Here's the deal. You have your own business and a website and know that you need a search marketing agency, but where to start? The ones this Atlanta SEO have seen start requiring the big buckos with little other than "we guarantee results". Problem is you may feel like you are at an attorney's office when the word "retainer" comes up. Retainer is a way to get you to put money up and pay per hours performed and that can be hard to swallow not knowing exactly what is your return.
Start with a Proven Strategy
There is a new low cost Atlanta search marketing company in town that can get a smaller company (revenues of $250K) or if you have some capital you could make a prudent investment in a long term referral generating machine, your smart site. In order for King Google to get your site on the radar, you can start with the following minimum pony up:
A one time $1000 SEO keyword work-
Anyone that has done this work will tell you that this is a labor intensive effort that absolutely must be done. The only way Google finds you is if you have the keywords loaded within the site. There are tremendous tools that can help you determine what those keywords should be so that you can gain traction. Going for the highest number of monthly hits is not likely going to be the best route. A keyword with lower difficulty called a "long tail keyword" would be the best starting point. An example for a realtor might be 'home buying in Norcross, Georgia' as opposed to "buying homes".
Software to track your success.
There are several software companies out there but not that have the robust ability of Hubspot. This tool is absolutely necessary and it depends on how many bells and whistles your business needs but starts at only $200/month.
Minimum work to start. $275 a week to produce 3 fresh new relevant Blogs per week, 2 hours of webwork, a monthly newsletter, and an HD optimized video every quarter. This is a much smaller entry than most SEO firms would charge and is absolutely your biggest bang for your buck.