SEO Client Retention 101: Keep That Revenue Coming Month After Month! Ok, so I just posted a thread to help you become a successful SEO reseller the other day. Some people are very good at finding leads and getting them to sign up but then they lose clients and let them drop off. Why is this a huge problem that you should want to avoid? Because when a client drops off you need to find someone to replace them so you don?t lose that revenue. When you are able to retain clients for a longer period of time it will allow you to keep adding new ones in order to grow your business.. and not just to replace the fall out. The average forum buyer is a lot different from the average offline client. The typical forum buyer is either a SEO person that is looking to outsource or someone that knows what SEO is all about and they just don?t have the time to do it themselves or don?t want to be bothered by it. They don?t care about fancy reporting and all that. They just want good results. The typical buyer of SEO offline is a business owner. They don?t know anything about SEO. Of course they want results but they also want to feel like they are getting a good value and getting something for their money. They aren?t looking at links on ahrefs or using tools to check the progress like someone buying from the forum is doing. One of the major reasons clients drop off is because they don?t feel like you are doing anything for that big chunk of money they are paying you every month. Even if you are ranking some local sites just with private links and you keep them on top every month with minimal work you need to make them feel like you are working your magic every month. So here are some things you can do to make sure that your clients stick around and keep paying you month after month. When you are able to retain all of your clients your business will grow every month. 1. Sign up to a rank tracker service & brand your reports Rank reports are something clients love to receive and you can set it up so they are sent to them automatically every month. There are a lot of rank trackers available. I like SerpBook and for ORM clients SERPWoo because they are accurate but the reporting is simple. You can brand them to include your company logo and contact information and you can set them to be sent automatically. This means that every month the client receives this without you having to lift a finger. They don?t know that it is automated. For all they know you spent several hours putting that fancy report together. It makes them feel like they are getting something for their money. A lot of clients could be ranking #1 for several keywords but if they don?t receive keyword reports they feel like nothing is being done. You can prevent a lot of drop off by simply sending these reports. Do it. The cost is peanuts compared to the money you keep on the books every month because of the reports. 2. Sign up for a Moz pro account This is another good report source. Do you personally need them? Nah, the whole Moz tool group in very much beginner SEO but their reports look good. This just gives you something else to send to your client every month. You can do something like quarterly onsite audits with full reporting. That sounds fancy and great but it?s really just a Moz report that will take you 2 minutes to run and as long as you have the site optimized you are going to get a high grade which makes you look like a SEO pro. I make fun of Moz because the info is noobish but for reporting it can be helpful. There is a coupon code floating around the forum that gives you a free 120 day trial of Moz. And when that runs out.. guess what? Just start a new trial with a different email address. So even if you are too cheap to spend $99 a month for this you can get it for free. Remember: Reports give your clients something physical every month. Some might just view it on their computer and some might print them out. Let them feel all warm and fuzzy.. and send them as many reports as you can. All these tools make it so simple. They look good so use them! 3. Have monthly ?strategy calls? and schedule them in advance A lot of resellers will only focus on signing new clients and they ignore the people that are paying them every single month! If a client feels ignored they are going to look for another option. It is kind of like a relationship. If you ignore a girl what is she going to do? She is going to start to look for other options and eventually someone will catch her eye and feed her a line of BS and she will leave your ass. Same with a SEO client. If you ignore them they will start looking at other companies and anyone they speak to will say ?oh that company isn?t doing their job.. come to us and we will give you the attention you deserve.?.. they are full of shit but the client will believe them because they just want someone to pay attention to them. Don?t even let your clients get that thought in their mind. Make sure that a monthly strategy call is part of your package. The client should know when it is without having to think. Do something like ?the first Tuesday of every month at 2pm?.. this way they know when to expect the call every month. Use a free conference call service. If you do this instead of just having them call you it makes them feel like it is very important. For big ticket clients this is something you should be doing, if they're paying xx,xxx amount per month then it's the least you can do - also this could be a prime time to up-sell them if they're happy! The call should be used to go over the campaign.. but even more importantly you should use it to sense how they feel about the service. If they don?t sound too happy make sure you get to the bottom of it quickly. If they are thrilled then there is no need to worry.. keep doing what you are doing. If they complain about something fix the issue. The call is your chance to sniff them out and see if there is anything you need to fix in order to keep them happy. If a client stops your service and drops off there is nobody to blame except yourself. Use the monthly scheduled call to make sure everyone is happy. 4. Offer free hosting to every client What does a fat old rich guy do to keep his dime piece younger girlfriend to stick around? HE PAYS HER BILLS. Yup! He pays her bills so she sticks around. She puts up with his fat as and limp dick because he is offering her something! WTF does this have to do with SEO? A lot, actually. Use the same method to keep your SEO clients on the books. Hosting is a huge business. There are reseller hosting companies that are putting businesses on a 99 cent monthly hosting plan and charging them $250 per month. The average business owner has no idea what a dedicated server is.. or what reseller hosting is. Get yourself some reseller hosting accounts and put all of your clients websites on them. Do it for free. Use it as a selling point. You know what hosting can cost.. but that doesn?t mean they do. Create a special hosting section on your website that includes all the benefits.. make it sound like the best hosting in the world.. tell them it is a $199 monthly value.. and you give it away for free to all of your SEO clients. This is just one more thing they won?t have to worry about. And since they host their site with you they will be more likely to stick with your SEO. What does it cost you? Basically nothing.. but it looks like you are giving them a huge extra value. 5. Offer a 6 month and 12 month customer loyalty offers Want to entice your clients to stick around for the long haul? Make a customer loyalty program that gives them a special offer at the 6 month anniversary and the 12 month anniversary. Check this out? Give a client a free landing page design/coding when they hit the 6 month mark and website redesign when they hit the 12 month mark. Of course this doesn?t make sense if you are slinging $200 packages but if you are getting a nice monthly fee it is a great way to keep them signed up (because they want that free stuff) and it makes them very happy when they do hit that prize. You can get a landing page done for $100 on the forum.. and a full site redesign for $500. Imagine if you are selling SEO at $2,000 per month? At 6 months a client has given you $12,000. Would you spend $100 to get that? At 12 months a client has given you $24,000. Would you spend $500 to get that? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!!!!! You don?t have to use this example. There are a million things to offer and it is best to get creative.. this is just an example. I just wanted to make a point.. and show how something so simple can keep people paying because they want to hit those anniversary dates. 6. Open a Zendesk account It can be a pain in the ass to keep track of all your emails.. so in order to keep it all organized and to make sure a client email doesn?t slip through the cracks it is best to use a support ticket system. It makes you look professional and it helps make your life easier. I wasn't a big believer in them until just recently, now I don't know how I survived without them.. emails can get chaotic. This can also help you eliminate phone calls. Some clients will call you just to talk. That just cuts into your time.. so let them know that the best way to get questions answered is to use the support system. Bullshit them and tell them that you have a full time support staff that monitors it 24/7. This keeps everything in one place and it also makes it easier when you do get to the point that you have grown and need to hire employees. Everyone using the same support system keeps your business organized. 7. Under promise and over deliver Who do you think is going to keep more clients around longer: The SEO company that tells every client that they will have them ranking on top in 30 days or the one that tells the client 6 months even when they know they can get them to the top in a couple months? Never tell the client what they want to hear. Of course they all want to hear that they will be ranking #1 in 30 days. Then guess what happens when 30 days comes and they aren?t on top? They cancel your service. If you look at a local businesses website and feel you can get them ranking on top in 3 months what should you tell them? Tell them that they have to be realistic.. that SEO isn?t an overnight process.. tell them it could take up to 6 months. This is setting their expectations. They know from the beginning that it might be 6 months until they see good results. Now if you are able to do it much sooner that just makes you look like the SEO pro. This is how referrals and recommendations come. Always under promise and over deliver. This is the easiest way to turn your clients into your biggest promoters. SEO has such a bad rap so anytime someone hears about a SEO company that delivered faster than expected people take notice. 8. Use survey monkey to get input about your service Survey monkey is a cool survey company that can be used to find out what your clients think about all the little parts of your business. Do they like your reporting frequency? Is once a month enough or would they rather weekly or biweekly? On a scale from 1 to 10 how easy are the reports to read? On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate the response time for any questions you had? There are a million of questions you can ask. You want to keep your clients happy.. because if they are happy they are not going to question that charge that appears on their bank statement every month. When you are not delivering to their satisfaction that is when they will question it. If you do send surveys make sure to keep them fun and not so serious.. you will get more people to participate. 9. Send out a newsletter to your clients This is something that will take you 10 minutes every month but can help keep your clients on board. Set up a free email management account and add your clients. Every month send out a newsletter that includes some SEO industry news. Just take a few stories from searchengineland.com or similar sites and put them into a newsletter. This will take you just a couple minutes but your clients will see you are a more professional company since you are trying to educate them and keep them in the loop. This is really aimed toward keeping the offline client signed up.. not a forum buyer.. this is directed towards those that are reselling to local business owners. If you have some more tips to add just list them in the thread. The thread from the other day about reselling seemed to be helpful to many so I wanted to touch on this.. because keeping the client on board is just as important as landing them! As always I hope you guys enjoyed the read. Until next time.. Ciao for now!