Here’s the real problem with “selling” SEO ; it’s purely a speculative sport. Search marketers have to convince the business that if they are willing to delay their gratification, they will eventually rank for whatever it is they want to rank for. This is despite the fact that the algorithms change constantly. This is despite the fact that you may be dealing with overzealous competition.
This is fine when you are doing it for corporations ; where the invoices tend to disappear among other invoices and one department isn’t sure what another does. But when it comes to doing local SEO for small businesses, the check is usually going to come from one person. And your work will go under heavier scrutiny. As Seth Godin so clearly put it, their time frames are shorter. And you only have so much of it to show that what you are doing, matters.
This makes pitching SEO solely for rank a hard sell.
And here’s the issue that local SEO’s face….
How do you convince a small business to delay gratification long enough for it to benefit them without them feeling like you are taking them for a ride?
The answer is how you frame what you do. It should be no secret that SEO work now goes far and beyond ranking in search. We are page optimizers (for conversions). We are email campaign drivers (for link prospecting). We are number crunchers. We are social media strategists. In essence, what we now do isn’t as linear as it used to be. We don’t simply hurl links at web pages and cross our fingers that something will happen. We don’t just pay attention to header and title tags and silo content. We do it all.
And personally, I don’t really think that business owners really care about where they rank as much as they care about how having an online presence is going to drive more business to their website.
…and in there lies the pitch…
So, the next time you are talking to that local dentist, doctor or restaurant owner, rather than tell them how your are going to rank them in Google, why not tell them the other things.
- I am going to create a system that will generate leads for you and that you can use to communicate with those leads.
- I am going to build you a platform so that your customers can recommend you to their friends.
- I am going to generate pages of content that will have your leads pre-sold by the time they call you and will help you gain more search exposure.
- I am going to repurpose that content to you can use it as sales material for your leads to peruse.
- I am going to put your name in the most popular websites out there so that more people will know you exist.
- Oh…and eventually you will rank for your business.
I don’t know about you but I think those statements actually get to the heart of the matter and mean more to a local business than the blanket, generic and abstract I’m going to rank you in the search engines.
Plus there is more meat to it. There are actionable strategies that resolve eventually to what you are going to do for them.