Setting Your Local SEO Business Up for Success


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Ron Garrett the Client Development Executive for Distilled NYC, just did a great post over at SEOmoz I wanted to share.

Seriously so many great tips I can't even summarize. Just need to go read the whole post, if you're interested in growing your business.

Setting Up Your SEO Project / Agency for Success | SEOmoz

Ultimately, when you sign on a new client, you are creating an agreement between two parties. The better picture you can create for what the client expects, keep a pulse on if expectations change, and make sure you are proactively working to deliver value and communicate in a transparent way, the greater the chance of retaining and upselling your clients. You will notice there were common threads throughout my post that are good things to keep in mind when working with a client.

Are you being honest, transparent, proactive, and delivering on the original or updated agreement you signed with your client?

Do they have a clear picture of what is to come next?

Can you provide them with a unique value proposition that will make them look look good that they can't find anywhere else?

This is easier said than done, but hopefully the examples of emails and types of responses I give in particular situations will help you through these times.
What was your best take-away???
 
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Linda:


I like the SEO Moz article and do some of those things as well. Here are a few other good practices that will help set yourself up for success:


First, nothing will impress a client better than results. I?m not necessarily referring to good Google rankings. We have to stop thinking about ?getting our clients to the top of Google? and start thinking in terms of real results. In other words, what can we do to help them get more business? Drive traffic to their business, not just to their website or Google+ Local profile.


All that being said, there are always going to be some times ? our fault or not ? when the results just aren?t there. When this happens the clients will get frustrated and it will be easy to blame the SEO consultant charging $1000 a month. In order to keep this from happening I provide meticulous reports. Even when the ranking reports don?t look good, still provide them. Most clients appreciate the honesty. I know a lot of people on this forum use Places Scout. I use SEO Moz. It?s expensive, but I love the crawl diagnostics and ranking reports. So do my clients. Besides, I have a mix of local, national and international clients. I think SEO Moz reporting works best for my situation.


The reports tell your client that you recognize the drop in results and are working to improve performance. It?s just a good way to let them know that you?re on top of things. Poor performance with good reporting can save your business. Poor performance and no reporting will kill almost every deal.


Regular communication is key. Clients hate being ignored, especially when they?re struggling. Do not be afraid to face them head on when things aren?t going well. This isn?t easy to do for some people, but it?s just a part of being in business. You have to take it on the head once in a while. I?ve seen more consultants lose business due to poor communication than anything else.


Never lose respect for yourself. If you do, so will your clients. In Ron?s article, he suggest being likable. That?s fine, but don?t be so giddy and happy that you appear fake. Be genuine and professional. Don?t automatically agree to everything the client says. Take charge of the subject. You?re the expert.


Be resourceful. This is one of my favorite characteristics in professionals. I love when people not only identify problems or obstacles, but can come up with solutions as well. If you have to present a problem or mistake to the client, you better have the solution.


Don?t take a job based on future commissions unless that is how you normally do business. I never do it. I?ve had prospects offer me a slice of their business rather than pay me for my service. This is almost always a bad idea. Don?t lower your price, either. That cheapens your service and reflects poorly on you.


Clients will test you on a lot of this stuff. They?ll try to get you to come down on your price. Don?t do it. They?ll try to defer payment. Ask for a deposit before you start any work. They?ll pay late and make all sorts of excuses. Don?t let them. Know when to walk away. Good clients will recognize the value of what you do and will pay you for your work. The ones who complain or think you?re too expense are going to be a pain the entire time you work with them.


Anyway, I have more, but this reply is already too long.

Regards,
Dino
Trip'n Promotions
 
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Wow thanks for all the additional insights Dino! Really good points! Thanks too for tying in our other post here about knowing when to walk away.

You use SEOmoz? How well does it handle local results? I don't want to take this thread too off topic and talk in detail about tracking solutions. But if you'd tell us just a little. Then if you think it does LOCAL really well and if you're a mind to, you could do a post in the "Tools" forum and tell us more or share some screen shots. Because I have not heard much about the local tracking aspect of their toolset. (Only if you have time and feel like sharing.)
 
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Whoops, forgot one.

I know not everyone agrees with it, but for me it's mandatory. A client has to be committed to their own success. I need their participation as I can't promote their business alone. The client needs to actively solicit reviews and engage consumers online. If they can't be bothered to participate in social media, they need to appoint someone in their company or hire someone to do it. If not, I pass on these clients.
 
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Linda -

Sorry for the late reply. I'm in Bali with a client for a few months and our time zones are opposite. I'd be happy to post in the tools section about SEO Moz. It's probably a better tool for someone who has a mix of local and non-local clients.

To keep this thread on topic, however, I'm glad you brought up the subject of setting ourselves up for success, though it's never really a very popular subject. I doubt you'll get many replies here. Too bad, because it is so important and an area that most business people neglect, and often pay the price for it over and over again.

I think the problem is that we are so excited to get the business that we compromise and take any client that comes through the door. I always found it odd that we do that. Maybe it's because most of us hate selling so much that when we get an interested client, we compromise in order to not let them slip away.

The great thing about being a digital marketing consultant, however, is that sales is incredibly easy. Go to a mixer and start talking about how you drive more business for your clients through digital marketing and suddenly everyone is interested.

But I've seen too many consultants do free work for clients or compromise either out of lack of confidence or fear. Ron has some great suggestions. I've provided a few more. These are the things that will cause a consulting business to grow. The agencies that do them will likely never have to worry about sales again.
 
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Sorry, missed that last reply.

Bali? Wow, that's super cool Dino and thanks for all the great insights!
 

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