The SEO and online marketing tactics that we discuss on this blog can be used for much more than making your own websites and running your own affiliate campaigns. Applying your skill set to SEO consulting can not only make you a lot of money — it will also help you diversify your income stream and protect your business.
Even if you’re just beginning your Internet marketing journey, you still know a whole lot more than the average Joe. While you may not think of yourself as a bona fide expert, you certainly are to potential customers who don’t know anything about online marketing.
The knowledge and skills you have are extremely valuable to businesses and if you market yourself correctly they will pay you handsomely. But the whole matter of finding, pitching and closing businesses isn't always the easiest thing. Like your other online marketing endeavors, you will need to develop specialized skills and processes to succeed at SEO consulting.
Here’s five tips that will cut your learning curve down dramatically.
Tip #1: Find Clients that “Get It”
When you’re first looking for SEO consulting clients, you might think that the best ones are businesses that have no digital presence at all. They don’t even have a website, so they definitely need your help, right?
Well, that might be true but you could also have one heck of time convincing them that online marketing is the cure to all of their woes. Anyone who can fog up a mirror knows that people are online and that businesses should be too. If a business still doesn’t have a website, the owner probably has some objections you can’t overcome. And quite honestly, will probably be a royal pain.
Instead, find a business that already understands the power of online marketing but just doesn’t have it down yet. Maybe it has a site but it’s not mobile optimized. Maybe the owner or marketing manager is pumping money into AdWords but hasn’t done any SEO.
Chances are these potential clients will be more than willing to hear you out and you’ll have the start of a very good, mutually beneficial relationship.
Tip #2: Constantly Show Value
No matter how good you are at SEO consulting, there will come a time when your client will think, “Am I getting the kind of results I should for the amount of money I am paying?”
Your job as a consultant extends further than just delivering SEO results. You need to take those results and show your client how it’s affecting their bottom line. Businesses don’t care about rankings; they care about money.
That is why you need to track everything you do. Take a baseline reading of the site’s performance and rankings when you start. Then do your SEO magic and track how things change. Make sure you are tracking not only rankings but the effects that those rankings create, including:
- More website visits
- More phone calls
- More contact form submits
Simple call tracking software and Google Analytics will be enough to show your clients on a monthly basis that your work directly correlates into more people walking through their doors.
Tip #3: In the Beginning, Get Creative
If you don’t have a ton of experience and need to build up a portfolio, you’re going to have to get creative.
Build up your own website, locally based preferably, to show people that you know what you’re doing and can get some rankings. Even a standard affiliate site will do if you can tell them, “Google this keyword. Look, there’s my site.”
You might also want to look into doing some free or discounted work for friends, family or other acquaintances. It’s great practice and if you ask for referrals in return, you’ll start to gain some traction. You can also do some work on freelance sites to gain more experience and help convince your future clients that you’re legit.
Tip #4: Realize Your Value and Stick to It
Once you are more established, don’t get sucked into the “race to the bottom” syndrome so many businesses fall prey to. Basically, that’s where all you compete on is price.
The fact is, some bigger companies can outbid you because they have more resources. There is always going to be a less expensive outsourcer out there, too. Don’t try to compete on price with these guys. Know what kind of value you can provide and come up with a price that reflects that.
If a potential client can’t afford it, then move on to the next one.
This will lead you to discover tip number five…
Tip #5: Pick Clients with High-Value Customers
A hot dog cart might need your SEO consulting just as much as a law office might, but it doesn’t take the sharpest knife in the kitchen to know which one you should be targeting.
Depending on the legal issues, a single client to a law firm can be worth anywhere from $1,500 to $25,000 or more. If a customer gets a hot dog with all the toppings, they might drop $7.
Clients that have high-value customers can afford your services and justify them much easier. If you charge $1,000 a month to a law firm and get three or four clients, you could easily cover your costs. And if you can’t land a few clients for the firm, then you’re not doing things right.
Some other examples of businesses you want to look at are:
- Landscapers (luxury ones if you can find them)
- Construction companies
And don’t forget the lifetime value of a customer when putting together this list. Repeat business like the type insurance agents and financial advisers get can add up over a long time.
Same Work, More Benefits
SEO consulting might seem like a daunting business but understanding the basic principles above will give you a leg up.
You’re doing the same work as creating affiliate sites or other sites you monetize yourself. The only difference is the research you do based on the client and the fact that you are accountable to others.
By creating a steady stream of income from SEO consulting, you will be better prepared to weather any storms that might hit your other sites.What else do you want to know about SEO consulting? Have you had any experiences in this field?