Two new leads came in this afternoon and I thought my conversation (and emails) would be great for the blog.
It’s an insight into the process, as well as my own personal thoughts regarding the web world (and search engine optimization in particular). Hopefully too, it helps you – our audience, our clients, and potential clients, gain a greater understanding of the process of web development and Internet marketing.
I’m simply going to copy/paste one of the email exchanges I had here. But before we get to that I’d like to highlight one of the other leads that came in – this one, a phone call. After a minute or two of introductions, and learning more about the business in question – the gentleman on the other end asked if we had any kind of “monthly SEO” package.
I explained that, although I understand the thinking behind such a package (and WE occasionally offer them ourselves in certain circumstances) I feel that “monthly SEO packages are BS.”
He thanked me and agreed.
Of course he would agree – who WANTS to spend money? But he definitely conceided that after a few other companies, and thousands of dollars in monthly fees gone – he saw little or no results and felt like they SEOs were “just making it up as they went along.” I’ve found this to be the truth in the web development world. However – the real problem is that SEO (search engine optimization) IS a vital part to web marketing. It’s just not as complicated as our industry has led you to believe; it just takes time, strategy, and hard work.
QUICK PLUG – Check out Business Web Design Guide – in it I will outline everything you as a business owner needs to know about SEO (and other things relating to the web).
With that said, here’s the other lead that came (my response to it) and how I tackled the same issue – but in reverse (they were in NO WAY looking for ongoing SEO work) and I almost scared them away with an email template that referenced SEO:
Thank you very much for the quick response and clarification. I have to also admit, it was automatic… we [Atilus] get about 15/20 leads a day and we use it (the email and the questionnaire) as a tool to help vet new clients. If they don’t respond, or they don’t at least try to fill out the questionnaire, we won’t do business with them. As a service & marketing business communication is very important so I REALLY appreciate the response.
As for the SEO, I typically include this in my responses for two reasons:
1) it’s the most common question we get asked and…
2) most of the time I accomplish sales through explaining how the site can pay for itself through marketing.
I like to show that websites are an investment and not just an expense. 90% of the time that means using them to help bring in new business (which generally speaking means you have to invest in marketing). 10% of the time that means using the site to save money on internal processes. In cases where both of these are ignored, we typically have unsatisfied customers, years down the road that feel they spent money on a website that never did anything (despite them NOT proactively marketing it).
With all of this said the short answer to your question about whether we do websites without SEO is a YES/NO… (“Damnit Zach, just get to the point!”).
For every website we build we do quick research on appropriate keywords, and make sure things are setup to be “seo-friendly.” However, we absolutely don’t have to do any ongoing SEO work (and actually I think most firms that offer that kind of services are full of hot air and that’s why we don’t actually have an “SEO” service per-se). Our websites come optimized day 1 – and in cases where we don’t play an active role in marketing, we at least make sure you understand the rules around search engines and some quick ways you can use the website(s) we’ve built to help grow/market your company.
With all of this said however, I will need a budget in order to guage where to begin with the RFP. We do sites as you’ve outlined for as a little as $1500 – or as expensive as $30,000 depending on the level of design, copy, etc.