SEO, inbound marketing, digital marketing, growth hacking or whatever you want to call it, one thing which is definite that the idea of online marketing is increasing and companies are now heavily investing in this area. According to multiple studies, the demand for SEO professionals is increasing like never before. To fulfill this demand, SEO service providers are expanding and operating with 3 to 4 clients within their pocket – the quality of the expansion is debatable though (and out of the scope).
I have luckily experienced several environments, be it in an agency, in-house, as a remote worker, as a freelancer and even in a consultancy – they all are different, but my current position has taught me some new and very important lessons with regards to business development and client management. And reading this post by Jon Cooper recently got me thinking of why not compile all of them in the form of this blog post to help other digital marketers and agencies know what questions they should ask from their clients at different stages throughout the whole process. So here it is!
Before Any Commitments:
One of the most important things I keep in mind while talking to potential clients is not to commit to something that I cannot deliver. There are tons of different digital marketing agencies available in my country and globally as well, but unfortunately, many of them fail to fulfill their promise which is why many digital marketing clients are unhappy with their SEO/digital marketing agency.
Here are some questions that you should ask before you commit to anything:
The questions above are necessary so that you can understand the client and their expectations from you and your services. At an initial stage, You need to figure out what your client is looking for from your services, what type of client they are and whether you both will be compatible in the long run or not.
After asking these question, if there is still confusion lurking around or you get negative vibes, refuse straight away as having no client is much better than having a bad client – personal opinion!
Understand the Business
When – and if you plan to say yes to the potential client, it is imperative to understand their business so that you can find the gaps easily and help your client nurture and grow, and capture their target market’s attention.
As you are working on their digital marketing strategy, so keep your questions bent more towards online marketing.
These questions are very important to be answered in detail from the client as this will help you align your digital marketing strategy with their corporate strategy. It will also help you analyze how much work is required to achieve the desired goals.
Understand the Community
Now, you should be asking the question that will help you understand their community and social reach so that you can improvise on social strategy. Remember they know their industry and audience better so ask them questions that help you get more insight about how their target audience communicates and interacts with the brand.
If you receive detailed and accurate answers to the above-given questions, you probably are going to design an unbeatable social media strategy for your client. Clients usually know much about their industry and audience; they can somehow explain it to you in black and white. It’s your job as a consultant/agency to ask the right kind of questions and get detailed answers so that the overall campaign could be much more effective.
Actual Goals and Success Parameters
Obviously, you must have set some goals to measure your project’s progress. Try to ask questions which would give you a clear idea of how much work is required in order to meet expected targets.What are the few basic keywords you ideally want to rank for?
Especially in the case of hardcore SEO, these questions are extremely important as the answers to these will help you understand what your client actually wants and how they see things. If your client’s expectations and the view is contradicting the data you have collected, you can talk to them and discuss the findings.
Availability of Resources
This is one section that most SEOs either forget or do not ask the client at all as they consider it irrelevant. In my opinion, this section is totally relevant as you never know how big and valuable links can be hidden in the answer of these questions:
The reason for asking these types of questions is because they will normally give you an idea of the content the client already has and how you can use that content to build some quality links back to the website. If the client had worked with a nonprofit or PR agency before, there is a good chance that you can outreach and get a link for your client. If they have any other content assent, most probably you can also use it online and get few quality links from different relevant websites back to your client’s website.
Mostly SEO asks these questions in the middle of their contract. At times answers may surprise them and they silently have to change their game plan. The idea is to ask lots of questions first and gathers as much data about the client and his business as possible.Remember, the more information you will have about the brand, the better marketing strategy you will come up with.
Next time when you have a new client, don’t think much, just bookmark this post and send it to your client to get all the answers and proceed from there accordingly.
Obviously, I am writing this post, keeping my personal experiences in mind; and different people may and can have different opinions. If you have any questions or suggestions than the ones I have, please share it in the comment section.
Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.