I'm often wondering if clients are being under-served or over-served based on the price of the campaign. I wanted to get some feedback regarding the minimum price others in this industry would charge to run a local campaign for a client.
Welcome! And thanks for starting off with a Q in Consultant's Corner.
I think when people answer they need to define 'local campaign". Because some may only charge $XXX but all they're doing is citations. Whereas someone else might charge $X,XXX but they're doing on-site SEO, content, and Google+ Local optimization.
My second piece of advise is to read Ian Laurie's slideshare presentations about "one trick ponies" here , here, here and his presentations about reporting. Not reporting clean citation profile percentages, # of likes/shares/+'s, or rankings. But rather understanding business goals in terms of new customers and revenue. Reporting that aligns with the bigger picture.
Mike talks about getting really good at something first. For most here that is solid citations, a review strategy, basic on page, or maybe content. For me it organic local. I got really, really good first before moving on to/adding web dev, ppc, etc.
Mike also talks about when he decided to quit working for $200 - $500 per month and moved minimums up to $1500 and $100 per hour. I'm guessing that he had a much more robust strategy and team at that point. The value was higher, the experience was higher as well as the credibility.
I use to build sites for 2k. Now I charge 5 times that. But the deliverables are also much greater. Better design, better copy, call tracking that doesn't f%?& up rankings, remarketing, ripping fast code, servers etc.
I use to take on local seo campaigns for $300 - $500. Now I'm interested in clients with budgets for seo, ppc, display, and content. I use to do most of the work myself. Now I have half dozen people involved in each campaign, each with bills to pay and mouths to feed.
I was able to start charging more when I could tell my clients/prospective clients things like "our cpl average for dental - $42, cpa - $87, and roas - 8 to 1.
I believe that in the long run dollars will follow and stick with value. If you're charging $500 mo and the client is earning $4000 cash from those efforts + lifetime value of clients, you won't have a hard time raising rates or waiting for those willing to pay. If you don't know the numbers that matter (cpl, cpa, roas, clv) it will be very difficult to decide how to price services.
Selling citation clean up, or blogging, or websites will quickly put you in position of showing people your "service menu" and prices. Then you will find yourself in bidding wars with other service menus. Aligning motives with clients and understanding your real bottom line value will completely change how you price your services.
I think it all starts with the kind of service that you are providing. If you are only doing citations and off-site tweaks a modest price may be in order. I would say no lower than $300 for that. But we all know on-site optimization is where the results really come from so once you start doing that I think the price at least doubles. Between dealing with difficult websites, writing great content and strategy I don't think one could be profitable with the amount of time these things take with a budget of less than $500.
The other side of this coin is client expectation. Often we struggle in this industry with how much time is spent on an account because results are the metric making the hours you spent cleaning those G+ dupes pointless to the client because they still aren't ranking. I digress but the point is that you have to match client goals to work and then monetize that in a way that you make money.
If you can provide more specifics of the services that you offer, we can all provide you with a little more insight on what you should be charging. This is a great question that I think needs to be addressed at least yearly (and definitely after updates) for every business. Thanks for posting!
Wow, this is great guys, thanks for your insight and sharing so much great info!
I do some direct and some white labeling. For the white label, I'm at a low of about $300 and depending on the site, up to $750. The white labeling is pretty tricky because the $750 could be marked up to $2K, and if I paid $2K my expectations would be pretty high. The $300 customers seem like a lot of work for not a lot of return.
The other issue I have is, it can be a lot of work up front. . . I like to think of it almost like the work gets mostly done in month 1 and 2, and you monitor and make smaller adustments in month 3-6-9-12. That often leads to the client thinking that we're sitting on our hands in the last few months. . . but, they don't know that we spend a ton of hours in the first two months, and that to some extent, the pricing should be $2K for month 1, and $100 for every month thereafter. I don't think that would work out very well in practice.
I have fewer direct clients, but, those that I do have are $750-$1,500 per month.
Based on your last post, it comes down to managing expectations. I've also struggled with the same question and still don't have a concrete answer. You hate to turn business away sometimes but some people are plain just trying to hustle you or really have no clue what is involved. People want the world for minimal money.
This is where you do your best to highlight your scope of work, try to account for curveballs, reporting, etc. Keeping those lines of communication open are key. Delivering content monthly will often help you overcome the thought of clients thinking you are sitting idle. If you can squeeze any blood from that rock, PPC may be a way to show traffic for the duration of your campaign. At your price point though, it may be quite difficult.
Mostly dealing with citations and fixing issues with them. I am probably going to be upping my service charge to $750 - $1000 and do some more Global SEO related stuff.
My focus is Wordpress optimization and Local SEO.
I have switched one client over to WPEngine and have noticed a huge change in website speed performance over Godaddy.
I am currently using UpCity to manage the accounts. Depending on how many clients you have, the price is going to be anywhere from $150 (up to 5 campaigns) to $300 (up to 12 campaigns) or more a month.
UpCity is a huge time saver. You can load in the clients FB, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Analytics. They also have a dashboard to easily switch between clients.
At $500 per month per client, realistically you only need a 8-10 clients to bring in a nice monthly income and do it full time. Right now I am averaging $850 - $1000 a month per client with all the optional stuff I have that they can select from.
UpCity has an amazing workflow and good reporting. Combine it with Moz or Bright Local and you have an excellent way to manage citations and clients. If you do any outsources UpCity allows you to assign tasks. It's pretty slick.
I am still trying to figure out the best way to offset software costs. Ultimately I would like to have SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz and UpCity, but that alone will probably be $500+ a month.
When I write up contracts, I will give the customers various pricing options to choose from. The options is normally where I can make a good return.
Another option you can do is have UpCity do all the leg work. They have packages that start around $750. You just need to find clients that want to pay more than that so you can make a profit. I am betting though I could cut that price in 1/2 to 1/3 by using a Private Assistant.
When you start getting a lot of clients, it becomes rather nasty trying to manage them all.
What Upcity does is it provides an interface to be able to manage them. You log in once and can easily switch between your clients. The other benefit is if you have a team of people working on stuff, you can assign which tasks they are working on.
Upcity is focused on SEO and they have tons of tasks that you can basically checkoff as you are working with an account. It makes it really easy to figure out what you need to work on and where their might be issues.
They have a lot of good reports that you can provide to clients.
They have a free 7 day trial where you can check out all the functionality. I gave them a shot for a few days and found them to be the best platform for SEO work that I have seen thus far.
You will still have to use tools like SEMRush or Moz for real in-depth keyword and backlink research, but IMO those platforms aren't for managing a client, they are more for research.
You will also have to use tools like BrightLocal, Yext, Synup... for managing your citations or you can pay UPcity to do it for you, but it costs a pretty penny.
You have a dashboard that allows you to enter all sorts of stuff pertaining to your client. One of the tabs is tasks that you can perform and checkoff as you go with clients.
The image above is an example where I am working though the list. Each section has various tasks that need to be performed to become fully complete. You can assign tasks to others if you have a team working with clients.
To fully understand the application you really need to play around with it. I spent a good 4-5 hours playing with it and adding client information. It was very intuitive and easy to understand.
You can assign the task a status and it will drop into the appropriate queue.
Each task also gives you some how to info, allows you to add notes, attach images and assign.
The other cool part is each task has a time value associated with it and Impact points given to it. That way you can show the client (if you want) what has been done and how long it took on average to perform the tasks.
Again you can see all of this by doing a 7 day trial, if you go to their website.
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