It is difficult to predict how the Internet will look in 30 years. The Internet was not even possible 30 years ago.
We do know that SEO will continue to exist as long as search engines exist. Search engines aren’t likely to go away – I don’t know of any better way to search through billions upon billions of pages in order find what you’re looking for.
Search engines are vital to digital commerce. The ROI of search engine optimization can be amazing. According to estimates, 33% of online business revenue comes from organic searches.
You might think, “SEO sounds good – I want SEO services.” Even with no knowledge of SEO, you might have considered getting into it – this article wouldn’t exist without you.
We will show you how to sell SEO services. We will start by examining the two types you can sell in SEO – we don’t mean ecommerce or local. Next, we will look at how to acquire clients, what you can do, and the best way for you to close the deal.
*Yes, Web nerds! I do know that technically the first website was published in December 1990. That’s a little more than 30 years ago. Given the fact that Tim is the most likely person to have access to the site’s content, however, I believe you can grant me a pass.
There is a lot to be covered, so let’s get on with it.
These are the two types of SEO services you can offer
The investment world has a saying that says investing your money is fine, but investing in other people’s is better.
You can either sell your SEO services or sell those of others in the SEO industry. The best option for you depends on your core competencies and the resources available to you.
It is important to remember that selling your SEO will take a lot longer than selling another SEO. If you already have a client base, it is possible to sell others’ SEO immediately. You will need to be able to show your skills to sell your SEO. This usually means getting your sites to rank high.
You can skip this section if you are already familiar with SEO. The next part is a tutorial that includes a list of resources. You are now entering a wild and wonderful world for those who don’t understand SEO.
A brief SEO tutorial
I really hope that you know that SEO stands for search engine optimization. This means that everything we do is focused on improving a website’s rank in search engines.
You need to be able to do four things:
- Keyword research
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
This basically means that you must know the keywords you are targeting, how you can create content relevant to them, how you get people to link back to it, and how to improve the backend and navigation of your website for users and crawlers.
You could easily write thousands of words about any of these topics. There are many things to do before you start. Our guide to local SEO is a great starting point. It’s a good idea to start with local websites within your local area and then move on to larger clients and the eCommerce industry.
SEO can be started by creating your own websites and trying to rank them for relevant keywords. This will provide you with data and proof of your success, which you can show prospective clients.
Karol Karol K’s “Copycat Method”
Karol K from Ahrefs created the copycat technique. This is a great way to quickly get into the depths of SEO. It focuses on acquiring clients using one technique and then learning new techniques as you go.
You read an SEO tutorial and then look for links to the tutorial in tweets. Next, reach out to the businesses that tweeted about the tutorial and tout your skills. You then sign a contract and get to work.
This is a great way to get right in but it is not easy.
There are many benefits to selling SEO services to someone else. You don’t have to start from scratch, there is no learning curve, and you can begin more or less immediately. Reseller SEO services are a great benefit.
However, the downside is that you will make less money from the SEO services that you provide. Selling SEO services to other people is not a lucrative way to make a career in the industry.
A role as an SEO reseller for marketing agencies is often the best option. This allows you to concentrate on your strengths while also expanding your reach.
White Labelling is your friend
White labeling refers to the practice of obtaining a product or service from another party and then reselling it with your logo. White-label SEO allows people in the marketing industry to increase their reach and offer SEO without the need to invest the effort, time, or resources required to do it in-house.
Marketing clients are desperate for SEO. White labeling is a way to retain clients, and present a more comprehensive range of services to potential clients.
You should be focusing on your competence
Reselling SEO is a great way to keep your focus on existing skills, rather than developing new ones.
Selling services to businesses is what most people will find the most rewarding. These skills will make you a successful reseller. This section will help you improve your SEO selling skills.
Three types of clients
We won’t be entering into customer profiles or behavioral archetypes.
There are three types of SEO clients. They:
- They are creating a new website they want to optimize
- Already have a website that they wish to be optimized?
- Are redesigning a website they desire optimized
All three are covered in detail. However, no matter which one you choose, you want them to be the second client. SEO can be thought of as a continuous process. It works best when a website is going through some type of change. It is essential for any site that you wish to rank high in search engines.
This is great news, SEO-selling friend. It means you can make a steady income as long you convert your clients to believers.
You should monitor all channels that are available to businesses searching for websites. Talk to your contacts, use social media, and do whatever else you have. You can even approach web designers to offer to be their partner in creating new websites.
Clients who have just launched a new website make the biggest mistake by hiring SEO services too late. There may be coding and structural issues that you have to address by this point. This all takes time. If you were hired from the beginning, you could help guide the whole process.
If someone is thinking of designing a website but isn’t sure if it is worth the investment, speak to them. They should let them know they are serious about starting strong. By getting an SEO expert involved from the beginning, they will ensure that their site is optimized from top to bottom.
These clients are the bread-and-butter SEO clients. After a while, all websites become “existing sites” and their monthly payments will keep the lights on.
Although existing websites will make up the majority of your clients, they are often the most difficult to retain. The excitement that comes with a new or redesigned site is gone and all that remains is the tedious work of SEO.
Your clients may not understand SEO. You must be an expert at all times.
They will need to see evidence that SEO has a positive ROI. White labeling makes this easier. The third-party agency will give you plenty of evidence to back up their work.
If you are doing your own SEO, you will need to show not only what keywords you rank for but also how they motivate clicks and how well those clicks turn into sales. It’s a good idea to rank for some vanity keywords.
Websites underwent a redesign
Businesses whose websites are being redesigned are some of our most popular clients. Redesigns are a sign that the client was unhappy with their website’s performance in some way. It’s possible that they didn’t rank well on Google, which makes them easy to pitch.
They will also appreciate the importance of maintaining their site – they may have experienced the devastating consequences of leaving it unmodified. It’s not going to work for you unless you’re Space Jam.
We’ve now covered the three types and can discuss how to land these customers. Let’s get into it.
Before you can start pitching clients, there are a few things that you need.
- A CRM allows you to track clients and prioritize the best leads.
- Website (preferably with an SEO tool, so that you can quickly create customized pitches)
- A website email address
These two points should be obvious: if you are selling SEO services but don’t have one, it will make you look extremely suspect.
This is the most popular way to sell SEO services. You reach out directly to businesses, even if you have never met them before. This can be done in a variety of ways: mass emails, DMs, and phone calls. Or door knocking. Whatever your strengths are.
Each method has its advantages. Cold emailing allows you to reach a lot of potential clients at once, but these emails may go unclicked or in the Junk/Spam mailbox. This route is best if you have a stellar pitch and a clear CTA.
Door knocking and cold calling are more personal and you have a higher success rate than cold emailing. These strategies require more effort but you will only be able to land clients if you are clear about their business. This is about strengths, weaknesses, and everything.
This is the best way to approach it.
Many businesses will choose to take both approaches. Sales is a numbers game after all. This is not a time to sell SEO services immediately (although that would be great!). It’s a time to arrange a meeting to give a more detailed pitch.
Do not over-promise when cold contact. Do not promise a rank. You can’t promise them a certain rank. Google warns businesses against SEOs making outrageous claims about websites.
Excitement? Great. Urgency? Fantastic. Over exaggeration? This is a bad idea.
Upselling to existing customers
It’s much easier to up-sell SEO to existing clients than cold calling. Knowing your client’s pain points intimately means that you have an idea of how SEO can help increase their profitability.
Call your existing clients to discuss SEO. Or bring it up in your next meeting. Whatever works best for you. If you are just starting out in SEO, you might consider offering your services at an affordable rate to build your reputation. White labeling is a way to share your experience with an SEO company.
Be the SEO that the world needs.
It’s a sign you know your stuff when your website comes up first in searches for SEO services or web marketing services.
This can be advertised on your homepage. Include a call to action encouraging people sign up for your email newsletter or to get a free audit. Once you have this information, your cold call will be less cold. They’ll expect an email from them and it won’t end up in their junk mail. CTAs on-site are a great way of getting your foot in front.
Simple: Before you offer SEO to others, ensure that your own SEO is excellent! Show, and Tell.
Some business owners are hesitant to ask for referrals.
We won’t tell you to be shy. You are the person you are. However, we will tell you to continue asking for referrals.
If you do great work for other companies, they will tell their friends. It’s easy to get them to write reviews, create videos testimonials, or refer friends to you. They are also business owners and understand the importance of referrals.
Once you have a list with potential clients that you wish to follow up, you can do some research to determine who to prioritize.
What sites are the most easy to move needles on? Who expressed the greatest interest in your services and what are their top priorities? Do you believe there are any companies that will pay more for a greater range of services? Do you believe these companies are going to last?
These factors could all impact who you choose to prioritize. It is not a good idea to focus on the easiest customer to acquire. Instead, invest your time and energy in the clients that are most likely to grow your business in an ongoing manner.
The next step is the big meeting.
The big meeting
The “big meeting” may not actually be one meeting. Sometimes it takes several meetings before a client sells.
It doesn’t matter if you have one or more meetings; the point is that this is your chance at landing a new client. It’s important to have all your ducks in order and be prepared to impress. Let’s get started:
Take the customized approach
Each client is unique, so you need to tailor your pitch for each client. Talk about the company. Talk about your competitors and where they rank. Show them how shifting keywords can increase revenue, while stonewalling your competitors.
Discuss the client’s reviews. Discuss comments you have seen. Get service from the business. Tell them how you can help them.
Personalize it. Use their language. Demonstrate that you care about them and that you have taken the time to get to know them.
Make them feel special because they are unique.
Key Knowledge is
Most likely, your first foray into SEO will be focused on “local SEO”. Local SEO, unlike ecommerce is focused on a specific (usually small) area. Because there is less competition for keywords, it’s easier and more important to get the word out.
Local clients need to be convinced that you are knowledgeable about their niche in order to sell them SEO. Without a doubt, you should talk about local competitors. Also show your local knowledge. What you know about the areas, nearby restaurants, demographics, and your favorite spot. You can connect to the business by doing anything you can.
You don’t know much about the business they serve. Google can help you do that.
You don’t need to know this section if you have a lot of experience in sales. I will cover the most common sales techniques.
I must admit that I am not a pushy salesperson. My casual style and demeanor work well for me, even though I have met highly successful salespeople who are more “pushy” in their sales.
First, you need to determine what works for you. If the methods I have laid out aren’t right for your needs, then adjust accordingly. These are the basics and should be applicable to anyone.
Be kind and courteous, and be positive
Don’t be a jerk. This is a key principle in all relationships, not just sales.
You shouldn’t let anyone push you around. If someone changes date for you three times, it is probably best to bump them down on your priority list. However, you should try to accommodate when it’s possible, even if it seems unreasonable at times.
Be the one to share the good news. You shouldn’t focus on the pain points of your clients, even if they are real. Instead, think about how you can help them get through it. Do not focus on their ranking. Instead, focus on what you can do to help them climb up the rankings.
I have met salespeople who made it seem like I was in an uncanny valley. Their pitches were so well-written that I felt uncomfortable.
I hate scripts. They can be useful for bulk emails, but it makes it much less real when it comes to person-to-person interaction.
You took the time to get to know your client and do some research. Talk to your client like you are making new friends. Ask them about their day and their interests. Make a connection with them. It’s a lot more enjoyable to be in business with people you trust and like.
SEO is often a confusing topic for businesses, so they will have many questions. Some of these questions may be answered with “I don’t know”, such as “How long it will take me to rank for this keyword” and “How high can I rank”.
These questions will allow you to provide pseudo-answers by referencing data. We’ll look into that more soon. Sometimes, however, the answer is just “No” or even “I don’t think so”. This is a good thing for business.
Be ready for objections
can be subject to objections. These are the most common objections:
- It is too expensive
- It’s not something I think I need.
- It will take too much time
- Another SEO company was a disaster.
In reality, all these objections are a riff of “it costs too high” – I can almost guarantee that clients would accept a free SEO service if their business has any sense of legitimacy.
But I digress.
It is too expensive, clients say. It could cost them more to get it. They don’t believe they need it. They clearly know it has some values, otherwise they wouldn’t be meeting you. They don’t think they have it. They will not believe it.
Is it going to take too much? It’s not a reason to stop exercising. You do it for your health and fitness. SEO is the same.
Are you having bad experiences with an SEO? You get it. Some people wear shady black hats. People get burned. This is a great opportunity to get the references and testimonials you have already obtained.
I am not one of those always-be-closing people. Alec Baldwin is a great actor in Glengarry Glen Ross and I find it very offensive. It’s a wonderful scene. He deserves all the credit.
However, you must close. Do it. Tell them that you are available to help them get started immediately. Before the meeting begins, have a clearly defined pricing plan. You know where you can and cannot budge.
This point was already mentioned, but I thought it important enough to repeat it. Google warns businesses against SEOs promising the world. This means:
- Do not promise a ranking or outrank your competitors.
- You can’t guarantee that they will improve their rankings immediately. SEO can take months, or even years and is an ongoing process.
- Do not promise services that you cannot deliver. This is especially true if your company offers SEO services.
This is in line with the ” Be Honest” segment. Dishonest SEOs are bad for us all and can hurt our sales and relationships.
Data is your friend
Selling intangibles is a challenge for anyone who has ever done so. Data is the best tool for helping clients understand the complex workings of search engines.
It’s important to have reporting tools in order to show the value of SEO both at the initial pitch and when you meet with clients. You can get branded reporting tools from white labels. If you do your own SEO, you will need to create your own.
These tools should highlight targeted keywords. Highlight rank improvements, page impression and conversion rates.
Provide statistics and quotes
It is clear that SEO is extremely worthwhile, according to the data. SEO is able to generate 1000+% more traffic than social media and 28% of nearby searches result in a purchase.
These stats were obtained from Ahrefs 2020. However, there are many more stats available and quotes. You don’t need to Google SEO stats and SEO quotes. There is plenty of material that will make fall in LOVE with SEO.
They will help you fall in love with your clients.
Give testimonials and examples
This won’t work for your first client, unless you’re white labelling.
Your SEO experience will be highlighted to potential clients with testimonials and examples of positive results. If you are white labelling, you will need to create a portfolio. Once you have a portfolio, you can choose examples relevant to your client. This could be because they are in the same area, work in the same industry or have similar ranking statistics.
Be the expert
This is one of many surprising things in an article. To sell SEO, you must be familiar with SEO.
It’s obvious that your clients will know if you don’t know what you’re doing. They wouldn’t want an SEO agency that doesn’t know what their area of expertise is.
Do your research and buckle down. Watch every Moz Whiteboard Friday. Visit our blog. Join the SEO-related Facebook group. Follow Barry Schwartz, Danny Sullivan and Dr. Follow Pete on Twitter.
Before you can pitch to clients, it is important to be an expert in SEO.
- Your website should be a place where you discuss SEO. Maintain a blog.
- Be prepared for the questions that your client may ask. Prepare detailed answers.
- SEO should be explained in the most simple terms possible. If your prospect client is unable to understand the technical terms, avoid using it.
This was covered in the sales basics. But, what better way to end this article than with a few tips on closing the sale?
Get your proposal ready
Before you let anyone in, it is important to know what you are willing to offer the client at what price . SEO services can be scaled – the more links and content a client requests, the more expensive they will be.
Know your negotiables
Are you willing to negotiate on price? This is possible, especially if you offer a bundle deal. Negotiating link count or content. This is definitely an option. However, you should tailor your plans to each client.
You should know what you are able to negotiate and how those negotiations can be modified. It is important to inform the client about the consequences of changing your plan. For example, getting fewer links can lead to a slower process, and less drastic changes in ranking.
You can arrange for a follow up if you are unable to seal the deal at the first meeting. You can ask for a follow-up within two weeks even if your client says no. This will give them more time to consider the matter and allow you to negotiate a better deal.
Although they may not say yes, a follow up is a great way to convert a no into a possibility of a sale. Ask them if they are willing to keep in touch, even if they say no.
Now you are ready to sell SEO services. If you have any questions, please read our blog or contact us. We’d love help you get started selling SEO.