Here at Posirank, we literally have hundreds of people involved in our backend operations, involved with all the various minutiae of putting together and executing on various types of SEO campaigns. As VP of Operations here, it keeps me busy! But, over the years, I have identified who my key staff are, and I set up staff 1-1 meetings with each of them, short reviews that last 15-30 minutes each, with each of them, every other Friday.
In one of my latest rounds of 1-1’s, a staff member asked me for some advice regarding a perplexing problem, one that is often faced by some of you, I’m sure: people who are your SEO clients, who seem to be needing MUCH more hand-holding than you originally anticipated.
What to do?
Well, for what it’s worth, here are some of my recommendations (perhaps slightly expanded upon) that I gave my staff. Perhaps they might help you with that sometimes daunting task of customer-facing interactions.
Set The Ground Rules Up Front With ALL Your SEO Clients
Like any other relationship, bad ones are often bad right from the beginning. The wrong tone is set, or critical information or viewpoints are not shared. It’s no different in the SEO world when working with clients.
So you need to set the proper ground rules up front.
From the beginning, you need to let your SEO clients know that there are limits to what you will be doing for them. No SEO agency does everything for a client (even though they may advertise that they do!) Agencies differ on what services they provide and how detailed their assistance will be, but whatever rules are in place at your company, you need to communicate those details to them.
If, for example, your client has signed up for a bare-bones level of service (uggh!) then you need to discuss limits or else you run the risk that they will try to push you to provide more help/services than they contracted for. And some will do it!
Another example. If you (at your site) are providing your SEO clients with a login to a dashboard to review results and recent reports, it is a reasonable expectation that they will need some help learning how to navigate it initially. But they should also be told that the goal here is for them to be able to login and navigate for themselves after a certain period of time.
Prioritize Your SEO Clients By Dollar ($$) Spend
This one is going to sound pretty cold-hearted, I’ll admit. But at the end of the day every business has to stay in existence, and to grow, if it is to be in a position to help anyone.
And there are times — many instances — where you have to make some hard, money-hard choices. And all other things being equal, SEO clients who are spending $10K/month with you, who need a lot of help, are worth more to your business than the clients spending $500/month who also need lots of hand-holding. Here at Posirank we try to help everyone, regardless of spend levels, but sometimes you need to do a reality check.
Are Your SEO Clients SEO’ers or Non-SEO’ers?
Personally, I have never minded giving an extra helping-hand to SEO clients who are not SEO experts, who are only trying to get their own website ranked better. It makes sense that you would need to spend more time with them. They need – and deserve – more help as that is not their field of expertise.
However, there should be some expectation set (by you) in your customer handling procedures, with those SEO clients who have (or are trying to start) their own SEO agency with their own client base. Those folks need to be taking the initiative to learn the dashboard and become proficient in placing orders for their clients. The same also holds for single-website customers with SEO backgrounds/knowledge – they know more, and should be able to do more, for themselves, as time moves on — and you have a responsibility to help them to understand that.
Keep Records On All Your SEO Clients and Notice Patterns
As you begin to work with SEO clients of your own, develop some simple spreadsheets to track time and tasks performed for each customer. Compile the data! And use that data to spot — early on — those clients who are becoming a time-drain, when you don’t see the spending on their part to justify that.
If you don’t track this information, you can lose sight of all that you have done for that client over weeks and months, as the work you have done may be spread out over a long period of time.
We have found this necessary because, unfortunately, there are some SEO clients who have become very proficient in “nickel and diming” you to death with lots of little requests. At the time when these requests are made, they seem easy and quick to complete.
But when you see the bigger picture, of how much TOTAL time you are spending on servicing them, and then look at their spending, you will see that this client is actually costing your business money, because you have outputted far more services and help than you have received in corresponding payments.
If you will set the ground rules up front, try to be businesslike by prioritizing interactions with clients who can financially impact you the most, nudge the SEO types to take more responsibility, and keep proper records so you can spot issues, you should be well-positioned to reclaim your time, your business, and restore some balance to your daily life.
Since 2007 Rob Andrews has worked in the SEO and Content Marketing fields and is an established writer and trusted provider of thought-leadership for hundreds of SEO, advertising and marketing agencies worldwide. Read More