BroadVision Marketing Blog

Cheap SEO Services And Your Marketing Objectives

Posted by Jaco Grobbelaar on Wed, Oct 07, 2015 @ 11:55 AM

cheap-seo-services-and-your-marketing-objectivesEvery business owner wants to save money. That's good business. But choosing "cheap" SEO services to achieve you marketing objectives may not be. Because when it comes to SEO service providers, you often get just what you pay for - if that!

What's So Bad About Cheap SEO Services?

The best way to approach this question is to attempt to define terms first. What, exactly, do we mean by "cheap" anyway? 

According to a recent article in Website Magazine, the average cost for a typical SEO package is about $750 per month. A quick search of SEO consultants and marketing agencies offering SEO services seems to confirm this. However, it is easily possible to spend far more in monthly fees depending on the extent of services being offered.

But if we were to use this figure as a baseline of sorts, then it would appear that spending anything less than, say, $500 each month for SEO services could be considered "cheap". 

Now that we have agreed on a number that represents cheap, the next question to ask is "What should you get in SEO services for your monthly fee?" Again, this is not an exact answer since 1) not every small business is alike, and 2) not every SEO service provider is alike. Obviously, the more you get the better the service, right?

Not necessarily.

One glaring example is the mainstay of most SEO marketing strategies, the venerable blog. Having a business blog could be considered a non-negotiable and is a foundation block of an effective marketing strategy. But when a marketing firm offers a broad number of services for a really low monthly amount, something usually has to be done at a discount by them. 

And this is often the frequency and quality of the blog posts they offer to write for you.

Other services can suffer from this "cookie cutter", minimalist approach these agencies or consultants must take in order to generate a profit margin from their attractively low fees. The problem for most clients - the small business owner or marketing manager - is that they often are ignorant of what is required to implement a truly effective SEO strategy. And they tend to focus on costs, confusing the number of cool services with actual results when thinking of ROI. 

Don't Forget Your Marketing Objectives!

The true measure of your ROI on SEO services are your marketing objectives and the quality and breadth of the service offerings. In other words, it's not enough to simply look at what your agency or consultant is doing for you with SEO. You must also look at what your agency or consultant is achieving for you in terms of your desired marketing objectives.

Analytics can be bewildering and deceptive, but they are critical for measuring results. And while page visits, click throughs, email opens, etc. are all vital and important to track, gaining new customers or clients is the final "proof in the pudding."

A good agency will insist that you have clear and achievable goals and objectives for your marketing efforts. A really good agency will help you refine those objectives and show you exactly how they intend to help you achieve them. And a great agency or consultant will tell you that any marketing strategy will require time, consistent effort, and approximate outcomes. In other words, beware of an SEO specialist who promises exact numbers in a set time frame. 

Cheap SEO Services, Marketing Objectives, and You

What should you look for when choosing an inbound marketing agency? While you want to avoid the obviously "cheap" firms luring you, you also don't want to sell the farm for some premium, "everything but the kitchen sink" bundle of services that your business may not really benefit from.

Instead, look for proof of performance, proof of industry knowledge, and proof of trust. And with that in mind, here are five things you want from an agency:

1. They Use Inbound Marketing
Would you want to hire an investment adviser who doesn't invest in the same stocks he's selling you? So why consider a marketing agency that doesn't practice the type of marketing they want to sell you? You don't!
Erin Wasson, VP of Marketing at UrbanBound, said: "When evaluating any company, the first thing I do is look at their website and social media presence. I Google to see if I can find them online and evaluate how well their website is optimized for search engines."
2. They Have Client Success Stories
These can usually be seen in the form of case studies showcased on the agency's website. Being able to speak to a living, breathing client can be a powerful form of tangible "proof" that the agency in question can and has done their stuff well.
In addition to having a number of success stories, or case studies, be sure to establish that the firm works with your particular side of the marketing equation, B2C or B2B - or both! An agency that has only worked with consumer-targeting businesses may know inbound marketing, but might not be a quality fit for your B2B operation.
3. They Are "State of the Art"
In other words, they not only "know their stuff", but they are up to date. But staying up to date with industry news means not only being on top of marketing trends, but your specific industry's news and trends. Your agency should be able to teach you want you need to know.
Erin Wasson went on to note: "If I know more about available technology out there than a prospective agency, I likely would't hire them. I would want them to teach me new things and keepme on top of trends - not the other way around."
4.  They Focus on Your Goals
It's sad to say, but some agencies prefer to use a cookie cutter approach to marketing - establishing a templated process and applying to each and every client, regardless of those business's specific goals and objectives. While this may produce some measurable results for the clients - and make the process more seamless and streamlined for the agency - it's more about the agency's needs than their clients.
You want your agency to know your goals and challenges thoroughly and intimately. They should be able to speak to you as if they were a part of your own management team. And there should be a proposed plan on the table before you sign a contract.
5. They Work For Your Success
A good agency will let you know when they can't really be the best fit for you. While that may seem counter intuitive, it is a hallmark of a quality firm and one that exemplifies professional integrity. In addition, it is an indication that they know their stuff well enough to know what will or will not work for you when it comes to inbound marketing.
Perhaps your goals do not align well with an inbound approach, or maybe they understand that they are not able to help you. A quality and professional firm will be upfront and transparent with you about limitations. A really good agency will be more concerned about your success than their own revenue stream.

Do I Even Need an Agency for SEO?

That's a great question and a valid one. Surely content creation and inbound marketing are tasks any capable business owner can manage? Is it really necessary to outsource these functions to a third party, no matter how good they are?

Well, yes and no. 

Yes, you probably can do your own inbound marketing. But do you really have the time, resources, and knowledge to make it happen? The truth is that most companies don't. From both a resource allocation perspective and a cost-effectiveness perspective, it makes more sense to enlist the aid of a good outside team.

The Case for An Agency

Fortunately, you don't have to attempt this on your own! Your options for implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy include turning to a professional firm that can work with you to maximize your efforts.

A qualified agency like BroadVision Marketing will develop a road map with an implementation time line, marketing milestones, and key deliverables. Using this road map we will create the framework and structure for us to work with you and help you to achieve your marketing goals.  

Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.

 

Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session

Topics: Professional Services Provider, Marketing Objectives, inbound marketing, SEO

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