Sales: “Sure ma’am, we can get your website optimized easily. You’ll be ranking #1 in no time!”
Client: “That’s great to hear. Most companies that I called said they couldn’t do Magento.”
Sales: “Oh…did you say Magento? Uh…yeah…we don’t touch that either. Sorry! *Click*”
Client: “Oh yeah. You’re getting a GREAT review buddy!”
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While this might be a funny little interaction here, it is far from fictional. In a world of increasing competition in marketing, it is common for some of these representatives to make promises before they even understand what they are working on. While all growing businesses need some form of marketing to get people aware of their brands, the way that marketing is displayed, and the results of promotions can differ depending on the platform the client’s business is built on. Before you decide to take on a new client, make sure you do research to find out if you can handle the tasks and goals the client requires.
For many in the business of gaining leads and acquiring new business, sometimes you can get to a point of desperation. Maybe phones aren’t ringing or no emails are coming in and you might start thinking of new ways to gain attention. Every business needs a way to advertise what they can do and the cost of their services. Sometimes, new owners believe their message is not working or their prices are too high, when the truth is, enough potential clients just haven’t seen their message. This misconception can motivate the new owner to make unneeded changes to the message and the more desperation sets in, the more the risk increases to start making promises that can’t be achieved by the new owner. For example, a new retail clothing business isn’t making any sales, so they decide to offer FREE shipping. Now sales are through the roof, but they are losing money because the cost of shipping wasn’t initially calculated. This one act of desperation could not only ruin the business but even end up costing the owner in the end.
In the internet marketing industry, this same concept applies. This environment actually gives more opportunities to make the mistake of making promises, so it is important to take heed. A lot of users of today’s internet still aren’t fully aware of the power of search engine optimization. There is still a lot of misconceptions about the uses and advantages of SEO and PPC, so gaining new clients can often be difficult as many don’t understand the underlying mechanics of Google’s (and other search engines’) algorithms. These might be frustrating to the salesman which usually leads to making promises, such as:
“We will get you ranking #1 on Google and your sales will be through the roof!”
This is such a vague yet popular statement amongst internet marketing companies and it will often lead to a very disappointed client and a negative review for the marketing business. There isn’t an internet marketing company on Earth that can get any and every client they take on to Rank #1 without knowing the target, products/services or competition of the client. What “makes sense” is to have initial evaluation meetings with the client to extract this data before quoting them on what can be done and how much it would cost them. Especially for new internet marketing businesses, it is better to not take a client at all then to lose one because of dissatisfaction and unfulfilled promises.
Any client that is taking their business seriously would want to see a plan of how you will achieve their goals. This is the best time to lay out your complete plan to the client and the timeline each phase will be completed in. Let the client visualize the path you will take every time they review the plan. This way you have set clear expectations and can also make it easier to see if you’ll have the ability to take on new clients or if you’ll require more manpower & resources.
Setting SEO Expectations
In the search engine optimization industry, there are some common requirements that are requested from clients before work begins. Some of these important resources are:
- Keywords – Usually rank 1-3 from most important to least
- Business contact info
- Target Audience
- Technologies used within the business
- Login credentials for sites included in the project
- A list of competitors
This list can vary depending on the marketing company and/or the client being acquired. Once this information is received, it will make all the difference by creating a strong plan that not only gets the job done but will make sense to the client, eliminating the mystery of search engine optimization and its results. As this work becomes standard it is important to not only maintain the progress but to also maintain the expectations and relationship with the client. Even on weeks where work-flow is at a minimum, it is important to give the client something to represent the continual progress of the project. Some of these items can be:
- Site Audits – to show errors of the businesses website and a plan to get them all fixed
- Analytics – explaining the behavior of the users who have found the site
- Questions – always give the client a chance to voice any questions or concerns about the project
This list will change depending on the project and the client. Analytics will almost always be important to those looking for conversions. These aren’t just “sales” but any event on the site able to be tracked by the analytics software. Form entries, thank you pages, buttons and more can all be tracked to represent the behaviors of users on a site. This is a program that proves why making promises is a bad idea. Even if there were two identical websites matched up in analytics, the statistics will be completely different because the data is not from the site but from the behavior of users upon the site.
So, if you are taking on a new client in this industry, just remember they wouldn’t even let you talk to them if they didn’t need some kind of help in marketing. Just doing what is expected is usually more than enough to land the deal as long as you have some analytics and research to go with your plan. Making promises instead of just making sense to the client will most likely hurt not only the client in the long run when you don’t deliver, it will also hurt you and any chances your upcoming business has of gaining success. Communication, data and a strong relationship is usually enough to make both in the partnership happy. Yet broken promises can never be redeemed or expunged from your new business record. The last thing you’d want is to have to hire another internet marketing company to help replace the negative reviews you’ll accumulate from dissatisfied customers or competition trying to climb over your dying business. Nothing in the business world breeds loyalty and trustworthiness in any company as well as honesty does. It is better to not take the client at all than to take them and not be able to deliver on exaggerated promises made by you.
Authorship: Kevin P.