Monday, November 04, 2013

5 Reasons Why Low Price SEO Work Doesn't Help Anyone and Can Damage Your Agency

OK it may have taken me a ridiculously long time to realise this but I can now finally acknowledge that working for an unprofitable client is in fact more damaging to your agency business than not having that client at all. Plus it isn't the best for the client either, despite the bargain they might think they're getting.

For years I had always justified taking on lower value work if there was capacity in the business as I felt it was better to be busy, plus it may open the door to extra work in the future. However this is what I've learnt:

1. You can never push up fees for low value clients. Why would they ever pay more? So there's no point taking them at a low price in the vain hope they'll then be dazzled by your work and be willing to pay more for the same work.

2. Looking busy is not the same as making money. Like the saying goes turnover is reality and profit is reality. Low value clients just tie up resources. If you have spare capacity then use it on promoting your own business through social media, networking and content generation.

3. Low value projects can cost almost as much to service as high value projects. I'm talking about all those hidden costs of planning, reviewing, reporting, invoicing, credit control and so on. In fact in my experience some low value clients can actually be more demanding and time consuming than high value ones.

4. Low value work is bad for staff morale. People want to be valued and no matter how much you try and make your team feel like you value them it's only part of the picture, if deep down they know the client doesn't value their work enough to pay a fair price.

5. Ultimately, low value work will not get results. This is especially true now for SEO where the shortcuts have been steadily blocked off by Google until the only effective techniques involve a more manual approach that relies on credibility and trust.

Now this is all looking at the downside but what about the upside? What can happen when a client pays a realistic fee for the right amount of work which is needed to get results. Take this example.

We had a client we'd worked with for about 6 months on a very low fee as it was the first SEO work they'd ever had, but in all honesty we struggled to make a breakthrough for them plus they had a number of technical issues with their website. We took a break and went to see them, explained what more we could be doing and why, got the site issues fixed then, and only then resumed work at a higher fee level. After just two months they are now seeing sustainable website traffic increases of over 250% and that's per month!

Now as the owner of the business I still retain my prerogative to help people out now and then with some discounted work. But now I show them the real price and what they are getting as discount so they appreciate the true value of what they are receiving. Plus I now have a great team around me to keep me on the straight and narrow!
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