Is SEO an Expense or an Investment? Part 1

By | August 21, 2019


MARK: Hi, I’m Mark Steinbrueck, and this is
Kurt Steinbrueck. We’re with our OurChurch.Com, and on this video we’re going to talk about
SEO, or search engine optimization, and answer the question is it an expense or an investment?
There it is. The video’s done. It’s an investment. In all reality, it is an investment, but we’ll
talk a little bit about why it’s an investment. So Kurt, why don’t you share a little bit
of your expertise on that? KURT: Sure. SEO, like any marketing that you
do, should be considered an investment. You’re doing it for the purpose of bringing more
into your organization, whether that’s more revenue or more members or more students,
whatever it might be, you’re not just spending money; you’re spending money in order to gain.
So it is an investment. Really, with some organizations, like businesses, it’s a very
easy concept. Okay, I spent $1,000 and I did $2,000 more in business, so I made $1,000.
You understand that this is an investment; I invested that $1,000, I made $1,000. With some organizations, it’s not quite as
clear-cut. With churches especially, we don’t even like to think about the monetary side
of bringing people into the church. And it’s legit – our focus is on bringing people to
Christ, and that’s where our focus should be. But there is a practical side to things.
The church does tend to make certain decisions based on whether it can afford to do something.
I know with my church, we could use a new sound system. We haven’t done it yet because
we don’t have the money to do it right now. It’s such a practical reality. The same thing goes with marketing. When you’re
having that discussion with the church council or whatnot, a lot of times you have the budget
guy who’s saying where are we going to come up with the money for this? It sounds like
a neat idea, but where are we going to come up with it? The reality is that for churches,
this is an investment too, because the people that come in, there should be some of them
that are going to be tithing. There is a monetary side to that. MARK: Right. A lot of churches probably already
know exactly what an average family that starts attending the church will start to give on
a weekly basis. It might be say $20 a week. It probably should be a lot more, but it could
be $20 a week, which over the course of a month means that one family that starts attending
will start to bring in about $80 more per month, two families being $160. So if you’re bringing in $160 as a result
of a marketing initiative and the cost of that marketing initiative is $150, you’ve
not only met your cost, you now have a surplus. That surplus, month over month over month,
and as you add more and more people and you keep the families that have started to attend
and continue to give, that surplus is just going to grow. And it’s going to give you
the opportunity to do other ministries and other programs that you weren’t able to do
beforehand. KURT: Absolutely. MARK: SEO is not instant. This is something
that is a little bit different than some sorts of marketing, online advertising being one
of them, other more traditional kinds of advertising as well. Why don’t you talk a little bit about
SEO and how it’s not an instant return and it’s more of a gradual, over time return? KURT: Sure. One of the key aspects of this
is we’re talking about this as an investment. So you’re going to want to gauge how well
am I doing versus what am I getting back. But understanding that SEO isn’t instant is
very important. If you’re doing an Adwords campaign, you buy your keywords and you can
look at it and say “Okay, I spent $100 and I only got $50 in business out of it. This
wasn’t a good investment.” You can tell that pretty quickly with something like Adwords. But with SEO, like you said, it’s a growing
process. It’s a cumulative effect. So when you start out, you might not actually be making
back as much as you’re spending, but you will grow into it. Generally what it would look
like – and we actually have a graph here – is maybe this is what you’re spending, this line
right here, and especially if you’re starting with a brand new website, you’re probably
not going to be making much of anything or anything back initially, because you’ve got
to establish yourself in the search engines. You’ve got to do the optimization, do the
keyword research, all this kind of stuff. It takes some time to do that, and the search
engines take a little bit of time to respond to things. So you may start where you’re not
really even getting anything back the first month or so, but then as you start to show
up in the search engines, you start to get some of those rankings. It starts to bring
in something. And as you grow, especially if you’re doing
link building, you’re doing content development, and you’re sharing things on the social networking
sites, all that kind of stuff, you’re going to grow the authority and the trustworthiness
of your site. So that’s just going to keep increasing your rankings and how many keywords
you’re ranking for, and it’s going to keep growing. You’ll get to that point where you’re
breaking even. And then from there, it’s just going to keep
going up, and you’re making that surplus that you talked about. You’re making more than
you’re actually spending. And really, looking at this, we could just keep going. We have
this little graph that’s got its limited amount of space, but it’s just going to keep going
up from there. MARK: Yeah. And the amount of time – I mean,
right now at the bottom of this, we show 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. That probably
will vary from organization to organization, website to website. It could be that you’re
realizing a much better return a lot quicker. It could be that it takes a little bit more
time. That’s going to change from website to website. But the key is that over time,
the revenue or the return on the investment will eventually exceed the investment that
you’re putting in. KURT: Yeah, and a lot of it has to do with
what your competition’s like, how much are you actually doing in the marketing, and where
were you to start? Because if you already have an established site, you may be starting
well above what you’re spending. MARK: Right.

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