A while back I wrote on setting the proper client expectations BEFORE you get started working on their SEO account. Today, I’d like to share with you a couple of ideas to prevent client disappointment during your SEO optimization strategy that we at Hanapin have put to use and have found great success with them.
1. Be Proactive
Being proactive with your clients means being one step ahead of them at all times. You will get that occasional client that trusts everything you do and doesn’t bother you, but a majority of the time you will have clients who do want to know everything that is going on and will be able to spot problems themselves. If a client is coming to you to tell you about a problem you should have already known about and told them about, that’s not being proactive. Now the client thinks you are not on top of it and will miss things. This puts more pressure on the client to constantly be involved and on the lookout for mistakes or errors. Being proactive means looking ahead, thinking ahead, and acting ahead of everyone else. That way if a client does come to you and asks you about an issue, you can say, “I’m already on top of that!” – which will put your client at ease. It can also get an aggressive ‘know it all’ client off your back at times too.
2. Be Transparent
We all dream of living in a perfect world, but reality is you will make a mistake from time to time. And that’s okay! The trick is being transparent with your client and letting them know when mistakes occur so they realize you are handling it. Even if there is no mistake made on your end, talk to the client about what’s going on with their SEO account. Don’t make them ask you for reports or information – come forth with it even if they don’t read it or use it. This will help the client feel more confident with what you are doing if you can be honest and up front about any issues, your fault or not.
3. Help solve the problem
One thing I have done in the past is to be open to helping clients solve their overall online marketing issues. Whether it’s tracking their emails via Google Analytics or diagnosing why their PPC stats dropped but SEO didn’t. Google Analytics or any other analytics tool can help you dig deep into the problem to really figure out what happened, and how it can be fixed. This can be a Godsend to your clients! For them to know that you really just want their business to thrive in any means necessary makes you more of a partner than simply an SEO consultant.
4. Predict the Future
Yes, be a fortune teller! You know as an experienced SEO manager that certain things like algorithm updates or new domains will cause SEO stats to fluctuate. If you think that something a client is going to do could cause potential damage to their rankings, do tell them in advance. You should word it like, “I know we’re launching the new website next month, but just as an FYI – we may see a drop in organic rankings as a result”. Of course tell them why, and if you expect it to bounce back up to normal the week after tell them that too. Google Trends is a great tool to determine seasonality among your top keywords. So if you’re selling an item that does really well over Christmas or Easter only, than make your client aware that traffic may drop on those keywords due to seasonality. This will make your client feel like you really know what you’re doing and that you are a part-time fortune-teller!? Again, being proactive about this information is key – telling them after the fact can break the trust of your SEO abilities.
5. The Why is More Important than the What
In SEO it’s common to find areas of expansion where the client could add more related content to the site to help improve keyword targeting and to build links. Moreover, in telling the client what kind of new content they should add, be sure to explain to them why. Sometimes, the why is more important to a client than the what – so they understand why it’s important and can possibly explain it to others in their company too. This works especially well when it comes to dealing with developers and programmers. Developers and programmers at times don’t like making changes to their sites if they don’t feel there’s a good reason for it. So if you get your client to be on your site this should help push those stubborn developers and programmers along. I’ve also had many clients tell me thank you for explaining it to me – they especially enjoy it when you take the time to explain how SEO works and why.
These client customer service tactics have really helped improve the relationship between the client and I, but also have proved to my client that I am a trustworthy SEO manager and they can count on me for all of their needs, serioulsy. Once you establish a good relationship with a few clients, those clients will refer other people to your services, and before you know it, you’ll have more and more clients.