SEO services can be a tough sell.
Especially when you’re trying to sell to people who don’t know the ins and outs of SEO.
Often, they don’t understand the true value of your services.
They don’t know what they need to pay for.
That’s the first challenge.
Then, you have to consider your competition.
You’ve probably noticed that a few choice SEO agencies—usually the bigger ones—get the bulk of the best jobs.
The remaining SEO companies fight over remaining small projects like a pack of hyenas.
The reason those bigger SEO agencies win out isn’t necessarily because they offer better SEO services than the little guys.
Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that they know how to market their SEO companies.
Now, you’re going to learn how to market your SEO company.
Don’t forget that, when you sell marketing services of any kind, your most important client is you.
You need to market yourself and your own services first. Lead by example with a sound strategy of your own.
How to Market Your SEO Company: The Do’s and Don’ts
Do Follow a Sales Process
As when selling any product or service, it’s helpful to follow a sales process.
Not following a process will result in a marketing strategy that’s all over the place, which will be impossible to measure and improve upon.
The first steps in any sales process are to do some research—to know yourself and your product inside out, to know your potential clients and to set your goals.
From there, you can better determine your marketing approaches because you’ll be armed with valuable information.
Do Identify Your Ideal Clients
Learning how to market your SEO company means knowing your limitations—your specific focus or specialization—and the target clients who will appreciate what your services focus on.
For example, you might want to specialize in specific areas of SEO, such as:
- Content marketing or SEO content writing
- Technical SEO from a web development perspective
- Link building
- Influencer outreach
With regards to your target market, consider the different approaches necessary for working with individuals, small businesses, agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Who are you able to cater to with your services? How can you cater to different clients with different needs?
Having a clear idea of these things—your focus and your target market—will help you to come up with a list of leads that represent the best fit for the services you’re uniquely qualified to provide.
Also, accept that it’s better to undersell and overdeliver. A one-man agency can’t do SEO for a large multinational company.
Do Be Professional
Consider how your brand comes across to your target market.
Answer the following questions about your SEO company to determine the current state of affairs:
- Is your site professional-looking?
- Do you have a domain name that accurately reflects what your company does upon first glance?
- Does your site have any grammar/spelling errors that need to be fixed?
- Is your brand being introduced and described consistently in different marketing materials?
It’s little details like these that matter. Don’t neglect the small things. They add up when it comes to a potential client deliberating between two similar SEO companies.
By keeping a polished online presence, you give clients the impression that you’re able to do what you say you’re able to do.
Do Price Your Services Wisely
Don’t go too expensive or too cheap. Request what you’re worth.
And let’s just set the record straight now—an SEO service that’s worth anyone’s while is not cheap. Anyone who’s in the market to sell or pay for SEO services will be aware of this already.
Plenty of SEO companies try to stay competitive by outsourcing work overseas and charging lower prices, but the more degrees of separation there are between the client and the SEO company providing the services, the larger the likelihood of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and low-quality work.
The main issue that results from pricing SEO services too cheaply is the message that it communicates to those potentially interested in working with your SEO company.
Most people now have the impression that cheap pricing correlates to black hat SEO tactics, which will end up costing them more time (and headaches) in the long term. The saying “an expert seems expensive until you hire an amateur” comes to mind with regards to situations like this.
The lesson here? If you advertise your prices too low because you think that will help you to attract more clients, you’ll only end up attracting the wrong kinds of clients (if any).
It’s better to have a few bigger clients that you can focus all of your attention on to achieve great results, rather than have a bunch of small clients that will divide your attention and only produce mediocre results.
In the same light, people watch out for companies that seem to charge too much for their SEO services. Some SEO companies may offer mediocre services with an overcharge to make it seem like they’re more of a prime business than they really are.
Do Consider Where You Market Your SEO Services
How you get the word out about your SEO company can communicate a lot about you.
Consider the implications of looking for clients via freelancer marketplaces like Upwork versus creating your own paid advertising campaign or embarking on a content marketing campaign.
Do you want to be actively reaching out and submitting proposals all the time?
Or would you like to find a way to get clients to notice you and reach out to you?
Do you have a solid budget to set up a professional website and pay for advertisements, or do you need to keep things simple until you start roping in more clients?
Based on your available time, manpower and budget, you’ll need to decide on an inbound or outbound (or combo) marketing strategy.
Do Be Smart About Outreach
Some people will cold call or cold email a bunch of random email addresses without knowing whether the person needs SEO services or not—or if the person they’re calling or emailing even knows what SEO is.
While cold calling/emailing can be effective, you need to make sure your pitch is personalized. It shouldn’t sound like you’ve been blasting a huge contact list with the same generic message.
When it comes to finding potential clients, search for contacts using key terms to describe your ideal clients on LinkedIn or search company profiles on Hoovers based on the most relevant business characteristics for your SEO company.
For example, if you’re looking to market your SEO company’s specialized services to small tech startups, search for terms like “tech startup” or “SaaS.”
Then, send any good leads a personalized message about the services you’re offering.
Don’t Reach Out to Clients with Cold, Impersonal Tactics
If you’re serious about figuring out how to market your SEO company, don’t wait for clients to come to you—reach out to them directly.
No, not like the impersonal cold calls and cold emails mentioned above. Instead, consider starting by pitching to local businesses and referrals from previous clients.
This is a good idea even if you already have a website or a content marketing plan to draw potential clients in from web searches.
When an SEO company personalizes a pitch to recognize a prospective client’s needs and pain points, it shows that client that the company took the time to understand their business because they’re interested in helping the client make a positive change.
Do Educate the Client
You’ll need to speak plainly and educate potential clients about the value of SEO services.
Some SEOs use complicated SEO jargon that most people don’t understand in an effort to be considered “professional” or “knowledgeable.” Like they say, if you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.
Skip the jargon.
It’s important to realize that, even today, many small business owners don’t know what SEO is or what the benefits are. If you haven’t bothered to take the time to put SEO into context specifically for that client, why would they be interested in paying for the service? How will they know what they can get out of your services?
They might not know how useful it could be for them.
Clearly, the best way to market your SEO company is to plainly let the client know why they need your services.
It’s also important to tell the client exactly what you plan to do for their website and explain why you’d do it that way. Mention specific pages on their website you could improve—if they don’t yet have a website, explain what you have in mind.
You should let them know that you know all about their business, their customers and their existing marketing plan.
Taking the time to explain your logic shows that you actually know what you’re doing. It shows that you’ve already invested enough in their business success to give them a personalized solution, and that you aren’t hiding any information they’ll need to make a decision.
It also shows them that they won’t end up with low-quality, generic marketing materials.
When it comes to personalizing your pitch, make sure that you’ve taken the time to identify a relevant decision maker (by name!) and an aspect of their business that can be improved by your help with SEO. Drive your point home by sharing success stories of other businesses in their industry that you’ve worked with.
To help educate potential clients who are as of yet unaware of the benefits of your services, here’s a list of things that clients should know about SEO.
Do Invite Questions
Successful SEO company owners swear by honesty and authenticity as their foolproof way of selling their services.
Honesty is the best policy.
If you’re still wondering how to market your SEO company, this is something that you can’t forget.
Even after you’ve landed a client, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with them. A major red flag that an SEO company isn’t trustworthy is when they don’t answer their client’s questions properly—or in a timely manner.
There’s a tendency to avoid answering client questions thoroughly for fear of important information getting out (or fear that they’re fishing for SEO tips so they can do things themselves) but then you’ll come across as being shady or lacking knowledge.
Be generous with answers. The more people ask about your work, the more curious and interested they are in the possibilities of better SEO. Rather than ditching you and doing things on their own, they’ll more likely come to think of you as an indispensable resource!
Do Back Up Your Claims with Results
One warning sign that an SEO company isn’t to be trusted is if they make promises that are too good to be true (like with crazy low pricing). Avoid making promises like these:
- We’ll index your site in 48 hours. Ranking on relevant search engine results pages doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a continuous process. Any SEO company that can successfully make this claim is using black hat tactics that will hurt the client in the long term. In general, beware of making guarantees that follow the idea of “We will get your site to rank X by Y time.”
- Free trial services, no commitment required. While you might offer them something for free, potential clients should beware that free services still require giving up important passwords so you can access their website and analytics. That might be more commitment than they’re expecting when you leave it at “free trial.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Start with Content Marketing
A good SEO company uses several different SEO tactics to achieve success. A popular tactic right now is content marketing, and it’s one that I’m betting you know well.
You might want to avoid leaning on content marketing too much, or you might feel compelled to offer a suite of services when content marketing is your main strength.
If you’re awesome at content marketing, go for it. Sell it. Work it.
And if you’re going the way of content marketing, make sure that you use a little content marketing magic yourself to draw in customers.
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing but generates three times more leads.
Knocking this aspect of SEO out of the park in your own marketing not only makes you searchable to those looking for your services, but also shows that you can demonstrate what you advertise.
Do Ask for Testimonials
According to a recent Nielsen survey, 92% of people believe suggestions from their friends and family more than claims made from brands in their own advertising.
Word of mouth marketing creates a snowball effect, where people continuously create referrals for your company without any additional effort on your part.
In order to supercharge the positive results of making clients happy, identify those people and ask for a review or testimonial from them to put on your site.
When you genuinely do good work in the field of SEO, the results speak for themselves.
Happy clients will be happy to tell others about what you’ve done for them, and word of mouth is the best kind of marketing.
Being a great SEO practitioner is powerful—but it’s all for naught if you can’t reel in your own SEO clients.
By practicing smart marketing with the tips above, we hope you’ll figure out how to market your SEO company for success!