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Anastasia Sidko

How to Run a World Class SEO Agency #SEOcafe

Anastasia Sidko
How to Run a World Class SEO Agency #SEOcafe

Many people think that running your own business means being your own boss and wielding authority. But the truth is, it goes far beyond authority, and power and has nothing to do with luck. A business owner must have an overall mission and, at the same time, must be aware of all the processes that take place in their company. They are responsible for both their company’s successes and failures.

As for the search engine optimization, it’s quite specific, so an SEO agency owner should have a broad knowledge of business and an understanding of many different industries. Who else but agency owners know what I mean?

In our latest #SEOcafe chat, we discussed how to effectively run a successful large SEO agency with our special guest David Jenyns @davidjenyns, founder of Melbourne SEO Services, Melbourne Video Production and systemHUB.

Is Every Client a Great Client? Should an SEO Agency Focus on a Specific Niche?

Some experts suppose that clients are different, and that not all of them are ideal, while others assume that every customer can be a great client. Let’s find out what our chat participants think:

This goes without saying; some clients can be really difficult to work with. However, if you see potential in a future partnership with a customer, you need to work on building a strong client relationship with them and turning them into a wonderful, grateful customer. Here’re a few tips that can help you succeed:

  • Learn about your clients’ companies and industries. There’s no need to be an expert in their industries, but a little knowledge will help you better understand your customers, their needs and their problems.

  • Respond to them without delay. Always answer your client’s emails as soon as possible – this will show them that you do care about their needs. Whether or not you have an answer they want to hear at the moment, you must always stay in touch. Treat each of your clients as if they’re your most important.

  • Be patient. You can’t build strong customer relationships overnight; it takes time. Keep in mind that all your current efforts are the building blocks of future solid relationships.

On the other hand, some clients might not be worth your time and effort. Before signing a contract with a client, it’s better to find out who you’re going to be working with. “The energy lost in working with worst-fit clients is huge. It can really affect your motivation and creativity,” says Tony Dimmock.

As for the second part of the question, there are several advantages of focusing on a certain niche. When you focus on a specific group of people, it will be easier for you to serve their needs and wants, because:

  • It’s easier for you to become an expert in a specific niche

  • You can better identify and target your potential clients

  • You’ll understand all the peculiarities and pitfalls of your niche

  • Building trust and gaining visibility in one specific niche will earn you more customers, as they will know that you’re experienced and really good at what you do

  • The more unique the niche that you specialize in is, the less competition you will have, because you’ll be offering very specific services

Ask yourself the following question: Would I rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

How Can an SEO Agency Attract Clients? Where Are Clients Likely to Look For an SEO Agency?

In the 2000s, SEO became a highly competitive industry; therefore, it comes as no surprise that SEO agencies and consultants are always looking for fresh opportunities to earn new customers. So what should they focus on to attract clients?

Provide better services

This should be your benchmark and primary goal. Becoming an expert and providing your customers with high-quality services guarantees that more people will want to work with you.

When you become more visible, people will know that you can satisfy their needs, and they will come to you.

Build trust and credibility

This point stems from the previous statement. You must build trust in order to establish an excellent reputation with your customers, so they will be willing to recommend your agency to other people, bringing you new clients. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool and client referrals are great leads for new customers.

Offer a free SEO report

For example, let’s say that a client is searching for an SEO agency and they came to you. They haven’t made their choice yet and they’re hesitating. Take a chance and prove that your agency is the best option. Offering a free report is a great way to start a dialogue with your potential customer. Demonstrate to them your benefits and the opportunities you can provide.

Make yourself stand out from the rest

Working in a crowded market is a serious challenge. That’s why it’s very important to separate your brand from other market players in one way or another. Maybe this means a unique business model or a special offer. Give people something that no one else has offered them before.

Use more than one tactic

Don’t stick to a single approach; experiment and try new things. Even if your core strategy is SEO, you can also create a company blog, publish case studies, improve your social media presence, make weekly marketing videos and write a free, downloadable e-book. And these are just a few examples.

Speak at SEO, marketing and business conferences

This will get you noticed and make people talk about you. Plus, conferences are where your potential clients might be. Make your presentation interesting and worthwhile, be active and make new contacts at events.

Learn how to say no

Even if it’s hard, one day you’ll have to do it, if you know that a client isn’t worth your time and effort.

Should an an Agency at Least Rank on the First Page in Local Search to Seem Credible? Why or Why Not?

In a nutshell, an SEO agency helps businesses rank their websites higher in SERPs. Behind the scenes, they do a long list of complex things to help their clients achieve their desired results. But is it important for an SEO firm itself to be present on Google’s first page?

Top positions in SERPs can actually serve as a proof that the people at a company know what they’re doing and that they’re experts.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be the major advantage of your SEO agency. Josh Steimle provided a good example: his own company, which appears first in Google for “utah seo.” The thing is that search engines gave weight to domain age of a website. The company was one of the first SEO agencies in Utah, and had had a domain since 1996. Of course, they wouldn’t rank high even with an established domain if their SEO strategies didn’t work. But, as Josh Steimle pointed out, many other firms targeted his company’s same keywords and did it well.

Customer satisfaction is even more important than being on Google’s first page. As we said earlier, if you provide great products and steadily improve your services, people will come back for more and bring new clients with them.

Good customer testimonials about your agency tell people that your services are not just legit, but really great. There are different places where you can get credible testimonials:

  • Facebook reviews. Your Facebook page must be set up as a local business (you can do this in your page’s settings). Once it’s done, your page will have a review tab.

  • Video reviews on YouTube. They’re not very easy to get, but you can encourage your devoted customers to add a video of themselves reviewing your business to their YouTube account. Video testimonials are one of the most powerful tools.

  • Recommendations on LinkedIn. Besides many other great features, LinkedIn also allows users to leave recommendations. You can request a recommendation from your client connecting with him through a social network or sending an email, to be more personal. Although, some people simply ignore messages that come from LinkedIn.

Prove to people that your SEO company is the best choice. Show them your case studies and tell a great story that will give your potentials customers a clear vision of your firm.

How Should an SEO Agency Manage Leads in Order to Convert Them Into Customers?

Converting leads into real clients is one of the most common problems for SEO agencies. Even if your marketing activities are paying off and your leads are increasing in number, it’s still not time to celebrate yet. We all know that leads aren’t enough. This is where the sales process begins. Here are several strategies that can help companies successfully turn their prospects into paying customers.

Offer valuable information

People want to know as much about your service possible, so they can make a well-informed purchasing decision. Some might be surprised, but a good offer shouldn’t only be product-centric. If a website’s visitor must complete a form in order to get access, this offer must be of some value to them: e-books, guides, slideshows, webinars, industry research, case studies, free templates, product demos and free trials. As you can see, there are plenty of options! So offer valuable information. You’re not just establishing your expertise, but also educating people, which increases your chances of making sales.

Understand your clients

Without a clear understanding of your customers’ needs and problems, you won’t successfully convert leads. Medical doctors only write prescriptions after they make a diagnosis – you won’t be able to help your clients and offer them the right solution unless you understand their concerns and desires. Make them believe that your company is the one that can solve all their problems.

Knowing your customers and their businesses will help you find the right solution more easily and come to them with a ready-made plan and a strategic framework.

Use closing tools

Some people underestimate the various marketing tools that can help them during the sales process. For example, the CRM tool Salestrakr allows you to create reports and list them, plus it includes a calendar, sales tracking, task lists, and a contact manager. PipelineDeals is used to simplify sales pipeline tracking by managing, organizing, and tracking your leads, deals, and contacts. Users can set goals and get real-time updates on their deals. Both services are paid and have a free two-week trial.

Qualify your leads

There’s no need to waste your time on unqualified leads. You can spend the whole day talking with people, but you won’t succeed in sales unless you focus on qualified prospects. Don’t waste your efforts on people who are unreceptive and uninterested in what you have to offer.

Also, check out Tony Dimmock presentation “The Business Side of Web Marketing: Your Mindset, Pre-Qualifying & Winning New Leads.”

You don’t have to meet with people face-to-face; the best way to find out the quality of your leads is to connect with people on the phone. Make sure that a person you’re going to work with has the desire, motivation and capability to purchase your services.

How Can SEO Agencies Build a Killer Team? What Matters More for Recruitment: Brains, Skills or Attitude?

You will hardly find a single SEO specialist who can do everything necessary to optimize a business website. People are a company’s most important asset. And one of the most crucial elements of a successful SEO agency is a team comprised of motivated, dedicated, and driven employees. Sooner or later, every company runs into the challenge of molding different personalities and balancing their qualities and skills to unite them into the great team.

With the help of our chat guests we came up with five intangible values and qualities that make up a killer SEO team.

Attitude

Having the right attitude is the key to success. It ensures that your team will do well and helps them to remain flexible. People who have the right attitude more easily avoid misunderstandings and stress at the work place.

Collaboration

No man is an island. Maintaining an excellent search engine presence and performing well online require collective efforts and a diverse range of expertise. Every team member must listen to other specialists and try to find the best ways of combining all their efforts in order to achieve maximum results.

Dedication

Actually, dedication is important for each team member. This includes commitment to the company and the team, common goals and, of course, SEO. People won’t be able to work hard and stay motivated, if they’re not interested in what they’re doing.

Individuality

There is a good reason why this comes right after dedication – because we’re not talking about blind dedication to a leader or something else. A team member mustn’t just follow their colleagues or believe absolutely everything they say, but always analyze and test it. In other words, they should use their brains.

Passion

Curiosity and passion are two significant things that drive people. Curious employees want to learn more and care about personal development and self-improvement. People who are passionate about their work come up with great ideas and have a desire to contribute to their company.

As you can see, there’re a lot things to do on the way toward a world class SEO agency. But it’s definitely worth it.

Do you have any ideas on how to become a world class SEO agency? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Anastasia Sidko, Content Manager at SEMrush. I have four years of experience in content creation and public relations. My areas of interest include SEO, digital marketing and content marketing.

Comments

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Peter Mead
Yeah, a really good #SEOcafe chat this time. David Jenyns really has a lot of knowledge and a lot to give on this topic. Lot's of good operators on the chat who know what they are talking about.
Anastasia Sidko
Peter Mead
It was great to have you with us, Peter! Hope to see you at the upcoming chats as well :)
Peter Mead
Anastasia Sidko
Hi @Anastasia, just let me know when upcoming chats are on, I'll be there :)
Peter Mead
Anastasia Sidko
Thanks Anastasia, yeah looking forward to the regular chats :)
Noname
Loved the section about not every client being a great client, I feel this is a large part of running a successful business, otherwise you will be fighting a losing battle with many clients, even if you are showing results, which will then effectively ruin your reputation. especially if they fail to understand that SEO is a lengthy process. 'I want to be number 1 on google'... If you don't get along, budgets don't line up with client expectations and they don't share the same growth mindset then sometimes it is just better to take the financial hit and say no.

Great post Anastasia!
Anastasia Sidko
Thank you for your comment! Indeed, sometimes it's better to lose a single client that to lose your company reputation.
Tony Dimmock
Tony Dimmock
Excellent #seocafe chat with lots of excellent tips / advice shared. Thanks for including my presentation :)
Peter Mead
Tony Dimmock
Food for thought Tony :)
Anastasia Sidko
Tony Dimmock
Thank you for being with us, Tony! :)
Peter Mead
Tony Dimmock
Hi Tony, I saw your SlideShare preso, nice walk through with some good examples...
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