SEO is tough. Competition for high-end clients is brutal.
Struggling SEO consultants often believe there's a 'secret' to winning new business. Direct mail campaigns. Pay per click online ads. Cold calling prospective clients. Doing some initial analysis for free. They try it all. It works (kind of). But not very well.
Trust me; there is isn't any secret.
The process is really simple, as I will reveal in this article. It is exactly how I got started as an SEO consultant - with no contacts or connections, with no marketing budget or assets, without even having to pick up the phone and call prospects to drum up fresh business.
If you are an SEO consultant who would like to learn how to:
- Get clients to contact you, rather than chasing after them.
- Keep your hourly rates high, and avoid competing on price alone.
- Differentiate yourself from the competition.
...then read this post very carefully.
After you have studied this guide, you will know exactly how to get fresh clients to hire you - and PAY you well - starting from all the things I have listed as preliminary preparation for strategic SEO in my earlier report "The Secret To Landing Big SEO Clients – And Keeping Them Happy".
In a nutshell, it boils down to this:
Focus on becoming a trusted advisor, and you will be able to hand-pick clients of your choice.
Once you have learned the failsafe recipe to build trust with potential clients, you will no longer be taking a chance on investing many hours into unpaid pitches and analyses... only to get heartbreaking news in the end that the client chose another vendor instead of you.
How can you start doing this? The clue lies in playing to your own strengths - as an SEO expert!
How SEO Can Help You Build Trust
Conventionally, we view SEO as only a method to draw more visitors to a website, generate leads and close sales. But SEO doesn't have to be just about making more money. It can even help boost your brand, and position you to be hired or recruited more easily.
Think about it from your client's perspective, for a moment. You claim to get their business greater visibility on search engines. How will they evaluate your promise?
By researching your credentials online, of course!
Can You Be Found On Google?
Are you and your website easy to find through a Google search?
That depends on how effectively you have optimized it for search engines. So make sure that the information they find will impress them, rather than frighten them away!
If I Google your name (e.g., "Trond Lyngbø") or your specialty (e.g., "Trond Lyngbø SEO") and cannot find positive results that present you in a good light, then how can I trust that your skills will work for my company and business?
So type your name into Google and see what pops up.
What do your search results say about you and your SEO expertise?
Do they show you as an experienced professional with skills and talent? Strengthen your image and position you as a true SEO expert?
If not, deploy your own SEO techniques to make it happen.
In any job market, your digital presence on the Internet serves as your visiting card and resume. As an SEO specialist, it even takes on a more vital role by becoming a real-time case study of your skills, talents, and experience.
How To Differentiate Yourself
It goes without saying that you should really be a specialist at SEO before trying to get hired by a high-end client.
But that alone isn't enough. You still need to set yourself apart from everyone else who is competing against you for that client's business. You must learn how to differentiate yourself.
- Stand out as someone special.
- Be distinctive in certain important ways.
- Have unique talents or rare skills that are valued by a client.
If you get this right, you will soon find yourself in the enviable position of having prospective clients approach you directly to hire you for their SEO projects. Isn't that exciting?
Develop Your Online Profile
Right from the time I set out to find SEO clients, building a trustworthy digital profile was my top priority. This is not a quick-fix, once-off project. It often takes months, or even years, to establish an impressive presence on the Web.
So, start right away and keep gradually developing it over time. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work on your profile:
- Where would you like to be in 3 years' time? Or five?
- Which is your area of expertise or authority?
- How can you build up a dominant position in that field?
- What can you start doing today?
- How will you keep growing?
It doesn't matter where you start from today. It is going to take time and effort to build your profile. So don't waste time. Get started right now.
Blog, Blog and... Blog!
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from others in your field is to share your expert knowledge and connect with people by:
- Helping them out.
- Offering free advice and tips.
- Giving without expecting anything in return.
And the easiest, most effective approach is through publishing a blog hosted on your own domain.
On your blog, create and share impressive, extensive, well-researched, wildly valuable content that is relevant to your target audience. Do it consistently. Over time you will become a trusted authority on the subject.
That should be easy - because you are already an expert, and you will be writing or speaking about your area of specialization. To maximize your impact, refine your content based on these questions:
- Who are you writing for?
- What can you do to give them value?
- How will that also showcase your skills, talent, and expertise?
- Which are the problems or issues that your audience struggles with?
- How can your services help solve them?
- What role will you play in their journey towards success?
When you define your audience by their interests, understand their needs and worries, and combine it with keyword research that helps uncover "user intent" (the reason why they visit your website), your content will sparkle and shine... and you will quickly earn people's trust.
Also, by using SEO tools like SEMrush and SEOmonitor, you can optimize your content so that it ranks on a Google search for the most relevant keywords. These tools let you evaluate other vendors in the market, discover what they are doing, and help you devise a strategy to compete against them and win.
It All Sounds Good In Theory, But...
Is it even possible to accomplish this?
Look, this is exactly how I got started as an SEO consultant many years ago. Over the last 15 years, I have:
- Published more than 50 high-value SEO articles in online columns at authority websites and blogs like Forbes and Search Engine Land.
- Contributed to a book called "Google It: Total Information Awareness" (2016).
- Participated on industry-leading websites like SEObook.com and Moz.com.
- Shared free content on my personal blog and company website.
- Spoken about SEO across the Nordic countries.
Offering valuable content for free helps you build an important asset: TRUST. That is right. People trust me... even before they have contacted me for the first time!
Because they have already heard me speak at an event or read my blog posts, they are eager to start working with me. And when they run a Google search, they discover that I have been:
- Interviewed for Norway's leading financial newspaper and magazine.
- Judged one of the top columnists at Search Engine Land for five years in a row.
- Been mentioned on Forbes.com and other authority websites.
And all of this cements their trust in my expertise and experience - making it easier to work on projects later on.
Now, please understand that this is a lot of hard work. It will take plenty of time, too. But remember that you are playing for high stakes in a tough, competitive marketplace.
You can either make the investment to position yourself so that clients seek you out as the expert "go-to guy or gal"... or you can spend an even greater amount of time and money in a less effective attempt to reach out to prospects and try to convince them to hire you for their SEO work.
Quality Trumps Quantity - Every Time
It is a mistake to churn out a high volume of content in the belief that it works best to convince clients about your skills.
Today, there is a deluge of good online content. To set yourself apart, you must deliver outstanding, remarkable content. The kind of content that makes readers sit up and take notice - because it is so perfectly tailored to their needs, addresses their biggest problems and offers elegant, effective solutions.
To craft this kind of content takes time, effort and attention. Quantity doesn't matter as much as quality. Producing great content and ensuring that it reaches your ideal prospects is the challenge to conquer.
Do It Consistently
When you create and share remarkable content consistently over time, you will become recognized as the ultimate authority in your niche or industry. Being known as "the best" in one (or few) areas is better than being "average" in many (or all).
To put out great content regularly, you must take a disciplined approach.
Work with an editorial calendar to determine your optimum publishing frequency. Set and meet deadlines to release every article or blog post. Optimize your content to rank well for relevant and profitable search terms and keywords.
And never lose sight of the underlying goals, which are to:
- Build and strengthen your personal brand.
- Attract people who are your best or ideal clients.
- Create a strong impression on them regarding your expertise.
- Explain how you can help them.
- Earn their trust.
Your aim should be to become:
- A trusted advisor.
- A reliable source of quality advice and information.
- A well-connected, up-to-date SEO expert.
- A consultant who can help businesses grow through SEO.
The Big Prize Is Trust
Trust is the grease that keeps the wheels of business spinning smoothly, fast and without friction.
By executing your brand-building SEO strategy perfectly, you will effortlessly and instantly win the trust of your target audience - businesses looking for SEO services.
This is when all your hard work pays off. It does the "selling" for you. Clients contact you, and they are already ready to buy. You just have to agree on the budget!
And it is easier to work with new clients. Because they already trust you, they willingly give you access to sensitive data or discuss confidential business strategies, which makes your SEO activities on their behalf more effective.
None of this would happen without first establishing trust.
That is the reason why I strongly recommend that SEO consultants be more open to sharing their knowledge, and investing in the people they hope to sign up as clients.