Nowadays you don’t have to be big to get big clients. After 3 months of starting up (early 2006) our own web content firm (Applied Content), we landed a big deal with a Fortune 500 company (actually in top 30 though!). It’s not that we looked like a giant corporation, but we looked big enough to show that we cared about our business and about our image. Whether you are a business-to-business or business-to-consumer company, looking “bigger” or more professional will help you land bigger clients, and more of them.
Now for my top 10 list of ways to make your small SEO firm look big:
1) Show that you exist
You should exist more than having a website and a contact form. Preferably put up a phone number and an email address. Get a toll free number if you need to and have it forward to your cell phone. Show your office address, a physical location that someone could look up on a map and find. If you work from home, consider getting a PO Box, but get one that has an address instead of a box number (I think UPS is starting to do this).
2) Show that you actually work with clients
In the field of web content our clients don’t want us to tell the world we write their content, so we actually just “hint” at who our clients are (Fortune 500 company, a site listed in Time magazine’s 50 Coolest sites, other SEO firms, local companies, etc). If your clients don’t mind, I’d like to see the list, even a short (best of) list. If you’re doing SEO, what keywords is the client ranking for?
3) Clean Website
I can’t even count how many interested clients for our web content firm have called and said “I like how clean your website is”. It’s not perfect by any means, but yes it is clean and simple. Don’t have your 14-year old nephew design your site and don’t use clipart. You can find all sorts of free web templates, just make sure you customize them a bit so they don’t look “templatey”.
4) Nice Logo
You should have a logo if you don’t already, even if it’s just the name of your site in a nice typeset. We’ve used LogoWorks before, but I’d try a local design shop first if you can.
5) Link out
There’s a reason that Google et al. like it when you link out to authoritative sites, and for me that reason is because I want to know that you know your industry and resources.
6) Multiple author blog
Now not everyone can do this, but if you have someone else on your staff or even someone that remotely helps you out, even if its a Link Ninja, have them blog too. They don’t have to blog all the time (you should, at least once a week) but enough so we know you actually talk with other people.
7) Rank for your Business Name
If I am going to use you for SEO you’d better be ranked #1 when I search for your company name. Remember that Google et al. is not just a search engine, it is also a dictionary, phone book, map, and calculator.
8) Run a PPC ad for your Business Name
It won’t cost you hardly anything, especially if they use your organic listing (see #7). It tells me you are using pay-per-click like a smart business does, even if I don’t know what other terms you are advertising with.
9) About Us Page
Be personal about your company or yourself. How did you start, what makes your business strong, what are your strongest points, what makes you you? You can do this on a Contact Us page if you want. You don’t need to tell me about your family and your dog, but I do need to know you are real. I need to trust you.
10) Call me on the phone
Don’t email me, call me. When some contacts you, call them back before you try to send an email. Then send a follow-up email and do all your contact through email if you want. A phone call makes you real, that you are interested in providing your services to me, and you care about my needs. I think human nature now is email because it is easy, convenient, and you can actually think and re-think before the message is delivered. This also means, if you’re having potential customers fill out a form you want to ask for their phone number (maybe even require it).
I hope these tips will help you to be better, look more professional, and land more clients. Your potential clients do care what you look and act like, so you had better give it to them.
This is part 3 in our series about “Starting your SEO Business”. In case you missed them, here are the others: