I meet a surprising number of prospective clients who confess to having thoroughly disliked their previous SEO agency.
Many of them have simply run into the charlatans our sector unfortunately attracts, but I have encountered quite a few companies which have had decent optimisation work done on their behalf.
So why have they left their former SEO agency and why are they so angry? I’ve been giving this some thought and I wanted to share with you the top five reasons I think some fairly talented agencies are losing valuable clients.
You grind them down with jargon
Your clients are not SEO experts. If they were, they would not be your clients; they’d be doing it themselves. Dropping endless jargon and abbreviations into your conversations with them won’t impress your clients with your masterful understanding of the industry.
Instead, if they don’t understand the terminology, it will bore them, frustrate them, anger them and blind them to the good work you’re doing.
And don’t forget that terms which are everyday in our sector – SEM, SEO, SERPs – are not necessarily obvious to them.
You don’t show them measurable results
You might know that you’ve managed to move your client’s website to a much higher position for a key phrase, but do they?
Even if their revenues are increasing because of your work, if you don’t regularly show them the specific positive impact you are having on their business, you risk them deciding to move on.
When clients don’t understand the work that you do, it’s imperative you spell out the benefits you’re achieving for them.
Simple graphs and charts, and accessible statistics help prove your value. It can also help whoever hired you justify the expense to their bosses. A client who clearly understands the value you add is a client who will stick around.
You’re not good with people
We’re in an industry that attracts very technologically-minded people and these are not always the greatest when it comes to diplomacy and client-management skills.
It doesn’t matter how great a job you’re doing for a business, if you aren’t any good at managing your working relationship then you risk alienating your client. Many SEO agencies have an abundance of techies, all taking care of the admin and client management alongside their SEO work.
If that sounds like you, then consider whether or not you’re giving your customers the positive care and attention they need in order to feel good about the business relationship. If you aren’t, consider hiring a client management executive to take care of the relationship while you take care of the customer’s online marketing.
They can’t reach you when they want to
Many SEO agencies have started out in someone’s shed and then grown. If you’re a bit of a one-man band just now and are trying to grow your agency, then you can’t afford to lose clients.
Business don’t always want to be emailing, they want to pick up a phone and speak to a person, even if all that person can do is take a message.
Without office staff to answer the phone and maintain regular contact with your clients, you risk your customers becoming exasperated, deciding you’re unreliable and moving on.
If you are have only recently set up your business, and you simply don’t have the capability to employ someone to answer phones, why not consider a remote office service or a virtual PA?
You didn’t manage their expectations
This is another area where decent customer relationship managers are worth their weight in gold.
If your clients have unrealistic expectations about what you’re going to achieve, how quickly and for what budget, then you will never be able to satisfy them.
Really, it’s better to lay out your realistic ambitions for them from the start and let them walk away then, than to invest mountains of time and effort into their campaign only to have them dump you three months in.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about how quickly SEO agencies can produce dramatic changes – peddled mostly by the snake oil salesmen our sector is plagued with.
Educate your clients from the start and make sure they are realistic about what their websites can achieve.