If you provide SEO services to your clients, you know they can be handful sometimes. They can have outdated ideas about SEO, have unrealistic expectations, expect their hand to be held all the time, or a combination of that and more. However, dealing with a client doesn’t always have to be an ordeal. Here are a few tips to make sure you establish a healthy relationship with your client.
Understand Who They Are and What They Offer
Whenever you meet with a new client, it’s important to familiarize yourself with their company and the kinds of products or services they have to offer. State of Digital says:
Never underestimate the importance of knowing the client’s brand inside and out. Sometimes this may involve spending a few days a week at the client’s office. It is important to know the brand managers really well, how they want to advertise their product, where they see themselves within the market and the competitors. How can any agency really expect to market their products if they do not fully understand the client and the product? It is essential to make time to get to know the product thoroughly and then marketing for the client will become second nature.
Dispel SEO Myths
Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, the next order of business is to educate them about how SEO actually works and what you can do for them in general. Stay on Search says:
SEO is a complex art form with thousands of intricacies that I don’t expect clients to begin to understand. However, there are a few SEO folklores that if not dismissed can hurt a client’s understanding of the SEO process. We’ve all heard them: “SEO is all about changing the Title Tags,” “PageRank is the most important metric”, “This XML sitemap will boost my rankings,” etc.
To an experienced SEO these statements sound ridiculous but to the client, whose limited knowledge on the subject usually comes from outdated articles and sales pitches, these myths seem entirely plausible. Be sure to clearly and calmly explain to the client why these myths are untrue so they will have a reasonable expectation of the SEO work to be performed.
One thing you might want to do is create some handouts or PDFs that you can provide to new clients to help educate them about SEO. A glossary of SEO terms would be especially helpful, not to mention how Panda, Penguin and the newest Hummingbird update affect the way SEO is done today. It’ll save you from a ton of questions later on.
Set Realistic Goals and Milestones
A lot of clients use rankings as their sole measure of success. If you can’t promise those rankings to them, they might choose another provider. However, it would be even worse if you promised those rankings and didn’t deliver. Stay on Search says:
It’s important to properly manage expectations upfront so there’s not tension three months down the road. Break overall goals for the campaign into milestones, with both short wins and long-term goals. While you should never promise rankings, give the client a general idea of the type of progress they will be able to see after one month, 90 days or 6 months. Most times these won’t be related to rankings but can be focused around achievements such as improving the technical health of a site, or progress with link building. Once these milestones have been established, set clearly defined metrics by which you can measure your progress so both you and the client are on the same page.
And if they decide to choose another provider that can promise those rankings, don’t let it get to you. It’s better to have lost a client now than to have a frustrated one later on.