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Be the ugly duckling of SEO and stand out more
Whenever I start a website in the SEO niche or write for one, I always think of how everyone wants to be a beautiful swan in the eyes of their customers and why they wouldn't want to be the ugly duckling that sticks out? Think about it, if you look into a pond full of white swan and there was one black duckling in there, wouldn't that little guy stick out like a sore thumb and get a lot of attention?
Whenever I have someone talk to me because they're interested in SEO or Online Marketing, I will always tell them the truth. I'm brutally honest and say something along the lines of "SEO takes a long time to do and see an effect. You may not profit for a while, you may never profit, and that is why this work needs to be seen as a branding play and not something you'll make money from" and they're not always happy with that. The problem is that a lot of the SEO agencies out there today are "Yes" agencies and they will tell the customer everything positive that can happen while leaving out the negatives. If the client has a question about penalties, the agency will talk about them slightly but highlight the benefits of SEO being done right, like what they can do for the client lol.
Now then, let's talk a little about the benefits of being the ugly duck when it comes to SEO!
Every agency sounds the same, but you don't have to
Whenever you go to an SEO website, you'll probably notice they all have the same tone. They want you to see them as professional, kind, caring, and sophisticated at the same time, so you're more likely to work with them. The problem with this is that every single SEO agency out there has the same idea, the same content, and the same attitude towards SEO and that's why it's difficult to stand out lol.
If you want to get a little more attention than the copy/paste SEO agencies, speak the truth within your website's content and don't sugar coat it. Write up some blog posts telling people they might lose money doing this, but that's a risk when it comes to business, and they shouldn't invest anything they aren't willing to lose. Stand out by speaking the truth; it works for a lot of businesses in other niches
Be edgy, tell people No, and be happier about it
The problem with a digital service today is people think they can tell YOU how much you're worth. This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, and I always tell potential customers "It's not going to work out" if they want to haggle on pricing. I don't mind dropping my price 10% or even 15% to bring them on board and then boost it back up to full price after a few months. My problem is with the people that come in and say "I'll pay you $50 a month to do SEO and Marketing for my website!" when my pricing clearly states my cheapest monthly package is $550. I'll usually respond with "Ok, I can set aside one hour a month to do work for your website, but you probably won't be happy with the results!" and then I rarely hear back from them lol.
You need to stand your ground when someone is trying to get your services for a fraction of the price. If they can't afford your top-notch services, they can find someone else who will take their money and run. Today I avoid clients that low ball me because I use to bring them on board and work with them when I started my SEO company, and it never turned out well. They would want me to work 40 hours a week on their campaigns, and they were paying me $100 a month. Do the math on that one lol, that's 8 hours a day for 25 days which would be 200 hours of work for $2 an hour. Now, in some places that would be an OK salary but in the United States, where the minimum wage is anywhere from $8 to $15, that's not enough. Not to mention, I have 15+ years of experience and can easily charge $50 an hour if someone wanted me to work solely on their project.
Don't sugar coat something to increase your sales
When I started, I would always talk about the best things that could happen, and I would get clients to sign up easily. The problem with this is that they will expect everything positive to happen with their website because you talked about it within your agency's site. You will then notice a lot of PayPal disputes and chargebacks from unhappy customers who thought they'd be millionaires after hiring your company to do some SEO lol.
Write your content as if you were talking to another SEO agency owner and don't sugar coat it. You'll want to still have a slight pitch in there because we all need to make a sale or two, but you don't want to give anyone higher expectations. Google Adwords also hates it when you give someone high expectations so try to avoid that at all costs lol.
You'll lose some potential clients, but that's ok!
Don't be sad if someone says "I'll just hire (your competitor) because they told me they could do this!" because the chances of your competitor doing something that you can't is slim to none. If you know what you're doing, so does your competitor, and your competitor will talk about all the good things that can happen with an SEO campaign and never mention the negative things.
Think of it this way, the clients you get to stick with you will love your services because you're talking to them like a normal human being. You're not going to sugar coat anything so they sign up and then you hurt their website over time. You do great work, they will notice that, and they will stick with you. Hell, they may even be your biggest referral source because they love you so much lol.
Stop trying to please everyone that contacts you because it will end with you running an agency that doesn't feel right. You'll have to put a fake smile on your face, talk to clients that expect everything from you while paying you pennies, and you'll have to give that money back because the customer didn't know what they were purchasing. Instead, be yourself and tell the truth about SEO and how it can go south if someone out there decides to hit you with negative SEO. You will never hurt their website, but you can't protect them fully from an enemy SEO specialist, but you can nullify the work they're doing with the disavow tool. You can be your clients' digital guardian that brings their website up the rankings and is honest with them while you do it
Thanks for reading