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  1. #1
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    How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    I would like to know how fellow Local SEO's have handled multiple clients in one vertical / Industry.

    I have one of the largest HVAC companies in my local areas as a client and one of the smaller competitors reached out and wants a monthly SEO package. In truth they wouldn't compete much as this new client would be fighting over the bottom of the SERP's while the large client is fighting for top dog. However, eventually they will compete which will cause a conflict of interest.

    This is coming up more and more as our client base grows so we are wanting to come up with a policy that is both fair and transparent. However, every plan so far isn't fair to either us as a company or our clients. The only truly fair policy is one client per vertical market but that can be very limiting as an SEO company.

    How have you all tackled this problem?

  2. #2
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Hi Chris,

    You posted in the Private Pro forum where only pros will see it. It's such a great question and important topic I moved it to public so everyone can benefit from the discussion. Hope that's OK. Now I can Tweet it, to try to get more play too.

    My business when I did Dentists was quite small since I worked alone and could only handle so many clients at a time AND I also didn't keep clients on long term. My program was only 3 months.

    So I did offer a city exclusive for the 3 month period. But in big metro areas I stipulated I could take on 2 Dentists in that city, just not in the same quadrant. I never got any pushback and also never had to turn away a client due to location conflicts.

    But again if you are working at a bigger scale than I was and focused on a single vertical it would be tough to offer exclusives. But then again if you work with all kinds of clients it would be easier to manage.

    For me though what's right for the customer is an exclusive. I would personally feel like it was a conflict of interest to try to rank 2 competing clients in the same market.

    My 2 cents... What does everyone else think?

    Off to Tweet and anxious to hear what folks say.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  3. #3
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Thanks Linda. I'm totally fine with this post being wherever you think it does the most good.

    Your model of doing a 3 month package makes sense and makes this problem a bit easier to tackle.

    We focus on the Organics as well as Local and will also do content writing, link building and Social Media. Our typical client is over 12 months right now so locking up a vertical can be costly to us but given the amount of services I'm not sure we can do it any other way.

    I'll be interested to hear how other professionals handle this issue.

  4. #4
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    We stick with the exclusivity clause. In a situation like this, I would refer out to a trusted indirect competitor of mine.

    Guys in these verticals find the exclusivity thing important in my experience. That enhances your trusted working relationship with them.

    The country is large so go wide and deep into the vertical to grow your business.

    Btw... We work with the HVAC vertical as well if you need a decent place to refer them.

    I hope that helps.

  5. #5
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Interesting thread. By a three month exclusivity, do you mean that you work with them only in that particular city for three months and then go on and work with others in that same city?

  6. #6
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Hi Laurie,

    No sorry I mean my program was only for 3 months. (It was 3500 one time - but billed over 3 months and service delivered over 3 months.) So once service was complete and they had paid the full amount then we were done.

    But I never prospected and just had Dentists come to me from all over so still seldom had in a market I'd already worked in.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  7. #7
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Quote Originally Posted by DarlingSEO View Post
    In a situation like this, I would refer out to a trusted indirect competitor of mine.
    This is what I'm doing locally. There is a friendly competitor that I can refer them to but not sure how up to date they are on Local SEO. Which begs the next question. If we refer the new client that we couldn't help to a good competitor then aren't we creating competition for our main client and ourselves? (rhetorical) But directing the lead to a bad SEO is unethical. We can abstain and just say no but I got into this to help small businesses out and not turn them away.

    I'm kind of ranting as much as looking for solutions but this is a dilemma that is fairly complex and doesn't have a simple solution IMO.

    Thanks for the feed back.

  8. #8
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Gregory View Post
    This is what I'm doing locally. There is a friendly competitor that I can refer them to but not sure how up to date they are on Local SEO. Which begs the next question. If we refer the new client that we couldn't help to a good competitor then aren't we creating competition for our main client and ourselves? (rhetorical) But directing the lead to a bad SEO is unethical. We can abstain and just say no but I got into this to help small businesses out and not turn them away.

    I'm kind of ranting as much as looking for solutions but this is a dilemma that is fairly complex and doesn't have a simple solution IMO.

    Thanks for the feed back.
    Yes... competition is so healthy though. It gets me totally energized. There is only one number 1 spot but many people are pretty happy with #2 spot too. It keeps you on your toes. :-)

    You are right, referring to a bad SEO does no one any good and would leave a bad taste in the mouth of the business owner you referred out.

    I have found also that the electricians, plumbers, and HVAC guys I work with often refer work to their own competitors when things get really crazy busy. The really good ones have a mutual respect for each other and often pass work back and forth. It's like their own good ol' boy network they work within. Yet, they prefer that their online marketing, local SEO specialist, or PPC manager only works with them exclusively.

    I'm starting to work very closely with another SEO specialist in this area. The thing is, they are way better than me in certain other areas. What I find is there is so much business to get and so much opportunity, it's not profitable to worry about how to keep competitors from getting your next client. It's more profitable to focus on delivering the best services you can for your clients. At the end of the day, as long as you are providing results, they are going to stick with you because they trust you and like you.

  9. #9
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    I think it depends partly on what vertical you are choosing and how many competitors there are. I work with attorneys and tell my clients that I will work with a maximum of of 3 clients in their area if it is a large city. A large city may upwards over 500 competing attorneys (mostly small firms). The fact that I am working with three of them does not create much of a conflict in my view. The key is to be open about this. The HVAC market is quite different because there are less firms competing and often times there are a few big firms that dominate. And taking on two of the big firms would be a huge conflict of interest.

  10. #10
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    Re: How do you tackle multiple clients in one industry?

    This is a great answer and sometimes it does come up in smaller areas. I have had really big firms ask for exclusive SEO meaning I wouldn't work with any of their main competitors. But often the really big guys are not as concerned with the smaller fish. So I wouldn't have an issue with taking the smaller guy on for SEO. There are so many factors for local ranking including proximity. I don't see a problem with taking on a smaller firm and a larger firm in the same industry. It s a great question and difficult to answer. I think every situation is different. For me a smaller and larger company wouldn't be a problem to take on at the same time.

    The larger companies that have asked for exclusive SEO ask for a 50 mile range. And there is a fee for that.

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