Content marketing, SEO: Equity boosters

search engine optimization and online marketingI spent about 10 years of my career in the merger and acquisitions field, meaning I scouted out businesses to acquire for my employer. In determining the value of each business, we looked at three things:

  1. Consistent sales results (that were likely to continue without the owner present)
  2. A way to turn those sales into a steady stream of cash (even if the owner wasn’t present)
  3. A management team that would likely keep working to make #1 turn into #2

So, taking these three things into account, the more the sales and service-delivery process depended on the owner’s direct involvement, the less the seller would get for their business. It was too much of a risk. How could we guarantee that clients would stay and new sales would continue since everything was contingent on the owner’s relationships?

Today, we have a new (although not that new!) lead generator. It’s called a website. Websites can attract sales leads in a way that people can’t. It can be everywhere, all the time … in places we didn’t even know we needed to be. Leads come walking in the door without the owner doing ANYTHING? What could possibly be better? Potential acquirers will be drooling.

But it’s not that simple. Most businesses that have a website know their website is hardly a  “build it and they will come” kind of proposition. A website is an investment, an investment of time, money and resources. It takes work — but it’s worth it.

That’s why I’ve started to think of the fees I pay for SEO and content-marketing services as an investment in the equity of my company rather than as a marketing expense. The work that is being done to attract Internet traffic and leads will directly increase the value of my firm now (because I’m getting more leads) and in the future (because the traffic itself is valuable). I’ve already seen a substantial return on my investment in SEO and content marketing.

From my experience, I think it’s safe to say that companies that do their sales and marketing only the “old” way (cold calling, direct mail, networking, etc.) will sell at a discount someday. After all, how will they explain to a potential acquirer just why they chose not tap into a steady stream of traffic and leads that a content-rich website with solid SEO can generate?

It also seems that I’m not the only one thinking this way

Have you seen a return on your website investment?


  1. Brad, this is an excellent post that is spot on. I see it everyday, companies that have well thought out online strategies have more value than those that do not, period.
    Tim Doyle,

  2. It’s interesting that more people don’t see it is a wealth creation strategy and not just a new-fangled marketing strategy. I’m curious to see if we see more people talking about that.

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