Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two of the most effective ways for limo companies, black car service operators, and party bus operators to promote their businesses. When it comes to SEO vs PPC and the lead cost you can expect with each strategy, you’ll need to consider where you are at with your business.
Keep reading for a breakdown of how SEO and PPC compare, what your lead cost might look like for either strategy, and the type of ROI you might see.
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Should Limo Operators Start with PPC vs SEO?
I recently worked with a new operator working out of Orlando, FL. They were three weeks into their first Google Ads campaign and wanted to know what came next.
This operator is brand new and does not have a website yet.
We started with a Google Ads PPC campaign, which is a great place to start with a new operation. At this stage, the most important thing is to get leads, convert those leads into sales, and start bringing in money.
Once you’ve brought in enough income to invest in a professional website, the next step is to build this crucial asset and invest in SEO.
PPC advertising is a short-term investment you make for the duration of your ad campaign to bring in leads. SEO is a long-term investment that builds over time and helps you generate leads across many years.
To reiterate, new limo operators should start with PPC advertising. Once enough money starts flowing in, then it’s time to start investing in SEO.
PPC Advertising for Limo Companies: Lead Cost and ROI
Let’s break down the lead costs associated with each of these strategies, starting with PPC advertising.
Let’s say an operator has a marketing budget of $1,500 per month. We’ll assume they’re not paying someone to manage their campaign and did a good job optimizing it themselves. Their cost per lead is about $10 per lead.
That means $1,500 spent on PPC advertising gets this operator 150 leads. If they’re good at closing deals, they might convert around 50 leads into sales.
Here’s what their ROI might look like:
- If their average ride ticket is $200, the operator makes $10,000 with a $1,500 marketing investment. That gives them an ROI of $8,500.
- If their average ride ticket is $500, the operator makes $25,000 with a $1,500 marketing investment. That gives them an ROI of $23,500.
SEO for Limo Companies: Lead Cost and ROI
When it comes to SEO for limo companies, it can be difficult to give hard and fast numbers, as people start from different places.
For the following example, I’ll assume the operator has a brand new website and that they’re not operating in a major city with a highly competitive market, like NYC or L.A.
Let’s say this operator pays $2,000 for an SEO expert to build their website (which I highly recommend doing). Moving forward, they spend $1,500 a month on SEO while operating in a small to medium-sized market, like Sacramento.
It’s important to understand that SEO takes time. In the first six months, our operator won’t get many leads. Here’s what that first year might look like:
- Months 1–3: Operator averages 5 leads per month and gets 15 leads
- Months 4–6: Operator averages 10 leads per month and gets 30 leads
After 6 months, our operator collected 45 leads. At this point, they’ve spent $2,000 on their website and invested $9,000 into SEO. That means they’ve collectively spent $11,000 on 45 leads. This may seem crazy, but remember, SEO is an asset that builds over time.
Let’s look at the second half of the year:
- Months 7–9: Operator averages 50 leads per month and gets 150 leads
- Months 10-12: Operator averages 100 leads per month and gets 300 leads
Our operator collected 450 leads in the second half of the year. At this point, they’ve spent roughly $20,000 between their website and on SEO — and they’ve collected a total of around 500 leads over the course of the year.
One year into their SEO investment, their average cost per lead is around $40.
As we move into year two, lead traffic really starts to pick up.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Months 13–15: Operator averages 200 leads per month and gets 600 leads
- Months 16–18: Operator averages 250 leads per month and gets 750 leads
In the first half of year two, the operator collects 1,350 leads. During this six month period, they’ve spent $9,000 on SEO, with an average cost of around $6 per lead.
- Months 19–24: Operator averages 300 leads per month and gets 1800 leads
This brings us to the end of year two. As you can see, the operator almost garnered more leads in the last six months of this 24 month period than they did during the first 18 months combined. In this way, SEO can help your leads grow exponentially over time.
SEO for Limo Companies: is it Worth the Investment?
While the initial ROI on SEO may not seem all that appealing, over time it can lead to a lower cost per lead than you might get with a Google Ads PPC campaign.
Remember, with SEO you are building a long-term asset that grows over time and benefits you in the long run.
SEO is probably the best investment you can make in your business. Just be aware of the fact that if you’re starting a new business with a brand new website, your initial cost of investment will be higher, and it’s going to take longer before you start seeing a favorable ROI.
In time, however, this strategy becomes cheaper than Google Ads, and you can generate an incredible number of leads.
Work With an SEO Expert
Once an operator has the ball rolling with their business, it’s always worth investing in both PPC advertising and SEO services. You always want to be number one in your market. Getting there and staying there takes time, patience, and ongoing investment.
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