PPC & SEO : Long-Term Contract vs. No-Contract
Which is Better?
You will often see many pay-per-click and search engine optimization professionals debating about the benefits of long-term contracts vs. contract-free pricing. In reality, neither type of service is always better and each offers benefits to you as a client. Which one is right for you will vary depending on your needs and how you plan to manage your online marketing.
The advantages of not having a contract are fairy straightforward. You make a request and the company handles the request. This can be a quick and easy way to get what you need done. If you are not satisfied with the service that you receive, it is easy to change companies and try something new. If you plan to manage your internet marketing efforts on your own, this can be a good way to get the support you need as you need it.
The disadvantages of a no contract approach are a bit more subtle, but can be important. With no long-term contract, your online marketing company will often be more project focused because their goal can become the project itself, which may not perfectly align with your overall business goal.
- Easy to start / stop.
- Very clear and only includes what you request.
- Need to coordinate project requests each time one is made.
- Most types of online marketing require ongoing support. This should be accounted for to ensure maximum results*.
A long-term contract can be a much more involved process, but the advantage is exactly that: it is involved. If your contract is properly written and includes performance payments that are tied to your business goals, it can help to keep efforts focused on your true objectives.
For example, if you are building brand awareness, search engine keyword rankings might be a good goal. If you are focused on increasing sales and traffic, then it might be more effective to focus on sales or relevant traffic to your site rather than whether or not you rank for a specific keyword.
Performance payments are not the only way to create a long-term contract. Even a straightforward, static contract that is priced correctly, and with proper allowances to end it, can help you to keep a marketer aligned to your specific goals.
- Allows marketer to expend additional time and resources on you as a long term client.
- Can closely tie goals of marketer with client.
- Gives marketer latitude to focus on longer term goals rather than immediate projects.
- Can take more time to create.
- Requires additional commitment by you as a client.
Remember, every situation is unique and often marketer-client relationships are built with a blend of these contract types as needed to meet goals. The first step is to determine your goals as a business and find a reputable marketing professional to help you map how to best reach those goals.
*An Important Note: Even if no contract is used, it is important to realize that most types of online marketing can take time to reach their maximum potential. Your marketing professional should be able to provide you with some insight on what this ongoing level of effort will look like based on your goals and the competitive landscape for your business.