Is it getting harder and harder to sell SEO services, or is SEO just not good at it?
I ask this question because I had a lot of conversations recently with freelance and agency SEOs, and almost all of them complained about the difficulty of pitching and converting to SMB. rice field.
It’s notorious for business owners to get bombarded with calls and emails from SEOs trying to convince them that they need SEO services and can provide them on a monthly basis.
A 2014 SMB Internet Marketing Survey found that 35% of SMBs are contacted daily by SEOs selling their services, and an additional 22% are contacted weekly.
This means more than 50% of small businesses get pitched by an SEO every week.
Multiply this by 4 years (50% x 52 weeks x 4 years) and it is reasonable to assume that all business owners have pitched their SEO services 100+ times.
Given this number, it’s no surprise that SEOs have a hard time getting SMBs to listen to them.
But SEO needs a client. So they have to market and sell their services. What can you do to improve your business opportunities and achieve more sales?
Simple ideas for less SEO pitches and more results
Selling effectively is not rocket science. But getting really good takes practice and understanding. Here are five helpful, practical, and proven ideas for exploring and validating your selling approach.
1. Listen and don’t talk
Once you’ve landed a lead on the phone, you may feel the pressure to speak quickly and provide as much information as possible. After all, you want them to know what you’re doing and how you can “help” them!
But really, you’re just giving the person too much information before you know them well. This is a business he is really unhappy with the owner and promptly abandons.
Business owners probably know more about their business and market than you do. So you need to encourage them to talk about their business, customers, competitors and challenges they face. We can then use this information to showcase our knowledge and tailor our services to your individual needs.
According to a 2014 survey, one of the most important factors SMBs cited when choosing an SEO/marketing consultant to work with was “ready to listen and learn.”
2. Educate, not sell
The goal here is to give the prospect “value” before pitching them.
Local business owners may know more or less about digital marketing, but as a specialist, you should know more than they do. That means you are in a great position to help them with their education.
Search marketing is changing rapidly, and most busy SMBs are struggling to keep up. However, it helps to educate them about changes, best practices, bad practices, and experience working with other clients which channels work best.
Sharing your knowledge helps business owners become more aware and informed. This is of value to them. In the process, you can showcase your experience, earn their trust, and put yourself in a better position to sell to them.
Meetups & Events
Many smart SEOs arrange local meetings or offer to speak at local business events so they can reach multiple companies at once and share their knowledge in a room full of prospects. to
In our 2015 Local SEO Industry Survey, we asked local SEOs which marketing channels were most effective in acquiring new customers. “Local Business Groups” and “Local Meetups” were his third and his fourth most effective marketing channels, after SEO and word of mouth respectively.
3. Leverage your reputation
A good reputation is essential to the long-term success of any business, including freelance SEOs and agencies.
Reading positive reviews from other business owners, or even better, talking directly to them about you and your services can give your customers a lot of confidence.
As an SEO, you should do everything you can to maximize your relationships with your existing customers.
- Ask them to recommend you to other business owners they know.
- Make it easy for them to write reviews.
- Create a quick video testimony.
- Ask them if they vouch for you with the prospect.
All of these can add weight to your reputation and help you convert new customers more easily.
From the same 2014 study (see first chart above), we find that “having a good reputation” is the third most important factor when choosing SEO for SMBs to use.
4. Show evidence of success
This is pretty clear.
If you’ve achieved successes for other clients, share the details of your successes with your prospects so they can feel confident in your abilities.
The more specific, the more numbers and details of work done and outcomes achieved. You can keep your clients anonymous or hide the numbers in your charts, but be prepared to be as open as possible if you want to gain their trust.
5. Become an industry specialist
Building one or two industry specialties takes time, but the benefits are great.
SMBs ranked “relevant industry experience” as the fourth most important factor when choosing an SEO/marketing consultant. However, SEO he is only 16% who responded that he specializes in a specific industry.
By working with one or two sectors, an SEO/agency can build a very detailed knowledge of business models and marketing channels, and the vocabulary used by professionals in those sectors. If you can speak to your customers in a language they understand and show them how your experience working with similar customers can help them succeed faster, you have a 9 in 10 chance of success.
Don’t fall into the low-cost cycle
In the first chart, we can see that “low cost” is the number one factor for choosing which SEO to use.
A quick note — in surveys like this, it’s the easiest and most obvious answer for participants to choose, so the results are probably more skewed than in the real world.
However, many business owners have the perception that SEO = free promotion.
In addition to this, there are a huge number of SEOs on the market, all selling to the same customers. The result is reduced costs and squeezed out tasks and time SEOs can devote to each client.
If you want to be in this business long-term, you should do everything you can to avoid falling into a low-cost, high-volume sales cycle.
Easier said than done. But if you can achieve solid results for a client or two and use that success to build your reputation and generate referrals, you can justify the higher fees.
Choosing you over “LowDollarSEO” would be a smart move. Many SMB business owners have been plagued by inadequate SEO work in the past, so they can use that to their advantage in the pitch.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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