If You Aren't Making Money as a Local SEO Consultant You Aren't Alone

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That's a great idea, Linda, to host some small business seminars. What topics would you suggest that we speak about for 45 minutes to an hour? What subjects would be good to teach as well as attract new business?
 

Nick Rink

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Thanks for the hot tip Linda, will try that. As we get into doing more workshops I'll look to report back on how well we're converting clients.
 

Linda Buquet

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That's a great idea, Linda, to host some small business seminars. What topics would you suggest that we speak about for 45 minutes to an hour? What subjects would be good to teach as well as attract new business?
Had not thought about it much BUT if I ever had more time I could probably create a killer outline etc.

I'd just remember to give them the sizzle not the steak. I'd explain how the algo was like a giant complicated puzzle. He who has the most pieces in the right places for their City and Keyword wins. How some pieces are on the G+ L page, some are on other sites and some of most important pieces are on their own site.

I'd SHOW them the diff SERPs options and help them get into the mind of the potential customer. Show some SERPs, ask if you were looking for a Dentist which would you pick. Show some different examples. Show how if they are buried on page 2 no one will find them. Talk about the impact of reviews on the decision to pick a new service provider, etc.

Share some industry statistics about local search and how mobile is growing and if people are searching from phones it's even more important not to just be on page one but one of the top 3.

There's just a lot of really basic stuff like that you can cover that a lot of business owners don't know.

Then maybe ALLUDE to common problems like dupes, violations penalties but of course don't give them all the answers as far as how to fix. Then maybe at the end offer a free audit to help them identify potential problems they have and one on one close them on your solution. (Just totally quick ideas off top of my head. Swamped and distracted with a bunch of client issues right now.)

I bet if you search you can find some good outlines or overviews of what others are doing. I see courses like this all the time in my feedreader so I know lots of people are doing them.

You could probably even use an existing presentation from Slideshare or somewhere. Not really sure about how copyrights work on things like that but I would think if they have a share button, they are meant to be shared??? :confused:
 
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@Marie

I'm in the same exact boat you're in right now in terms of deciding whether to focus on one niche or not. And then if I do, what niche do I focus on? I'm working through all this right now and I'm getting close to an answer:)

@David

Thanks for your kind words of support. I appreciate it.

@Nick/@Linda

Seminars/presentations are definitely effective. I am working with a small design company that does monthly seminars for small business owners in a specific niche. There are usually 40 people in attendance at these each and every month. She sells really basic website design packages. We're talking really basic stuff here. She charges $400 for a simple website template and then a monthly hosting/maintenance fee of like $40. Her closing rate is around 50%! Now keep in mind, this is a group of highly motivated, highly focused owners so her closing rates my be abnormally high.

Then Steve, the guy I've mentioned a few times in this thread, used to hold first time home buyer seminars back when he sold real estate. His closing rate was hovering around 70%!

I've kicked around the idea of doing seminars myself but because I haven't been focused at all in my business, I've never gotten around to it. Go figure:p

Travis Van Slooten
 

Linda Buquet

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The other thing to think about as far as growing your business and prospecting. Think about other professionals you could create a relationship with and get referrals from. Like web designers and other marketing companies that have loyal clients that need Local SEO but they don't offer it.

My best referral source in Dentistry was the top SEO in Dentistry. He hated Google Places (back when that was what it was called). Told all of his clients "You need to call Linda" and many of them did. All at once, hence my business almost imploding.

But he didn’t even want a finder's fee or anything. Just wanted his clients to be taken care of.

If you pick a niche then you can go in other directions. For instance with Dentists you could try to align with a practice management company who would refer to you to all their clients. They are in the business of helping their Dentists become more successful. You can help with one aspect of that. Their Internet presence.

HOW to you find these relationships with complimentary professionals, you ask? :p

IMO you don't. You let them find you and they seek YOU out, because you are the expert. If you have not read it, I explain in my post about building your reputation at targeted industry or small business forums. People start seeing you as the expert and then start coming to you to help them OR they are pros and want you to help their clients. :) At least that's how I did it, to the tune of 20K a month.
(Until I burned out.) Sad LOL. :eek:
 

Marie Haynes

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I just wanted to stick my head in here and say how helpful this thread has been to me. I have been taking the odd client here and there but I know with my experience as an actual veterinarian it would make sense to focus on just doing SEO for veterinarians. This thread has helped push me a little further in my decision making process.

I'd explain how the algo was like a giant complicated puzzle. He who has the most pieces in the right places for their City and Keyword wins.


That is brilliant Linda. I'm going to use it when I talk to clients.

Another thing to consider, if you are going to focus on a particular niche like dentists is that most professions have several nationwide conferences each year. Each conference has an exhibit hall. It will cost a bit of money to get in and set up a booth, but I am thinking that if you went to a conference and set up a booth offering free SEO advice you would easily pick up several clients.
 

Linda Buquet

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I just wanted to stick my head in here and say how helpful this thread has been to me. I have been taking the odd client here and there but I know with my experience as an actual veterinarian it would make sense to focus on just doing SEO for veterinarians. This thread has helped push me a little further in my decision making process.

That is brilliant Linda. I'm going to use it when I talk to clients.
Yes Marie since you ARE a vet you really should target that market. I know a couple Chiropractors that are very successful doing SEO for other Chiros.

That puzzle analogy. I go much deeper with that analogy and explain some of the most important pieces. (In very general terms) Then I explain they have a couple missing pieces and a couple BROKEN pieces. (If they have dupes, violations or other probs those are broken pieces - BUT I allude to them, don't spell it out in case they are do-it-yourselfers.) So I have sort of a big section of my free consultation that uses that puzzle analogy and I refer back to it often during the call.
 

Linda Buquet

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Just wanted to say thanks again to Travis for being so open and sharing this thread. And to everyone else who has shared. This is one of those really meaningful conversations that can greatly help the whole community, or at least those who still struggle with some of these issues.

Back to the idea of doing small biz seminars and keeping the info very simple and general I just found a pretty good video from Google that may be good to share in that type of seminar. It's at Google Learn which has some pretty good content.

Local ? The what, the why, the how - Learn with Google
 
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Linda's comment really speaks to my experience. I've only been at this for about a year, so it's still a daily game of learning, but I've found that the time it takes to do good, effective SEO makes it a challenge for one consultant offering freelance services to make the kind of progress clients expect for the cost.

Much of the issue is setting expectations. When working with a business new to SEO, top priority should be setting realistic expectations alongside explaining long term strategy.

I recently walked away from a client because, in spite of my attempts to explain the realities of SEO, I got an earful for not raising a client's rankings for competitive keywords in the first month of work. As a still relatively new industry - and one changing all the time - the challenge with small businesses is often one of education as much as anything else.
 

Ken Fagan

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I think that what Linda is trying to say here is that we can ALL stay (and eat) at her place until our respective LS businesses have taken off and are enjoying CONSISTENT demand.

I knew I wouldn't regret having joined this forum.

Ken
 
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Hahah...well, that's not the way I read it, but I like your interpretation, Ken.

Linda, you'll be having some extra guests for Christmas this year. :D
 

Linda Buquet

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LOL Ken, good one! You guys all crack me up! :p

Some of you already live here anyway! I might as well start serving food! :D
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for chipping in on muffins Andrew! :p

Ken, I have hardwood floors, so it may not be very comfy.
Bring air mattress too if you have one. :D
 
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Linda, sorry for not responding sooner, as I've been busy with other work and my own company's SEO. But thanks for answering my question about what to speak about in a seminar for smb's. I think your analogy of a puzzle is a great one. So how much exactly would you teach the business owners so that they learned something valuable about local SEO and rankings without giving away too much? Where does the sizzle end and the steak begin?

Maybe in a future post you could discuss some basic points that we could speak about in a seminar? Just a thought, if you'd like to go there. Thanks again and I hope you and everyone here enjoys their holida weekend.

David
 
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I'll chime in on this subject as I think everyone could benefit from it. It's easy for us SEO's to focus on Internet based advertising whether it's SEO, Adwords or forums marketing. However, I can't stress enough that if you want to really grow your business it's about connecting with as many people as you can no matter the channel.

My business took off when I was invited to join a local BNI chapter. This is a network referral group that in my opinion is one of the best I have seen for building business for it's members. You can check but they probably have chapters in your area as they are pretty big.

My point is that all of us could benefit from getting out from behind our computers and networking in our local communities. You will be surprised with the outcome.

I just did an analysis of my lead sources for the year and found that my BNI chapter generated over 25% of my yearly revenue which actually beat out my leads generated from online. I might mention that I rank #1 and #2 for SEO Jacksonville which is the main keyword in my area so beating our our online lead source is no small thing.

We have to have as many lead sources as possible to survive today so if your not networking offline you might be missing out on huge opportunities.
 

Linda Buquet

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Great points all Chris, thanks for sharing BNI!

There are also usually a variety of computer/Internet user groups in most cities. Find one that caters less to coders and more to web designers/SEOs who may have clients already that need help with local.

There are also marketing association meetings where lots of ad agency types go.

In both cases I'm thinking hooking up with other pros that already have clients that need you. For awhile I was selling custom CD business cards, back when they were the hot new thing. So instead of prospecting and trying to meet business owners one-on-one, I would go to meetings like the above to try to hook up with companies that would refer me to their existing clients.

Then the key is having a short smart intro/elevator pitch when they go around the room. Maybe don't say I do local SEO, but more like I specialize in helping companies get more business from the Internet via Google local or whatever so that those who have an interest will come talk to you during the break.
 
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Great points, Chris and Linda. Networking definitely is a big way of getting new business. And as you mentioned, Linda, there are various groups that we could join and meet other business owners who need the type of help that we provide.

One thing that I always try to do when I meet a business owner is ask what I could do for them. And I'm not referring to doing something that I could charge them for; I mean sharing some knowledge or give them some direction that would help them out in some way. I think that we too often go to meetings and events with the mentality of finding people that can help us. I've found that it's better to go with the intentions of finding people that we could help without expecting anything in return. Most of the time, they will become our clients. But even if they don't, it feels good to have helped a fellow small business owner out, and they will no doubt always remember it.

But yes, thanks for reminding all of us of the importance of networking, Chris.
 
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Your right on Linda with having a quick sales pitch. I used to say I do SEO and everyone kept giving me that deer in the headlight look. Now I say "I help businesses generate more leads with their website." or "I help businesses make money with their website."

This always leads to a more valuable discussion and ultimately will make you look harder at your overall value proposition as well. SEO is a form of Lead Generation so now I've been looking at the components of SEO as Lead Generation instead of Rankings Generation which makes me target better content and better links to foster the lead gen which makes for better SEO. It's a fundamental shift that sounds like a small thing but really isn't.
 

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