I'm looking to break into local small business SEO for 2 main reasons:
1. I can see so many small businesses in my area that can use major help and are doing things VERY poorly with equally crap results (or doing absolutely nothing at all to boost their online efforts)
2. I know that I can help them
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a demand for small business seo services, the thing is, I'm just not really sure how deep that demand goes, and how much 'education' you guys and gals that are successful selling SEO services to small local businesses are normally dishing out before landing a client.
For instance: In the majority of cases, you can be relatively sure that in any medium-large sized city, the companies landing at the top of the SERPS for MAJOR KW's (ie Major Service - City | Plumber Atlanta ) are enlisting the help of some sort of SEO to get them those results.
Whether they are hiring someone in-house, hiring independent contractors or going straight to agencies mostly, I really have no idea, but its not really relevant to my overall question.
So, we know that the companies in the first 1-3 spots in the SERPS very likely are educated about SEO and see the immense value... So what about all of the other companies that are at the bottom of page 1, and beyond?
Do you guys find they have an interest in boosting their rankings at all?
Do they even care? Does it take a ton of arm twisting to get them to see the benefits of SEO for their main site?
What I wanted to do in this thread is I wanted to lay out here my 'plan of attack' and see if the experts here (or anyone with some experience landing small business SEO clients) can help me improve it, poke holes in it, perhaps chime in and tell me if they think this will work at all.
I know there are all sorts of methods to go about landing clients, and an equally large number of ways to get payed for your services.
The method I'm considering using to nab local SEO clients completely bucks what is now 'popular' in the world of Offline Marketing:
1. I am NOT planning on using 'results in advance' tactics.
2. I am not planning on hitting them (at least initially) with a 'recurring' offer (which I know right away many offliners will look at as a detriment to long terms business survival)
So anyway, here is what I'm planning on doing. Please voice your opinions if you think there are ways this plan can be improved:
I will be focusing on local businesses that are near the bottom of the SERPS (bottom of page 1 and beyond) and doing a quick 'audit' of their sites and come up with some reasons their results might be sucking so much for a given Keyword.
Again, I have been doing this in passing for some time out of sheer interest, and what I'm seeing is often time pretty surprising... and I am NOT talking about something like 'lack of backlinks' (although obviously that is another areas a lot of these small business sites could use help in)
I am talking mostly about on-page stuff. A lot of these sites are completely un-optimized with their on-page stuff - Stuff that anyone even slightly into SEO could correct for them rather quickly (ie fixing Titles/Tags etc etc tomake them more relevant to KW's that people are actually searching for).
Above and beyond quick fix 'on page' stuff, I've noticed a lot of sites ranking low are really thin on any type of content on their main pages (the pages that are getting most of the traffic) - either the page is filled with absurd 1200 x 1200 images with no tags or anything that have absolutely ZERO SEO value, or the site just looks like they put very little thought or effort into it overall, especially on the content end of things.
My 'plan of attack' is to call these businesses up and explain to them that I run a local SEO business focused on (x) niche (x being the niche they are in) and I have spent the last (hours/days) doing an audit (at no cost) of their website and I have determined that there are a few really simple fixes that I can make for them to help them increase their exposure online.
I will then explain these simple changes I can make for them will result in not only new customers for their business, but the strong possibility of one time customers that perhaps had used their services before and liked them, and wanted to go back but could not remember off the top of their heads the name and phone number of that business, will also be able to find them much more easily online.
I will tell them I will need access to their site and that the changes I'm planning to make should take not longer than 1-2days.
I will be doing a one time bundling for them (the service I am pitching) of On-page fixes + 500 words of SEO optimized content for their site. The result of both of these changes (as I will explain to them) will be a short term and long term boost in SERP rankings and customers.
The 'close' will be that big SEO agencies would charge thousands for a similar service, and they won't be getting the same level of personal support and dedication that I will be able to deliver.
I will then inform them that my normal rate for this service for new clients is $399, but in order to spread the word about my business and get more testimonials etc, for the next (x) number of new clients, I will only be charging $199.
I'm thinking the 'under $200' price point will a good fit for a lot of small companies advertising budgets, and I will push hard the fact to these businesses that I offer a level of service larger agencies can't compete with and my service is all-inclusive - $199 gets you everything - no hidden charges, no monthly fee, no games.
Each client I get, I will work hard to ensure their sites jump in the rankings at LEAST a few spots for one or more KW's during the first month and really focus on getting results for them (although I'm not really sure at this point how I will be able to 'prove' that they are getting more customers due to MY online efforts alone? Perhaps install some kind of tracking phone number on their site or something?)
The first month will be my main focus - to get them the best results I possibly can. After month 1, (and possibly sooner) I will get back in touch with them and tell them the results that I have been able to achieve for them so far (rankings etc) and maybe ask them if they have been able to notice yet more leads as a result of their website and online presence.
At this point I'm guessing they will either tell me YES or NO, NOT REALLY. For the latter group, I will then ask them if the improved website rankings they have been able to achieve, by themselves, mean anything at all to them.
If they tell me 'No' or they are unhappy with my service in any way, I just thank them for trying me out and then move on from having them as a client.
If they say 'Yes' its cool having better rankings, and better content on their site, perhaps eventually they will pay off for us, and they are happy with what I've been able to provide them with for the tiny $200 investment (this is exactly what I will do also for the group of clients that tell me "YES" they HAVE noticed more referrals from their website) I will first of all ask them for a testimonial, and secondly pitch them on an ongoing SEO service to improve their online presence in their niche over time.
The service would obviously be a monthly fee based service, consisting of KW research, back-linking, SEO content and an overall effort to improve their SERP rankings.
I'm thinking of making the ongoing fee $300-$400/ month, and again, most of that expense for the first couple of months will be dedicated to really helping them improve their rankings.
Lastly, I'm thinking of aiming for 20 clients in the first month, and then going from there.
So, that's my plan. Do you guys like it? Do you hate it? Think it will work, or will NOT work and for what reasons?
Anything I can do to improve this?
What about my price points? Am I aiming too high? Too Low?
Any and all thoughts on my plan for an 'affordable small business seo' package are greatly appreciated.