Explaining SEO Return on Investment (Barber & Hairdresser edition.

Selling seo is one of the most difficult things to do. Most of the time your selling to small or medium sized businesses with a relatively low marketing budget and all they usually care about is quick results and not what you can do for them in 12 months. Obviously seo is a bit different as it takes time to rank websites, especially local seo for new business sites. But once ranked the ROI is so much better than almost any marketing method!

The reason selling SEO is so difficult is 2 fold. The first point is that people receive spam emails daily from everyone and their mother about “I can get you to the first page of Google”, No sh*t, anyone can get you to the first page of Google for 1 15 word phrase! Heck, I could write 15 words in a row and then Google would rank me first! But anyway, these spam emails mean people have a negative perception of the industry and hence “You Are EVIL” before you’ve even started.

Reason 2 why selling SEO is difficult is because most of the time you can’t guarantee anything, at all! So your sales pitch goes like this: I might be able to get you ranked for these keywords, if you were ranked it would definitely make you money, How much? Well I’m not quite sure, but give me £500 a month for about 6 months and you might be ranked and get some return on this investment….. And guess what everyone says…. There is a better way where you can at least take out the “how much” element to the businesses and give them a monetary figure of what you estimate they will make once ranked. Although this is only an estimate, in my experience this method works pretty well and is quite accurate.

Calculate the Return on their Investment

I’m a big fan of calculating potential ROI for businesses. If you can explain to a business owner how much they cam benefit from your services they will usually pick up these services from you. As long as they believe you!! But that’s a totally new topic.

In this article I’m going to outline how to explain ROI or return on an seo investment to a hairdresser or barber. These are generally small businesses that can’t afford large scale SEO campaigns, but can benefit greatly from small local campaigns.

In this example I’ll be using a £300 per month local seo example. £300 a month is a lot of money for a small business so you need to explain exactly how you can make them more than this as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that is below.

I’m going to use Cardiff for this example, but you can do it for almost any city as long as there is a demand for your product or service.

The first aspect you need to know before all else is the lifetime value of a client or customer for the business type. For barbers let’s say this is £30, some people might become lifetime customers, others might only come to you once, so 30 is a happy medium and probably on the low side too.

This means we have to generate about 10 new customers a month for the business to break even.

The next step is to research how many customers we could potentially generate for the business once the website itself is ranked. Calculating this we have to use the Google keyword planner.

Choose all the keyword relevant to the business you are trying to rank. For example ‘hairdresser Cardiff’ ‘barber Cardiff’ ect.

Be sure to include those long tail keywords as well, these are super easy to rank for and make up a huge proportion of searches that most seo companies just ignore.

Once you have all your keywords put them in the keyword planner and find the monthly search volumes.

The next step is to estimate a click through rate from the serps. This is a more difficult estimate as even if you end up ranking first in the map pack AND top of the organic listings you will still only receive between 30-60% of the clicks.

For this example I will use a CTR of 25%. Mainly because in a 6 month period I believe I could rank any barber 1st for most of the keywords selected. If the city or industry had more competition then I’d use a more conservative CTR but in this case 25% is about right.

The next stage is to calculate a conversion rate. This is a conversion rate for the number of people who have visited the website who actually go to the business and become a customer. This varies from business to business but for this example I’ll use a relatively conservative conversion rate of 10%. That’s 1 in 10, if you have a conversion rate less than that for highly targeted organic traffic then you have a problem!


For our example then we have about 10-15 keywords with a total search volume of just over 3000 searches a month. This includes long tails as well which made up almost 300 monthly searches, which is why they are so important. You can see the larger keywords + search volumes below (remember to set your target location to the UK.)

Search Volumes

Using these numbers we can calculate exactly how much the business can make:

1.) Total search volume = 3,000.
2.) 30% Click Through Rate = 900.
3.) 10% Conversion Rate = 90.
4.) LVC 25 x 90 = £2,250 per month.

It’s also important to remember these are conservative figures. For another client we had 4 leads a month for a keyword that only generated 10 searches per month according to the keyword planner!! So take that data with a pinch of salt.

Minus the fee of 300 pounds a month this business would generate £1,950 pounds of revenue every month once ranked!

Judging by the competition it would only take 3-5 months to rank! And although in that time the ROI would be negative or around the 100-200% mark, once ranked the ROI is 600-700% a month, month after month. Would you make an investment of £300 a month if in 6 months that same figure made you £2,000 a month? Yeah thought so. And this is how you should try to explain it to the local businesses. Your services (if done right) really will make them money!

That’s the power of seo and how it should be explained to smaller businesses.

Over the course of the next few months I’ll be breaking down seo ROI and costings further. For both businesses and for seos.

If you’re a hairdresser or a barber feel free to give me a email [tom@seooasis.co.uk] as I am looking to prove this theory with a case study.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

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