Just two years ago, I was running an agency.
And our client base was pretty widespread.
Everyone from lawyers to banks to world renowned DJs.
Now, you want to know the craziest part of this all? We didn't even have a website.
So how were we able to get SEO clients andhow can you get them for your business? Keep watching because I've got some prettycool tactics to share with you today.
[music] What's up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your niche.
Now, when I first started looking for clientwork, man… it was tough.
But after focusing on just a few strategies, things started to click and getting clients became actually really fun.
In fact, the very reason I'm working at Ahrefs todayis because I tried to convert them into a client, which worked and didn't work at the same time.
More on this later because right now I wantto get into some strategies that worked for me and others in my network.
And I hope they'll work for you too.
Let's get to it.
Now serious sidenote: This isn't a tutorial about getting clients thentrying to figure out if you can actually help them.
I hate those kinds of courses and tutorials.
You should have a history of producing results and be able to help any client you choose to take on.
So if you're just looking to make a quickbuck, I recommend mastering your craft first so that the tips and strategies you learntoday will be 10X more effective.
Alright, so the first way to get SEO clientsis to get involved in partnerships.
Now, there are two types of partnershipsI want to talk about.
You might have heard of the first one and that's toteam up with non-competing agencies and freelancers.
For example, if SEO is the service you sell, then look for like-minded agencies that specialize in other digital marketing channels like PPC, web design or social media.
Assuming your businesses are somewhat atan equal stage, then referring clients is a free and passive way to grow together.
There's no need to get greedy.
The SEO industry is approaching 80 billion dollars.
And chances are, if you're watching this video, you probably don't own very much of that market.
A great place to meet like-minded people ismarketing conferences because they attract marketers from all lines of work.
For example, if you're a freelancer that focuses on SEO, you might want to go to a general marketing conference to meet web design, social media and PPC freelancers.
You probably wouldn't want to go to an SEOconference for this purpose because everyone will be selling the exact same services as you.
Now, if you don't have an “equal” number ofleads to pass back and forth, then a common structure is to offer a 10-20%kickback for any referrals that turn into clients.
The second partnership model is probably myfavorite and that's to partner with companies who have your audiences, but are in completelyunrelated industries.
An awesome example of this is to team up with business bankers and private lenders.
Everyday, they have tons of leads coming in andif you're dealing with one of the bigger banks, they can send you more clients than you can handle.
A model that I've seen work really well is to have the lender sell a high-level SEO strategy.
Reason being, the barrier to entry is pretty low.
They can essentially upsell your servicesfor a one-time fee and take around 15-25%.
You then have the opportunity to give your presentation, showcase your value, and bring them onto a retainer agreement.
Alternatively, you can approach other professionalslike accountants and corporate lawyers where you can refer clients to each other.
Partnerships don't always come easy, but if you're ableto execute and systematize, your revenue will grow fast.
Another way to find SEO clients is to speak at conferences.
I actually didn't attend or speak at conferencesuntil I was out of the agency world.
And I think it was a huge opportunity I missed out on.
For example, I spoke at a conference earlierthis year where I gave a talk on link building.
Afterwards, a handful of people came up to me.
But they weren't there to ask me questions aboutthe strategies I shared.
They were there to hire me.
And these weren't your average mom and pop shops.
They were decision makers from companies doing1-20 million dollars in ARR or backed by VC money.
I strongly recommend applying to speak atconferences where your target audience would be and deliver as much value as you can.
Next up is inbound marketing.
And this is likely the most valuable for your business because your results are your strongest selling point.
For example, Ahrefs isn't an agency.
We provide a suite of SEO tools.
But a lot of the content we create is targetedaround keywords that potential SEO clients might be searching for.
And they're finding us through marketing mediumslike Google and YouTube.
And by teaching how to do SEO, not only dowe get customers for our tools, but we also get numerous requests for consultations.
Not to mention the individual emails we getfrom great companies.
By creating content that demonstrates yourexpertise and ranks, you're building trust with prospective clients through proof of concept.
And in my opinion, trust is the most valuablecommodity when it comes to winning new clients because it instills confidence.
Now, if you're still relatively new to the game, it mightbe advantageous to focus on one specific niche.
For example, if you wanted to do SEO for realtors, you can find some topics by going to Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer and searching for broad keywords like “SEO, ” “keyword research, ” and “link building.
” Next, go to the Phrase match report to seekeyword ideas that contain your seed keywords.
From here, I'll click on the Include search filter, and type in words related to the profession like”realtor” and “real estate.
” And I'll choose the “Any” option to show all keywordsthat contain any of these words.
And as you can see, search volumes may notbe massive compared to the head terms, but they're lower competition, and seem to havea good amount of commercial value based on the CPC values of these terms.
We have a full tutorial on doing keyword research, so feel free to check that out for more great ideas.
The next strategy is actually the last oneI tested before giving up agency work, and that's to apply for jobs.
As an agency or freelancer, you want clients.
And when a company posts a job listing, theylikely want to hire someone in-house.
Now, while these two things might seem vastly different, there's a more powerful factor that comes into play.
And that's intent.
So nearly two years ago, I decided to run alead generation experiment on Ahrefs.
They had a job listing for a “funnel hacker, ” so I appliedfor the job with the intent to turn Ahrefs into a client.
Tim, on the other hand, was the one handling interviews.
And he was looking to hire someone in-house.
Long story short, we were able to come tosome kind of agreement where I was able to work full-time for Ahrefs, but I was stillable to be involved with my agency.
And after a year of doing work for Ahrefs, I decided to give up agency work.
Now, my point is that with job postings, youand the lead have the same overall intention.
In my opinion, if you can sell them as an individualcandidate, then converting them to an agency client is the easiest part of the battle.
If you want to learn more about this little experiment, I've added a timestamped link in the description which goes through the story from my end as well as Tim on the hiring the side.
Finally is the most common approach to gettingSEO leads and that's cold outreach.
Now, when you're doing cold outreach, youwant to provide as much value as possible and you definitely don't want to be too pushyin your first email.
Here's a sample template that Daryl Rosserwrote on our blog about getting SEO leads.
I'll break it down as we go through it.
“Hi Ricky, I came across your website today when searching for “Roofing in London, ” and noticed that you don't show up in the mapssection and are #33 in the organic listings.
That's a lot of calls you're missing out on.
” So he told Ricky how he found him and addresseda pain point that I'm sure Ricky already knew about.
He goes on to say: “So I made a video showing you why your top3 competitors are out-ranking you: Site 1, Site 2, and Site 3.
” This is a super-simple way to differentiate yourself from all of the other emails these people are getting.
Most people won't go through the trouble to createa video and it also gives a more personalized feel.
Best of all, he's mentioning competitors thatRicky should be well aware of.
Finally, he says: “Are you the right person to send this video? If you are, please reply to this email, andI'll send it over.
Otherwise, just let me know.
” The final part is a simple conversation starter.
Do you want the video, yes or no? Or if I contacted the wrong person, then canyou point me in the right direction? Then after they respond, you make a video, send it to them, and have your CTA in the video, which would be to jump on a call.
Super-simple and I can imagine it converts really well.
Now, for you agency owners and freelancers out there, I'd love to know what you do to get more SEO clients.
Leave a comment and if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, find creative waysto find prospects, and I'll see you in the next tutorial.