SEO Client Retention:
The Key to Long-Term SEO/M Business Success
Building a successful SEO/M consultancy is hard. There’s a lot of competition and a lot of snake oil, SEO voodoo floating around the web, so building a solid reputation – one that leads to referrals and repeat business is essential to long-term business growth.
|Keep 'em coming back|
Once you have a client, you have to keep that client coming back because of the quality services and opinions you offer. You have to build a client base of happy clients. They come back for more. They’re also your best salespeople.
Here are some suggestions for keeping the customer satisfied.
1. Go through an extensive discovery phase. Determine such things as the target demographic, market competition, unique selling position, client objectives, challenges – a top-down analysis of what needs doing. A few hours more at this stage will save days of re-dos in the weeks ahead.
2. Prepare a written SOW. A statement of work describes the work to be undertaken (usually in chronological order), approval milestones, payment schedule, who’s going to do what. The more complete the SOW the more accurate the client’s expectations. Clients hate surprises so get on the same page early.
3. Give a stake to the client. No client is going to quibble with a strategy or design that s/he proposed. Instead of presenting finished pages and data analysis, engage the client and incorporate his or her suggestions into the final product. As best you can, let the client “own” the project.
4. Go proactive. In everything. Offer suggestions and counsel beyond the expectations of the client. If you discover an error you’ve made, call the client to let her know you’re on top of it.
5. Communicate. A lot. Not just approvals, though they’re essential to increased productivity, but also discuss implementation strategies, guerilla marketing tactics and opportunities for future growth of the client’s business.
6. Fix it. If the client ain’t happy, fix it. Period. A happy client will talk you up through his network. An unhappy client will bad mouth you to anyone who will listen. Rely on your SOW only as a last resort. Keep the client happy – even if it’s a loss leader for you.
Growing a stable of regular clients takes time and trust building. It’s an on-going process. But once your regulars are making up 75% of your work time, you don’t have to constantly worry about where the next job is coming from.