You may be thinking “Why do I care if I am a good client or not? They don’t have to like me, but they do have to get me results”
That is true – and whether they like you or not should most definitely not impact the results you get (although we all see it, when someone is liked and easy to work with, they tend to get more favors – people are willing to go the extra mile for a grateful/easy client – not saying that’s right or wrong, just saying it’s a fact of life!)
BUT the kind of client you are can actually be a determining factor in your level of success!
Let’s break this all down a little bit…
A good client understands what they are getting and values the services. If they aren’t clear they ask questions and make it their business to understand what is included and what is reasonable to expect in terms of results.
(Side note to SEO Firms: work with your client on this. A good SEO firm will work with the client to ensure they understand this and ensure all questions are answered!)
A bad client thinks they are paying you something (whether it’s $5 or $50) and they expect the sun, the moon, all the stars and they want their cake to eat too.
Sure, you should get good value for every dollar you spend – there is no denying that.
BUT you can’t walk into a Ferrari store and say “I can’t really afford a Ferrari, so I am going to pay what I would for a Hyundai, but give me the Ferrari and throw in all the bells and whistles too” You would be laughed out of the store.
You would never dream of doing that with a car, but it’s amazing how many people expect to name a lowball price and get everything that a higher paying client would get.
So, to be clear – yes, definitely demand value for your money. Every hard earned dollar you spend should get you something solid in return – but be realistic about what you are getting for what you are paying and take the time to learn what else you could get if you spent just a little more. You may decide not to spend more but the key here is understanding what you get at different price points and then accepting the results that you should expect for that money paid.
K, now that we covered that one, let’s keep going…
A good client will make themselves available and be willing to be an active participant. OK, before anyone gets upset, let me explain – yes you are busy, yes you hired an expert to do the work BUT you need to give input, you need to approve work, you need to answer questions. You know your business better than anyone and although most of the backend work can usually be done without too much of your input – getting your feedback is crucial at the start. So, no, you don’t need to do the work for the SEO Firm, but yes, you need to make yourself available to support their efforts.
(Side note to SEO Firms: Respect your clients time, schedule calls in advance whenever possible and let them know how much time they should plan on devoting to working with you)
A bad client won’t take your calls, takes more than a couple days to reply to emails and then wonders why no progress has been made.
And I’m still not done…
A good client hires a consultant and actually implements their suggestions.
(Side note to SEO Firms: Although it sometimes sucks to explain the reason why you are suggesting something – you want clients to just trust your advice,“because I said so” should be good enough! However I have found if you give the reason why, clients can often better relate and are more receptive to your ideas. A little education can go a long way!)
A bad client pays a lot for advice and actions plans and then does very little with it. Granted, I am not saying to blindly do what every consultant out there tells you to do without questioning it. It’s OK to ask why and to wonder if a particular strategy will work for your specific scenario BUT go in with the mindset that the consultant knows their stuff and is giving you good advice. You should have done your homework and picked a good consultant, so trusting them should be easy. I can’t tell you how many dollars are wasted because people pay for advice and consultation and then never act on it!
And still more…
A good client understands that there is no magic wand that can be waved to get top rankings. They are committed to a long term process and are also committed to SEO as a long term approach that requires both time and money investments.
A bad client is desperate for rankings tomorrow, often doesn’t even worry about actual traffic, they just want to know they have rankings. They also tend to jump from tactic to tactic and not give anything time to really mature.
A good client understands that there needs to be a balance of keywords – some broader terms with more traffic and some more specific terms with less traffic that will convert at a higher rate.
A bad client wants to get ranked number #1 on Google (by Friday) for single words like “scissors” and “cut” and “hair”
Almost done, just a couple more.
A good client knows they need a multifaceted marketing approach and they need to be willing to try different strategies to determine what works best for them.
A bad client doesn’t want to talk about Twitter or Facebook because they don’t personally like them or use them. They don’t want PPC because Google charges way too much and they don’t want organic SEO because it takes too long. They just want lots of traffic – quickly. (My magic wand just broke – otherwise I’d be all over helping those clients!)
A good client knows that things like email subject lines and headlines on marketing copy need to be tested to improve results.
A bad client already knows that works (because naturally what they like or respond to will work for everyone) so there is no need to test. (Actually, this is less work – maybe this is a good client after all?? Nah, I’d still rather do the work and get better results!)
A good client says “how often do you think I should post on my Blog?” or “do you think these tweets are really helping me or should I try another approach?” or “my open rates on emails are down, any ideas why?”
A bad client says “I posted once three weeks ago, why isn’t my Blog on top of the engines” or “my tweets aren’t getting a response, I knew Twitter didn’t work!” or “I knew email marketing was dead, less people are opening my emails”
I think I will end it there because the last 2 examples say it all. Internet Marketing doesn’t “work” or “not work”. Just like offline marketing doesn’t “work” or “not work”.
Within marketing whether online or offline, things take trial and error, persistent, tweaking, testing, time, effort, money, patience and some good people to work together as a team.
Any given strategy may or may not work the first time you try it. It’s a matter of applying “best practices” and giving it your best shot and then analyzing the data to tweak and try again. At some point some strategies will be deemed unsuccessful and will be abandoned but only after due time and attention was paid to giving it a real shot.
I know small business struggle with time and money constraints and I know that impacts some of what you can do BUT with the right mindset, a willingness to work with people and an open mind, you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish!
(Side note to SEO Firms: I don’t presume to know how you operate your business and I certainly don’t mean to imply you aren’t doing these things. I simply throw out thoughts and suggestions and those that find them helpful will pay attention and those that don’t, well…I’ve either given you fodder for posts and articles where you talk about how I am wrong, or you will ignore me. I am OK with both scenarios! There are so many killer Firms out there that rock all these areas that I’ve made suggestions for – these tips aren’t meant for you! You know who you are and you will just ignore this. The rest of you – look at my tips and see if they may help out. Even killer firms can stand to learn and grow and improve. So take from it what you will. Official disclaimer provided to avoid the wrath and contempt of people out there that read stuff like this and get all hyped up that I would be so arrogant as to tell them how to run their business!)
Side note to bad clients: Being a bad client doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It just means you may be standing in your own way and may need to rethink your approach!
Side note to good clients: You rock!!