This post was Updated 5th of November 2015.
Finding SEO clients is not always easy and with years of experience agency side we know the problems you face enticing new clients and educating them.
Here we’ll give you this VERY ACTIONABLE list you and your teams can digest to see what ideas your agency can implement to make you even more awesome and win more clients. Some might be obvious, some you may have tried before but there surely be some you haven’t thought about.
39 Golden Nuggets to Win More SEO Clients:
#1 Offer Free Facebook Business Page Creation Service
This is something we’ve seen other agencies do to great effect and works particularly well with local clients. Once they see how awesome you are, it’s just a case of you introducing them to the plethora of other services you offer.
#2 Offer Free SEO Audits
Give potential targeted clients real valuable actionable data and as well as highlighting areas for improvement tell them what they are doing right, they’ll love you for it. Giving them a call and really going out your way will also help infuse trust and confidence. 80-90% of companies won’t follow up begging you for an SEO contract, but that odd one or two that do will really be worth your time. In our past agency experience we found a 3 step process of sending, following up with a call/email and then trying to arrange a meeting works best.
#3 Hold Local Marketing Seminars or Networking Events
You can do this at your local bistro or even at your office. Give out free business advice, actionable marketing tips and company branded literature. Companies will look at you as an authority on marketing and will get in touch when they need help. Some may even ask you to manage their marketing right there on the spot, this happens more than you might think.
#4 Attend Trade Shows in Various Industries (not just SEO)
Don’t just attend the SEO Events where there are umpteen other SEO Agencies. Think out the box a little, most ‘business conferences’ about startups, accounting, HR etc are all places where you can mingle and network with your target audience. Even having a trade show stand at these events will put you in the forefront of business looking for ways to improve their company.
#5 Visit local companies with Cakes, Donuts and even Branded Sweets
Something you know we’ve been doing for 3 years for our UK clients, they love them, who doesn’t? We’ll roll out to the US and Australia once we find a reliable supplier.
#6 Create a Local Marketing Facebook Group in Your Town / Region
Create the go to social place for business owners and marketers to ask questions and learn. Share ideas, create content and shamelessly include links to your SEO agency as the creators of the page, but don’t overdo it.
#7 Write a Free Downloadable eBook about Marketing
Don’t be afraid of giving great things away for free. Most of your target audience probably won’t actually implement any advice, you’ll find they need someone to do it for them and this will put you in a good position of being approached. You can plug this online, via Adwords, via Facebook, Twitter, Linked and even your local seminars and Facebook Groups you’ve just set up 😉
#8 Build a High Quality Local Business Directory
Just like Yell, but maybe smaller. Give businesses the opportunity to list themselves for free then follow up with advice on how to market their business more effectively locally. You can make directories as big as you like or as targeted as you like. With very little marketing behind it, they just somehow magically attract business listings. A good tip would be too include ‘Free Business Directory’ in your title tag and target around these keywords for organic visibility.
#9 Offer Generous Free Trials
Let clients try your service on low competing or local keywords. Show the clients results in the short term and then negotiate a longer term contract.
#10 Offer Guarantees and Be Outrageous
Even though there are no guarantees in the world of Google, this is not music to old school bosses’ ears. Make a guarantee anyway, and cut your losses if it doesn’t work out. Broader guarantees such as 20% increase in organic website traffic or 10% of your keywords on page 1, work better than guaranteeing ‘keyword x’ will be at position 1 in 2 weeks time. Business owners want to see how such a service will effect there bottom line so create a guarantee that will mean something to them.
#11 Introduce a Tell-a-Friend Referral Scheme
Who do business owners know? Other business owners. Encourage them to talk about you and your services. Don’t just offer money off or free services, give something away that will excite them, an iPad, a Free Weekend Away or a Free Meal at a Fancy Restaurant. Referrals go a long way and the more selling you can get your clients to do, the more time you can spend on keeping clients happy and getting results.
#12 Make Marketing Videos.
Follow on from the Moz Whiteboard Friday and give away some of your secrets and generate some interest. Videos really help to engage with your potential audience especially in a market where some business might not truly understand the concept of SEO. Remember to feed the video traffic back to your website.
#13 Write a Weekly Blog
But don’t blog about boring or generic SEO stuff. Come up with a concept for your blog (Like 5 Nugget Friday) and be consistent with it. For example some companies write once a week and release that on a particular day. Don’t forget to push the content across your various marketing avenues. Spend only 30% of your time creating the blog and 70% or more promoting it. The more you promote it the more traffic you’ll get and the quicker it will organically grow. You might even land a few links 🙂
#14. Make Friends
On a personal level, get to know other people in your local area and in online business communities. Help them with marketing and web issues where possible and you’ll quickly find that the more you help, the more they’ll talk about you to their executive friends. Its something you see in forums all the time. Encourage your staff to represent your brand in this way. In fact allocate them each an important business forum to help out in and see how competitive they get.
#15 Be an Opportunist
Why not randomly browse through the web and genuinely help businesses out. Found any duplicate content? Missing title tags? Let the site owner know as a friendly member of the Internet community. Again, this method may not always have a direct effect on getting clients, but being nice has magical effects on word of mouth and karma, if you believe that stuff!
#16 Be One of the First for Breaking SEO News
New Google update? New Google SEO tool? Has Matt Cutts said something vaguely useful again? Be the first to write about it and comment on it. This could get picked up on by savvy business owners who may take a liking to you.
#17 Build a Resource for Business Owners
A marketing resource for business owners could really give you the edge over other marketing agencies – a place where they can learn to do simple things like build a Facebook page, submit to Google Places or change their title tags will gain a lot of interest from your target market.
#18 Start an Affiliate Scheme
This will encourage other websites and bloggers to refer your SEO services to their reader base or customers. If you know a lot of people in business who have a crossover market for SEO, this will definitely be what you need to put in place to give a little reward to referrers.
#19 Hook up with Local Web Designers
The thing is, web designers are obviously great at web design but not usually great at SEO. Web designers get asked all the time about SEO. Wouldn’t it be great if you hooked up with some local web designers so that you could service their clients SEO needs once their site had been built?
#20 Start a ‘Local Marketing’ Alliance
Get your local ‘offline marketer’ (the leaflet guy), your local web designer, and graphic designer. Get a signs and graphics guy. Add yourself, and you have an ‘alliance’. Within this alliance you can refer customers to each other, host marketing meetups, share ideas in a mastermind group, or even start a super-site with a collective investment, where together you can serve every marketing need in your local target market.
#21 Offer a ‘White Label’ Service
A lot of web designers and even other SEO companies might be interested in white labelling your services if they’re scalable and yield results. This is beneficial to you because a) You won’t have to deal with the customer directly or sell direct to them and b) They won’t have to do the work, or train staff or keep up to date with the latest best practices.
#22 Get Accredited
Accreditations go a long way. There are few that are ‘credible’ in the SEO world, but Google Partners is an ideal one, and there are a few more around which you may want to consider doing to get a few little badges of professionalism on your site. Look out for business accreditations to as these will infuse trust for other business owners.
#23 Speak at SEO and other Marketing and Business Conferences
Speaking at SEO conferences, marketing ones and Business seminars will get you noticed, give you authority, and get people talking. You’ll have to apply to speak, and there may be a fee, but the return in clients, (should you have an interesting presentation), will be infinitely valuable.
#24 Make Friends with other SEO Companies
Make your ‘competitors’ your friends, not enemies. It’s amazing how much each SEO company varies and how some will only take on certain types of clients. Some may only service certain areas, while others only want to service low level ‘package SEO’ clients. By having an alliance with various SEO agencies across the country, you can refer each other for your ‘specialist’ kind of work. While it may not happen often, there are many other benefits to having friends from other SEO Agencies such as being able to share ideas, knowledge and secrets to success.
#25 Do free SEO work for Charities
Offering local or national charities free SEO and social work on their site is not only a lovely and noble thing to do, but it will also project a certain amount of ‘good vibes’ to potential clients. Remember to ask for a link or badge on their website and write case studies about your work with them.
#26 Offer ‘General Marketing’ Services to Clients Who May Not Understand SEO
Sometimes your potential clients won’t know they’re looking for SEO. Old school bosses may refer to a more holistic marketing service. By repackaging your services as more general offerings like ‘Internet Advertising’ or ‘Web Marketing’, you may be able to capture a lot more of the market.
#27 Try and Get News Coverage, Locally or even Nationally
If you are doing great things for local business, or some charity SEO work, or even just something awesome in general, you can call the papers and try and get a story. Generally local papers will run a local story if it’s interesting enough; they are always after new stories! Use those logo’s and mentions on your website and literature and this might just catch the eye of business owners.
#28 Guest Post on Other Blogs
It doesn’t matter whether its a guest post on an SEO blog, you can even try Guest Posting on other business blogs about general business marketing advice. Yes, guest posting or blogger outreach is nothing new but its a great way to become an authority in your niche.
#29 Display your Clientele on Your Website
Ask your clients if you can put their logos on your site. This will work wonders for your ‘social proof’.
#30 Publish Case Studies
With the permission of your clients, publish case studies on successful SEO campaigns, and reveal everything from start to finish. While gaining respect from fellow SEO professionals, you will also generate a lot of interest from potential clients in similar situations and niches. This material will make it easier for your sales teams and executives to attract new clients.
#31 Get Big Testimonials
Video testimonials are absolutely awesome but written ones, signed by the Owner, CEO or an Authoritative Person in that company will go a long way to giving your company some ‘Social Proof’. These could be the decider when a potential client is viewing your website.
#32 Offer a One-Off No-Commitment SEO product
Sometimes you need a loss leader. An easy to understand, one off price product. You could offer a ‘local booster’ in which you submit the site to Google Local and a handful of directories for a fee. Or maybe you could offer a Free Press Release Service. Whatever it may be it will serve as a loss leader to your SEO contract plans.
#33 Run SEO Related Competitions with Prizes
Running competitions socially (on Facebook, Twitter and your own blog) will generate some interest around your brand. You can ask technical SEO questions on Social Networks and the correct answers get entered into a prize draw. All this will help build your brand and be recognised as an authority.
#34 Write a Book and Get it Published.
Getting a book published is easier than ever nowadays with self publishing options available with very little investment. Write a book with your team, about SEO or marketing and get it on Amazon and similar bookstores. This immediately thrusts you into the realms of SEO authority and business owners will want to work with you. Brag about your book on your Agency website.
#35 Offer to Write a Free Blog Post
Offer to write a Free Blog Post for potential clients and explain the benefits of blogging and how content creation can have a positive impact on their SEO efforts and Brand. Links, brand awareness, thought leader in their industry, social interaction etc etc, sell these benefits and then let them know you can handle all of that for them.
#36 Participate in Business Forums & Social Media Groups
Truth is, this is where a lot of business owners hang out and seek answers to their business questions. You will be surprised with the amount of marketing advice required in such forums and groups.
#37 Sponsor Marketing and Business Events
This can be pretty expensive for small agencies but well worth it in the long term. You are getting your brand under the noses of thousands of hungry business buyers. Go to conferences where your target audience will be.
#38 Create Free Tools Useful for Business Owners
Similar to what we did with our Fat Rank keyword checking tool, Infographic Embed Code Generator and Blog Post Title Generator. Find out what tools may be useful for your target market and create one for free. If its software you create, collect contact details and email addresses for your mailing list.
#39 Send Postcards with Useful Information
For example, send a postcard picture of your team or brand to a potential client and tell them where they rank for their most relevant keyword. If they are interested in ranking higher, you may get back a handful of enquiries. Branded postcards are cheap to make these days so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get noticed.
#40 Publicly SEO Audit a Large Brands Website
Thanks to Martijn Oud @ Inktweb.nl for this one. The principle here is to show of your SEO Auditing Skills publicly by analysing all the SEO problems and loop holes in a large brands or a well known website. You can audit all of this information including providing solutions in a public blog post. This will show potential customers what you are made of and hey, may even land you the company who you audited in the first place. You can do this as a monthly or weekly series and in time the popularity of it may grow online.
Have some more ideas? We’d love you to email them to us and you might just even get a mention 😉