I have seen a lot of advice on this forum around how to get clients for your new SEO/SEM business.
A lot of the advice I have read here include:
1. Pick up the phone
2. Get face to face with clients
3. Relationship building
4. Do proper research on Google
5. Approach small local businesses
6. Offline advertising
7. Social media conversation
All the advice is good and all and will benefit anyone who is starting their SEO business as it shows them the importance of adding value to their offerings and client interface protocols.
I have never bothered to actually pitch in and add my advice, because the threads usually get bloated up to like 50 posts and every person has an opinion about how to get more clients for an SEO business, but I believe that many warriors have given advice here without personally implementing their own advice.
I'm here to give you a sound teaching today so pay attention.
Here we go...
It all starts with DIGITAL AGENCIES.
Digital agencies constantly add new services to their portfolio which include:
1. PPC advertising
2. Social media campaigns
3. Brand awareness campaigns
4. Video advertising
5. Email marketing
6. SEO services
Digital agencies get clients by having relationships with other agencies (usually offline marketing agencies) and it usually all form part of a big synergistic marketing campaign. Clients who want marketing for a brand will usually first contact the offline agency and the offline agency will recommend digital as part of the strategy. The digital agency then bills the offline agency for services delivered.
Agencies spend a lot of time building relationship with clients and you can expect very big brands to work with them.
So how does this tie into helping YOU get more business?
Approach a digital agency and position yourself as the go-to-service for SEO projects!
Not all agencies have in-house teams for doing SEO projects, not to mention social media and other campaigns. They are usually the middleman and have the brand established so well that most big companies will ONLY work with them.
Here is how to win over a digital agency:
1. Have a Portfolio ready. You don't have to be the dude that helped Microsoft rank a minisite. You just need a professional looking portfolio that proves you know how to rank different kinds of websites: blogs, single pagers, corporate websites and more. If you don't have existing clients, then build the sites and rank them. It's the same thing.
2. Reporting is the BIGGEST problem agencies face. Their biggest concern is keeping client relationship healthy. They want to show clients the best possible reporting for all their services. Solution? Show them fantastic reporting options! You simply HAVE to have the best reporting solution. Get yourself IBP or LinkAssistant's suite and don't be afraid to pay for the fully featured package. If you can show an agency that level of reporting, you have easily sold yourself. You can private label IBP or LinkAssistant reports so don't worry about revealing your secret sauce
3. Proper proposals. You will have to be able to create professional looking proposals for clients. The agency will review the proposal before they send if off to client.
Your proposal needs to include:
* a bit of education on SEO
* where the client currently finds themselves
* how you are going to solve it (details)
* the results they can expect (estimations)
* the type of reporting they are going to receive.
4. Be prepared to work under the radar. Agencies will NEVER let you include YOUR brand name. They are the ones with the massive clients and the massive clients expect to see the agencies brand name, not yours. You are going to make a lot of money this way, so why care.
5. Don't undercharge, but don't overcharge. Yeah I know, it sounds funky but let me explain. If you overcharge, the agency will rather use another seo service. Remember, the agency will take a cut by creating the final price structure (your revenue will be included in their figures). However, you don't want to undercharge. You can easily charge double what you expect to charge local clients since the agency clients are usually bigger brands. You also don't want to come off cheap.
6. NEVER present overall fixed costs.
The agency will expect you to create a quote as part of your proposal based on your assessment of the project. You can't charge a certain amount for every project your work on because some projects will be massive!
7. Do NOT expect to sign a contract
Agencies don't sign contracts with 3rd party services. The only contract they might sign is a non disclosure, but that's pretty much it. Don't even try to push a contract in their face. Just create a relationship. That is as good as a contract!
Where to go from here?
- Create the best possible powerpoint presentation to showcase yourself.
- Call up an agency or a couple to create appointments
- Ask if they have a projector where you can present
- Ask for feedback on how many people are going to be present in the meeting.
- Do a bit of research on agencies to see how long they have been in business. Remember, their clients will become your clients. So usually the bigger they are, the more money you can make.
- Do not go to the meeting alone! Take 1 or 2 "staff" members with you. This shows you mean business. You don't really need staff, but as long as you don't attend the meetings alone. It will also help you relax during the meetings.
- Be prepared to answer some questions regarding your experience. Don't be afraid to mention that you are new to agency relationships, but have been doing many private SEO projects (the proof of rankings will be in your presentation. Even if they hesitate about getting you on board, you can soon turn their heads by showing how you actually get rankings in Google!)
- Go to your local printing house and print your brand logo on a couple of mouse pads and blank little booklets and give these freebies to the people who are sitting in the meeting.This shows you add value to your presentation.
- Give your business card to EVERYONE in that meeting.
- The presentation should not be longer than 45 minutes. Remember, these people have a lot of work during the day!
- Follow up with a phone call at the end of every week to remind them of your services.
- At the end of the month send another little batch of free stationary gifts to them with a thank you letter. This makes a world of difference!
The stationary and the printings do not cost a lot of money.
You have to have something like that. Just presenting and walking away won't win you anything.
Once you have a solid relationship with one or two agencies, be prepared to get frequent requests for proposals.
Be prepared for a lot of work and be prepared to cash in.
This my friends is the way you start a successful SEO business.
Now get out there and get cracking!