Tell Tale Signs That Your Client Gets Search Marketing
Once again, Chris Hart from Bruce Clay’s East Coast office joins us with some thoughts on how to convert your clients to the SEO religion.
As the SEO Priest it is as much my job to listen to clients as it is to preach to them. Conversation is a two way street, after all. Over time I have developed a simple way to listen for when a client has begun to understand search engine marketing and can relate it to their own online business.
Below, I have outlined four conversation components to help SEOs get an understanding of how well a client understands the search engine optimization needs of their website.
- Listen to their questions
- Identify tasks and task completion
- Organizational issues
- Feedback from past tasks are rolled into new initiatives
- FAQ: How can I recognize when I’ve convinced my clients about search marketing?
We have all heard numerous SEO 101 questions from a client’s marketing departments and IT departments alike. “Do links count, and why should I link to other sites?” “Does it matter what kind of redirect we use? Don’t they all do the same thing?”
The key to help answer these foundational questions is education and training and very open conversations. With every project we should know that extra hours will be needed up front in order to get everyone on the same page. As you get your clients speaking and understanding the same language, you will recognize the maturation of their thinking as the questions change.
The most noticeable change is in the format of the questions. Instead of “No, WHY?” you start to hear “Yes, we need to do this. What are our options?” When the format of the question has changed, you can infer that your clients are beginning to understand that there are specific ways of making a search-friendly site and that perhaps they realize that by no stretch of the imagination is any solution a cookie cutter.
The second phase of the transformation from SEO confusion to SEO competence occurs when you start to talk about what is hindering the site and how to fix these problems. As with any quest to improve, there must be an acknowledgment that something is wrong so that the issue can be addressed and fixed.
Remember, you must move slowly here. Start by putting issues into easy-to-understand categories. Hint: use their vocabulary rather than “SEO speak.” Then, work with them to divide large tasks into smaller, more manageable projects. By doing this, you and your client have begun to identify where the up-front effort and resources must go and what tasks will dovetail with each other.
In many cases, you will realize that the organizational structure may be a barrier to progress as much as the complexity of the task itself. This usually becomes self-evident as tasks are checked off after completion. If you find certain tasks are not being addressed or completed, you will know which department manager to key in on.
At this point, the client has had a chance to metabolize education and training. By now, they likely realize that changes will need to be made to their current processes and perhaps to their organizational structure in order to eliminate search marketing barriers. The next step is to look at the organizational structure that is currently in place and figure out what needs to change in order for search marketing efforts to succeed. That change could simply be a directive to the right people, but could also be a serious structural change.
In many cases, when a company moves its traditional business into the online world, it tries to duplicate exactly what has worked for it in the past. As we all know, this does not work most of the time and may negatively affect your online efforts.
This is why it is important to recognize bottlenecks, know who understands the search marketing process, and identify those who do not understand the organization’s search marketing goals and their role in the SEO process. The most valuable thing about this part of the communication cycle is minimizing or removing any barriers. Once eliminated, the organization is left with highly engaged and motivated individuals ready to work together on a common project.
The final client conversation component you should look for is when they start to make statements that clearly draw upon their new-found education. This information comes in the form of data from their analytics tools (it’s unfortunate how many companies don’t have this until they start an SEO project) or results from reviews of prior projects and tasks. For example, a client may say, “While that Flash site looked awesome, we know that no one found it using the search engines, and we shouldn’t use our resources on something like that again.” Even more telling is when search marketing initiatives are built into new projects along with clearly defined criteria for success and metrics for measuring that success.
I hope these conversation checkpoints help you as they have helped me, and please remember to always enjoy your client conversations. Just as you look to a client’s community demographics to help understand their audience, your ability to help your clients begins and ends with understanding what is important to them.
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Convincing clients about the significance of search marketing can be challenging, but with the right approach and key indicators to look for, you can confidently gauge when your efforts have paid off.
- Clear Communication and Understanding
The first sign that you’ve convinced your clients about search marketing is clear communication and a shared understanding of goals and strategies. When your clients can articulate the importance of search marketing, its impact on their business, and your strategies, you’re on the right track.
- Increased Investment
A significant increase in your client’s investment in search marketing is another strong signal. When they willingly allocate more budget and resources to your efforts, it’s a clear sign that they believe in the value you provide.
- Trust and Confidence
Building trust and confidence takes time, but when your clients trust your expertise and follow your recommendations without hesitation, you’ve likely convinced them about the power of search marketing.
- Positive Feedback and Testimonials
Satisfied clients are often eager to provide positive feedback and testimonials. When you receive these endorsements, it reflects their satisfaction and belief in your services.
- Demonstrated ROI
Return on investment (ROI) is the cornerstone of convincing arguments in search marketing. When clients can see tangible evidence of search marketing’s tangible outcomes – increased traffic to their website, higher conversion rates and improved sales – you have successfully made your case.
Transitioning Between Subtopics
The transition between these indicators can be seamless. For instance, clear communication often leads to increased investment, and as clients see the positive results, trust and confidence naturally develop. These signs often interconnect, making it easier to track your progress in convincing clients about the power of search marketing.
Step-by-Step Procedure to Recognize Client Conviction in Search Marketing
- Begin by ensuring clear and effective communication with your clients. Educate them about the value and strategies of search marketing.
- Gauge their willingness to invest more in search marketing initiatives.
- Build trust and confidence through consistent, transparent, and successful campaign management.
- Encourage satisfied clients to provide positive feedback and testimonials.
- Monitor and report on key performance indicators to demonstrate the ROI.
- Ensure that client feedback is regularly sought and considered.
- Schedule regular meetings or check-ins to discuss progress and strategy.
- Keep a close eye on their marketing budget allocation and any increases.
- Analyze website traffic and conversion rates to assess the impact of your efforts.
- Provide detailed reports showcasing key performance metrics.
- Share case studies and success stories related to your search marketing campaigns.
- Solicit feedback directly on the effectiveness of your strategies.
- Monitor social media mentions, reviews, and testimonials for positive sentiment.
- Foster a collaborative and supportive working relationship.
- Be responsive to client inquiries and needs.
- Continuously adapt and optimize your strategies to deliver ongoing value.
- Encourage clients to refer your services to others.
- Attend industry events and keep your knowledge up to date.
- Stay in touch with emerging trends in search marketing.
- Remember that long-term client conviction is built on trust, results, and effective communication.
Recognizing when you’ve convinced your clients about search marketing is a journey that involves clear communication, increased investment, trust, positive feedback, and, most importantly, demonstrated ROI. These key indicators can serve as landmarks in search marketing’s ever-evolving world, helping you build trust and deliver results while nurturing client relationships.
Remind yourself that your client’s faith in search marketing is a testament to you and affirms its value for them and their business.
This article was updated on November 30, 2023.