. They had lofty goals. They had an app they were really excited about, they had an Eldserberg location that was opening in 2023, but traffic was down, conversations were down. 

First thing we did was get all the account managers, we got Amy in there and we just wanted to learn about their business, because they’re the experts. We had a three-hour meeting, you know, what is their pain points, what is their biggest ROI generator, is it pizza, is it subs, is it pasta? Have they worked with an agency before? Do they have any gluten-free, etc, and then we prioritized their data too. We just looked at their data. 

One thing we did was, we wanted to make their website just look more current. It looked very outdated, so what we did was, we actually made their website digital, because it was a PDF menu. Doing that, we were actually able to keep track of the conversions on there in clicks. We did that to their catering menu too. We had more authentic photos since all the photos on their were stock items. To get more conversions, we had a sticky footer on the bottom of the mobile page. Secondly, they were not showing up for any non-branded terms, meaning if people typed in Genovas To Go, they’d pop up. But any new customer, if someone were to, quickly on a Friday night, type in pizza near me, Genovas was not showing up in their area.

So with all of that they had a 23% increase in organic traffic and a 52% increased conversion rate. The conversion rate included orders, phone calls, and gift cards as well. Also, you do have in your folder too, there’s a free audit we’re not giving out until December 1st. It’s really cool. This will show all of that information in there. This will give you Google business information, keyword information, identify the site’s speed, whether your website is being crawled, analytics factors, any coding issues on your website. This is all free, so you can’t beat it. Any technical issues, any H1 tags, any help with your H tags, content issues, all thorough SEO suggestions. Almost like a six-page report, so we’ll do that for you, you have until December 1st to write your name in. Scan the code right here and enter your email and we can do that for you. Now it’s up to Amy 

Audience member: Is this deck all available to us?

Ashley: There will be a video and an email sent out with all the information. 

Audience Member: Ah sweet, so we get a whole video

Amy Brodie: The SEO audit that Steven just talked about, I just wanted to wrap that up. All the things he was talking about that help your site with branding, and conversions–all the technical things that he was listing and going through, when we do the audit, that’s something that Steven and his team do. Then we sit with you and tell you what this audit means and what we can help you do if you’d like that. Like Steven said it’s painful when someone’s website isn’t crawling, it’s free, go do it. So that’s what that’s all about and we’ll help you out with that if you like it. 

So today I’m talking to you about marketing budgets, So we’re gonna talk about determining a budget, budget allocation, and i’ll show you a sample annual budget. This is a very simplistic review of doing budgetting. It takes a little bit more time and investment to do it but, what I want you to get out of this today is to be able to see that there is a process and a reason and analytics behind how you set up your budget for your marketing budget and where you spend your money, with the goal of getting a better return on investment. 

So step one that we start with when we’re talking to you about a budget is: What’s your goal? What are you looking to do? Do you need to increase your number of leads, like if you have fifty leads per month and you need 100, you’d ask us how we can do that. Who’s your audience? Your audience is going to be a big deal. Earlier some of us were talking about senior living and what a difference it is where you focus your money and what they respond to versus GenZ, GenX, all of us have parents (and nonparents?). There is the marketing data that will help us determine if you’re gonna get where you need to be, who you’re gonna target, who you want to reach, and how best to reach them. 

That all ties into your budget, then what are the benchmarks? You’ll see as we go through those today. It explains how we use the benchmarks in order to determine your budget so sit tight that’s coming. 

So, you had something to start with right? If we’re doing all these measurements then what are we measuring? So back to goals you might say want to increase the number of leads might, say, let’s increase the number of customers we have leads, but we want more people in our stores or what’s the lower cost of customer acquisition? So right now we’re spending $200 to get a customer through the door that’s through analytics we know exactly how much it cost from the time you make contact with them until they become the customer

But our budget needs to be at $100 per acquisition, so what can we look at? What can we do differently? To bring that down. Those are just three examples, as Steven said we sit down with you and do this discovery workshop with your business, what do you want? What do you want to see happen? What do you hope the outcome will be in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months. So we talked about all that so then we dive in and talk about how we’re going to reach those goals. The next big question is often, how much do I need? Step 2, doing the math. This example is simplistic doing the math but, keep in mind sitting with you and talking about the different scenarios, we’re going to ask you a lot about your budgeting, and what you have and how can we work with you to work within your budget. Because we have yet to have somebody come in and say “We have all the money in the world. Spend it all, do what you want to make our acquisition lower.”

That really doesn’t happen. People live by budgets, we understand that, so when we talk about it we want to make sense out of your budget, and how best to spend it. So for example, we spent $2000 and brought in 100 leads, this is the math that’s going to help us figure out what your budget is. Your cost per lead at that point, is going to be the amount you spend, divided by your lead: $20 per lead. Now if you think back to when I was talking about your goals, if one of your goals is to increase leads, so that gives you an idea, you see leads right now cost you $20. Can we afford that or can we find a way to get leads at a less cost? And we dive into the strategy to find that out. But you’ve gotta know the numbers first. 

You convert 20% of those leads to customers. So you get to have 20 new customers, which is 20% of the leads. Okay, So now you know what you’re spending. You know what you’re telling your customers you’re going to get. And then the customer cluster, customer acquisition, same math. You take the 2000, you’ve got 20 new customers from there, it’s $100 per acquisition. 

A lot of numbers and happy to go back and go through that in any kind of detail. And that’s when we meet with you or talk with you or if you want to just ask some questions about it, we put your actual numbers in. So we are doing monthly reporting with our clients. So if you have the history of the data history, we can pull back from your CRM and look at that for the last year, last three years, and say, okay, your numbers in your business and your industry show: here’s your average cost per lead, here’s your customer acquisition. And we use those numbers, so they’re real numbers when you’re building your own budget.

If you don’t have those numbers, that’s okay, because that’s when we go to our benchmarks and we look at the industry that you’re in and we look at our clients. We track all data across all of our clients and we’re like, okay, this client over here in this particular industry in real estate has, you know, the average cost per acquisition is $250. Average cost per lead is $80. And we plug in those numbers. Then, as we work with you further and we start getting your own data and we start reporting that monthly to you, so we sit with you and say, here’s what the numbers are, here’s what we’re seeing, here’s the story behind them. Here’s our recommendations going forward. So it’s not set it and forget it, as Steven said. Yeah.

Audience Member: How do you advise also on how to improve the conversion rate? Do you increase the conversion and the cost for acquisition? 

Amy Brodie: Yes. Yeah. 

Audience Member: So what does that mean? I think that’s really the problem is that conversion, 

Amy Brodie: The conversion rate. Sure. Yeah. Every. you need. the conversion rates kind of, in a lot of cases, your bottom line. Right. How do you get my customer here. So we talk about that a lot. If you’re getting 100 leads but you’re not getting the conversion, they’re not turning into a customer of…what is their value? And there’s a lot of answers to that. There is always value to it because you’re still putting your brand out there. But how can we make that look better? How can we do it? And it’s a process of truly looking at your numbers and your sales team or your business and seeing what’s converting. So we’re going to look at those numbers. If your direct mail is converting and your digital is converting at a certain rate–I’m going to show you one of those, then we’ll talk about where to put your money and how to get that. And then, also, just talking about business as far as conversions, what are your people doing? What happens to a lead when it comes in your building or if it comes in your phone or lands at your laptop? What is the journey that that takes? That’s the most valuable thing. You’ve just paid for that. So you’ve paid for that. So let’s make sure we take that lead through the process, get it in front of the right people, and help the customer and convert them.

So building a budget. If you take the information I did following the same example all the way through, this is an example of a senior living community. So their direct mail cost per lead was 250 per lead. Their advertising digital is $80 a lead. And then print: $450 per lead. Okay. So when you look at that, if you looked at nothing else and you just saw that, it’s very tempting to say, well, let’s go all in on digital because that’s the least expensive lead. But, what you have to do is we sit there, we say, “Yeah, but what’s going to reach your audience for the seniors and the conversion”, that’s where the conversions come in. So in this case, our audience converts very direct mail. So it’s a senior living. It comes in the mailbox, they put it on the fridge, they keep it, it has a shelf life. So that conversion rate for direct mail is higher than digital and print for them. So you want to invest in direct mail because that’s where you’re going to get more good quality leads that convert. 

Digital…So we looked at this, we said we want to get 100 leads per month. That was our example back in the beginning: So how are we going to put that into a budget that makes sense strategically?

So the direct mail investment, $7500 per month to get 30 leads, digital, 60 leads we want. That’s going to cost you $4800 per month. And your print advertisement, you’re going to 10 leads from that, it’s going to cost you $4500. Now, a lot of people will look at this and say, well, “Woah, $4500 for ten leads!” Now, do keep in mind that all of this, when you’re running it together, it’s you know, it’s the Omni campaign, the marketing, meeting people where they are touching them as many times as they need to be touched before they convert into a customer. So it’s that they’re seeing you, they’re getting a direct mail, then they’re going online and they’re seeing you. And then they see an ad in the newspaper like now it starts to look familiar. So you’re using a lot of different mediums to reach people and become familiar. In this example, the total spend is $16,800 per month, which comes down to $168 per lead, average, for all of your different marketing channels. 

So how do we turn that into a budget? We take that information and we say, okay, here’s… want to pull out–those who are doing marketing budgets, you know, it’s not quite as simple as just three items. You want to sit down and write down everything that is in your budget that you have to pay for, that you have to be accountable for. So it can be a number of different things. Direct mail, digital, newspaper, events. If you’re having events, don’t forget that. Paid social media outreach, whatever charges and costs you will have, you put on your budget sheet. And that’s going to help determine your cost per acquisition overall. So you get a really good feel for your numbers. And when you put that into a final budget, here’s your annual cost. So this is what your budget’s going to look like when you go to, you know, the finance people, the CEOs, the people who are looking at your numbers and are going to say, “Now you need to find a way to cut that.” Happens every single time, but we’ll work on that. But anyway, you get your annual cost, so you kind of start to get a feel for…Yeah!

Audience Member: Okay. So what about if you’re a nonprofit on a shoestring budget and that is like a quarter of your profit for the whole year? Like. this seems unattainable. Like, is there a product that would work for a nonprofit with a smaller budget that doesn’t have enough money to spend on marketing? Are there still vehicles that you can use that would help you out there? 

Amy Brodie: Yeah, great question, because it is we get all kinds of different budgets and sizes of budgets. So that’s part of when we get to know you and having that discovery session of “let’s talk about your budget.” You know, we’re here to partner and help you. It’s not a secret. You have money that you have to invest. We need to get you leads. Let’s talk about how best to do that. The more information we have, the better. So, yes, there are programs where we’ll say, okay, “this is your budget this year. It’s on the low end. So we’re going to prioritize X, Y and Z, and here’s what we’re going to get you.” And we might not start getting you 100 leads a month, but you might be getting 20 leads. And then we’re going to build on that momentum. Then as you build and you get more customers in business, it’s bigger. The revenue picks up and people say, “Oh, that’s kind of an investment. Let’s make, you know, do more.” And sometimes that’s, you know, that’s what it takes. It takes a kind of a year to show the people who approve our budget that they actually work. You actually do get a return on your investment. So, yeah, we’ll look at it and work with any size budgets.

Adam Rappaport: I just wanted to mention one of the things that I see with our nonprofits, especially, is that they change where they put their money throughout the year. So I’m sorry to say earlier in the year they may go more on the digital side, things like that. Towards the holiday season, looking at people looking for donations, looking for things like that. They moved to the direct mail because that’s where they’ll be able to put a return on the loop and get their money back in. So I think that budget also flows throughout the year into those different categories, which is important, which Amy and the team are really great at putting together.

Amy Brodie: Yeah, great, great point Adam. Thank you. Yeah, but that brings to mind, you know, the word fluid that like we talk about. Marketing plans are fluid, budgets are fluid. You have to stick with your bottom line. Ultimately, you can’t just show up and overspend, but it doesn’t mean that in the middle of a campaign or the middle of something or something that is happening that you didn’t expect that, we can’t reallocate money and shift it around, this is where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck.

Audience Member: Does this include all the creative like development? 

Amy Brodie: In this case? What we see with the direct mail does? Yeah, direct mailings we got that all in there in the digital ads. Yes. You get the set of ads that come with that. So yeah, we go out and we lay that all out there for you so that you know exactly what the cost is.

Audience Member: I think the portion that I haven’t seen for this example yet, that’s missing, to kind of help do a comparison against this particular ad environment and like the nonprofit. What is the percentage of this particular examples overall? And I know you can’t show all of this specifically that in comparison to what they’re actually spending on marketing. But in comparison to this budget, what would you say are the sales for that year? Because that would give me a really good gauge.

Amy Brodie: Yeah, that makes sense. That’s when we dig down into the analytics and when you’re starting to talk about your cost per leads and all that. Exactly. We’ll give you a percentage of that and you’ll see it. Trends, month by month, year over year of this is, you know, you spent 30% of your budget on your overall marketing budget on direct mail. So here’s your rate of return on that. So great point.

Audience Member: And I think what she’s saying is, what would the size of the company be that could spend 239? 

Audience Member #2: Yeah, because like this lady’s example was of course nonprofit then. That’s a different market. But right here, a senior living community, this one is most likely doing quite well. Yes, they are willing to spend. That’s why I said what was that percentage. So there we could see. Okay, yeah, I’m spending, you know, almost $240 grand in my budget, but we’re taking in this amount every year. So I was like, if that’s represented here, that would definitely help me see the benefit.

Amy Brodie: Sure. 

Brooks Walter: I think I can help answer your question that typically you’re going to want to spend around 5% of your revenue. Okay. But that can be gauged by industry. There’s some industries, where customer acquisition is so high you can go up to 25%. So there really is a range depending on what industry you’re in, what your goals are. But I mean, I guess if your question is…I would probably do fiveX to that number, 

Audience Member: That’s what I was saying if you remember, because this was a real example, right? Yeah. Yeah. So what would…did this particular community, what was their target? Was it like 5% or something like that? 

Amy Brodie: Yeah. They’re, that’s a good kind of rule of thumb of somewhere around 5% for them. I think that this budget is about 7.5% 

Audience Member: I can understand because they need to do a lot of marketing because of that attract…uh, what is it, resonance.

Amy Brodie: They’re higher end. They’re a higher-end retirement community. So people that are going to come to their business are expecting to see higher-end. So their marketing, everything needs to be at that level of sophistication, that matches what your target audience is 

Audience Member: And that’s what I noticed. If you go back one or two slides with the the printing and advertising leads, I had a feeling that’s why that number was so high. 

Amy Brodie: Yeah.

Adam Rappaport: Okay, so just doing some quick math, but consider them a company that does revenue of over three and a quarter million dollars a year. 

Audience Member: Now that’s nothing I think. Yeah.

Amy Brodie: Thank you though, because that’s, that’s perspective. 

Audience Member: Right. Because it’s like pure sticker shock. You know what I mean? 

Audience Banter

Amy Brodie: And I worked at a nonprofit before, so and I was in charge of marketing budget, so I know the sticker shock that can be. I think the real, the bottom line is that’s why you want to make sure you’re working with someone who has your best interest and your client’s best interest in mind. Who’s going to partner with you and say, okay, what’s it going to take? And you’re not afraid to say, my budget is $10,000. I don’t have $90,000. So what would we do? So we would sit down and say, okay, well, let’s look at that. Let’s see where best to spend that. Is it every month throughout the year? Or do we look at one big event and say, you know what, let’s put all your money here because we’re going to get bigger, better, and you’re going to get more leads and that’s going to make your budget go further? So it’s not always every month spend that much. It’s really situational as well. And that’s the fun part. That’s where we get really strategic. Like, tell us what’s coming up. What are you going to be doing? Let’s talk about what we can highlight where your money is best spent and then go through a couple of scenarios for you 

Return on your marketing budget. So, this is just. I talked a lot about how what we do with clients is we meet monthly with them and we say, “Here’s what happened this month with your results. Here’s what that means and here’s what we recommend you do differently or stay the course. This is working beautifully. Don’t change a thing.” But we’re keeping an eye on your return because everybody in your company is going to say, like you were saying, “If I’m going to spend $200,000, you talk to me about return. What am I getting back for that?” Well, we’re going to show you that in and in numbers and in report. So you get to see that. So you analyze the results. We sit down, and review your business standing again. That is where I was talking about like the word partnership. We’re gonna sit down with you and say “The numbers say that business is a little low. You’re telling me business was great; it was booming. Let’s talk about that gap. What is that? What are you seeing versus us?” So you always got to keep it real, right? The numbers don’t lie, and numbers are great, especially for the accountants in the world. But as marketing people, it’s much more. There are other factors that we got to think about. So we said, we make sure we talk to you and find out what’s happening on the front line, if you will. And then we present that customized data so that we can then talk about it and say, ‘All right, what’s our next move? Your marketing dollars.'”

So let’s take an example. You’re talking about this: what happens when you invest in any marketing channel? In this case just one example. This is if you’re paying for digital marketing. So you’re saying “We don’t really have an online presence yet. I heard what Steven said about SEO, and that sounds pretty slick, and we really need that. How do we, what does that mean? What does that look like?”

So you put money into a digital online ad and it gets out there, and a customer sits at the computer and says, ‘I need landscaping, I need somebody to mow the lawn.’ They type that and up comes all the different results, like Steven was showing you, the paid results, and your ad is there. So we look at that ad; the customer looks at your ads and says “Wow, that’s pretty slick. They look like they know what they’re doing, oooh, and they’re giving one month free if I do a three-month service, I want to check them out a little bit more.”

So the customer clicks that ad, the customer takes further action. So they click the ad, then they went somewhere else. They went to Amazon because they’re like, ‘Can we see if there’s grass seed? Maybe I’ll just buy myself into it. It would be a lot cheaper.’ So they go to Amazon and they’re looking for grass seed, and you know what pops up in front of them? Your ad, because now we know that your interest is in landscaping. You Google that way over here, now you’re on Amazon. We happen to know that. So we serve it up. So that’s the second touch or the third touch.

So you get the consistency going, and that’s how people are going to remember you, and it’s going to build your credibility because, think about it, when you’re out shopping for something and you start to see the same information about the same company, it builds like, well, this is the real deal. They’re not just the fly-by-night, you know, they’re established, they’re real. It reinforces the customer’s good decision to go with that. Very important part of the marketing.

So the customer takes further action. They might download the app or they redeem an offer, and then that same customer continues to see your ads. So why is that so important? Well, I was just talking about when they take further action, this is victory. This is a conversion. Okay. So when you’re talking about why are we putting our money into marketing and what’s the real result, you want people to come in your store, you want them to become a customer. When they take an action, fill out a form, anything, you capture the data. And that’s a whole other marketing seminar on what to do with that and how to use that and reinvest that into something. 

But once you have their information, you know, a lot of times you do automated email campaigns so you keep in touch and keep nurturing them along the way, depending on the situation is. So they do that and then the same customer continues to see these ads and they’re boosting your brand and your credibility in a big way.

So think about a time when purchasing a car and you buy it. You’re really into, you’re thinking, “I’m going to get that Toyota Camry.” And then everywhere you go, you start seeing it. That is starting to reinforce, “Oh, that’s a good car. That is a good choice.” And it pops up everywhere. That’s what you want your marketing to do. To be everywhere and then reinforce good decisions. And that’s just the start. That’s our SEO audit again, that we’ve talked about before. And I’m just stressing it because typically we charge for that, and you get a full nice report, and we make that available just to you guys for coming to take because we appreciate the fact that you’re willing to leave your office and come here and spend some time learning about what marketing and the different topics are. But we appreciate that time, and it’s very valuable. 

All right. We asked some questions along the way. Let’s see how we did. Remember when Steven was talking about, SEO and having frequently asked questions coming up? If you have that on your website, when the layperson like me goes in and says, ‘I need to, how do I make my grass grow better?’ and it comes up and there’s a question, there’s ten questions. You know how you click on the first one says, “Making my grass grow?” And you’re saying, “Okay.” And then here’s a list of six other questions that might actually be a part of that might be related to that. And you start clicking down and that’s that’s your marketing, bringing people into the funnel.

So what’s the difference between SEM and SEO? I’m going to…anybody want to talk, speak to that? I’m going to let Steven answer that. A lot of people, they have confusion between SEM and SEO. SEM is paid search results, so it’s more PPC, it’s all paid search, so what I showed on the screen before, it’s an advertisement, it’s a sponsorship, so you pay for that. You put in keywords, Google Ads, big ads, that’s all search engine marketing. SEO, that’s all about search engine optimization. That’s organic, that’s free, so you’re optimizing your website, making it look good regarding keywords, navigation, site speed things like that. So SEM is kind of a quick fix, you can get conversions right away. SEO is more of a long-term approach where you can continually optimize it with fresh content. 

Amy Brodie: Alright, another big question we get is do we run Display and Geofencing campaigns. Steven runs those all the time, do you want to explain those two?

Steven Gorlewski: Yeah, not only do we do SEO and Google Ads, but we do display ads too. So display ads are great for branding purposes, especially if you have a new product, new service that shows the authentic photos of someone playing with your product or showing off your service. Someone can click on that, it will go back to your website, show videos as well. Geofencing is something pretty cool. We started that…it can actually show, within the radius, for example, we can target people within a 5 mile radius of a certain radius. Once they’re in that certain radius, they can receive ads within a certain app, for example. It’s pretty crazy. 

Amy Brodie: Sorry Steve, I’m going to jump in with a real-life example. Let’s say the retirement community, or even landscaping folks, people who have the income to move into a retirement community or have lawn services. We know they have a certain level of income. Those people also go to the theater. So, we’re gonna box the theater so when they walk in the door and they look at their phone to bring up the Playbill, your ad appears there. “Woah, how’d they know?” Also, in different business, if you try to reach parents, you might fence around soccer fields and schools. As soon as you drive in to pick up your kid, you’ll get an ad from Genova’s like “Hey don’t feel like cooking tonight? Stop by and come in for a pizza. 

Steven Gorlewski: Yeah I think those examples are definitely better options like for example, Geova’s is down the street. In the Genova’s app, like, if you’re driving to Genova’s, right away, they know you’re there, you get an ad that says 20% off chicken. So they know you’re there. That’s geofencing. It’s pretty crazy that they actually follow them. In fact, in marketing, once you leave this store too, they’ll remarket you within a 20-mile radius, like “Hey come back.” So that’s pretty nice. 

Audience Member: I have a quick question. So I’m familiar with geofencing, working with Martin’s catering company, bride events, stuff like that. Can you give me some examples of how maybe we can use geofencing, I mean for us? Like the only thing I can think of is someone walking into a jewelry store, hopefully, they’re buying an engagement ring, so I wanna show them an ad for Martin’s Catering, but beyond that I’m like…”Hmm” because we’re so early in the pipeline it’s a challenge, so i don’t know if you’ve worked with other companies that have the same kind of business. 

Steven Gorlewski: This doesn’t have to be so someone has to be in a certain place in a certain time within a 5-mile radius or anything. Do you have a customer list or anything like that? 

Audience Member: Well, I mean, when customers come in, we obviously, I mean, we get their email, phone number, and all of that and ask them if it’s okay to contact us so we can line them up with our CRM system, you know, everybody that comes in through the doors, we have an appointment, if they fill out the web form, we have that data. 

Steven Gorlewski: Yeah, I mean we can do that, we can do a customer list, we can actually do that as well, a geo-targeting campaign, where we send notifications through the web and also through apps. So that’s one point. Also, any type of…we can do it by interest too and any type of competitors too,  that they recently went to. We can also do it by radius, so if they’re anywhere within a 2-mile radius from the store, certain age groups, certain income status, they drive by, they can get a message to you through an app and online. 

Amy Brodie: Yeah and with what you’re talking about, and again that says a lot about gathering the data and information with you, immediately what comes to mind when you say that is a couple of examples where you might do this. You’re a catering company. Who’s looking for catering? Go to synagogues. They’re having bar mitzvahs all the time and people need catering, so let’s target those people. Let’s go where people are buying their wedding gowns because that’s going to be next on their checklist of things they need to do. Let’s go over here to a photo studio. People are going to need to meet their photographers. Anything related that needs catering and falls within your target audience, income levels, anything like that, that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to look and fence in those areas. 

Brooks Walter: I think one thing to note, obviously Amy and Steven have gone over just a couple of tactics today. Not every tactic works for every business and in your example, I think competitor conquesting, which is a good one, where people are searching for life businesses where, which again, the agency team can certainly help set you up with businesses like that. So just something to think about. Not every tactic makes sense for every business. 

Audience member: I don’t know if you offer this but basically when I did a business model canvas and value proposition to farm our customer segments, it helped me look up areas like key partners, as she’s mentioning, different types of businesses that help you find out the right target or customer segment. Now it’s not an easy thing to do, a business model canvas and value proposition. That’s why I said I don’t if that’s something you’re offering, but if they have that, go do that with them. Because it really helps you target the segments that you’re looking for. 

Amy Brodie: Yeah, great point, thank you, and we do a lot of that, who’s your customer, what does your customer look like. Let’s define that and come up with this person that is your customer and let that guide us, where we go and where we spend your money. 

All right. This we touched on a little bit, how much do I need for my SEO campaign?I think that kind of gets to your conversation of what do you got to have in order to be impactful? And the answer is it depends, depends on what you’re trying to do and what your goals are. So we certainly look at the different goals and we say, okay, if this is what you’re trying to do, then I think with this budget you can optimize this event by spending $5,000 on a digital campaign over three months. Let’s get everybody in. Let’s do it for giving Monday and get them get used to us and knowing who we are and let’s reach out to them.

So again, your budgets can be anywhere from $5,000 budget. We can go up to millions. How do you tie demographics interest? Thank you to you. We just talked about that as far as understanding who we’re trying to reach. So when we sit with you, we sit there and say, tell me about your ideal customer. And that’s also based on who’s actually using your business, who’s walking through your door. Let’s define them and then make sure we’re building an appropriate campaign. 

And when will I see results? Very important. We try to maintain real honest expectations for you to share with your stakeholders. But really what we’re looking at, as Steven said, the digital campaign can hit the market and get you some quick leads in the first couple of months. SEO takes a little bit longer, so you’re building up everything. But it really depends on how you go about the campaign. When you get results. We always say, let’s give it 2 to 3 months, just start to gain momentum and then all the different marketing channels start pulling in. People start seeing you in other places, they start working together and then you start to see your numbers go from, you know, 10 to 15, and then all of a sudden it’s at 30. And that’s because you’ve just been online. We’re learning the algorithms and we’re following people like we talked.

So we talk about the results. Some can be immediate and some, when we do a marketing plan, I like to say, what do you need to have happen in the next three months, six months, 12 months, three years, five years? What’s, you know, if you’ve got an anniversary coming up in three years, let’s build up to that.

What questions didn’t we ask or answer? Sorry, we’re going to the whole thing over.

Ashley Carr: You have your SEO promotion in your folders. Steven’s excited to talk to you guys about, you know, your strategy, if you’d like.

And I know that several of you wanted to take the time to look at our showroom, touch, feel things, and you’re more than welcome to. We will be hanging around answering any questions that you’re thinking of last minute. But yes, last, last chance. Any questions you want to ask? 

Audience Member: Yeah, I noticed, you have Sprint signage, branding, marketing. Is it safe to assume that you grew into a lot of these other areas? Like did you start out kind of doing one day, maybe creating signage or maybe be like, give me the backdrop? How did you get to all these areas?

Ashley Carr: So Keith, our CEO, came here in 1999, actually about to celebrate our 25th anniversary this coming year. So very exciting. People look out, we’re planning something fun. But he came and started a Minuteman Press franchise. So printing and just, you know, was being approached by people needing other things. And he quickly realized that he could offer all of these things. So through mutual connections, acquisitions, we were able to grow into the beautiful monster that we are and offer everything. So it was an impressive path. So he made it happen.

Audience Member: Thank you for that backdrop. That makes sense. I had a feeling probably designer, printing, or signage. But was the reason, why I wanted to get that information place, is to, as you know, some folks have already said I have a business where, you know, I’m bringing in customers and a lot of times the services that I offer, there’s so many tangents to what I offer, but I want to stay where I am and how I bring in, you know, all of those different elements. So listening to this journey helps me be more confident by saying, “Hey, just because you’re not doing. And so, you know, there are different partners. “That’s why I wanted to come here so that I could basically have customers come in and listen to conversations like this so that there’s a package that I build them, and I’ll be like “see now we’re going to go in this direction. So that’s why I want you to know that very, very nice history, though. 

Ashley Carr: Yeah. And also in the square booklet in your folders, there’s also the history as well. It discusses the journey. But yeah, we pride ourselves in being a single point provider for all those things, whether you know, all of it or one of the things, fantastic. We’re here to help support you. 

Amy Brodie: It’s also it’s a big part of the culture too, because it’s something that people always ask, what’s your favorite part of working there or whatever? If I’m working with people because we’re doing the marketing plans, that’s all inclusive of everything. So I can walk down the hall and say, I need some information about this, but if there’s something that somebody needs and we’re like, “Hey, you know what? We really need to offer this too, to be that one-point solution for people,” I can literally go and sit down with Keith and say, “Here’s what I’m seeing a lot of, Let’s talk about this.” And he starts doing research and finding out who can we partner with, who can we work with to get this going.

So it’s like you said, it’s a cultural thing of being a culture mindset. How do we help people and make it easy? Because you guys have to go market. You guys have the hardest job in the world. You’re out there working every day to try to get new business, get people in and see it through, and everything like that. We need to make that more easy on you guys. So if you can do everything, one person to coordinate it all, it’s a big timesaver and it just it grows in your partnership and your relationship because then we’re saying, “Hey, you know what? We’re doing your signage, we’re doing this. You mentioned this. I think it’d be awesome if we went in. Let me show you something else we do for promotional items, and I think that would really go well with your event and here’s what we can do.” So it’s kind of fun. It just kind of festers, though.

Audience Member: I agree with you. I’m not sure for everyone. I love your marketing for, of course, you picked up on this already. But another reason is you have competition. And why would I pick you over someone else? Um, there is a shift where people want to do business with people. They don’t want to do business with a big, strong, you know, corporate arm. They don’t want to do like, say, some flaky company. And so this, this is something where I’d say, “N, this is a real company. These are real people. They’ve been around. They have a story. They start out small like you.” So this is a better selling point when if you’re a group than a package. So that’s why I thank you. I just wanted to be able to have that kind of information. And I don’t know if you know, that’s one of your mentions is, you know, you’re not some big, would you say, aloof. 

Ashley Carr: We’re much more personable. 

Audience Member: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. 

Amy Brodie: Can we quote you on that? 

Audience Member: And that’s just a, how do you want to say, a shift that I’ve noticed and I’m not just saying this. I mean, the customers that I work with, they don’t want to support someone that’s killing the environment or, you know, they’re all of these different types of social impacts that are business-related now. So now I have to go out here and look for a real company, for a customer and what’s a real company, that kind of thing. So that that’s, that’s, yeah, that’s one of the elements 

Amy Brodie: Well, thank you for saying that. I like that. Yeah, about that. Yeah. 

Ashley Carr: And that being said, I think that was a great ending that this conversation. Yeah. Well, so thank you for that. Thank you all for coming. And feel free to take a look at our program. Myself and a few others will be around there.”