If you make a proposal of your starting rate per month, and the client says it is above their budget and offers that rate every 2 months, would you:
1) Accept it and let them know it will take twice as long to rank
2) Not accept it.
Not accept. I had clients who upped their budget to meet my requirements, others who didn't. If you are desperate for the money, it's OK. If not, "this is my rate, good bye" 😃
It depends. I look at it differently than most. After a startup period of 3-6 months, whatever the client is paying me should be coming out of the increased revenue they are making from what I do. By month 3 or 4 I hope they are at least breaking even – in other words, if they pay me $2K per month, they better be making $2K per month by around then. At the end of the sixth to eighth month, we're hoping to get it so the digital marketing budget is at 20% of the web revenue.
Now… if you can cut your budget in half and still deliver that value – maybe over a slightly longer period of time, but still in a reasonable time – then sure. But if the budget is too small to move the needle in the first place, we'll never hit those marks and the client will always be "paying us out of pocket" rather than the real objective of paying us to make more money – lots more than what they are paying us.
The starting rate we put into a proposal is typically tiered, too. You MUST spend this and we'll do this – that's the bare minimum, any less than that and you're just wasting your money and we're wasting our time. Then we'll have a second tier where we can do more and should be able to get more results and faster. Sometimes there will even be a third tier in there if we can envision it and get the numbers and plans looking right.
Yes, of course – you need to look at your rate as something where you're getting fairly compensated for your time – but it also has to be planned to the point where you can be fairly certain that you can deliver a reasonable return on their investment – and then have them keep you on while paying you out of the profits to get even more profits.
If your bid is already the lowest you can go and still be able to achieve the goals they need to recoup that investment, then cutting it in half is no good. If cutting it in half will work, but it will take twice as long, then you aren't saving them any money either. $2000 a month for four months to break even is $8000. $2000 every other month for 8 months to break even is still $8000. At that point, you're better off looking at taking some of your budget and going for quick wins – like putting a larger portion into paid search so you may get lower margins, but get that cash flow going. There are other quick win options you can do that might slightly hurt the long goal's time, but at least get you playing with the house money sooner.
So… yeah… like an SEO plan itself, the rate you charge has to be planned, too. You can't take SEO as a "Fee for a set of tasks completed" type proposal. That'll mean you work one contract, don't have results, and the contract won't get renewed. You have to base it on the money you make being about to be made back – at least 5 fold. If you can't deliver that – either the job isn't for you or SEO isn't for them. (And yes… there are LOTS of web sites out there where the simple fact is – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) really isn't for them).
My site is an entertainment site, no product offering, just interesting videos to watch, articles, blogs, you able to get enough traffic on the page thru SEO for the banner/ video advertising to pay me enough to pay you the $2k/month?
Probably not. I work with a small team through an agency and we typically won't do much for under $2,500 – and making $10K+ per month in ad revenue is a tall order. Would have to do a full analysis to be sure, though but… a site like yours is probably better with a freelancer who has a few good connections to consult with in the areas they need some advice. Agency work probably isn't the way to go for that type of site.
It's easy to say walk away. But the real question is, do you need the revenue? If yes, talk to them and just tell them that you can work for less, it will just take longer to see results, if you see any at all.
Are they potentially a client that can lead to more growth? Can you leverage them to something greater?
It's rarely about their monthly budget. And far more about do you need them and are they a potentially good fit?
Looks like you have had some good feedback already.
Another point to consider is that for some people and in some cultures everything is negotiable. It is a normal and expected part of doing business.
Option 3) is to counter their counter offer. Depending on how badly you want the business, offer then a X percentage discount and you can ask for something in return! A testimonial after the job, being a reference etc etc.
So true. Some people like the haggle. Of they don't negotiate the price, they will never be satisfied with the deal. And it takes some experience with people to recognize them ASAP in the initial communication.
If you split it in half you lost all your value. Any savvy biz owners knows you then jacked up the price in the first place. They will look for signs of results very quickly and quit if Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s are not met.
You must SET expectations in stone up front. Including meetings and updates/reporting.
If someone can't afford me but still wants me- I send them 15-20 referrals. Live clients…not just clear winners clearly cherry picked
Stories sell man. Go get more raving fans to help close deals and to prove your value 🙂
Sure you can do less work and tell the client it will take twice as long to get results, but it depends on whether you can actually do anything useful with half the budget.
From my experience, clients like this are going to be difficult, and ask for more than they are paying for. Like others said, if you are just starting out and need the cash, give this guy a deal and work wonders, then ask for more money. Otherwise, I'd find clients that fit your bill.
Thanks everyone. Lots of helpful responses (y)
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