This is the second post in a series of posts specifically for online marketing and SEO agencies. In this and subsequent posts, I will cover topics related to client satisfaction, education and management. In the first post in this series I talked about how to increase transparency for your client.
In the State of SEO Agencies research we found that client education is one of the key challenges faced by agencies in delivering good results. Client education is also related to client satisfaction since it directly affects client’s knowledge and understanding of results.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your client knows about SEO and online marketing as much you do. Chances are they came to seek services of online marketing or SEO agencies because they don’t know how to properly do it themselves. By educating the client you are also doing a big service to the online marketing and SEO agencies industry, since incompetent agencies will have a hard time selling to educated clients.
Let me quickly list reasons why you will benefit from educating your clients. By educating your clients you:
- Send a message that you have the best interests of your clients at heart.
- Give a clear indication that you are a professional and do not need to hide anything.
- Let your client objectively assess the value of your work.
- Inspire loyalty in your client by doing something most agencies don’t do.
- Enable your client to support you in delivering the results.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you 5 tips you can use to better educate your clients and in turn increase their satisfaction.
1. Determine Client’s Knowledge in SEO
Before you start to educate your client, determine their knowledge on the topic of online marketing and SEO. Ask your clients questions related to their current practices. By asking questions about their current practices you will achieve two things: 1) you will get a pretty good idea how knowledgeable your client is and 2) whether they have been undertaking some potentially harmful activities.
Finding out right at the start whether there is presence of harmful activities is critical in delivering good service. Not everybody doing online marketing or SEO keeps themselves updated on new developments and Google’s algorithm updates. Chances are your client used some old-school techniques which have gotten them in trouble. So prepare for your service delivery by getting acquainted with your clients and their practices.
2. Be Open and Honest About the Process
Be open with your clients. If they messed up in the past, let them know. Tell them that you cannot provide them with an easy fix. Do not over-promise because it is going to backfire. Remember that when it comes to customer satisfaction, negative feedback is shared 3 times more often than positive feedback, so you want to set their expectations at a reasonable level. Even more importantly, tell them that there are no easy fixes and that it will take time and resources to fix the situation and see first results.
It’s also important that you openly discuss the techniques you will use to deliver results. The client should be enabled to understand what you are going to do and why. Don’t simply tell your clients that you will “build links for them”, but tell them why links matter, what kind of links you will acquire for them, how you will acquire these links, how many links are reasonable in a week/month, how much time it takes to build different types of links, and so on and so forth. Do the same for all other techniques you are going to use.
Also, discuss the time line and progression of different activities with your client. Let’s assume that you are going to do the following activities in the order in which they appear here: a site audit, link profile analysis, disavowing of toxic links, a thorough interlinking of internal pages, changing of tags based on keyword research, and building links through content collaboration. Explain to your client why you would use this order, how long each step will take, whether some steps overlap other steps, whether some steps are repeated, how you can measure the success of each step, etc.
3. Publish Articles on SEO and Online Marketing News
So far what I’ve discussed is most useful for new clients since these steps allow you to start the client-agency relationship on the right foot. After the clients have developed fundamental knowledge and understanding on the subject of SEO you can keep them updated through publishing content about new trends and changes in SEO practices.
Publishing articles has two benefits, 1) they keep your clients’ knowledge up to date with the current best practices and 2) they count as content and therefore improve your site’s pages’ rankings. Additionally, by providing news and insights about trends, you build your reputation as a credible and authoritative player in the industry.
4. Create a Glossary of All Relevant Terms
One of the biggest barrier for a client in understanding your work is jargon. You would be surprised of how many non-agency companies don’t know the difference between a “nofollow” and a “dofollow” link. Take a random sample of online marketers (who hire agencies) and ask them to tell you the exact definition of an “anchor text”. Or exactly how an external link differs from a link to another page on the same domain. Many marketers will not be able to give you these answer.
The concepts in SEO, once explained, are not hard to understand – but they do need to be explained. By creating and maintaining a glossary you have a resource that acts as a point of reference for your client during their education. Furthermore, just like blog posts (or news articles) a glossary benefits your website’s SEO performance. So it’s a win-win.
5. Create a Frequently Asked Questions Page
Much like a glossary, a FAQs page is meant to provide answers to questions which many clients tend to ask. A FAQs page is different from a glossary in the sense that it provides detailed answers which are more than just a definition or explanation of a professional term or jargon. FAQs pages do exactly what their name implies: they give answers to frequently asked questions. By all means, answer your clients’ questions when they ask you, but also point them to a FAQs page where they can find the answers in written form.
FAQs pages are also a great way to educate your client on concepts in SEO and online marketing in advance. You can link to relevant blog posts or downloadable content in the answers, so that your FAQs acts as a logical table of content.
Takeaways for online marketing and SEO agencies:
- Assess your client’s knowledge on the topics of SEO and online marketing
- Be very open and honest about the service process and what you will do for the client
- Enable you client to develop their own knowledge by publishing articles on SEO and online marketing
- Make it easy for your clients to follow the conversation by creating a glossary of SEO
- Save yourself and your client time by creating a frequently asked questions page
Open question to the online marketing and SEO agencies in our audience:
What other ways have you used to educate your clients?
Gain more insights on how to educate SEO clients by downloading the full report: