How Are You Managing Your SEO Clients?

Profile picture of the author seoace by seoace Posted: 04/20/2013
Hi

For mine,

Payment forms - Jotform then I reference & manually add the new clients into my Excel file.

Client management - I use Excel for mine (and in the file includes name,email,phone, campaign name, date ordered, requests).

Reporting - Reporb for creating backlink reports for clients.

Keyword Rankings - Scrapebox + their Rank tracker plugin & looking into Serpbook for clients.

But I personally have a hard time scaling it hard due to the amount of "non-automated" work this involves.

How about you & your SEO business on managing your SEO clients?
#clients #managing #seo

  • Profile picture of the author SandraElam
    SandraElam
    I am using excel, backlinkwatch and a subscription for payments to get monthly payments
  • Profile picture of the author RossIT
    RossIT
    i setup direct debits so they are billed easily on a monthly basis, i only have a couple of monthly clients so dont need to do anything like spread sheets its all in my head, but in the long term i should start doing a databse so i know who has what.
  • Profile picture of the author seoace
    seoace
    Originally Posted by RossIT View Post

    i setup direct debits so they are billed easily on a monthly basis, i only have a couple of monthly clients so dont need to do anything like spread sheets its all in my head, but in the long term i should start doing a databse so i know who has what.
    Definitely, Excel is a good way to start managing your SEO clients.

    If you are technical enough, you can even setup Google Docs & connect it with your database for more automation

    Originally Posted by SandraElam View Post

    I am using excel, backlinkwatch and a subscription for payments to get monthly payments
    Which subscription do you use to collect your monthly payments?
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    I spend most of my time tracking payments of clients in Paypal.

    Wish there was some system that easily keeps track of it instead of browsing from page to page. Quite annoying when having 100+ clients.

    The only thing I found is that you have to program some API
  • Profile picture of the author seoace
    seoace
    Yeah, the time tracking is such a pain. Especially if you send reports every 1 month from the day the client ordered.

    Hiring a programmer to program a paypal api to keep track of the payments will be a good investment in terms of your personal time or employee's time.

    Do you not use a payment form for your SEO business, nik0?

    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

    I spend most of my time tracking payments of clients in Paypal.

    Wish there was some system that easily keeps track of it instead of browsing from page to page. Quite annoying when having 100+ clients.

    The only thing I found is that you have to program some API
  • Profile picture of the author TotalWebsiteControl
    TotalWebsiteControl
    Payment processor PayPal
    Link Reports Excel + Client Management Excel
    Rank Checker CuteRank PRO + Market Samurai for cross reference.
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    Originally Posted by seoace View Post

    Yeah, the time tracking is such a pain. Especially if you send reports every 1 month from the day the client ordered.

    Hiring a programmer to program a paypal api to keep track of the payments will be a good investment in terms of your personal time or employee's time.

    Do you not use a payment form for your SEO business, nik0?
    Sorry I don't know what you mean with payment form. People click the subscribe button in my sales thread, end up at Paypal and after they get redirected to my website where they end up at a simple contact form where they can leave their keywords / url's.

    Just signed up here a minute ago: https://www.subscriptionbridge.com

    lets see how that works, they have a free trial now.
  • Profile picture of the author ilee
    ilee
    Surely I cant be the only one here using a cloud based crm? It's 2013 guys!

    Any bits of client details, information, documents are api'd in or imported so everything is all in one place
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    Originally Posted by ichl13 View Post

    Surely I cant be the only one here using a cloud based crm? It's 2013 guys!
    I tried 5 different (obvious paid) crm's, none of them suited my (imo) very basic needs.

    My needs are:

    - Quick overview of status of order without having to click it, so just a list with different indicatiors, for example a green/yellow/orange/red light indicator

    - Being able to create different static packages and then selecting such package from a drop down menu instead of having to fill in each detail again

    - Paypal integration obvious

    - Automatically send e-mail to the customer when the light turns green.

    - Being able to assign different delivery files to an order

    - Accounts for my VA's to login to an order and upload the reports to the specific order

    All 5 that I tested featured only "some" of these wishes, couldn't find a single one that did them all and then the auto-emailing when an order is complete wasn't even a must.

    Almost none of them had paypal integration, with many it was a whole hassle to create custom templates for link packages, others lacked the feature of seeing the status of an order, instead had to click on it first. Have fun clicking a list of 50 orders to see in which stadium each one is.

    Imo this is all pretty basic btw, but somehow all these web based CRM lack these basic functionality, I even send out a ton of e-mails to them asking why it was all so limited.

    And on top of that some were crazy expensive.

    I think there is a big market out there for a good and affordable CRM.
  • Profile picture of the author jxam69
    jxam69
    I don't have a lot of SEO clients, but I do have a lot of advertising & marketing clients - I use Sugar CRM - CRM Software & Online Customer Relationship Management | SugarCRM English (Americas)
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    Originally Posted by jxam69 View Post

    I don't have a lot of SEO clients, but I do have a lot of advertising & marketing clients - I use Sugar CRM - CRM Software & Online Customer Relationship Management | SugarCRM English (Americas)
    Does this allow for what I want? Will check it out anyway. Name does sound a bit familiar so possibly I already tried it.

    Never mind, way too many options to quickly add new customers. This whole opportunity thing and all, won't work for me.
  • Profile picture of the author seoace
    seoace
    I use Payment Forms for my SEO clients. Advantages of this are :-
    1. Fill in details before they pay (I believe this increases conversion rates as sometimes clients view a paypal form straight away and click X)
    2. Multiple type of payments for clients & not only Paypal (Jotform has credit card options, 2checkout, google checkout, etc)

    Stripe is actually the best payment processor I came across but they only serve US customers now and I live in Ireland

    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

    Sorry I don't know what you mean with payment form. People click the subscribe button in my sales thread, end up at Paypal and after they get redirected to my website where they end up at a simple contact form where they can leave their keywords / url's.

    Just signed up here a minute ago: https://www.subscriptionbridge.com

    lets see how that works, they have a free trial now.
    With a CRM, which parts of your SEO business do you automate? I actually looked into CRM but I think they are too powerful & contains too many functions for SEO businesses.

    Originally Posted by ichl13 View Post

    Surely I cant be the only one here using a cloud based crm? It's 2013 guys!

    Any bits of client details, information, documents are api'd in or imported so everything is all in one place
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    Originally Posted by seoace View Post

    I use Payment Forms for my SEO clients. Advantages of this are :-
    1. Fill in details before they pay (I believe this increases conversion rates as sometimes clients view a paypal form straight away and click X)
    2. Multiple type of payments for clients & not only Paypal (Jotform has credit card options, 2checkout, google checkout, etc)

    Stripe is actually the best payment processor I came across but they only serve US customers now and I live in Ireland
    Honestly I don't see a benefit in any of these options and this is why:

    I use a Paypal buy now button in my threads so I don't think anyone will be surprised when they end up at Paypal

    You know when I have to create payment forms, then they are one click further away from clicking the actual buy now button, that can kill the impulsive buyers.

    Paypal allows for guest paying with credit cards so no need for other payment processors.

    Originally Posted by seoace View Post

    With a CRM, which parts of your SEO business do you automate? I actually looked into CRM but I think they are too powerful & contains too many functions for SEO businesses.
    Just the way of processing the order, so that my employee's can login to the CRM and get their tasks and upload the reports when they are ready. Now I send it once a week to them, with a good functioning CRM I could send it on daily base and they just have to login to pick up the orders.

    It would have only 1 benefit, a faster turn around time for the customer.

    Problem is that most CRM's indeed have to many functions but not the correct ones to speed up the process order. It would take ME much longer to process. As right now I just copy their details to a text file and email it to my people, that's it. Hard to speed that up with a web-based CRM, especially when you have slow internet.

    Perhaps I should just process the orders multiple times a week instead of saving it up, only reason why I save it up for a week is so we keep better track of payments for the VA's / workers.
  • Profile picture of the author smodha
    smodha
    Originally Posted by ichl13 View Post

    Surely I cant be the only one here using a cloud based crm? It's 2013 guys!

    Any bits of client details, information, documents are api'd in or imported so everything is all in one place
    Cloud systems are a must in 2013.

    Think mobile office!
  • Profile picture of the author nik0
    nik0
    Originally Posted by smodha View Post

    Cloud systems are a must in 2013.

    Think mobile office!
    How about a laptop with an aircard?
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post


    My needs are:

    - Quick overview of status of order without having to click it, so just a list with different indicatiors, for example a green/yellow/orange/red light indicator

    - Being able to create different static packages and then selecting such package from a drop down menu instead of having to fill in each detail again

    - Paypal integration obvious

    - Automatically send e-mail to the customer when the light turns green.

    - Being able to assign different delivery files to an order

    - Accounts for my VA's to login to an order and upload the reports to the specific order

    Dude it exists but you would have to piece together the system using various blocks - no system out of the box will do all that. I might have a video on that soon (part of a SEO as a business series long in development)soon.

    You know when I have to create payment forms, then they are one click further away from clicking the actual buy now button, that can kill the impulsive buyers.
    Crappy customer that will not buy just because of a few forms to fill.
  • Profile picture of the author Hansons
    Hansons
    Great tutorials here for managing clients, well I haven't reached that level, I'm developing my business so I would apply this when I would need it..
  • Profile picture of the author SEODollz
    SEODollz
    I have always wanted to find some other way of doing things but like nik0 I haven't found that perfect fit.

    We use shared Google Docs and Google Calender so my team can stay organized (all but my assistant are offsite.) We are heavy skypers too. We use Dropbox for big file transfers, the interface is easier for everyone to use though I prefer Filezilla myself

    I use Hubstaff for monitoring and time tracking for all my employees. Payroll and client
    payments go through Paypal, I check the account but my assistant handles all the day to day processing tasks and I just check her math when I get my weekly report

    Powersuite makes reporting and tracking clients progress easy. I wish everything was that easy.
  • Profile picture of the author Gareth Mailer
    Gareth Mailer
    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

    I tried 5 different (obvious paid) crm's, none of them suited my (imo) very basic needs.

    My needs are:

    - Quick overview of status of order without having to click it, so just a list with different indicatiors, for example a green/yellow/orange/red light indicator

    - Being able to create different static packages and then selecting such package from a drop down menu instead of having to fill in each detail again

    - Paypal integration obvious

    - Automatically send e-mail to the customer when the light turns green.

    - Being able to assign different delivery files to an order

    - Accounts for my VA's to login to an order and upload the reports to the specific order

    All 5 that I tested featured only "some" of these wishes, couldn't find a single one that did them all and then the auto-emailing when an order is complete wasn't even a must.

    Almost none of them had paypal integration, with many it was a whole hassle to create custom templates for link packages, others lacked the feature of seeing the status of an order, instead had to click on it first. Have fun clicking a list of 50 orders to see in which stadium each one is.

    Imo this is all pretty basic btw, but somehow all these web based CRM lack these basic functionality, I even send out a ton of e-mails to them asking why it was all so limited.

    And on top of that some were crazy expensive.

    I think there is a big market out there for a good and affordable CRM.
    Couldn't agree more on the need for custom CRM, I'm looking at commissioning development for one towards the tail end of the year, once we've finalised a few other projects. That said, our process is well refined but works, it just means a lot of navigating between different applications.

    1. Lead management is done via Zoho CRM - every stale lead is compiled into the contacts database and given a custom category i.e. "SEO reseller", "link building prospect", "SEO campaign prospect", "SEO training prospect", "link building client" etc. With Zoho, you can filter by category, export all contacts then mass e-mail via MailChimp, AWeber etc.

    2. Contracts are sent via Signable.co.uk, an e-contract provider in the UK. Once the contract is signed, every invoice is managed in Free Agent. Invoice status is monitored in the workbook (the central excel spreadsheet for all campaign and link building clients).

    3. The workbook shows the start date for each campaign i.e. 1st or 15th of the month, as well as a column for each specific deliverable i.e. "Content Created", "Content Submitted", "Blog Post Created", "Blog Post Submitted". Reports are then compiled in Excel and sent out on either the 10th or 22nd of the following month. Obviously, all documentation is synced via Dropbox/Google Drive. Most importantly, tasks are managed via synced Outlook Calendars and recurring events, which we simply couldn't live without i.e. I've set very specific dates for each and every deliverable and when each account manager has to complete the task by

    PayPal for me just became an absolute pain in the ass, mainly because I got fed up with one shot clients i.e. "we'll do link building this month, and say we want it next month but by the time it gets to the middle of the month we'll cancel, and want to restart it 3 months later". Nah, not my type of client, to much administrative hassle.

    It's easier getting everything done by BACS and invoicing etc. I also stay away from custom packages, it costs us £110 minimum to facilitate a link building package, and it all has to fit in to a seven step process from initial content creation to content review to account manager compiling the report, adding layers of customisation is just a massive hassle and makes scaling it a nightmare.

    Again, though, totally appreciate your point about CRM (tried Sugar, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce etc, finally settled on Zoho and with customisation can achieve everything I want to do) - will let you know how I get on when I get it developed (a self-employed friend of mine knows a guy who's employed but creates amazing CRMs on the side for astoundingly cheap prices i.e. £12 per hour, thinking about just employing him!).
  • Profile picture of the author Gareth Mailer
    Gareth Mailer
    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post


    Problem is that most CRM's indeed have to many functions but not the correct ones to speed up the process order. It would take ME much longer to process. As right now I just copy their details to a text file and email it to my people, that's it. Hard to speed that up with a web-based CRM, especially when you have slow internet.

    Perhaps I should just process the orders multiple times a week instead of saving it up, only reason why I save it up for a week is so we keep better track of payments for the VA's / workers.
    It's much the same as most start-up small businesses who hack the hell out of Wordpress themes when they first start a business and think it's all that but as they grow, they realise it just doesn't cut it, irrespective of the fact it's the most customizable "CMS" (blogging platform) there is. A custom solution is always invariably required.

    It's hacking through all the fluff, however a truly custom CRM would increase productivity massively:
    • Perform automated queries to pick up PBN submissions and display these in some form of cPanel/Admin area on-site.
    • Track and monitor progress through the main stages: lead capture >> lead contact >> further follow up >> contract signed >> invoice generated >> added to workbook >> on e-mail list etc. Then, managing deliverables month after month - I've got the perfect picture in my head re: how it should look, I think this alone will massively transform the business and increase productivity.
    • Even when it comes to expanding the service provision and marketing e.g. tracking lead captures, recording calls etc.
    • And obviously when it comes to expanding the service provision, and having custom CRM sections for each service provision etc.

    It could go on forever.

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