How Do You Handle an SEO Client That’s Been Burned Before?
June 21, 2012 by Nick Stamoulis
It’s an unfortunate truth in the SEO industry that there are plenty of black hat SEO companies and SEO spammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting site owners. One of the many issues I have with these SEO spammers is that they take what could have been great SEO clients for a white hat SEO firm and make them incredibly suspect and nervous. It’s the old “once burned twice shy” syndrome. Because the SEO client was burned once, it’s that much harder to get them to trust another SEO firm, no matter how legitimate they may be.
So how can a Boston SEO provider handle an SEO client that has been burned before? Here are four tips:
1. Be transparent.
The best thing you can do to reassure a nervous SEO client is to be completely transparent. Don’t just tell them how many links you’ve built this month, create a report that includes each and every published link so they can see exactly what you’re doing. If you’re writing blog posts, press releases or other forms of content give them a chance to read and approve them before you publish them. After all, this is their brand and brand reputation on the line. It’s especially important at the beginning of the campaign, when you’re still learning the ins and outs of your client’s business.
Many black hat SEO companies put up a lot of smoke and mirrors to keep their clients from understanding what is going on, so unless you want your client to question every move you make be sure you are 100% transparent in your actions.
2. Set hard and fast deadlines.
Clients like to know when projects are going to be done; it gives them the confidence that you’re actually going to do their work and their SEO campaign isn’t going to get pushed to the back burner or slapped together last minute. Don’t just say “we’ll have the link building strategy for you in a few weeks,” give them a day they can expect to see it in their inbox. Obviously things can come up and you might not be able to meet your deadline, but at least your client isn’t stuck in limbo waiting to hear from you.
3. Schedule monthly meetings.
No SEO client should have to chase down their SEO provider. Even if you only schedule a meeting (phone or in-person) once a month, it helps keep the business relationship and trust strong. People want to do business with other people, not nameless and faceless entities. These monthly meetings are a chance for you and your client to examine the past month’s link building activities, discuss content topics and upcoming PR, plan for the next few months and eventually judge the effectiveness of the SEO campaign and tweak it as need be. Even an hour a month can make a client feel much more confident in their relationship with you and your SEO company.
4. Respond to emails/phone calls in a timely manner.
There is nothing so urgent in SEO that it can’t wait until the morning, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid responding to a client’s emails or phone calls for 72+ hours. Obviously you want to set boundaries so clients aren’t calling you at dinner time and expecting an immediate response, but nor should they be left to stew for too long. As their SEO provider, you should be willing to answer questions, explain the process, offer input and so forth.
Above all else, it’s important that you be patient with an SEO client that has been burned before. It might take a little longer to earn their trust and put them at ease, but as long as you focus on providing great work and great service you’ll win them over in time.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com), a white hat link building and social SEO company based in Boston, MA. With nearly 13 years of experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog, hosting SEO training workshops and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.