Most SEO providers, especially those that are just starting out, make the mistake of focusing solely on search engine rankings as the main metric when reporting progress to their clients. As the industry sharpens and grows more competitive, it is important to provide more than just figures — you need to give your clients actual value.
How do they perceive the value of services you provide? This is something you need to understand; if you can show clients how both organic and paid search marketing campaigns are leading to increased leads (and then go further by illustrating the value of those sales and leads), your clients will never have reason to leave.
Why is SEO client retention important?
On a superficial level, it sounds easier to keep current clients around rather than go out and search for new ones. However, it’s not just common sense — there’s sufficient data to back up the assumption that client retention is far more cost-effective for businesses, including providers of SEO services.
Figures show that it costs 5% more to bring in new clients than it does to retain current ones. It also costs 16x more to lead new clients to the same level as existing ones – which wastes both time and money on your part. Other statistics reveal that increasing client retention rates by a mere 2% can lower your overall business costs by to 10%.
It’s no surprise that client retention brings in more money, as the average customer spends 67% more during months 31 to 36 of their partnership with a company compared to the first 6 months of working together. This is primarily because trust has been established and they’re no longer worried about investing in the quality of the SEO services that you provide. With all the figures and statistics mentioned, there’s certainly an incentive to focusing on client retention in the realm of SEO.
How do I manage my SEO clients?
As a leading SEO services provider in Australia, we understand first-hand the importance of retaining SEO clients. If you’re losing clients, take a closer look at the ways you can turn things around and increase your client retention rates. Here are a few areas you can focus on when it comes to SEO retention.
SEO is incredibly complicated for beginners, especially those who aren’t part of the industry. As such, many of your clients probably don’t understand it the way you do. If client retention is your goal, demystify SEO by providing them with a primer. While they might not know the finer and more complex details, you’ll at least be able to communicate with them more effectively and clearly about keyword selection, link-building, back-end optimisations, and more.
You can also increase the likelihood of retaining an SEO client by setting clear expectations upfront. In many cases, that includes talking to your clients about what they can expect from a successful campaign. For instance, most SEO firms will tell you that it takes an average of 3-6 months to start seeing results. If you don’t inform your SEO clients about this standard, they might think you aren’t doing your job properly because they aren’t seeing results in a few weeks. By managing the expectations of SEO clients at the start, you’ll avoid misunderstandings and potential fallout later on.
Custom and Curated Reports
One of your biggest goals as an SEO provider is to report all efforts properly and efficiently. It is so much more than simply sending them automated ranking reports without any sort of insight on how it affects lead generation or conversion.
That is not proper value.
Provide your clients with information that impacts their business. Do not let them laboriously go through traffic analysis or search engine rankings. Give them a custom report that details business goals; one that curates exactly what they need to know in a precise and succinct manner.
Actual Numbers and Value
If you are only reporting traffic data to your clients, you could potentially be providing them a disservice by not truthfully disclosing what the numbers actually mean. Think of it this way: if your client’s website gets hit with spam bot traffic that skews traffic data, are you going to tell them?
Are you providing them real value if all you’re going to report to them is traffic? Be liberal in the ways you disclose important numbers. Providing them with accurate numbers will create a sense of trust and a stronger bond between you and your client.
Know What Motivates Your Clients
If you’re running an SEO business, you should already have an idea of who your target customers are. Part of knowing them is learning what motivates them to run their business, what their goals and KPIs are. Aligning with their objectives by designing a campaign that’s tailor-fit to them will help instill more trust in your services and deepen your business relationship. They won’t look for other providers because you’re already giving them the ideal strategy that’s perfect for their business.
Continuous Education of SEO’s Worth
Likely, your clients are already familiar with the benefits of SEO but their expertise is in running their business – yours is improving their traffic. If client retention is your goal, spend time educating your clients about your approaches and methods in SEO, preferably step by step, so that they’ll clearly understand the effort that goes into your campaign. Discuss your current approach and demonstrate the entire range of SEO services you offer. You’ll impress your clients once they know what does on behind the scenes and earn additional business from them.
Honesty and Transparency
Be honest about the status of your client’s campaigns. If retaining SEO clients is your goal, you’ll need to be transparent with them. Of course, you want to highlight the positive results of their campaign but you also need to be accountable and explain the areas that need improvement. As long as you have a plan in place and you can communicate those next steps to the client, they’ll admire your ability to solve issues and appreciate your transparency.
Additionally, be available as needed. Cancelling or dodging calls never works out. Even if you’re overwhelmed with work or a campaign isn’t going as well you’d expected, customer service is still a priority. That may mean doubling down on efforts to get things back on track but even if you’ve got a full plate, don’t decrease communication or interactions with clients during a difficult time.
Upgrade their Campaigns
Once you’ve learned enough about your SEO clients, you have a strong sense of their business and their goals. Now’s the perfect time to build trust by showing them innovative solutions to their issues or even investing more in their current SEO campaign, provided you can justify their need for it. This shows them that you’re not just interested in providing SEO services, but you’ve thoroughly studied their brand and you’re willing to take their campaign to the next level.
For instance, after running an SEO audit, you saw that their website isn’t as responsive on mobile devices compared to the desktop version. However, the client only requested for reputation management or content marketing services. Do what’s best for your SEO client and speak about it to them. Explain thoroughly about how website responsiveness can positively affect their rankings and then offer them your web design services as a solution.
Constand and Clear Communication
SEO is still expanding, and the variety of clients you are going to meet will expand, too. You are going to have clients who will be fine with periodic emails and you’re going to have some who want constant phone calls and face-to-face-meetings.
Aside from constant communication, you need to zero in on what your SEO client truly cares about and communicate those values in your reports and calls. Don’t focus on data that means nothing to the SEO client. If you do, you might just be wasting their time. Know what each client values and connect data to those goals and priorities. Once they see how those pieces of information provide value and help them advance in their goals, they’ll become more interested in them and you’ll have a healthy client retention rate.
Additionally, eliminate jargon. You may have ample experience with SEO, but most of your clients don’t. In order to communicate effectively, you must recognise their level of understanding and adapt to it. If you use metrics in reports that they don’t understand, break it down for them or refrain from using jargon altogether. If they’re confused, they’ll end up feeling overwhelmed or alienated.
Increase Your SEO Client Retention Rate with SEO Services Australia
Despite having a great client-agency relationship, sometimes it’s hard to convince clients who think your job is over. Much of the value of an SEO campaign is up-front: you optimise their content, build good links, fix website problems, and so on. After dealing with the major issues, it’s crucial to show them that your services will remain a valuable asset to their business.
Following the tips above is a good way to retain SEO clients and keep them happy over the long term. It’s just about being a good business partner, but also about being your SEO clients’ most trusted advisor. As SEO will continue existing as long as search engines are around, it’s all about letting them know your services and advice are necessary in the years to come.
At SEO Services Australia, we know how to deliver great value so you retain your SEO clients. As your leading provider of SEO services in the region, we know how valuable it is to build stronger relationships using the practices mentioned above. Contact us today and discover how we offer greater value to your SEO clients.