Building a successful SEO or marketing agency is highly dependent on scaling.
In fact, that’s the name of the game. In order to grow, you have to keep adding new accounts.
But I also bet you don’t love sales.
Sure, you love the actual sale (noun), but you don’t like to sell (verb).
It can feel awkward, uncomfortable, and frustrating.
However, it’s a necessary ingredient for growth.
So, in this article, I’m going to share with you several of my favorite tips for winning more SEO clients using organic traffic strategies (or at least semi-organic) that don’t require cold calling or pitching random people.
Think of this as SEO sales made eas-ier.
Before you shift your focus to winning more clients, I’d ask you to pause and consider how many clients you want or need in order to accomplish your goals.
The best way to do this is by setting your target revenue from client retainers and to work backward.
For example, let’s say your goal is $30,000 per month in revenue.
If you charge $1,000 for an average client retainer, that means you need 30 clients per month. And if you already have 20 clients, that means you need to add 10 more clients.
Knowing that you need 10 new clients, you can set a time goal. Maybe it’s five months? That means you need to add two new clients per month for the next five months.
In fact, that’s probably a solid goal to have indefinitely (if the goal is to keep a steady list of 30 clients). After all, you’re probably going to lose somewhere between one to two clients each month as accounts shuffle in and out.
So the question becomes, how can you consistently add two new clients every month? (Or maybe that number is more aggressive for your agency. It could be five, 10, or even 15 new clients if you’re trying to scale a massive agency.)
Whatever the case may be, you need a diverse toolbox that you can reach into to find new clients without having to be reliant on paid ads and cold calling.
What follows are some highly-effective techniques that typically generate a pretty healthy ROI.
Providing an SEO audit service free of cost is a really simple and effective tactic that can be used to simultaneously identify the prospect’s needs and showcase your skills in a low-risk way.
Assuming you have a process in place for auditing a company’s site, it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to conduct a fairly in-depth analysis with flashy charts and graphs on things like SERP rankings, keywords, domain authority, backlinks, and errors.
Ideally, you get the prospect to agree to meet with you for a 30-minute consultation where you go over the results and provide some commentary on the audit results. This also gives you a chance to build a relationship and potentially sell the client on ongoing SEO services to address the problem areas that were exposed in the audit.
In reality, 90 percent of people who take you up on your free SEO audit offer aren’t going to become clients.
However, that 10 percent can really make it worth your time. If you’re able to do 10 audits per month (roughly two to three per week), you can expect to add at least one new client per month.
In a day and age of online events, you can really stand out by hosting a local in-person event.
This isn’t something you’re going to do every week (or even every month), but you may consider hosting one or two free local events each year.
The key to these events is to make them about more than SEO. (No business owner wants to attend an SEO event.)
Instead, make it about something more expansive and attractive – like marketing, branding, or lead generation. Invite a couple of other speakers or local entrepreneurs who aren’t direct competitors and host a half-day event where business owners can attend, ask questions, and network with one another.
LinkedIn offers fertile ground for SEO agencies and business owners. Yet very few are using it effectively.
The problem is that most people treat their LinkedIn profile like a resume, rather than a sales/branding tool.
Stop focusing on your LinkedIn “company page” – which nobody cares about – and start focusing on your own personal profile. (People connect with people – not businesses.)
There are four main areas of your profile to focus on:
Most people simply put their job title here (like “Owner of My SEO Agency.” But here’s a pro tip: Use this space to display your own Unique Sales Proposition (USP). For example: “I help small business owners increase website traffic by 25% using my 29-point SEO checklist.”
Don’t use your About section to tell your autobiography.(The truth is people don’t care about your story right now – they care about how you can help them.) Use this section to communicate how you help your target audience. Start by painting a picture of the type of clients who come to you (including the pain they experience and the desires they have). Then focus on the benefits they enjoy after working with you. This creates a transformative narrative in the prospect’s mind.
You can think of your banner as your own personal billboard. It should complement your headline/USP. It’s a great place to include logos of past clients, a call-to-action, or even a QR code to a webinar or squeeze page with a lead magnet.
It’s time to ditch the picture of you at your best friend’s wedding wearing a tux and a boutonnière. (You know… the one where you cropped out your spouse, but half of their arm is still dangling over your shoulder.)Spend $100 and get a professional headshot taken.
Now, that’s not to say other aspects of your profile don’t matter. For example, you’ll want to fill out your “Experience” and “Skills” sections. But the reality is that your USP, About, Banner, and Profile Picture get 95 percent of the attention.
Once your profile is complete, it’s time to start connecting with potential prospects. You can use Sales Navigator to help you find the right people. From there, it’s a matter of building relationships, sending messages, and selling yourself as the SEO expert within their network.
Your money is in your email list. I know social media is a lot sexier – and it certainly has its place in a lead generation strategy – but nothing beats email. When you have an email list, you’re in total control. It gives you the ability to drip on prospects whenever you please.
Don’t have an email list? Get started ASAP.
You don’t need to add 1,000 people to your list every day.
The goal is to consistently add new leads to your list over time.
Eventually, you’ll look up in 12 to 18 months and you’ll have a big, ripe list that you can tap into whenever you need to bring on a couple of new clients.
You can obviously set a budget that works for you, but I’d recommend spending $20 per day on paid ads that lead to a squeeze page with a compelling lead magnet.
At $20 per day, you’re talking about an investment of $600 per month. That might sound like a lot.
But if it nets you 100-300 leads per month, it’s a pretty good deal.
As you build your list, focus on sending 2-3 emails per week. These emails should add value. Teach a new technique, offer encouragement, or give something away. Then every now and then – maybe once every 10 emails – you can make a soft pitch for a free SEO audit or 20-minute strategy session.
What, me…write a book?
Writing a book is one of the biggest power play moves you can make.
Despite how easy it is to actually publish your own book these days, the general public (and your audience) still sees it as a highly respected label.
Writing a book is basically like creating your own prestigious business card.
You aren’t necessarily writing a book to become a best-selling author.
You’re doing it to establish yourself as an authority figure in the SEO and marketing space.
Don’t have the time or skills to write a book?
You can always hire a ghostwriter to do it for you.
And with DIY design tools and self-publishing platforms like Amazon, bringing your book to life is easier than ever before.
Okay, this is one of my favorite hacks for expanding your network and reaching prospective clients who you never would have been able to get in front of otherwise.
OPA stands for other people’s audiences.
The goal is to partner with people who already have an audience that includes people who are also in your target audience. (For example, a sales coach who trains business owners on different sales strategies and scripts. Their audience is the same as yours, but they don’t compete directly with you.)
The easiest way to tap into OPA is through guest blogging and/or being a guest on a podcast.
Both of these options give you exposure (and typically a few backlinks). If nothing else, it helps you grow your own audience so that you can eventually extract more clients from your list.
If you can develop a consistent stream of referrals, you’ll never have to sell again in your life. That’s because most referrals come pre-qualified and with a certain amount of built-in trust.
There are a million and one referral tactics, but feel free to get creative. For example, I recently heard about a real estate agent who started a bourbon in his city. The guy had a passion for bourbon, but he also knew that the average bourbon connoisseur is someone who has a little bit of money and is a homeowner. So he uses that club to build a referral network.
Here’s the thing: The guy who started the bourbon club never makes a direct pitch. Naturally, conversations arise at the meetings about what he does and he gets a chance to slip in little details about the real estate market, deals he’s working on, etc. Over time, the club has grown to have close to 75 regulars. And each of these regulars knows hundreds of other people. He’s instantly positioned himself to be a referrable real estate agent with no selling involved.
Why couldn’t you do something similar? It doesn’t have to be bourbon. It could be a hobby you enjoy, a volunteer group, or even a running or cycling club. Find something fun and turn it into an organic referral network.
Finally, have you ever considered doing public speaking? I know it sounds scary and intimidating, but it’s one of the best one-to-many strategies for quickly building trust with pre-qualified prospects.
There are thousands of marketing and business events held all across the country each year. Many of them are desperately seeking speakers. Seek out these stages and use them to build your reputation and generate new clients for your business.
If you follow these techniques, it’s possible that you’ll eventually reach a point where you’re bringing on more clients than you can handle.
And while this is a good problem to have, it can feel overwhelming. After all, there comes a point where you don’t have enough time or resources to serve these clients.
But what do you do? Turning off your prospecting and client acquisitions strategies doesn’t feel smart. (Why would you turn down revenue?)
One answer is to join our white label SEO reseller agency partner program. With this program, you simply let us manage your clients while you manage your business.
By reselling our SEO services, we give you the operational and back-office support to your client’s SEO campaigns. You still serve as the main point of contact for each client (which allows you to build the relationship), while we do all of the heavy lifting in the background.
By working with our SEO reseller program, you can instantly increase your capacity and scale much faster than you ever thought possible.