Sunday, 17 April 2016

Commoditising Websites and SEO Is Wrong

We get quite a lot of invitations to tender or ITT's. These lifeless documents are often put together by out of touch advisors working with businesses who are confused and in need of help. I get it, I understand why on the face of it, it seems to make sense. The businesses don't know what they need (neither it seems do the advisers) and to compensate for a lack of knowledge they commoditise it and go out to the market looking for a price. This approach rarely works.

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ITT Sir? No Thanks.

As a rule, we don't respond to ITT's. We believe that to deliver a web based lead generation solution you need to build a relationship. Lead generation agencies such as us get under the skin of the businesses we work with to understand, in great detail, what makes them tick and what sort of website will deliver the results they need. Now, I can hear you saying, "what's all this talk of lead generation, we just need a website", well here's the thing, what's your website for if not to generate business enquiries or leads?

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A Cynical Look At A Typical ITT

Most ITT's go something like this.

  1. We need a new website, because the phones stopped ringing and our order book's looking a bit thin.
  2. You've been chosen, along with 70 other companies, to give us, free of charge, all your great ideas about how we can improve our situation.
  3. It must look "professional" although we don't know what that means.
  4. You must make sure the SEO works so we are number 1 in Google, although we don't know what that means.
  5. We'll choose the cheapest company to actually do the work drawing on all the great free advice our ITT brings in. Actually, my mate's company will be awarded the work...

OK, I really am cynical, but not without good reason. For years, we dutifully responded to these ridiculous documents and indeed won a few of the contracts. But the clients we've had the long and productive relationships with didn't come via this route, not one of them.

A Better Approach

Increasingly, reputable agencies will stop responding to ITT's. I know plenty who, like us, decline them. After all, with all the great opportunities inbound marketing generates, and the great agencies are doing this stuff really well, we don't need to fight for scraps with the rest. I know how this sounds but it's true, we get several great opportunities every week, without fail because of our attract, engage & convert inbound efforts.

No, a better approach is to engage with a few agencies, who you perhaps found in Google or were referred to by a trusted contact. They'll all offer a free consultation, so you can explore if there's a good fit, and you will get the website you need but, more importantly, the leads.

Let's dump ITT's, they benefit no one, don't deliver great results and simply commoditise something that's not a commodity.

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More in this category: SEO, Lead Generation