Zero Penny Marketing

What makes SEO a super customer-centric marketing channel with up to 14X ROI?

Vishnu Goyal
Vishnu Goyal
Founder & CMO

If you are reading this article, I am quite sure that you’re someone who is involved in digital marketing and online business.

You wanna grow your business with digital marketing and you have got ‘quite unlimited’ channels to choose from 👇

→ Search Engine Optimization; SEO

→ Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, X, TikTok, Pinterest, and more.

→ Ads & PPC: Meta or Facebook + Instagram ads, Google PPC, Google Display ads, LinkedIn ads, and more.

→ Influencer marketing

→ Email marketing

→ Affiliate marketing

→ And a hell lot more.

Now, let’s come to budget. Budget is always ‘limited.’

Just like every good marketer in business, you have limited money but infinite potential.

Limited resources but infinite growth mindset.

Limited team with unlimited aspirations.

“Thanks for the nice words! But I am confused a bit now. Where shall I invest my money for best ROI?”

You see, all these channels are great.

All of these, if used well, can give you a “high” ROI where “high” is highly subjective!

“Isn’t that vague?”

Yes it is, but I am not done yet.

I have been into digital marketing since July 2015 to be precise. And except for influencer marketing and TikTok, I have used all of the above channels to grow different businesses.

However, out of all channels, two channels have always stood out:

→ Search Engine Optimization; SEO

→ Email Marketing

I’d have also included ads there if I have not seen brands losing “BIG” money on ads. Ads work but one wrong move in ads cost dearly, making it a high-risk solution especially for bootstrapped companies and startups.

Now, there is one peculiar thing with SEO that makes it one of the most customer-centric growth channels.

“And what exactly is that?”

SEO puts your brand in front of your customers AS & WHEN YOUR CUSTOMERS NEED YOU, instead of you forcing it on them.

Imagine this scenario 👇

You need a brand new smartphone. You are on a budget of INR 50,000.

What will you do?

Either you will go to Amazon or Flipkart and will search directly on those platforms.

Or you will go to Google and search for “best smartphones under 50000” - something like that.

Although I don’t need a new phone right now, my 3-year old SE works well for me! Still, let me do the search honor for you!

I searched for “best smartphones under 50000” 👇

Best smartphones under 50000 - Google Search.

If you see 👆, first I got a slider filled with ads, showing ads of smartphones from different brands.

Ironically, in above search snapshot, although I searched for “best smartphones under 50000” but all the ads are showing smartphones in the range of INR 55K-95K. Folks running ads for these brands have got a job to fix!

Then I see top 3 results from 👇

→ 91 Mobiles on #1: A gadget reviews site in India.

Best smartphones under 50000 - 91 Mobiles.

→ Gadgets 360 on #2: Another gadget reviews site in India.

Best smartphones under 50000 - Gadgets 360.

→ Amazon on #3: Needs no introduction!

Best smartphones under 50000 - Amazon.

All these three pages are super helpful for my search because I needed a smartphone under INR 50,000 and these pages are giving me all the options to buy just that.

These results came up to me exactly when I searched for them. 

Exactly when I am in the mood to buy a smartphone.

That’s exactly what SEO does, putting your brand in front of the customers EXACTLY WHEN they need it. 

Now, imagine how other marketing channels will work to sell a smartphone 👇

In influencer marketing 👇

A bright person saying to audience: “hey guys, I just got this brand new smartphone from XYZee brand.” 

Some sort of review of the phone, followed by ‘wanna check out’ closing statement.

Good for brand and product awareness. Not that good for selling it right away. 

In organic social media marketing 👇

One day you are posting about one product, another day about other, and so on.

Let’s say you have 100K followers across your social media profiles and all of them are in different mood and in different stages of buying journey. 

But you are posting SAME stuff for ALL.

It’s like forcefully feeding burger to all 100K people when some of them wanna eat healthy meal, some wanna have fried rice, and so on!

In social media advertising and Google Display ads👇

People waking up in morning, seeing your ad just because they searched something related to smartphones last night in their cozy bed!

People seeing your ad during a busy day in office with no time to click and explore a smartphone.

People busy doing 100 different things, randomly seeing ad of your smartphone. 

Or people seeing your ad just the moment they are planning to buy one - very unlikely. 

Yeah, good for brand and product awareness and re-engagement but not that much customer-centric. 

As people become more aware of their privacy and safety online and how “cookies” are ruining it all, getting to see a “personalized ad” from a brand they think they can trust is just being creep to them. Not that much customer-centric!

In email marketing 👇

Either your email will jump in the spam or in the promotions folder of customers’ inbox.

Even if they get to see it, they might not be looking for a smartphone right now.

And no matter how much you segment and personalize, most email campaigns are always done in bulk, pitching SAME product to ALL people subscribed to list. 

That’s anything but not personal. Although you might get their name right in email, that’s a silver lining to it!

Again, good for engagement and product awareness, but not that effective in selling it.

In Google PPC 👇

Yes, just like SEO, Google PPC also puts your brand on top just when your customers need you.

But it is DAMN COSTLY!

Not the viable solution for bootstrapped startups, SMBs, and early stage companies who runs on their own hard-earned money and don’t have millions from VCs to spend lavishly!

SEO: The Gem

All ad campaigns work on pay to play mode. You stop ads today, you stop getting leads today. You spend today, you get leads today. 

In SEO, you make one page rank and it can keep generating leads for you for months and even for years. Although it needs regular work, but much less investment.

And just to be clear, I am not saying that all other modes of marketing are not useful, they are. In fact, some of those can help you bring leads much faster than SEO because SEO takes at least 3 months time to show any results from start date, that too subject to the condition that it’s done well. 

However, SEO is a channel with capability to give you more than 10X ROI, higher than what most marketing channels are capable of. And it is THE MOST CUSTOMER-CENTRIC and evergreen marketing method.

SEO never pings you like push notifications.

SEO never shows up on your feed unless you specially search for it!

SEO never flood your email inbox or spam. 

SEO never makes your social media feed look cluttered like social media ads.

SEO never calls you and push you to buy like cold calling. 

SEO simply solves for you.

You need something, you search for it, and SEO gets the best possible solutions right in front of you. 

That’s SEO!

That’s why sales win rates from leads generated via SEO are much higher in comparison to leads generated via any other channel of marketing, in my experience. 

If you are preferring other channels of marketing at the expense of SEO, you can do well in short term. 

But for long-term growth, you must rethink and update your digital strategy because I believe you want to grow your business not just for short term, but for long term.

And for long term, there is no channel that works better than SEO does. And it must be part of your integrated digital growth strategy, neither exclusive nor ignored!

Oh BTW, you can go home and can also go big at the same time, SEO doesn’t give a damn about “go big or go home” thing. It doesn’t ask you to choose, it just helps you grow!

See 👆, that’s one more thing to 💙 about SEO!

Vishnu Goyal
Founder & CMO
Just one of the 8 billion here; spending most of my time playing with words, numbers, and web in pursuit of an imperfect life, raising humanity, and building one carefree world.