The Perils of Low Bid Marketing
It’s an exciting time when you make a big marketing move with your business. You’ve done your research and you’re ready to start looking at agencies to do the work. You need your website to be state-of-the-art and your name to rest comfortably on the front page of Google. The perfect cocktail of web design, SEO and online advertising is about to be mixed. So, let the bidding begin! But wait… Are you really going to hand over your web presence to the lowest bidder? Before you go down with that ship, let’s take a look at the perils of low bid marketing.
You never want to give in to the temptation of taking the lowest price without knowing the cost of that decision. There are many hidden hazards when you hand over the reins of your business to someone you haven’t paid enough to do the job well. Low bid marketers notoriously provide just enough to legally charge you for the service, nothing more. Be on the lookout for the following tell-tale signs that you should continue your search:
There’s always the guy who comes into the sale with a delicious guarantee. Who wouldn’t want a guarantee, right? Well, it’s a bit counter-intuitive, but guarantees in SEO are a bad thing. Anyone who gives you an SEO guarantee is either a liar or foolish. That’s because those promises are impossible to keep. With over a billion websites the search engines could place on Page One, how could anyone be so sure that their SEO strategy could place you there in a specific number of days? It’s simply not possible. SEO is like a race that starts with a billion runners with new competitors popping onto the track all the time. It takes a sustained effort over time to stay ahead of the pack, and an understanding that there is no finish line. By the time you realize that you were given a faux guarantee, you’ve not only wasted money and time, but you have likely damaged your history with the search engines.
Proprietary “mystery” strategies are often woven with tricks. If you can simply sign up online for that great deal on SEO, the red flag is at full-mast. They know nothing about your business at that point, or what it will take for you to get to the first page of Google in your locality or industry. You may not even need SEO to achieve your goal. One local business recently fired their SEO company for poor performance; and, the agency turned around (on the sly) and made a file change (robots.txt) that told the search engines to ignore the site. The goal? They wanted that local business to see their rankings drop to nothing, and come crawling back to be rescued. A professional agency would never trick a client or the search engines. If someone leads you to believe that your rankings are but clay in their hands, it’s yet another sign that they’re the wrong person for the job.
The One-Price Website
Low bids often come in the form of a one-price website package. There’s an agency currently offering WordPress sites for $99 with free hosting. Plus, you can choose any design! It sounds so incredible, I want one. But, wait. It only takes one click on their website to realize that their $99 website is not at all what you expected. You are getting a blog with a contact form and one single design to choose from. But, the larger issue is that you are not getting a site that is made to achieve any specific goal. You are left on your own for that…as well as creating some semblance of an SEO foundation with the hopes (cross your fingers) of one day being found online. So, what is the cost of a $99 website? Ninety-nine dollars and the time and effort it takes you to realize that it won’t achieve your goals.
It can be hard to understand the difference between one agency and the next, or even what makes one website better than another. The true value of the deal is in the details, which many agencies don’t come right out and provide. You want an agency that is current, experienced, and committed to your long-term success. And, you want one that puts a solid strategy in front of you with the details on how your goals will be met. Effective marketing should pay for itself. So, never confuse value with cost and every dollar will be well-spent.