One of the first steps in selling SEO services is finding the right clients.
As you may already know, it’s not just about finding willing businesses but prospecting for the right ones.
SEO services simply don’t scale at $500 dollars a month!
For this reason, it’s vitally important to find and talk with only qualified prospects… otherwise you’re wasting your time.
The first step to find SEO clients is choosing a viable niche to target.
Choosing the Right Niche
There are a few things to pay attention to when choosing a solid niche.
Here are three main characteristics to look for…
- Their services have a high-point and or lifetime customer value
- The decision makers are easily reachable
- You can produce exceptional results for them
From the above, you can see why home services are notoriously prime targets for local SEO services.
However, there are plenty of white collar niches that you can target but the decision makers will generally be a bit more difficult to get in contact with.
Quick Tip: don’t limit your options to entire industries. Instead of targeting dentistry as a whole, you can get more specific by targeting a particular branch, such as orthodontists.
Finding the Right Prospects
The easiest businesses to sell are the ones that are already sold.
The business that already has a website is likely already sold on the value of digital marketing.
Further, companies with active social media and paid advertising are even better.
Not only do these prospects understand the value of your services but have demonstrated they are willing to put time/money into their online marketing.
All of these strategies (except one) outline finding SEO clients using online means. This limits you to companies that have an internet presence but as mentioned above, these people are likely better candidates for your services.
The most obvious way to find SEO clients is to simply use local searches for the niche you’re targeting.
Organic & Map Results
Then, scroll over to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pages of Google results to find a whole list of companies that need help with their SEO.
Even better, you can check which companies are running Google ads and aren’t currently ranking on page one.
Keep in mind Google is showing you results based on your IP so the ads you see may not be specific to the area you’re searching for.
You can get around this using the Google Ad Preview & Diagnosis tool which allows you to simulate searches from anywhere in the world and using multiple devices.
Forums & Question Sites
Another way to prospect for SEO clients is to find and help people who are already looking for it.
You can do this quite efficiently using search operators such as the one in the image below.
Site: limits the search to a specific domain while the “quotes” makes sure the exact phrasing exists in the title or web page.
Further, you can narrow the results by time so you can make sure your responses are one of the first.
You can get even more ninja with this by setting up an email notification sent straight to your inbox whenever a question meeting your search criteria is posted.
The same tactic can be used for relevant business forums. The only difference is you would put the forum URL after the site: operator.
Business directories are a great place to find large lists of local businesses to contact.
The benefit of directories is that they usually have their own advertising platform.
Businesses that are running ads on these directories have money to spend and likely aren’t getting the best results from directory ads. They were sold once on ads so it’s as simple as asking if they would like that traffic for free.
Yelp is one of the bigger directories and likely the first place you want to start.
However, there are dozens of directories that you can find simply by performing a Google search.
All this prospecting can be quite tedious.
We recommend outsourcing the prospecting of businesses contacts to allow you to focus on higher-level activities.
However, this will require your time to outsource the task.
Instead, you may opt to skip that work and purchased a pre-made list of local businesses in your niche.
There are plenty of companies offering this service so you’ll want to do some shopping to see how targeted the lists are, how they acquired the contacts, what information is provided, and the reputation of the company you’re dealing with.
Most providers will give you the opportunity to rent a list (several promotional emails for a set price) or flat out purchase it.
Lastly, the only physical prospecting strategy on this list, networking.
Networking is perhaps one of the most effective and direct ways to get in contact with decision makers in large companies.
Whatever niche you are targeting, likely has trade events in which 100s if not 1000s of viable prospects congregate.
A simple way to find these events is with a Google search for “your niche keyword” “conference/events.”
However, a ninja tactic is to find trade magazines both physically and online.
Pro Tip: These trade magazines usually have opportunities to purchase native/banner/email promotional ads.
Another way to find quality events with local business owners is through Meetups.
Meetup is a website where locals can plan events and outings to meet people with similar interests.
You can find lots of free local business workshops using this app!
Once you find an event with potential prospects as attendees, click the profiles of each attendee and use the ‘other groups they are apart of’ section to find more options.
Eventually, you may even want to throw your own local event to pull in qualified prospects similar to what this agency is doing.
With 100s of ways to find and sell SEO clients, it’s hard to know where to start.
The key is to pick one, master the process, optimize your systems, and hire that aspect of your agency out as soon as possible.
No matter what prospecting strategy you use, with the right systems in place you should have a steady stream of warm, qualified leads every single day.
Check out our complete guide on how to get SEO clients for your digital marketing agency for more information about selling SEO services to local business owners.