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BFS Capital Blog

Setting Realistic Expectations for SEO and Digital Marketing Campaigns

April 13, 2015

It’s the natural mindset for business owners to want results and to want them now. As a small business owner, you want more leads or sales; you want to be in the top spot in search engine results. You want as many transactions and as much revenue as possible, and want it as fast as you can get it.

Unfortunately, when dealing with search engine optimization (SEO) and other digital marketing campaigns for your business, significant lifts in your key performance indicators may not be immediate. Depending on the competitiveness of your industry and other factors, it may be difficult to reach your initial expectations for the performance of your SEO and online marketing efforts. It is important to set realistic expectations at the beginning of this fluid process and to understand the fundamental challenges when you go down the path of creating digital marketing campaigns for your business.

Think Long Term, Not Short Term

Depending on the industry, marketing and SEO roles are generally one the first to go when it’s time for budget cuts. The reason for that is most likely because digital marketing and SEO campaigns don’t typically produce immediate results. It may also be because SEO campaigns don’t have end dates. It’s a never ending battle to maintain an online presence, whether you’re competing with big brands or other small businesses.

When you’re creating a marketing game plan, you have to try to set proper expectations and manage your optimism when faced with entrenched competitors and other challenges. That doesn’t mean aim low; it means that reaching your goals might take longer than expected and require more resources. Technology is always changing and competitors are constantly coming up and falling out of the search results. Rather than setting results-driven goals, set process-based goals that will lead to results. Focus on establishing digital marketing best practices such as creating quality content that is valuable to your target audience, promoting it via relevant channels and measuring the results. You can’t predict the future, so it’s best to stay grounded and realistic in setting your goals and expectations.

Rethink and Revamp

Every business is different and every website is unique. You should never mirror what someone else is doing because although it may be successful for them, it may not work for you. Many times, SEO and digital marketing campaigns are about trial and error. There are hundreds of techniques but sometimes only one or two will align with your goals and business structure. It’s about finding what works for your small business and what doesn’t.

When you first start your campaign, you might have set expectations, but then a new competitor enters the playing field, taking a piece of your market share. Now what? Or your site takes a huge hit from Google’s latest update to their search algorithm. If you continue to do the same things without adjusting, then you will not likely see any advancement.

Whether it’s every month, every quarter, or after each completed milestone, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your digital marketing initiatives. Look at your progress compared to your initial expectations, evaluate your current tactics, take notice of changing trends in technology, and make modifications where you need to. The majority of the time, your strategy will just need a few tweaks. However, there may be times where you need to completely throw out what you’re doing. While it’s never fun to completely revamp your previous strategy, it is certainly better than continuing to go down a path that may lead to nowhere.

Invest in Your Digital Marketing

One of the challenges of SEO and digital marketing strategies is that they require constant attention. On the plus side, you will usually get what you put into it. In order to run successful campaigns, you have to be prepared to invest your time, effort and money. You can’t expect one person to handle all the tasks of running a successful SEO campaign on top of maintaining a social and online presence. The focus will be too widely spread across the campaigns, lessening the potential impact that they could have on your search results and online visibility.

If you can’t afford to have a team full of SEO specialists and online marketing gurus, you will have to find a way to adjust your expectations. When you have one employee trying to actively manage an online community, create original content and analyze site traffic, you might see that your metrics will be moving at a snail’s pace. Set proper expectations, understand challenges and attribute the necessary resources to reach your goals. SEO and digital marketing campaigns require effort and patience, and with that, will come results.