If you are a regular reader of this blog, you might be confused by the title of this post which, seemingly, contradicts the title of another recent post, Create a Web Marketing Strategy… And then a Budget. That post outlines why letting the strategy dictate the budget is so very important. However, here I want to provide the alternate perspective on why the budget itself is a determining factor of the strategy.
Ultimately, even when you want to consider the strategy first, the final decision comes down to the cost of the services outlined. Every business has a budget and within that budget a finite amount will be designated for marketing.
It’s understandable that businesses seeking web marketing services don’t want to tip their hand about how much they are willing to spend without first knowing what the web marketing provider suggests for the strategy. The fear is that as soon as you declare your budget, the “cost” of the services will end up being eerily similar. You worry that what would have cost $2,000 now costs $5000 because that’s what fit the budget.
Web Marketers Are Not Like Used Car Salesmen
I hate to compare SEOs to used car salesmen (and I only added “used” because it sounds so much worse!), but anyone who has bought a car has run across a similar approach. The salesperson wants to know what you can afford each month and then they’ll magically produce a payment model that fits. They get you focused on the monthly payments rather than the price of the car. Who cares if you end up paying for the car for 15 years!
With web marketing, however, the budget often will be an indicator of how aggressive the campaign can be. The web marketer might outline an aggressive plan requiring 15 hours per month on your social media campaign. But for the more budget restrictive, a less aggressive five hours can still be a decent place to start, especially if the client can take on some of the responsibility themselves.
Or an aggressive campaign might focus on fixing site architectural issues while providing keyword and optimization of dozens of pages on the site. Yet, that requires a certain number of hours that can be cut back by optimizing fewer pages or only focusing on the most critical site optimization issues.
The less aggressive campaign will still get results but not as quickly as the more aggressive campaign. And each requires a different budget for, essentially the sames services, just operating at different degrees.
If you have hundreds of pages that are in need of optimization, trying to optimize them all within the first 12 months will likely be way out of your budget. But even still, there is a big difference between optimizing 12 or 50 pages over that same 12 months span. Tackling optimized pages at a rate of four per week, or one per week or even a one per month will make a drastic difference in your monthly web marketing costs.
Budget Determines Performance
You see where this is going. A specific set of web marketing goals can be completed in one year, three years, five years or longer. It’s just a matter of your monthly marketing budget. The key difference between the web marketer and the car salesman is that the payments you make on the car don’t impact the performance of the vehicle. In web marketing it does. And sometimes by a lot. Not due to any maleficence of the web marketer but simply due to the amount of time available to them
Regardless of whether or not you tell your web marketer your budget up front when getting estimates, you have to make sure you consider the services being outlined for the cost. A dozen web marketers can outline a dozen specific issues and charge a dozen different rates. It’s likely that (among other things) each of them are looking at a different level of aggressiveness.
If you find the firm you want to work with, but the price is too high, talk about how to operate the same strategy on a less aggressive basis. Or if you want to get more aggressive for better results, see what you can get by increasing your budget.