Three is a great number. Lots of great things come in threes: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Threes Company, and of course, the three Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and...um...the other one). There are also three ingredients to the classic smore (chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers), so we thought wed do a three-part series for SEO agencies about how to grow you business with infographics. Here are the 3 topics we plan to cover in this series:
- Part 1: How to branch out and include infographics (IGs) as a part of your own linkbuilding strategy
- Part 2: How to evangelize IGs to your existing clients
- Part 3: What not to do when selling infographics to your clients
This first part will focus solely on how to convince your company that infographics are really a worthwhile strategy.
Infographics should be a staple SEO offering from any online marketing agency that stays abreast of the latest and greatest trends. Why then, are so few SEO agencies offering infographics as part of their link building packages? The answer is simple: not enough agencies know how to sell IGs to their clients, so many stay silent with regards to this growing trend.
But it doesnt have to be this way! As an infographic design firm, we work with a great deal of SEO agencies as a white label design team. Some of these firms have really adopted IGs and send us many orders each week. Others are tiptoeing into the space so slowly that, by the time they fully enter it, it will likely be too late.
This article is meant to provide you with some helpful tips and tricks for you to test the waters and then do a full cannon ball into the deep end before your competition starts to catch your clients eyes by offering great designs and even better results with IGs. One of the keys to successful link building and SEO is constant innovation. Right now, infographics can be that innovation.
Where to Begin: Evangelizing Infographics Within Your Own Firm
Offering a new product within your firm can often be a chicken versus the egg scenario. Do you start by selling an infographic to a client and testing it out, or do you start by selling an infographic to your co-workers? In many firms it can be hard to get your team on board without proven market data. On the other hand - many firms are hesitant to experiment with a new, untested product to get that data!
The answer is: become the guinea pig! In order to sell IGs to your clients, its important that you have a deep understanding of the design process and the client experience. What better way to do that than to become a client yourself?
Finding a Match
Find a design firm to create the infographic for you. Even if you have in-house design people, odds are they wont have the serious infographic background you need to make IGs well. Reach out to multiple design firms that specialize in infographics to get quotes, ask about their process, and get an idea of how they work.
As an agency, you might be used to running every part of the show in-house, which means that reaching out to another agency might not be the easiest thing for you to do. That being said, IGs take a specific mindset to design, so its often best to work with experts (at least to begin with - you can always learn from them and build your own in-house team over time - alls fair in love and SEO!). Talk with many different infographic firms and test out more than one if possible.
The Audition Gig
A good starter task is to ask them to come up with an infographic for your SEO business. Let them know that this is an audition gig and that it will be used to provide an example of IGs to your clients down the road. They should know that a good performance here could mean more work for them down the line from your company. A weak performance? Not so much.
Be careful here - if the firm is willing to give you an infographic for free as part of the audition, then they dont have enough clients and need the work. This could be a good thing, but you might want to ask yourself why they need the work and what experience they have. The infographic niche is booming, so there arent many firms running low on work if they have the experience and industry know-how.
Pay careful attention to the design agencys process: how you go from an idea to a wireframe to a finished IG, to final edits. Observe their level of customer service, how well your contacts work with you and deal with your needs. This will tell you how much you can expect from them in the future, and what kind experience youll have when youre bringing them work for your clients. Turnaround time on edits, design consistency, and their ability to handle a curve ball or two are all also vital elements to their performance. This will help you better predict how they will act when your clients success is in their hands.
Throughout this process, be sure to keep your team members in the loop. Anyone who will be selling infographics for your company in the future should be a part of the design process and have the opportunity to weigh in and learn as this audition gig is taking place. When the design is complete, make sure everyone on your team gets a chance to see it and discuss the process. If you really enjoyed your experience, and the price is right, you may not need to test out another agency. But, if you had a few hiccups that you think were the fault of the designer or the company, and not the fault of you or your team, rinse and repeat the process with another firm.
Keep trying until you find the right firm or you have developed an in-house IG system that can compete with theirs. Whatever path you choose, remember, you want to make the right decision early on, and reap the benefits of sharable, viral inbound links and a stronger online presence down the line. If you rush into this and pair up with a poor quality design firm, you are going to get sub-par products and have much more difficulty promoting them and getting the results you want.
So thats your homework for next time: start experimenting with bringing infographics to your SEO firm for purposes of linkbuilding. Poll your own team and other connections you have within the company. Do people like the idea? Are any vehemently opposed to it? What makes this idea attractive to the people who like it. What makes the ones who hate it despise it so much? Make sure you do your homework before getting in bed with a design team for those first audition gigs. When you find a design firm that works, though, youll be ready for the next step, which well cover in a few weeks in our next installment.
Amy Balliett is the co-Founder of Killer Infographics, a globally leading infographic design< agency located in Seattle, Washington. Killer Infographics has produced thousands of viral infographics, motion graphics and interactive infographics for a global clientele including Microsoft, Starbucks, the BBC, Adobe, and more.