August 16, 2023
5 questions to ask yourself before hiring an SEO or Paid Ads consultant

stack of cubes with question marks on them and a hand placing a block with a lightbulb on it on top; blog post on hiring paid ads and SEO consultants

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Click and Repeat is: 

“Should I invest in expert help with in-depth SEO, or paid ads such as Facebook Ads or Google AdWords?”

And it totally makes sense to outsource some things when you get to a certain point in your business. In-depth SEO and paid ads help are certainly areas where a subject matter expert can make a major difference to your business.

But before you leap in and start throwing your money around, here are some questions to ask yourself…

1. How well does my website work now?

It makes sense to do a thorough website audit before you make any major changes or investments. If you don’t know how things are performing now, how will you know if the investment was worth the cost?

Use Google Analytics to track website traffic for 3 – 6 months so you can establish some baseline statistics. Here’s what you need as a bare minimum:

  • How many visitors does your site get per month?
  • When do you get the most site visitors?
  • How many of those visitors contact you?

You need to know your current conversion rate — how well your website is working for you. If you’re getting lots of visitors to your site but few contact you, then your website might need a few tweaks.  

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who move from one step of your marketing funnel to the next. You can also look at the percentage of your total web visitors who eventually sign up or purchase something from you. 

Taking a close look at where you’re losing people in their buyer’s journey can give you a lot of information about how your current marketing efforts are working.

2. Is my sales process up to snuff?

If you get lots of sales calls but few people actually sign up for your services, then either you’re not getting qualified leads, or your sales process needs some TLC. 

Ask yourself:

  • How many of those web visitors who contacted me signed up as a client or student?

There’s little point in investing money and effort in increasing website visitors and sales calls if your processes let you down at the last hurdle. And you want hard numbers — not just ‘some’, ‘most’, ‘plenty’ or the dog trainer’s favorite…‘it depends’!  

You’ll need these concrete figures if you decide to hire a consultant. I’ll explain why as we go.

If your website or sales process isn’t up to snuff, fix those things before going any further. Trust me, you don’t want to be throwing money at a broken system! But if you’ve got great conversion rates, read on.  

3. Can I afford the cost of Paid Ads or SEO help?

Expert tech help costs money. A lot of it. Click and Repeat owner Melissa recently chatted with an agency matchmaker (someone who matches agencies to businesses) and discussed costs for hiring SEO or paid ads specialists. The numbers were substantial.

Costs for Paid Ads

For a Paid Ad consultancy, you could expect to pay in the region of $600 to $800 per month for their retainer. Then your ad spend would need to be in the ballpark of $2000. Per month. And they usually expect 3 months’ commitment, at least. That’s a total outlay of roughly $2600 – $2800 every month, for three months.

And remember, you only get the benefit while the ads are actually running. Once you stop paying, you stop getting the results. So, unless you have an extra $3000 to invest every month, you’d be far better off looking for other ways to increase your visibility through marketing.

Costs for SEO

SEO consulting isn’t (usually!) quite as expensive. Your budget for that would probably be somewhere between $1200 – $1700 per month but could be as high as $3000! And again, most SEO agencies or consultants are going to want a three-month commitment from you. Usually there is an SEO audit to be done, before any work is carried out at all, so don’t forget to factor that into your budget up front.

On the plus side, if you have SEO work done on your site you get to reap the benefits long after the initial outlay so it can be considered a long-term business investment.

So, can you afford the outlay? No? You can always brainstorm other marketing approaches that might be easier on your pocket or look at learning the basics of SEO or paid advertising yourself.

If you really don’t want to learn SEO — but would like some support, we offer basic SEO setup, using Yoast or Rankmath for every website we work on.  

Although we don’t sell SEO specific services, as we’re not subject matter experts, we’re happy to help — and a website overhaul and SEO tweak might be all you need.

4. What are your goals for your investment?

If you’ve decided that your available funds are deep enough to allow you to outsource in-depth SEO or Paid Ad help, the next question you need to ask yourself is: 

“What do I want to achieve with this investment?”

If your instant answer is “more money!!” I want you to take a step back… More money might be the ultimate goal, but we need to break that down further for it to be useful. 

Firstly, are you hoping for short-term gains — as you might expect to get from paid ads — or longer-term benefits that come from top-notch SEO practices? SEO isn’t a quick fix, and it can take weeks or months before the results are apparent.  

Next, let’s break down the “more…” bit. “More” can mean:

  • More website visitors.
  • More sales calls.
  • More conversions.

Without drilling down into what you want “more” of, you’re going to have a hard time communicating what you hope to achieve to whoever you’re paying to achieve it. 

Each of those goals listed above require different things:

  • More website visitors — needs more eyeballs on links to your site.
  • More sales calls — needs web visitors to be interested in buying what you sell.
  • More conversions — needs prospects to be ready and able to sign on the dotted line.

These goals require different approaches and amounts of work — and that might substantially change how much you pay. Getting you more website visitors is one thing. Getting you the right website visitors is what your main goal should be!

Before parting with your hard-earned cash, you need to be clear on what you want your investment to do for you — and having current baseline figures will help guide your decision going in.

Also, as noted earlier, if your website or sales process isn’t up to snuff, all your investment will be wasted. Expect an SEO or Ad professional to provide feedback on your site and be open to making changes if necessary. 

5. What can you expect from Paid Ads or SEO help?

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. Now it’s time to ask your agency or consultant a few questions. Here are two that often get overlooked:

What return on investment (ROI) can you expect?

You need to know up front what the agency you’re working with expects to be able to deliver: what’s your ROI likely to be? Are you looking at getting $2 back for every $1 you spend? $3? If they can’t give you some predictions, you might want to look elsewhere.

What does that look like in real terms?

If you spend $2000, and expect to get $4000 back, what does that look like in real terms of number of new clients through your books? 

Why do you need to know?

Because it would be a shame to spend a fortune only to find you don’t have the resources to actually service the expected influx of new business. You don’t want to find yourself drowning under a deluge of work you can’t manage!

You’ve asked the right questions and hired an expert… How can you tell if it’s working?

If you’ve got this far and made your investment, set your expectations, and kept your head above water, you’ll want to know if all the effort was worth it. Here’s where knowing your original conversion rates comes in.  

Crunch the numbers: has your conversion rate (for whichever goal you chose) increased or decreased? If it’s gone up, congratulations! If it’s gone down, you might want to be asking some hard questions of the expert you hired!

Hopefully this has given you the information you need to make some informed decisions on whether to outsource help for SEO or paid Ads. Although there are plenty of agencies out there telling you that without their services your business is doomed to failure, you don’t need to believe them!


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