With over 29.6 million small businesses in the US alone, the opportunities for SEO service providers are certainly increasing, but this is not to say that there is no competition, on the contrary. In order to stand out in the sea of other SEO companies vying for the business of new startups and entrepreneurs, you need to know what your potential customers want from their SEO service.
Many SEO companies miss the mark by inadvertently sending the wrong messages to their customers, and the worst part is that they don’t even realize what they are doing wrong. One of the most common mistakes is to use the word “guaranteed” somewhere on their sales pitch.
Because the key to success in any business is understanding what your customers want, here are some important things people look for when choosing an SEO service provider. By no means this is a complete list, nonetheless, you should be aware that without them, the chances of your success is unlikely.
Many SEO freelancers and even agencies mistakenly assume that pricing their services as low as they possibly can without making a loss will bring in more customers, but the truth is that cheap is not always better, and rock bottom prices won’t necessarily win you a vote of confidence.
Customers tend to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true, and if your prices are dramatically lower than what other firms and freelancers are charging, there is a big chance that they will view your services as mediocre or even low quality.
This doesn’t mean you should be the most expensive SEO firm on the block, but don’t sell yourself short either. If you offer high-quality services and consistently get good results, then you won’t have to worry about attracting customers.
Experience is one of the first things that prospective customers will look for in an SEO company. No one wants to hire a company without any experience, and that makes it difficult for new companies and freelancers to break through.
However, even if you haven’t had much experience working with clients and don’t have a proven track record to lean on, there are still ways to pad your resume.
Obviously, you should never lie to your customers or you could risk ruining your reputation before you ever get started, but chances are that if you’ve started a SEO company or decided to pursue this line of work as a freelancer, you do have some knowledge and experience and aren’t completely wet behind the ears.
Work on building up your portfolio, even if you have to do freebies for friends or showcase your own blog as a positive example. After all, what better way can you prove to a prospective customer than you know what you are talking about than showing your own results?
Most of your customers aren’t SEO experts themselves and won’t have an in-depth knowledge of SEO tactics and methodologies, so it’s important be clear and explain things in terms they can understand and appreciate.
Work on breaking down your SEO process into an explanation that takes no more than a few minutes. If you can get your message across to your customers clearly in a short amount of time and they can actually understand what you can do for them, you will already be doing a lot better than most other SEO companies.
References and reviews
Another very important aspect that clients will look at is your references and reviews, both on your own sites and elsewhere on the web.
Make sure that you collect customer feedback whenever possible and interact with customers as much as possible to measure their satisfaction and find out what you can improve. Once you have feedback in the way of reviews or satisfied comments, you can go about posting these on your website for prospective customers to see.
Also encourage customers, friends or people you have helped to talk about your services on other review sites, forums and social media to boost your overall credibility. Even if you haven’t gotten specific feedback from a certain client, if the results were positive, you could still list it on your website as one of the successful projects you worked on.
Customers like to be able to view other companies and see the work you have done for them, to make sure that you can actually deliver what you are promising them.
Well-rounded knowledge and perspective
Too many SEO experts spend so much time focusing on web page rankings and search engines that they forget to pay attention to the many other aspects of the virtual marketplace, and most importantly, their business. Customers want you to be able to provide them with a well-rounded service that covers everything from the social media landscape to web design and development to quality content and business models. In today’s rapid advancement in technology, you have to be on top of things. Page speed, mobile responsiveness, etc. are part of the bigger picture. Don’t just focus on link building, on site optimization, and all that. As an example, if your prospective customer has or thinks of creating an eCommerce site, help them to find good eCommerce themes. Start by understanding their business, what they want to achieve, what they are looking for, and work on that. Be a part of their team.
Starting up your own consulting agency or working as a freelancer can be quite a difficult process. Aside from the tips mentioned above, Rand of SEOmoz, provides some tips and tactics that you can use to get referrals and win customers.
Ways to Win Customers and Influence Rankings
There is so much more to SEO than just a ranking on a search engine, and if you want to keep your customers happy you need to be able to look at the bigger picture in order to see what their customers are looking for and how you can best appeal to them through targeted marketing strategies that focus on the psychology of human behavior.