Selling SEO to Clients with Small Budgets

Fact of modern business #1: every organization needs a website to help build the brand, establish trust, and most importantly of all, drives revenue. 

Fact of modern business #2: Any website that isn’t on the first page of Google search results might as well not exist – only .63% of searchers clicked on a link on the second page. 

Taking these two facts into account, the importance of search engine optimization for any business is clear. But therein, lies the rub: lots of small businesses need SEO, but they have neither the knowledge to do it themselves, nor the budget to hire someone from the outside. Or so they think. 

As a result of this seeming predicament, fewer than half of all small businesses employ an SEO strategy. But for a savvy SEO professional, this means great opportunity. 

In this piece, we’re going to take a look at pitching SEO services to clients who don’t have a large budget and provide you with strategies for closing more sales. 

Get Your Foot in the Door with a Free Consultation

The hardest part about sales is that your potential customers know you’re trying to sell them something. Anyone who has ever been hung up on during a cold call or had a door slammed in their face knows this.  To prevent that immediate rejection, you need a way to get your foot in the door. 

One of the best ways to do this is to offer a free no-commitment SEO consultation. Did you catch that all-important four-letter word? Free. People love freebies. And you’re offering to tell them exactly where their website’s shortcomings lie, without any expectation that they’ll hire you. 

This is doubly beneficial for you, the SEO professional, as your initial audit will give you a good idea about where this potential client stands – and where you can make a powerful impact. This will help you as you craft a pitch that’s personalized to their unique situation. 

Focus on the Financial Benefits

Many times, clients with small budgets for SEO are reluctant to open the purse strings because they see search engine optimization as a cost. Your job is to show them that it’s actually an investment. 

Yes, it will cost them some money up front, but the link between web traffic and revenue is a strong one. More visitors means an increase the probability of a conversion.   

And with compared with other forms of marketing, for example PPC or physical mailers, SEO is much more cost-effective. 

What’s more, by outsourcing SEO to you, the business is paying less than they would to hire and train an in-house SEO specialist or add on to the duties of a probably already overwhelmed (and far less SEO-savvy) in-house marketer. 

Make the Conversation About Them

People love to talk about themselves, but your experience is far less important to your potential client than the results you can generate for them. 

Ask a lot of questions about their business, their current goals and on-going marketing strategies. Find out what type of SEO, if any, they’ve done in the past. This type of approach should lead to a natural conversation and help them become more comfortable. 

Avoid Technical Talk

Search engine optimizers love to talk about crawl budgets, algorithms, 4XX status codes and long-tail keywords. There’s a very strong likelihood that your soon-to-be client won’t be familiar with technical jargon. 

And even if they have heard these terms before, they may only have a high-level understanding of their meaning. Don’t think overwhelming them with SEO-specific nomenclature is going to impress them. 

Instead, keep it simple. Clearly communicate the issues and opportunities you have noticed on their website and convey it in language your grandmother could understand. Don’t talk down to them, but don’t assume they know the difference between CSS or HTML, or even that they know what those are in the first place. 

Establish Expectations

It can’t be said enough: SEO success does not happen overnight. Some of the changes you make to a website may take weeks to reap rewards. If you haven’t been abundantly clear about this upfront, your client may prematurely pull the plug.

Small businesses, particularly local businesses, can reap massive rewards from SEO, but only if they’re patient enough to wait for results. 

Start Small and Show Them Where the Money is Going

Like it or not, whether the business decides to hire you or not is probably going to come down to one thing: cost.

There are two traps to be aware of here. 

The first is asking too much. When there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, it’s tempting to include it all in one package and tack on (what will seem to the client to be ) a big price tag. This is likely going to lead to rejection.  

The second trap is underselling your service. Through your discussion, you’ll come to understand what the client can reasonably spend on your services. You may be tempted to offer them full-service SEO at a discount price. This is going to saddle you with a big workload for not much compensation.

Luckily, the solution to both of these issues is the same thing: start small. Don’t promise the moon. Instead keep your initial pitch small and simple.

You may have a full spectrum of SEO skills, but clients with a small budget are much more likely to sign off on a smaller project like optimizing existing content for SEO or improving technical SEO than they are a major undertaking. 

Sell your services a la carte, but personalize each pitch. 

 Streamline Your SEO Processes

Small clients can turn into big ones, but it can be hard to know which are unicorns and which are destined to remain small. Maximize your chances by streamlining everything SEO with Evisio.

Perfect for consultants and agencies alike, it automatically scans audits websites from an SEO perspective, generates alerts and simplifies reporting. On top of that, it has built-in project management making it easy for you and your team to prioritize tasks and check statuses. Plus, it integrates directly with Google Search Console and all your third-party apps and tools. 

See it for yourself. Visit to learn more.

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