WebMechanix Digital Marketing Communications Series
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Negotiating SEO Services For A New Website

Each month, we’ll be sharing internal communications from real members of our team, giving you a peek at what goes on behind the scenes of our digital marketing company.

The exchange below illustrates why companies choose WebMechanix and embodies our belief that you should always speak openly with teammates, clients, partners, or peers.

This conversation took place with a prospective client looking for the best SEO services in Maryland. Naturally, s/he turned to our team when requesting a proposal.

1. Prospective client requests proposal for SEO services.

Subject: ********** SEO Proposal

From: *****, T*** <T*****@**********.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 3:06 PM
To: Chris Mechanic <*****@webmechanix.com>

Hey Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to chat today!

I’ve attached the current version of the [website’s] information architecture that will be the backbone of the new site… According to this IA, the new site will consist of 96 pages (not including Blog Posts and/or similar individual pages for Press Releases, News, Events, etc.). That does include a page for each product, though, and that list might be consolidated (slightly) moving forward.

As discussed, we’re basically looking for SEO support, specifically surrounding the phases of this new website project: preparation, creation, launch & post-launch. If it’s possible that you’re able to provide monthly support for a targeted ongoing budget of $4k/month, please let us know how many hours that would include, and what the rate would be for any additional hours, if we need your team to go above & beyond the planned hours in any given month.

If the $4,000/month target isn’t enough (or if it’s too much) for the work that you’re envisioning, please just let me know what budget would be reasonable, in your opinion – and provide the same breakdown of included hours & costs for additional time.

Finally, IF you think the $4,000/mo. range isn’t enough & you’re recommending a significantly larger budget, please send over at least a few bullet points outlining (at a very high level) the work that you think would be required… (Feel free to include this in any case, but the speed in getting your initial budget recommendation is more important than the details, at this point… So, if you think the target budget I gave is workable – at least initially, just let me know that ASAP & we can back into the details next.)

I’ve got a meeting now, so I’ll add **********@webmechanix.com to the Analytics for the two largest sites that are combining into the new **********.com after this call is over – these sites are: **********.com & **********.com. You can see all the brands that are coming together from this microsite: www.***********.com.


T**** *****
Digital Marketing Manager,

2. WebMechanix responds to proposal request.

Subject: ********** SEO Proposal

From: Chris Mechanic <*****@webmechanix.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM
To: “*****, T****” <T****@**********.com>

Hi T****, thanks for the note & apologies in advance for the super-long email.


I think $4,000/mo. is pretty fitting for the ongoing support, but I’m hesitant to commit to pre-launch activities at that rate.

Between KW research, page meta data rex, 301 redirect mapping/testing/QA, the specialized nature of your business / learning curve, the time frame & the uncertainties in my mind (listed below)… We’ll almost definitely need to charge more than $4,000/month during the pre-launch period.

Am I understanding correctly that each of the 6 sites linked to on http://www.**********.com/ are to be consolidated into one site that is to live at http://www.**********.com/?

If so, that’s a lot of pages to redirect & of course the 90-some pages that need SEO love on the new site is nothing to shake a stick at. I know that if we whittle it down & focus on the pages w/ the most SEO value / link equity, the quantity drops significantly, but it’s still a very time-consuming endeavor to do it right.

That + the specialized nature, learning curve, time frame, etc. means I’ll need to get my top guys working w/ me on it, for sure.

You’re not making this easy on me brother, are you?! Hahaha

Questions on my mind:

1) Content migration — you or us?
2) Implementing page rex (e.g. titles, URLs, etc.) — you or us?
3) Implementing 301 redirects — you or us?
4) Optimizing on-page content — you or us?
5) Internal link architecture — you or us?
6) Asset optimization (file name, alt text) & schema — needed or no?
7) Taxonomy & content inventory — needed or no?
8) Page speed testing & optimization — needed or no?
9) Mobile-friendliness testing — needed or no?
10) Goal & event tracking matrix — needed or no?
11) GA configuration — you or us?
12) Do you envision us hands-on in the CMS / site files or no?

Long & short, I’m comfortable w/ an ongoing rate of $4,000/month (our hourly rate is $150). We can even start at $3,500 post-launch & adjust accordingly from there. I think there’s a lot of opportunity (is anyone looking after analytics & conversion?).

But just from what I already know, we’ll almost definitely have to charge more than $4,000/month during the pre-launch period (i.e. July & August). I can’t give you a precise quote though until I know the answers to the questions above & better understand 1) how thorough you want this to be & 2) the division of labor therein.

As soon as I see your reply, I’ll shoot you over a hard quote as quickly as I can.

Alternatively, we can play the “Range” game (may be best in this case)…

We’ll quote a minimum & a maximum # of monthly hours during the pre-launch period & provide notifications periodically. At this point, I’d feel comfortable w/ a monthly minimum of 30 hours & maximum of 100 during the pre-launch period. You’re in charge of hours utilization of course & we’ll let you know where we are w/ hours at least twice monthly, or for every 15 hours used, whichever is more frequent.

In my experience, the “Range” game works well when 1) you’re in a hurry; 2) uncertainties linger & 3) you trust each other, all of which I believe to be the case here.

Post-launch, we will adjust the acceptable range downward, or set a fixed cost/scope, whichever you prefer. Also, of course, in the event that we complete our pre-launch work early, some unforeseen circumstance causes a long delay in launch, or for any reason our service is temporarily or permanently unnecessary, we will never charge you arbitrarily.

CC’ing Jarrett here to ensure most timely replies. Again, apologies for the super-long email.

Let me know how you’d like to proceed.

Thanks T****.

-Chris M.

PS – I wasn’t able to access your GA profiles.

Searched our house account for ‘*****’ (as in **********) & ***** but got zippy. I did however, receive your email from earlier today at that address, so I know you got the address right.

Is the profile you shared me on named differently (such as ‘Internal IPs Filtered’ or ‘Organic Traffic Only’, etc.)? Please re-share when you have a moment w/ the election to notify new user via email, particularly if you’re still wanting a precise price quote quickly (as opposed to the “Range” game model).

Thanks T****, talk soon.


Chris Mechanic

Office: 443-927-7195
Fax: 443-927-7190


3. Client is thrilled by WebMechanix’s response

Subject: ********** SEO Proposal

From: *****, T**** <T****@**********.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 8:15 PM
To: Chris Mechanic <*****@webmechanix.com>

Hey Chris,

I’ve only scanned your email so far, and it’s already clear why you guys are the best… The way you’re thinking & approaching this thing is exactly what I want – so I’m hoping we can get you in on this project, costs be damned!

I haven’t added you to the GA profiles yet – been slammed all afternoon, but I’ll get that done tonight… And I’ll get answers to the questions in your email back to you ASAP, too.

Thanks for dropping everything to take a look at this… I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that – and all of the mental energy & time that you’re sure to spend putting together your recommendations for knocking this out of the park… I don’t take that lightly and want you to know that your work just preparing to do the work is already tremendously appreciated.

OK – let me finish the project I’m working on, get your GA access setup, then get the hell out of the office!

Thanks again & have a great night,

T**** *****

Digital Marketing Manager,

About the writer
Brian Thackston
Brian Thackston
Brian creates exceptional content and enduring publishing strategies that attract and convert. He is also a Nintendo fanatic who is grooving through law school so that he can fight for the freedom of the web.

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