Please describe the scope of their work.
ItsTheROI holds a primarily advisory role for us. We don’t use them for execution or day-to-day campaign management for paid search. I know they do that for some clients. We have a lot of in-house expertise to do day-to-day work. I use ItsTheROI as a very high level strategic advisor. They have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on within the search engine optimization industry as a whole. They go to all the right conferences, and they serve as a thought leader in the space. I don’t have time to stay current the way they do. I rely on them for that. With a website like ours that gets 70 percent of its traffic from organic search, he's a vital part of my digital marketing team.
What was your process for selecting ItsTheROI to work with?
I interviewed four different firms, and some of them were very slick and polished. They were very cookie cutter and strongly oriented toward e-commerce. That is not what we do at my nonprofit. I learned that the pay-per-click focus of some of the firms we brought in was not what I was looking for.
What impressed me most about ItsTheROI, and the reason I chose them over the other firms, was that they really get it. It became very clear in our conversations that not only would they advise me on a deep level about search, they were thinking about our website holistically, and they have never hesitated to make recommendations about usability, user experience, speed, and responsiveness, the things that stay even while doing mobile.
They pushed us to consider the things that are ranking factors. The other firms were primarily interested in the margin that they were going to get from our paid campaign.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
I don’t pay them on a time and materials basis. We pay them on a fixed fee, because some months it's very light and sometimes there is something big going on, like when we do a major overhaul of a landing page on our site. Then, we'll need more time. For budgeting purposes, I like to keep them on a flat rate.
In terms of my overall budget, I manage a department that has a million-dollar budget. Their fees represent around $24,000, or $2,000 a month.
Is the work ongoing?
Every year, we take a look at it. Currently, I have no plans to stop the work. Search has become something I've tried to embed throughout our organization. It's a broader understanding and facility with the principles that underlie a very positive search program. ItsTheROI is there when we need them, and they're worth their weight in gold.