Why a SEO Consultant Would Say ‘No Thanks’

The number of people looking for an SEO or digital marketing consultant in the San Francisco, Silicon Valley area is growing fast. As investment dollars flow in, one of the first ways companies are using that money is to build traction and gain web traffic and user / customer acquisition. But not everyone is ready for online marketing

A marketing consultant will say no to you for the following reasons:

  • Money
  • Size of project / scope of work is beyond their resources
  • Poor product
  • Poor website (an SEO marketer can’t redesign your site)
  • Not enough assets to work with (email lists, partners, multimedia, social media accounts)
  • Expectations for growth are not reasonable
  • Lack of flexibility on the client side

When You’re the First Marketer Hired

Being the first marketer at a company means you need to explain a lot about process, expectations, answer a lot of questions and pin down high level marketing, conversion and revenue metrics.

During this introductory period, you’re also doing research around the competition, assets and marketability of the product and website. You’re also trying to determine the flexibility and thought process of the client. Are they someone you can work with? Are they OK with making huge changes to the website if necessary? Are they interested in educating you and their potential customers over the next couple of months about their industry, and have they put in serious thought regarding their marketing goals and metrics?

Here are two examples of ‘rejection letters’ from myself to potential clients. To me, these are highly informative to those looking to hire a marketing consultant as well as those who are in the business of being a marketing consultant. All websites and inquirers have been anonymized.

The Job is Too Big – The Website Too Far Behind

Hey XXXXXXXXXX, good speaking with you yesterday.

After reviewing your site and keywords, I think your best bet is to go with an agency. You’re going to need to make a substantial investment in SEO and UX. Your competition is incredibly tough and they’ve been doing SEO for quite some time. Among these competitors are websites like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity.
After them, there are location specific vacation websites that focus on tourism packages for Cancun, the Caribbean etc. Almost all relevant search phrases you want to target are also featuring tons of AdWords.
Google is indexing http://xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxx.com as well as http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxx/.com So you could be facing some duplicate content issues right now. The .xxxxx site has a better filtered search system, which would make it more appealing to search engines and users. However this also means there are a substantial number of webpages (I believe over xxxxxx right now) that would need be optimized. http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com/ would really be difficult because there’s just not enough web pages to target all the keywords you want to hit.
Backlinks – where other websites link to your website – are a huge SEO signal and right now it looks like you would be starting from scratch. See attached screenshot.
I would put the price / time range on a project like this around $4000-$7000 per month for six months. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources to undertake a job this large.
If you would like to better understand how a team of people would search optimize your website so that you can compete in your industry / space, I’m happy to answer questions or explain more over email.

One of the things a consultant will keep in mind when deciding whether or not to take project is, “Can this be a case study or home run that makes me look good?” They always want the answer to be yes, because success is what gets you more clients. Sometimes the competition is too much or the product too shaky, and that’s why a consultant will say no. In this scenario, it was more about competition and time / resources.

Your Expectations Are Too High

Hey XXXXXXXXXXXX, after our phone call yesterday and understanding your goals and where you are right now, I don’t think I can help. The type of marketing you’re looking for takes a significant amount of time and resources. With the budget you have allocated, I would only be able to spend a few days a month working on your website and SEO efforts. This wouldn’t get you where you want to be any time soon. 

The fundamentals of SEO are strong, but they require a significant amount of effort. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Thanks for your time.

You would be surprised how many phone calls I get from people who say, “Yeah, I want to rank on page one and get more web traffic” – like they’re ordering a cup of coffee. Every website I’ve ever built web traffic for took constant effort and work. There are some really cool growth hacking strategies, but rarely do those apply across the board. Hopefully the information in this web page was helpful to you in your search for marketing.

To learn more about SEO, get general marketing questions answered or inquire about services, email me at corttafoya@gmail.com or reach me on Twitter @CortTafoya. Cheers.

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Contact me at corttafoya@gmail.com