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Kieran

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Hi Derek

Interesting business idea. I agree with Blacknight 100% Every time I look around another person is claiming to be an SEO these days and it is honestly quite disturbing as it puts Internet marketing in the wrong light completely. Its like plumbers in the recent past who became solar power experts. When you meet these people you need to ask them for their background in Internet marketing specifically and not "... I have been in the business for years blah blah". Internet marketing is an equal mix of knowledge of the niche, technology and hard dedicated work for you the customer. IF all 3 don't exist then move on.

I have met and given work to David in SEO - Search engine optimisation Ireland in the past and have nothing but praise for the work that they do and the proof in the pudding is the feedback that I have received from the people I have put his way. He is on this forum also and is a grand guy to work with.

Redfly mentioned above also have a solid reputation and I have seen the 2bscene site but have no knowledge of their work.

Good luck with the site and I hope it is a great success....

Kieran
 

DerekMoy

New Member
Hard one indeed! Everyone has their own ideas on how SEO should be approached and done and although I've spoken to many in the field there still seems to be no definitive method of approach or application. Redfly and 2bscene have extremely good reputations, but sometimes as a new start-up the budget can never stretch to be able to deal with these guys as you would like, hence you consider the cheaper but not always better option. Unfortunately in the SEO arena they can't guarantee the end result and when every euros counts it means picking the people you deal with is crucial.

Thanks for the input guys!
 

link8r

New Member
Hi Derek,

I hear your points and they are points I've heard many from many companies over down the years. I am sensitive to your situation and I've been in the SEO and web design industry for a very long time. I also worked as a software engineer and I've been a partner in a number of start-up companies including ones that are non-tech. I've helped fund 6 businesses in the past decade, sometimes with as little as €5k to play with in the "seed" capital stage.

If I may - I'd like to respond to your point re: budget and affordability and perhaps I could balance it from my side?

Not all but most of our businesses used SEO - it's something I have found naturally easy - but there are plenty of products that SEO doesn't suit or isn't the best. So I've seen plenty of other marketing campaigns and they have included:

  • Flyers
  • Attending Exhibitions
  • Stands in Shopping centres
  • Cold Calling
  • Mail shots
  • E-mail marketing
  • PPC
  • SEO
  • Newspaper Advertising
  • Banner Advertising

These are in no particular order. In some businesses (like selling water filtration systems) - we found we could make €10k in a weekend in a single shopping centre - but not through any amount of SEO/PPC work. But when you take into account the cost of insurance, pop-stands, equipment people - each shopping centre cost about €1k per weekend.

Flyers cost about €500 per 500 houses if I remember correctly. We even tried delivering many ourselves with a friend who owned a fast food place. This had by far the worst return. Even though we only spent a couple of thousand, the return was 0.

Newspaper and print advertising, has for all businesses I've been in, a complete loss. We've had plenty of enquiries but it was a case of educate and sell and it never worked out. Advertising, particular for consulting type businesses often meant spending €1.5k - €3k for a full page or advertorial.

Cold calling - most of the time we used an agency - was quite successful. We had to pay around €390 per qualified meeting arranged - we got to stipulate the criteria and qualifying conditions - and out of ten meetings, we normally secured 3 projects. But you have to commit to at least €12k (with the particular company we used in the UK)

Exhibitions were hit and miss - you could spend €300 or €30k (if you take a big stand in a big EU or UK exhibition) - and the return depended on many factors.

BTW - is there a guarantee on Accountants, Solicitors?

Where am I going with this?

Well, none of these marketing programmes had any guaranteed return. They all started out as trials, which carry risk. Most businesses in their first year spent €25k on marketing and only €10k of it was profitable but that made up for the rest of it. We had to learn which forms and combinations of marketing worked. Sometimes its not the marketing, it's the approach. Eventually, you select the best performing tactics and hone and improve them.

We've never seen SEO not work where we've taken on a project. We've had to decline many projects, we've had to re-advise, warn and even suggest people take a new look at their business strategy. I've done that 3 times this week. We've had to cancel a couple of projects (just 2 in the past 2 years luckily) where the business objectives were "save us, we're in real trouble, in the next 2 weeks" - which wasn't feasible - although we did suggest working without billing at least until the business stabilised but that isn't a really fair situation to be in.

Of the clients we've retained, I've an excellent working and very personal and friendly relationship with all the directors in those companies. Some of them for 9 years.

If you hire an solicitor to sue somebody - there's no guarantee or fee cap - you pay as you go - the more time your case gets used up - the more it costs.

SEO can't be sold as a can of beans with guarantee's and comparable levels of service.

When you buy as a business, you buy on a contract - not as a consumer.

I would suggest that the companies listed in the top 10 for "SEO" in Google would charge about €5k - €10k - but this is just a guess for a single Irish website in a medium competitive range. It's impossible to say but thats my gut feeling. I would say we're lower than average, but quite well ranked still. This is generally a 6-12 month engagement. It often covers a wide range of related internet marketing sections : User interface, design, trust, ecommerce, advertising, content, search, etc

To me, SEO has always seemed the cheapest and most reliable way of marketing : you get people who are ready to buy your products now. And that's why I setup Primary Position. Simple Really.

To give an example, in December we took on a German client in Spain. We were given a brief and are benchmarked against a German SEO vendor. In 30 days we've not only secured their first UK client but we've completed our ROI. In other words, we've paid for ourselves.

If you can put €1 into the web and make €10 back, then how is it expensive?

Thank you
David
 
We can help with marketing and advertising.

We don't do SEO. We are a real advertising agency and our rates are well within the reach of the vast majority of business's, including entrepreneurial start ups. Our professionals get results.

Link8r if you would like some advice on your next advertising activity we would be happy to help. The prices you quoted above seem a little on the steep side. There are much better ways to get results, for less. As I say just get in contact and somebody will help.
 

DerekMoy

New Member
Thanks Guys, its seems an opening online marketing budget of €1.5K is too small for a lot of the recommended agencies that I contacted. I'll continue to try and learn and implement what I can myself in terms of blogging, article writing, link building and then hopefully when a trickle of orders arrive it will increase the budget to progress with some of the experts mentioned. Onwards and upwards!
 

link8r

New Member
Do you own your own printing business or are you a reseller? It's important to invest in a business, many people don't factor marketing as part of a new startup - but if that's your annual accumulated budget, you really need to look at sources of funding to put together a decent marketing budget.
 

seanpearse

New Member
Hi Derek, I've recently started my own Online Marketing Company and I'm not going to start waffling with the usual "15 years experience", "best in the business" etc. but I know my job and as I say I'm trying to get the business off the ground therefore we are more affordable than the companies mentioned above. At the minute we're offering our services under a no-contract policy because I know how many cowboys are out there and this is our way of developing a bit of mutual trust with our clients. Let me know if you want any more info, etc and I'll do up a proposal for ya. Oh our website is http://localonlinemarketingsolutions.com if you want to check it out.
 
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