My first step was to pre-qualify a list of potential clients based on the number of backlinks their website had. This step was critical, as I only wanted to spend time talking with people who already believe in online marketing and see results from it.
I uploaded my database into this bulk backlink checker tool. It cost me around $20 to check over 100,000 records, so really good value for money.
The next step was to create a sales presentation and a sales funnel for gaining new clients.
Here's how I broke down the value of publishing articles.
I first researched 34 articles and noted their search volume and Google Ads CPC. I also estimated the number of impressions each article would get at position 5 on Google as well as the number of clicks. Now the prospect can see that it would cost them $856 (or however much it is) per month to get this traffic to their website via PPC. I find this makes organic traffic less abstract for people to understand and also builds the value of the offering.
The next step is break down these metrics into revenue. I've attached a spreadsheet below that I use in my presentation.
A 2% conversion ratio is very conservative and the number of clicks and impressions are rounded down at averages. The original sheet had a customer lifetime value calculation but I feel that simply calculating the yearly revenue and how many years they plan on staying in business for (a minimum of 5), flows better.
These traffic numbers are accurate when targeting long-tail keywords. Picking the right long-tail keywords means they can convert at a higher percentage into leads than a head term (life insurance vs where to buy life insurance). The fact that the CPC for these long-tail terms can be five times more expensive is proof of this.
The idea is to make the cost savings and lifetime revenue of the articles as big as possible, so when I introduce the price ($1.5 per word), it seems low.
Once I finished the spreadsheet I then worked on defusing the 'we already have an SEO company' type objection at the very start of the presentation as well as on the initial prospecting call.
The presentation is recorded as a screen share video. I cold call them and send them a link to my page with the video embedded if they're interested. At the end the prospect can download the sheet, and this triggers an event in my CRM to call them back. They can also click another button to read additional copy that also triggers an event. I never call someone to ask if they had watched the video.
Once we're on the phone for the second time it's mostly listening and asking questions about what has worked and what hasn't, as well as what could be potential terms their prospects will search for when they're looking to buy.
So pre-qualifying clients by the number and quality of links they have, the spreadsheet that breaks down how much lifetime revenue a single article generates, and long-tail terms with commercial intent are the three ingredients to getting high-paying content marketing clients, at least for me.