Recently a client asked us to look over an online marketing plan presented to them by an online marketing company. We were happy to do so and shocked by what we saw…
Of course the presentation was a very slick, beautifully formatted PowerPoint presentation – one of the best I have ever seen (They should be in the PowerPoint presentation business). But by the end of the presentations I found myself amazed at the cost of what they presented - over $15,000 per year, $9000 of that for services that are either worthless, unnecessary, simple to do, or could be done using an incremental approach saving thousands of dollars each year. And what we saw proposed seems like it was just opening a new can of the same stuff for another customer, pouring it on the plate, and trying to convince them they should eat it because it is good for them.
Of course (in the strongest possible terms) we advised our clients not to enter those contracts. And it is not because we disagree with all of the methodologies proposed. Some of what was proposed are actually helpful and things that we do for clients all the time. But others would be worthless or unnecessary for the type of business our clients conduct.
This is a matter of great concern for us. In fact, I was almost in tears when I explained to a friend how wrong I think their approach is. Yes, to help a business acheive good visibility online is good, but to charge and continue to charge thousands of dollars a year for the work they proposed is just awful. I could not help but speak out.
To keep this post short, let me restate what we know and what anyone seeking good value in their online marketing efforts and investments should consider.
- An incremental approach to organic ranking improvement is almost always the best value for online marketing. Yes It may (or may not) be slower, but it is inexpensive.
- Paid Advertising (like Google Adwords) really only has 3 justifiable purposes and it otherwise unnecessary:
-To generate initial traffic while improving organic rankings. (it becomes unnecessary cost afterward)
-To generate traffic for highly competitive keywords/phrases where organic results are not sufficient.
-To achieve ongoing search engine visibility domination (we actually use them for that purpose)
- Social media works for online visibility when there is viral distribution. While social media profiles can be good for relationships, that alone does not boost online visibility.
- Press Release distribution is almost always a waste of money if done for SEO purposes. Search engines know organizations ‘blast’ the internet with press releases hoping for visibility, so they tend to be largely ignored.
- The best solution for reputation management is to spend your money to become a BBB accredited business and display your accreditation link for visitors to investigate your business.
- So-called “product landing pages" are completely unnecessary. What you need is to make sure every product or service has a unique page on your website that is properly written with relevant keywords/phrases, and that they contain unique, authoritative content that others will find valuable.
- If you are in a competitive online space and serious about SEO, you MUST blog - constantly. And what you write in your blog must be relevant and authoritative. Usually that means someone else can’t write it for you – at least the initial draft.
- Mobile websites are becoming essential but they should be connected to your primary website, and better yet be a mobile enabled version of your website.
If you are wrestling with one of these jaw-dropping proposals from a so-called 'online marketing' company, we will be happy to give advice because what we have seen isn't just wrong for our clients, it is wrong for everyone.