When you are speaking to a potential SEO client, there should be some level of knowledge and training that should be given, to help them fully understand how SEO works and why you are structuring the proposal and strategy the way you are.
Here are some aspects of SEO that should be covered during the SEO sales process.
Goals and Objectives
Like any Internet Marketing strategy you implement, understanding their goals and objectives will set the stage for your efforts.
- Who and Where is your target market?
- What are you looking to get out of your website?
- If you could have a user do one thing on your site, what would it be?
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
- What problems are you having that you are looking to solve?
- Are you tracking your marketing efforts currently?
- Are you looking for short-term or long-term success?
All of these questions will help you to understand and shape their goals and objectives.
Search Engine Algorithm
I truly believe that a potential client MUST understand how search engines rank websites. They don’t necessarily need to know how to perform SEO tactics, but they must understand the concepts. By having your potential client understand the ranking factors, it will help them buy into what you are saying and how SEO can help their exposure online.
Initial Research and Analysis
Do Your Homework
If you are going to be speaking to a company or organization, it is always important to check out their website first. This will help you structure your initial meeting and talking points. If the potential client can see that you did your homework and understand what they do and their industry, it will help make the meeting go a lot smoother.
Do Initial Keyword Research
You may also want to have some preliminary keyword research, to show what people are searching for in the industry. It is always a shocker when a client looks at what is being searched, then looks at a ranking report to see they are non-existent.
Do a Preliminary Competitive Analysis
Look at some of their competitors to see how established they are and how saturated the industry is. Getting an idea of the industry landscape will again help you to structure your initial meeting. It may also help you qualify the potential client more effectively. If you can see that they are in an ultra competitive market and they want to spend pennies, it may not be worth your time or their time to discuss how you can help.
Content Development Strategy
Every SEO campaign is going to have some form of content strategy. Explain to them why adding unique and valuable content is necessary, don’t just say “you need to blog 2-3 a week”. Explain the pros and cons to outsourcing content, compared to keeping it in-house. Show them the value of why content is king and how everything comes back to how good your content is.
Explain different types of content strategies
Link Building Strategy
You would be surprised how many potential clients don’t understand what an inbound link is. “Inbound link” is just one term we over look, that we assume everyone knows what it means. Explain what an inbound link is in simple terms. Talk about how content development ties into your link building efforts.
Show how creating link bait or link worthy content can magnify your link building efforts.
I always tell potential clients that there are three factors that go into giving realistic expectations.
- Current Conditions of the Website
- Competition/Industry Saturation
- Willingness/Components of the Strategy
Depending on the types of tactics we are looking to implement, I will usually give expectations for all components. If we are running a PPC campaign, we will start to see results immediately, compared to a SEO or Social Media strategy, that will take time to build up.
Roles and Responsibilities
You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what is going to be involved in the strategy during your initial meeting, however you should tell them that some of the strategy does involve their input. Depending on what is included, they can be more or less involved.
Reporting and ROI
At the end of the day, it comes down to dollars and cents. Each SEO company is a little different, but make sure you explain how your track the progress of your marketing efforts. Having examples of different types of reporting can help a potential client see how their marketing investments are being tracked.
Every SEO company prices their services a little bit differently, so you don’t need to have exact pricing to give them, but you should be able to explain how you go about coming up with a price. Typically there is going to be an initial setup cost and a monthly maintenance/retainer associated with many of the internet marketing services. Sometimes companies will bundle all of the services and make it one flat monthly cost to simplify things.
Really enjoyed thid article....most common sense some not...agree with @Thecoolestcool..great visuals! Thanks, good reading. Brian D
Mark, this right here is a great resource. Love the visuals and think you nailed a lot of key points on the head. This is something that several SEO strategists/consultants should take a look at. Passing it along to one of my friends immediately...