One of my clients has gotten pulled into one of those “For just $400/month we can…” setups. Hold it, what?? We really had just finished up his upgrades for his website for the winter season – he has a heating and air conditioning company. Sadly, when he requested the site, he was wanting something to handle the Clayton NC area – not the Raleigh area. And this new company promises results from the Raleigh area. But $400/month worth? Well, if he can afford it, why not? Of course, if he’d mentioned that was what he wanted, we would have been more than happy to do that for him – and let him spend his money locally – not with a company out of Florida. I believe I actually questioned him about if he wanted to be on the Raleigh market and urged that direction, but he said no. But it is what it is. It’s not really a sour grapes issue – as you will see in the next paragraph and we were also contacted by yet another heating and air company as well LOL.
As fate would have it, I actually was contacted by another air conditioning repair company about the same time this was happening – actually got a ping from Rita over at Coffee News – SouthernWakePublications.com about this possible client – THANKS RITA! This particular potential client ALSO has a heating and air conditioning company and wants to target the same market. And not sure if we’re going to be handling this one or not, but it got me looking at the competition and SEO numbers. I have no doubt that we will be pushing an air conditioning repair company shortly in SEO, so I look forward to specifically watching to see how we do against the Florida company 🙂
So this all got me looking at the Raleigh PPC / SEO market for air conditioning repair companies. PPC now ranges from $7 and some change to just under $15 PER CLICK for some of the relevant terms! Outrageous.
At any rate, pay per click – so if you’re averaging $11 per click just to get them to your website – and you convert say 10% of those to a phone call or email and then maybe even optimistically 30% of those to an actual service call. YOWSA. If you think through those numbers, you could be paying HUNDREDS of dollars to get just a single lead.
At least going with some of these companies for the most part is organic SEO and NOT PPC. It’s still pricey, but at least not nearly as pricey as pay per click if they can actually deliver on the organic part.
This got me FURTHER thinking – how in the HECK did it get so competitive in Raleigh? Everyone wants to be at the top for everything of course, but Raleigh? That much per click?
I have a real feeling that SEO and the click companies have created their own niche. Sort of like a large defense contractor selling weapons to both sides in a war. Stir up the pot a bit, get one company up to the top, then call all the competitors and offer to do the same for them. A web-based arms race.
This particular type of service frequently involves repointing the customer’s original domain at a keyword optimized SEO-friendly exact match domain (EMD) name that is owned by the click company and NOT the actual customer. So when the money ends, so do the benefits of all that money spent.
Sadly, the one thing I really don’t like about this is that it goes against my “small town mentality”. We always try to provide the max service at the best cost – with no hidden “Oh didn’t I tell you?” issues. Being small town local, we ARE going to see you at the grocery store and DON’T want to have to hide behind the aisle end caps if we see you.
Maybe it’s just time to quit bucking the system and go with it. As I said earlier, it is what it is – and maybe the time of being a small town web dev needs to go with it.