We set up this series – Top Five Strategies to Successfully Scale SEO for Small Businesses – to guide marketing services companies that work with small businesses in developing successful and profitable client relationships. We outlined the Top Five Strategies in our first post. This week, we are diving deeper into our first strategy – Process Definition.
Adding and scaling an SEO services function on top of everything agencies do for small business customers is not easy! We recognize that it is imperative to nurture strong client relationship from Day 1 – it will save you future surprises and headaches on both ends. But how can you effectively onboard your clients and set clear expectations for the SEO strategy? What is the key to successful account management? How do we successfully execute upon the defined SEO strategy.
Obviously, the relationship you establish and grow with your client is what determines how long you will work together. Even the relationship side of the business requires some good process definition to make sure your client service and overall customer experience is consistently excellent across your organization. Three key account management processes that should be well defined are below:
- Onboarding – starting strong with a well-defined and well-executed on-boarding process is essential. Wowing your customer from Day 1 is key to a smooth, ongoing relationship. Your process should identify how you gather information from the customer needed to complete the work, confirming the objectives of the project and next steps as well as educating the customer on your overall approach. Do not miss this opportunity of setting the right tone;
- Scope or “Service Level Agreements” (SLAs) – it is extremely important to clearly define the amount of work that gets done for a client. When working with small businesses, it is even more important to balance both the client’s budget and the amount work and time needed to get the client the results they are looking for. This typically requires tough conversations in the sales process but providing the client with full clarity here really cuts down on tough conversations later.
- Contact Plan – getting clarification on how often and through what medium your account team will engage with the customer is really important to define. Defining this can eliminate a lot of stress with your team and setting the proper expectations with your client can really set the relationship up for success.
Now that the account management side of the house is defined the next step of running scalable SEO campaigns is to clearly define the processes for how SEO work is executed, tracked and delivered. By clearly defining these items you make sure to run a productive SEO campaign for your client and still be profitable as an agency. Some more detail on the key areas within SEO execution that need to be well defined is below.
- Deliverables – make sure to lay out and define all SEO deliverables so that your client is clear on “what gets done” and “why”. This primarily involves performance reports around traffic, rank improvements and maybe a few others. The other deliverable that we recommend is a report on the tasks or work completed over the month and how these items impact SEO performance.
- Execution – since many small business SEO engagements can be working with limited budgets it’s even more important to be efficient as possible in the execution area of your campaign. To do so, it is important to create and document processes for key tasks and activities. This cuts down on your team having to repeat work from project to project and having to relearn tasks. When well defined, your team can follow the defined plan to provide high quality deliverables as efficiently as possible.
- Tracking – as you potentially scale to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of SMB campaigns, it is crucial to track the SEO tasks and potentially delegate workflow across various team members. It is also important to track the status of tasks to make sure deliverables are met on time.
Want to know more about how to manage an SEO execution seamlessly? Stay tuned for the next article in the series, Grow and Scale!