Partnering with a SEO/web company?

6 Replies

We are thinking about partnering with a local SEO/web marketing company.  The idea being that they run our site and ad campaigns.  We pay for the ads but not their SEO work or any other service.  They in turn get paid x amount per deal we close.  (Online birddogging?)

Not trying to be cheap but thinking that this would be a good way to conserve marketing dollars and create an incentive for them to put more effort into our marketing campaign than they would if it were a standard deal.

Anyone done this?  Opinions on it?

@Elizabeth Wilson  I'm building this side of my business right now. I currently manage PPC for investors around the country, but I'm starting my first client on a pay-per-lead arrangement. I own the site, I own the marketing machine, they pay per lead. 

The upside to this is that you only pay for the leads they generate, so there's zero risk for you. If all goes really well, and they are able to get really great performance (cheaper leads) you'll never know, because they will still charge you the flat rate per lead. And, if they are the source of the majority of your business, they have a lot of leverage over you. They can raise their price, or run to your competitor if your competitor is willing to spend more per lead. You don't own anything, you're just buying the leads.

I would recommend this pay-per-lead method as far as testing out whether real estate investing is right for you as a business. Or, if you're only looking to do a few deals a year. If you plan on running a full-time investing business, you're going to want to own the marketing assets. It's the age-old decision of renting versus owning. But of course, many people are going to be more short-sighted and want to pay per lead, which is why I'm venturing into that business model. And while it's not what I would personally do, I've spent a lot of money developing a website that is banking on there being a lot of people who prefer it. Good luck! :D

@Elizabeth Wilson - oh, if the arrangement is that you own the site, and you own the ad campaign, and they are getting paid per lead, that sounds like a really bad deal for them. Especially if it's SEO - because they will need to stay motivated for 6-9 months before they get paid - and things are going to get really complicated when you meet a client in person, they go to your website, fill out your form, and the web team thinks they brought them in via SEO, when really they came landed on your site from a search engine because they met you in person and google'd your name - attribution can get really really messy. That's why personally my agency runs on percentage of spend, if you're getting ROI, you'll spend more, and we both win, if ROI isn't there, you'll spend less, or none at all, and we both lose. Keeps motivations aligned imo.

@Sean Dolan -  those are really great points!  Thank you!

Wouldn't there be a way to have multiple landing pages with their own opt in form but then redirected to the main site?

For example,  we use callrail to track our campaigns.  Each one of our bird dogs have their own marketing number that gets redirected to our office.  But that number can be tracked so we know which lead brought it in.

Trying to make it a win-win but maybe just making it complicated.

Thanks again for your time!

@Elizabeth Wilson  Like Elizabethbuyshouses.com/rick and elizabethbuyshouses.com/Steve and so on? For sure, (I use Call Tracking Metrics, but it's similar to Call Rail). You have a unique number for each rep, and the form on the website has a hidden field that identifies which rep (I recommend Gravity Forms for this.)

Sounds like a solid idea if you're giving birddogs unique pages (maybe even put their picture on that landing page for continuity). 

But, instead of having a birddog pass around a domain like elizabethbuyshouses.com/rick, you could give then domains that forward to these landing pages, like rickbuyshouses.com that 301 redirects to your .com/rick. 

Having bold college students drive for dollars, or freelance marketers give it a shot online, might work. I guess my biggest warning is with the SEO, don't hold your breathe on that driving business on a commission structure, but other forms of birddogging - all sounds pretty solid to me. And the attribution for SEO is very complicated because Google doesn't pass the search query data anymore, so you won't know what individual terms brought in your leads (and who to give credit to). Adwords is a different story.

Buy Rick some business cards and flyers to post on doors, you supply the materials and the unique phone tracking and URL, he does all the leg work. I like it.

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