Whether you work as a freelancer or manage an agency, providing search engine optimization (SEO) services can be a profitable business. However, getting started can be challenging even for SEO experts. In addition to mastering SEO techniques, you also need to know how to market your services to acquire customers. Additionally, potential clients may not know how SEO works, what results it can bring, and how much it should cost.
In this article, we will teach you how to sell SEO services to make money online, from identifying your target market to promoting your services. We’ll also provide tips on setting realistic expectations, getting more clients, and growing your own SEO business.
1. How to sell SEO services in 6 steps
You can start selling SEO services by following these steps.
1) Identify your target market
Whether you offer full SEO packages or shorter consultations, many SEO agencies and experts will benefit from targeting specific markets. While general SEO principles apply across industries, focusing on a specific target market can help you reach potential customers more effectively.
First, determine whether you are targeting a B2B or B2C business. Then, choose a specific industry. To help you decide on your target market, consider conducting market research. Find the best SEO agencies available and assess their target market.
Alternatively, use tools like Ahrefs and Google Trends to research keywords. Higher numbers of keywords usually indicate higher demand for a specific service.
When conducting market research, look for the following information:
- Industry competition. Assess the challenges of starting an SEO company in the industry and determine how your services can help.
- Customer lifetime value. Higher-margin industries like real estate and car dealerships allow you to justify higher pricing. On the other hand, industries with high customer lifetime value (such as gyms and insurance companies) allow you to justify costs based on customer transactions over time.
- cost. Determine the average rates for SEO services within your industry. Make sure your target business can reasonably afford your services.
- networking. It’s easier to establish yourself in the industry if you have connections who can introduce you to potential clients.
Once you’ve identified your target market in general, you can segment your potential customers.
Whether you’re targeting local businesses or individual website owners, assess their demographics, interests, behaviors, location, income levels, and goals. Then, categorize them into separate sections.
Segmentation helps determine which services they need and how much they can cost. Additionally, it will help them identify their goals and pain points. This enables you to develop personalized services and communication strategies that benefit them. As a result, you can successfully help them drive more organic search traffic and conversions.
2) Develop your SEO services
The SEO field is always changing. There are many ways to offer SEO services to potential clients.
Although the distinctions sometimes overlap, generally speaking, SEO services can be divided into the following categories:
- On-page SEO. Improve visible elements on your web pages, such as title tags, meta descriptions, titles, and page content. This ensures content effectively targets focus keywords and answers search intent.
- Off-page SEO. Implement strategies that help build your site’s credibility and authority but have nothing to do with the site content itself. Off-page SEO services include link building, social media marketing, and influencer marketing.
- Technical SEO. Improve technical aspects of your website, such as speed, user-friendliness, URL structure, and core web vitality. In addition to enhancing user experience, it also helps search engines better crawl and index web pages.
- Local SEO. Focus on ranking for position-specific keywords, preferably a 3-piece set. Examples of keywords include “best restaurants in New York” or “dentists near me.” It involves optimizing your Google My Business profile, managing Google reviews, and creating localized content.
In addition to common SEO services, some agencies offer niche help based on marketing channel or website type. YouTube SEO, eCommerce SEO, WordPress SEO, and mobile SEO are examples of SEO. Consider your SEO skills and experience when choosing which services to offer.
Additionally, good content writing and editing skills help in adding targeted keywords to posts and pages naturally.
That said, focusing on one SEO area will not effectively rank web pages. There are several types of SEO processes that must be combined to achieve success.
Offering bundled services that combine multiple SEO disciplines is more attractive and beneficial to clients. This also allows you to offer basic services at an affordable price, upsell customers on higher packages, and cross-sell other services they wouldn’t normally purchase.
At the same time, SEO clients can save on the individual costs of each service and choose an all-in-one package that suits their needs and budget.
For example, it not only covers on-page SEO strategies, but also offers packages that include keyword research, Google Analytics setup, internal link building, speed optimization, and content creation.
You can also include A/B testing, off-site link building, conversion rate optimization, and monthly reporting for more expensive plans. When creating a bundle, be sure to reference your customer’s profile. For example, an e-commerce business client looking to expand globally has different needs than a local restaurant aiming to attract more nearby customers.
3) Set service prices
Determining the right price for your services is crucial as it will determine how much revenue you will generate.
Before setting the price for your service, choose a pricing model. The following are common pricing models for SEO services:
- Package-based pricing. Provide a set of services at a flat rate. For example, optimizing a certain number of pages, content, or backlinks for one price. This pricing plan is suitable for tiered pricing.
- Hourly based pricing. Billed by the hour for the duration of a project. Freelancers and agencies using this pricing should know how long each task will take to complete in order to be given an estimated cost.
- Outcome-based pricing. Charge according to the agreed indicators. Traffic leads, and conversions generated by the service, for example.
- Project-based pricing. The entire project should be charged at a fixed price. When choosing this strategy, clearly define the scope of the project upfront to avoid doing more SEO work than expected.
You can also combine multiple pricing strategies. For example, offer a flat rate for individual projects and switch to hourly pricing for content changes.
Alternatively, display plan-based pricing on your website and negotiate outcome-based fees for customers who prefer customized plans.
It is important to note that pricing can be used as a competitive advantage. Aiming for higher prices can bring in revenue faster, but you’ll likely get fewer customers than someone else offering the same service at a more affordable price.
On the other hand, selling too little may attract more customers, but it will take longer to make a profit.
Try to get the best price possible, one that is competitive compensates for your value and gives you a profit. When determining the right price point, consider the following factors:
- Competitors’ prices. Research what your competitors are charging customers and decide whether to charge lower or higher fees.
- period. Even if you don’t bill by the hour, it’s important to calculate how long it will take to complete your SEO tasks.
- Number of employees and costs. For a network agency, calculate how much staffing will be needed to complete the project.
- Extra charges. This includes the cost of accessing the tools and services needed to perform SEO tasks.
- experience. Experienced SEO professionals can charge higher fees.
Once you set your price, it’s important to communicate the value of your service to your customers to justify your pricing.
While price may be a deciding factor for some customers, you can highlight other values to attract them. This includes offering a warranty or money-back guarantee.
4) Build a brand
When scaling your business, how well you build your brand can determine your success. A strong brand image can help you build a strong reputation and stand out from your competitors.
Additionally, consistent branding fosters customer trust. This makes first-time buyers more likely to become long-term customers. Think back to your target audience when building your brand. Additionally, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your potential client’s business goals and values?
- What are the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of your service?
- What pain points can it solve for customers?
- What will you offer your customers?
- What makes you different from other SEO experts or agencies?
- Why should potential clients work with you?
After answering these questions, summarize your answers and form them into a three- to five-sentence positioning statement. Doing so will help you determine your brand’s positioning in the market.
Strong brand positioning is beneficial when developing a communications strategy that resonates with your target customers.
Here are some tips for successfully building a strong brand image:
- Make sure your name is easy to remember.
- Create a logo.
- Create a catchy slogan.
- Build a color palette.
- Use consistent typography.
Once you’ve established your brand identity, use consistent elements to build it and increase customer recognition. These elements define your brand style and set the tone for the rest of your marketing materials.
When selling SEO services, we recommend having a professional website. In addition to helping you look professional, a website can also serve as a hub for showcasing your services, past projects, skills, and contact details. It can also help direct customers to other marketing materials.
5) Market your services
Once you’ve established your brand, it’s time to market your services. To do this, you need a marketing plan.
A marketing plan outlines your business’s strengths, weaknesses, target markets, competitors, budget, timeline, and communications strategy. A marketing plan is necessary to determine how to communicate your brand message and where to market your services.
While there are multiple channels to promote your SEO services, using each one of them can be very challenging. Instead, choose a few technologies and platforms to focus on and optimize your marketing efforts.
To decide which marketing channels to use, consider your target audience and the platforms they use most.
If you sell SEO services to local businesses, implement local SEO and run highly targeted Google Ads to reach your target audience. On the other hand, promoting your services on LinkedIn is great for targeting B2B customers.
To demonstrate your mastery as an SEO expert, share your industry knowledge by regularly posting SEO-related and informative content on social media. Combining social media and content marketing is great for engaging prospects at every stage of your marketing funnel.
In your social media marketing, try to increase your clients’ SEO awareness and help them identify what services they need. For example, highlight the benefits of SEO, which tools to use, and tips for optimizing your blog posts.
Add relevant hashtags to broaden your audience reach and link to your professional website so people can learn more about your services.
To increase engagement, ask your audience questions and encourage them to answer in the comments section. You can also create polls and utilize eye-catching visual media such as infographics and memes.
While the general rules of content marketing apply to all platforms, the same strategies may only work on certain channels. It’s important to understand each platform you want to focus on.
If you have the extra budget, consider using paid advertising on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Additionally, cold outreach can be an effective strategy to promote your services. Make a list of potential clients and contact them via email, LinkedIn, or their social media accounts. You can provide them with free SEO audits and suggestions to improve their website performance.
The key is to personalize your cold outreach pitches. Instead of writing about generic topics like “the best SEO services” or “make more money instantly”, talk about their needs and pain points.
In addition to understanding your potential clients’ SEO strengths and weaknesses, spend some time researching their business goals and challenges. This way, you can connect your pitch to their larger goals. This highlights the value of your services, knowledge of their business, and willingness to go the extra mile.
6) Make deals and provide quality services
After marketing your services and attracting customers, you must know how to close the deal.
A well-planned sales process helps create a consistent approach, convert prospects into customers, and streamline your operations. In addition to improving conversion rates, the sales process helps ensure a positive customer experience.
Follow these tips when creating a sales process:
- Determine the right offer. Choose the most suitable quote for each customer. To do this, reflect on the results of your SEO audit and your client’s goals. If you display packaged SEO plans on your website, make it clear which types of users can benefit from each plan.
- Set expectations. Clearly explain what your business offers when making an offer, including time frames, expected results, and the scope of your work. Establishing clear lines of communication will help earn their trust in the long run.
- Handle objections. Proactively anticipate and address customer concerns, whether it’s about your SEO strategy, pricing, delivery, or results. Make sure you meet their needs and provide possible solutions to their problems.
- Develop your sales proposal. Communicate your call to action. Consider offering a discount, free trial, or limited offer as a final push to close the deal.
- follow up. Whether you successfully close the deal or not, be sure to follow up with a message that ends on a positive note.
It’s important to engage customers after completing a transaction. This helps ensure everyone has the same understanding of the project, including its details, milestones, and timelines. In the long run, use onboarding to address any concerns and develop an effective communication plan.
Maintaining good relationships with existing customers can provide upsell and cross-sell opportunities. It can also help you gain positive reviews and recommendations, helping you attract new customers.
Finally, remember that SEO is a highly competitive field. To stay ahead of the competition, make sure to stay relevant, follow industry standards, and always improve the quality of your services.
2. Tips for selling SEO services to businesses
Here are some tips for successfully selling SEO services:
- Get a thorough understanding of your qualified prospects
- Provide report examples
- Share the strengths and weaknesses of the competition
- Create a case study
- Use metrics and statistics
If you freelance or run an online agency, selling SEO services is a great way to increase your income and help other businesses increase their online visibility. Now that you have a good understanding of how to sell SEO services to other businesses, it’s time to take the first step and start your journey. Good luck.