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There is always a certain degree of effort when it comes to strengthening and retaining any sort of relationship. Keeping a relationship afloat and having all the necessary skills to do so becomes more apparent the older we get. (Mostly right after our 20’s I’d say.) This holds true as well when we’re talking about clients and retaining them. In business, losing clients can be tantamount to losing a relationship that could have blossomed with great mutual rewards.
Maintaining a good amount and set of client list will always be a hard thing to do regardless if you are that “handsome” company with a great history for success, or that new company “at the back of the class” with no friends yet and no history to offer. Attaining new clients too will definitely take long. This means that the best step to take, is too make sure that the current set of clients get retained. Taking care of them is easy…once we know what to do.
Learn What Your Client Wants/Needs
Breaking the ice can be quick if you and your target client gets to share things. Having an idea about what the client needs (or wants) will help in shaping a campaign or a game plan. Also, having this information early on proves to be a critical detail in attaining and delivering the client’s wishes. Getting to know each other will help in attaining a specific goal, not necessarily quicker, but better.
Imagine a relationship where you don’t know the client at all; it’ll be like a shard of scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for you the whole SEO campaign. -Minus the happy ending of course.
This is sort of a continuation of the paragraph above. One of the first reasons why clients terminate and leave us SEO’s all heartbroken is because they were expecting something more, perhaps, more that what a company or campaign can really deliver. At the start of a campaign, the amount and degree of progress, even the length of time to attain goals should be made clear to the client.
There’s a very simple diagram made by Marvin Russel that depicts this clearly:
This is called the “Slope of SEO”. This graph shows the comparison of a realistic and unrealistic SEO results and the amount of time that they may take.
The best bonus tip here to remember, is that people remember things better when it’s visual, something they see. They retain information better when they see things more than when they hear and read things.
Take Out Existing Problems
Clients most of the time go to SEO companies to help them aid their present (or sometimes long term) problems. What better way to strengthen this relationship than to help them solve a problem they’ve been carrying for years? Sometimes some problems are very easy to solve for us SEO’s some aren’t. Either way, one other thing to remember is to:
Keep Them Involved
Teamwork bodes a better working relationship. It familiarizes both parties and also, doing this makes the client observe what we are doing. (Or what we want to do to attain the goals) This comes in handy too, most especially when the client wants to be in control or wants to see every detail of process in the campaign. Do brainstorm sessions with the client, develop campaign strategies, because this too will make sure that they see things realistically and they are in sync with what we are doing.
A relationship without (or lacking) communication is a nightmare waiting to explode… It’s the same in our industry by the way. This means reporting to the client regularly. Letting them know the progress of a campaign, highlights, steps they would need to do in order to improve the performance of a website and changes. Also, this goes two ways, encourage the client to share things with you too. Check if there are any concerns about the campaign, any sort of misunderstanding on some figures or even if they’re asking or confused about some archaic SEO terminology.
Letting clients in on updates on the industry will help them anticipate possible changes in results and strategies. This also is connected with communicating frequently with clients. Re-educating the client about updates upon the industry, is paramount since, in SEO, change is frequent. Do this to avoid confusion and un-wanted surprises in the campaign. Keep reminding yourself and the client, that change is always happening in this industry.
Also, give out updates on the updates of the campaign itself. It must be absolutely certain that the client knows what to expect on reports, what the amount of change will be indicated and when to expect it. Clients sometimes get confused and frustrated because they forget or become unable to remember when the reports will be sent to them.
Improvements? Go for it
Finally, always check with them if they would want any sort of improvements on the campaign. How we could serve them better. Remember that there is no one way to do things properly and efficiently. Give them a call, email them etc. Talk to them, share ideas and keep improving not only the campaign and all its strategies but also your relationship with your client.
Do it for the relationship man! (or Woman) these are only general things to remember in order to make sure that you retain clients. Yet the simplest things are always the ones that are most effective.