HOW TO START YOUR SEO AGENCY
Acquire brands faster than your competition using this guide
Acquire more clients for your agency
You have just completed your management degree in marketing and are ready to face the world. You dream about starting a SEO agency. SEO has been your strong point throughout your course. Hence, it is natural for you to start a SEO agency of your own. There is nothing wrong in having such thoughts. You have to make a beginning somewhere in life. If you do so in the field that interests you a lot, it is better for you. Let us look at how to start your SEO agency from scratch.
Prior to that, we shall have a small test for you.
– Are you willing to put in more than 100% of your efforts?
– Are you willing to sell your services?
Let us be very honest with this appraisal. If the answers to both the questions are YES, you are welcome on board to learn how to start your SEO agency. A single NO means you are not on the same length. It should be better to part ways at this stage itself. You will get better opportunities in your area of interests.
Let us begin on a very light note. A young college graduate was being interviewed for the post of SEO expert. The interviewer posed the question, “What is SEO?” The boy answered, “SEO is a driver who gets paid for “driving in” traffic. The result was that he got selected.
Jokes apart, let us concentrate on starting your own SEO agency.
Staring a SEO agency is not going to be simple. Why should they be simple? Do the best things in the world come easy to you? It is better to do the hard work.
Let us see how to start your own SEO agency.
1. Get your basics right
Decide on a niche: Have a clear idea in your mind about the niche you like to serve. People might advise to take on each client as he comes along. But, it is always better to have your identity. A clear niche gives you this identity.
Decide on your location: Your geographical area of business has a great bearing on your SEO business. Doing business in your area is beneficial to you in many ways. But, that does not preclude you from trying out alternative areas. This can help you get more clients. Initially, concentrate on the local areas before venturing out of your comfort zone.
Decide you area of services: You are new to the business. Hence, concentrate on what you do the best. You have plans to open a SEO agency. Stick to it for the present. Once you gain a strong foothold, you can always branch out with supplementary services.
2. Develop your brand
Have a name: Shakespeare might have said, “What’s in a name, a rose by any name shall smell as sweet.” He is right in his own way. But, a business should have its unique identity. Can there be a better identity than a unique name. We use the word unique because it should be easy for you to rank on the search engine page. Check out the domain name if it is available. Similarly, do the same exercise on social media channels.
Logo is essential: All successful businesses have a logo and a tagline. Have one for your business as well. People should be able to identify your brand from your logo. Similarly, an effective tagline is necessary for driving people to your website.
Be the face of your business: It is not necessary for you to have a face that launches a thousand ships. If that were to be the case, we would be using the face of Helen of Troy. But, it is necessary for you to have a professional photo taken. You might have to use your photo at various places. It will help you identify with your brand.
3. Build your website:
Domain name and web hosting: This is where your name for the agency becomes important. You need to buy a domain name for your brand. A web hosting service is necessary for an online presence.
Have a compelling design: This is a tricky part of your SEO agency. If you know about web designing, you can well, design your own website. Otherwise, you need to hire professionals to do the job for you.
4. Web presence is necessary
Claim your GMB and Yelp listing: This is the primary responsibility of any business, leave alone a SEO agency. Claim your GMB listing. If you have a physical address, it is necessary to furnish it to Google. These are some of the best review websites available today. This allows you to announce your presence in the local market.
Social presence: Having your presence on social media is essential today. Build up your agency’s presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the other social media websites. The more accounts you have, the better it is for you. Social media engagement will get you a lot of clients.
5. Expertise and trust holds the key
Expertise: Quality content on your landing pages and services pages is the measure of your expertise. Have an effective keyword strategy for your blogs and other pages. This is the secret of attracting traffic on the internet.
What should your content consist of? You should explain the value addition you can make to your client’s websites and help them rank on the first page of search engines like Google. Remember, there will be hundreds of such SEO agencies all over the world. But, your local client will come to you because of your accessibility.
Trust: Building credibility with your customers is very important. It is better to be transparent in your dealings. Ranking websites on the SERP is not a secretive affair anymore. Hence, ensure that you build up the trust among your customers. Posting case studies and testimonials can do the job for you.
6. Take care of the legalities:
SEO Agencies in the US have to report their income in the IRS. You can register as a sole proprietorship or as a LLC. Your lawyer is the best person to help you in this matter. Seek his advice and act accordingly. Look to the health insurance aspect.
You need to raise invoices on your clients for payments. Develop a clear template for preparing your invoices. It should address your tax issues. Payment of the invoices can take place only when you set up the payment details. Bank transfers can be expensive. PayPal is a viable option. You can also set up a payment gateway if you so desire.
Do the paperwork properly. You might need to enter into contracts with your clients. Consult a lawyer to draft the contract. However, it is better to be simple and precise at the same time.
7. Have a clear plan about your working:
Communicate well with your clients. There is no need to use SEO lingo when you communicate with them. Organize your communications in a simple manner. However, while catering to the SEO aspect, you have to do everything in a legitimate manner to ensure that your client gets a top ranking in the organic search.
At the outset, you might be the sole person dealing with everything. As you expand your business, you might need to recruit people. This requires you to understand what project management is.
Make use of SEO tools intelligently. You might have to use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz Local Listing Score, and many others. There are keyword research tools like keyword.io and so on. Some are free tools whereas you have to pay for some of them.
We have seen the invoicing aspect in the previous paragraph. You should formulate a method of raising invoices. It can be based on a contractual basis or an hourly basis depending on the client you cater to. You might have to outsource certain jobs to freelancers. Factor in this aspect as well while fixing up the pricing.
8. Customers are the cornerstone of any business
Setting up a SEO agency can be easy, but soliciting customers can be a tough task. Social media engagement is one way of marketing your services. This requires you to optimize your social media profiles.
Customers love if you give freebies that are of value to them. One such tool is the SEO audit tool. You can link up with citation websites like Tribe Local to deliver these freebies to your customers. These audit tools are extremely useful as they help customers to find out their SEO score.
Email campaigns can also help in attracting customers. You can send productive emails to your leads. In case you wish to go for a cold emailing campaign, it is better to outsource the work to freelancers. You save valuable time and money in the bargain.
Just as you give the SEO audit tools as freebies to your customers, you can as well download one for your website. This enables you to provide free SEO audit to all your visitors. This is the best way to attract customers.
Your customers can serve as brand ambassadors. They can refer their friends and acquaintances to your SEO agency. You can reward them with discounts and other freebies. These are legitimate marketing techniques.
9. Qualify the right leads:
You can have a questionnaire on your website to seek leads. Some people have the habit of playing around with the answers. This shows their insincerity. It is better to ignore such leads and concentrate on the ones that provide the right feedback. This helps you to develop the quality to say NO. In doing so, you set high standards for your agency. Live up to it.
You have to picture yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers to understand the issues they face. This will help you find the right solution for them.
10. Have a clear SEO proposal in mind:
Be very clear and crisp when you prepare your SEO proposal. This can help you serve the right clients. Your SEO proposal should include the following items.
• Provide full information about your SEO agency to your clients
• Elaborate your SEO process and methodology
• Give the necessary details of the SEO services you provide to your clients
• Optimizations areas of the services
• Have a clear timeline in place and stick to it
• Understand the requirements from the client
Prepare a template along these lines. It will serve you a lot of good.
11. Learn how to close your SEO prospects
Know the right way to close out your deals. They should be effective and beneficial to all parties concerned. You do your preparations well to cater to the demands of your client. You might face some opposition or objections by your clients. Learn how to overcome these minor issues without antagonizing the customer.
Work with your SEO clients like a family. The relationship should be professional. It is better to work with both your mind and heart in the right place. This is how you seek new customers and retain the existing ones.
You can extend the referral programs to your SEO clients. Ask them to refer interested clients to you. You can pay them a commission in return. This is one way of getting quality clients. You can do the same as well for your clients and earn the extra bit of income.
12. Other important aspects
We have seen virtually every technical aspect of running your own SEO agency. Let us look at some psychological ones as well. Learn how to do business with the right people in the right way. Your college degree in management will help you a great deal in this regard. You will face stiff competition in the industry. Overcome the competition by practising legitimate techniques. SEO is a vast field. Every day something new will crop up. Hence, you should never stop learning new things. It will serve you well in the future.
We have seen a dozen aspects of building your own SEO agency. Follow these simple steps in the right order and see your business soar to great heights.