Client retention should be one of the highest priorities for any digital marketing agency. More so in an unstable economy. Whether you’re offering SEO services or PPC, finding a lead is challenging. That’s why the moment you close them, you should aim to retain them. Closing a sale should never be your final goal.
Customer acquisition is far more expensive compared to keeping current ones, and satisfied customers are your best source of referrals. How much time and effort do you spend on retaining customers compared to gaining new ones?
Even as you focus on signing on new campaigns, don’t neglect the clients you already have. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow:
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Starting Off Right: Managing Client Expectations
Many new clients have unreasonable expectations of what SEO can accomplish, which are often fueled by absurd marketing claims. How many times have you seen some unknown agency guaranteeing first page rankings for any keyword, or boasting about “secret” techniques that Google doesn’t know about?
Remember that most business owners don’t have a deep understanding of SEO, which is precisely why they are looking for help. They may not realize that campaigns are long-term projects, and results will take time to materialize. If they expect you to start driving traffic to their website overnight, they will be disappointed with your apparent lack of progress, and decide to leave or switch SEO providers.
Before the client even signs your SEO contract, you need to make sure that they have a realistic grasp of the effort involved, and the campaign’s timeline. Design your SEO proposal in a way that it’s easy for your clients to understand the entire process of the campaign.
Note: It’s better to undersell your services and then over-deliver, leaving them pleasantly surprised.
Opening Two-Way Communication
Good professional relationships are based on transparency and frequent communication. This is why detailed monthly reports are so important; to justify the value of your services, you need to show real and tangible proof that you are benefiting their business. Talk about what you have accomplished in relation to the client’s main KPIs, and describe your expectations for the future.
However, you need to keep in mind that communication goes both ways. Do you actively solicit feedback from your clients? You need to stay on top of their concerns, and address potential issues early on. Waiting for the client to approach you with a problem is lazy campaign management.
Know what motivates your clients
If you’re planning to start an SEO business or you’re already running one, you must have an idea of who your target audiences are. Part of knowing them is learning about what motivates them to run their business. What their goals and what their KPIs are. In other words, what triggers them to get out of bed in the morning. Aligning with what motivates them and designing a process tailor-fit to them will help deepen both your business and personal relationships with customers.
Strengthen bond with your clients by upgrading their campaigns
Once you have learned enough about your client, you have a strong sense of who they are as a business and their goals. This is the time to build trust by showing them new solutions to their issues or even investing more in their current campaign, provided that you see the need for it. This shows them that you have thoroughly studied their brand, you’re interested in not just providing SEO services but you’re providing them with real SEO management.
For example, after running an SEO audit, you saw that their website isn’t as responsive on other devices as it is on desktop. However the client only requested for content marketing services from your agency. Do what’s best for your client and speak up. Thoroughly explain how website responsiveness will affect their ranking then recommend your solution and offer them your web design services.
Another scenario would be if you’re handling a client who came to you mainly for ecommerce SEO services but you found out that they’re on a platform that’s not really favorable for their ecommerce store and you think switching to a Wix or Shopify website is better. Instances like this happen and it’s good to speak up when they do. It will not only showcase your expertise but it will build trust and a deeper bond with your client.
Is Your Job Done? How to Provide Ongoing Value
Even if you have a good client-agency relationship, it is hard for a business owner to justify paying you if they think that your job is over. Much of an SEO campaign’s value is up-front; you fix website problems, optimize their content, build good links and disavow bad ones, and so on. After dealing with the biggest issues, it is important to show that you’re a valuable asset to the business.
It is important to show that you’re a valuable asset to the business.
A good way to do this is by looking beyond simple traffic generation—focus on increasing revenue. Is your client struggling with low conversion or high bounce rates? Do they have a weak social media presence? Can you provide in-depth competitive analysis? Identify the client’s pain points, and give solutions to become their go-to source for all digital marketing concerns.
There’s also educating clients about SEO, it is a large part of the job. Take a proactive stance on client retention, and start thinking of more ways to keep them happy over the long-term.
More than being a business partner, you should be your client’s most trusted SEO advisor. SEO will continue to exist for as long as the world keeps using search engines. With this in mind, your clients will be needing both your services and advice for many more years to come.