Although SEO is essential for businesses of all sizes, you could argue that it is most important for small businesses. Startups and companies that lack visibility online need to establish themselves as experts in their niche. They need to show that their products and services are invaluable for improving lives. The only way to do this is through SEO.
The problem is that many small businesses believe SEO is too difficult or too expensive. It is unusual to have anyone in the company with experience in this type of marketing, and even if there is someone, this team member needs to carry out other critical tasks to keep the business running. Furthermore, a limited budget may make hiring an SEO agency seem unfeasible.
In other words, selling to small businesses can be a challenge. Rather than settle just for the easy sales, embrace this challenge. Despite their limited budgets, small businesses have great potential for SEO: they are looking to grow to a much greater extent than midsize businesses and in a short timeframe.
- Make the Distinction Between SEO and Other Marketing
Small businesses are aware that they need some marketing, but they may group all marketing activities together in their budget. This can mean that SEO receives far less attention than it deserves.
When selling your services, you need to make a clear distinction between SEO and all other types of marketing. Explain why businesses cannot allocate a minimal amount of their resources to SEO and expect to see results.
To drive the point home, explain how many other aspects of marketing are useless without SEO — content and social media are two examples. Only by gaining visibility online will your other marketing efforts reach your target audience.
- Explain the Limitations of Word of Mouth
When a business first launches, word of mouth marketing may work. The business builds a website, tells contacts and customers, and the news even spreads a little. However, this will only last a short time. If the business wants to see long-term growth, SEO is crucial.
To explain the limitations of word of mouth, present numbers. Research the niche to discover how large the business’s target audience could be. Compare this to how many people the company reaches at the moment.
- Present Differences with PPC
Another option that small businesses may see as an alternative to SEO is PPC, especially since ads are easier to implement than all the various elements of SEO. You need to explain that, whereas PPC can complement SEO, it is never an alternative.
Stress that businesses need organic traffic, which is only possible through SEO. The visibility gained through ads has a different impact on branding. For instance, although ads provide awareness, they do little to help the business become a source of trust.
Lastly, although SEO is more effort, it works out to be less expensive. Traffic is free, as costs are only associated with marketing, unlike with PPC where the business has to pay for marketing and clicks. Combine this with the fact that there are more clicks to organic results than to ads and you end up with a significantly higher ROI from SEO than from PPC.
- Compare Businesses to Their Competitors
There is no bigger motivator for businesses than realizing they may fall behind their competition if they fail to act now. Find out what competitors are doing for SEO — for instance, what keywords they are ranking for or an analysis of how their websites stack up against your potential client. Present potential opportunities for the business to outrank its competition and gain traffic that is currently going elsewhere.
- Show Examples
Without examples to back up your claims, small businesses may find it difficult to believe that they have any chance to compete with the biggest names. After all, large companies have much more to spend on marketing and their websites are already a source that customers can trust to provide valuable information. Finally, a long history online naturally leads to higher rankings.
By presenting success stories, you can prove that your agency is able to bring results. Find cases that show how businesses have been able to compete in the most difficult circumstances. It is best if you have examples in the same industry of the business.
- Create an Action Plan
Finally, describe exactly what you can do. State a reasonable budget (this can be more than what the business was originally willing to pay) and explain what you would be able to do with this. Talk about how you will optimize content and other areas of the website. Explain how you will use link building to give the website authority to compete even with businesses that have been around much longer.
Make sure you also define the results you will bring. Make calculated predictions about rankings, traffic, conversions, and ROI.
To succeed in selling your services, you must show small businesses that they do have a chance to stand out online — all they need is the right SEO strategy. Emphasize that is impossible to put such a strategy in place alone. Similarly, that hiring a full-time SEO expert is unfeasible with a small budget. Make it clear that your agency is the only way to go.