Many of you who know me know that I ran a pretty popular digital marketing agency in Chicago before it was successfully acquired by a much bigger agency in 2014. One of the things that really made my agency so attractive for acquisition was our extremely high SEO client retention rate, that led to a super high MRR.
How did we retain so many SEO clients?
In an industry that traditionally has slow results and high turnover, we began to think outside the box. We stopped being a typical stubborn SEO agency that only focused on rankings, and thought everything else wasn’t our problem.
As we all know, SEO is a slow and painful process that can take months, if not years. So, besides rankings, we had to do other things that really impressed our SEO clients, so they would resign their contracts over and over again.
Here’s what we did:
1. A Plan of Attack
We developed a clear plan of attack for all of our SEO clients. The plan was always very simple to understand. We didn’t get into the weeds with technical SEO stuff. Our plans had dates, the things we were going to do, and why were going to do them.
More importantly, we developed a new plan of attack when each contract was coming to an end. We didn’t want to only focus on the past, we wanted to also focus on the future. We wanted our clients to stay excited for what was next. Showing a new plan of attack was huge when trying to get a client to resign a contact.
Plan of attacks got our clients extremely excited and eager to renew their contract.
2. Anything Visual
We humans are super visual. Being able to see something, anything, is a sign of progress, and progress is exciting. Too many SEO companies focus on only technical SEO, rankings and traffic. That’s a recipe for disaster. We all know rankings can take forever, and by the time any substantial progress is made, game over. Your client has moved on.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Plan on showing your clients something every week that they can see and get excited about. SEO is 80% content and 20% technical.
Don’t bore your client with the technical SEO things your doing behind the scence. Excite them with visual content they can see every week like:
- Blog posts (Publish on Medium or Linkedin)
- Checklists (Publish for free on Checkli.com)
- Infographics (Try Canva)
- Videos (Publish on Youtube or Vimeo)
- Power Points (Publish on SlideShare for free)
- and more!
Remember, 80% of your SEO plan should be formulated around high-quality, visual content.
3. Regular Communication
More than anything in this world, clients hate, hate, hate radio silence. You’re a third party. You probably don’t work in your clients’ offices. So, you need to stay in constant and regular contact to maintain momentum and trust.
Hiding behind your email and voicemail is quick way to lose clients.
- Schedule a momentum call 2-4 times per month
- Email to say high each week
- Schedule a pop-in every once in a while
People buy from people. Your clients want to know you and the people working on their project.
To increase transparency and build client relationships, focus on the following tactics
- Introduce the entire SEO team
- Add videos and images of the team on your site
- Make sure your team uses profile images on their emails
- Aim for face-to-face meetings
- Use video chat software
- Tweet about SEO but also about agency life
5. Talking Conversions
There’s one thing that clients love more than traffic and rankings, and that’s conversions! Let’s put this into perspective. If you sold cars, what’s a more important metric, the number of test drives, or the number of car sales?
SEO is the same way, but many SEO companies think their job ends at traffic from rankings. Nothing could be more wrong. Your client may not say it, but what they really want are more conversions.
Client after client would tell me that none of the other SEO firms talked about conversions, and we were the ONLY ones. This helped us closed countless deals.
- Think conversions.
- Discuss conversions.
- Focus on conversions.
I get it, “Search Engine Optimization” technically means the art and science of ranking web pages higher in search engines. But, “SEO” has evolved and thus so has the definition of SEO.
Think outside the box you’ve been working in. Think differently than the competition. Think about your clients. After all, they are people just like you.
Besides rankings, what else do you focus on to make your clients happy?
(Please let me know in the comments below.)