How To Start An SEO Business – The Definitive Guide

In this guide I will be teaching you how to start an SEO business. I currently own a local SEO company myself and have been running it since 2009 with good success. By the end of this guide you will have all the tools and know how to go ahead and start your very own local SEO business, all you will need to do is read this tutorial and take action.

BONUS: I’ve got a special bonus at the end of this tutorial which will help you even further on your quest to start an SEO business. In the ‘Bonus Download’ file I have some goodies for you to use that will save you hours and hours of work! As you go through this tutorial, I’ll explain what each file and document is and how it will help you out.

Ok, the first thing that you may be thinking is ‘I don’t know anything about SEO!’; Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), because all you need to do in the end is find someone who does – I will discuss this later on in the guide.

This is quite a long guide, it’s long because I am explaining in detail EXACTLY what you need to do in order to start your own local SEO business and make it successful.

What you have to remember is that when you’re reading this, it may seem like there are a lot of steps to complete, but in reality it’s not going to take you that much time to complete them all. There’s absolutely no question that if you follow this free guide and ACTUALLY IMPLEMENT it properly, you too can have your own very successful local SEO business and the ultimate freedom of being your own boss.

The best part is there is no reason you can’t have your first clients within a couple of weeks!

Now let’s go through, step by step, what you need in order to create a successful local SEO business of your own…

Website

The first thing you will need is a website for your new local SEO business. If you don’t already know how to build a website then check out my guide here, which shows you how to build a brand new WordPress website in less than 10 minutes! I recommend using Bluehost to register your domain and host your website (You also get a free domain name when you purchase their hosting).

Once you have your WordPress site built and live, you really need to have a professional looking design on it. One option would be to have one custom designed, which will cost hundreds of dollars/pounds.

The easiest and cheapest option is to buy a fully customisable professional theme. Some of the best themes I’ve seen online so far that is perfect for exactly what we need are the Studio Press themes. They look very professional and are fully customisable! Click here to check them out for yourself.

The other good thing about the Studio Press Themes is that you can simply paste your Aweber code in to the theme and that’s’ it all set up and ready to go at the click of a button. For anyone who is unsure of who Aweber are, they provide an opt in email service.

This means you can get your customers to sign up to your email newsletter and then promote offers and services to them either automatically, or whenever you feel like it, all through Aweber’s easy to use system. Having an opt in list in this business is extremely important as it is very rarely a business owner is going to be sold on your products/services on their first visit to your website.

However, by capturing their email address and getting them on to your opt in list (I will explain the best way to capture their details later in this guide), you are giving yourself future opportunities to market your services to these business owners. Click here to sign up for your Aweber account and get your first trial month for only $1!

Processing payments

An important point to discuss is what you should be charging your clients for SEO. This is a very hard question to answer in black and white as there are many factors to be considered, I will explain this in more detail later on in the guide.

Before you can start getting clients, you need to decide how you are going to accept payments from them. I personally just invoice my clients at the end of every month for the SEO work done. Now, some of you may be thinking; “OMG! But what if they don’t pay!?”.

The facts are that if you have explained how your service works properly and what they stand to gain (or more importantly lose if they don’t subscribe to your SEO service) then you will be paid promptly every month without any problems.

All my previous, and current clients, have paid on time by bank wire/transfer after being invoiced at the end of every month for my SEO services. I would recommend you too choose this method of processing payments as it is very simple and effective. However, you do have other options available to you;

  • Standing Order (UK): You can set up a standing order to automatically bill your clients every month. I’m sure you can also do this in the US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/rest of the world too but it may be called something different.
  • Cheque: Same story as the bank transfer really. Some business owners still do it the old fashioned way and don’t embrace online banking, choosing instead to pay by cheque.
  • PayPal: PayPal *IS* an option, however, they are extremely unreliable. PayPal has by far the worst customer service and support I’ve ever experienced from any company, BAR NONE! I’ve only listed it here as it is an option but do yourself a favour and stay well clear unless you absolutely have no other choice whatsoever.

I’m sure there are many other ways you can accept payments from your clients in your own country and probably indeed in the UK. I’m not going to cover all of them as I don’t have experience using them myself. The facts are that invoice client, receive payment by cheque or bank transfer from client, and then send client receipt works perfectly well.

Promotion: How to get clients

Ok, so now you know the basics of how to get your website set up and are ready to accept payments from your future clients! I’m going to walk you through a number of methods I’ve personally used to get clients for my own SEO business in the past. Before I do though, I should explain just how I gathered all the details of these businesses in order to contact them to sell my services.

Gathering business names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses can be a very lengthy and tiresome process. Sure you can trawl through online directory sites and find bits and pieces of information which you can then use to reach out to these businesses but it costs valuable time.

I’ve found a way round this and can honestly say that this one tool alone was the difference between my business being a decent business and a  successful one…

Power Leads Pro X is a piece of software that automatically searches Google Maps listings for businesses in any niche that you specify using the power leads pro logobusiness name. It can also gather businesses on a country, state or city level! If I decide I want to promote my services to lawyers in London for example, all I have to do is select London from the UK section of Power Leads Pro X, type in the keyword ‘Lawyers’ and hit the search button.

After around 20 minutes I return to the software which will have scraped the business name, address, phone number, email address, website URL and a whole host of other SEO and internet marketing related data for every single lawyer in London that has a Google Maps listing!

If you can’t already see the value in Power Leads Pro X just from this feature alone then allow me to list exactly what I do with not only the thousands of business listing I generate with this amazing tool but the other features of the software that bring me in new clients regularly;

BONUS: As an additional bonus, I’ve included a tiny sample of 25 New York lawyer leads scraped using Power Leads Pro X in the bonus download at the end of this tutorial. This is to show you just how much valuable info Power Leads Pro X gathers and to give you some more ideas as to how you can use this powerful tool.

EXTRA BONUS: In the coming weeks I’m going to be giving away FULL lists I’ve scraped in Power Leads Pro X absolutely free. Head on over to this post on the forum and let me know what niches you would like the leads for and I’ll see what I can do. Join my newsletter below to be updated as soon as I post these lists on the blog:






Emailing with Power Leads Pro X

This software also comes with a built in mailer. This means that once you have scraped thousands of business listings from Google Maps on autopilot, you then import these business listings in to the Power Leads Pro X mailer at the click of a button.

Once you’ve added your email message you can then the software to dynamically add certain details of the listing in to the email using token variables. This means you can add the business name, the city the business is in, the amount of back links the business’s website has and lots of other information that is totally unique to their business.

Power Leads Pro X then sends the email out to all these businesses with each email being totally unique to their business and all on total autopilot!

Another brilliant feature of the mailer is that you can also use spin syntax to make each email that is sent out totally unique. This means that for example a sentence that would normally be the identical in every email would now be unique, yet still be readable and make total sense, in every email.

This is important because it means that every email that goes out will now be spun and unique which means it has much less chance of being marked as spam and therefore much more likely to reach the recipient’s inbox. You can manually spin each email but it’s a lot quicker and easier to use The Best Spinner to spin all your emails and articles.

What’s even better is that Jon over at The Best Spinner is giving new users a 7 day trial of this time saving software for only $7! Click here to trial it for yourself!

I could list the many examples of emails I have sent out to businesses in the past using Power Leads Pro X but to save this guide from turning in to a never ending story, I’m not going to bother… Don’t worry though! I’ve included one of the emails I used which got me a number of enquiries from business owners in the bonus download at the end of this article. It’s in there beside lots of other priceless goodies I’m giving away to you guys today absolutely FREE! Keep reading to find out about the other bonuses I’ve got in store for you in the free download…

Direct mail with Power Leads Pro X

Direct mail is another very effective method to market your SEO services to businesses. I have gained high paying clients in the past using Power Leads Pro X and this exact method in the past.

Firstly, you need to pick a niche and an area you want to target. Using Power Leads Pro X, scrape the details of these businesses. Once the list is scraped, you can save yourself hours of having to hand write the addresses of the businesses on the envelopes, and have Power Leads Pro X print the business name, address and post code/zip code on to labels for you.

The most important part of getting this method right is the sales copy of your letter. I use a very specific type of direct mail which includes a brief introduction, a few high value keywords with the monthly search volume that they’re competitors are currently outranking them for, a screenshot of the front page of Google that shows their competitors dominating it and a call to action to finish with.

Instead of including the full document in this guide, again I’ve added it to the bonus download package at the end of this article with all the other goodies for you to download for free!

Cold calling with Power Leads Pro X

When people hear the words ‘cold calling’, it often makes them want to run for the hills. However, it still is, and probably always will be, one of the most effective, quickest and cheapest ways to generate new clients for your business.

It is simply a numbers game, if you are using the correct script and dialling enough numbers per day, there’s absolutely no doubt you will be able to set appointments. The main reason people lose faith inpower leads pro x cold calling cold calling is because they give up too early, you have to be ready to dig in for the long haul with cold calling, if you do, it can reward you handsomely!

One thing that has made cold calling expensive in the past is that most people who wanted to cold call businesses either had to dial direct from the phone book/yellow pages, which is extremely inefficient and tedious.

Or one would have to purchase lists which contained the names and phone numbers of businesses which you could use to call them.

Well, Power Leads Pro X has solved this problem. Now with the click of a button you can have lists of thousands of businesses and their phone numbers in your area.

What’s even more impressive is that you can save the data to a file with the phone numbers highlighted as links. You then simply setup Skype so that phone numbers become clickable links which then means you just take the file and one by one click each number to phone the business. This will save you masses of time in the long run which you would’ve wasted dialling out the numbers manually.

While this is a time saver, the most important aspect of cold calling is the script you are using. In this case, I always used a script which was strictly for getting my foot in the door for an appointment. Once I have the appointment I know I have a very good chance of closing the client – more on that later though.

Luckily for you, I have a well used appointment setting script that I acquired from one of the best cold callers in the business. This script is tried and tested, and will stand the test of time. Once again, this free cold calling appointment setting script is included in the free download pack at the end of the article.

Creating your own referral program with Power Leads Pro X

This method has the power to bring you in new clients every month without even having to lift a finger to get them. The basic premise of a referral program is that you pay individuals (in this case business owners or employees) a certain commission for referring new clients to you who buy a product or service you provide. This is also known online more commonly as an affiliate program.

Anyway, let’s look at what you have to do to set your own one up for your SEO business…

What you must do first is create a referral programme page on your website. On that page you should include a bit about what the referral programme involves, how it works and how much money the referrers can make for sending you paying clients.

You could have a go at making this yourself, or you can download the one I have made for you guys free in the download pack at the end of this guide.

The next step is to run some searches on Power Leads Pro X to harvest the details of all the printers, accountants, web designers and any other business that works on a business to business basis in your area. Once you have all the details of these businesses, first thing you should do is compose an email using the Power Leads Pro X mailing feature and send it out to every one of these businesses.

You should start receiving emails and calls within a couple of days from the owners/managers of the businesses you have emailed wanting to speak to you and get more info about your programme. What you should do now is take it to the next level. Take the harvested details from Power Leads Pro X and one by one, using Skype, click on the phone number of each of business that hasn’t got back to you and phone them.

When you get through it will almost always be to a gatekeeper (Receptionist/PA). The easiest way to get past the gatekeeper is to say something along the lines of;

“Hi, it’s {insert name} here. Can I speak to the business owner please?”

At this point, 99 times out of 100, the gatekeeper will want to know who you are or why you’re calling. Next move…

“I’m calling because I emailed the business owner a couple of days ago regarding a local joint venture business opportunity and am yet to hear back from them. I thought I’d just follow up with a phone call to make sure that the email reached the right person.”

Now, at this point one of two things should happen. The gatekeeper will pass you through and you’ll be talking with the owner, or the owner won’t be in and you’ll have to call back. If they do say they are going to pass you through, always make sure to ask the owner/decision maker’s name before being transferred through.

This is essential for two reasons; 1. You want to address the person by their name without having to ask, it’s a very simple courtesy but at the same time people love hearing their own name.

2. If you get cut off, or more likely, the person tells the gatekeeper they are ‘busy’, you now have the owner’s name. This means when you call up again in a day or two you can take a much more direct approach as you already know the owner’s name.

If the gatekeeper tells you at the start of the call that the business owner is out or currently not available, again you can get useful information. Simply say;

“Ok, that’s fine. I’ll phone back again tomorrow. Do you know what would be the best time to catch them in the office?”

The gatekeeper should know their boss’s schedule or at worst their rough attendance times and will give you the best times to phone. Your work here is not done yet though, finish with;

“That’s great. Oh and just before I go, what’s the business owner’s name? Just so I know who to ask for when I call back.”

Now at the very worst, you will have gained some good information from your cold call; the times that the owner is usually in the office and, most importantly, the owner’s name!

If you go through the entire list harvested by Power Leads Pro X and call them all, eventually you will stumble upon a few business owners who will be happy to recommend your services to their clients, especially when they learn they will be receiving a nice referral commission for next to no work on their own part!

If you employ this method properly, it can literally be the only form of marketing you EVER have to do to generate new clients. Another method you must also employ is to offer your paying clients exactly the same deal.

If you have happy clients who are getting leads from the traffic generated from your services, they will be more than happy to recommend you to the many business people in the area who they will network with regularly. There is no hotter lead than an introduced, recommended lead because the hard part of convincing them that you can be trusted has already been done!

Other promotional methods

Obviously using Power Leads pro X isn’t the only tool you can utilise to make getting new SEO customers a breeze.  There are many other methods you can use to get the phone ringing off the hook with business owners wanting to use your services. Here are some of them;

Business cards

One thing any good business owner knows is to ALWAYS have business cards on your person at all times, as you never know when an opportunity may present itself! Hand your business cards out to everybody and anybody.

Even if someone is not a business owner, you never know when their boss, a colleague or friend may require services that you offer. That’s when giving them your business card can pay dividends days, weeks, months or even years down the line.

You can make your business cards stand out a bit from the usual business card and include a QR code on the back of it. When the person then scans the QR code with their smart phone, you can set it to either take them to your website or ring your phone number.

Yellow Pages

While some of you may be thinking this goes against everything that an SEO business stands for, it would be a mistake to overlook the old fashioned Yellow Pages book for promotion. There are still a lot of people who use the Yellow Pages to find businesses and services that haven’t yet started using the web for this instead.

The most important aspect of your Yellow Pages ad is the copy; get this right and you can make a very healthy ROI but get it wrong and you’ll end up haemorrhaging money on it. One of the best books I’ve read about getting your print advertising spot on is Ca$hvertising.

Local/National business directories

Be sure to add your business details to all local and major national online business directories. These listings are not only good for taking advantage of the traffic on these directory sties but the listings also act as good citations to help boost your Google Places/Maps listing in the search engines.

Networking

Networking in person at business events is one of the most effective ways of finding new clients to purchase your SEO services. The easiest way to get started is by joining your local chamber of commerce. This will introduce you to many local business owners and entrepreneurs like yourself who NEED the service you are offering.

Breakfast clubs seem to be popular places where people can chat and enquire about each other’s business and how they may be able to help each other out etc. These are ample opportunities for you to secure one on one meetings in future when you can be armed with a full report on their site and have keywords researched for them to target.

Write for local/national newspapers

Newspapers are always looking for good, well written content that they can publish. If you can either write, or have a professional write, a solid, easy to understand article about SEO and how it affects businesses, then there is every chance that it could end up published in your local newspaper.

If you are going to go down this route, I always say it’s best to start at the top and send your article to the biggest national newspapers first. The reason for this is that if you are lucky enough to get a piece published in these newspapers, it becomes a very good testimonial when you then send the piece to local newspapers as you can say that nationals have already published it.

The more creative you can be with the article the better. If you can think out of the box and get your article published even just in your local paper, you can expect a large response from business owners who read the article.

The other good aspect of this is that you will have the upper hand as being in the newspaper portrayed as the local SEO expert will instil trust in these business owners and make it easier for you to convert them to paying clients.

Classified sites

Depending on where you are in the world, the chances are that there is a large online classified site that serves your country. Some examples being Craigslist (US), Gumtree (UK, AU, NZ) and Kijiji (CA). These sites are free to post on and receive a lot of daily traffic.

It has to be said that advertising on these sites can be hit and miss but if you persevere and can get creative with your ads then there is definitely value in using them. Again, by reading Ca$hvertising you will give yourself a big edge over the competition with your ad copy.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your SEO services on. The reason it’s so good is that you can connect with the business owners directly without having to go through gatekeepers as you would when cold calling or sending direct mail. Also, by using the method I’m about to explain, you can send as many private messages as you want to people absolutely free!

What you need to do first is join some LinkedIn groups. The sorts of groups you want to target are the groups that are going to be full of business owners in your area. So look for your chamber of commerce group, entrepreneurs in your city groups, business owners in your city groups etc (you get the gist).

Once you have joined these groups and been accepted (some require a moderator to approve you but not all), if you then click on the member list of the group, you will see that there is an option to private message each one of them. It’s not uncommon to find LinkedIn groups in your area with hundreds of business owners in them, the opportunities are endless!

Now that you can private message these people, you are in the perfect position to offer them something for free, which leads me nicely on to the next method…

Free SEO report

Offering your future potential clients a free SEO report is a very important and easy step that must be taken with almost every client.

Whether they have arrived at your site and requested a free SEO report by signing up to your mailing list, or you are trying to entice business owners to buy your services on LinkedIn, offering free SEO reports is essential to your business and you must make sure you do it properly to secure these potential future clients as actual paying clients. Here’s how to do it;

Use a piece of software called SEO Power Suite.  This software has many brilliant features that will assist you in your day to day running of your SEO business but more importantly it can create very professional looking SEO reports that you can then use as free SEO reports to pass on to your clients.

All you have to do is type in the URL of the business’s website in to the software and hit go. The software then compiles a professional, custom SEO report for that site. You then simply take the report, add a quick introduction at the beginning, include the keywords and search volume they are missing out on and a call to action at the end to get them to contact you, voila!

The SEO Power Suite software bundle also allows you to run reports on client’s websites that highlights code and validation errors, as well as on page SEO factors that need to be addressed.

Best of all, you can get a free demo of the SEO Power Suite software bundle on their site by clicking here.

How to deal with meeting potential clients

That’s more than enough promotional methods to get you up and running, even using a couple of the Power Leads Pro X methods alone should bring you in a steady stream of leads. It’s time to move on to how you should prepare yourself once your promotional methods have paid off and how to start your own SEO businessyou start arranging meetings with potential clients…

Now, this is the part where some of you may start thinking ‘Oh no! I actually have to talk to people!? Face to face!?’. A lot of people may feel they lack the confidence to go in to another person’s business and convince them to purchase a service but I promise you once you’ve done it a couple of times you won’t know what all the fuss was about.

The first thing you have to realise is that if a business owner decides they want you to visit them at their office, it means you are half way there already.

People who run businesses have never got enough time in the day to complete the workload they already have running their company so you can be sure that if they are willing to give up their precious time to hear what you have to say then they are definitely interested in your services. It’s just up to you to make sure you’re prepared and ready to wow them and get that deal done.

Preparation before the meeting

Most of the hard work required is done before the meeting even takes place; the easiest part is once you’re actually sat in front of the business owner.

NOTE: For the first time in the guide I’m going to be using some SEO industry terms. If you are a complete beginner then don’t worry, as I stated at the beginning of the article, you will only need a very basic knowledge of SEO to be able to make this business a success. I will explain all at the end of the guide.

The first thing you need to prepare is a plan of action report. This is what you will present to the business owner(s) at the meeting as you talk them through what the process will be and how it will increase their website traffic and ultimately get them more leads/customers. I lay mine out like this:

Front cover: On the front cover I place their company logo at the top of the page, taking up roughly the first third of the page. Underneath that I have the text in bold saying ‘[INSERT BUSINESS NAME] SEO Report’. Then at the bottom of the page my company name.

Page 1: Explain how you’re going to review the onsite SEO and recommend any changes that could be made to benefit optimisation.

Page 2: Explain very briefly what methods you are going to use for offsite SEO (link building). Try not to dwell on this part with the client as most will not be tech savvy and this part can really confuse them.

Page 3: Keywords and search volume. This page should contain a list of keywords and related monthly search volume in Google for each keyword. The keyword research stage is a very important one and you need to ensure that you do it right in order to maximise your potential earnings from each client. You must make sure that you provide the client with a list of as many keywords as you can possibly find that have reasonable monthly search volume (I personally never include any keyword that has less than 100 searches per month).

At the bottom of the keyword list I also create a ‘Total’ line in bold which is the combined monthly search volume of all the keywords. This gives the business owner a potential number of people they could be exposed to per month should they get to number 1 for all the keywords you propose.

This acts as a big number that they now have in their head and hopefully if you convince them well enough, they won’t want to drop any of the keywords you have proposed and will sign up to have you optimise their site for all of them.

This is a part of the process that you should always do yourself and not outsource.

Don’t worry; it’s not difficult to do either. By using Market Samurai, you can not only research the keywords and get the search volume for each, this amazing software also provides you with various competition level indicators that help you evaluate how hard it’s going to be to rank top for each keyword.

It would take thousands of words to explain all of the other brilliant useful features Market Samurai has so I’m not going to harp on, just check out my full Market Samurai review here.

Checklist: before you leave for the meeting

Before you head off for your meeting, you should always remember a few basic things. Here’s a short checklist of the essentials I always take;

  1. At least 3 copies of the SEO action plan report – You never know how many people you’ll be presenting to and you will need a copy to read through yourself as you explain the contents.
  2. A notepad and pen – You will almost definitely have to write things down throughout this meeting for you to refer to later, don’t make the mistake of trying to ‘remember’ everything.
  3. Business cards – Always hand out your business card to everyone in the meeting before you leave, regardless of the outcome of the meeting.
  4. Pre filled standing orders – I always have standing order forms filled out and ready in case that’s the client’s preferred method payment. All that is required is the business owner to enter his details on it and then I can simply leave it with them to hand in at their bank once completed.
  5. Contracts – more on these later in the guide.
  6. A folder – I use a clear plastic folder to carry my reports, notepad, pen, business cards, standing orders and contracts all in one place.

Another obvious, but important, thing to mention is that if you are going to a meeting with a business person to ask for hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of pounds/dollars per month, you really should be wearing a smart suit.

At worst wear trousers, a shirt and a tie. It’s all very well lounging about in your pyjamas at home working but when meeting real, offline world business people; you have to make a bit of effort if you want them to part with their hard earned money.

The actual meeting

Ok, now you’ve got everything prepared and ready, it’s time for the actual meeting. Whatever you do, DON’T BE LATE! If anything, turn up 5 minutes early and just sit in the waiting area collecting your thoughts and running over in your head what you’re going to say in the meeting.

You’re probably asking yourself now, ‘What should I be saying in the meeting???’, glad you asked, let’s cover what you need to do and say in the meeting to ensure you give yourself the best chance of closing the deal…

NOTE: When I first started in this business, I had absolutely no experience of face to face selling. However, after landing only my second meeting using the techniques I’ve already explained in the guide so far, I managed to secure my first client in only my second meeting with a business owner… And it was a deal worth £2,000 (~US$3,200) per month!

I also only missed out on the first client because they were already finalising a deal with another SEO company for roughly the same price and felt obliged to go with them. I think looking back now after the experience I have gained, I could’ve also won that client’s custom too but that is all part of the learning curve I suppose.

The point I am trying to make is that a lot of people reading this may feel that it’s all too much for them and the fear of failure will prevent them from being able to succeed. I’m here to tell you that no matter who you are, you CAN succeed at running your own successful SEO business; you just need to take everything on board in this guide and actually put it in to practice.

When you first meet with a business owner face to face, the first thing you want to do is ask them some important questions. Here are a few of the more important ones I ask, along with the reasons why and how the answers can help steer your meeting to a successful conclusion:

  • Knowledge/Previous experiences with SEO companies: I always ask them first of all what they know about SEO and have they ever hired an SEO business for their business before. This will let you know where you stand in terms of what their expectations and previous experience may be. For example, I’ve worked with clients in the past who have hired SEO companies before that have not delivered on any of the ‘promises’ they made and have left a bad taste in the business owner’s mouth. In these instances, you have to work hard to build trust with the client and explain exactly how you are going to deliver the client their desired results.
  • What other forms of advertising/marketing do they currently use?: This question is a good one for a few reasons. Firstly because it gives you an idea of the sort of money the business owner is already spending on advertising. Secondly, once the business owner has revealed what advertising they currently pay for, you can ask them if they are happy with the response they are getting from that advertising. In most cases you will find that the answer to that question is that they simply don’t know. This is where you can explain how they can track exactly how many more targeted visitors they will get to their website through your SEO efforts.
  • Does the business owner have any questions of their own?: Make sure that before you get round to actually trying to close any deal that you make sure the business owner has no questions left unanswered. By asking this it saves you having to think about all the possible questions that need to be asked and let the client do this for you. You need to make sure that the business owner is clear about how the process works and what you will be doing in the coming months to get them to where they want to be in the search engines.

When you’re in meetings with clients, it’s essential that you really hammer home the benefits of SEO and why they NEED the service you are offering. Here are some statements and facts that you should learn off by heart and all of them should be used in your meetings with clients;

  • “Research shows that 82% of new customers research a business online before making a purchase decision. Do you know where your business is in the Google rankings for your targeted keywords?” – This stat brings home just how important it is for the business to be prominent in the search engines. It also shows the prospective client that you have done your homework and know what you’re doing which will go some way to help you increase your authority figure status in the industry. You can enlighten the business owner with a printout of exactly where they currently rank for all the keywords you have researched for them by using the ranking tracker tool in Market Samurai or SEO Power Suite.
  • “SEO isn’t the future, it’s the present. Anyone not doing this is already behind” – This is a favourite of mine. It is an absolutely true statement and also acts to instil a sense of urgency and fear in the client as if they do not act now they risk falling even further behind to their competitors.
  • “Google’s research shows that 1 out of every 5 of the 16 billion Google searches a day are in regards to a local business. Just based on these keywords alone, you can see that [X amount]* of people are actively searching for the exact product/service that you provide. They are finding the solution, but unfortunately at the moment it’s your competitors who are profiting from it. “ – Again, this highlights to the business owner that their competitors currently have the jump on them when it comes to the search engine ranking positions for their targeted keywords. This should act to again create urgency and fear in the business owner as they have been made aware that their main local/national/international competitors are taking the lion’s share of the visitors/leads/customers that are searching online for the exact same product/service that your potential clients offers.
    TIP: It’s best to use this example when presenting the business owner with both the list of targeted keywords with the search volume *(the amount that should be inserted in to the statement at ‘[X amount]’) for each one and a screenshot from Google of one of the main keywords with their main competitors’ front page listings highlighted on the front page.
  • “SEO has the highest long term ROI of any form of marketing.” – This is something I say which some people may not agree with but here’s why I think it’s true; When SEO is done properly and ethically, and you achieve top ranking results across targeted keywords with good search volume, these rankings then have the potential to stay there (without any additional optimisation required) potentially for YEARS to come. I don’t know of any other form of marketing that can keep on returning that sort of value consistently, day after day, years after you have stopped paying for it. This again is a good thing to follow up with after you make this statement to the client as every business owner will be delighted with the prospect of still receiving traffic/leads/clients long after they have paid for the SEO services.
  • “SEO is a cumulative process. If you start now, by the time your competitors catch on they’ll already be months or years behind you. And they’ll have to spend thousands to catch up. On the other hand, if you wait…it could be you playing a desperate game of catch-up” – This statement, for me, sums up why the potential client NEEDS to be buying the SEO services you are offering. It instils the urgency to get moving on it quick, plants the seed of fear about their competitors getting the jump on them and the possibility of it costing them even more money in future to try and get on an even keel with their competitors again.
  • “If you decide to work with us then you are the only [insert industry] we will be working with in [insert city/country/continent].” – Explain that while you have been in contact with other businesses in their niche/area/industry, if they subscribe to your SEO services, it will come with a guarantee that they will be the only organisation you work with in that niche/industry in that city/country/continent. Obviously amend this based on what sort of company you are pitching to, a local accountant for example will be slightly different to a multi-national company operating in numerous countries.
  •  “What is the lifetime value of every new customer/client you gain?” – This can be a brilliant question as if they do know the exact number then you can then look at the potential monthly search volume for all keywords and say something like; “Well, once we’ve got your website to number 1 for all these keywords, you will be receiving roughly around 40% of the total number of people searching which would be around [X amount] new visitors every month. Even if you only converted 1% of these new prospects in to new customers/clients, you’ll still have gained [X amount] new customers/clients. Based on the lifetime value of each new customer/client you get, that should be new customers/clients every month you will be gaining which have a lifetime value to the tune of [X amount]… And that’s not even including the future customers/clients they will recommend through word of mouth!”. One thing about this example is that you need to have proficient arithmetic skills, if you don’t then just take a calculator with you to meetings. If the business owner doesn’t know how much the lifetime vale of each customer/client is, then still do the calculation of visitors versus a 1% conversion rate and present them with the final number that way, it’ll still be effective.
    By using this example, it is also a perfect time to drop in what price you charge for your SEO services. You can then explain how they can be getting new customers/clients every month with lifetime values of [Y amount], while only having to pay [Z amount] for the SEO service. Plus, down the line when the site is number 1 for all the keywords, they’ll still be receiving all the new customers/clients but will no longer have to pay for the SEO services ([Z amount]).
    I hope I haven’t over complicated this question and answer example here because it is actually a simple but VERY effective way to persuade a prospect to sign on the dotted line. It’s the old ‘Comparing apples to oranges’ analogy but it works wonders with making business owners adjust their mindset, it works very well to negate what the price you are charging is as it’s regardless as long as they are going to be making a good return on their investment.

NOTE: It’s not a question you should ask the prospect, but it’s a common question a prospective client will ask you… ‘How long will it take for our website to get to number 1 in Google for the keywords?’.

This is always the question on every potential client’s lips and I always give the same/similar answer; ‘In most cases what happens is that you will start to see positive signs after 3 months, then page 1 listings within 4-6 months, top 3 listings within 6-9 months and number 1 listings within 12 months.

I have to stress that this is the guidelines I give most of my clients but every project is different. There are times it has taken a lot less time to achieve these goals but there have also been times it has taken a little bit longer.

We are dedicated to practising ethical SEO and doing it the proper way so that you can benefit from the work we do for months and even years after we stop actually building back links to your site. To make sure this is the case we carry out all the work methodically and at a natural pace in order to make everything appear natural to Google and prevent incurring any penalties also.’

This answer is good for a few reasons;

Firstly, it gives you room to manoeuvre should you not quite be hitting the targets you have set in future.

Secondly, and what is typically been the case for me in the past, if you start delivering these results quicker than the time frames you have set out, it makes the client even happier (think referrals and testimonials!).

Thirdly, it further assures the client that you are doing everything properly and that it’s not just going to be a quick bodged job.

Closing the deal

You will now be fast approaching the part of the meeting where you either close this thing down and leave with a new client on board, or you will be leaving with another meeting, or worst case scenario, the client will need time to ‘think about it’.

You must remember that you will almost neverclosing the SEO deal till leave a meeting with a business owner getting a straight ‘no’ answer. Even if for some reason they don’t want the service, they will usually just say the old ‘I’ll be in touch soon’ or ‘I need to discuss it with [INSERT RANDOM EMPLOYEE/PARTNER NAME] before we actually move forward with this’.

When you feel that the meeting has come to a conclusion and every possible question the business owner has asked has been answered, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and talk money. If the client doesn’t take the lead then a good way to get things started is to say;

“If you were going to sign up today, how many of these targeted keywords would you want us to start optimising the site for?” – This question is good to use towards the end of the meeting once you have answered all the client’s questions and dropped in all the above statements and persuaders during your pitch and presentation.

This question should give you a feel for where the client is in terms of whether they’re ready to commit or not, and if so, how much they are willing to go for.

If at this point you meet resistance or the client is still uncertain and not sold, it’s time to reiterate some of the statements from above that we’ve already covered in the guide. It’s your job to make the client feel that he NEEDS this SEO service, and need it now!

However, at no point should you be pushy with the client. Throughout the entire meeting I always give off the attitude of ‘I’m the expert in this, I have explained why you NEED this service and if you don’t decide to sign up to it, I’ve got a number of your competitors waiting to sign up should you turn this opportunity down’.

Anything you can do at this point to instil fear and urgency in the client should be used, they must feel like if they don’t grab this opportunity now, they are going to be missing out and losing ground to their competitors (Which in reality is true).

Contracts

When it comes to getting a new client to sign a contract, some people don’t bother but other people insist on it. The way I look at it is that if my client really wants to sign a contract then I am happy to and I always have contracts at the ready for both parties to sign.

However, if my new client doesn’t mention it and I don’t see any need to have us both sign one, I tend not to bother.

I’m certainly no law expert but the contracts I use have everything in them that I need to explain exactly what the client should expect from my service and what is included and not included.

Having an SEO contract written up by a solicitor would be a costly endeavour for anyone starting their own SEO business so I’ve included the full contract I use in the free download pack at the end of the article alongside all the other goodies I’ve mentioned throughout this guide.

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of currently discussing all things law and legal, I should explain that I can’t guarantee that this contract would stand up in court should the terms of the contract be breached or for whatever other reason a client may exercise any sort of action against you. If you really want to be safe then feel free to have a solicitor write up a contract for you.

Don’t know how to do effective SEO? Don’t know what to charge clients every month? Here’s your solution…

Now I know that a fair few of the people reading this guide may not actually know a lot about SEO. If you are an SEO practitioner then feel free to skip this next section of the guide.

Learning how to do SEO on websites properly takes years to master, and on top of that you also have to keep up to date with what is an industry that is ever changing, literally on a daily basis! The thing you have in your favour though is that there are companies out there that actually provide the technical SEO services for clients that you can simply resell.

This means that you would essentially be selling the service to your prospective clients and then paying the SEO reseller company to do the work on your behalf. You then collect whatever the difference is between what you pay the SEO reseller company and what your client is paying you, what’s left over is your profit.

With that established, what you would need to do before you go to the meeting with your client is look at the amount of keywords you have researched for them and then look at the various costs that the SEO reseller company are charging for the amount of keywords to optimise.

You would then need to decide exactly what mark up you want to receive on the deal. For example;

You convince a prospect to sign up to have you perform SEO services on their website to target 10 keywords. You previously checked the price that the SEO reseller company charges to optimise 10 keywords per month. In this example, let’s say that the SEO reseller company charges £250 (~US$400) for SEO services on 10 keywords per month.

You then decide you’d like a 100% mark up on this deal so you get your client to pay you £500 (~US$800) per month for the SEO services on the 10 keywords every month. So you end up profiting to the tune of £250 (~US$400) per month for the duration of that deal.

What’s so good about this is that your only real responsibility in this ongoing transaction is answering any questions the client may have from month to month, emailing out the monthly ranking reports (which the SEO reseller company will create for you) and dealing with invoicing and payments every month.

Now you may be wondering where you can find a trusted, reliable SEO reseller service like the one I just mentioned in the example above to be able to complete the entire puzzle of how to make money with your own SEO business.

Well, a good place to check out would be the good people over at RankPay. They provide a very easy to use sign up process that provides you with everything you could possibly need, and more, for your prospective client’s websites to prosper in the search engine.

Click here to visit their website and start the sign up process, before you have to pay you will be able to see exactly how much it will cost you per month for each of your client’s keywords. This is prefect as you can use the site to get an idea of your costs before you actually pitch to the client.

NOTE: One thing that some of you may be thinking about is the ranking of Google +/ Places/Maps local business listings. That is an entirely different ball game from standard organic SEO and by covering it in this tutorial would make it a never ending story.

Nearly finished, just one more thing…

Whether you have literally only learnt the term SEO for the first time reading this article, you’re a beginner, intermediate or super star SEO practitioner, one sure fire way to get leads and enquiries from business owners actually coming in to YOU is to rank your own SEO website for high value SEO keywords.

By ranking your website for keywords like ‘SEO [INSERT YOUR CITY NAME]’, ‘[INSERT YOUR CITY NAME] SEO’, ‘Buy SEO [INSERT YOUR CITY NAME]’ etcetera etcetera, assuming these keywords have good search volume (which of course you will have researched beforehand using Market Samurai), then you will have these local business owners actually contacting you! If you find yourself in this powerful position then that’s when you can really scale your business up and start earning large amounts of money.

Not only does it mean that you have a steady supply of leads coming in from the SEO rankings without having to constantly keep marketing and advertising to businesses, it is also the best possible advert for your SEO skills in the sense that you have managed to rank your website for the exact high value terms that the business owner has searched for to find your business.

You can do this by checking out the list of SEO tools on my tools of the trade page or again, you use RankPay to rank your own site.

I think this sums up the entire guide nicely and is a good place to bring it to an end. I know it’s been a long read, over 10,000 words in fact, but I can’t stress enough that literally ANYONE can do this if they are willing to work hard and put their mind to it.

Don’t go away and build your website, buy all the necessary software and then just give up after a week because you’ve not had 100 people phoning you to arrange meetings. It’s going to take time and effort but eventually you CAN and WILL have a successful SEO business of your own… But… Only if you REALLY WANT to!

I’ve summarised the guide below so you can have a look at the steps required at a glance, you can now also download the bonus download files by following the instructions below too;

Summary

  1. Create a website with Bluehost, Aweber and a premium business theme.
  2. Establish the best way to receive payments.
  3. Get customers using Power Leads Pro X and the various other methods listed.
  4. Use Market Samurai to gather search volume and keyword competition for client’s potential keywords.
  5. Use SEO Power Suite to do on site SEO evaluations and also create SEO reports for your clients.
  6. Memorise selling points and rebuttals for face to face meetings. Learn how to close the deal and also how to price your services properly.
  7. If unable to do the SEO yourself, outsource the SEO to RankPay. Based on what RankPay charge per keyword, add on the mark up you want as profit.

Now I know there are probably a lot of things I’ve forgot to add, but there is just that much information in this tutorial so far that I don’t think adding any more at this point is going to help. I could explore the more technical side of doing SEO properly but I have an entire link building series, as well as other SEO tutorials, that I am going to be slowly rolling out soon. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already so you can be notified as soon as I publish these new tutorials.

BONUS TIME: Now you know exactly what you need to do to start your own SEO business, it’s time to download all the goodies I’ve mentioned throughout the article that are included in the bonus download file! Go ahead and claim your your FREE download file now before you go off and get started;

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[sociallocker id=”571″]If you have any questions at all about this tutorial then please feel free to either leave a comment below or click the link below to download the Bonus Download file. Once you’ve downloaded the file, you will have to unzip the folder. If you don’t know how to do this, you can download the free software called 7Zip to do it for free.

***CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE BONUS DOWNLOAD FILE!***[/sociallocker]

If you have any questions at all about this tutorial then please feel free leave a comment below.

Posted in Tutorials.

33 Comments

  1. Amazing tutorial Jamie, I’ve been thinking about starting my own SEO business for a while now.

    Will definitely be checking out this post again when I decide to get started!

  2. Great guide, Jamie! Thanks a lot for sharing all the cool advice.

    I tried unlocking the ‘download’ option by tweeting twice, however, no luck. Can you please help out (maybe email me)?

    I also had a few basic questions which I didn’t find in this article (hopefully I didn’t miss it out!)… please take out some time to answer these:

    1. How do I build a team from scratch (SEO/SEM specialist, Content Writer, etc.)?

    While I understand that hiring a freelancer or just posting a job on various websites are the two most logical choices, I wanted to know the ‘get the best for the least’ mantra here, if at all.

    Of course, it goes without saying that one should never compromise on the work quality in order to build client relations, however, how do find that fine balance between finding inexpensive resources who might turn in a great quality work as well?

    2. (Drawing further from my previous question) How do I go about working out the whole salaries/compensation angle for my new hires?

    I’m sorry for hogging so much space here, and not doing my research of this site.. if you’ve already addressed these topics somewhere else, please do direct me!

    And thanks a ton for all the great knowledge sharing efforts.

    Cheers,
    Shubhi

    • Hi Shubhi,

      Thanks for the kind words. As for your questions:

      1. How do I build a team from scratch (SEO/SEM specialist, Content Writer, etc.)?

      I’ve used freelancers in the past and have made the same mistake as I think a lot of people do when hiring them; That is trying to get them for as cheap as possible.

      That’s not to say that a freelancer charging $5 per hour will be better than someone charging $3 per hour, the only way to really know is to give them a try. It can be a long and frustrating process but when you find a good freelancer among the rubbish then they can make your life a lot easier.

      I’d advise you pick people who have a proven amount of hours of work completed and also have positive feedback, that’s the best basis to start trialling people on.

      2. (Drawing further from my previous question) How do I go about working out the whole salaries/compensation angle for my new hires?

      Again, if you are hiring help online via freelancing sites then that is your compensation worries sorted, they dealt with. They invoice you for all work done on there.

      If you are talking about actually hiring staff to work in an office environment full time then I’m afraid I can’t help you there as I’ve never went down that road myself.

      Best of luck with whatever you decide to do, let me know how you get on in future 🙂

  3. Wow! That was a long post. Starts off well, but no point in starting an SEO business if you don’t know anything about SEO.

    I know you mention outsourcing the SEO to another company, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie. You could end up getting burned because most SEO companies these days are useless and use old techniques that will get your website penalized instead of helping it.

    ~Mark

    • Hi Mark, thanks for dropping by!

      I know it’s not ideal outsourcing the SEO work to another company but for this tutorial it’s the only real option I can see for someone who has no previous SEO experience.

      In an ideal world I’d say to anyone thinking about starting an SEO company to dedicate a good few years learning all there is to know about SEO and test as much as possible on their own web properties before offering services to other people. You and I both know that almost nobody will actually follow the advice given in the tutorial as it is anyway, never mind actually dedicating years of their life to learning SEO and do it the hard way! 😛

      I suppose they could maybe look at partnering with someone or an organisation who provide SEO but again it’s not a million miles away from outsourcing it.

      Again, I agree that there are a lot of firms out there who are probably providing less than optimal optimisation for clients’ sites but RankPay (the company I refer to in the tutorial) have a good system in place for people to get a clear indication on pricing and also have a lot of decent testimonials regarding their results. On that basis I think there are definitely worse companies out there that someone new to the industry could outsource their client work to.

  4. Very detailed post, well worth a tweet.

    Like the idea of outsourcing to scale once you become more established, I’m not sure at the start though. I think if you are to do things properly, you should have an understanding of what is currently working SEO wise, thus helping you to make a good decision on who you outsource to later on down the line.

    Like you said though, you have people covered with RankPay, who I had never heard of, have now though!

    James.

    • Thanks for the share mate.

      I was just on your blog the other day funnily enough, been building blog networks recently so was having a read up on how you go about building yours.

      Your networks still doing the job for you?

  5. Waoh! Can’t but say how much I enjoyed this write. Hopes for one day I will be at such level of writing.

    This has been something that’s really worth working on. I have been seen lots about SEO, but never read meanings to them not until now that it comes like a conviction I can add such service to my web as it fits in I guess, perfectly not minding the part of the world I am currently at with her serious challenges and atttitudes to the internet.

    You just only scare me with the supposed years it will take to be a pro. Not a problem anyways. But are there links or e-books you can recommend for newbies that can give intent knowledge of SEO?

    Thank you!

  6. Brilliantly written, thoroughly liked reading the post. Especially the points you have mentioned about things to keep in mind when doing a face to face meeting with prospective clients are encouraging.

    Thanks a lot.

  7. Hi Jamie,
    Really interesting and eye opening post. I shared on Facebook (I don’t have a twitter account), but the download did not open. Can you email it to me please?

    Thanks a mill.

  8. Well you have the most in depth article I’ve found yet on starting up and managing an SEO company.

    I consider myself a pretty good optimizer, but lack the skills in managing the day to day ops of running my own new company. I’m gonna like you on facebook, and stick your link in my seo fav links folder. I need to get back here when I have more time to read.

    Thanks for the knowledge. I know this article must have taken a considerable amount of time and effort on your part to get together. I’ll put you in my feed too 🙂

    I still have so much to learn.

  9. Hi Jamie,

    Absolutely fantastic post, excellent information, exactly the information I was looking for. I got interested in seo when promoting an old business. We got stung by a very poor company. I have been learning a bit about seo and started to get some page one ranks. I would love to set up an seo company to help others.

    thanks again for a good read.

    cheers Ryan

  10. Nice post, Its funny how almost every seo company on earth is using everything but seo to find clients though, this is true and leaves a sour taste in the industry as everyone is just in it for the money. Nice post though 🙂

  11. Hi Jamie,

    Great guide! Really boost my inner interest to start local seo business. I’ve been in SEO for over 3 years now and I think it’s time to work on my own, this guide is perfect!!

    Cheers!

  12. Hi Jamie, It is a great article. Thanks. Only thing that is bothering me, are all mentioned tools are still applicable as Google changed its search policy/algorithm?

  13. Great website learned do much. Really happy i came here great info for any seo business like mine.

  14. Hi just started my own SEO business and we are finding getting customers is really hard as lots of businesses still don’t even know what SEO is and seem to think you just click a few buttons and your at the top of the search engines.

  15. I completely gone through your page and downloaded! I become your FAN jamie! im currently wrking as web cum seo expert! This give me FAITH on me to start my own company ! Thank you so much and expecting more gud stuffs from you Jamie 🙂 Lots of LUV from Ashray 🙂

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