Almost all businesses have come to the realization that they can benefit from online marketing and particularly SEO services.
Yes, there are those who have their heads buried in the sand and refuse to adapt to the new reality that faces businesses of all sizes: You must have an online presence. Even brick-and-mortar businesses that don’t actually do any transactions online need online marketing.
Customers are online, so businesses need to be online as well. Even a simple website with a couple of pages can give validity to a business in the eyes of a customer and help to build trust before the first button is hit on a phone.
That's why selling your online marketing skills to businesses is one of the biggest trends these days.
There is such a high demand and not enough quality providers that you can easily generate a nice stream of income in addition to your own websites and marketing endeavors, including your affiliate programs. Or if this line of work does it for you, you can even create your own business providing SEO services.
Here’s how to get started:
Decide on Your Services
As we mentioned above, SEO services are some of the most sought-after by businesses, but there are plenty of related services that you can provide or that go into your SEO work.
For example, in order to increase a client’s rankings and get them more traffic you may have to:
- Update (or even create) their website.
- Write new copy for their pages.
- Find, buy or create images.
- Set up local profiles like Yelp, Google+ Local (formally called Places), etc.
- Create or update their social media profiles.
Just because you can’t or don’t want to do something a client needs you don’t need to tell them, "No thank you, I don’t want your money." Use the same sort of approach you would for your affiliate site: If content is a weak point for you, outsource the work. Find a few trusted service providers whose skills complement your own.
Understand your strengths, likes and dislikes before you start and you’ll be a much happier person. You’re in this to make extra money and be your own boss. Why be miserable doing that?
Practice What You Preach
Would you go to a physical trainer who is out of shape? Would you give your money to a financial adviser who was broke?
Of course not.
Likewise, if you’re going to yell from the top of the mountain about the greatness of online marketing and SEO you need to practice what you preach.
Have a professional looking website that is optimized and ranks for terms related to your business. Set up local SEO profiles and citations like the ones you’re going to tell your clients they need. Have social media profiles that link back to your site.
Not only will these things get you business — they will also give validity to your sales pitch.
Get Some Results
Beyond having the basics set up, you’re going to want to have some results under your belt to show potential clients.
These don’t have to be mind-blowing or anything. Just enough to show people that you are capable and can do what you’re saying you can do. You’ll also want some testimonials you can share.
If you’re new to all of this and don’t have anything to show for results yet, don’t worry. Here’s how to get them:
- Your Own Sites: No one needs to know who actually owns a site you’re using as an example. Create and rank a site for some long tail keywords and BOOM! You have results. Take advantage of your affiliate marketing experience. If you've been waiting for a reason to try it, this is certainly a good one.
- Work Cheap: Find someone you know who has a business and offer to do some SEO work at discounted rates in exchange for a testimonial. If you don’t have any of those connections, pitch this to businesses you do business with (dentists, chiropractors, hair salons, etc.). They already know you and you give them money, so why not?
- Freelance Gigs: Sign up to be a provider on sites like Fiverr or Upwork and knock out some SEO work that you can reference.
OK, you have your site set up and some results you can show off. Now it’s time to get some paying customers.
Chances are your customers are going to be small local businesses. There are many ways you can get in front of them and get a shot at securing their business.
- Online: As online marketers the first place you should be looking to drum up business is through SEO and PPC. These channels will bring you plenty of opportunities to get in front of businesses.
- Social: Having a strong social presence to help you become the authority on SEO services in your area will also get you customers.
- Traditional: Sure, we focus our energy online, but that doesn’t mean traditional marketing doesn’t work. Print, radio, flyers, direct mail pieces and even signs on the side of the road can work wonders.
- Become the Authority: Find local business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and offer to speak on the finer points of online marketing. When those businesses decide they need SEO services, you’ll be the person they think of.
- Partner Up: Find businesses that do related services such as web design or traditional advertising and offer to be their SEO outsourcer. Or, if you have connections that are strong at selling, bring them in to drum up clients while you do the work.
Picking the Right Customers
When you first start your business, you might get all excited when someone actually wants to do business with you. But not all clients are created equal.
Here’s what to look for when targeting clients:
- High-Value Customers: The more money a business makes from their customers, the more likely they are to pay higher rates for your services. A plastic surgeon who makes $5,000 from a nose job only needs one or two clients a year to make your fees worthwhile.
- A Good Business: You want to work with good businesses that provide good customer service. Your job will be infinitely harder if your client runs a bad business and doesn’t care about customers.
Most importantly, you want clients who understand the value of your services and are realistic about results. Now, a lot of this comes down to you helping them understand your value and what results are realistic. But if the client is unreasonable or hard to work with from the get-go, then you should walk away and find a better one.
Like everything else in business, it all comes down to return on investment (ROI). You need to prove that the money your clients are paying you is making them more money.
- Reporting: Use Google Analytics and other reporting to show the traffic you are generating for them and their search engine rankings.
- Mandatory Meetings: Your client may not ask for it, but make a monthly meeting with them mandatory. Go over results, ask for feedback and reinforce the value you are providing.
- Call Tracking: If you want to make sure your clients know exactly what you’re bringing to their business, use call tracking. Services like If By Phone, Twilio and others can track calls based on their online source and even allow you to record the conversations. This is especially handy if you suspect that the business’s sales process or customer service processes might be the cause of low conversions.
Leveraging your affiliate marketing experience to selling your services like an SEO mercenary is a great way to diversify your income stream, or start a new business entirely. Given the number of businesses that need your help and the global nature of the Internet, the possibilities are truly endless.