What Does Organic Growth Mean for Your Marketing Budget? [UPDATED]
Organic growth isn’t paid, but does that mean it’s free? Even though you don’t have to have a media budget to post it, it still costs time and effort to create it. Are you going to end up spending more to spend less?
That depends on priorities. If you need to ramp up traffic fast and bring in leads quickly, then paying for clicks is a good strategy to get you started. But if you want to sustain that traffic and eventually reduce your budget while still increasing conversions, website traffic, and social media following and engagement, you’ll need to prioritize organic growth.
The benefits that organic growth brings not only affect your marketing spend, but also your return on that spend. Here’s how to leverage organic growth to reduce your paid marketing budget.
IMPROVE YOUR ORGANIC SEARCH TRAFFIC
The higher your visibility on search engines, the less money you need to spend on search marketing. Research from IMPACT found that:
- Websites that are at the top of Google's search engine results pages grab 36.4% of the traffic missed by lower-ranked websites
- Users think the first few websites at the top of the SERPs are among the more authentic businesses in their industry
Creating content that generates value for your buyers is less about cracking a search engine’s code and more about content creation. Search engines rank websites with the use of machine learning and are able to crawl and understand your pages as if they were human. So, to start ranking higher in search queries, you’ll need to focus on optimizing your content’s value and intent for your audience and their needs.
GROW ORGANICALLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
More and more brands rely on paid social media campaigns as algorithm changes make organic growth on social media increasingly difficult. However, implementing strategies to grow your organic reach and audience is still going to help you spend less overall. One of the most effective ways to grow organically on social media is focusing your content on your audience.
Icon’s Social Media Strategist, Taylor Arseneau, has three pieces of advice to share:
- Make sure you’re consistently and strategically posting content that’s relevant to your audience.
- Pay attention to your audience's engagement to identify trends in what or what not to post.
- Use creative graphics, mix up the use of hashtags, and directly ask your audience what they want to see with interactive polls.
"There’s so much opportunity to reach your audience with engaging organic content," she says. "With all of the noise happening on social media, it is important to create content that will break through and provide value to your audience’s lives.”
DON'T FORGET TO UTILIZE YOUR EXISTING LEADS
Your existing base of leads or contacts is a great resource to drive more organic growth — you’ve already got their attention. With minimal spending, you can send emails with new content, product and service updates, links to your social channels, and more. Making it easy for your existing audience to find your content and social pages encourages them to engage with it organically.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Engaging with your existing audience will increase your authority in your industry. When someone from your marketing team is responding to posts and providing their expertise, it makes your brand feel more trustworthy and reputable.
Social media platforms also value more meaningful and interactive posts, which can result in a higher organic reach. This drives more people to your social channels where they have the opportunity to learn more by visiting your website. The more interested visitors you can drive to your site, the higher your chances of increasing average duration and number of pages viewed. These are all indicators to search engines that you are providing valuable content, and that they should rank you higher.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR PAID MARKETING?
Once you see your organic efforts paying off in increased traffic and better quality leads, you can scale back on your paid media efforts. According to LaFleur, you should start with paid campaigns when making marketing budget cuts because:
- Paid advertising takes up a lot of budget space.
- Paid advertising doesn’t sustain itself.
Not only do paid ads take money to run, but the campaigns also cost time and resources to manage and optimize. This holds true for both social media and Google PPC campaigns. In fact, if you rely primarily on Google search ads, you'll always be paying for clicks — and that's a growth strategy that very few brands can fund long-term. Additionally, it’s been found that SEO has roughly 20x more traffic opportunity than PPC on both mobile and desktop.
Organic growth is the sustainable way to grow traffic and engagement for your business. It will take an initial investment of time and effort, but you’ll spend less on paid media while seeing the same, if not better, success as more qualified leads come into your funnel. Focusing your efforts on content creation and strategy, utilizing your leads, and engaging with your audience are the best ways to drive organic traffic in both search and social.
Written by Robin Voter
Robin Voter strategically develops martech campaigns into revenue-growing assets for B2B and considered purchase clients. Her background includes marketing automation, content strategy, project management, SEO, PPC, and PR. Robin combines her tactical know-how with strategic vision and leadership as Icon's Director of Strategy & Analytics.