There is a breakdown in communication between SEO experts and business managers. Many of the business decision makers who write the check for your SEO services only have a vague idea of what SEO involves and do not fully understand what SEO can or cannot do for the company. Without this understanding on the part of decision makers, you can pitch your services without effectively communicating the value of SEO and your worth to the company.
“A large majority of clients you’ll come across have very little knowledge of the various elements it takes to design a website. Most of them know what they want, they just don’t know how to turn it into a successful website or illustration.” jreyes
In addition to not understanding your description of cool features and the benefits of your services, decision makers often lack the ability to value SEO or determine your worth to the company. If they don’t get it, it could be difficult for them to justify spending resources on your services. To demonstrate the value of SEO and your worth to the decision makers, start by speaking their language and then tell them what you are worth.
They Don’t Speak Geek
Often business managers don’t get the meaning of your words. Many of our SEO contemporaries have noticed the gap between ‘geek’ speak and ‘business’ speak. Here are what a couple had to say.
“But if the C-Suite doesn’t see a return on investment, SEO is dead within the enterprise”. Ian Lurie
“SEO is not an exact science; and sometimes when you drive an SEO strategy, it’s not always easy to explain how Google works to a marketing director or to someone else in the board of government.” Franck Nlemba
When you pitch your services using the SEO jargon and with which we are familiar or abbreviate to initials, you can fail to effectively communicate. It is a mistake to assume they understand abbreviations and acronyms. You can lose the deal if you go into a geek speaking monologue. The key to bridging the gap between ‘geek’ speak and ‘business’ speak is to translate your pitch into ‘business’ speak and explain any jargon, abbreviations or acronyms that you use as you use them. For example, say search engine optimization at least once before saying SEO. Successful communication is the key to winning the client. The idea is to use their language to increase successful communication.
“By phrasing things in a way that they can easily understand there will be less opportunity for confusion and misunderstanding.” Steven Snell
They Don’t Know What You’re Worth
Without an understanding of SEO, the value of your services is a mystery to them like Google’s organic search algorithm is to us. Their lack of understanding may cause them to put too little value in what you have to offer them. It is hard to persuade decision makers to allocate resources to something they see as having little value. However, the opposite is also true. Once they see the value you represent, they are more likely to pay you to provide all the benefits of SEO and your skills and resources. The key is to solve the mystery for them during your pitch. In addition to a lack of understanding they may have inaccurate information or preconceived notions that compound their undervaluing of SEO and your services. Probe for these stumbling blocks with questions. Before you begin you pitch, ask their opinion of SEO and provide accurate information to address these stumbling blocks during your pitch. Let them have their say initially but address their concerns in your pitch.
Speak Their Language
The value of SEO to the company and your worth to them is the impact you have on their sales, profits, and the bottom-line. If you frame your pitch in these terms and use visuals, examples and analogies in their frame of reference, you can bridge the communication gap. Rather than describing the great features and strategies you offer, describe the benefits to the company of the features and strategies you use. Using this language allows you to zero in on what motivates a decision maker to spend company resources on your services.
Tell Them What You are Worth
Since they do not know how to value SEO or determine your worth, you will have to tell them. The money they spend for your services directly impacts their bottom-line. The benefit of you SEO services increases traffic to their site. But what is the dollar value of increased site traffic? The value of your services to the company is the difference between what they pay you and what they stand to gain from increased sales. You will need to link site traffic to sales and profits and explain how your SEO strategies impact on their bottom-line in order to illustrate your point.
Link Site Traffic to Sales/Profits
The benefit of increasing traffic to the site directly correlates to more sales leads for the company. The benefit to user centered design and quality site content is increased conversion of site visitors to customers.
“A visitor should never be left wondering what to do next. High conversion rates require a clearly defined and intuitive funnel that leads the visitor from where they are to where you want them to go.” jfoster
More sales equals more profit. You can illustrate this impact either through generic or specific examples and the use of simple graphics. Use visual graphics to emphasize either complex abstract ideas or a direct benefit to the company. The simplest way to illustrate this point is to use a generic example of the impact of SEO and your services. Use clean bold visuals that relay your message as simply as possible. Don’t force them to spend time trying to figure it out. Make it something they can digest in a matter of seconds and remember later when defending their decision to allocate company resources to SEO and your services.
“Use the simplest possible diagram, and whatever you do, don’t rely on a spreadsheet,” Ian Lurie
A better way to illustrate this point is to use specific examples such as the impact of your services on a previous clients bottom-line, the potential impact of your services on their bottom-line, or compare them to their competitors.
“One of the best ways to give potential clients confidence that you can do a great job for them is to show some work that you have done for other clients that is similar or directly relates to the work that you would be doing for them.” Steven Snell
You can use actual numbers by doing a little research on the company’s SEO analytics in advance. According to Jaime Mintun you can use these three websites; Quantcast, Spyfu, and Alexa to get real numbers on your potential client’s company. Jaime says you can get information such as:
- # of monthly unique visitors
- Budget spent on sponsored listings (Adwords)
- Clicks per day from sponsored listings
- Cost per click
- # of organic listings
- Demographics, including age, income and ethnicity range of visitors
Use your analysis of these analytics to illustrate your point. Don’t go in depth into your analysis. Simply show them where they are and estimate where your services can take them. Don’t make promises. Make it clear your illustration indicates the potential impact of your services on their actual numbers.
Another good idea is to compare the company with their competitors. This requires a little more research. However, the psychology of motivating a potential client to become a client is sound. In a highly intense make it or break it situation this is your best bet. After you analyze your potential clients SEO analytics, find two competitors and analyze their SEO analytics as well.
“I have reverse engineered your top competitors’ sites, [COMPETITOR ONE] and [COMPETITOR TWO], and can tell you exactly how they’re able to beat you in the amount of traffic and sales they get online, PLUS where their weaknesses are and how you can exploit them to pull ahead.” Jaime Mintun
”It just happens to be an infallible truth that people are more motivated by what they stand to lose (and who they stand to conquer) than by what they can gain. By leveraging the success of their competitor against their fear of losing business to someone else, you’ll easily persuade them to want to work with you.” Jaime Mintun
In order to persuade business decision makers to pay you for your services, remember they don’t speak geek and they don’t know what you’re worth. To clearly communicate, speak their language and tell them what you are worth. Define your worth by using visual, examples and analogies that illustrate the link between site traffic and sales/profits.