October 14, 2020

Search Engine optimization

The (Astonishingly Simple) Step-by-Step Method to Get SEO Clients.
What do you want to achieve with your SEO business?

If you do not grow, you may lag. 

And if you lag, you may perish. 

So growth is the only solution. 

If you are here, I assume that you want to achieve one or more of the following:

  1. how to get SEO clients
  2. how to get more SEO clients
  3. get client that pay you more
  4. better SEO clients 

We understand the struggle.

The common issue that we have, and by "we" I mean people who do SEO: we miss a part of the puzzle.

That piece of the puzzle is what we will be talking about.
Stay with us.

We are sure that you tried the usual suspects like:

  • hustling
  • asking around
  • cold emailing
  • cold calling
  • ads
  • social media posts
  • contacting old colleagues, friends and old dates!?

Well, in this article are not going to cover the strategies that you have heard about a thousand times.

So, how to get SEO clients then?
There are different approaches to the question, but let’s approach this in a logical deductive manner.

Very straightforward, very rational.

Your type of SEO business

About your profile, you are an:

  1. SEO freelancer
  2. SEO consultant
  3. SEO agency
  4. SEO coach

Depending on the type and scale of SEO business that you run, the strategies will differ. For example, if you are a freelancer you do not have the same resources as an agency. 

SEO Services

There are plenty of SEO services, we are not going to list them all, but just so that you have an idea of what we are talking about: 

  • SEO audits
  • on-site SEO
  • off-site SEO
  • link building
  • and so on. 

Keep reading, we’re getting there soon. 

Types of SEO

There are 2 types of SEO:

  1. Local SEO (geolocation based, focused on regions and cities)
  2. International SEO (geolocation not as important, focused on language and content, somehow)

Your approach to get SEO clients will be different depending if you do Local SEO, International SEO or both types. 

How to advertise SEO services

In marketing there are 2 terms we like to use to describe our marketing strategies: push and pull.

There are 2 ways potential clients will come into contact with you:

  • Push: you contact them, an active approach
  • Pull: they contact you, a passive approach (plus luck)
  • Push and pull: a mix of both strategies

Simple stuff. Let’s move.

Just to recap, there are many moving pieces when considering how you will get SEO clients:

  1. What you want to achieve
  2. Type of SEO business
  3. SEO services you offer
  4. Types of SEO you do (Local SEO or International SEO)
  5. How you advertise your SEO services

Each case is different, but the strategies that we will propose apply to pretty much every case except some details.
Now, let’s go back to the topic. 

SEO clients

How to get SEO clients

In order to get a client, a service need to be sold to the said client. Duh.
It may sound like a given, but when you visualize this, the process to go from 0 to 1 is actually a Sales Flow that looks like an inverted pyramid.

SEO Sales Flow

The SEO sales flow goes like this: 

  • Generate traffic (e.g., 100,000 visitors)
  • Convert visitors into followers (e.g., 10% conversion, 10,000)
  • Get leads (e.g., 10% conversion, 1,000)
  • Convert leads into buyers (e.g., 10% conversion, 100 sales)
  • Make buyers buy again or sell an upsell (e.g., 10% buy, so 10 extra sales)

The flow can be seen as an inverted pyramid or a sales funnel.

Prospects (potential clients) enter the funnel and as they go lower into the funnel, they go from visitors, to lead and then are converted into buyers.
Nothing special here.

Now the million dollar question:
Who do YOU buy services from?

When you look at your own behavior, the behavior of your colleagues, your friends, your family… do you see a pattern, a common thread.. that explains their purchasing behavior?

I believe the answers are:

  1. Firstly, we buy from businesses that others recommended.
  2. Secondly, we buy from businesses we already know.
  3. There is a third case: we buy from companies whose ads we have seen. 

I believe that the first way trumps the two others, and that the second one trumps the third one.

Now the questions are:

  • How to get referrals for my SEO business.
  • How to make myself and my SEO business known.
  • How to advertize myself and my SEO company.

You will get more SEO clients, better SEO clients and clients that pay you more by offering VALUE. 

Tons of value. 

Free value.

Paid value.

This is not done by telling people about yourself, your services, your pricing, the features of this and that; value is created by making the world a better place. It may sound cliché to some, but it is true.

To get more referrals, create a positive experience for your clients, and bring incentives to make them promote you.

To be known, you need to have a recognizable and memorable Brand. This is done by creating TONS of content

When you advertize via ads, emails or the phone, give something for free and tell your prospect about the “new them.” After they used your service they will be an “improved business.”

So, how the heck are we going to create value?

If you are doing a lot of push, contacting clients, you need to do more pull, like producing content.

If you are doing a lot of pull, pushing content around, you need to do more push, proactively contacting prospects.

Content, content and content. Did I say content? Yes I did.
Once you have the content, you can get into the slope and go further down the rabbit hole in terms of sales tactics.

Have a look at all the tactics below as we recommend useful tools and software in some of the tactics.

STEP 1: Content Marketing=Create an Audience

Create TONS of content. I do not care If you believe that “time spent creating content is time lost doing business.”

Content IS business. Plus, when it gets indexed by search engines, it is likely to remain indexed for a while. If you need help creating content, simply outsource to a copywriter.

Content is the staple of the internet. Content is what we consume on a daily basis, all of us, you and me, including our potential clients.

Creating content will help you CREATE AN AUDIENCE. Remember, the more people know you, the more likely they are to recommend you or buy from you. What’s cool with the internet is that you can build an audience regardless of where physically people are.

Blog posts, infographics, memes, videos, podcast, etc. There are plenty of ways to repurpose content as well.
You can also distribute content in some many channels nowadays, as long as you adapt the content for the channels’ vibe, audience and format.

Why not starting a vlog, an online community, selling a course, writing blog posts on a weekly basis, etc.

Do not be fooled: even if people do not buy directly from you, they may well recommend you when they hear “Anyone knows a good SEO consultant?”

You can also do outreach campaigns and build strong connections with other businesses that offer services that are complementary to your business model. More on this later in the article.

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STEP 2: Build personalized relationships=More engagement

Engage your audience and show yourself as you are. Use emotions and storytelling. People will bong with YOU as a human being.

We’re all people, and one thing we have in common regardless of gender, creed, age and culture: we enjoy connecting with other being, but more than that, we love to have personalized interactions.

This is especially true with online interactions: answer as much as you can, personally, to all the questions and comments that your audience leaves on your blog, under your videos, on your Facebook page, in your mailbox, etc.

Other people will see this and realize that you care about people, that you are not only about business.

Tell people stories, show you human nature, talk about your struggles…
The power of emotions is stronger that we want to admit it!

Are you aware of the amounts of money that marketers, advertisers, branding agencies pay to bond emotionally with people to sell products like toothbrushes, insurance, cars, running shoes, diamond ring…??

Believe me, I worked in the 2 biggest independent agencies in the world on clients like Nike, Tiffany, Disney, and let me tell you that emotions are the number one driver of sales!

a man writing on glass

STEP 3: Be available (and use your phone)

People who get stuff done use the phone. They are available at all times for their clients. They answer fast. They are polite. (Get a Virtual Assistant if needed.)

Yes, just be there.
And show your face (or make your voice heard) many times a week.

Learn how to talk to people, to sell, to chitchat, to break the ice… Does not matter if you are introverted or extroverted, find a way to be available. It does not matter if you are introverted or extroverted, find a way to be available and close clients with your phone.

Another alternative is to split the process of Marketing, Sales and Execution into 3 pillars. Someone generates leads and then someone else makes the calls, while you focus on execution. 

STEP 4: Lead Magnets

What is a Lead Magnet? It is something you give in exchange for an email address, a phone number and/or a name.

Once you have enough content, and that the content is bringing a good amount of traffic, jump on the occasion to gather contacts.

Create eBooks, posts, videos and free Lead Magnets like Chase Reiner’s free SEO audit checklist, etc.
Use many different types of Lead Magnets for different needs (and buyer personas) in the market!
Once they got your Lead Magnet, the prospects are one step deeper into the SEO sales funnel. 

Types of Lead Magnets:

  • Guides, templates, checklists, eBooks, etc.
  • Mini-Courses
  • Webinars
  • Livestreams
  • Consulting

STEP 5: Outreach

Outreach is amazing because it helps you approach the right people in the right organization. In the next step we will give you an even better option than outreach, but stay with us for a minute.

I would say that one of the best SEO sales tactic is to reach out to prospects via LinkedIn or simply Direct Message them via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Of course, there is still email, but people get so many promotional emails these day! May be a better idea to try with a personalized message first.

Another advantage of having a big audience and a lot of content is that people you reach out to will see that you are an expert and that you are legit. A big audience makes your name bigger and more trustful.

On top of that, outreach can be used to do guest posting. As you know, guest posting is an excellent way to get SEO juice. Consider it even if you do not have much time, resources or energy!

Try Ninja Outreach or Lemlist. Great outreach software. They can also be used to build links. 

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STEP 6: Social Media Listening

I assume you do not have the time to monitor a dozen of Facebook groups… but you can leverage a Social Monitoring tools like Awario to do that for you.

The reason why Awario is good for selling SEO services is that it allows you to listen to specific types of conversations and identify contents.

Let me explain: Awario scans websites, forums, discussion boards, social media groups… to find relevant keywords. For example, someone from a company asks on a forum “What is the most reliable SEO agency in Texas?” Right after seeing this message, you can reach out directly to the prospect.

In our case, we are interested in discussions about SEO, and more precisely, about people in need of SEO services.

Now you understand why Awario is such a powerful tool to generate leads online. This is a lot better than cold emailing 10,000 people and end up with your email address tagged as SPAM.

Awario find the hot leads for you.
No need to try to warm up cold leads anymore!

Closeup of black and white stationery on white table

STEP 7: Partnerships = SEO Leads from other

Yes, you read that right, partnerships.

There are 3 options when it comes to partnerships.

First, you can develop an official agency program where other agencies partner up with you and vice versa. Partner with another entrepreneur, business or agency that offers services in a similar, but non-competitive market or niche. Such partnerships will include a contract, commission rates, non-compete agreement and a set territory. A lot of client who want web design will eventually want SEO services down the line.

Secondly, you could also develop a CPA affiliates program where you pay a flat fee or a percentage to the members of your affiliates program. CPA means “Per Per Acquisition,” basically you pay only when you get a new client. Very useful if you sell a software.

The third option, freelancers are an amazing sources of contacts as they are constantly working with new people. Not only this, but if you outsource part of your SEO activities to a freelancer, that person can also be a source of leads for your business. DO not hesitate to find freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork. There are also plenty of copywriters’ job lists out there, great places to find content creators.

Partnerships are very valuable as they give you access to clients that have needs and are ready to spend money.

Most of the time the clients already have been qualified, meaning we know that they want to buy and can afford our services.

STEP 8: Agency and Business Directories

Business directories are great way to list your services and get SEO juice.

I think the first one that comes to mind if you are into SEO is Google My Business... Register your services on Google My Service!

This will help you get indexed fast and will allow you to have some visibility on the local market. 

There are plenty of different types of directories: 

  • Local directories
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Agency directories
  • Freelancer directories

Job board can even be great places for this.
Some Business Directories are paid and prices for from what I would call “affordable” to enterprise-level fees.

When you pay you get more visibility and more leads. That's the gimmick. 

How to find SEO client: a Conclusion

How do you get clients? 

Let us know if we missed anything! Feel free to reach out via the comment section, we give personalized answers !

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About the author 

Martin Couture

I help people just like you start, grow and future-proof their online business. After years of creating digital experiences for brands like Disney, Nike, Tiffany, Fendi, BMW, Mercedes... I decided to start blogging and making niche websites. Now, I want to help you achieve what I have achieved. I worked at the 2 biggest independent agencies in the world: Wieden+Kennedy and Serviceplan. Martin Couture is Content Marketing Consultant at the Art of Growth Marketing.

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