Are you planning to start your own digital SEO Agency? Does the idea or thought of running a consulting business haunt you? If so, you need to have some ideas on how to go about starting your own business. Here is a complete guide on how you can start and run a digital SEO Agency.
Become a Contractor, then a Founder
Getting a job that will pay you well is a luxury which many people take for granted. Deciding to work for yourself usually has so many risks and most of it has to do with creating a solid foundation for which the business will operate. Therefore, before opening your own business, you should consider doing some contracting jobs for some time while at the same time holding full-time employment for a number of reasons. One of the chief reasons for holding a contracting jib first is that it makes it possible for you to strike out without taking up so much risk. When you start doing some side jobs, you get a feel of the entrepreneurial world. From having to set aside some money for taxes to invoicing, you’ll learn that these small yet important aspects of a business count when running your own agency.
Apart from that, you’ll need to manage your time in a prudent way if you still want to continue with the full-time job. This will mean making a lot of sacrifices, working overtime and during the weekends. Establish relationships in the process as this could end up getting you referrals for your business later on. If you can pay your bills working as a contractor, then transitioning into an agency will be a lot easier.
You also need to learn how to manage clients when working a side gig because it allows you to get the experience needed to build contracts. You will need to get used to the process of compiling proposals and contract and signing any necessary documents. It’s all a part of the process so that when the time comes to start your own business, things will be easier for you.
Define Your Niche
There are numerous consultant and digital marketing agencies out there; some are specialists while others are not. Unless you have referrals flowing in, you will need to look for ways to stand out and come up with an exceptional selling proposition when it comes to approaching prospects. Apart from the added value of specialization in the SEO industry, there are numerous advantages that come with focusing what you offer towards a well-defined niche. One of the benefits is that it makes the onboarding processes much easier for you. When you accept any business as your client, there is a myriad of variables you’ll need to take into consideration before deciding whether that was a good decision or not. If the prospect is well-defined, then the process becomes easier for you because you are aware of the questions as well as information you’ll need to obtain from them. Additionally, you have a perspective of how the organizations operate internally and the average amount you are going to charge them.
Apart from that, focusing towards a defined niche gives your business a competitive advantage. Today, the internet has made it possible even for hackers to experience success. Since there are a lot of low-quality and poor-performing agencies out there, it gives clients a piece of mind when you cater to their need. Being able to focus on a certain niche gives your agency the expertise and social proof to tackle the needs of clients confidently.
Do Not Depend On Referrals
Although referrals are excellent, do not always rely on them. Word-of-mouth can easily build you a six-figure SEO agency, but it can be difficult to challenging to create a seven-figure company from it. There are other ways to attain clients and grow your agency. These include:
Blog about social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, and conversion optimization. The more technical your post become, and the more you utilize data to back up your ideas, the more leads you are going to get. Ideally, posts that contain data and stats usually drive about three times more leads compared to the blog posts which do not contain any data. When you blog in a technical way, using stats, data, and graphs, you are going to convince others that you are an expert at what you do and that you are in a position to assist them in case they need guidance on how to run their businesses.
2. Speak at Conferences
Marketing and SEO conferences have always been excellent places to get clients. When you arrange for meaningful conferences, you’ll be in a position to easily make money. However, in order to continue generating revenue from these kinds of conferences, you can choose to speak at non-industry events as well. For instance, you can choose to talk about SEO and online marketing at a gambling event. From fitness to finance, and every in between, the non-industry events will certainly create as much revenue as the industry events, if not more. To take advantage of this approach, you need to ensure you are speaking at conferences that charge approximately $1000 for every ticket, implying that you are speaking to a serious audience, people who want to learn about SEO and digital marketing. During the conference, you can talk about the various approaches or the tactics people can leverage and show illustrations of successful companies utilizing the tactics you mention. Wrap the entire presentation with data illustrating the techniques that are successful when it comes to SEO and digital marketing.
Leverage Business Development
When running an SEO agency, you will realize that you may end up losing money in the short run due to the development factor. However, you will be in a position to make up for such loses in the long turn. The fastest approach for you to increase your revenue is becoming an outsourced arm of the larger and well-developed agencies.
As an SEO organization, look around for other ad agencies to partner with because there are various ad agencies which are larger as opposed to SEO agencies. Do not hesitate to cold call the companies and offer to assist them with their website for free. If you succeed, they will likely send more customers to your agency.
This approach is quite tedious but it works perfectly. When you do it the right way, your company will get more clients from the ad agencies. All you have to do is to be ready to lose money in the beginning since you will be offering your SEO services for free at the beginning.
When dealing with the ad agencies, let them know that you are offering services for a minimum price of six figures since it is easier for them to send big contracts towards your direction. They might white label your agency but that should not be a problem since the ad agency will be getting rid of so much hassle and driving your revenue.
There’s always a Churn
Whether a customer found their way to you or they were referred to you by other people, in no time, they will leave you for someone else. That’s just how it is – SEO business is one with a high rate of churn. It is quite rare at a customer will stick with you for many years. As a result, it is imperative to survey your clients on a periodic basis, preferably every month. Find out about the issue they could be experiencing with your business and let them know that they should be transparent and free to air their grievances to you.
Once you get the information concerning your customers’ problems, create effective ways for dealing with the issues. If you can do this with your clients every month and you discover that the responses are improving, then your agency is doing well. On the other hand, if no progress is made, then there is an operational issue within your organization.
Apart from surveying your customers, provide them with a monthly report about the services offered and do not hesitate to call them weekly so as to determine if there are any issues. The more you keep in touch with your clients, the more you’ll be in a position to discover the problems they are facing.
The pointers highlighted in this guide are crucial when it comes to starting and running a digital SEO agency. With the techniques mentioned above, you’ll be in a position to grow your business into a successful company. The secret to running a successful business lies in the customers’ satisfaction. Once clients are satisfied with whatever you are offering them, they will be in a position to stick with you to the very end. However, do not get discouraged when you lose clients because that is also part of running a business. Find out the reasons why your agency is losing clients and devise mechanisms for fixing the problems they face.