The following tips are just a few of the things I do as
examples of setting my service apart from the crowd. In general, the weakest
areas in the Internet Marketing and Web Development business, are "Customer
Communications" and "Customer Service.” Set your effort towards learning
to deliver "excellence" in both customer service and communication, and you'll
have distinct advantages over many other competitors. These tips are based on
the tried and true method of "under promising and over delivering".
1. Manage expectations on initial Search Engine placement:
1. Do NOT tell your prospect that you will get their web site
placing in the top 10 search results right away. Don't guarantee that you
you'll get them thousands of visitors right away. I tell my prospects that I
will do my best to position them within the top 30 search results initially. As
you know, in this business there are no absolute guarantees, but even if you
can often position a client within the top 10 search results on at least a few
of the Majors right away, think about what you say before you say it.
People are tired of hearing a lot hype. Many firms make the mistake of pedaling
a lot of trumped up claims, even before they learn and understand a prospects
business. With so many people out there, who will promise the world to get a
sale, a little realism goes a long way to establishing your credibility.
Setting a client's expectations low initially, only enhances the effect of
achieving a high-ranking result. Why not initially tell your client something
that is EASY to believe.
I like to teach the client to expect top placement over a period
of 3 to 6 months. It's much easier for them to believe and for each time you
immediately place within the top 10 quickly, the client has another exciting
surprise! Learn to under promise and really over deliver every time! Focus on
educating your clients and teaching them truths that others only gloss over (or
are not aware of themselves).
2. Blow away old misconceptions
While some web firms talk about the huge volume of "Hits" to
their customers sites, I teach my prospects very early, that "hits" are
irrelevant. Hits are not the best means of determining site activity. A hit is
NOT a visitor. A hit can be any action from the server. For example a page that
displays 1 image, 10 buttons, 1 logo and plays music in the background, might
generate up to 14 hits for every visitor to the site. This is best explained by
showing the client an activity report and pointing out the difference between
hits (any action from the server) and User Sessions (actual visitors).
Eliminating any of the common misconceptions about traffic right from the
start, will serve you well in a marketplace where others are selling nothing
more than hype. Set yourself apart from the rest. Instead of letting customers
believe old ideas, educate them and help your customer to grasp how things
3. Teach your client about the time required for initial
I tell my client not to expect much site activity right away. I
like to prepare them for the time it takes robots to visit their site for the
first time. Once again, this a great opportunity to set your client's
expectation a little lower. If we give them an expectation of waiting
approximately 6 weeks after registration, before traffic commences, we know
that some search engines will probably begin to visit in 3 to 5 weeks. Indeed a
few may occasionally even visit within just 48 hours from the time you
register. However, creating an expectation of 6 to 8 weeks allows you to
out-perform yourself every time. If you really must exaggerate...then under
promise and over deliver.
Success Principle: Teach your client's the truth and learn to
manage your client's expectations. If you deliver above average results and
communicate well, you will have a client for a lifetime.
4. Tip on Mass Search Engine Registration:
Have you been telling your client about how you are going to
register them with 250 search engines for free? This is an old out dated
approach but you may be surprised at how many competitors will be saying the
very same thing (because literally anyone can buy auto submission
I take a different approach.
I ask the prospect this question:
“Have you ever wondered why some web developers may offer
to register you with 250 search engines for free?” The answer is
simple...that's exactly what it's worth. ZERO ......I then go on to teach them
how targeted traffic is only realized through achieving a high ranking on the
Major search engines. Show them an activity report to validate it. Then educate
them about how you remain focused on optimizing their Web site for the Major
By setting realistic expectations on search engine registration,
and telling them the truth about where most of their traffic will come from,
you once again are providing an education that others in the business forget to
give their clients.
5. Teach your clients about the value of Manual SE
If you're like me, you only do manual registration. If
you do use an auto-submission program or service, make sure it is one that
works in a non-spam manner (there are not many that do).
6. Teach your
clients about the risk and annoyance of FFA Links:
FFA Links (which stands for Free For All links) are NOT search
engines. Actually what you have probably learned by now is that many FFA sites
are often times but not always, nothing more than spam sites seeking your
e-mail address. Over the years I have tried subscribing to these services at
times just to determine if there may be any benefit. I can determine no benefit
in FFA links and I like to educate my clients so they do not get sucked in by
the many "special offers". Educate your clients and save them headaches.
7. Build long term relationships with your clients.
Taking the consultancy approach with SEO offers many
opportunities to not only build customer rapport but also to maintain it on a
long term basis. I see my role as teaching my clients as much as I can about
the Internet side of their business. The time you spend educating your client
pays fairly big dividends in terms of customer loyalty. What happens after a
while is, your customers will seek your advice on issues rather than just get
taken advantage of by one of those e-mail deals that sounds to good to be true.
Care for your client's business as if it were your own!
8. Does your client need help to write a Media Release?
This may be a stretch for some SEO's but look for opportunities
to help your client promote their web site in different ways. I like to assist
my clients by doing little things that are easy for me to do, don't really take
too much time and add extra value to my service. Examples of these services
might be to help your client write a good media release or the creation of
little counter top signs that advertise the clients URL. Do they need a little
checklist to help them promote their URL? Think value added!
9. Practice customer service excellence.
One of the biggest loopholes in the Internet marketing and SEO
business, is lack of quality customer service. Do you return their calls? Do
you look after their questions promptly? Do you keep them informed about the
10. See your customer, as a customer for life.
Care for your customers business as much as you can with full
attention to detail. Most business owners are far to busy running their
business to look after all of their "web presence" issues. This is why they
hire you in the first place. If you remember to deliver "excellence" in both
customer service and communication, you'll have distinct advantages over many
other competitors. Look after your customers well, and they will definitely
look after you well too.
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About John Alexander
John has taught onsite search
engine marketing sessions to people from over 80 different countries, and he's
worked as a professional in the search engine industry for years. John operates
a Web site for professional search engine optimizers,
Beyond-SEO. He's also a popular chat moderator at
the Academy of Web Specialists.
For onsite training by Robin Nobles and John Alexander, visit
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