Confirming a contract with a new client is an exciting time, but one that demands specific attention and detail. Building trust is a necessary task that all SEO agencies must embark upon, but how can it be done efficiently? Fortunately, there are a number of actionable strategies that can be put into place that will enable the professional relationship to grow with integrity at the core.
Focus on the Onboarding Experience
Just like when integrating a new employee, the whole experience of onboarding a new client is a vital process that all SEO agencies must move through. Each moment from the first contact to the first day on the job needs to be well thought out and filled with specific actions that create the desired rapport and results. Onboarding for a new client circles around exploring and managing expectations in both directions, while maintaining an open narrative about the road ahead.
The First Meeting
This should include an initial meeting involving all of the key players like the SEO lead, writers, sales, and the core team on the client’s side. During this conversation, there is scope to discuss ideas and bounce off one another which will set things in good stead for the days to come. There will be a bunch of questions that require an answer, but you can plan in advance by preparing responses before the meeting takes place. For example:
- When will the first results be measurable?
- How long will it take to create the desired impact?
- Which platforms will you use to boost the strategy?
- Who will be involved in the process?
Collaborate on the Timeline
Another area where expectations need to be carefully managed is the timeline of work and projected results. You may be in entirely different places in this sense, or you could be on the same page. The point is that this information is a useful starting point and will empower you to find the best way forward. The client may have different priorities from what you are accustomed to, and while you might opt for offering a different viewpoint, ultimately the timelines need to be mutually agreed upon for the relationship to stay viable.
Ultimately, trust is only ever earned between a client and a business when the business delivers on what they say they are going to do. For an SEO agency, this means focusing efforts on meeting deadlines, delivering copy, and tracking results in real time to provide up to speed data for the client. This will reflect well on your overall reputation and enhance the process in terms of how the client views your service. If you can deliver, then everything else should fall into place. Where there are going to be problems, ensure that communication is kept open, and everyone is updated as well. Missed deadlines happen, but there are no excuses for not discussing the barriers as this will only lead to a fed-up client who will ultimately look elsewhere for results.
Make Them Feel Valued
There are lots of ways that a company can ensure a client feels valued and a part of the team. For SEO professionals, this will entail listening to ideas and acting on them, alongside developing informed strategies that have the partner company’s best interests at heart. Don’t be afraid to be the authority voice when it comes to discussing the SEO areas of expertise, but make sure there is room for making people feel heard and acknowledged too. It’s all a fragile balancing act, but it can be juggled with the right motivation and mindset.
SEO knowledge is of course important, but what about all the other aspects of the relationship? If an agency doesn’t put the effort in to get to know the business they are representing, how can they hope to provide successful results? Being knowledgeable means investing in the company you are working for and showing them that you understand the niche from top to bottom. A lot of this will be useful when figuring out the optimal SEO trajectories as well. Learn about primary competitors, industry specific challenges, and the main development areas too.
Regular Updates Count
A major part of building authentic trust in a client-business relationship is providing regular, truthful updates. When the results are coming in, even if they are ahead of the agreed schedule, request a meeting and share the successes. Regular updates are a way to nurture communication and build trust in a meaningful way because the client will learn that your company is a reliable resource that is wholly invested in delivering on the promises.
There are bound to be a few key relationships that require the most input and monitoring. This is the place to foster effective connectivity between the pairings and ensure that everyone has what they need to make it work. There will always be kinks to iron out, but if you have highlighted a few key relationships that will be working together over an intense period, then these are the places to create an authentic trust that grows from the roots.
These relationships will be the driving force behind a successful strategy, after all, so they are more than worth investing in. This could look like organizing specific social engagements for the main collaborators or even investing in away days for each side of the equation to get to know one another in a controlled environment. Anyone working in close quarters needs to be given the space to grow together.
There is always a place for a casual conversation, but trust is only really earned if an agency remains professional above all else during key working hours. Be available, be ready, and be upfront and all of the other factors will slide into place. Professionalism breeds integrity, and integrity breathes life into trust. It’s a simple statement, but one that is highly impactful.
SEO experts looking to build trust with their new clients need to show up, deliver, and keep on delivering. There has to be a degree of collaboration, but ultimately you are the expert for a reason, and this knowledge should be brought at all times.