Home Forums Tech talk Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

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  • #1160671
    I.T. Guaranteed
    Member
    • Total posts: 51

    Hi Bert,

    I, and I don’t think anyone else would put 3 months work into a consultancy contract and just let it go without working with the client to achieve their satisfaction.

    The point is I am willing to put skin in the game. That is, If the client is not satisfied then I don’t get paid. I don’t do this for the fun of it. I like to eat too.

    My guarantee puts the client in a much better situation then if there wasn’t any guarantee. It gives the client the power. They can say we don’t like this bit. change it. They can always pull the pin. My job is to ensure that they are satisfied. That is why I have clients who stay with me after 17 years. That is why my clients give me great referrals. That is why not one has ever asked for their money back.

    You know ( in your example) if I had a magic wand and could return you to your original state in time, if that’s what you wanted, I would do that too. I certainly could try importing the data into your old system, or cover the data entry costs.

    But you see, I am never going to deliver something that is worse than what a client started with. There are sign offs all the way along, and user testing and then training sessions. So way before we got 3 months down the road, the client would have had enormous opportunity to review and critic the software at each step.

    All software development costs are included in the subscription, So what is offered is a full refund of that subscription.


    I should add that at the three month mark you probably wouldn’t have even been invoiced yet. Most of my software includes a 90 day trial.

    #1160672
    TrishF
    Member
    • Total posts: 192

    Hi Sal (?)

    I know this post is a bit old, but it caught my eye.

    Firstly, your home page lacks any sort of social proof – the About us page & contact page are hidden in the footer, there are no testimonials, the social media icons are almost hidden (and they don’t open in a new tab – so if someone does find them and click – well it’s goodbye potential customer, they get lost in FB land and because your site didn’t stay open, you’ve lost them.) You also have no reference to Pinterest – this niche is HUGE on Pinterest.

    I recommend you install a FB like box so ppl can like you page without leaving your site, and the next time they get on FB (hopefully) your posts pop up in their feed. This also adds to social proof – you have thousands of fans and that’s very cool.

    I also recommend you move the about us & contact page to above the fold and I would def collect some testimonials and prominently display them (with real names).

    You also should be blogging – either in your business name or in your personal name – this gives Google fresh content, helps with social proof & if you blog in your own name – it helps build your personal profile (which can lead to lots of other opportunities).

    All this helps build “know, like & trust” which is essential in selling online. If a new potential customer comes to your site they are subconsciously wanting to trust you – if you don’t “tick all their boxes” they won’t trust you and so – they won’t buy from you.

    I hope that helps.

    Cheers
    Trish Fehon

    #1160673
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
    I.T. Guaranteed, post: 191664 wrote:
    If someone were to come along in the SEO / copywriting / on-line marketing area with such a guarantee I think they would do very well indeed.
    Hi Jay,
    I’m sure many do make a short term killing by offering an SEO guarantee.

    I’m all for offering a guarantee, however…

    In this case, the problem starts with defining what is being guaranteed.

    Let’s start by calling SEO the process of attracting relevant potential clients to a website from the generic search engine results.

    An SEO consultant may be able to increase the potential client visits to a website one hundred-fold but not make a bit of difference to orders placed and ROI.

    The person who started this thread wanted to measure SEO results using sales and profit factors.

    The trouble is, if the client’s products/services are over priced, poor quality, badly positioned or in the wrong location, SEO cannot change these limitations to improve ROI.

    Then you have the issue of clients who are not prepared or able to provide enough resources for SEO in their SE market place.

    This is a very real issue. In many situations correcting a site’s inherent problems can even extend to the recommendation to start again with a new site if the client really wants to maximise SE referrals.

    Then there is market demand. If you are selling left-handed scissors for cutting fishing knots on 2lb breaking strain line in Tasmainia, it should be easy to rank top of any target search phrase. The problem may be that there is no market for the product.

    The vast majority of SEO projects are a compromise. We try to generate the most SE referrals for the funds available. If a client can’t afford the full remedial action, we have to work to improve referrals as best we can with the dollars available.

    How would you write a guarantee around these issues?

    When I see SEOs offering guarantees, my initial reaction is either:

    • They are inexperienced and don’t know what they are doing.
    • They are experienced con artists who don’t care what they are doing.

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1160674
    Dimi
    Member
    • Total posts: 29
    JohnW, post: 191730 wrote:
    The trouble is, if the client’s products/services are over priced, poor quality, badly positioned or in the wrong location, SEO cannot change these limitations to improve ROI.

    As a small business owner, I subscribed to this thread for the exact requirement the OP had.

    I think what you have said above John is the key factor for success especially for a small business and really we shouldn’t have to pay a SEO consultant to tell this to us (as a business owner, we should know this upfront). Unless the business has a very large marketing budget, domain authority and/ or a household name it could be hard to get any conversions for the reasons above.

    Problem is, with the amount of dodgy consultants around the industry it is a daunting task finding the right person who is genuine enough to really help your business.

    I certainly don’t want to pay 2k for SEO and at the end of 3-4 months to be told that I am not getting any sales because my prices are too high or I have bad quality products or my website/CMS isn’t capable enough to do so. To me that’s a waste of money.

    All the reasons you and some others have provided here I think are valid but at the end of the day I’d rather know that upfront rather than at the end of 3 months after paying a substantial amount of money.

    I personally have learned a lot reading these forums and doing research about who I should go with. I am quite close to finding a suitable consultant to do the work at a cost.. quite expensive to be honest but I am willing to give it ago because I have done quite a lot of research and asked alot of questions, dumb questions, repeating the same question twice in different ways to see what answer I get. I encourage anyone looking to invest in SEO to do so too :).

    Cheers,
    Dimi

    #1160675
    I.T. Guaranteed
    Member
    • Total posts: 51

    Hi Dimi and John,

    Yes you are both right. It is all about managing customer exceptions and setting it straight from the start. It is about being upfront.

    How would you write a guarantee around these issues?

    I am not in the industry so forgive me if I get this wrong. Feel free to adjust to your own requirements.

    • For SEO consultants – Guarantee to improve your google placement, or guarantee increased page views. (yes I know more views are useless without conversions unless you want to be popular)
    • For Copy-writers – That you will be satisfied with my writing
    • For Online Marketers – That you will be satisfied for my overall efforts to increase your sales with a solid ROI

    There are the customers that you might not want to take on because they cannot be satisfied (due to all of the reasons outlined in previous posts (pricing, product no-one wants, competition etc.), or that lets face it, just are not worth the effort. But as Dimi says they need to know this upfront, and maybe that is a chargeable consultation service in itself.

    When I started out I went to a NIES course. At the course the instructor made each participant state what they would guarantee. Some of us (me included) were reluctant. Then it was pointed out what would we do if the customer wasn’t happy and didn’t want to pay? In the end every one of us from foodies to photographers to manufacturers to consultants all had our guarantees written into our business plan. I am a convert. It has won me sales and never been abused.

    Cheers

    #1160676
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104

    Anyone offering “guarantees” in the SEO space is merely trying to fool their clients into feeling better in order to sign them up.

    You do not know Google’s algorithm.
    You do not control the search results.
    You cannot guarantee something you have no control over.

    Google supposedly changes their algorithm every day.

    With SEO, there is inherent risk – that is of course, that there are no guarantees.

    Instead of offering meaningless guarantees, I educate (and help) my clients on the importance of diversifying their traffic sources.

    Any business owner that is sitting in their office waiting for the phone to ring because they’ve invested everything into just SEO is playing with fire.

    1. Diversify your traffic sources.
    2. Improve the conversions with the traffic you already have
    3. Do not ignore offline marketing channels
    4. Nurture the customers you already have. The easiest customers to get are the ones you’ve already got.

    #1160677
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    John Romaine, post: 191748 wrote:
    Anyone offering “guarantees” in the SEO space is merely trying to fool their clients into feeling better in order to sign them up.
    .

    The best line in this whole thread, but this goes for the whole IT industry.

    #1160678
    Dimi
    Member
    • Total posts: 29
    John Romaine, post: 191748 wrote:
    Anyone offering “guarantees” in the SEO space is merely trying to fool their clients into feeling better in order to sign them up.

    Instead of offering meaningless guarantees, I educate (and help) my clients on the importance of diversifying their traffic sources.

    Any business owner that is sitting in their office waiting for the phone to ring because they’ve invested everything into just SEO is playing with fire.

    1. Diversify your traffic sources.
    2. Improve the conversions with the traffic you already have
    3. Do not ignore offline marketing channels
    4. Nurture the customers you already have. The easiest customers to get are the ones you’ve already got.

    John, I must say, I really love reading your posts. You tend to be pretty straight on topic go on with a no nonsense approach. That is all well and good and I have a lot of respect for that confidence you have… but……

    Here are my thoughts and many others may agree or disagree..

    – Anyone who starts online or any business must not just fool themselves with guarantees. I, for one is quite serious to get my business to a successful state but that doesn’t mean just fooling myself to people who give guarantees or what not. Any business owner has to have the brains to do due diligence on what they invest in.

    Things you have mentioned about diversifying traffic, using other marketing channels is all well and good and taken with respect. However the question is should I be paying 1 or 2 grand to get that info from a SEO consultant. I would be more keen to understand how exactly that money is spent for pure SEO specific tasks.

    Again, please take this with a light heart as I am just expressing my view about how I personally take it having spoken to many SEO experts the last few months. I myself will be spending close to 2K within the next couple of weeks starting an SEO/CRO campaign and I am purely considering it as an investment in the share market. I would like to think my decision is as educated as it can get.

    Cheers
    Dimi

    #1160679
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    I don’t think much has been said in this thread to define SEO services.

    It’s a bit hard to discuss the topic if there is no common agreement of what it is. Here is my attempt at it…

    The way I’ve always approached SEO pricing is to split it into its real SEO cost components.

    SEO Step 1 – Research
    You need to know what is impeding a website’s ability to attract relevant SE referrals.

    You need to know whether the current SE referrals are from the target audience.

    You need to understand the level of online competition for the target audience.

    Some people may call this a site audit but it does need to explore the online competition.

    SEO Step 2 – Planning
    You need to present the client with these findings and a set of possible remedial actions.

    It is only at this point that you are able to come up with an SEO implementation plan and schedule that fits with the client’s resources.

    SEO certainly can take time and must be implemented to fit with the client’s financial and time resources.

    SEO Step 3 – Implementation
    This is the start of implementing SEO activities.

    Remedial SEO action may involve:

    • The site developers/designers.
    • The client’s copywriters.
    • The client’s staff.
    • Training of any/all of these groups may be needed

    If an SEO company quotes you on a range of services that is like a shopping list of amendments to web page tags, HTML code compliance, keyword density checks, submissions to directory sites, articles for news sites, book mark site submissions, social media posts – RUN AWAY!

    These types of SEO quotes are very common and they are at best marginally useful and at worst, could get your site penalised by Google.

    In this day and age, remedial SEO activity almost invariably requires modification to the website’s set-up. You don’t want an SEO fiddling with this, you want your developer to implement these types of actions.

    Web page copy is another area that is an essential SEO element. Beware SEO offers of cheap copywriting. They may be generated by programs that spit out gibberish scraped from the web or they are likely to be absolute rubbish that hurt your business image.

    Often the client’s staff is used to write page copy. The SEO may be providing content writing templates and revising the staff’s work. They may be working with a third party copywriter or occasionally, the SEO service may offer to provide the copy for the client.

    There is potentially a huge range of cost variables in this implementation list.

    I defy any SEO to quote any sort of price based on reality until they know what needs to be done, who the client wants to do it and how quickly.

    SEO Step 4 – Monitoring & Revising
    Monitoring results, identifying problems and opportunities then implementing remedial activity.

    The client should start to see improvements in targeted SE referrals within a month of their implementation.

    SE ranking audits of keywords are not a relevant SEO performance parameter. Ranking audits are useful as a diagnostic tool but should not be the primary way of assessing the effectiveness of an SEO consultant.

    Quoting SEO Costs
    An experienced SEO should be able to make a quick assessment of a website and its competition to be able to quote a price for the research and planning stage of the project.

    In the small business space, you may find quotes in the range of $500 – $2,000. The variables involved in Step 1 can be that broad and more.

    So much of SEO involves research, strategy development, training, reviewing and monitoring.

    An SEO consultant is more like a band leader or a coach. Effective SEO is not practiced in a dark room that is isolated from the client’s world and resources.

    I understand that many clients can’t be bothered with this detail and the SEO cost per keywords approach appeals to them.

    If the cost per keyword approach to quoting SEO appeals to you, expect to waste your time and money. It is very rare to find magical, short term, real SEO results. If you do, then the client should not be expected to pay large $ for quick answers.
    Caveat emptor.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1160680
    JohnTranter
    Member
    • Total posts: 842
    JohnW, post: 191765 wrote:
    I understand that many clients can’t be bothered with this detail and the SEO cost per keywords approach appeals to them.

    I imagine it’s the idea of metrics that appeals.

    I know of at least one company who paid $500 a month for a year only to find out that nothing had every been done. I don’t know how that happens but it did and I suspect it’s not an isolated incidence.
    Now I imagine he wants to see something measurable with the next SEO company he uses.

    Please note I don’t agree with using keywords as a metric.

    #1160681
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
    JohnTranter, post: 191773 wrote:
    I know of at least one company who paid $500 a month for a year only to find out that nothing had every been done. I don’t know how that happens but it did and I suspect it’s not an isolated incidence.
    Now I imagine he wants to see something measurable with the next SEO company he uses.
    Hi John T,
    Yes, I see new clients who have forked out for SEO services where it is hard to see anything that has been done or anything USEFUL that has been done.

    Based on all the spam SEO email offers I receive, I suspect many of these people know so little about SEO that they don’t even realise how useless their tactics are.

    A good SEO should be defining a set of relevant metrics to the client when discussing the SEO research and plan options with them.

    These should be driven by the client’s objectives of:

    • Relevant potential customers and their locations
    • Products / services to be promoted.

    Relevant reports could include:

    • Analytics location reports if site visitors from a target city are under performing
    • Visits to and landings on specific product / service pages
    • Queries and click through rates to specific product / services pages
    • Page visit pathways for key product / service pathways
    • Email enquiries for target products / services
    • Online orders for target products.

    The list can go on and on.

    SEO is not about keyword rankings. It is about delivering relevant potential customers for client specified products and services.

    I do recommend ranking reports to clients but not as a primary metric. They can be very useful as an SEO tactical “range finding” function. I.e. To see how previous SEO actions changed the ranking of a specific product or service page and to estimate what extra action may be needed to boost its ranking into a top 10 place for a range of words.

    Without relevant monitoring, SEO is a complete waste of money.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1160682
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    This is a PS to the above.

    Here is a list of largely irrelevant SEO tasks offered to me in a spam email immediately after I posted above:

    • 150 Directory submissions
    • 10 Social Bookmaking Submissions
    • 10 Article Submissions (1 article x 10 article directories)
    • 10 Press Release Submissions (1 press release x 10 press release websites
    • 10 Blog Submissions
    • 1 unique, 400 word article written
    • 1 unique, 400 word press releases
    • 15 One Way back links with mix PR
    • Meta tags changes suggestions
    • 1 Keyword research
    • Competitor Analysis
    • Heading tag changes
    • Alt tag changes
    • Interlinking wherever required.
    • Keyword density in site content.
    • HTML Site Map
    • XML site map and Submission in webmaster tool

    These are described as “monthly tasks”.

    Most would only need a one time implementation or an infrequent re-assessment. Others are at best irrelevant or at worst, could generate a Google penalty.

    IMHO, Business owners should avoid these sorts of simplistic SEO offers like the plague.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1160698
    Peter – FS Administrator
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,889

    Hi all,

    We’ve been following this thread with interest and it’s had some brilliant contributions and advice as it’s traversed tricky ground.

    As it has veered off topic in the last 24 hours and also swerved well outside the ‘supportive/respectful’ guidelines a few too many times, our moderators have decided to close the thread to future comments for renovations over the long weekend.

    I hope you can understand our position on this, but any questions just send them through. And of course other topics can also be started in new threads.

    Have a great long weekend (if you get one in your neck of the woods).

    Cheers
    Peter

Viewing 13 posts - 91 through 103 (of 103 total)
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