|general pricing questions...|
how much is too much money to pay?
I've noticed when I read things by some of the more famous names in the business that they seem to charge almost exhuberent amounts of money. And yet, they have been charging so much for so long, it seems that somebody must be paying.
So what I would like to ask is, where do the rest of you who's sites I haven't snooped feel you fall in as far as pricing for seo type services? Consulting? Web marketing expertise?
The reason I'm wondering is because I am reviewing my current pricing structure, and I'm thinking of going the expert route. Establish a brand, unique niche, and launch my same old services, rehashed into an "expert" site.
Currently, my pricing structure is in line with most seo type companies, setup, by the click, etc. The prices seem to work out about the same as by the month, only this way I think the client feels better; they pay for what they get.
My new idea would be to charge an exceptional amount for set up, so stiff that it would limit the number of companies even interested in the services. And then charge a monthly fee, guaranteeing minimum levels of service, so they still feel comfortable, but charging an amount comparable to those I consider famous experts, the ones that we all know and respect, ( or envy, as the case may be).
>I've noticed when I read things by some of the more famous names in the business that they seem to charge almost exhuberent amounts of money. And yet, they have been charging so much for so long, it seems that somebody must be paying.
The key ingredient you're overlooking is "the more famous names in the business." These people have established a reputation as experts, whether deserved or not, and this reputation is what commands the big bucks. These reputations are based on years in and contributions to the industry and on long established relationships with others in the industry. They are earned over time.
han solo is not a household word yet, even among SEO folks... Simply asking for big bucks will get you attention of course, but most folks will do serious research before paying and without recognized experts to back up your expert claims, why would they pay?
han solo, let's look at a couple of your points step by step and think them out a bit:
>Establish a brand
We know that "branding" is effective, but what are the means to establish branding? Any ideas on how you will be going about this?
We're heard the term "niche market" - are you referring to establishing a niche for yourself, or targeting a niche market that's new for you? If it's the latter, how will you decide upon which niche to target, and what means will you use to reach them?
>my pricing structure is in line with most seo type companies
One theory I've heard from a number of sources is that the time to raise prices is when you start to get too busy. Another method I heard is that of raising prices slightly for new clients gradually over a period of time until reaching the point of what the market will bear.
If you're thinking of stepping out into uncharted territory, will the market bear it if you put a sudden, steep price hike into effect?
Dave brought up interesting points. In discussing "famous" people, we also have to consider that there's a difference between actual value and "perceived value." Fame takes the perception of value way up there.
When you're talking about doing a rehashing, are you thinking of a change in site design, sales approach - any number of variables - to increase the perception of the value of your services to the potential customer?
This could turn into an interesting discussion of when and how to increase fee structures.
How do we raise prices? Any input?
>why would they pay?
I believe that people will pay whatever is necessary to get them the service they desire. Whether or not I personally have the credibility, skills, and experience to pull it off, is up to the client. You have a great point, though, why would they pay? I believe it boils down to something very simple: service. If the service is truly exceptional, why wouldn't they?
>We know that "branding" is effective, but what are the >means to establish branding? Any ideas on how you will be >going about this?
I have some thoughts. I keep coming back to these boards, and think, wow. There are many other forums out there, but Brett has really nailed it. It's not only the forums that exist here, but the quality of the service. It's really incredible. I think that is why we all keep coming back here, the information, the community, everything about this place. I sincerely believe, because it is so amazing, and the SEW has such incredible resources, that Brett probably has that percieved value nailed. To the floor.
So, am I going to start doing "han solo's" forums on SEO? No way. I'd miss out on all the great stuff here. What I am going to do is go after a percieved hole in the market, whether real or imagined. My own services, and the companies I've been with, are recognizeable. But I realize I am in no way equivelent to these others, whom I have such respect for, and a little envy.
>will the market bear it if you put a sudden, steep price >hike into effect?
I think the market would, if the market feels that service has value. Utility in reality sometimes has nothing to do with what you pay. Take Starbucks, for example. It's not that the cup of coffee the serve that is worth 3.00 US, it is the atmosphere that goes along with it you are buying when you get your coffee.
So, I believe, if I can make "Starbucks" people will buy my "coffee" instead of that cheap stuff down the strett at Joe's...
I think you do have an excellent point, though. When too many clients are calling, it is definitely time to raise prices.
Again, I appreciate the input. I am revising mentally my new business plan as I type. Not that I'm going to write one, but I like to have a mental guide about what to do next as I go...
What if you created a second site and marketing plan in addition to your current site that catered specifically to higher end clients? - almost like creating a second company. Instead of risking it all and bagging your current plan, you could do some price testing. See what your outcome was after 6 months or so and then decide what to do from there.
This way you have the best of both worlds without losing your bread and butter.