As the owner of a web based business, hardly a week passes by without me receiving spam emails from SEO agencies who want to help me rank on Google.
Webmaster’s Note: This is a guest entry by Anand Srinivasan from Lead Joint.
Talk to small business owners and they all have stories to tell about unsolicited emails and phone calls that start with the promise of top Google rankings.
The trouble is that except for medium and large sized agencies who have the resources to advertise and market their services, customer acquisition for freelancers and small agencies is a pretty tough proposition. The cheapest way, as a number of agencies have figured out, is to carpet bomb thousands of business owners and hoping that at least a couple of them would stick.
But just because this is a popular tactic does not mean it is the most effective one. As someone who works with SEO agencies in their lead generation strategies, here are three tricks that I have found helps convert the most number of leads into clients.
1. Cold Calling Is Not A Numbers Game
Telemarketers routinely call up hundreds of prospects with the same message, hoping one of them would respond in the affirmative. In SEO however, this tactic will not work. The reason is that a significant number of business owners whom you call up are not even aware of terms like SEO and SERPs.
So when you call them up to ask if they need SEO services, they are simply going to hang up. Instead, make it a point to only call a handful of prospects after extensively studying their business.
Before you call a prospect, check out their website on Google to see what keywords they are ranking for if they have seen a search ranking drop in recent times, etc.
Such business owners are extremely receptive to your call when you reach out to them.
2. Take The Road Less Traveled By
In the poem, “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost says ‘I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference’.
It couldn’t be truer in the case of customer acquisition. Freelance marketplaces are popular among SEO agencies to find new customers. But the trouble is you have to always fight with dozens of other freelancers or agencies to be seen by the project owner. Unless you have a fantastic profile on Freelancer or Elance, it is difficult to get noticed.
Take the road less traveled by.
Has the project owner given their or the company’s identity away? Use these details to find their phone number and call them up to discuss the project.
Always remember that the project owner seldom has working knowledge of SEO. So keep the discussion brief and generic and promise to send all the details over email (or through the marketplace messaging platform). This way, you have now cut down on your direct competitors, and the likelihood of converting this SEO lead increases quite dramatically.
3. Set Up Email Notifications For Inbound Queries
If you have a high-performing website that ranks well for the related queries, then you are likely to see a good number of inbound queries every month from business owners who want to consult you for SEO.
But just because it is inbound doesn’t make this less challenging. That is because prospects who have reached out to you for consultation are also likely to have sent out feelers to several other businesses.
A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that businesses that call their prospects back within an hour of receiving a query have 7 times higher chance of getting positive engagement. Yet only 37% of us are known to do this.
A simple yet effective solution to this is to set up your phone to receive alert for new enquiries. Doing so can help you reach back within minutes – this helps you get a foot in the door of the lead ahead of competition. Consequently, your conversion rates too improve significantly.
Oftentimes, the possible market for SEO services is a lot more difficult to navigate than the internet. But with these tips, your next client can be just a phone call, email, or even a click away.