I've spent the last four hours or so reading all of the SEO recommendation threads. A lot of repeats of what I saw throughout the Internet:
- SEO is a slow process
- no one wants to work for free (of course!)
- You get what you pay for
- very few actual recommendations!
All that being said, can anyone tried to throw me a bone here. I'm really hopeful that someone can give us some useful advice, as the jobs of my employees/partners who are like family depend in part on us improving our marketing. In short: We suck at marketing but provide a wonderful service. So that's the good news.
Were trying to find an SEO recommendation or marketing firm to work with.
We have a brick-and-mortar Mandarin school in China that also is launching a niche membership site. We have been in business for eight years. We've never had a dissatisfied customer. Seriously. Were great at what we do, we just don't know how to market. The business provides full packages learning programs in China, including tours, as well as some online learning. Good margins.
Content creation is fairly easy in terms of creating blog posts and free learning materials that will attract our niche market. We had a site that ranked well for years but has been hit pretty hard by panda/Penguin. (I used to do our own as SEO, but it was outsourced for expediency purposes -- not because I'm lazy, but because I'm disabled have trouble interacting with the computer outside of voice recognition -- thanks Uncle Sam!) We have full-time employees that can produce content and can probably produce another revenue generating product.
When we did rank well, we converted very poorly. We got rankings at the expensive of conversion. So we hope to find someone to work with that could handle both SEO and marketing aspects. You can tell from what we do that it's a relatively small market, but with a good growth rate, and good margins to share.
Basically, for the last few years we were shelling out money for SEO and PPC that got progressively worse and was basically money just down the drain including our ad words spend.
So getting to the point... How can we go about finding a partner? Ideally we want to find someone that can work on some kind of lower-rate plus commission bonuses. I've read what the well respected Mike Anthony and Mike Friedman have said, and I realize most people don't want to work for free. But were obviously very reticent to shell out money in the hope that someone can do something. We've done that too many times over the years. In the education and tourism industry there have historically been agents that take a commission, including online-- so you can't tell me that no one does it. So I guess what were looking for something along the lines of a "super agent" but for the whole business. In short, a marketing partner.
Realizing that SEO/PPC and marketing should be more of a long-term strategy, where looking for some credit long-term partnership. We don't expect anyone to work for free of course, but want to find some win-win strategy that minimizes our cash outlay.
Come on board members! :-) How can we go about finding this person/company? Does anyone have specific recommendations or could pass along this to anyone in your network?