This topic is very dear to all of us here at Serpzilla because we ourselves have an SEO product that we’re trying to bring to SEOs worldwide.
We’ve existed for 15 years now (in the form of SAPE) but only in an isolated region – mainly Russia and Eastern Europe.
In our home region, we have been so effective and so well known that we don’t even need to actively sell ourselves. In fact, our tool has become a necessity of sorts for SEOs.
Outside this region, however, our reputation has somehow not turned out to be very good. People don’t know our services, how effective they are, whether they work or not, or even if they need such services in the first place.
This only goes on to show that if YOU don’t control the narrative of your brand, someone else will.
So we’ve started to increase our brand awareness and sell our services better. Of course we’ve made some mistakes along the way, but we’ve also learnt some valuable lessons and we’ll share them here in this post. We’ll also discuss our strategy step by step.
The importance of explaining your methodology, working style and approaches clearly to your client – both before and during your campaigns – can never be over-estimated. Managing client expectations is key to selling your digital marketing services or products.
Because ultimately, what matters in SEO is results – if your approaches work for your clients within their budget, they’ll be happy to try out your services.
What you need to do is, explain your services in a way that your client not only understands them, but also conveys your plan to their higher-ups effectively. In effect, you should be so clear that your point of contact becomes your brand advocate – both inside and outside his company.
It’s a no-brainer that you need to change certain terms and phrases according to their usage in your target market. Here too, we’ve done a lot of research – and are still learning. In our region, there are a lot of terms, words and phrases in SEO that are commonly used, but they have no equivalents in other regions, and vice versa.
It takes a long time to speak the language of your client.
There are a lot of differences between different target markets. That’s a basic fact of marketing. The American market, the European market and the Indian market are all unique in their own ways. SEO specialists and agencies in all these regions do things differently and have different priorities.
You need to adapt your business practices in many ways to speak to new audiences and enter or conquer new target markets. For example, we see the Indian market as our #1 priority. Initially, we interacted with a lot of companies and experts in SEO from right here in Russia, but didn’t get any concrete results. Why?
We found that Indian people love to speak person-to-person – they loved real life interactions far more than online engagement. So what did we do? We packed our bags and flew to India!
Of course we made a lot of mistakes at first – we chose bad and smelly hotels with cockroaches, we started out with the wrong assumptions about how Indian SEOs work, etc.
But one thing worked in our favor – we were willing to listen and adapt. In the end, we got results because we understood one key point of our target market: that in-person interactions are very important in India.
Similarly, other markets would have their own key targeting points.
One of the most effective ways to build brand authority in the business of marketing is to create a community. However, your community will be worth nothing if you don’t invest in it. YOU are the one responsible to providing support, impetus and content to your community. The more useful, unique, informative and entertaining your community is, the more engagement it will receive and the faster it will grow.
Here at Serpzilla, we believe strongly in community building. We strive to write the best SEO articles, we do regular webinars and we interact with our audiences on social media whenever possible. All these activities drive more people in the SEO industry to our Twitter, LinkedIn and of course our website.
When you share content that your community loves, they might not necessarily buy from you or spend money immediately, but they will support you and be partners in your growth. They will advocate your products and services, your brand and your company.
Eventually, when they need a product or service you provide, you will be the first company that comes to their mind.
One of the biggest advantages of a community is, when a potential client Googles your brand, then you will own the top 10 results – your website and profiles on other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn will show up, and the client will be reassured that there is a great amount of positive news about your brand.
When you start selling your product directly, your prospects or audience might have a lot of questions or concerns to buying it. You need to categorize them by audience segments.
In sales parlance, these are called objections. The solution is to dig into them and understand if they’re real. It turns out that behind most objections, there are just trust issues.
Say, people tell you your product is very expensive. It happens to us – even though our product is so affordable, you can start with just $10! But that is not the real issue. The issue here is perceived value for money – what the client is really saying is, “I don’t trust your brand enough to spend $X on your product.”
The responsibility of creating this trust is yours. And understanding the customer’s pain is the first step towards creating trust.
Before you begin addressing their objections, have a list of all possible pain points ready. As you dig into each objection, you should be able to match the objection to a corresponding pain point. Simple questions will help you dig further into these problems.
And then you should have the exact response ready to address that specific pain point. For example, when a client tells us “Your tool is too expensive,” we hear “I don’t trust you enough to give me high quality links for an affordable price.” Our prepared response to this would be “Would you be willing to let us give you just a 15-minute demo of our product? Feel free to continue with us only if you think you can find good links that are worth the money. You can start with just $10!”
There can be multiple pain points or problems within an objection. People might not be ready to spend money on your product for multiple reasons. Don’t forget to address each of these issues in a satisfactory manner. Create a flowchart of these responses and involve multiple departments of your organization if necessary.
Again, as you approach new markets and new regions, you’ll have a totally different set of problems, objections and pain points. And your responses to these problems should vary according to the cultural and situational variables of that market. Deep research is your only way forward – there are no shortcuts.
In the business of SEO, it is very difficult to estimate when the client will get results and how good those results will be – regardless of whether they want rankings, traffic, leads or sales. That doesn’t mean you need to lie to your clients or make things up. Any estimates or guesses that are not based on data can backfire on you. What happens if the client doesn’t reach their goals after 6 months or a year?
SEO is all about building trust and you don’t want to end up breaking your client’s trust!
Imagine a client sitting in front of your right now and asking you, “When am I going to get my results?” Your immediate answer should be “Let me show you some of our case studies…”
Case studies are the ultimate answer to multiple concerns – both spoken and unspoken – that your clients might have. Case studies not only tell your client the different KPIs you can help them attain, but also give them a pretty good timeline within which they can expect results.
Your case study could be in any format – a PDF, a slide deck, a Word document, a spreadsheet – but it should have as much data as possible presented in an easy-to-understand and visually pleasing way. The only requirement is that this data should be real and verifiable. Never start a relationship with lies.
Describe everything in as much detail but as crisply as possible:
Armed with such a case study, you can tell the prospect sitting in front of you when to expect the first results (say, 3 months) as well as more definitive, long-term results (say, 12 months). You can be very specific, like “50 keywords on Page 1 of Google in six months’ time.”
If you can give precise timelines and metrics, your client will be able to clearly see the road ahead for their own business. They will understand the worth and implications of your strategy and tasks much better. They will be able to answer a lot of their own questions, or wouldn’t even need to ask them in the first place.
The world of SEO is always changing. It follows that only the most versatile products and companies will survive in this market. You need to constantly stay on top of the latest updates, educate your audience, try out new strategies and refine your product or service if you want to succeed in SEO. It’s not an easy task, but it is definitely attainable with a bit of smartness and a lot of consistency.