Jeff has a lot of really good content on his site. Including massive numbers of articles with tips about how to do better in social marketing. I don’t know if he tells this or not but one thing I see he does great is links to other content on his site in each article; which requires a fair amount of editor time to revisit sites and dig that up. But on with the topic.
I just got link baited to Jeff’s site from another Twitterer who didn’t credit Jeff with the content of the post. After hitting a link bait and then a redirect I finally landed at Jeff’s post titled “7 Tactics to Write Quality Content Your Audience Will Love“. Normally I don’t read a lot of what Jeff publishes simply because I’m either writing about something else or I don’t feel a compulsion to copy content or ideas from other people who essentially provide the same information I do.
Free Isn’t Everything
You will find that while I do feature free as a regular part of my content I also warn that paying for quality services is often a much better way to go. The challenge is that if we don’t trust the value is there (what’s my return for spending the money) then we’re much more resistant, or should be, to paying. Since I don’t work for free you’ll need to pay me for what I do for you so obviously I believe in compensated value. So while there are excellent free tools around they are not the end-all nor are they always, or even usually, the best solution.
A Dollar Here A Dollar There
When I was the 10 Hat Director of a mortgage banking company, especially in the early days, I often ended up being the person to whom ideas, services, and products were pitched. Obviously there were days when this consumed a great amount of my time so I had a policy of warning people they had 2 minutes to get me interested. I stuck to it quite well because even those 2 minutes generally took 30 minutes out of my day.
There was a common denominator in pitches from people was that it would only cost $19 per month which seemed to be a very common price at the time for online marketing services/tools. Of course if I signed up for every service pitched to me for $19 per month I would end up spending around $19,000 per month on tools that probably wouldn’t return nearly that much. Many would even cover duplicated efforts.
What I really needed to know was a firm and realistic idea of how much I was going to profit. If those sales people came in or got me on the phone and said, “I can guarantee this product will generate 3 new leads for you every month or you don’t pay” I would have purchased every single service without further question. Did I mention I will never, ever, as long as I live, personally give any phone directory a dime? That was a side note.
Why Am I Picking On Bullas?
I’m not. He has more followers than me so I dropped his name. And the article just happened to be on his site. That article so happens to contain a few recommendations for services that come along with a fee. Monthly fees in fact. What inspired this short article was remembering all those pitches for service. They still come in but I no longer deal with them. Then I quickly added up the costs if I just purchased the least expensive but non-free version of each service. Again we’re talking about costs not rewards – which matters a lot more than the costs.
Moz is the first one mentioned. A quick visit to Moz taught me the minimum monthly fee for their suite of services is $99. It goes up to $599. Again if $99 per month ended up with me getting one order for one full Custom WordPress Site I would pay it every month without any reservation.
The second one linked is Insightly although the link is to a blog post on their site and not directly to the service. Insightly is available in a free package but we’re looking for the minimum cost of a fee associated package which is $15 per month.
RivalIQ is the third mentioned. It’s a sight that scopes out your competitors and compares your performance. It starts a little pricey at $199 per month but maybe it’s worth it. I’d like to try it for a year and see what happens. I’d gladly pay that fee for a return of 400%.
Next the post mentions BuzzSumo which I have linked from my Free Tools page – because they have a very basic online tool you can use for free. It’s mostly an analytics and alert tool but since I haven’t tried the full versions I really can’t say exactly how valuable that $99 per month investment may be.
Up in the next position is CoSchedule which I have tried and used a couple of their free tools. They are a little less difficult to get into but as you’ll see when we add these all up the pricing can be a little concerning to a regular blogger or independent business person. They’ll let you play for $15 per month.
Marketo pops up next and you’ll want to sit down for this one. They have 4 different products/solutions at this time and if you felt you needed all 4 your minimum monthly investment would easily top $3000 per month. Let me say this about that; if I spend $3000 per month and my gross return is $12,000 per month you can put me down for an even dozen. Once again it’s not about the cost, it’s about the return. At least I know now how they can afford to pay my friend Brian Carter millions of dollars for his brain!
Were You Adding Along?
If you’re like me you already know the number. It seems from this one article a small monthly investment of $3427 should make you the online success everyone else dreams about. Or not. I’m not going to go any farther with this and examine the real possibilities for an acceptable or exciting return on these investments until the companies demonstrate to me the actual value. Hint hint.
This post isn’t meant to be a hit job on anyone. Rather it is meant to call attention to how we all need to plan accordingly to meet the needs of our own businesses. Sometimes paying any fee, regardless of how insane it may sound, can and does pay off in the short or long term.