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Have You Been Affected By The Economy Or Competition?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 idrive

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:57 AM

Happy 2011 everyone!
I am curious to know if/how people who offer Search Engine Marketing Services have been affected by the economy? I believe it has much to do with the geographic base of your customers...
I want to say that I have not... and have recently learned that lowering the price to get a prospective client through the door faster also is not working for me. I do believe that clients are shopping around and getting quotes from multiple companies and are really analyzing what they get for their money but are willing to spend the money if they perceive value. So on that front I am having to write more detailed proposals and am closing fewer proposals than I used to because the client is shopping around (I am not the cheapest shop on the block nor do I desire to be).

Would love to know how others are faring out. I am in Ottawa, ON Canada and we have been pretty insulated from economic difficulties in my opinion ;-)

#2 qwerty

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 10:35 AM

It certainly affected me. Over the past couple of years I found I was getting less requests for proposals, and everyone seemed to have a lower budget than they had in the past. On top of that, a number of people who hired me were somewhat less than reliable when it came to paying me.

I ended up taking a job as an in-house SEO for a big company in order to give myself some stability, and that's going very well. I not only make more money than I did as a freelancer, but I actually know when and how much I'm going to get paid each week. Wow.

I'm still willing to do freelance work on the side, but I limit myself to just a few hours of work a week.

#3 Jill

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:21 AM

2008 and 2009 were tough. Companies didn't seem to want to spend any money at all as it seemed that their budgets were completely slashed. Anything over $1000 or so seemed to be out of the question. I think it was in 2009 that I substantially lowered my prices across the board and that helped a lot. I ended up doing a lot more work for less money, but it was a way to make money.

My biggest seller was my low-end SEO site review which I had newly introduced at $600 and called it a "Recession Buster SEO Review." That little one kept me afloat. That and the SEO training classes which were also under $1000.

I also had an office and employees which were too costly for the money I was bringing in, so I personally wasn't making much profit.
In 2010, my one last employee moved to contractor status, so not having that salary has been helped on that front, and I gave up the office and am back at home. I'm also offering PPC which is a nice additional source of revenue.

Just those things saved a lot of money, but a funny thing happened after I didn't need to make as much money...the money started coming in again! It seemed that at least within the last half of 2010, if not a bit further back, business/marketing budgets have opened back up somewhat. Plus, there are suddenly a lot of funded start-ups who need SEO consulting at the early stages which is one of my areas of expertise.

So looking at my revenues for 2010, it seems it's been one of my best years ever! Certainly the best out of the last 3 or 4 years. If things keep up the way they have in 2010, 2011 should be a great one! I'm going to actually try to cut down on the amount of work I take, if I can. But every time I try to do that, that's when all the really good clients come. It's nice to be able to be choosy about which clients I take again. No good comes from taking crappy clients, that's for sure!

#4 idrive

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:48 PM

Wow... great information. I am currently on the fence as to whether or not to find a job or hire a commission based salesperson to help me find clients. I have a colleague, while not a SEM person, works in a similar field and we often share clients; she is doing well but she spent the past year heavily networking (with the right people). I could sure gain some tips from her!

With the downturn in the economy it would seem that more businesses would convert some of their print budget to online marketing, thereby creating some work.



#5 Jill

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 04:22 PM

QUOTE
With the downturn in the economy it would seem that more businesses would convert some of their print budget to online marketing, thereby creating some work.


Yep. I hear that a good place to move budgets from is Yellow Page advertising. If you find a potential client who's still doing that and doesn't want to pay your prices, you might be able to convince them to move their money to SEO from phone book ads.

#6 Say Yebo

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:34 PM

QUOTE(idrive @ Jan 2 2011, 08:57 AM) View Post
I am having to write more detailed proposals...


I used to write detailed proposals but found that clients didn't read it all. So I did the opposite of you - I shortened them. I've tried to work from a standard proposal as it saves time...but as every job is different, I always have to do a bit of customizing. Bigger companies seem more inclined to read longer proposals, but for small compainies I have better luck keeping them short.

I'd be curious to know how much customizing other SEOs do.




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