The Art Of Never Undervaluing Your Services As An SEO Consultant

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The Art Of Never Undervaluing Your Services As An SEO Consultant

Too many SEO and digital marketing consultants significantly undervalue both themselves and their services, often because they’re simply trying too hard to please their customers, at whatever cost. With this in mind, this post takes a look at the art of never undervaluing yourself and your offerings.

The Art Of Never Undervaluing Your Services As An SEO Consultant

Every digital marketing professional has experienced clients expecting them to work for next to nothing because, in their minds, what SEOs do is ‘easy’ and the only reason they’re paying someone to is because they ‘don’t have the time’. In most cases, the client doesn’t understand, however hard a consultant tries to educate them, exactly what needs to be done and the length of time it takes to even start to see a change in search engine positions, or they’re stuck in the past and assume all digital marketers use black-hat, automated link building tools or simply wave a magic Google wand to hit number one position.

Of course, many clients simply not understanding what SEOs do, especially in a post-Penguin world. So, how can digital consultants ensure that they never undervalue themselves and their services? In short, this can be broken up into four main points:

1. Never Discount Your Services

First things first — never discount your standard rate for new clients! New clients often ask for a discount, telling you they’ll only sign up for your services if you knock, say 30%, off the monthly cost. At this stage you should politely decline and find someone else to work for! Of course, you can’t always be picky who you work for but you need to value your services fairly.

If you discount for a client before they’ve even come on board with you, they’ll expect it every time and you’ll always be working for less. Even worse, when other clients find out you’ve heavily discounted for someone else they might demand the same discounts. As a general rule, set your price and stick to it. So long as you can justify your rate, most of the time you won’t find yourself in difficult discussions with potential clients. Make it so people want to work with you because of your results, not because you’re cheap.

2. Be Wary Of Those Who Question Link Volumes

If you’re pitching to a potential client and all they’re concerned about the exact number of links you’ll be obtaining each month, consider turning round and running! Well, not actually running, but you need to be very careful with the expectations of these kinds of clients. If someone is so caught up on volumes as opposed to results projections and case studies from other clients, they’re probably going to be difficult to work with, because they don’t understand the changes in SEO tactics. They’ll pin you down to a set number of links each month and if you don’t meet that, even if that’s because you sourced a fantastic link which took three times the standard resources, they’ll be on your back and may try to withhold payment.

Clients who are so caught up on metrics such as link volumes are often more hassle than they’re worth, even if you try to educate them on why link numbers is a dangerous game to play. Your best bet is to let them find a consultant or agency who does work in this way and move on.

If your potential client isn’t looking for discounts on your services and generally does seem to understand that link acquisition volumes is a thing of the past, it’s time to take a look at how to manage their expectations and ensure you build trust with them.

The Art Of Never Undervaluing Your Services As An SEO Consultant

3. Manage Client Expectations From Day One

If you’ve got a client who genuinely trusts you to carry out the level of work you see necessary within the budget each month, your job is now to educate them and manage their expectations. The worst thing you can do is take on a new client without explaining in-depth what you’ll be doing for them and what they can expect each month. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster.

Don’t risk putting yourself in a situation where you’re being questioned on every detail of your work. Instead, ensure you’re in a position where your client understands why you do what you do and are impressed with the results you achieve each month. If the client knows from day one what you’ll be doing and what your projected results are, they’ll be reassured if you meet them and overjoyed if you exceed them!

4. Always Be Transparent

Last but not least, always remember the importance of being completely transparent with your clients. Don’t fall into the habit of deliberately not disclosing all work you’ve done. If you’ve had a fantastic piece of content linked to from an industry authority due to your efforts…tell your client. If you’ve had a leading individual re-tweet a Tweet you made on behalf of your client…tell them. Your client deserves to receive a full breakdown of EVERYTHING you’ve done for them and the results. Transparency costs nothing but is often the key to making or breaking a relationship.

Above all, value your services at a level you believe is fair and defend it to the end. Don’t be tempted to discount your standard rate for a new client simply because they ask for it. You’re setting yourself up for price conditioning from day one and it’ll get you nowhere.


Image Credits

Featured image and Image #2: ra2studio via Shutterstock
Image #1: Robert Kneschke via Shutterstock

James Brockbank

James Brockbank

Managing Director at Digitaloft
James Brockbank is an experienced UK based digital marketing consultant and the Managing Director of digital agency Digitaloft, who specialise in creating high-performance content marketing... Read Full Bio
James Brockbank
James Brockbank
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  • Grant Barnard

    Fabulous article. As a painting contractor I am learning these lessons with my customers. Especially Expectations! So very important.
    However as a contractor that does his own seo… Im going to go with more seo’s are doing VERY little work for a whole lot of money. So many of them are raking small business owners over the coals. So badly that the good seo’s will never be given any trust by contractors and other small business owners.
    The communication vibe that you’re throwing out here is key, I think.

  • James Brockbank

    Thanks Grant! Communication is the key to success in any business but even more so in industries such as SEO!

  • Dan @ Digalytical

    As an Internet Marketer/SEO professional, I can say that I’ve seen the dodgy & cheap SEO individuals and companies who do back down quite a bit and end up offering discounts when asked. I can see that this will only devalue themselves and cause the potential client to wonder if these “seo” guys really do know their stuff or not.

    I’ve also seen people demanding x number of backlinks to be created for them in x amount of time (usually, days or weeks!). I’m now working for a very experienced team and it’s great to be a part of an SEO Firm that really can stand by their skills & experience and justify the set price they ask for.

    I’ve seen both sides of being transparent & having customers who feel at home with you..very comfortable and seen those who are about as transparent as mud.. always seem like they’re hiding something, causing only concern for their clients.

    Great article! Thanks

  • Rahat Bashar

    I’ve often found that clients that try to haggle with my quotes, cause a lot of headache in the future (which isn’t worth the money)

    Just as a client picks you, you need to also need to weed out the bad clients choose a client that YOU want to work for.

  • Jamie

    Hi think that is an excellent point, James!

    Down the track, on every new up-sell or increase in your retainer, the client is going to expect a % discount.

    And too right, Bahat. Why should you have to take on a client who is already waving red flags from the get go.

    Hold firm on your prices, a genuine business owner will respect you for it. They’re the ones you want to enter into a partnership with.

  • Hannah Lawson

    SEO is really hectic after panda and penguin updates, so it becomes really difficult to satisfy your clients, so we have to on our toes from day1 i mean wihile presenting the SEO proposal. thanks James Brockbank for this great stuff regarding SEO.

  • Dwayne Armstrong

    Great Article James, I too run my own Edmonton SEO firm in Canada, and discounts are a part of our culture it seems. What I have found is that businesses will respect you more when you stick to your price – ONLY if you are communicating and are transparent with what you are doing. I’ve had several clients who say they had never had that much transparency before with past SEO’s and they really appreciate being kept in the loop.

    Thanks again for sending out this message – it’s very timely.


  • James Brockbank

    I couldn’t agree more Dan! It’s great to be able to justify your services based on quality and set realistic timescales with your clients…they appreciate it and it only strengthens the relationship!

  • James Brockbank

    Thanks for all of the replies guys! Great to see so many of you agreeing with transparency and standing your ground on justifying a fair price!

  • Norm

    It’s great to tell clients when they get an authoritative backlink or a retweet. I frequently can show clients increased impressions in Google Webmaster Tools for the keywords we are targeting that start at about the same time as the SEO campaign. These are all great things to share, but if the client’s phone is not ringing, it may not mean very much to them. Regardless of what you may do to set expectations, the one expectation they will have is if they give you money, they are going to get clients. Any advice on how to properly set expectations in this regard?

  • Jonathan

    I have have dealt with a few clients that were all about “how many link they get each month”. It was such a hassle and not worth it. Even though I explained why 1 quality link is far better than 20 spammy links. Since there paying the bill they think there the expert and know everything about SEO. Its actually kinda funny.

  • Gene Eugenio

    Here’s my addition to your list: Never be afraid to FIRE a client. Seriously. This actually helps build your credibility. To quote that great sage for the ages, James Brown: MAMA DON’T TAKE NO MESS!