A large part of an SEO’s job is to teach. After all, it’s pretty difficult to have a client pay you if they don’t understand what they’re paying for. During your SEO career, you’re going to have your fair share of clients who signed up with this mindset:
If my main keyword ranks #1, I will get more business. As long as they take me from page 5 to position #1, the service will pay for itself and it will be worth it.
It is this type of client who needs to understand all the ongoing efforts that we put into SEO. That a #1 ranking for your most obvious broad keyword isn’t always realistic and even if it’s achieved, that doesn’t mean you will stay there forever. You’re definitely going to get the type of client who will want to quit once they think SEO is “working” and that the agency’s job is done once you’re starting to rank.
The other main group of people you will need to teach are junior people in your company. They may come armed with a little bit of knowledge, but a few sessions each month with juniors will go a long way towards their development and understanding of this constantly changing industry.
The SEO industry is constantly changing!
This is a point that I suggest you drive home with your clients and prospects. Don’t just pay it lip service, cite some recent examples. At the time of writing this I can think of a few. Google My Business now allows us to pull info from an API and allows for us to add more rich information such as wheelchair accessibility to our listings.
One way we share this information at TechWyse is through our daily 5 minute gathering called the 9:55. Each morning at 9:55 we gather for 5 minutes to teach each other things we’ve learned about the industry, share a new tools, talk about something we’ve done for a client, and so on. It’s a great way to scale and spread our knowledge across the organization. When the odd client is visiting the office during this period, it really impresses them! In case you’re wondering why we begin this session at 9:55 am: We consciously chose this time so that it’s limited to 5 minutes and it can happen before any meetings scheduled for 10 am.
The great thing about this knowledge transfer is that it trickles down throughout the organization and the knowledge shared definitely gets passed through to all the account managers and their meeting with clients. So through this exercise we are able to manage two groups: The company (account managers in particular) and, in turn, our clients. Two birds with one stone isn’t too bad!
Facebook groups as a learning hub for your company
Several years back we created a private Facebook group called Inside TechWyse for our company. In it we post the recorded 9:55 videos for our entire team to watch, including anyone who may have missed the presentation. We also post recent articles, news, videos and even fun stuff like videos or staff event pictures. Facebook groups are the perfect venue for these as posts spur discussion and nearly everyone in the company sees them. It’s also much more informal than staff-wide emails and memos. If you don’t already have something like this for your company, I highly suggest you do. Especially if you have multiple offices – it can really bridge the gap!
So how does this benefit your client’s education? Simply mentioning to your clients about how much knowledge-share there is in your company is a good thing. Don’t invite your clients to this group, but do give it a quick skim before your next meeting, you’ll probably find that there’s news in there worth sharing.
Communicating with your clients over email
I sincerely hope you have a weekly newsletter that goes out to all your clients and prospects. It’s a great way to keep clients in the loop with the goings on of your industry. Granted, a weekly email can seems impersonal at times to some clients. That’s why I’d suggest sending out an email with a tidbit you found on your company’s Facebook group.
So whether it’s a new SEO strategy they should be taking advantage of or a study on the importance of long-form blogging, I’m sure your clients will appreciate hearing from you about something that’s not so day-to-day as setting a meeting or approving a budget recommendation.
I’ll also quickly mention that it doesn’t hurt to try and start some engagement around the topic of discussion. So try asking a question at the end of your tidbit.
Meetings: the perfect place to educate staff and clients
It’s fairly infrequently that I walk away from a meeting where an AM or client hasn’t told me “I didn’t know that, that’s interesting!” It’s easy for all of us, not just those with lots of experience, to forget how much information we have to share.
Use your client meeting as opportunities to teach and you will find that you will earn your clients’ and you co-workers’ trust when you teach them something of value. Another benefit is that they will begin to trust your recommendations in the future!
Be sure to talk about what you’re learning
I’m a huge advocate of talking about things you read, watch and consume. Repeating what you’ve just learned not only helps you retain information, but it also helps to spread it. If you’re going to do this with clients, just make sure you practice with your colleagues and like-minded friends a little bit first.
Recording videos helps you scale learning
Doing short videos will not only position you as an authority, but they will allow your teachings to scale much more effectively than your one-on-one sessions. Including videos in a training series for new employees is a great idea since it allows them to learn in a medium that many of us love to learn in: Video. A lot of what new hires learn can be passed onto clients and we should make efforts to teach in the mediums that are most easily consumed. Video is definitely high up there one the list, if not up at the top!
Wrapping it All Up
As an SEO, it’s really in your benefit to have educated colleagues and clients. It’s important for you to remember that they don’t have the time you do (and it’s not their job) to know every new detail of the industry. It’s important to have staff that are abreast on the latest developments in SEO and are able to think on their feet and handle contentions on their own – these are the types of account managers you want to have.
So use some of the advice I’m giving here and be proactive about educating your staff. Hopefully then you and your team won’t be the only people at your agency who can handle the daily questions that come from your SEO clients. Even better if you can get your clients answering their own questions because of your agency’s efforts to educate them!