I have a little Apprentice addiction, and being a fellow SEO & digital marketing professional myself, enjoyed watching Mark Wright come through the process to win with his Climb Online (www.climb-online.co.uk) internet marketing agency proposal.
I won’t start trolling here and ripping apart the idea (well not too much) as extensively as here and here, or talk about the domain mess up, the lack of email optin box on the landing page, and how exposed they are to negative SEO.
The fact is, there hasn’t been enough transparency on how any of it will actually work to really ‘argue’ with.
Having an account manager isn’t a USP. What about the process behind the digital marketing campaigns?
Grey hat link building in India or the Philippines? Infographics created by freelancers? Local citations created inhouse? 3000 word ‘how to’ blog articles? Private blog networks?
We just don’t know.
Our SEO product is unbelievable….!! It will change the way SEO is done in the UK. White Hat, ethical techniques that get page 1 results.
— Mark Wright (@Mark_E_Wright) January 4, 2015
Sorry Mark, but this is hype. This is Google’s house you are in. Google makes the rules. There is nothing ‘new’ to use (that is white hat anyway) which isn’t already mainstream.
But hey, we just don’t know yet. Maybe SEO will be changed forever once the Climb Online website goes live.
Mark is a good salesman, and he WILL smash sales with Climb Online. But SEO?
Climb Online will make money due to this fact – the publicity, and the USP of Mark. Remove Mark (which will happen as the business scales) from the equation and it’s a just another digital agency. One which outsources and white labels all the work. Of which there are hundreds offering exactly the same thing.. Its doable, but it’ll be tough.
Particularly tough if the strategy is to just focused on local businesses.
Local clients typically won’t be paying much more than £500/mth for SEO services, the ‘3k/mth’ client from the show was an exception to the norm.
Then add in:
- two customer visits per month, the odd phone call, emails…
- The ‘outsourcing’
- technical on page changes
- link building costs
- content creation
- Infrastructure (google rank checking, reporting etc)
Not much left. The focus will be on churn and filling that sales funnel, unless there is a water tight local strategy to smash the customer retention.
Selling additional services, such as PPC, will be a must to eek out more revenue.
Climb Online would bill around 10-15% of the clients monthly PPC spend of £100-1500/mth for Adwords campaign management, but no more than that to stay competitive. Again not big bucks unless it’s scaled, scaled real big and automated to streamline the workflow.
That said – I’m intrigued to see what’s on offer when the website goes live, and how Climb Online clients rate the experience of the latest and greatest SEO service. Out of all of the apprentice candidates this year, Mark was my favourite, and I wish him every success with Climb Online.