For SEO there is often a race to the bottom and that leads to product devaluation and greater expectations because of the perceived competition.
I’ve always believed that a good product can be sold at a price that makes both buyer and seller happy, but this is a fine line. If you’re priced correctly, you have enough money to get a job completed and the customer is happy to pay for the results you can achieve. If either of those are skewed you’ll have no clients or no results.
Getting results with online reputation management campaigns can be tricky. Depending on who the client is and what the negatives are, your approach should be different. For small clients, generally individuals without a lot of online assets and only a weak negative you might be able to get away with some social media accounts and an EMD (exact match domain). For someone with a large online profile you’re going to need some kind of premium content, social media won’t be enough. If you’re not focused on results, you’re doing your client a disservice.
SEO and ORM are different but in pricing they’re similar. They both will often take ongoing and often long term engagements to achieve and maintain results. With SEO I always look at the long term goal. If a client wants to be in business 2 years from now you need to be building a marketing plan that won’t damage their business or website so that they can be long term clients and have long term success. This usually involves substantial cost or time, both drive the necessary budget up.
Here are a few Do’s and Dont’s – Lessons I’ve Learned Over the last 12 Years.
Don’t Race to the Bottom
Don’t focus on being the cheapest, unless you can do thousands of transactions and have the infrastructure to deliver on those transactions. This has never been a successful business model for me. I’ve tried offering a freemium model of web hosting that didn’t work out. I’ve offered $77/month SEO which didn’t work. Nothing cheap has ever worked out for me.
Do Know Your Strengths
My strength is in sales. Throughout my career most of my jobs has been sales oriented in some aspect. My uncle taught me how to upsell and teach customers what they need rather than what they ask for. I’ve learned from that and understand that my strengths do not lie in a high volume of clients.
Don’t Copy Competitors
You need to be able to establish and clearly communicate a unique selling proposition (USP). What makes you different? Can you explain that in 30 seconds to a prospect? Your USP should be different from your competition. If you’re selling the same thing as everyone else, it’s a race to the bottom and everyone will lose.
Do Offer Additional Value
If you can one-up your competitors go for it! Are they offering an inferior product? Make sure you’re highlighting where you’re different and why that’s better. Just like every other SEO and ORM company, we create EMD’s, web 2.0’s, social media accounts and other low-hanging fruit.
My additional value is two-fold.
- Premium content – I have a focus on premium content right now. I can get you featured on Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Huffington Post and many other publications. Want to be featured on an industry-specific journal, magazine or website, we can do that too! These articles and links will be around 5 years from now and we have exclusive access. That’s my USP, I have abilities and connections that nobody else has.
- Adaptability and Testing – I spend a considerable amount of money every month so I will know what strategies are effective. This allows me to spend money testing rather than spending a clients’ budget testing and hoping for results. I know conclusively what will make a website rank and what makes them tank.
I believe that pricing should be reflective of your values and in a free market economy, you’re worth what someone will pay for your services. Want to charge more, offer more value.