Countless entrepreneurs will get beat down, UFC style, when attempting to position their businesses in search engines without professional intercession. As vendors pursue SEM mavens to assistance them in jacking up their keyword values higher in Bing and Google, it’s safe to say SEM specialists are perceived to have blank checks through the eyes of hapless website owners. Unfortunately for unskilled businessmen, spending thousands of dollars on the first SEM vendor that comes to their rescue seems better than failing to rank.
With this fact presented to you (as if it wasn’t before), this article aims to liven your sense when inspecting offers from prospective search engine marketing vendors. We present these tidbits to help you, the frugally frustrated businessperson, prevent impulsiveness when outsourcing freelancers to handle your marketing ‘maintenance’ tasks.
Never Make Price Deciding Factor
Business colleges educate the laymen on accepting competitive price points since ROI is always hindsight. In SEM nomenclature, however, buying search marketing services based on lowest bid can historically render lower results. Since SEM isn’t a money-back guarantee service, business owners need to have clear understanding of price versus receivables. When viewing proposals and deciphering what’s being received versus what you stand to gain, leverage common understanding of competition for widely used keywords and recognize some costs may need to go into all facets of SEM, which include social media, pay per click and localization.
If the cost for services is ridiculously low, you’ll more than likely receive lackluster services in one facet, or no services at all in another. For what it’s worth, if your expectations are high and costs of your goods are high, your business website marketing dollars need to be factored in as equivocally high.
Understand What You’ll Get
Pitches from duplicitous companies may read something like this: “We perform SEM services and send you weekly reports of links built.” Why should this seemingly innocent sentence raise suspicion? SEM job offers will always dictate much more in-depth approaches in what any given company is willing to offer versus what is simply not going to work for your particular niche (I believe they call this ‘transparency’). As you are fielding proposals, you need to clarify expectations, goals and budget so you remain in control of SEM efforts being offered.
Under no circumstances should one rely on outsourced SEM vendors who plead with you by offering to ‘over-deliver’; desperation usually means poor quality of services or potential for flimflams to occur. Simply put, know what efforts you expect and match the best timeline for completion to the company who can provide this level of expertise for your business website needs.
How well did they submit their proposals?
Yes, you and I have both received the quintessential “Dear Kind Sir…” email or blog comment shortly after our domains get registered publicly. If any SEM company comes at your business with no prior knowledge of who you are, what businesses could potentially be competing forces, or if they have no idea what you even sell, run. Run fast. All proposals will be fluently written in your language, will contain specific marketing intelligence and what the company intends on doing to position your business ahead of said competition.
Correctly written proposals will contain clear contact information, including name, and have nothing less than 100% detailed information of how they conduct business. Other helpful pieces of information could include your business website stats, page errors and other digital data issues they can fix prior to aggressively marketing your campaign through Google or others.
Perform Due Diligence
Attending teleconferences across the world reveals columns and columns of vendors who are eager to showcase the up-to-date and cutting edge SEM services in an attempt to convince the digitally naive to purchase SEM packages. Problem is, most individuals offering these services are upcharging Fiverr services (which are ineffective) or are fraudsters.
If you wouldn’t let pedophiles near your children, you shouldn’t allow known crooks to handle your SEM affairs. Simplify the hiring process by running business background checks, even going down to personnel level checks, to assure that you’re not hiring someone who has previously ripped another business off. Check all testimonials and ask them questions relevant to services provided and cost of those services. Discounted services should be your primary target of investigation since any plausible SEM service will have nominal costs involved.
It’s historically suggested to make your hiring decision based off companies who’ve recorded proven track records expanding no less than three years; this isn’t mandatory if every personal and business report checks out good, however. The reports may carry costs if details are being sought – these fees will come back twofold in avoiding future marketing dollar losses and business website shellacking.
Self-Educate Prior To Hiring
Even if online marketing seems to be the future when it comes to the promotional efforts of any company, offline marketing still keeps its charm and does deliver impressive results, despite the fact that many people think that it’s obsolete. With millions of professionally written articles and how-to guides spanning the globe, you should brush up on common digital marketing vernacular before falling into some pious scammer’s trap. Learn about what will be involved, what steps are no legitimate and what results can be expected in each phase.
Even though the number of digital marketing services operating in any given city around the world has more than doubled in the past decade, the fact remains that not all services are good. A fair number of the services out there are not even run by professional marketers, let alone those with experience.
Discover Manageable Expectations
When deciding which SEM vendor will partake in optimization activities, it’s best to listen to modest offers of under-delivery since keywords change daily in Google’s ranking algorithm. Companies who simply promise the galaxy within 30 days want most of your money, and that’s about it. Avoid being someone’s piggybank by listening to fair expectations over periods commonly measured in SEM metrics: 30, 90, or 180 increments are sufficient tracking periods since many steps are necessary before beginning campaigns.
Of course, there are basic components of strong SEM that must be followed, too. Since Penguin and Panda will return again for another round of penalization, it’s best to receive truthful expectations and clearly understand imminent website ranking necessities before hiring this company to hurt your website ranking even more.
Research Their Website
This may sound counterproductive, yet is an intelligent sign of whether this company has any experience whatsoever: check the ranking information of their website, keywords and other major demographics like social media following, activity on Facebook fan pages, and the likes. If SEM vendors are not ranking high for keywords related to their own niche, chances are they’ll react poorly to yours.
As with anything in life, if you care little about your own life, chances are you’ll care even less about someone else’s; put this universal fact to the test by investigating their websites for Google ranking, marketability and overall fans or customers serviced.
In Conclusion: Wrong SEM Vendors Harm Images
For every corporation transacting today or simply trying to put themselves out there, caveat emptor: plenty of counterproductive and actually hurtful vendors looking to seize the marketplace for themselves exist today. This fact carries into search engine marketing companies, too. When deciphering who should be your permanent optimization teammate, consider the information which is presented before you, including how well the proposal is written, how well the representative’s phone mannerism comes across and even how many testimonials were written about the company.
Every dollar, EURO, INR or Yen your business invests for naught will be dollars which need to be made up somehow, which ultimately means you’ll trim fat somewhere. Therefore, it makes good business sense to invest your digital advertising dollars wisely by spending quality time discussing your business website keyword or other optimization needs in great length while paying attention to how caring or altruistic the company responds to those needs.