12+ Years in SEO. CEO of Organic Media Group, a content driven SEO agency. Focused on results. Grew & built large national search agencies over the years, managing large and small teams focused on Fortune 500. I have personally provided SEO consulting for everyone from Fortune 50 companies all the way down to small local businesses. I've seen it all, and best of all I can handle it all. I can consult on building a search agency, building SEO and link building teams, link building tactics in general, as well as using PR to get SEO benefits. I have experience in essentially every niche and have worked alot in e-commerce as well as lead gen. I have literally worked on over 250 different clients in my lifetime. I would love the opportunity to show you what I can do. I have a wealth of experience and special tactics that I'd love to share with you. Let's talk SEO!
You should never think of your marketing budget in terms of "spend" or set spends each month. Your budget needs to be fluid and based on performance.
If you spend $1 to make $3-$4 then spend until you make less from that dollar.
Competitive insights into marketing spends is tough because no competitor will ever give you access to the real numbers. But SEMrush is probably the best tool in terms of estimating a website's online marketing spend. It only looks at Google organic and paid though, not Facebook or anything else.
I'm happy to run some reports for you on my SEMrush account if you would like. Just ping me.
The Answer Is: YES
But only online yellow pages and directories.
You want to make sure that your exact location data (name/address/phone/website URL/etc) is exactly the same across all major national directory sites as well as any local ones.
This includes industry trade sites, local city directories, social media sites, business profile sites, and national directory sites.
You can hire a consultant to execute and manage all of this for you or you can use DIY services like Moz Local that charge a small fee.
It alot of work and these sites are not typically very easy to navigate and deal with. So often times its worth it to hire a professional to handle it for you. Just make sure that they give you all the logins to the sites that you get accepted to.
And also remember that this is just one step, one piece of the puzzle in executing a successful search marketing effort.
Your suspicions and instincts as to whether or not you're a good fit for a PR campaign are correct. PR (online or offline) is best served when you have something unique or cool, of if you have some sort of inspiring story behind the people (or a person) of the company. Bridal Jewelry is just not very PR worthy in and of itself.
If you did run some sort of promotion, then you could run some PR around it. Write and send out a release, contact local and national outlets and "HOPE" they deem your story worthy.
IMHO, PR is very unpredictable and difficult to measure the impact on sales. PR efforts fail. They don't always bear fruits. You need to be able to absorb that hit on your bottom line if you are going to do PR. You can hit a home run of course, but you're more likely to strike out.
You should not ignore PR, but I don't see the need to hire a major PR agency. You should use PR strategically. Use it when you have something cool to announce or promote. Use it ongoing, with the idea that you're going to also get better organic search visibility. Use it because its good for establishing your brand. Use it because it draws traffic.
But don't use it just as a direct revenue channel. You'll be dissapointed. Basically, use it because of the many secondary benefits it has.
I've worked both in-house (at Business.com) and I built and ran large agencies as well (eVisibility, Geary Interactive, Organic Media Group).
IMHO, outsourcing SEO is the best way to go no matter what. And I'll give you 3 good reasons why.
1. In-house SEO teams (and individuals) get myopia. They stare at and analyze the same site every-single-day. So its tough for them to "notice" things. A third party perspective really comes in handy, and that's where an agency fits in.
2. In my 11+years of experience, there has never been an in-house team that is as creative and cutting edge as an agency. In-house teams don't usually innovate when it comes to SEO and link building in particular. Agencies work across many niches, constantly. They develop new techniques. In-house teams almost never do.
3. Management. Managing and paying salary and benefits to an in-house team or person is expensive and takes time. Most companies aren't big enough to really afford to hire an in-house person or staff properly. They are better at other things. Which is why you hire a professional agency and then you get out of their way and let them do their thing, with accountability and reporting of course. And its easier to cut bait with an agency than it is to fire an employee, for various HR reasons.
Can you get results with an in-house team, of course. But your probability for success goes up alot when you allow an agency to handle things.
And if you don't have a ton of budget for SEO, an agency is actually much more affordable too. I guess this is bonus point #4. You can't hire anyone decent at SEO for less than $4k-$5k per month, plus benefits and time spent managing them. You can get a VERY good SEO campaign with an agency or consultant for $3k-$4k per month or less.
Go with the domain that has the greatest brand marketing potential. Don't worry about SEO when it comes to your domain. You can definitely do well with odd TLDs like the .io or others. I've done it recently with mobile development client that has a .us. Their site did VERY well in organic, and still is doing well after over a year.
From experience, adding buyer keywords or call to action terms like "get" "buy" and others in the domain can entice more click thru. Its a call to action in your domain.
Getting the keyword research and on-page optimization in place should be pretty basic work, unless you have tens of thousands of pages. This part of SEO is pretty commoditized, meaning that its a commodity and not a specialty item anymore On-page SEO hasn't changed much in the past 9+ years.
Where you'll spend most of your time and money is in link building. So the best "service" to hire, meaning you wouldn't do it in-house, is definitely link building. Even large successful SEO agencies have a hard time doing link building in-house and often outsource parts or all of the link building work for their clients. I know, I'm a link building vendor to many large and small digital agencies.
With such a large team and already active social media accounts, you need to be producing tons of content. For both your properties and for guest posting on other related sites. But you'll need to also promote your own content too. Try to write really edgy and engaging titles and articles.
Use paid social media to amplify your content and message. Use targeted Facebook ads to also grow your visibility.
If at all possible, try to come up with a unique story and angle that you can pitch to big publishers online to hopefully get more mainstream authority.
I've been in the online marketing world, successfully for the last 9+ years. I'd be happy to hop on a call and give you more details on these and other suggestions.
You could try all the things mentioned here. Hustle, Learn Marketing. Be a Pro. Etc, etc, etc..
But what you should really be doing is working a 9 to 5 first. Get real world experience working for another company or within someone else's consulting firm first, to learn the ropes. Also, the connections and network you'll build up will be invaluable down the road. This is honestly the best way to go, as a first step. Plot, the whole time, to eventually start your own firm. And when the time is right, you'll know it.