In October of 2013 BrightLocal and ChamberofCommerce.com produced a study about small businesses and marketing. We’ve written 3 blogs this week about the study!
One of the questions they asked was this: If you use an internet marketing agency/consultant, which of these factors are important to you?
Here is a summary of the responses:
Cost is the number 1 factor when businesses choose an agency. I could ramble about why that’s a concerning/bad/awful thing, but I’ll let BrightLocal summarize:
“For many reputable agencies and consultants this is a potentially concerning trend. As those within the industry know, low costs can often equal short cuts, low quality work – and most damning of all – the potential to receive a penalty by resorting to quick & dirty tactics. However, as discussed in the previous analysis, increased competition within the industry may now drive down prices ensuring a better deal for SMBs across the board – without a compromise on quality.”
We agree wholeheartedly.
Agency services should not and cannot be commoditized. But, when cost is the most important factor…they are already commoditized.
That’s frustrating for agencies. Lost cost does produce shoddy work and questionable tactics. It produces articles spinning and spammy links. Lost costs do not encourage original content creation and powerful SEO tactics.
We Share the Frustration
One of the most frustrating things we encounter as we try to sell LogMyCalls is an obsession with cost. LogMyCalls is in the middle-of-the-road in terms of cost. There are call tracking companies that are cheaper. There are also call tracking companies that are more expensive.
We HATE it when the discussion turns to the pricing of minutes and numbers. It’s awful. There are so many great things about LogMyCalls that aren’t related to minutes and numbers. Our sales guys routinely get irritated when the discuss turns strictly to the pricing of minutes and numbers. They don’t get frustrated because we can’t compete in a pricing war (we can). They get frustrated because Conversation Analytics, UI/UX, metrics, API, Webhooks, and Reports bring significant added value that a pricing discussion involving minutes and numbers cannot fully comprehend.
How to Avoid Commoditization
Build and demonstrate value.
Describe your services, why you’re different, and what you believe. More importantly, SHOW your results. If you can show your clients results, they will see your value. Cost will become secondary.
How do you do that?
Here’s an example of how one local SEO agency does it. They were kind enough to share their strategy with us:
“We have done call tracking for a few months now. We’re starting to be able to predict the number of calls specific industries can expect. For example, we know that with our basic SEO package we can generate 20 calls per week to plumbers. That’s an average. So, when we talk to a new client we tell them how many calls they can expect. Then we tell them that they can hold us accountable and look at the data themselves. Cost becomes secondary for them. We’re the only ones giving them this data. We’ve built value.”
Remember, build and demonstrate value. Move the discussion away from cost.