1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

retaining clients without subscription based payment is a nightmare for SEO companies!!

Discussion in 'Blogging' started by seobats, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. seobats

    seobats Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    BHW
    Home Page:
    I wanted to share my thoughts on this key issue that we have been facing. I believe most SEO companies get stuck here.


    Lets take a real life business situation that most of us come across in our business. We are approached by a client who needs SEO services. After getting initial inputs, designing SEO strategies, tailoring out a N months plan, negotiating rates, we agree upon our monthly fees. We clearly communicate to client the results will be visible after N months. Client pays for 1st month, we start work. The month ends. We send invoice for next month's fees - ping him for payments and client has so many doubts/questions before he hits the "Pay" button.

    Client wants to know what value was delivered in the first month. Sure value was delivered, but i was not in form of tangible improvement of search engine ranks or increased sales. It can not be because such result is expected in N months as communicated. But client is skeptical. As a provider we must clarify any questions raised by our clients. So, clarifying is not a problem. The problem I am discussion is something else.

    The problem is: We again enter into pre-sales like discussion. And this time making a sale, or in other words, getting paid for next month - becomes more difficult because client has already paid some money and has not received any ROI yet.

    The issue does not revolve around having to explain to client. The problem revolves around wasting time and resources again on selling to existing client. Getting paid on monthly invoices sometimes, or most of the times, becomes a sales task in itself. We need to bring sales people and repeat the whole process. And, as it happens in each sales call, it may or may not convert. So there is an ongoing risk of loosing client for no good reason. As a mature company, we know we can deliver what we promised if we are allowed the time we asked for.

    Situation is more vulnerable in cases where client does not settle after hiring us, and is still in touch with competitors getting [biased] feedback from them. For sure, competitors are out there to get a deal by any means So in all possibility the business will slip out of our hands after 1st month.

    What helps client settle with us as their primary vendor? Of course quality of our service. And taking the pinch out from the act of paying monthly fee.

    If client has subscribed to our plans, and the fee automatically gets deducted every month - the pain is gone! Client will review after N months or some appropriate interim milestones. It is same as principle of indirect taxing. Taking the pain out of act of paying!

    Most successful services such as linkedin, elance, skype etc work on subscription model and have been large success.

    But boutique SEO companies, not as large as hubshout, are still doing manual follow ups with clients who have practically subscribed. Payments follow up is no different than a sales call. I am not too sure why SEO companies do not have heir own subscription platform. One I can think of is lack of resources. But there are cheaper options out there. So I am still not sure.

    In my opinion, all seo companies should have a subscription platform where they ask their clients to sign up and subscribe by providing billing information. This will help us grow our business. I am having my development develop one for me already :)

    Good luck!
    Avinash
     
  2. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    10,883
    Why not just use a monthly invoicing platform? Simple. Client gets invoice each month. They pay.

    Lock them into a contract so they expect it and know they have to pay it (or face an additional fee or an early termination penalty)

    If you are chasing payment each month it takes away from your work and business. If a business isn't willing to commit then fu#k them...you don't want them anyway.

    Put things in place that will weed out the fly by the seat of their pants type of businesses that won't commit because they aren't sure if they will have the money each month. Commitment and penalty will weed out the clowns.

    If you have to re-do your sales pitch each month to retain a client you are making way too much work for yourself.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  3. SkyrocketSEO

    SkyrocketSEO Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,345
    Likes Received:
    11,253
    Occupation:
    travəlɪŋ
    Location:
    Aibres
    Home Page:
    Exactly, no way I am going to persuade client over and over again each month. If they don;t want to pay they can try to find someone else do that job, they don't have to pay.
     
  4. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,119
    Likes Received:
    28,559
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Fun Lovin' Criminal
    Location:
    London
    Home Page:
    There are various ways to overcome this.
    Number one do your due diligence and don't take on flaky clients.
    Be very clear on your terms and back it up with a contract.
    Structure your fees so the bulk is paid early.
    If your package costs $5000 for 3 months work then charge $2500 the first month, $1500 second month and $1000 for the final month. Explain that the major work is done early and results will be later etc.
    For a monthly service you adjust accordingly. You can also charge for early cancellation etc.
     
  5. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,119
    Likes Received:
    28,559
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Fun Lovin' Criminal
    Location:
    London
    Home Page:
    Also OP, I just looked at your site.
    I never think it is a good idea to have Reseller pricing where potential customers can see it.
    If you offer reselling then do it on a separate site.

    If your standard price is $599 and the reseller pricing is $499 then as a potential client, I would already be asking why I am paying an extra $100.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  6. Reyone

    Reyone Elite Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    1,277
    Occupation:
    Hunter
    I do not sign any less than 6 months agreements man... renewing month after month is plain and simply STUPID.

    Firstly, it is stupid because there is no way that you are going to achieve results in such time (unless ofc you are using full on bh). Secondly, it is stupid because you will need to spend a ridiculous amount of energy trying to explain why things are not going up just yet and continuously try to gain their trust.

    GAIN THEIR TRUST BEFORE YOU SIGN. Then you can sign a x - xx month deal contract and they can either pay you monthly or all at once...

    I think the problem is that you might be dealing with small ass clients, and when that happens you get fucked.

    Get a lawyer as well man... if you have a legal contract and they fail to pay you on time, you should be getting compensated for it. Treat it as it is, a legitimate
    marketing business, and don't treat it as a banking method...

    /e: just had a peek at your site... you are selling it the wrong way man... and your packages look spammy as hell.
    Anyways, best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  7. DynamicX

    DynamicX Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    12
    If its taking you longer than 1 month to see some seep improvements then let them know this before hand. Tell the that they need to give it at least 3 months before they see any tangible results so they are not left wondering whats join on from the word go.

    Or change your SEO strategy - It the site with some high pr / DA / PA links to give it a nice seep spike within the first month. Tell the client this is just a taste of things to come at the end of the first month when you give them your report and they will have that money in your bank before you even ask them ;)
     
  8. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,119
    Likes Received:
    28,559
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Fun Lovin' Criminal
    Location:
    London
    Home Page:
    Sorry OP, ignore my previous posts.
    I misread the OP and thought you were ASKING for advice not GIVING it.
     
  9. infoasian

    infoasian Supreme Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,335
    Likes Received:
    421
    Occupation:
    retired
    Location:
    Singapore
    Home Page:
    I take on 2 or 3 clients at the same time and usually ask them to pay me for 6 or 12 months in advance. SEO is a long term strategy. I hate to be distracted with day to day business, accounting and sales. For me it's easier to not have a client than to chase money. At the end those 'bad' customers end up exploiting you imho.
     
  10. dragon5

    dragon5 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    25
    This is a very good and accurate post
     
  11. seobats

    seobats Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    BHW
    Home Page:
    Reyone - can you be specific or at least some pointers on what needs to be improved on packages or the website? thanks buddy
     
  12. seobats

    seobats Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    BHW
    Home Page:
    true, the small time clients are the ones looking to get it done for free...

     
  13. seobats

    seobats Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    BHW
    Home Page:
    no, you are right. we are fixing this issue.

     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  14. vegasheat

    vegasheat Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    27
    I only sign my clients to 1 year contracts. I get the first and last month payment upfront - kinda like a lease when renting a home. This way they are too vested to quit after a month or two. My contracts are pretty tight and I don't usually have issues with payment each month (I have a "10 day late" penalty clause). I don't deal with any client under x,xxx monthly anymore since it takes as much work (to get and keep) as the "baby" clients and it's not worth it IMO.
     
  15. Jubv

    Jubv BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    104
    Could anyone please elaborate on the contract aspect of this? I'm assuming that you all go above-board and go to a lawyer considering that it is a contract, but wouldn't this be difficult to implement if you are dealing with clients internationally?