It was a long and extensive process to find the right SEO agency to lead your charge into the digital marketing realm, and, at this point, our job is just getting started. But that doesn’t mean that yours is done.
The most lucrative relationships between agency and client happen when there is a team mentality, rather than a transactional mentality.
This article was somewhat inspired by a comment we received on our blog post entitled: How to Choose an SEO Company (And Feel Great About It).
The comment simply stated: “Perhaps someone on this site could reverse roles and also write about “How To Pick The Right SEO Clients For Your Business”.”
We laughed about that because agencies obviously can’t go around just picking and choosing the clients they want. But that got me thinking:
If we could pick the right SEO clients, what would they be like?
I realized that the characteristics we’d look for in a great SEO client would not be things like “just listen to us and take our word for everything.” It would simply be a company that is really looking to build a long-term and lucrative relationship.
You’ve hired us to do a very specific job, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we see successful results. However, greater success always comes when there is a solid, team foundation between the client and agency pushing things forward.
Relationships are Never Easy
A relationship takes work. There’s no way around it.
In this case, we have an agency and a client coming into the situation from two very different backgrounds. It’s going to take some time for personalities to mesh and for all those little quirks to appear so that you can work through them together.
More than that, though, any one-sided relationship is going to fail. It’s really just that simple.
Each party has something to bring to this relationship, and when they come together and realize they can both contribute to the success of the campaign, that’s when you’ll see real changes happen.
The Goal of a Successful Client-Agency Relationship
The goal of this relationship – on both sides – is to meet your online marketing goals, work more efficiently, and develop an understanding and trust for each other.
As your SEO agency, we are going to be doing our part to increase your rankings, streamline your website structure, and develop your social media presence.
As our SEO client, we’re going to need to you participate in very specific parts of this campaign in order to keep things running smoothly.
Many clients simply don’t want to hear that they have to do their part in this relationship.
“I’m paying you right? Isn’t that my part?”
Admit it, that’s what a lot of you were thinking just now.
Well, no. That’s not the only thing you bring to this relationship.
If that’s the attitude going into this relationship, then you are only looking at this as one big transaction. And if that’s the case, let’s just say it’s not the kind of relationship that lasts very long and leave it at that before this metaphor gets really inappropriate.
How to Be the World’s Best Client
Let’s be completely clear about the above statement. This isn’t about being a good client for our benefit. We’re not saying that clients have any obligation to interact with us in a certain way.
We are saying that there are two sides to every equation, and the best clients know that when they bring something else to the equation, there is a much better chance to see positive results.
So here are 6 things you can do to build a better relationship with your SEO agency.
1. Communicate about your goals
When we say “communicate,” we don’t mean telling your SEO company that you want Trophy Keyword 1 and Trophy Keyword 2 to rank in the number one spot and won’t settle for anything less.
Communication is a two-way street. You can tell your SEO team what you expect, but you should also listen to the things they have to say. They may be able to help you set some other goals that will have a direct and fast impact on your ROI.
2. Be open and transparent
We need to understand your business in great detail. This will help us determine which strategies will be the most effective for your situation.
It’s okay for you to expect the same from us. We will be open and clear about the strategies we are implementing so you know what is going on at any time in the campaign.
3. Stay in touch
You’re busy. We get that. But if we don’t get input from you for 3 months, or you don’t regularly review your reports, and then come back and say: “What have you been doing with my money and why am I not ranking #1 for Trophy Keyword 1?” then we’ll have a long conversation ahead of us.
It’s important that you respond to communication from your agency in a timely fashion. Otherwise, you may end up bottlenecking some of your potential progress or missing an important opportunity.
4. But don’t be clingy
Your SEO agency is also busy. We hope you get that. A good agency will strive to make sure that your needs are constantly met, but you do need to understand one thing:
The time your team spends on the phone with you is time they could be working to improve your rankings.
You hired them to do a job. You should expect to be kept in the loop, but you need to let them do the job you hired them to do.
We send monthly reports which have all the important information relevant to your campaign, and we have worked hard to set the best strategies and develop a plan.
Now it’s important that you give us the freedom to do our jobs right.
The best relationships are built on trust, and you’re going to have to trust your agency to do their job.
5. Treat your agency like a member of the team, not the proceeds of a transaction
If you’re really treating your online marketing company like a member of the team, you’ll include them in the decision-making process of anything that involves your website, social media, or other marketing endeavors.
We can’t be treated as outsiders and strangers if you want your campaigns to succeed. We may not be in the building with you, but we need to be treated as if we are.
We encourage you to take our recommendations like you would any other member of your in-house team. You’ve hired certain people because they bring particular skills to the table and you are using them to grow your business.
The same needs to apply to your SEO team. You’ve hired us because of our skills and experience in this industry. Trust us to do our jobs.
6. Always remember that we both want the same thing
SEO is not just about rankings. It’s about conversion. It’s about incorporating social media. It’s about targeting the audience that is ready to make a purchase. And it’s about ranking – but maybe not in the way you think.
We both want the same thing:
We find that one of the most common breakdowns in communication happen when a client insists that success can only come from ranking one or two specific keywords. The SEO company will keep pushing the idea that overall traffic growth and increased conversion rate are far more important, but that’s not what the client wants to hear.
They came into this expecting to pay start showing up higher in Google for specific terms. They’ve paid for those specific results and want nothing less.
This is the transactional relationship we mentioned above. They’re looking at this like a customer.
The more lucrative relationships happen when they create a real partnership with the agency.
We may initially have different perspectives on how to achieve the best results, but by working together like a team and listening to the advice and concerns from each side, you’ll start to see real and sustainable results.
Ready to learn more about how an SEO agency fits into the rest of your marketing efforts? Download this ebook to delve into the larger world of online marketing: