Many small businesses are now aware that they need SEO, but they are unconvinced that an agency is the way to go. A small budget still needs to cover a variety of marketing activities, and hiring external support rather than using in-house resources may seem like an unnecessary added expense.
You know that this is a mistake. The trick is to lead potential clients to the same conclusion.
Why an Agency Will Save Money
The first thing you need to demonstrate is how an agency will be less expensive. This may immediately seem illogical to some businesses, as your hourly rate is higher than what they would pay for the salary for a full-time employee. To convince them, you need to show how you will be able to stretch their budget further.
Hiring and training
When a small business decides to handle SEO in house, it needs to spend on hiring a new employee and on training this new staff member to carry out tasks correctly. With an agency, these cost are eliminated, along with expenses related to retaining the employee, like health insurance, retirement, vacation, and sick days.
Other cost differences
Many small businesses fail to realize that hiring an agency will eliminate a number of marketing costs, including anything related to content creation, analytics, and acquiring tools, such as for social media management. Add these to the equation when showing potential clients how much they will save with your agency.
What an Agency Will Do
Long-tail keywords are always best for small businesses, as they allow you to target only people looking for a local service or specific product. However, there is another benefit: long phrases are much more economic than short phrases.
Although long-tail keywords lead to less traffic, more of the traffic is qualified. This results in a greater percentage of visitors that the business can nurture into customers and avoids wasting resources on those who will never convert.
However, it is difficult for small businesses, especially when they are just getting started with SEO, to acknowledge that less traffic is a positive thing. The key here is to explain the difference between vanity metrics and metrics providing valuable information. For instance, traffic is a vanity metric — the information is useless, unless you know how many of the visitors make up your target audience. Draw your clients’ attention to the value of a metric like conversions according to search query.
Another point to make is that your agency will bring the small business talent that would be unreasonable for them to have working for them full time. The content creation process alone can require a number of people, such as writers, editors, and graphic designers. Whereas a small business could rely on its employees for these tasks, the result is not only likely to be of poor quality, it will also mean taking staff away from critical business activities.
Managing the team
When a business hires a team for its marketing tasks, it is necessary to manage these employees to ensure they are always on track. When companies use your agency, however, they know that everything will run smoothly. They can be involved as little or as much as they want in the process — perhaps just discussing progress on a regular basis.
Understanding the Longer Timeframe
It is a challenge for some small businesses to acknowledge that it may take time before they see results. Their limited budget means they are unable to maximize their efforts and need to distribute funds across numerous tasks. It will take longer to see effects from any one of them.
It is essential that you make this clear to your clients from the start, ensuring they know what to expect. One way to prepare clients, and to show that your agency is worthwhile, is to present case studies. Use examples of past clients of a similar size that worked with a similar budget. Focus on how these businesses were able to dominate their niche market or a particular local area through the right SEO practices.
Point out that the timeframe will, however, be shorter than if a business attempted SEO alone. When a business uses your agency, your team is able to begin working on SEO immediately. In contrast, if a company chose to use in-house staff, aspects like recruitment, training, and the learning curve would increase the time before they saw any results.
Small, and particularly local, businesses are in an even better position to benefit from SEO than large businesses with a significant budget. The less competitive market, free from big players, means that small businesses are in the position to reach those who matter. Ensure that your clients know that, provided they understand the need for patience, you will be able to bring them results, no matter their budget.