Acquiring new customers is not easy. SEO agencies invest a lot of time and resources to register new accounts.
Continuing clients are an agency’s greatest asset. And while some are successful in retaining the majority of their customers, many others struggle to keep good customers on board.
Frequently cited research from Bain & amp; The company shows that improving customer retention by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Keeping your current customers happy is critical to your profitability and growth.
If increasing retention is on your agenda, consider these six common reasons SEO agencies lose customers and learn what to do about each one below.
- 1 1. Misaligned Expectations
- 2 2. A Failure to Educate the Client
- 3 3. Lack of Value for Money
- 4 4. Your Clients Don’t Know What You’re Doing
- 5 5. No Visible Results
- 6 6. The Product Just Wasn’t Ready for SEO
1. Misaligned Expectations
One of the main reasons SEO agencies lose clients is because they don’t set realistic expectations up front.
Mark Williams-Cook, Principal of Candor & amp; Founder of AlsoAsked.com, explains:
“Having worked in various agencies, I think the main cause of the loss of most clients is setting expectations incorrectly at the beginning. This happens for a variety of reasons, ranging from sales teams making performance promises to failing to challenge unreasonable goals the customer sets.
Those honest conversations mean you win or proceed with slightly fewer pitches, but in my opinion, it’s the best long-term strategy. “
Ask yourself, are you promising too much and delivering less? If it’s not a perfect match, it should be the other way around.
Also, many times customers will walk through your door not knowing how SEO works and with very high expectations.
Don’t say yes if you know you won’t be able to deliver.
2. A Failure to Educate the Client
I have often come across clients who, despite having previously worked with one or two SEO agencies for a while, have no idea how SEO works.
People appreciate being informed and will trust you more, too. Building this level of trust with your clients is essential to the health of your long-term relationship.
I emailed one of my clients the other day, explaining that Google released a new update and that we would need to do a review of their website. His reply was:
Educating your customers is not an easy task. It means communicating with them regularly in a way that reflects your experience and adds value to them.
It positions you as their go-to expert for any questions or concerns they have, which is exactly where you want them to go (not the random “SEO gurus” you might find online).
3. Lack of Value for Money
Clients want to see the value of their SEO investment as soon as possible. It is a perpetual challenge for SEO professionals because good SEO can take time.
Assertive Principal Daniel Foley Carter says:
“Many SEO agencies lose clients primarily due to a lack of ‘value for money.’ Many clients will try to compare SEO ROI in a similar way to PPC, even though SEO is generally a longer channel. in producing results. “
One way to approach this, depending on the customer’s business goals, is to agree on long-term goals. For example, if your client is a publisher, you can suggest a goal to achieve a 50% increase in traffic in 24 months. “
While we know for sure that you can hit the 50% increase in traffic much sooner (always remember under promise and overdeliver), this gives your customer an expectation of tangible and measurable value.
Make sure to show your clients how your SEO efforts are positively impacting revenue and conversions, and not just traffic and rankings.
Jonathan Berthold, Vice President of Customer Acquisition at Path IQ, says:
“SEO agencies tend to lose clients due to misalignment of milestones and deliverables. Agencies that simply rely on publishing reports showing increases in traffic and rankings will have a hard time retaining clients if there is no clear and tangible increase in revenue generation, or at least, a roadmap to increase sales. conversions.
Rather than focus on quick profits that inflate traffic or prepare for non-substance audits, agencies are more poised for long-term success by showing how organic search can drive revenue generation. Make sure both parties are aligned with what is expected throughout the term. “
4. Your Clients Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Don’t let clients guess the work you are doing and the effort you are doing for them. Keep them abreast of what is happening now, as well as next steps.
For example, you can create a monthly email that includes:
Check in once a week with a quick update on any major initiative or to share a recent victory.
Make sure they understand the direct line between SEO action taken and measurable business results.
You may also want to create a roadmap at the beginning of the customer contract and update it every month to show progress.
These regular communications go a long way in keeping your customers informed of what you are doing. It also reflects structure and responsibility, and clients appreciate both.
Some agencies report the number of hours spent on SEO work for a client each month, although they do not charge clients by the hour. This helps reflect the amount of work invested in each task and delivery.
5. No Visible Results
Therefore, your clients stayed with you for the duration of your six- or 12-month contract and cannot see the results.
We have to assume here that it is not due to lack of actual production. If that’s the case, you have bigger issues than we can address in this column.
Check Your Internal SEO Processes Set Up
Even agencies that do great work for others may lack clear processes and internal templates of their own.
Create your own tried and tested process. It is part of the value you offer to your customers.
Make Sure You Have a Solid Project Management Tool Setup
If you are not using one, it will be very difficult to stay organized and execute the SEO strategy correctly on any kind of scale.
Review Your Process on a Regular Basis
For example, hold team meetings every three to six months to discuss your processes.
When there’s a new update from Google, work with your team to see how it will be incorporated into your standard processes.
Train, Train, and Train Some More
Always look for opportunities to train your team.
You don’t need to sign them up for a course, but make sure there is a biweekly or monthly meeting scheduled where everyone discusses the latest and greatest news and tips in the world of SEO.
Give team members the opportunity to identify when there are new skills or areas they want to learn, and make sure they have the time and budget allotted to do so.
6. The Product Just Wasn’t Ready for SEO
Is SEO always a good channel for all companies?
Most of the time, SEO is a great channel to generate income. If you have a good product, there is definitely an opportunity for your business to grow with SEO.
But if your business isn’t ready yet, no amount of SEO will help.
So the real question is: are you in the right stage of your business for SEO?
Sam Wright, founder of Blink, says:
“Many SEO campaigns fail for strategic reasons; It could be due to a lack of market fit of products, prices, or poor positioning or categorization. SMBs (particularly in the ecommerce space) often don’t spend time on this side of the business before launching into tactical execution of something like SEO.
This means that they have shaky foundations; it is difficult to make a campaign work in these circumstances. However, many SEO agencies go ahead regardless, either because they don’t know it or because they lack the skills or experience to turn things upside down. Poor results often follow, the client becomes frustrated, and the relationship ends.
Changing this is partly a question of customer education: we now make market analysis and positioning / categorization the first step of almost every project. This is something traditional marketing agencies have been doing for years, but it’s still a bit unusual for an SEO-focused company like ours.
However, it is important to show that tactics do not work unless the strategy is the right one to begin with. “
With all of the above said, every SEO agency loses clients. It is not because the agency is incompetent, it is part of the industry.
Jeff Ferguson, Partner / Head of Production at Amplitude Digital, leaves us with his parting thoughts:
“Customer loss is always a mixed bag. It’s easy to punish yourself for losing a customer. In my experience, nine times out of ten, it is for a reason that is beyond your control: there is a new CMO (or lesser), a new investment group, or something similar, but it has nothing to do with you and has a lot to do with it. to do with a regime change. “
The real goal is to minimize those losses and improve customer retention by understanding why they are happening, recognizing when the relationship is at risk, and knowing how to fix the boat.
Featured Image: fizkes / Shutterstock