Running an SEO agency is difficult. Growing your agency to 7 figures is not an impossible task.
I was fortunate enough to get my agency over $20,000 a month in revenue within a year. But, growing to 7 figures was a difficult challenge that presented many obstacles along the way.
As someone that runs an SEO agency, I can tell you that the market is very competitive nowadays. It’s easy for potential clients to search Google and find an “expert” online that claims amazing SEO Services for only $199 a month.
It’s hard to make yourself stand out from the crowd when you do many of the things your competitors do.
Whether you’re a newbie or an established brand, if you provide SEO consultancy services to your clients, you want your business to grow. Let’s face it; that’s the goal of virtually all companies!
While there are many ideas that you can follow to grow your SEO agency, how do you know which ones are the most effective? And which ones can help you increase your revenue to seven figures? Let me share my personal agency building experiences that you may learn from.
Some people might tell you that finding the answer to those questions is a bit like looking for the Holy Grail. But, the reality is that growing your SEO agency exponentially isn’t an impossible task like you might have first thought.
Like most, I’ve tried all kinds of concepts to help me grow my business. Some of them are brilliant and worked well, while others are best forgotten about!
It’s likely you are here today because you want to find out more about scaling up and growing your SEO agency and making it a more lucrative endeavor.
Maybe you want to hit 7 figures in sales?
The following are eight tips that will help you to achieve your goals:
1.Before going global, start local
It always surprises me to read about SEO consultants and agencies that try to market themselves to a global audience. Why? Because they forget about potential local customers and the revenue boost they could offer!
When you first launch your SEO agency, you will no doubt have plans for world domination (from an SEO business point of view, of course)!
But, reaching out to a global audience can often take a lot of time and money. When you establish yourself on the market, it’s crucial to advertise your services to local customers. Doing so will give you several benefits:
- You’ll forge new working relationships with clients and get repeat business from them;
- You can start building up a portfolio of case studies;
- You increase trust in your brand.
Apart from primarily marketing your SEO agency to customers in the same country as you, it’s also a good idea to tap into your personal contacts as potential sources of revenue too.
You may not realize it. But, there will often be opportunities to do SEO work for people in your current network of contacts (i.e. friends of friends, acquaintances, etc.).
Consider using LinkedIn to reach out to those second-level individuals and businesses. Often described as the Facebook for business professionals, LinkedIn is brilliant at helping professionals to network with others online.
If you are not using Linkedin, get with it and start by adding me as a contact.
2. Find out where the party is
Just because you run an SEO agency doesn’t mean that all of your business will come via your website! The aim is to scale your operation, and it doesn’t matter how you attract your clients.
With that thought in mind, you should find out where your potential customers are likely to seek online marketing services. One well-known example that comes to mind is Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk).
Such websites have thousands of individuals and other businesses posting up SEO projects every day. If your agency can fulfill those tasks, nothing is stopping you from pitching your brand.
SEO firms no longer have to devote a lot of time and money to cold-calling potential clients and pitching their services to them.
If you’ve just set up a new SEO agency, it’s important not to be too “picky” about the projects that you take on. If you see jobs posted where customers want simple SEO tasks done, don’t dismiss it. A small customer can one day become your next big client.
When I was starting out, I never turned down any search engine optimization work, regardless of what the project entailed.
There are scores of freelancing websites like Upwork online, so you won’t have a shortage of places to find new clients.
3. Participate in local networking groups
While SEO is something that you primarily do online, it’s a good idea to use the offline world as a source of potential new revenue. Networking groups, such as those hosted by your local chamber of commerce, for example, offer fantastic opportunities to find new customers.
It might surprise you to learn that there are loads of local networking groups that you can join and be a part of. Aside from contacting your local chamber of commerce, you should consider searching for relevant groups on meetup.com.
In a nutshell, it’s a website where people can set up groups that cover all kinds of topics and niche markets. There are many Internet marketing groups there, and even ones specifically focused on helping startup companies reach out to their target audiences online.
As the owner of an SEO agency, I found that participating in local networking groups has given my business a real revenue boost. You get to meet all kinds of interesting people at each event. Plus, there are many opportunities to promote your agency to other attendees.
Networking groups often allow industry experts to speak to their members on a broad range of subjects. You can use such seminars to talk about SEO and how it can benefit their businesses. Of course, interested parties will want to discuss your services in detail after your talk, resulting in some golden sales leads for your agency!
4. Give something back, Use A Lead Magnet
I know what you’re thinking. You are probably wondering how doing something for free is going to help you build a multi-million dollar SEO agency! As crazy a concept as that sounds, giving something back to people will make you more memorable and trusted to new and potential clients alike.
Offering something for free is also a way of enticing potential customers to spend money with you. For example, you will have noticed on my website that I offer clients a free SEO audit and 30-minute strategy consultation valued at $999. This is a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is something of value you can give away for free in exchange for the client’s contact information & permission to market to them.
When you give away something like that, it shows your audience that you are serious about what you do and have a genuine interest in helping them. In other words, you aren’t just a faceless corporation that cares about nothing other than making money!
With my free SEO audit, I ask people to fill out a simple form that gets emailed to me once submitted.
Once I have those details, I can take the time to find out more about the customer’s website and their SEO goals. I can then provide them with a brief strategy on how to improve their site.
Offering something of value for free to your SEO agency clients is a sure-fire way to generate sales leads from your website.
5. Give your clients answers to the questions they ask
It might seem like an obvious thing to do. But, answering people’s questions will make them feel informed about a particular subject and even shows that you’re an authority on it! I have found this a great way to scale my own agency.
When it comes to search engine optimization, your agency will get asked lots of the same questions by most of your clients. When I first started my business, I quickly discovered that people were asking the same or similar questions. And they were often from people with some knowledge of SEO!
A service your SEO agency will no doubt offer is content development in some form. You should be taking advantage of your own service. Create articles on your website that ask (and answer) the questions your clients often inquire about.
If you take a look in the blog section of my website, you will notice there are articles such as:
- Top 5 Benefits of SEO for Small Business;
- How Long Does It Take To Rank on Google?;
- Should My Business Be Using Pay Per Click?
- SEO Trends For 2017
As you can probably tell from the titles of each article, they directly address some of the most commonly-asked questions in SEO. You should remember that not all of your potential clients will be convinced that they need you.
Publishing articles on some of their most asked questions is a great way to build trust with a client by establishing your authority.
6. Build a mailing list to grow your seo agency
One of the best ways to market any business online, especially an SEO agency, is to have visitors sign up to a mailing list. Using tools like MailChimp, you can manage an email list that lets you send out regular messages to interested parties.
Aside from providing your readers with all kinds of free facts, tips, and insights via their inbox, you also have a list of potential sales leads available to you. As you can appreciate, you can use each message to promote what you do and gain new customers (or repeat business).
There are all kinds of ways you can use a mailing list for the purpose of generating new sales leads. Examples include:
- Linking to case studies on your website that utilized particular services that you offer;
- Communicating special subscriber-only offers;
- Talking about the launch of a new SEO service
- updates on the latest Google news
Some entrepreneurs assume that most people don’t want to sign up to a mailing list. The truth is, if you offer a service that interests them, they will want to keep on top of any new developments.
Setting up a mailing list is quite a simple task. All you need to do is create an account with an online newsletter management tool (one of which I mentioned a moment ago) and embed a form on your website.
The form itself should be simple and quick for your visitors to fill in and submit; you don’t need to ask about a person’s life story! All that’s needed are fields for their name, email address, phone number, and website.
7. KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid
Early on, I learned that keeping things simple is the best approach to running a scalable SEO agency. I’m talking about things like in-house business processes, the services you offer, and even the way you bill your clients!
For some reason, people like to complicate their lives by adding in all kinds of time-consuming processes and confusing SEO services. All your clients care about is getting a solution tailored to their needs. They aren’t ordering a three-course meal at a restaurant and spending time looking at the menu.
When it comes to in-house processes, it makes sense to create a document that outlines how you and your team should carry out certain tasks. You should also consider investing in a cloud-based platform that allows you and your clients to communicate with one another.
For instance, you could build a “dashboard” that gives your clients 24/7 access to reports on their SEO projects. Believe it or not, some agencies send out Excel spreadsheets to their customers on a weekly basis. How time-consuming (and old-fashioned) is that?
8. Take advantage of outsourcing providers
The final way to scale up your SEO agency and increase your revenue is to let third parties handle some of your standard time-consuming tasks.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a one-man agency operating as an SEO consultant, or you have an office full of search engine optimization experts. What does matter is that you keep things streamlined in your business and cut down on unnecessary expenses.
Take accounting software as an example. I use Fresh Books, it helps to simply my client tracking and invoicing, saving me hours of work. Also, it auto bills clients every month.
You could even outsource some of the time-consuming SEO tasks, such as content writing. Doing so affords you more time to work on project aspects that are more technical.
Of course, it pays to establish a working relationship with outsourcing providers first. In other words, give them a test run to see if what they offer fits in with the services that you offer. The last thing you want to do is charge your clients for a sub-par service!
Remember that business is a marathon, not a sprint.