Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Versus Pay per Lead (PPL)

Anton
Hey everyone,
I have a friend who is small business owner and we had a discussion about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He asked me "how you guys will convince me to pay for SEO if you can't guarantee any result, so I'll pay 1000-1500 per month and may be I'll see some result after 4-6 month? I'll better pay per lead from a home adviser or from a Pay Per Lead (PPL) model because i can get leads immediately". How to have a deal with such type of objections? i think other business owners have same thoughts.
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Adler
When he stops paying for the leads, the leads stop coming. When you stop SEO it doesn't die overnight.
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Veronica
Investment in SEO takes longer time to deliver results compared to paid leads/advertisement, but on SEO you invest one time and the results are lifetime, and the second only delivers as long as you keep paying.
What is not guaranteed is position #1 in Google search, but with solid SEO, quality and updated content + time, you'll get good Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) eventually.

Chris
Costs per lead is also based on your competitors and how much they are willing to increase their Cost-per-click (CPC) to make you overpay for clicks. More advertisers can pop up and make the Cost per lead (CPL) higher. Getting leads for multiple services requires several ad campaigns which can cost more. Quality of leads isn't guaranteed. Lots of variables…

Roger
Is the problem that the owner doesn’t believe SEO works or that they don’t believe YOU can deliver a decent SERP improvement? 4-6 months and $4000 is a lot to spend to find out that your guy you are dealing with doesn’t know what he’s doing. I'm not that saying you don’t know what you’re doing but you may need to prove that somehow to the business owner
John
To be fair, there's too many people out there who watch one Tai Lopez video and go out and try and charge $1500/mo… They de-value the industry and business owners get spooked… If you cannot personally afford a $2k/mo. retainer for say, your attorney, then how can you expect them to trust you with no track record?

Strauss
this is exactly it, and we frame it as 'if you pay someone a MacDonald's cashier wage, what kind of results do you expect?'

Antoine
Mr. Business owner do you plan on being in business next year. Business owner says yes. Well you need to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a long term strategy that will pay for itself down the road. He is a local business do some local SEO setup his Google My Business (GMB) setup some Google posts when they click on the Google post send them to a landing page. You will get him leads month one. He will be a believer. If that don't work run Facebook (Fb) Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads with the money. Your job is to get him business. You do that you will keep getting paid. Continue to do your SEO til it starts to take off.
Daniel
SEO is more like hiring a writer than a salesman. Start by asking for references, contacting other agencies, and learning their riddles …
if I had full insight into customer and control over the entire conversion process, and full knowledge of pricing, profit, and industry. Then I would definitely think of getting paid per Lead, but I would probably require some form of ownership in the company for the risk.
but i can definitely charge per visitor to the website but then we talk about Google / Facebook Ads …
Tanzir
SEO quick wins will take effect within days/weeks. Then you focus on paid media. The long-term SEO comes after that. You can price these individually and they're applicable for different stages of a business. You can't sell long-term SEO to someone who still lacks basics.
Jay
People pay for reputation or results or both. If you don't have either, what would you expect any business to say?
If you do have provable results to show then it should be easy to sell something that will make them more than cost. Is the question about your lack if experience or that you have provable experience but don't know how to sell it?
I agree with an earlier reply that some markets become saturated with "get rich quick" chasers that just end up devaluing a market. "Why should I pay you $X,XXX when I can find someone on Fiver to to it?"
Seriously I hate to sound harsh but if you don't know what you're doing then please do us all a favor and get out of the market.

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Chris
If he wants to throw money away on overpriced lead generation, he can. Just like he needs to pay for a nice looking showroom, signage and a path to his store, he needs to pay for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Otherwise, Google will increase his costs of doing business and pump up his cost per lead. 80% of business is done via mobile search – and good SEO also lowers PPC costs. Ping me, I'll be happy to work up a pitch with you. Make him understand that he's throwing money away if he bucks Google. "Do your customers use Google? Do you want to throw those customers away? Do you know that by the time you get a lead, 70% of customers have done research online, and if you don't pay for SEO, they'll go to the competitor who had?"

Anton ✍️
yeah, he said he pays to homeadviser something like 100$ per call, but this is the lead not for "a may be traffic" he has bad experience with SEO. one company did that service for him, i tried to find what they did with Ahrefs. i didn't find but they charged him 3k for 2 months, then he cancelled it
Chris
Ah, he had a bad SEO experience. Certainly, I'd start simply with an audit, and not sticker shock him, and get evidence together of businesses that have achieved success. SEO users need to be partners, not simply vendors.
Also, Homeadvisor spends dough on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). I'd suggest to him a small pilot program. The arguement here is not "does SEO work", but "how do we lower your cost per lead" in such a way that he doesn't die of sticker shock, with the ability to stop at any time. But a caveat – SEO takes time to work, and is a long term commitment. Good businesses use a mix of SEO, rep management, social and PPC to bring down lead cost. Also, 2 months is a horribly short period of time. SEO doesn't work like that.
Another way I'd approach it would be to say "Listen, your current method works for you, so lets work together to use SEO to make your own process even better, in steps that you feel comfortable with. We ultimately want to get your cost per lead down."
Baby steps would be an initial SEO audit, discussions about content. a rep audit and plan, in chunks that are spaced out and are comfortable for him. Also, case studies of the roofers who do use SEO, social, content and rep, and their success.
https://copyblogger.com/brick-and-mortar-content-marketing/
A content marketing (CM) article, but it still supports the point. CM needs SEO.
COPYBLOGGER.COM
Case Study: How Content Marketing Saved this Brick-and-Mortar Business – Copyblogger
Donovan
One suggested to make your own lead gen site and split cost. A few said to drop him, and a few said prove to him that SEO is the best long term method to lower cost and raise Return on Investment (ROI).
All 3 are logical and correct. What comes down to you is, which route to take. Everyone is different, but me, personally would drop him. Too much of a headache to try to convince someone that doesn't seem to want to be convinced.
Chris
Obviously you as a marketer need to decide how much labor you’re willing to put into acquiring a client. If it makes sense for your personal ROI, then do it. If not, then pass on the client.

Chris
Also, no one is guaranteed or owed business. That's fantasy. I know this and I've worked in lead gen since 2011.
Albin
If he’s using words like “guarantee” in his objections, SEO may not be for him. It sounds as if he doesn’t care much about being an authority in his space and is looking for immediate business, which is not really what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is for. Also important to know if his site is optimized for conversions.

Chris
Albin guys like him just want clients and work and actually despises sales and long term business building. This is fine if you just want your business to be at a certain level, but handshake business only takes you so far.

Jake
This is a very common objection, and very easily overcome by using what I call the your-client-my-client technique.
It goes like this:
"Gym Owner: blablabla, why don't you guarantee results? (thinking they got me beat)
Me using the in-your shoes technique: "Great question, and something I hear often. Before I answer why, let me ask: Do you guarantee that if I join your club, I'll lose 50 pounds? Look swole? Get the honeys?
"No. Not everyone gets those results, and that's just silly.."
Of course not, but its what I want – you provide a quality experience and that's why your customers come to you. Your customers are like my customers. I can't guarantee anything other than doing what is expected of a professional in my industry.
"That's fair, OK."
Same goes with dentists or anyone really. Just see that they do the same thing, and beating up their sales person/Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guy is a great way of being last on their list of clients they want to over-deliver on.
But if they REALLY want a guarantee, you make it so obviously clear that you'll do good SEO (Which is what I do with Chases SEO roadmap), and charge them 5x as much for what you know you'll be able to do for that 100% insurance…
Then you can literally spend the 10-15 hours, and have me do it lol and get 4x what you paid. Just have me do it normally.
Guarantee the work i.e that you'll get the work done, not the results. You don't control Google.
They'll either cough it up, back down, or confirm that they're just a shopper.

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