How to Prioritize SEO & PPC for Startups

Sep 11, 2023featured, It Depends - An SEO Podcast, SEO

In today’s fiercely competitive digital landscape, startups and new businesses face a daunting challenge: How to effectively allocate their limited resources for maximum impact. Enter the dynamic duo of digital marketing—SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. These two powerhouses can drive traffic, boost visibility, and ultimately, lead to revenue growth. But here’s the catch: prioritizing and budgeting for SEO and PPC can be a complex puzzle to solve. That’s why in this podcast, we’re diving headfirst into the world of startup marketing strategies, revealing the tactics and trade-offs that can help propel your business to new heights.

Join us as we unravel the intricacies of prioritization and budgeting for SEO and PPC, unveiling the keys to unlocking success in the digital realm. It’s time to transform your digital marketing strategy from a question mark to a confident exclamation point! 

Transcript

Lindsie:
Hey Jay, how’s it going?

Jay:
It’s going.

Lindsie:
Yeah. Are you excited for episode two of It Depends? An SEO podcast about all the things that it could just depend.

Jay:
I do I have to listen to it or can I just be excited about being a part of it?

Lindsie:
you can be excited to just be a part of it. You don’t have to listen to yourself.

Jay:
Okay, cool. Then I’m pumped.

Lindsie:
Pumped. All right, well, last time we talked about a very technical topic with chat GPT. This time, we’re gonna talk about budgeting for SEO and PPC specific to startups. So super exciting, it’s gonna be SEO versus PPC today.

Jay:
So spend millions on both. It’ll be great. Episode done, thanks. Let’s do another one.

Lindsie:
Yeah, so I’m gonna set the stage for us a little bit so we can get into this right mindset, get everybody level set with what we’re talking about. So we are, you know, Transistor, Jay and Lindsay here, we’re on a sales call, we’ve been referred to this new prospect. They’re a startup tech space. some sort of software, jumping into an intro call, who they are, who we are, conversation’s great. They’re growing, there’s opportunity, we mesh really well, seems like we can help them. And we ask the question, well, what’s your budget for SEO or PPC? And it’s the crickets, right? They just have, they don’t know. They don’t know how much to spend. They don’t know if they should do SEO or they should do PPC or do they have to do both? How does this like fit? And really in the small business startup rapid growth space, how do we give that budget? How do we help clients structure this? How can they think about this? And I wanna talk through what are the questions we should be asking? What is the information we need? And is there… is there an answer, right? Like, is there something that we can say definitively, spend X on PPC and X on SEO based on X, Y, and Z information? So that’s kind of setting the stage of where I wanna go.

Jay:
So when I deal with budgeting, I will take three of my dog’s toys and throw them. And depending on which one she runs to bring back, it’s a different number that I give the client. I think you have a different process for this. So how do we get to it?

Lindsie:
It’s a little slightly more scientific than like literally what hits the wall as we throw it or what sticks to the wall I don’t know. What’s what’s the saying Jay like I throw pizza against the wall. I what’s spaghetti

Jay:
Uh,

Lindsie:
What’s the food?

Jay:
throw sp- throw spaghetti at your spouse and- and if they scream, it’s done.

Lindsie:
Oh, okay. I don’t think

Jay:
Yeah.

Lindsie:
that’s it either. Somebody will tell us what the real one is.

Jay:
Okay.

Lindsie:
No, so I think in terms of the very first step here is I think we need to brainstorm and talk through what are the questions that we need to have answers to even give an answer to this question of what should my budget be, right? There is no, unfortunately. spoiler alert, there is no answer, right? It depends on a lot of answers to questions and then the cumulative of that. So I guess the first question I would jump into is like, is there demand in this space? Is this an established market? You know, things like that.

Jay:
Yeah, and to attempt to be serious, search is largely about fulfilling demand. People are out there looking for things. They’re trying to solve problems. And you are trying to be one of the answers to that problem. So this is a hard one for startups because a lot of times the ones that are getting attention, getting lots of funding and big valuations and doing all kinds of aggressive marketing, they’re entering a space that doesn’t really exist or they’re solving a problem in a way that it hasn’t been solved traditionally. So are people even looking for the thing that you do?

Lindsie:
Right?

Jay:
how often are people looking for it?

Lindsie:
And how much education needs to go into this too, right? Like is this something where there is this solution now, like you said, and they’re just disrupting the entire space with an entirely new solution? Or is there a little bit more plug and play where we can kind of just get into that space? Or is it fully new, we need to educate that this totally new thing exists? Because those are two very different strategies.

Jay:
Yeah, and how realistic is it? Like, are you super small going into a like brand or a super small going into an industry that is established and huge, like an Airbnb saying like, hey, hotels, you’ve heard of them, we’re kind of like that. But different. That’s that’s an aggressive pursuit. Uh, and you know, you might have to temper expectations a bit even though there is a lot of there’s a lot of demand out there for I’m traveling or I need a place to stay for a fixed amount of time

Lindsie:
Right, well, and I guess to get to kind of a point with at least this individual question, let’s say this startup is disrupting a space and it is the Airbnb, you know, however many years ago coming into the hotel space, is there a structure of SEO versus PPC that is most beneficial in that kind of disruptive space?

Jay:
Yeah, I mean on the PPC side, it’s fairly easy, at least in terms of getting people in the door, because you have an established market, you have that demand out there. People are looking for hotels, they’re looking for rooms to rent, all these things that Airbnb provides. And it’s through ads that show up in search results, through banner ads that follow you around the internet, seek and do, it’s very easy to get in front of those people and get their attention and get them to your website. So we can do a pretty straightforward job of estimating that, you know, when it’s like the established market and you are the disruptor.

Lindsie:
But it’s expensive, probably, right? Cost is likely high.

Jay:
Yeah. And you know, if you have. Like if you’re an early stage startup, you don’t have unlimited funds to work with. It’s really about picking your battles and understanding. Like a lot of these people are maybe just going to be more comfortable with the option that they already know and are familiar with

Lindsie:
comfortable.

Jay:
and never consider you. So what we would do is try and narrow down, like who are the folks most likely to convert the most likely to say, I’m going to just like book a room in a stranger’s house for the night. And that sounds

Lindsie:
I’m gonna

Jay:
like

Lindsie:
go

Jay:
fun.

Lindsie:
with the disruptor here.

Jay:
Yeah.

Lindsie:
Well, and-

Jay:
And we can find those people and we can make recommendations. Uh, and really it’s, it’s about like, what kind of tolerance for pain is there? Uh, on you,

Lindsie:
Testing

Jay:
the business

Lindsie:
and

Jay:
owner

Lindsie:
trial.

Jay:
side. Yeah. Because you are doing something different. You’re going to have to. beat people over the head with it a little bit before they understand what you’re offering and how you’re different and can just make sense of your business model before they wanna like pull out the credit card. And you’ve got to set aside budget for that and then focus on, on like what actually works. So, you know, we can, we can come up with numbers. We can say like, if you want to take over the entire market, it’ll cost this much. If you want to go after this smaller segment of, of travel hipsters that are more likely to go with your business model, it might cost this much. It’s pretty straightforward.

Lindsie:
Right, where I think this is a difficult space for SEO, where you are coming up. So let’s, again, let’s stay with that Airbnb idea. You’re not going to beat the Hilton’s or these sites that are so powerful, they’re local, they are, have the history that this new site just doesn’t. And there’s education that can be provided. and ways we can go about it. But I think in this disruptive space, investing heavily in PPC at an early stage to like get the brand out, I think is a smarter way to go about it. As much as I love SEO, right? Like I think that is always a fantastic way to spend your money. But I think in this disruptive space, it is a good use of funds to invest in PPC and gather data.

Jay:
Yeah. And one of the things that’s, that’s interesting about this from, you know, an SEO perspective and just marketing generally is these companies that we label disruptors are usually not trying to replace something. They’re trying to create a new place in the market. You know, Airbnb has been around for more than a decade at this point. They still aren’t beating Hilton in an organic search. If you search for hotels, Airbnb does not come up high on the list. And in a lot of cases, they don’t come up on the list at all because they’re saying we’re like a hotel, you know, don’t tax us like one, but we are something

Lindsie:
Don’t.

Jay:
different,

Lindsie:
But

Jay:
uh,

Lindsie:
yeah.

Jay:
you know, Uber did not replace. Taxi in the vernacular like if nobody searches for taxi when they really want an uber They search for uber or rideshare or something like that and that’s really what this is about and that’s when the seo part really comes into play of You know educating people on the nuances doing the comparison and then having that established brand that you can capitalize on as the market materializes.

Lindsie:
Right, well, I think this also emphasizes the need for search marketing, SEO, PPC, either one, both of them, being a larger part or being a part of a larger strategy. This is, I think, especially in the startup space, we have a lot of conversations of, we’re going to invest in search, like we want to do SEO, we want to do PPC, we want to do both. And then they look to us to… to drive their marketing strategy. Like this is our strategy is SEO and PPC, but there is such a broader piece of education of the market, getting the brand out, really closing the loop in many spaces that I think it’s just super critical for startups to also understand that this is a piece of the pie. It is not the entire pie. And especially when we’re disrupting or coming into a space where there are larger players, you know, we need to be included in a larger idea.

Jay:
Yeah. And it’s understanding that like, you know, Airbnb is not going to rank when people search for hotel, they’re not going to rank number one because

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
they’re not a hotel and you just like, you need to accept that. You know, it’s not that the SEO person isn’t good at their job. It’s you’re trying to lie to people about what you actually are. So making sure that we understand what is possible and what makes sense. You know, if your strategy is I’m going to rank number one for hotel with this new thing, that’s not a hotel. It’s not a good strategy. So yeah, like figuring out how search can complement what your business is trying to achieve rather than to your point, be the strategy is, is an important part of this.

Lindsie:
Well, and I think that this plays into another one of the questions and pieces of information that really make a big difference in deciding your SEO or PPC budget is goals, right? What is the business’s goal right now? Is it we need to drive leads or sales really aggressively over the next 90 days? Is it we are looking to be a stable force in this industry over the next 10 years? where are we focusing our energy and having a strong understanding will help further define where money should be allocated.

Jay:
Yeah, and that can be a tricky one because for a lot of startups, especially if you’re in some kind of like software space, the whole idea behind the business is that it can scale infinitely. You know, we can have tens of millions of people use our software at, you know, essentially zero additional cost to us. So it’s how do we just get tens of millions of people to use our software?

Lindsie:
Immediately.

Jay:
So. Yeah. And usually when we’re talking to these businesses, they’re, they’re earlier on in the process and we maybe have a couple of use cases for our product or our tool or whatever it is and haven’t really explored what else is possible. So, you know, it’s trying to balance Okay, we have these like three existing use cases and we want to saturate that market or maximize our penetration into that market versus we want to get out to the broader population of potential users. You know, people, I don’t know, sticking with Airbnb, people use it for vacations. People use it for just a short-term place to live. People use it. It’s like. college dorms, people use it as like temporary office space for family reunions, all of these things, you know, and initially their, their idea was it’s a way to find like roommates and meet new people and that sort of thing. I don’t even think that like. a place to stay when you’re on vacation was the primary goal, like

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
maybe kind of like a hostile replacement. But there’s these other markets and opportunities that just kind of presented themselves as customers thought of new ways to use their service and as the marketing and product team thought of other ways to position it. So from search marketing goal standpoint, I think you’ve got to have that idea in mind any startup or almost any startup is going to be trying to balance both of those things. If we have these existing use cases, we need to maximize those, but we also need to keep exploring what else is possible.

Lindsie:
Right, and I think that this is also the power of doing SEO and PPC in tandem in this kind of space, of doing the research that SEO can provide and also those kind of like sowing the seeds of what is going to be over a long period of time. Because also if you’re a disruptor, you’re coming into this space with something new and innovative. the likelihood of competitors coming in also greatly increases with time. So stabilizing yourself in this space is important, whereas SEO is really, really strong in that stabilization, looking forward, planning for the next step, and then tying that with PPC, right? And what we can get now, what data we can collect on what’s happening today and how we can pair those two things together, I think allows for short-term bursts. as well as long-term growth. I do think startups get blinded by that short-term growth sometimes, right? Where it’s like, well, we need that information or those leads today. And then SEO is kind of on the back burner because this is like forward-looking, which I think is a little blind to what could be.

Jay:
Yeah, and I think that is a huge challenge in this world, because if you take a big established business, you know, like, I don’t know, GE would probably be really happy if they had 5% growth this year. I’m sure they’re gonna have losses, but whatever. 5% growth, they’d probably be like, that’s great. If your average early stage startup had 5% growth, they would not make it to their next round of funding.

Lindsie:
bright.

Jay:
So we, we need these like moonshot growth strategies and you know, we’ve, we’ve said plenty of times like, like SEO doesn’t line up with that. So it’s really about how can it support your long-term growth strategy and also be something that, that is there later on, because we certainly run into issues where. Let’s say we ignore SEO completely, all of a sudden we’ve been in business for two or three years and we wanna start it now. Like, is it like too late at that point?

Lindsie:
Hmm, we definitely don’t get the benefits, right? And I guess one thing I wanna add for just additional thought in this conversation is in terms of additional questions even would be what has been done so far? So we’re kind of this whole conversation we’ve been having is assuming we’re coming in fresh, right? Like they’re like right out of funding first round. They’re starting up, they’re coming to market and they need an SEO PPC plan. But what if this is a startup that is a year, two years even into selling and producing whatever it is that they’re doing, how does that impact your SEO and paid search strategy if we’re not coming in at that kind of initial push? This is a couple years down the line.

Jay:
Yeah, those are interesting situations to come into. I mean, so many of these companies find themselves at a big pivot point when they’re a couple of years in where it’s for, for so many of them, maybe we started out as like a B2B software company and now we’re going to go to consumers. Like, uh, chat GPT and you know, we, we talked about them. the last episode, they’re showing up in Microsoft Office. You know, there’s like the Microsoft Co-Pilot thing. And they’re gonna sell those like $30 a month licenses to every enterprise company as just an add-on to their Office 365 subscription. And that’s cool. but there’s a lot more consumers out there. And eventually, a couple of years into this experiment or maybe even sooner than that, there’s gonna be that pivot of, all right, we need this to be everybody’s personal assistant. We need it to replace their little box from Amazon or Google or whoever that yells at them

Lindsie:
answers

Jay:
when

Lindsie:
questions

Jay:
they’re trying to have

Lindsie:
right.

Jay:
a conversation. So… those types of change in direction and strategy often come with like that stage of growth and maturity and that can be pretty exciting for search marketing because we’re trying to you know preserve what’s already been built but also use that to like steer the ship in a different direction

Lindsie:
Yeah, and I actually think this is like the most exciting time for SEO when we have like some information, we have some data to work off of. They have, again, a little bit of a plan like, hey, this has worked. This hasn’t worked. This is where we’re going. And then SEO can really plug into that, amplify it and boost it up substantially in ways that like… starting from scratch, there’s so much learning that is involved in those initial stages, where I think when you’re getting to that kind of exciting phase of, okay, I know who we’re selling to, not just, we have this thing and we need to sell it, and we need SEO to tell us who to sell it to, that’s really, really difficult. Whereas in this, let’s say year two, you’ve sold some things, right? Or people are using the solution actively. and we can use that data and information to then plug in SEO and make SEO really successful. Now, let’s say in that space again, that two years, how does paid search change? So we said at the very beginning, startup it’s good to invest and get in front of potential customers. How does that evolve as the startup evolves over time?

Jay:
Well, one thing that paid search can do is really help shape the narrative of how your company’s maturing. So people might have heard of you or people might have some established view of like what you do and how you operate and whatever. But if that is changing as your business grows and shifts in priorities. You can retarget to past visitors, you can use display ads, you can show up for branded searches, all these things where you can craft that message to say like, you might have known this, but did you know, we do all of these other things. Did you know that you can rent an Airbnb for your family reunion or something like that? And maybe you never considered that before. So, you know, we can find ways to get in front of people for all of these different initiatives that come with growth and do exciting things there. The other part of it is, you know, theoretically you could spend less because SEO has caught up. and you’re getting referral traffic, you’re getting organic traffic, you have social media presence, all these things. But. Usually like if you’re in your second, third round of funding, you want more growth and so

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
PPC has to be ready to really ramp up the volume and, and reach a much broader audience. And usually that presents itself in getting in front of people in like the early stages of discovery and consideration, the folks that are less likely to convert, you know, the. the people who always stay at a holiday and express, we want them to consider an Airbnb for their next vacation. And that might take several visits to your website, that might take a number of different campaigns to get them to change their mind and be open to this. But getting those people to change their mind is part of that next giant phase of growth.

Lindsie:
Right, it’s like growth and diversification of your strategies, where you’re hitting people, how you’re talking to them. And I talk about that a lot with like SEO and hitting people at different stages of the sales funnel. Right, you’re doing research on your next vacation. Where should I stay? How should I stay? Where are great places to stay in Virginia or wherever you’re going. And then it’s like, as you get deeper and deeper in this funnel, eventually they’re just looking at verification that like this thing is legit and that they have what you want, but making sure that we show up in all of those phases is really critical from all search perspectives. I think something that came up in what you were just talking about was flexibility. And I think that is a big conversation in the startup space is like, they are moving. all the time, right? They may have started with thinking, we’re gonna figure out roommate situations and sell a bed and for Airbnb to, we’re gonna host family vacations, whatever it is, but there is like really fast movement. I guess in your opinion, what is better for fast adjustments and movement and how do we as SEO strategists and PPC strategists, become agile.

Jay:
I think the only thing you can really do from my standpoint is understand what the product or service does as good as you can and then hold on and just go along for the ride. Because, you know, if you have a client that, let’s, I don’t know, let’s say we have an app that is a timer that tells you when your eggs have been hard boiled, you know, like turn off the stove, they’re done. You could come up with a six or 12 month SEO strategy that’s like, we’re gonna come up with all these blog posts for hard boiled egg recipes and this and that and blah, blah. And then three weeks in, the marketing managers come, gonna come to you and be like, hey, we realized this timer can tell you when your pasta’s cooked too. And then all of a sudden,

Lindsie:
It’s a whole new world.

Jay:
yeah, now we’re not talking about potato salad anymore, we’re talking about rigatoni, and we just gotta throw the whole plant out the window, and. that can be frustrating, but the whole idea is all of the time you would have spent trying to come up with a long-term plan that time goes into again just understanding the product, the users, the capabilities, so that when things change, because they will change

Lindsie:
they will change.

Jay:
a lot, you can be ready to pivot and do your research and say well… These new users that you’re going after, these are their problems. This is how they search and this is what we’re going to do about it. And the, the biggest challenge is you can generally only do so much for each of these use cases as they come up. You know, if, if you’re focusing on the pasta timer application and three weeks later it changes again, and now it’s like your, your potatoes are cooked timer. Whatever it is, you’re only gonna get so much SEO work done in that three week period related to pasta. So it’s really about like, what can I rank for in a short amount of time?

Lindsie:
Sure.

Jay:
What is the quickest way to get some visibility for these searches and

Lindsie:
Well, and I think

Jay:
just

Lindsie:
to,

Jay:
running with it.

Lindsie:
yeah, I think to push a little bit too on like the value of working with an experienced person in search, you know, agency, whoever it happens to be is also somebody who is willing to tell you the risks and rewards of these adjustments because sometimes it’s like, guys, there’s so much benefit and opportunity for us to just like rule the egg world. Like we were killing it. we are going to kill it. Like we cannot divert our plan. It is not financially responsible or intelligent based on X, Y, and Z data points to switch to potatoes and pasta, which I mean potatoes and pasta are always better, but you know that’s just my opinion. But you know I think that that’s something that’s critical too in startups is having a really qualified, consistent partner in search and interpreting the data and saying, I know you’re changing and this stuff is important, but we also need to understand where the opportunity is and where we need to insert ourselves and make sure that there’s not a, you know, chase all the different avenues and then you go absolutely nowhere. And so I do think it’s part of our responsibility as consultants to inform and educate too of like, hey, okay, we’re making this change. We can do that. We can adjust, but just know this is where we were going. And this is the opportunity we may be losing with that adjustment.

Jay:
You’re saying you need like a little starch in your strategy to help stick on a path. Like potatoes, pasta, no.

Lindsie:
Badoom, shh, the starch in your strategy. Is that gonna be our new? Ha ha ha.

Jay:
I mean, so yeah, having some amount of expectation setting and also letting people know what is across the finish line if they stick with one idea. I mean it is important like you know saying hey I don’t know thousands of people are searching for this thing they’re looking for the pasta timer and we can go after it but it’s going to take five months to get any real traffic for it and if you abandon after month two you’ll never get there like Ultimately, the, you know, the CEO of the business or whoever it is, is going to make whatever decisions they make. And everyone’s

Lindsie:
Right?

Jay:
going to have to deal with the consequences. But hopefully you can reinforce the idea that discipline can be rewarded.

Lindsie:
Now, with all of these things we’ve talked about, so we’ve talked about in terms of where the startup is and their process, are they brand new baby coming to market, are they a few years in, what are the goals, what are their visibility, additional plans, prioritization, agility, things like that, what are the other questions we should be asking here? What are the other really important things that we would need to understand to answer that client’s question of how much joy I spend on SEO or PPC.

Jay:
Knowing things about the revenue model is important. We can see some of that stuff from the outside. You can go to a website and see, like usually there’s pricing or something like that, but is this something where you have data that customers stick around for eight months on a monthly subscription on average, or whatever it may be. Because, you know, we can, we can do some work on our end and the, the business can fill in some blanks on. If you get this much traffic, what could that turn into for revenue? You know, if, if you capture. Like, you know, if you’re visible to 80% of the possible market, what does that actually mean? Like if that’s going to cost. $500,000 a month to get there and you’re selling the, you know, the pasta timer app for 99 cents in like the premium version, maybe that will never pay off. But if you’re

Lindsie:
Very true.

Jay:
the more typical startup where it’s like, we’re selling something that’s a little more expensive than that and has some recurring revenue involved. Like there could be some real value in that growth opportunity or, you know, in these B2B startups, like the dollar amounts are a lot higher. And so even if the traffic isn’t really out there, you know, it’s, if we get a hundred visits a month, but all of them are potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to us, maybe that, that makes sense, but that’s ultimately what has to happen. And I think too often, even if it’s like people on the inside of the company trying to make these decisions, they just they look at the traffic and think like, does that seem like a big number or not? And don’t connect it to what is the actual revenue impact.

Lindsie:
right, how much money is this gonna make? I mean, really, as we kind of come down to this conversation and how much do I spend, it’s like, well, the return on investment is really critical. And I think also understanding not only your revenue model, but how all of the money comes in and out and how much does it cost to get a lead, all of these pieces where we talk to some companies that have like a really, really wonderful idea of… everything coming in and out, cost of acquisition, how much they make on each consumer, B2B, B2C, whatever it happens to be, lifetime value, where we talk to other folks that have no idea. And that is a lot harder for us to give a realistic budget if you don’t know how much it costs to retain a customer or acquire a customer or how much you make on them. because then we can’t do those ROI calculations quite as effectively.

Jay:
Yeah. And you know, for startups, like chances are they don’t know that information because they don’t have a big enough customer base, haven’t been in business long enough to concretely answer those questions. It’s

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
probably varying wildly from week to week or day to day. And You know, for, for like startups that are earlier on in their life, it’s, it’s really about leaning into that initial vision of what could this be. And you know, if you’re, if you’re being valued as like a $1 billion company, well, think of what is your revenue model look like and what would it take to actually like fulfill that valuation at a billion dollars or whatever the number is. Search is not going to be the only way that you get there, but you can say like how much traffic from search would it take to make up

Lindsie:
to get me.

Jay:
30% of that revenue number?

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
And then are there enough people searching for the thing that we do to where we could possibly get that revenue number?

Lindsie:
Right?

Jay:
Those are… Those are somewhat straightforward questions that, like search marketing people and business leaders can work together on answering.

Lindsie:
Mm-hmm. Fair. Okay. I think that we have a lot of the pieces we would need to understand. So let’s say we go back to that initial conversation and they tell us, okay, we are a tech startup two years in or let’s say a year into business. We don’t have a great idea of who our market is. We have some sales in the pipeline, not a ton. And we’re looking… to grow tenfold over the next three years? What is their SEO PPC structure? And maybe not like a dollar figure, but is it like 60% PPC and 40% SEO? Is it 50-50? Is it 90-10? Where would your mind go in terms of a recommendation with that information?

Jay:
78.5% PPC to be exact.

Lindsie:
I feel like that’s a little PPC heavy. I would go like, you know, 49 and a half percent. Just kidding.

Jay:
The challenge is always that I think SEO gets undervalued in

Lindsie:
Mm-hmm.

Jay:
terms of the results that it can lead to, but both of these initiatives require some amount of labor

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
and you’re paying for that labor. And in PPC, you’re also paying for the ad visibility. So the budget almost certainly is going to be a higher number between the two.

Lindsie:
Right.

Jay:
And, you know, for these, for the startup space, um, in particular, I like to lean more aggressively in PPC early on with the idea that they might not know who their customers entirely are. They

Lindsie:
Right?

Jay:
They don’t know what keywords they need to rank for. They don’t know what pages they need to build on their site. SEO can answer those questions, but PPC can help SEO answer those questions faster.

Lindsie:
You’re just able to collect data so much quicker within that space. I think as a general recommendation, regardless of the 70% split or whatever, 80-20, whatever you end up at, having both of them collectively is really important and I think really helpful. I think that we have a lot of people that come to us wanting one or the other. they’ve made some decision that like they need SEO or they need PPC. And I do think they’re especially in a startup space having both and having them in a place where they are supportive of one another. Even if you’re not working with a single agency, if you are working with multiple agencies, they need to be actively communicating and sharing information. Like that is so, so critical. When you are at a point where collecting data about your customer, website activity, all of these pieces are really make or break for making this business successful and having those things collectively moving in the same direction and not against each other is so important to understand and I think doing them in tandem is going to absolutely be the most successful means of breakdown.

Jay:
Absolutely. Yeah, we’ve had a number of situations where it’s like, you know, we start out just doing SEO because we aren’t making money and it’s maybe more affordable and we don’t have to pay for every visit to our site. So

Lindsie:
Yep.

Jay:
there’s, you know, that seems like a great path to growth. And then it’s all of a sudden eight, 12 months in, and we’ve had to change directions a bunch of times because. You know, we don’t have that immediate feedback that PPC provides of, you know, who are the right people to target? What are the right searches to show up for? And then we have folks that do it the opposite direction and then they do just paid, then they get to the point where their business is making money. Suddenly they’re very focused on returns and they look at, Oh, we should do SEO. We’re not getting organic traffic. Wait, it’s, it’s going to take how long for it to pay off for us. We’re not going to do that. So

Lindsie:
Yeah.

Jay:
you’re just shooting yourself in the foot either way in terms of like the potential growth and returns you can get.

Lindsie:
Yeah, I agree. I agree. All right. Well, in our It Depends podcast, it always depends, right? We have a singular solution for perhaps one individual case of a startup, right, of how we would break down a budget. But everything is always dependent on size, scale, opportunity, all those types of things. Any parting thoughts? Jay of what a startup should do with their search marketing budget.

Jay:
$73,000.

Lindsie:
That’s it, that’s the dollar.

Jay:
The people want answers. I’m giving an answer.

Lindsie:
that Jay is giving you an answer of $73,000. Whatever, take that as it means, monthly, annually, quarterly, daily. It’s just a number.

Jay:
all of them, yes.

Lindsie:
All of it, pick one. All right, Jay, well, I appreciate your time.

Jay:
Thanks for hanging out.

 

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