Why I Don’t Do Free Proposals Or Audits

20 March, 2020

So, I don’t do these free proposals/audits, for SEO or for Google Ads services.

Okay, I may give some feedback over the phone at a quick glance to provide some initial guidance, spot some errors and potential improvements.

But I do not under any circumstance waste my time giving out free proposals.

Someone Has To Pay

The time it takes to create elaborate reports that involve keyword analysis, competitor research, scouring through backlinks, digging through all of the meta data, content and overall structure quality of a website is somewhat involving.

Now, any self-respecting professional doesn’t just give their time away for free. Every hour worked has to be accounted for and covered.

So, if you’re not paying for that service, that means either you’ll make up for it in the fees that you agree to or the existing customers for that professional are paying for your free report.

Personally, I don’t think that’s okay when these reports generally don’t tell you much.

Audit Not A Reflection Of Capability

I’ve seen some of the worst agencies come up with stunning, impressive reports that would make you think they’re scooping a bit of water from the fountain of knowledge that their team must be oozing.

However, when push comes to shove the audit generally has no indication as to whether or not the service that you sign up to is actually any good.

In marketing and advertising, you can do all the research and analysis that you want but you will never know how your product will be taken by the market, how relevant/effective the advertising channels you pick are and what difference outsourcing the execution of that advertising is until you go for it.

Increasing Your Chances Of Success

Focussing just on how to partner with the best provider available to you (and not on your product/services related factors of market success), there are a few ways you can separate the doers from the talkers.

1. No Contracts

A provider that is confident in their own work will not need a contract to secure your business.

And due to the nature of marketing and advertising, it is hard to predict whether or not a campaign is going to work. A good provider should not want to hold onto an advertising account that simply isn’t working and bleeding their clients’ dry of their precious marketing budget.

Sometimes a bit of patience and commitment is needed, yes. Especially when there is a lot of branding involved or a high-involvement purchase being sold. But, that is up to the marketer to communicate to the client and the client should have the flexibility to either heed that advice or go against it and release themselves from the service.

2. The Proof Is In The Pudding

Does the service provider have any case studies where they’ve actually delivered the type of results that you’re after?

Don’t just take their word for it either. Check the results for yourself and I’d even go as far as calling up the business owner cited in the testimonials/case-studies for confirmation.

(You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t even know that they’re a case-study/testimonial on a provider’s website).

3. No Bamboozling

Some providers simply can’t explain what they do in simple terms and have to rely on jargon or industry terminology. I even once saw a competitor’s proposal that included language like:

  • Optimisation of robots.txt
  • Management of canonical tags
  • Appropriate 301 redirects of broken internal link structure
  • Construction of 10x DA20+ dofollow backlinks

Some of this stuff sounds like black magic, but they are just very technically worded ways of outlining fairly simple tasks. Those first two tasks, for example, are usually a one-off job that takes a total of roughly 10 minutes each for most basic brochure websites.

At the end of the day, this stuff isn’t rocket science. SEO and Google Ads are something that you absolutely can do yourself if you’re looking to save money. Just so long as you have the time to invest into learning and actively monitoring and tweaking campaigns.

Most business owners do not have this luxury of time and are busy managing the on-going, day to day operations in their business.

And, like any skill, someone who has been specialising in the field day in day out, consistently for years are going to know a few tricks of the trade.

Similar to how painting your house seems like a pretty simple task, right? Just put paint on the roller and away you go. Yet, many people still seem to mess it up and need a professional painter to come in afterwards.