“Sometimes you gotta suffer for the pleasure that you seek…
You're beggin' for an eyeful but you only get a peek.”…KISS
For those who don’t know me, my name is Todd Mintz. I have a day job but I also do side gigs (as well as my own projects). I don’t market myself much to get the gigs (since I have a day job) so most of my leads either come from people reading my articles / posts or from referrals from friends of mine in the industry.
There are generally two types of referrals that I get. My SEO friends that don’t do paid search will sometimes send me PPC prospects. These referrals usually work pretty well. On a gig basis, paid search is nice because its metrics are much easier to define than natural search. Also, from a planning perspective, it’s easier to project the time and effort it will take me to work with a paid search client.
The SEO referrals I get tend to be less desirable (not through any fault of my gracious friends that pass them onto me). A certain percentage of them have turned out quite well and I have developed some solid relationships from leads passed to me by my colleagues. However, since most of them do SEO themselves, they’re passing on the leads that don’t work for them either due to budget or the type / quality of work involved.
I’ve been in this business long enough to pretty well gauge the quality of the lead just by how the introductory message is framed. And when I see something like this:
My name is… and I am looking for some SEO work for my website. My budget is around $800. Do you have any time to talk by phone either this week or next?
And I then see that the site is incomplete and has zero backlinks…well, sorry if I’m not radiating any enthusiasm because I don’t have any.
Why the negativity?
1) Your budget is insufficient for what you want to accomplish. Sure, I’m OK with consulting with you for “x” hours, but don’t confuse that with a full SEO campaign.
2) This is what I call “Lazarus SEO” (starting with a new site from ground zero in a competitive vertical). It’s a lot of grunt work and measurable ROI is a long time in the future. I don’t enjoy these sorts of projects…I’d rather take sites with preexisting potential and make them better with less effort. This is much more rewarding for me as an SEO and much more profitable for the client.
3) There isn’t any sexiness in this project. I have limited time and resources…why should I be interested in working this? The approach didn’t capture my attention and the site didn’t draw me in either.
These sorts of SEO prospects get passed from consultant to consultant like hookah’s at parties…no busy SEO with validated skills wants any part of these leads.
There are three possible outcomes for such prospects:
1) They don’t find a consultant to work with and either give up their search or try to do the work themselves (and we all know how that usually turns out).
2) They end up with a newbie SEO who needs the gig. They might end up getting excellent SEO at a reasonable price. However, the chance of a problem happening is very real. I would not work with an SEO without either a trusted referral or a lot of online “scholarship” that shows they know their stuff.
3) They end up getting scammed. Sorry, but anyone who tells you they can offer a complete SEO campaign for $800 shouldn’t be trusted. Not only will you not get the results you desire but your site might get the online equivalent of an STD.
There is a great client demand for the relatively small number of excellent SEO consultants. One need to try to “seduce” an SEO pro in order to entice their interest. Talk to us about leads/ sales/ ROI…that’s the sort of language you need to woo a top level consultant to your project.
Now, excellent compensation can entice an “A” level SEO to a “C” level project. He/she should put forth their best efforts on your behalf no matter what they think of the gig. But remember that the emotional tie that the consultant has with the gig/client is greatly reduced if they see your project as uninteresting or unchallenging. Relationships driven by anything other than excellent chemistry…well, they don’t tend to work out well either with couples or in the business world.
Now if anyone wishes to try to seduce me…with their search marketing project…feel free to do so :.)
Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.