How to Get National and Local SEO Clients Without Cold Calling
Are you looking to start an SEO agency, but don’t know where to find clients? Some people might suggest doing outbound marketing via cold calling, but to be honest, if you are looking to start a successful agency, we believe most of your time should be spent building assets that generate leads passively and building authority. Here are 10 tips on how to get national and local SEO clients without cold calling:
1. Select a Niche (Or a Few Niches)
While it may take you a while to become an authority in the general SEO niche, it is relatively simple to become an authority in a micro-niche like SEO for tree service contractors. To accomplish this, all you need to do is create a website and brand targeting a niche, and then create content around it. We outline building a website in this fashion, along with other information related to this topic, in our SEO leads article. We believe that most of the time you can become an authority in a micro-niche with only 10 ranked articles or YouTube videos. We will discuss how you can do this in more detail in the content marketing section of this article.
2. Content Marketing for Getting More SEO Clients
With cold outreach, even if you are able to generate some leads, it is generally difficult to build a brand. Branding is important for your business because it helps with things like:
- Generating consistent leads
- Charging higher prices than the competition
- Closing deals easier due to trust and authority
- Generating reviews and referrals
Below, we discuss a few channels that you can use to pursue content marketing:
YouTube is great for client generation because it is the second largest search engine on the internet and because it has social functionality. This means you can create content around searcher intent while also creating a social network following.
To grow a YouTube channel, we suggest finding relevant keywords with low competition in your niche. If targeting a niche like SEO for tree service contractors, an example keyword is “tree service leads”. You can target this keyword on YouTube by creating a video titled “10 ways to generate tree service leads”.
Blogging is another great channel that you can use. Like with your YouTube channel, with your blog you can target keywords that have high search volume and low competition. You can search for these keywords by putting some of your competitors’ URLs into a tool like SEMrush. This will give you information on the keywords they are ranking for, along with some estimated data, like how much volume and competition there is, per keyword. You can choose the keywords that seem to be low competition and then verify them by doing a Google search for those keywords. If you see that there are a lot of powerful domains covering a keyword, with high quality and long-form content, it may be a bit competitive. You can attempt to find a lower competition keyword by looking at the suggested search results at the bottom of Google or by putting that keyword into our keyword suggestion tool.
Calls to Action
Somewhere in your content we’d recommend including a call to action for anyone who may be interested in becoming a client. A good offering, like a free consultation or a brief SEO audit, often make for a good call to action. Just make sure not to take too much time on these free offerings as some people may not be serious about hiring someone.
Additional Benefits of Content Marketing
In addition to helping you find more clients without cold calling, content marketing can generate you money in other various ways. These ways include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Ad revenue
- Selling courses
- Selling coaching
If you would like to learn more about how to use content marketing to grow your business, you can check out this article.
3. Remarketing Using Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, and Google AdWords
It has been said that, on average, people need to interact with a brand about 7 times before they buy from them. Therefore, you need to try and target people with as many methods as possible. We recommend installing remarketing pixels for all the major platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, and to collect emails. This way, you can notify people of new content and of other updates around your business. Later, you can start testing remarketing and email marketing funnels that can help convert some of your traffic into paying customers.
4. Running Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn Ads to Cold Traffic
Running cold ad traffic directly to an offer of yours can be a hard sell. That is why we prefer to use cold ad traffic to send users to our blog, where they can engage. Once they like your Facebook page, subscribe to your email list, or do something else that indicates that they are interested in your brand or content, you can begin running ads to them with a more direct offer, like a free consultation. You may also want to consider making the offer extra special and relevant to the user, for example, by putting a time limit on it.
5. Leveraging Referrals
Although you shouldn’t rely on referrals, they can be helpful, especially when you are just starting out. We recommend making a Facebook post on your personal profile stating that you are offering a discounted price on your services. If you are just starting out, you may even want to consider offering to work for free just to get some exposure. You can then inform your clients that you are willing to offer them a 10% referral fee for any full priced clients they send your way. This will entice people to keep sending you leads.
6. Ranking Locally
Depending on the size of your town, this can be a great way to generate leads. That being said, it can also be one of the most competitive ways to generate leads. You can create multiple lead gen local SEO websites for lower competition keywords similar to ones we discuss in our rank and rent article.
7. Upsell to SEO from Other Services
While, to some clients, it may be difficult to explain the value of SEO, explaining the benefits of a new website or business card design is easy. It is also probably less competitive to rank locally for these kinds of services than it may be for SEO related keywords. Once you have a client for one of these tangent services, SEO is an easy upsell since most of these business will want and understand leads.
Although this platform can sometimes lead to finding clients that are not willing to pay much for your services, it is a good supplementary source of leads. We’d recommend using lots of keywords in your ad copy, and making it personable. You can learn more about how to do this in our Craigslist ad article.
9. Go to Meetups and Other Networking Events
People generally prefer to work with people that they have met before. Therefore, we recommend getting business cards, and hosting or going to some networking events. One of the keys to doing this is consistency. You will probably attend some events that won’t have many good prospects, but if you go to enough of them, you’ll increase your likelihood of finding new clients. Also, keep in mind that as long as you are making good connections, you are raising your chances of receiving referrals, particularly if you are offering payouts for them.
When attending these events, we recommend not being too salesy. Just make personal connections with these people and set up a free audit or consultation where you could potentially sell them later.
10. Facebook Groups and Other Forums
Forums are great for networking with business owners. Just join the groups related to the business owners that you are looking to work with and provide value. After a while, you may start to be known as an authority in the group and you can mention your services in a non-spammy way. You should also create your own Facebook group where you can remarket to people who you have interacted with in the past, as well as potentially get some organic subscribers through the Facebook search. Just make sure to name it something easy and relevant, like “tree service contractors”, so people can find it when they are searching in Facebook.
How to Get SEO Clients Without Cold Calling Summed Up
Using only one lead source is sort of risky unless you are well established. We recommend taking a multifaceted approach and incorporating the methods we mentioned in this article when looking to get SEO clients for your digital marketing agency without cold calling.