You’re probably thinking that the toughest part of the SEO industry is winning clients. While that’s partly true – it’s also partly false. It’s definitely exciting to get new customers and begin another project. But the REAL challenge is in keeping them. Online marketing is not just about facts and figures; it’s also about relationships. And when things turn sour, it typically leads to a breakup.
While there are tons of articles about the client side of the matter, less is known when it comes to SEO agencies. What does happen when clients turn cold? How did things become the way it is? Don’t just let your clients leave you. Know the early signs of a crumbling relationship to patch things up.
These aren’t your typical ‘how’s the campaign going’ queries. When clients begin bugging you every hour (asking where the report is, or what happened to their number of followers on Twitter), you know something’s up. It’s either 1) they’re feeling suspicious about your activities on the campaign; OR 2) you haven’t been reporting to them as often as you used to. This can be quite bothersome, especially if you’re an outsourced agency.
Similar to a romantic relationship, a partner who’s suddenly changed habits will create doubt for the other party. Are you doing special tactics that you’re not telling your client? Or are you simply too busy monitoring their statistics that you forget to send the scheduled emails? Don’t make the same mistakes other agencies did to lose clients. Online marketing will always leave us breathless – but just communicate.
‘When SEO companies fail to coordinate with their customers, they fail to continue the thread of trust.’
Keep that spark alive in your campaign – and with your client – by sending a message as promised. That way, they wouldn’t have to notify you at 3AM about the report you missed.
It’s normal for us not to hear anything from our clients sometimes, especially during long Holidays. But watch out when it takes them weeks before they respond. It could be due to a real emergency – or they’ve been shopping around. Businesses are of course, entitled to look for a new agency. However, it’s a sad day for the SEO company who may have never seen it coming. Perhaps another chance could be given, or negotiations could be processed.
What the firm needs to do now is to lay all the cards on the table and be honest about WHERE the campaign is going. What have been the issues so far? Why was there silence? Was there something that the client didn’t approve of (which led them to go astray)? Almost everything can be resolved with proper communication. However, listen to verbal hints that may mean that the client is looking for a way out. This can be tricky; particularly if you guys are bound by contract. Prepare an explanation (if necessary), and do your best to make up for lost time.
A client that says ‘no’ to your backlink strategy is one thing – but a client that refuses ALL your ideas (whether on social media marketing or content) is another. If you have been working with a company for a while (a few months or so), you both have an idea about how each one is like. You (and your client) have already established rules; especially when it comes to do’s and don’ts. When you feel that you’ve been doing everything in your power and yet the customer isn’t satisfied, maybe there’s deeper trouble that just won’t come out.
It’s possible that the client isn’t as verbal when it comes to voicing out what they want to happen. This is more common than you think. The challenge then, is to lay out all feasible tasks that would help accomplish their SEO goals. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks in detail. You’ll feel that this situation is like one huge ‘mind game’; but don’t give up. Stick to your client, make them feel that they’re in good capable hands, and everything should be fine. Remember: this business chose you for a reason. Don’t make them think their choice was wrong.
You know that feeling when a partner suddenly stops caring? They won’t bother with what you prepare for dinner, what you wear – or worse: whether you’re there or not. The same could be said for clients. It could be that the campaign has dragged on for too long with little to no results, and their patience has been stretched to its end. At first it was great: traffic was coming in, and you were getting leads from all kinds of platforms. Then you hit a plateau. You probably promised to pick up pace after Christmas. But the Holidays came and went – and the numbers stayed the same.
‘Promises mean a lot – even in the online marketing world.’
Complacency is one of the main reasons why clients leave. NEVER break your promises! Not only will you be breaking a client’s trust, you’re instilling the idea that you’re not a company worth investing on.
Sometimes, the chemistry is just wrong. It may seem unfair that a client would fire you because they don’t like you – but we all know how difficult it is to work with folks we have an aversion to. Have you been approachable and accommodating during the duration of the project? Has the client reason to say otherwise? If you’re a fairly new SEO company in the industry, you’ll understand quickly enough that at times, clients just wish for change.
They will suddenly want to cancel without warning; upsetting business goals and your financial plans. Or a customer will refuse to acknowledge your efforts and insist no progress was made. Ask other online marketing firms: they’ll say more or less the same things. But what’s important is that you’ve done your best.
‘In every relationship (be it online marketing or in real life), you’ll encounter people whose energy and vision doesn’t match yours. Work hard still.’
The best SEO providers don’t buckle despite the people who try to put them down. Just because one client didn’t work out so well doesn’t mean the others would be just as bad. If you’re doing what you say you will, and are always learning new things; you’re bound to be rewarded.