A couple of weeks back I wrote a post identifying five warning signs that a new SEO client may suck. Naturally, it was popular in the way that posts with the word 'suck' or 'fail' often are. But as fun as it was to poke fun at our clientele, it did tend to overemphasize the negative elements of client relationships. So today, I'm going to even the ledger and pay tribute to the SEO clients that rock our world. Because for every client that sucks our will to live, most of us have another that saves our sanity. So without further adieu, here are five signs that your new SEO client kicks ass.
It's boring, but all true professionals will go through a process of due diligence before engaging an external provider to work on their business. At least the good ones anyway... The diligence process will often entail:
- Face-to-face meetings
- Requests for internal case studies
- Demonstrations of your SEO process
- Requests for client referees
And while diligence does require some upfront resource investment, it is perhaps the first sign that a prospective client is well-organized and runs a relatively tight ship. And that's the type of client we all want to work with right...?
Every good relationship is built upon a foundation of trust, whether it's a business relationship or a personal one. Trust is critical to a productive client relationship. Good clients will trust and respect your opinion (although they don't always have to agree with it). Trust will ultimately allow you to spend more time working, and less time justifying what you're working on. The best part of the diligence process is that it enables prospective clients to establish trust in your capabilities. And conversely, it also gives you the opportunity to sense whether they posses a trusting nature. Remember the initial 'interview' phase goes both ways. You should also be assessing whether their management style will allow you to work with appropriate levels of autonomy.
Never underestimate the role that social and interpersonal skills play in the health of a client relationship. The personality of key stakeholders will often dictate the type of relationship you'll maintain with a client. Some people are jerks. And nobody wants to work with a jerk. I've quit jobs purely because I've had to work with jerks. Luckily, they're pretty easy to spot. Initial face-to-face meetings are an ideal opportunity to assess personality types and determine whether or not the client is a jerk. If you can imagine yourself sharing a social beer with the client, they're probably going to be a reasonable person to work with.
4. Thirst for Knowledge
Our clients will never become SEO experts. Nor should we expect them to, because that's what they pay us for. However, the best clients display enough curiosity to want to understand at least the fundamentals of the SEO process so that they can converse with us intelligently. They are keen learners by nature and will pick up more and more knowledge as the relationship matures. Every SEO professional is a teacher in some way. Our profession is one of complexity, and we constantly need to educate our clients on evolving techniques. Which makes someone with a genuine desire to learn a much better prospect!
5. Resource Ready
SEO is a field of ongoing change, and much of that change centres on a client's web site. Yet in most cases, we simply don't have access or permission to tinker directly with a client's web site. That responsibility falls to their internal web team or external agency. Which means our on-page success is dependent upon an external resource. Eek! As such, a few poignant questions in the early phases of the relationship will help you identify exactly how easily/difficult it is to make changes to the site. Naturally, clients with resources (relatively) at the ready are ideal. Because there's nothing worse than a client that's "too busy" to make changes...
What do you love about your clients?
Last time round we got plenty of people to chime in with reasons their clients suck. In fact, we could have easily expanded it to a Top 10 list. So now it's time to show some love for the people who pay our bills. What do you love about your clients? Show them some love via the comments...
I'm an online marketing strategist currently working for one of Australia's largest online agencies. I consult with our clients to develop holistic web strategies, while also managing the SEO and social media elements of the business.