Growing an SEO agency is not easy. You will face a ton of different challenges that are mostly unforeseen. No matter how much knowledge and experience you have had prior to starting your own agency, you will face challenges of many types every now and then, and most of those challenges can be very difficult to deal with.
In this article, I am going to share 5 important tips with you that I have learned over the past several years of running our SEO agency with my business partner. All of this is purely based on my personal experience, so you might face different issues based on your location and the area of expertise, but Iâ€™m sure as you read on the article till the end, you can relate to some or probably most of them.
These tips are going to give you some important help down the line, so read on.
Add value to your clientsâ€™ businesses
SEO is important for the majority of business owners, and itâ€™s become even more important in these tough times when nearly every service is being sold online. If somebody is running an online business and doesnâ€™t take interest in investing money in SEO, then that person probably has no growth mindset.
There are millions of businesses and there is huge competition between the businesses in a particular niche. Thatâ€™s the fact, but all of them come to one page, that is Google, when visitors want to find them. So, discoverability is a very vital factor. If you are not discoverable and people canâ€™t find you online through Google search results, then your business is literally non-existent.
That is the value of SEO. But as a search agency, you are not just selling SEO and trying to get your clientâ€™s website ranked. Instead, you must try and add a certain amount of value and significance to their business. If you have to go beyond limits to offer some sort of value to your clients, then donâ€™t shy away. Do that, and offer some real value to your clients.
Deliver long-term results
During my initial months in our agency, I got to know some SEO people that claimed to get quick results. That was a real temptation business websites found very hard to resist those days. There is no such thing as quick result in SEO. Organic SEO takes time and thatâ€™s the only truth.
Those days, people used to simply stuff keywords into the content and get it ranked on search results. It was probably very easy to rank a web page, but the harsh thing was that pages with full load of keywords and no real back links to sustain their ranking were disappearing from the search results fast.
We only tried those quick ranking tactics in one clientâ€™s case in those initial days, but quickly realized that our methodology was okay in getting quick results, but it was unethical. It was very difficult for me to make that client understand the difference between Ads campaigns and Organic SEO, and why SEO takes time. Luckily, that client didnâ€™t stay long with us.
So, the point you need to educate your clients about SEO and how it works. Donâ€™t promise them the earth and the moon in 30 days. Focus on creating great links (both inbound and outbond), and try your best to deliver long-term results for them.
â€œQuick resultsâ€ is only a cheap sales pitch.
Ensure Great Communication always
Communication with your client is of utmost importance. Not all of them want daily calls, but some of them definitely want to keep track of the work done on their website. Both pre-sales and post-sales communication with your clients is important. Donâ€™t ignore this.
In my starting days, I had two difficulties:
- Accepting rejections
- Trusting all of them like theyâ€™re all my family and friends.
Well, let me explain these two difficulties in a bit more detail, so you do not misunderstand. Let me explain that second point first. I donâ€™t mean you should not trust your clients. The way I trusted them was wrong. Some of them were asking for performance-based deals, and I asked my team to start the work, show some improvement in the results and ask the client for payment mid-month. By that time, they would simply disappear and go silent for days. In the process, it would become almost one month of rigorous work but with no money from the client.
I wonâ€™t say this was a good communication from my end. They have to pay an amount upfront and thatâ€™s only way the cooperation would work.
And, the first point about accepting rejections. Thatâ€™s pretty normal. I used to get excited just seeing one reply â€“ â€œYes, Iâ€™m interested!â€ I used think, â€œthis one is definitely going to be a client today or at most tomorrow.â€ The reality is conversation can go long and after dozens of emails you just hear a â€œNOâ€ from them. I know it can be disheartening, but we have to learn to accept rejections.
My advice is donâ€™t get de-motivated. I didnâ€™t mean to discourage you either. Do focus on great communication with your client both pre-sales and post-sales.
Keep adding more services
You love shopping everything under one roof, right? Everybody does. And your client is no different. They donâ€™t want to hire multiple people for the exact same thing or different people for different jobs related to their website. If your agency can take care of their websiteâ€™s design, maintenance, hosting, security, SEO, Social media and Ads management etc., they would be happy to take you up.
However, you have to ensure the best work in all of the areas. And for that you must have expert people with real industry-level experience in handling critical tasks. If you promise to do everything related to their website but show even a little amount of incompetence in one of the areas, that is enough to raise a flag and that may end the cooperation. So, be careful when you are claiming to be a full-service digital agency.
There is nothing wrong with being a full-service digital agency, but you have to make sure things get delivered on time and as required by your clients. You can still be a full-service agency without providing the hosting service, but you have to be the best in all the other fields of work.
This is a lesson Iâ€™ve learned. We were not a full-service agency until 2015, but we now are. We have SEO guys, social media experts, content writers, web developers, graphic designers and Ads managers. They are all industry experts with at least 10 years of real experience each. We are a small agency, but if you would look for a highly reliable agency to hand over your entire websiteâ€™s work and expect high-standard results, we can be an excellent choice for you.
Free assistance and suggestions are an advantageNow, some freebies for your clients. I know you are not going to do a fully customized feature-rich website for a client for free or work on their entire website for a year and rank it on the top-10 search results for free. That is not possible. No real agency would be able to afford that, because SEO is not easy or quick. It takes time and great efforts too.
But, there is something that you can offer for free â€“ those are suggestions. We, at SEO Extent, try to give some useful suggestions to all our clients. We study their business well, learn about their pain points and suggest a few ways to help them recover fast and get back on track. Some days our suggestions work, some days they donâ€™t. But we never shy away from giving suggestions.
We usually focus on giving realistic suggestions that are easy to implement and donâ€™t cost a lot of money. And since we have got the human resource to get everything done, it normally doesnâ€™t incur high costs to our clients. By doing this, we achieve a great client retention rate. By the way, nothing is free. By offering free suggestions and assistance we ensure that the client stays with us for a long time. So, this is sort of win-win for both our agency and our clients.
Again, this is a lesson learnt over time. You may apply this very technique to improve on the client retention too. If you are doing this already, shout out to you!