So, you have got a new client. First of all, kudos to you for increasing your client base.
What now? Start working, right?
Wait, yes you have to start working right away and show progress to your new client. But before that, have you given a thought to the onboarding process?
I know you are not hiring a new employee or getting into new investors for your company. But, in the realm of a consultancy agency and farming long term relationships with your clients, the onboarding process is essential.
Do not overlook the onboarding process. It is understandable that as an SEO expert, you want to jump right in and solve your client’s problem. And most of the people or even your boss would appreciate you with “That’s the spirit”.
But it is always healthy to set some ground rules. To lay down some expectations and the communication strategy with your client or even if you are working in-house.
Setting the Stage:
If you have a dedicated team to get the projects and another consisting of SEO experts to work on it, then the first task is to conduct internal communication and handing over the project.
If not, then also it is always suggested to discuss the project with your team. And if you are working alone, then also jot down the project details.
It is imperative to maintain a constant channel of communication with your client for the first 2 to 3 months. On the contrary, it is during these initial months only that you may have to deal with several conflicts. There is a need to keep up with the specific client instructions and then understand the project.
To this end, there may or may not be too much that you can show to your clients. The metrics may not be what your client is expecting.
But, you have to understand that, the client also knows that SEO is not a magic potion that will rank their websites overnight. It takes time.
So, you have to show whatever reports you generate and explain to the client what steps are taking to improve their performance.
If you want to achieve some success, then make it a habit to communicate with the client periodically. Yes, there are a few clients who do not want to be disturbed or get on a call every day and listen to what you have done.
But, not communicating at all is always better than communicating, even if it’s once in a week. So, keep that in mind and also tell your client that you wish to show your progress on a regular basis.
Not saying anything and still working is not good for you. The client may assume that you are not doing anything and they may not stick around.
So, make it a habit and schedule your calls so that both you and the client will free up their schedule beforehand.
Remember that the first impression is the last impression. So, if your client is not satisfied with anything let alone the work that you are doing, they may not stick around for long. So, work smart and be vigilant.
While we are talking about smart work, let’s also take this discussion further and understand what are SMART Goals.
Set your goals according to the graphic that you see above.
And I know that you are an amazing SEO professional, but never overdo yourself. Set some realistic goals.
In essence, when you are setting some high-end goals and going all the way just to impress your clients without thinking, you are raising your client’s expectations.
Not being able to achieve all of them won’t be good for a future association with your client.
That is why you should always set smaller goals that can be achieved.
In this, even your client may try to get you to agree on some over-achieving goals. Well, it is good to accept them in high spirits, but when it comes to crossing these already set goalposts, not everything will be easy.
So, set goalposts smartly and with precision. Think about your future association with the client. You do not want to risk it.
Let’s do the work now:
Before you start doing your magic, make sure to conduct an audit of the existing strategies implemented by the client. And this includes both On-Page and Off-Page SEO.
With this audit, you must create a long term plan and set your long term plan. And a long term plan won’t include something like “Getting x-thousand users on the client’s website every month”.
This is something that will come as a result of the plan, tactics, and strategies you set.
So, your long term plan must include your work methods. What are you going to do? How will you do it?
Set deliverables for every month. That way you won’t be burdened or pressurize your team to achieve the long term goals.
Go step by step. Another benefit is with these short term goals is that you can measure your progress effectively. If something is not right, then you can switch to Plan B. And don’t worry, there are 24 more alphabets to go. So, there are a lot of plans that you can devise.
SEO is a continuous process.
So, do not just provide your clients with a one-off strategy to improve their SEO rankings. And even the client won’t be able to see beyond the goals that you have provided them with.
The best practice is to go on monthly reporting and showing the progress to the client.
For now, conduct an audit of your client’s website and then set your goals and deliverables after that. Don’t rush. Take it step by step. If you show progress, the client won’t go anywhere.