During the proposal stage for a new client, it’s easy to shout about how good you think you are as a company when undertaking an SEO campaign and getting results. You show the client your creds and you can’t think of a reason why they wouldn’t want to work with you. But the SEO game has changed.
Recently, having been involved in a few client pitches and proposals, I’ve found more and more that it’s less about proving yourself and more about simply gaining the client’s trust.
With one client, I documented everything we would do and how transparent we are, and although he was desperate to give us the go-ahead, he hesitated because he had been “burned by other agencies” and didn’t want it to happen again. I don’t blame him.
Unfortunately, there are still some agencies that are less focussed on managing a client’s expectations and delivering results than they are taking the money from a business that is investing all they have into trying to increase their visibility online.
I remember a good few years ago when there were multiple promotions from people promising “Google No.1 rankings guaranteed”, which was at a time when the system was considered easier to game.
Since Google has made people aware that there are no short cuts to SEO success, a lot of companies have had to think carefully about how they plan to execute a campaign which keeps Google happy and the client happy. There are a few things that we should all remember:
Clients need to have faith in an agency to be able to do a good job, and until proven otherwise, trust should always be paramount. But this isn’t just about the client trusting the agency; the agency needs to trust the client too. The agency needs to trust that the client will be willing and open to suggestions and recommendations that the agency makes, that the client will understand that we’re trying to work with them rather than against them and, ultimately, that the client gives the agency a chance to do a good job.
There will always be other SEO companies nipping at the heels of your client convincing them they can do a better job, but with trust in the company you’re currently using, there should be no reason to move to another provider.
We’ve all had situations where a ranking has dropped for a particular phrase, or there has been a slower-than-hoped-for hill climb to hitting an improved conversion rate, but trust is the glue that keeps it altogether. Trust that you, as an SEO company, will do all you can to get results, so when things don’t always go to plan, the client trusts that you’ll try and make it right again.
Unfortunately, as is the nature of the current economic climate, time is of the essence more than ever before. If you take on a client in survival mode, no-one on earth can make any guarantees that SEO will change their fortunes. Not only that, but chances are they’re going to need more than SEO to make their business a success.
But let’s just say ‘trust’ is a good place to start.