Outside of being competent and getting results for your clients, the most important thing for a digital marketing agency to have is a pipeline of new clients. Client turnover happens… Every client isn’t the right fit for your agency, so not every client you start out with is going to stay with you forever. But, as long as you can consistently bring in a flow of clients, your business will be healthy.
Please remember that you must take extra care of clients that come from your partners. If they’re unhappy, the first person they will complain to is your partner. That’s not good for future referrals.
SEO matters because, generally, higher rankings will get you more traffic, which leads to more conversions. The exact click-through rate – or, the percentage of people who click on a result from the search engine results page (SERP) – of each ranking position differs based upon user intent, but everyone agrees that the higher the click-through rate, the higher the volume of traffic.
Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t promote / establish yourself online, just saying that even though this is a great long-term objective, it’s a generally poor and unreliable strategy to claim market share when you’re just starting out.
If you have a content problem – or a lack of content problem – then this needs to be fixed. If you haven’t had a chance to implement markup yet (Schema.org, OpenGraph, RDFA, MicroFormats, etc.), this should be a priority.
Once you hit that growth stage, what really matters is making success repeatable. This means blogging with consistency, meeting new agencies to partner with consistently, and following up with existing customers to gain an understanding of their satisfaction consistently too. It sure takes a lot of work but if you love what you do (and I definitely do) it pays off in spades.
I am just starting out and am having a lot of interest shown in my assistance, but since I don’t have case studies to base my value proposition off of, I am getting some pushback and had a recent proposition. An E-commerce site suggested that I provide them with SEO. They are currently averaging 250 conversions a day at $5-$8 per sale (a decal company). They said that they would pay me 20% of any increase in business I could bring in. I need to put food on the table for my family. I’ll work hard on getting other clients, but is this a good endeavor to go after? Where would you start with getting them more site traffic quickly? I will use all your info from Marketing school to build Funnels and Retarget them if they leave, but where would you start on-site.
But do remember to write for a human, not just a search engine. Though it’s important to have valuable keywords in your title tag, if it looks odd to a user (e.g., “Boston Cheeseburgers, Best Cheeseburgers, Cheeseburgers”) then you’ll be missing out on a bunch of traffic that thought “Mike’s Grill – Cheeseburgers, Shakes & More” sounded more like a real person.
The most important lesson I learned was to set the proper expectations with my clients right off the start. I found myself answering too many calls and wasting so much time dealing with needy customers. Now I simply let all my customers know how MY process works. Now I will answer any questions over email and we can have a monthly call to discuss progress if scheduled in advance. Eliminating the sky is falling calls.
Your one year plan might be focused on SEO, but your five year plan might be to provide the very same things SEO provides today – qualified visitor traffic – no matter what form the source of that traffic will take in five years time. The value proposition to the client, will be much the same. So, your five year plan might include learning about general marketing concepts and studying new digital marketing channels as they arise.
It’s essential to have a plan, just as you need directions to get to a travel destination. You could wing it without a map, and you might arrive in your destination, but chances are you won’t. You’ll most likely get lost. A business plan helps you assess where you are, and remind you where you’re going.
Keep in mind that I recommend targeting bigger keywords like “SEO Albany” from day one. You’d be surprised how easy it might be to get on page #1. Many of SEO competitors fail to do a bunch of easy SEO tactics, and instead they just rely on their domain’s age and authority any that’s not always enough. There is more than one way to skin a cat in SEO. Here are a few SEO tricks I did to dominate page #1 of Google for “Chicago SEO”, the #1 keyword for SEO services in all of Chicago. Keep in mind, my agency’s website to this day, has consistently stayed in the top two or three organic spaces in Google.
While you don’t need the letters “PMP” after your name to efficiently begins practicing this discipline, keeping a well-organized project management template, such as this Google spreadsheet is a good solution to get started.
This acts as a big number that they now have in their head and hopefully if you convince them well enough, they won’t want to drop any of the keywords you have proposed and will sign up to have you optimise their site for all of them.
Some people loathe the idea of a boss and that’s fine. Even good people have bad days so it’s not always going to be peaches and cream but if you are in a spot where there is mutual respect and fairness then I’d say hang on to it until you can financially manage to go out on your own.
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you have to have a scalable process in place if you want scalable and predictable results. Such an eye-opening lesson, after learning that from the NYT best selling book, The E-Myth Revisited.
Social signals. Set up as many social accounts as possible. Provide useful content, gain followers and link social accounts to your site. Make sure your website has your local keywords in your content.