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How To Make SEO Appealing to SMBs.

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Convincing SMBs – especially those who are not necessarily digital natives – of the benefits of SEO work, can be challenging to say the least. There is an onus on agencies, like Matrix, acting in a consultative capacity with (often local) SMBs to clearly illustrate the benefits of SEO work to potential clients. Our 16 years of experience have taught us the importance of such informative consultation. Outlining in clear terms how the addition of SEO to their digital marketing mix can benefit their company is the most persuasive means of convincing hesitant prospects. We suggest following these 5 steps to convey the advantages of SEO to potential clients.
Step 1: Search Queries With Obvious Intent.

Presenting clients with examples of search queries with obvious purchase or visitor intent is crucial for their conception of the process and significance of SEO. This exercise allows them to easily imagine the majority of people entering such queries are intent on making transactions with a business (use examples specific to their business categoty if possible).

If, for example, the potential client is Worms Of Endearment,  a Bait Shop in Howth, Dublin, then lead with the information that a lot of people are searching for “Howth Bait Shops”. Such irrefutable data is pretty difficult for the client to ignore. This tends to be a more persuasive approach than, say, pitching that “there are a lot of searches for fishing lures. We could start content marketing and generate brand awareness.” The client in question, is likely to respond negatively to this approach, as it’s not clear that such activity is going to directly convert into business for them. Once they’ve been swayed by this information, you can sgue to highlighting how long tail or longer tail keywords narrow the very obvious intent even further. This will convey to the client that users are searching by location or specific products/service features that they uniquely offer.

Bait Shop Howth ?
vs. ?
Fishing Lures ?
Step 2. Highlight Search Volume and Competition.

The next step involves highlighting in a reasonably simple fashion search volume and competition data. This can be achieved by means of a slide or presentation. The goal here is to show off the volume as distinct from the SEO keyword research. It’s important to show search volume data at this juncture to illustrate how many people search for these things each month. This allows you to identify whether they are ranking for these terms already and if those they consider their top competitors in the market are ranking too. This can be phenomenally persuasive – especially the data surrounding their competitors’ ranking. This can help you make your case for the addition of certain channels or practices if the client sees that people are giving business to their competitors.

Volume Are You Ranking? Are Your 3 Top Competitors Ranking?
Dublin Bait Shops  N  Y
Howth Bait Shops  N  Y
 Dublin Bait and Tackle Shops  Y  Y
 Howth Bait Supplies  N  Y
Step 3. Show the Cost/Clicks Comparison With AdWords.

It is often necessary to prove the efficacy of SEO in order to convince SMB owners, especially those of a sceptical disposition. Thus, showing the cost/clicks comparison between AdWords and SEO is vital to achieving this. Begin by generating data for a hypothetical campaign. For example, propose running a 90-day  ad campaign. It’s not necessary to run it for all 90 days – run the campaign for a few days until enough data is gathered from which to extrapolate out.

Then you can present the client with the information that a 90-day ad campaign with Google, to achieve certain average positions and yield so much traffic, will cost approximately €3000. It’s projected to yield about 450 clicks based on observations so far. This translates to about 10 leads, since 1 lead is generated per 40 to 50 visits and about half the leads that come through search are closed. That translates to a 200% ROI, if it’s assumed that the average customer is spending €500 on their first visit. This is your ROI number.

With this data in place, it’s now time to show what would happen if a SEO campaign was run for the same time period. The cost will be €6000 and for this outlay the client can expect to get 900 new visitors from search, from which we expect that 35 leads can be culled. From these, we expect that approximately half (12) can be closed. The ROI will be 250%.  With this data in place it’s now time to begin the ROI comparisons. This crystalises for the client that SEO appears to be better investment! Once this has been established, you can further stress the benefits of SEO, mentioning, for example, that after traffic goes up, it stays up and the client doesn’t have to pay for it every time (in direct comparison to AdWords where each click costs money). By running an SEO campaign, it continues ad infinitum.

90-Day Ad Campaign 90-Day SEO Campaign
Cost €3,000 €6,000
Clicks 450 +900 (vs. prior 90 days)
Leads 10 25
Closed 5 12
ROI 200% 250%
Step. 4 Make The Process Transparent And Show Examples Of Your Results.

It’s best to use similar, but not directly competitive, examples to show your process. For example, mention that last year you worked with ‘Artie’s Archery Academy’. Recount how they were appearing nowhere in Google so we verified their local listings (at this point show them what a local listing is). We built them some links (again, show the client the links that were acquired, from press  or inclusion in local listing services). Also mention the keyword  and targeting research conducted and how this data was used to inform changes made to their page (yet again, show some examples by means of slide deck)

Use Google Analytics to show how these changes grew traffic by 500% in 6 months. It’s not necessary to show off the actual traffic – scrub the axis on the side so the numbers don’t appear and growth is simply shown.  Go on to highlight that search is now Artie’s number 2 source of new customers, only behind referring customers.

The points here is to illustrate the process for the potential client so it’s demystified. Your goal should be to convey that it’s possible for them to interpret the data but that process is challenging and work intensive and requires in depth knowledge so it’s beneficial for them to engage your services to carry out these tasks.

The root of scepticism surrounding SEO from SMB’s derives simply from a lack of understanding of the process itself and a communication breakdown between SEO professionals and marketing teams and the client. By carrying out this step you counter such scepticism.

Step 5. Address Objections And Concerns In An Empathetic Manner.

It’s imperative that you enter meetings with prospective clients primed to listen to their concerns. Addressing any objections they may have will foster good relations and convey to them that you’re knowledgeable on the subject. Many people have misconceptions with regard to SEO, have been misinformed on the subject and may have even had previous bad experiences, so it’s up to you to assuage their concerns. Obviously, making reference to relevant information is necessary in addition to merely displaying empathetic concern. However, you must also be willing to walk away from poor matches. There’s no point investing a lot of time and energy convincing a potential client to invest in SEO only to encounter impediment after impediment once the process has begun due to persistent lack of belief. If, after meeting with them, you know that there exists a lack of trust and willingness to invest it’s best not to proceed. In such situations your efforts would be better spent pitching to another more viable client.

We hope these steps aid you in your endeavours to secure some new SMB clients for SEO work. SEO can often be more appealing to clients once it’s potential and processes are explained in an approachable way.

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