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5 Common Objections to SEO (& How to Respond) – Best of Whiteboard Friday

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With marketing budgets taking a hit under the economic strain of COVID-19, advocating for the value SEO can bring to a struggling business is a new take on an old battle. This popular Whiteboard Friday episode by Kameron Jenkins covers five common objections you’ll hear to SEO and how to counter them with smart, researched, fact-based responses — an important skill to brush up on now more than ever.

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Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and today we’re going to be going through five common objections to SEO and how to respond. Now I know, if you’re watching this and you’re an SEO, you have faced some of these very objections before and probably a lot of others.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure you’ve faced a ton of other objections, whether you’re talking to a potential client, maybe you’re talking to your friend or your family member. A lot of people have misunderstandings about SEO and that causes them to object to wanting to invest in it. So I thought I’d go through some of the ones that I hear the most and how I tend to respond in those situations. Hopefully, you’ll find that helpful.

1. “[Other channel] drives more traffic/conversions, so it’s better.”

Let’s dive in. The number one objection I hear a lot of the time is this other channel, whether that be PPC, social, whatever, drives more traffic or conversions, therefore it’s better than SEO. I want to respond a few different ways depending. 

Success follows investment

So the number one thing I would usually say is that don’t forget that success follows investment.

So if you are investing a lot of time and money and talent into your PPC or social and you’re not really doing much with organic, you’re kind of just letting it go, usually that means, yeah, that other channel is going to be a lot more successful. So just keep that in mind. It’s not inherently successful or not. It kind of reflects the effort you’re putting into it.

Every channel serves a different purpose

Number two, I would say that every channel serves a different purpose. You’re not going to expect social media to drive conversions a lot of the time, because a lot of the time social is for engagement. It’s for more top of the funnel. It’s for more audience development. SEO, a lot of the time that lives at your top and mid-funnel efforts. It can convert, but not always.

So just keep that in mind. Every channel serves a different purpose. 

Assists vs last click only

The last thing I would say, kind of dovetailing off of that, is that assists versus last click only I know is a debate when it comes to attribution. But just keep in mind that when SEO and organic search doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually assists in the process. So look at your assisted conversions and see how SEO is contributing.

2. “SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads.”



The number two objection I usually hear is SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads. To that, I would respond with a question. 

What SERPs are you looking at? 

It really depends on what you’re querying. If you’re only looking at those bottom funnel, high cost per click, your money keywords, absolutely those are monetized.

Those are going to be heavily monetized, because those are at the bottom of the funnel. So if you’re only ever looking at that, you might be pessimistic when it comes to your SEO. You might not be thinking that SEO has any kind of value, because organic search, those organic results are pushed down really low when you’re looking at those bottom funnel terms. So I think these two pieces of research are really interesting to look at in tandem when it comes to a response to this question.

I think this was put out sometime last year by Varn Research, and it said that 60% of people, when they see ads on the search results, they don’t even recognize that they’re ads. That’s actually probably higher now that Google changed it from green to black and it kind of blends in a little bit better with the rest of it. But then this data from Jumpshot says that only about 2% to 3% of all search clicks go to PPC.

So how can these things coexist? Well, they can coexist because the vast majority of searches don’t trigger ads. A lot more searches are informational and navigational more so than commercial. 

People research before buying

So just keep in mind that people are doing a lot of research before buying.

A lot of times they’re looking to learn more information. They’re looking to compare. Keep in mind your buyer’s entire journey, their entire funnel and focus on that. Don’t just focus on the bottom of the funnel, because you will get discouraged when it comes to SEO if you’re only looking there. 

Better together

Also, they’re just better together. There are a lot of studies that show that PPC and SEO are more effective when they’re both shown on the search results together for a single company.

I’m thinking of one by Seer, they did right now, that showed the CTR is higher for both when they’re on the page together. So just keep that in mind. 

3. “Organic drives traffic, just not the right kind.”

The number three objection I hear a lot is that organic drives traffic, just not the right kind of traffic. People usually mean a few different things when they say that. 

Branded vs non-branded

Number one, they could mean that organic drives traffic, but it’s usually just branded traffic anyway.

It’s just people who know about us already, and they’re searching our business name and they’re finding us. That could be true. But again, that’s probably because you’re not investing in SEO, not because SEO is not valuable. I would also say that a lot of times this is pretty easily debunked. A lot of times inadvertently people are ranking for non-branded terms that they didn’t even know they were ranking for.

So go into Google Search Console, look at their non-branded queries and see what’s driving impressions and clicks to the website. 

Assists are important too

Number two, again, just to say this one more time, assists are important too. They play a part in the eventual conversion or purchase. So even if organic drives traffic that doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually plays a role.

It can be highly qualified

Number three, it can be highly qualified. Again, this is that following the investment thing. If you are actually paying attention to your audience, you know the ways they search, how they search, what terms they search for, what’s important to your brand, then you can bring in really highly qualified traffic that’s more inclined to convert if you’re paying attention and being strategic with your SEO.

4. “SEO takes too long”

Moving on to number four, that objection I hear is SEO takes too long. That’s honestly one of the most common objections you hear about SEO. 

SEO is not a growth hack

In response to that, I would say it’s not a growth hack. A lot of people who are really antsy about SEO and like “why isn’t it working right now” are really looking for those instant results.

They want a tactic they can sprinkle on their website for instant whatever they want. Usually it’s conversions and revenue and growth. I would say it’s not a growth hack. If you’re looking at it that way, it’s going to disappoint you. 

Methodology + time = growth

But I will say that SEO is more methodology than tactic. It’s something that should be ingrained and embedded into everything you do so that over time, when it’s baked into everything you’re doing, you’re going to achieve sustained growth.

So that’s how I respond to that one. 

5. “You can’t measure the ROI.”

Number five, the last one and probably one of the most frustrating, I’m sure this is not exclusive to SEO. I know social hears it a lot. You can’t measure the ROI, therefore I don’t want to invest in it, because I don’t have proof that I’m getting a return on this investment. So people kind of tend to mean, I think, two things when they say this.

A) Predicting ROI

Number one, they really want to be able to predict ROI before they even dive in. They want assurances that if I invest in this, I’m going to get X in return, which there are a lot of, I think, problems with that inherently, but there are some ways you can get close to gauging what you’re going to get for your efforts. So what I would do in this situation is use your own website’s data to build yourself a click-through rate curve so that you know the click-through rate at your various rank positions.

By knowing that and combining that with the search volume of a keyword or a phrase that you want to go after, you can multiply the two and just say, “Hey, here’s the expected traffic we will get if you will let me work on improving our rank position from 9 to 2 or 1” or whatever that is. So there are ways to estimate and get close.

A lot of times, when you do improve, you’re focusing on improving one term, you’re likely going to get a lot more traffic than what you’re estimating because you tend to end up ranking for so many more longer tail keywords that bring in a lot of additional search volume. So you’re probably going to even underestimate when you do this. But that’s one way you can predict ROI. 

B) Measuring ROI



Number two here, measuring ROI is a lot of times what people want to be doing.

They want to be able to prove that what they’re doing is beneficial in terms of revenue. So one way to do this is to get the lifetime value of the customer, multiply that by the close rate so that you can have a goal value. Now if you turn on your conversions and set up your goals in Google Analytics, which you I think should be doing, this assumes that you’re not an e-commerce site.

There’s different tracking for that, but a similar type of methodology applies. If you apply these things, you can have a goal value. So that way, when people convert on your site, you start to rack up the actual dollar value, the estimated dollar value that whatever channel is producing. So you can go to your source/medium report and see Google organic and see how many conversions it’s producing and how much value.

This same thing applies if you go to your assisted conversions report. You can see how much value is in there as well. I think that’s really beneficial just to be able to show people like, “Look, it is generating revenue.My SEO that’s getting you organic search traffic is generating value and real dollars and cents for you.” So those are some of the most common objections that I hear.

I want to know what are some of the ones that you hear too. So pop those in the comments. Let me know the objections you hear a lot of the time and include how you’re either struggling to respond or find the right response to people or something that you found works as a response. Share that with us. We’d all love to know. Let’s make SEO better and something that people understand a lot better. So that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Marketing Strategies

6 Tips For Shooting Videos Of Yourself On Your Own

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How many times have you looked at your camera or phone and thought—today is the day I’ll shoot that video…

And how many times have you decided, “Eh… maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.”

*Raises their own hand*🙋

Shooting a video of yourself on your own is a daunting task, but we’re here to show you that it’s not as tough as you think. You can create high quality videos at home or in your office, without fancy camera gear. Just using a phone, a quiet space, good lighting, and the right angle you can record videos that viewers will think involved a lot more fancy equipment.

Here are 6 tips for shooting videos of yourself on your own, so you can make high quality videos for your followers, warm leads, and customers.

#1: Find a Quiet Spot

When you’re shooting video, there are 2 things you want to be most concerned with: audio and lighting. We’ll talk about lighting in Tip #2, but for now we’ll focus on audio. Whether you have, or don’t have, an external microphone—you’re going to need to make sure the environment that you’re recording is as quiet as possible.

Recording next to a window above a busy street is going to create a lot of background noise that you won’t realize exists until you’ve finished recording. That noise is distracting and gives your video a lower quality feel. By avoiding that street side window, you’ll be able to amp up your audio, even if you don’t have the most expensive microphone on the market.

#2: Find Your Best Lighting

Aside from audio, lighting is a crucial factor for shooting videos at home. People (including you!) don’t want to watch a video of someone with loud background noise and dim lighting. It makes you feel less authoritative, weakening whatever conversion you’re trying to get from your video.

There are 2 options when it comes to lighting: find it or buy it. Natural lighting is always ideal, and natural lighting with extra lights around you is more ideal (but you don’t need that). To shoot with great lighting, find the brightest room in your home or office—this may change throughout the day—and figure out what the best time is to shoot videos. For example, morning might be the best time or mid afternoon. Between good lighting and audio, you’ll be able to fool anyone watching your video into thinking you have the best tech gear available… even if you’re just using your phone.

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#3: Get Your Angles Right

If you’re looking down at the camera or up at the camera—your video is going to throw off the viewer. You don’t want them focusing on your chin or the top of your head, you want them looking at you just as they would if you were sitting across from them talking. Getting your angle right will ensure your video has a natural and conversational feel—which is exactly what you’re aiming for when marketing your business or products.

Tripods are by far one of the easiest video equipment to finagle at home. You can use drawers, nightstands, shelves, books, decor, etc. to prop up your camera or phone so that it’s at the perfect angle.

#4: Use The Best Camera Available To You

If you’re using a camera—then you’ve already got the best camera available to you. If you’re using a phone to record your videos, make sure to use the best camera on your device. For example, on the iPhone, the back facing camera is the best camera. It takes better quality videos (4K) which means that’s the best camera available to you, not your front facing camera.

Using the back facing camera of a phone also keeps you from looking at yourself while you’re filming. You want to look at the lens of the camera while you talk—if you look at yourself on the screen your recorded video will look like you’re talking slightly away from the person watching the video.

#5: Do A Test Run

Ah, the infamous test run. The marketers who do test runs are the ones that have recorded a 10 minute (plus!) video only to find out that their angle was off, their camera was out of focus, or their microphone wasn’t turned around. And it always stings—always.

To avoid making these mistakes, do a quick test run of your video before you jump into recording. Record for at least a minute to make sure that your lighting looks good, your audio sounds good, you are in focus, and the angle is right. Trust us on this one.

#6: Be Honest With Your Audience

If you’re usually in a studio recording high quality videos OR if this is your first time recording videos for your audience—tell them. Being honest with your viewers, whether they’re prospective customers or paying customers builds the relationship between you and them. Instead of pretending that you’re not at home recording videos when you used to be in a fancy studio, tell them about it. Or, if this is your first few videos, tell your audience, “This is one of the first videos I’ve recorded.”

Then, ask them to give you feedback. If you’re recording videos for social media, their feedback, in the form of comments to your post, is going to boost your engagement and help them keep seeing your content (ah, the classic Facebook algorithm). 

If you’re recording videos for a paid membership, asking them for their feedback on how to improve your videos is going to make them feel more attached to the final product. In both cases, you’re creating a better relationship with your followers, prospects, or customers.

We told you at the start of this article that shooting video of yourself on your own was a daunting task—but not a challenging one. Using these tips, you can record videos of yourself that have everybody fooled into thinking you’ve got the latest video tech, all while you are shooting from your bedroom.

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The post 6 Tips For Shooting Videos Of Yourself On Your Own appeared first on DigitalMarketer.



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Marketing Strategies

Why Print Advertising is Still Important for Your Marketing

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Despite what you may have heard, print advertising is alive and kicking. Whether it’s a magazine ad, direct mail, or even business cards. Print still plays a powerful role in placing your brand in front of your customers.

Here are a few of the valuable ways print can be a powerful tool. Either in your branding, marketing, or advertising toolkit.

Print Advertising

Print advertising connects more on an emotional level with readers than digital. It offers readers a chance to linger over your product and its message in a way that other channels don’t. Print advertising provides prospects a tangible way to engage with your brand message.

Print advertising can also support your digital marketing. Strategic print advertising can drive traffic to your website. If your site functions as an ecommerce store. It can drive even deeper interaction with your brand.

Direct Mail

Direct mail presents a tangible experience for your customers. With print they can physically experience your brand and its message. Providing your customers a personalized medium for expressing your brand services and benefits.

Multi-piece direct mail packages offer many opportunities for customers to discover your brand. All in a single package.

Smaller direct mail initiatives

For Example: postcards, can be an affordable way to place your brand in front of customers you want to reach.

In addition, direct mail can serve as a measurable marketing tool. you can use direct mail to send customers to a landing page so that you can track responses.



Business cards and letterhead

Creating relationships with customers is still a very up close and personal proposition. Make an effective impression by corresponding with both customers and prospects. Doing so with custom designed business cards and stationary. This can set the right tone you want to make.

Brochures and handouts

A well-designed brochure can serve as a powerful support mechanism for presentations. It’s one thing to stand in front of prospects and tell them about the wonderful product or service you can offer.

Increase the impression you leave with a brochure that has vivid imagery. As well as actionable content.

Downloadable PDF documents, or other gated content, are valuable tools for wooing customers. It also gathers valuable data for retargeting and prospect databases.

There are other ways these and other print materials can help you grow your brand and increase its reach.



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Marketing Strategies

Interview with CMO of a high growth, B2C food delivery brand from the UK: A compelling mission statement is important internally and externally; your content strategy can fulfil short and long-term growth needs; and how to make PR hooks when the product is boring.

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This week, I interviewed Finn Lagun, CMO and co-founder at Pasta Evangelists.

Interviewing Finn was fun and insightful; full of tips and tricks for building a brand.

Before I jump into Finn's experiences developing Pasta Evangelists' marketing strategy, here is some context.

Interviewee background:

Finn is an incredibly creative and knowledgeable marketer. He started in a senior marketing role at Zipjet, Rocket Internet's laundry startup, where he conceived and executed the 'Laundry liberation day' stunt – driving a tank into Central London.

He then joined Amazon for a brief stint as a brand specialist before co-founding Pasta Evangelists in 2017 with two others.

Company background:

Pasta Evangelists is a fresh pasta delivery company from the UK. The company has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and they recently passed a major milestone: they delivered 100,000 pasta dishes in April 2020. They've also raised multiple rounds of investment (+£5m) and partnered with the biggest names in British retail (e.g. Deliveroo, Ocado, Harrods, and Marks & Spencers).

They appeared on Dragon's Den 18 months after launching, getting rejected by the Dragon's because of a distaste (sorry) for the company valuation. They've since grown significantly – (3x overnight after the TV show was released, but much more since) and have expanded across DTC e-commerce, in-store concessions, and on-demand delivery. The Pasta Evangelists team has built a significant online presence through events, videos, social media, and other content.

Brand strategy insights from this interview:

A clear mission statement helps you focus

  • One of the first things new businesses need to do is their 'mission' statement. Finn suggests asking yourself "what does success look like?" and making sure the answer is spiritual rather than financial.

  • Having one sentence that evokes your brand strategy helps to keep your mind and actions focused.

What are the other benefits of a clear and compelling brand mission?

  • Decision-making becomes easier: as a successful business, lots of commercially advantageous opportunities will arise. Clearly understanding your mission helps you to ask 'if I pursue this opportunity, will it contribute towards me achieving that goal?'. If you and your team can quickly understand and decline the distractions, you won't dilute yourself unnecessarily.
  • On-boarding others to your mission: whether it's a new employee or a new investor, getting everyone clear on the macro-level goal keeps your activities aligned.
  • Once you have a mission, you can develop a strategy for achieving it.

Brand-building: What strategies does Finn use for brand development?

Content strategy

  • Pasta Evangelists has some seriously well-ranked content. With written articles about pasta culture, dining experiences, how-to guides, and recipes, and Youtube videos showing how to make fresh pasta and more.
  • Their content typically has both short-term and long-term goals. In the short-term, it's revenue growth. In the long-term, it's brand building. Versatile content can tick both of these boxes: drive sales in the short-term, while creating a pastalicious brand perception in the long-term.

Concessions: a fresh pasta stand in Harrods and Marks and Spencers

  • Pasta Evangelists works closely with Harrods, the most famous British department store. Why did they pursue this partnership? Finn told me that the aim was to display the 'theater of pasta'. They run classes, have pasta chefs to speak to, and have lots of available fresh pasta to buy.
  • From a marketing perspective, the beauty of working with Harrods is evident. In the short-term, there are sales. But, the long-term we see the most impact through brand awareness. Not only does Harrods = instant credibility, trust and gravitas (especially important when they were just a small business), but the 'theater' directly contributes to the brand's story of being an artisanal quality pasta company.‍

PR strategy

  • In the early days, Pasta Evangelists did PR in-house. They've now professionalized, outsourcing to a specialist hospitality PR agency (BackUs).
  • Pasta Evangelists has been in all the big-name publications in the UK – so, of course, I had to ask how they achieved that.
  • Finn mentioned that the product naturally sells itself; being food, it's an exciting topic. He also deployed the strategy of being persistent with journalists while offering them some fresh pasta for free – hard to turn down, right?

What should you do if your product doesn't naturally lend itself to a PR hook?

  • Find a cheeky way to slot yourself into something bigger.
  • Be creative and gutsy. As previously mentioned, Finn designed the 'liberate the city' campaign for Zipjet – a dry concept (cleaning your clothes) became 'driving a tank into Central London'. You've got to hand it to him, that's something about which journalists want to talk.
  • Capture people's sense of humor or imagination. Finn told me a story of a publicity stunt he saw: someone tied a whiteboard to some railings in a busy street in London that called out a cheating spouse, including their Instagram handle (@). If you went to visit the handle it directed you to their app, with a cheeky piece of copy (Google it!)

Hope you get some solid branding insight here. If you’d like to hear it firsthand, please come listen to the podcast on our website.

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