Comparing services from one SEO provider to another can get tricky. One provider might outline a strategy that is more heavily focused on organic SEO, while another might lean more heavily toward social media marketing. The costs between the two might be roughly the same, but each option will produce very different outcomes.
Going a step further, you might get proposals for two strategies that each include fixing site architecture issues and building a content strategy, but the pricing will be vastly different. Why?
It’s all a matter of degrees. Two similar-looking proposals with the exact same services listed can vary in pricing due to the amount of time the agency expects to spend on those specific tasks. One might be looking at a fixing a couple of key architectural issues and another plans on fixing them all. One might plan on rewriting a couple of key pages of content and only reviewing any new content being produced, while the other plans on reviewing content for the bulk of the site and writing new content on a regular basis.
Each of these different approaches impacts the cost of the overall service being provided while not making a huge impact on the proposal outline.
What’s the Goal Here?
If it is difficult to differentiate what one marketing agency is providing over another, that’s because we are looking at the services rather than the goals. It’s the goals that determine what the strategy should be, and, therefore, the budget required to deliver the strategy that meets those goals.
What do you want to achieve? Most business may think they want SEO, but what does that really mean? Do you want increased traffic? Are there other ways to increase traffic that are just as viable as SEO?
Or maybe you think you want social media marketing. But again, why? Do you want to drive traffic? Build brand recognition? Manage your online reputation?
If you want more sales, do you assume that social media or SEO will do that? Or is conversion optimization going to provide a better opportunity to convert the traffic you are already getting before bringing new traffic to the site?
If you don’t know what your goals are, your marketing agency can do nothing more than offer services that may or may not improve the metrics you value most.
Establishing your goals up front allows your web marketing team to tune into the services that are most likely to meet and achieve those goals—and spend less time on those things that aren’t going to help so much.
Be warned, though, that by focusing on goals you’re going to need to buy into a number of different services. You cannot increase traffic via SEO alone. SEO requires links and/or social media marketing. And effective social media marketing requires a mobile friendly website. And to create a mobile friendly site requires a developer to fix site architectural issues.
Can you buy into a web marketing service? Absolutely. And it’s not too difficult for the agency to provide a menu of individual services that fall into that and even give you a relatively fixed price. Nothing wrong with that. But the goals matter, and how to achieve those goals requires a bit more out-of-the-service-box thinking.
The most important thing is to have a strategy designed to fit your goals and expectations. The budget stems from that. If you start with your goals, that will dictate the services. But your expectations will then determine the aggressiveness at which those services will be applied. Using that formula, the budget is born. .