Both SEO and Lead Generation are effective in their own way. Both have their own pros and cons but the best thing an entrepreneur can do is use each of them for her own advantage.
There is nothing like one fix for all. All businesses have their own uniqueness and demands. I have been doing both for my clients and for my own assets. I feel like I have got the whole idea behind what to choose and when and thought it would be great to share with my readers too.
In order to answer your question of whether SEO is right for your business or you should choose lead generation as your sales driver. Ask yourself:
Goal setting is important before starting off anything. It gives you clarity and direction to act.
There is this beautiful principle I have read on goal setting- S.M.A.R.T Principle.
S.M.A.R.T stands for-
Make specific and particular goals.
Set goals that are measurable. If you can’t measure, you can’t mold your processes into a growing graph.
Your goals should align with your and your business’s appetite. Making too ambitious goals might hamper your energy and motivation in the long run.
Goals that are impertinent or far off your purpose are tough to focus on, and if it did not get enough attention they are left undone.
The deadline is the driver of long term planning and scheduling. Always keep deadlines, it increases efficiency too.
Put deadlines in everything- processes, revenue goals, etc.
Quality is always over quantity, there is no doubt in it. But in the case of lead generation, this is a valid question and will help in decision making too.
Be crystal clear of your ultimate goal of revenue you want to achieve with the strategy you decide to choose.
This will help you to measure your ROI over how much you are going to invest- both in terms of time and money.
This is the question that actually differentiates Lead Generation from SEO. Although both are capable of doing the job, the type of industry and competition may affect your short term and long term goals.
SEO is always better in the long run. However,
Lead Generation is capable of giving you business from day one.
Most of the companies use a combination of both- which is always preferred over relying completely on one of them.
What industry my business lies in?
Know exactly what industry you are catering to. This will help you a lot in your market research. Your industry will tell you whether you should choose SEO or Lead Generation.
Who is my Competition?
You can’t expect to even come into the business without knowing your competition. Do deep competitor research until you come to the point to answer these questions-
Always ask yourself, who is my customer? This will help you to get in the shoes of your customer and understand the actual pain point. If you know the pain point, you know what problem you have to solve.
SEO takes more effort to get considerable results than lead generation. It is evergreen and is rewarding in the long run. SEO demands patience.
Let’s talk about its pros and cons so that you can leverage it in the right way.
SEO is Evergreen
That’s why people love it. The day you start driving organic traffic to your website or landing page, the traffic costs you nothing.
You have to just sit there and keep up with the pace rather than making huge and consistent investments in it.
SEO builds trust and credibility
According to research people more often visit the websites which are organically sitting there rather than the one which is using Google Ads.
Ads are annoying and feel persuasive. SEO is natural and evergreen.
SEO is cheap compared to Lead Generation
This is why people sometimes choose SEO over Lead Generation. It is cheap and reliable too.
SEO takes time
SEO involves the optimization of a website and content to rank higher in Google which takes time.
This also depends on the type of industry and competition you have to face. More the competition more time it will take to see results.
SEO sometimes is unpredictable, you never know when you start getting traffic on your website. Even after that, you need to convert them into your real customer. You can plan things and be result-oriented but there are uncertainties with SEO.
SEO is unpredictable due to multiple reasons-
If there is a huge competition, it is hard to rank organically in google’s search results.
If there is less search volume for your industry or your business(because maybe you are unique), ranking on a search engine would be easier but will be less rewarding.
Google keeps updating its algorithm, policies, and whatnot. It might be possible your website gets hurt through updates and loses a ton of traffic.
Lead generation (mostly inorganic) takes fewer efforts but doesn’t compromise on the strategy. It is straight forward in execution but takes a lot to set up a strategy for both B2C and B2B lead generation campaigns.
Let’s take a look at its pros and cons.
You start getting customers from day one
Most of the lead generation tactics are employed for this sole reason. You start getting customers or leads (you may convert later) from the very day you started your lead generation campaign.
Simple to Track and Measure
One big advantage lead gen has over SEO is the ease of measure results. There are fewer KPIs to track. It is less complicated.
You can only drive traffic to your site till your ads are running. The day you stop ads campaign, all your traffic comes to Zero.
Costly Compared to SEO
It is costlier than SEO. Since it is mostly done inorganically, it demands more budget and the right strategy, otherwise, you may hurt yourself.
Feels Persuasive from the Customer Point of View
Today, there are a lot of people running ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram and whatnot. People hate ads, and when people recognize you running ads all over their social media profiles, they remember you for not choosing you.
Both SEO and Lead Generation have their own pros and cons. It is always preferable to use both in your marketing strategy.
Use SEO for awareness, branding and building trust & credibility. And then, use lead generation to achieve your other goals- (financial, short term or long term).