18 Ways for SEO Consultants to Get on New Clients Radar
It’s not that easy to offer SEO services today. Even with the economic crisis over, many companies still struggle to stay afloat. Their marketing budgets are limited or even cut each year.
At the same time, SEO competition is increasing. New companies and consultants pop up every day.
The battle for new customer is fierce. And unless you manage to get onto prospects radar, you might never come even close to winning.
But how can you break through all the noise your competition makes?
Unfortunately, there is not a single solution. There are however certain ways in which you could increase your exposure among new clients.
Here are few suggestions:
Run local marketing workshops
Offer workshops and training to local companies. It’s a great opportunity to show them what opportunities are available through digital marketing, results they could expect and of course, who to ask for help when they need it.
Attend trade shows in industries you are interested in
Many consultants try to specialise in a particular industry or market. Any trade shows focused around it are a great way to introduce yourself directly to people involved in promoting those companies.
If possible, consider having a stand and present the benefits of SEO and hiring you.
Create an exclusive small business resource
Business people love exclusivity. That’s the reason for popularity of organisations like BNI. Being a member of an exclusive club immediately raises anyone’s profile.
You can play on it by creating a members only resource. It doesn’t have to be anything big, a weekly marketing tip email worked extremely well for me. You could also create a dedicated portal for local businesses from you area. The important thing is that you restrict access to only a limited group of people.
Get professional accreditations
To many customers, accreditation equals trust. With their limited or no knowledge of SEO, it’s the only way to establish your professionalism and authority. Having a Google Partners or similar badge displayed on your website will confirm your professional status.
Speak at SEO events
Many clients attend SEO conferences or at least search through the speakers list when looking for companies to hire. Therefore exposure through your own industry events should get you noticed and get people talking about you.
Develop a referral strategy
For many consultants, referrals are the source of the best business. But, they rarely happen by themselves. You need to have a referral strategy in place to entice customers to refer you to others. This could be a simple tell-a-friend strategy or a full-blown reseller / affiliate scheme.
Write a book
Nothing say knowledgeable that authoring a book. The logic behind is simple, you really need to know your stuff to write one.
Write one (or ask a ghost writer to do it for you). Offer advice and teach your clients about your area. Don’t be afraid to share even the most specific information. Most clients will not act on it anyway. Instead they will look for someone to do it for them. And who’s better than the guy who offered them the advice in the first place?
My friend and fellow copywriter, Denise Fay used this strategy with her book “31 Days to Write a Better Copy”, for which she also won some awards too! A double win.
I am not a fan of offering free services. I agree however that sometimes freebies work. Especially when you offer a teaser service, like a basic SEO audit to get customers on top of your sales funnel. If managed well, this can be a good way to win more regular work from clients.
Explain SEO changes
Nothing builds authority better than providing commentary on industry specific issues and changes (and those SEO world is plenty of).
Whenever a major change in SEO or online marketing happens, be the one who explains it to local businesses. You can do this through speaking at regular networking events (my local BNI chamber used to have accountants explaining the budget changes each year) or through your newsletter.
Develop alliances with local businesses
Alliances and business partnerships are a great way to expand your reach and provide you with more work with relatively low amount of selling to do.
Gather together businesses related to marketing: printers, web designer, copywriter, business mentors etc. to form an alliance and refer business to one another.
Offer a white label service
As a consultant you have an opportunity to work individual clients but also other marketers and agencies. Traditional and digital marketing companies or web houses often seek white label partnerships to offer SEO service without having to invest in dedicated staff.
Get onto local press
Get featured in local press to gain exposure on the local market. This could be an interview or a feature article about your particular campaign or success.
Write column in local newspaper
Another way to be featured in local press is by writing a marketing column. This can offer a way to present yourself and your knowledge to local businesses in a very professional setting.
From personal experience I can tell you however that this strategy rarely results in direct sales. It will however help you to gain recognition on the local market, something that’s invaluable when you look for more work.
Offer no commitment chance to test your service
Back in the days when I ran a small design practice we used to offer a “test drive” option for new clients to try our service for a small fee. The idea was to allow clients to see if we understand their problems and offer solutions they seek.
You can do the same with SEO by offering a one month only commitment for instance to reduce a perceived risk of engaging in a long term business relationship with you.
Run or sponsor competitions
This could be a bit costly strategy but if you can, run or sponsor big prize competitions to generate interest around your brand.
Build a local business resource
One of the best ways to get known among local businesses is by building a resources they will all need. This could be a website helping them to understand the perils of digital marketing for instance. Or one connecting local businesses with one another.
Offer your service for free to a local cause
Rent yourself to a local cause or initiative to increase awareness of you in local business circles.
Start your own a networking group
Being an SEO consultant doesn’t mean that you have to promote yourself online only. In fact, most consultants win more new clients offline, through referrals and networking. Start a local networking group and start inviting local businesses to attend. It may go slow at the start but in time you should see a big uptake in attendance and business passed between members.
Creative commons image by Chase Elliot Clark / Flickr