Local businesses are often the most interesting SEO clients to work with because of the creativity and strategy needed to attract the local market.
While the basics – Google Business Profile optimization, localized content, etc. – still apply, local businesses must often think outside the box when trying to rank locally.
Acquiring this type of client also requires skill. For SEO professionals, attracting positive, ambitious, and proactive local SEO clients is ideal.
Here are some tips to get the local SEO clients you want to work with.
- 1 1. Start Conversations With Local Business Owners
- 2 2. Identify Businesses Investing In Marketing
- 3 3. Attend Speaking Events, Webinars, And Networking Meetups
- 4 4. Connect With Business Owners On LinkedIn
- 5 5. Keep Your Business Card On Hand
- 6 6. Forge Partnerships With Marketing Agencies
- 7 There’s No “Secret” To Getting Great Clients
1. Start Conversations With Local Business Owners
A few years ago, I wanted to get a haircut and started looking for a local barber. I saw a barber with great reviews on Google, so I visited their website to learn more about their prices.
Unfortunately, I was met with a “Warning! Your connection is not private” error on their website.
As an SEO Strategist, I know this is because the business does not have their SSL certificate activated on their website.
So, I called them for an appointment and, in person, gave the lead to the owner that they had a website security problem.
The owner was unaware of the problem and managed his own website, so I offered to set up their SSL for free.
Later, he paid my team to diagnose additional technical SEO issues and continued on a long engagement.
The lesson here is that often the best way to attract local SEO clients is to simply start a genuine conversation.
It doesn’t have to be glaring as a site security issue, but if you can identify the need, chances are the business will be happy you let them know there’s a problem affecting their business.
Plus, they’ll be grateful that you gave them a heads up and helped them avoid new business.
For example, a local business may not know that their Google Business Profile address is not up to date. Or they have a 404 error on their website.
Or that the contact form doesn’t work.
Often, your advice can be seen as a huge favor and can turn into an ongoing engagement. Or, at the very least, open the door for referral business once you’re seen as a local SEO expert.
Whether you’re looking for a haircut, buying a latte, or picking up a gift for a friend, keep your eyes peeled.
If you notice an SEO problem and it’s time to offer some free value, you might be surprised at how this can turn into new clients or referral connections.
2. Identify Businesses Investing In Marketing
It is well known in the marketing community that tight budget clients are often the most demanding clients.
This is not to say that having a small budget necessarily makes a client bad, but those who have the attitude of getting more for less often back off when it comes to marketing.
In short, your ideal local SEO client is someone who recognizes the value of marketing and is willing to invest in it towards achieving greater goals.
They want to put their marketing dollars to work to achieve long-term growth.
Like in the previous example: A simple oversight leads to site security issues, but this business is mentioned on top of its GBP (Google Business Profile) optimization and social media marketing.
The owner was receptive to feedback and saw the value in improving their web presence.
When looking for local SEO clients, look for businesses that meet these criteria:
Companies that appear to have invested in their marketing are more likely to be good clients.
You want clients who understand their marketing needs and will actively participate in the growth of their business.
Once you have identified a local business that seems to tick off some of these boxes, reach out to them.
A free offer – like an audit or a friendly negotiation – can be your foot in the door to engagement again.
3. Attend Speaking Events, Webinars, And Networking Meetups
I’m a fan of having your local SEO knowledge speak for itself.
Rather than having a cold messaging business with a sales pitch, it’s best to start providing free, no-strings-attached value.
This can be in the form of a friendly email or, in this case, sharing your knowledge at an in-person or online event.
One of the leading sources of local SEO for my business is speaking events -specifically, speaking events and webinars tailored to law firms (my target market).
Often, you can attract clients by sharing your expertise through professional talks, online interviews, networking events, or conferences.
And remember, business owners who are proactive about attending such events often make good clients.
Here are some tips for making events for lead generation:
Showing genuine knowledge and business owners in your niche is one of the best ways to attract engaged clients.
4. Connect With Business Owners On LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a top business-to-business (B2B) platform, helping professionals make new connections and find clients.
However, the platform is often abused – with marketers spamming users with cold pitches and spam.
Instead, use LinkedIn to cultivate genuine connections with business owners, so they’re excited to work with you.
Here’s how to use LinkedIn to get local SEO clients:
Again, inbound marketing is all about providing value first.
If you nurture genuine engagement, users will begin to see you as a local SEO expert and can reach out to you on their own.
If you get far enough in the conversation, offer to help the business owner solve the problem.
If they are interested, this can be in the form of a free audit, consultation, or resources.
Remember, the best clients are those who actively want to work with you versus those who are stiff-armed into a project.
5. Keep Your Business Card On Hand
Do not underestimate the value of traditional marketing.
Many local businesses are small “mom and pop” shops that like a personal touch.
They want to connect with real people instead of faceless agencies.
When you go out and about, keep your business card in hand. Keep your eyes and ears open for conversations where business owners are looking for marketing solutions.
Even if someone isn’t ready to work with you right away, at least they’ll have connections to offer referrals.
Referral efforts are one of the other main sources of SEO for my law firm.
You will find that people are more willing to work with you if you have a friendly conversation first.
Having your business card will mean you are always ready to offer your information and continue the conversation into a business relationship.
6. Forge Partnerships With Marketing Agencies
I have talked through several ways to connect directly with local business owners, but there is another smart workaround to get more local SEO clients: agency partnerships.
Chances are, there are many marketing agencies in your area that offer marketing services.
However, not all will offer SEO. Forging a partnership can be a great way to get referral business or white label your services.
Agencies that see this as a direct pitch may not contact you, but others may see the value of a two-way partnership.
For example, you can send leads, and they send SEO clients to you. Or, you can provide a percentage commission on new business sent to you.
This can be a great way to get new clients passively, without active marketing.
Plus, agency partners may have more benefits, such as guest posting or networking opportunities.
There’s No “Secret” To Getting Great Clients
You will find that the key to getting good local SEO clients comes down to genuine relationships.
So, whether it’s networking, speaking, forging partnerships, or providing free value, the best way to attract great clients is to build meaningful connections.
Skip the cold pitch, and think first about how you can provide benefits for local businesses or agencies.
You will find that many people like professionals who take the opportunity to get to know them, solve problems, and nurture friendly conversations.
Want more local SEO clients you want to work with?
Use this method to build connections and encourage long-term partnerships.
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