How to Sell SEO
Search engine optimization is important. You know that, but lots of people don’t. And because it’s a big investment (in time, if not necessarily in money), it can be challenging to convince stakeholders to undertake an SEO campaign.
That’s where we can help.
This piece is intended to be a short guide you can use to sell SEO services, whether you’re looking to build your book of business, trying to find a value-add for existing clients, or just want to convince your boss to let you optimize the company site.
Prepare for Success
Ask any seasoned sales professional and they’ll tell you – preparing for a pitch is just as important as the pitch itself. Before you enter the meeting room, you need to equip yourself with some important information like:
- How the website currently ranks.
- Who the main competitors are.
- What the pain points, needs and wants are.
- An understanding of what, if any, SEO efforts up to this point.
You also need to be able to succinctly explain what you’ll be doing, how the work will be performed and a rough timeline for delivery.
Know the Scope of Your Services
Whether you’re selling your services to your boss as a new initiative or are offering your services to a local business, you need to clearly define what you can and will do. This could be any number of things from fully managed SEO campaigns and link building to keyword research and on-page optimization. Each scenario will be different.
You may find it useful to offer several tiers of SEO services, so if the client balks at completely turning over their website to you, you can still sell them on content optimization.
What you offer will depend on your experience and resources, as well as what the client wants and needs.
Build Your Credibility and Authority
Occasionally, you’ll run across a new client who will take your offerings at face value and immediately agree that you are the right person to oversee their website’s SEO. And occasionally, you’ll find a $20 bill on the ground – but that’s not a reliable source of income.
To make your SEO sales pitch as impactful as possible, you need to establish your credibility. The best way to do this is by showing them proof in the form of statistics on traffic, links earned and before and after results.
Graphs and visual representations are your friend here, especially if you can point to a massive spike in web visitors that correlates with your work.
Additionally, if you’re pitching your SEO services to an external client, you’ll want to have a solid web presence of your own (which has been optimized – this is not a situation where the cobbler’s children should go shoeless), complete with testimonials and reviews, if possible.
Knowing the industry jargon and talking the talk are important, but not nearly as important as letting potential clients see your expertise with their own eyes.
Use Psychology to Your Advantage
At the end of the day, every sales pitch comes down to one thing: convincing a client that you’re the best solution for their problem. The best way to do this is by skillfully using psychology to lead them in the direction you want them to go.
Ask the Right Questions in Discovery
Virtually every sales pitch begins with a discovery stage, in which you find out what the client needs. The information they provide will give you the knowledge and data you need to make a solid proposal.
- What is the goal? – Do they want more clients? More sales? Site improvement? This answer will help you decide on key performance indicators and which areas of SEO to prioritize.
- What is the average customer value? – This will vary depending on industry, but will help you figure out how many customers your SEO campaign needs to win to make it profitable.
- What is the competition doing? – To outrank your client’s rivals, you need to understand what the competition is doing. Find out where competitors rank for important keywords, what type of content they’re using and what the USPs are – then find a way to do these better.
- What have they done in the past? – Has your potential client done SEO in the past? Are they doing it now? Use this information to figure out where they fell short and learn from those mistakes.
- What is the budget? – This is an important one: how much are they willing to spend? This will help you determine the scope of the work.
Pitch Results – Not Services
At the end of the day, whether the client decides to hire and retain you for SEO or look elsewhere is going to come down to one thing: the results you generate.
Don’t waste their valuable time talking through complicated technical SEO concepts or obscure link-building strategies (unless they ask you to). Instead, focus on what you can and will do for them.
If you believe you can double their website traffic, mention that. If you can increase conversions by 15%, say so. If you can help them attract a previously untapped market segment, let them know.
This is a good time to bring up existing issues with the website’s SEO and address the different ways you would address them.
Close the Deal and Put Your Proposal on Paper
By this stage, you should have built a strong case for why your SEO services are needed. The client should understand where their current site falls short, as well as why you are the best person to remedy the situation.
There’s one very important thing you need to do here: ask for the sale.
This is sales 101, but if you’ve never worked in professional sales, you may not know it. Ask for the business, and if you’re rejected, ask why. Then attempt to overcome these rebuttals.
Of course, sometimes the person you pitch won’t be the decision maker. That makes important to provide them with something they can take higher up the chain to advocate for your work.
The best way to do this is with a written scope of work that explains what you’ll do, the processes you’ll use, and lists deliverables. This also usually includes pricing information. Have the decision maker sign off on this to confirm you should start working.
Bonus: Ask for Referrals
Word-of-mouth marketing is any business’ best friend. SEO is no different. If you have satisfied clients, be sure to let them know how grateful you would be for any referrals. Not only does this give you new leads, but it also gives you instant credibility.
Sell More SEO Services to More Clients
One of the biggest issues many SEO professionals run into when building their business is a shortage of one key resource: time.
That’s where Evisio comes in. A platform built to streamline the entire SEO process, it automatically scans any website and returns a list of easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for fixing problems and capitalizing on opportunities.
Try it for yourself. Contact us for a free trial.