SEO is different, in terms of investment and effect. First you pay (and all of us SEOs know that real optimization costs are not that big), and some months later you start getting dramatic results. Yes, SEO pays for itself hundreds of times better, in the long run. Many small businesses, like consultants, can struggle to get clients. Improving your SEO allows your business to get found online, which increases traffic to your website and to your store, and helps you to get more clients.
SEO is an important part of referral marketing because people who hear about your company will want to look it up, but they won’t always remember the name. If you’ve done your SEO homework, you will find your business. Casual conversations that are great for word of mouth marketing are bad for remembering things.