By MELISSA FACH at Search Engine Journal
Side note, I am talking about reputable SEO & Web marketing companies and consultants in this post. Do your homework.
If your business is considering working with an SEO and Web marketing company (or consultant) I have 12 suggestions below that could help your business relationship remain a good one.
I think there are times that businesses don’t realize that their behavior is offensive to those they are working with – this can be from a lack of understanding or after dealing with many employees & vendors they forget how to respect others.
I can tell you that this is one industry that has no issue with firing clients and here are a few reasons why:
- What we do makes our clients a lot of money. We make you a lot more money than you pay us and when we don’t get respect we have no reason to stay involved.
- There is always another client that will appreciate what we do and treat us right.
- Life is too short to be stressed and irritated over a client. We have families for that and we don’t need it at work.
1). Show Respect, the More the Better.
We have the skills to create a very stable foundation for your online marketing efforts, improve your business reputation and make you a lot of money. The only way to get skills such as these is years of study, practice, work and implementation.
You are paying not only for the knowledge and skills we have to help you succeed, you are also paying for the knowledge that prevents your campaign from failing. Believe it or not these are two different skills.
We deserve respect for the time it took to learn and excel at these skills. A lack of respect will ruin any relationship.
2). Don’t be Condescending!
When you behave in a condescending manner you doom the relationship from the start. No one likes being spoken down to and if a consultant or company doesn’t end the relationship over this type of behavior they will have no reason to work hard for you. You want people like us to work hard for you. You want us to work harder because we enjoy the business relationship and appreciate the respect we receive. This applies to any industry!
Oh, and don’t let members of your staff be condescending either. They can kill a business relationship that you need and appreciate.
3). Remember, You Have Responsibilities Too.
Let me review some of the things clients tend to forget:
- Website projects cannot get done without content and images. If you are late the website launch date will be late. Adding and formatting content takes a lot of time. The optimization takes a lot of time. Editing, uploading and placing images takes a ton of time. None of this can be done at the last minute.
- Don’t be late for meetings because you are wasting our time and costing us money.Who says we don’t have other things to do? We have meetings after meetings with you, we have work to do and projects to finish. When you are late you are literally taking money from us.
- Campaigns cannot be started without the data we need to do the research required to create a successful campaign. If you don’t provide the data in a timely matter do not expect the services you need to be done on time.
- Read the emails, completely, from your marketing company. There is nothing more irritating than sending a client an email with information and then having the client email 3-4 times asking for and/or about information that was already sent in a previous email.
One thing to keep in mind, if you are consistently late providing the data needed to complete a project you will almost certainly be put on the back burner behind new clients that have their information ready.
4). Don’t Be an Email or Texting Bully.
There are those that think they are big and bad when they are writing emails and texts. They say rude and insulting things because they are agitated at the moment, but when meeting in person they never have the “you know whats” to tell anyone off. This type of behavior is unprofessional and kills a relationship. Before you go off on your vendor consider all you have to lose if you that vendor walks away.
5). Don’t Expect Hand-Holding & Unlimited Time
We get paid by the hour typically and we know what we need to make to keep the bills paid. So for example, if you are paying for 5 hours of my time in a week I will have other clients taking up the other 35 hours. This is done to ensure I make a proper living.
Paying for 5 hours of work time does not entitle you to 10 more hours of phone calls, emails and meetings. If you want that extra time you need to pay for it and not get upset when the person you are working with doesn’t give you all the extra time you want. Time is money, for you and for us.
If you need hand holding and extra time tell your consultant or company ahead of time and be prepared to pay for the time you need.
6). Don’t Treat Your SEO or Web Marketing Person Like an Employee
Employees work for you. You can behave how you want, talk to them how you want and have unrealistic expectations with employees. When you are paying for a service that we offer you have no right to create expectations that were never discussed or agreed upon.
We also don’t have to reply to a phone call or email within an hour to please you because WE ARE NOT your employee. We work for ourselves and we have other clients, meetings and work to do. You may have to wait a few hours or even an entire day to hear back. Additionally, we do not need to answer the phone or emails when work hours are over. You are important, but you are not the only client…which brings me to my next point.
7). Keep in Mind, You Are Not THE ONLY Client
As I said above, we have several clients. Everyone needs our time and we have a responsibility to each client. We cannot give you 100% of our time, respond to your calls in minutes and we cannot chase you around to get the information we need from you so projects are finished on schedule (this is not our job). Always keep in mind that you are not the only one and cannot expect to be treated as the only one (unless you pay for it).
Oh and in the wise words of my business partner, “Your emergency is not our emergency.” If your computer stops working or the web is loading slow for you this is not something we can fix for you and these are certainly not reasons to stop our work.
8). Listen. Open Your Mind and Listen.
When suggestions come from reputable companies, I would say about 100% of the facts and advice given comes from a place completely focused on your success. We don’t just throw facts and suggestions out for no reason.
If we say something is wrong with your website design, layout or coding it is because there is something wrong. I usually tell people that if they don’t use my company I suggest they find someone to fix it because it isn’t about the money, but about what is best for the client’s business.
Information offered about SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing and other forms of online marketing is all for your best interest. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but questioning integrity will offend and you could possibly lose the one truly talented person that can do this work in your area.
Just try to listen.
9). Don’t Burn Bridges.
My dad always told me to never burn bridges because you never know when you might need them again. This is really good advice.
I have had 5 clients who have ticked me off to no end and I have walked away. Four of those clients have come back and requested (some begged) for my work and I refuse to work with them. Once I am burned it is over. I prefer clients that appreciate what I offer and are smart enough to care about the business relationship. I deserve to be treated like a professional and a human.
10). Don’t Expect Advice for Free.
I am not sure what the deal is, but for some reason people believe that the smart people in this industry should just offer all of their information for free. Why? Consulting and training is part of what we do, but we get paid for it. You can’t keep asking and digging for information and advice unless you are expecting to pay for it. Pay us by the hour and you will get the information you want.
11). Don’t Ask Your Friends What They Think About What We Are Doing.
I actually had one client say that he wasn’t going to be happy with his website until everyone that was sitting at Starbucks with him said they liked it too. OK moron, are the people in Starbucks your target audience? I think not.
All of our plans whether it is PPC, SEO, Social Media or a website design are aimed at meeting the needs of your target markets and beating your competitors. Your “friends” most likely won’t be looking at things like we do. If you don’t like something please tell us, but leave your friends out of it please.
12). Remember, Nerds and Geeks are Smart.
I know when people think of geeks and nerds they think of people like Bill Gates, Sheldon Cooper and George Lucas. What do these three people have in common? They are super smart.
If you hired the right company or consultant I can almost guarantee you that the person you are looking at is extremely smart. Have some faith and remember the following items I mentioned above:
- Show Respect
- Don’t Be Condescending
Because they are very smart they pick up on things (behaviors) most people don’t, so make sure you treat them right. Remember, we analyze (and it isn’t just data). Don’t take a chance on burning a bridge with someone that can help your business reach new and better levels. If members of your staff are intimidated by people that know more than them about any subject you may want to consider excluding them from interactions with your web marketing specialists.
If you are lucky enough to find a consultant or company that has the skills you need please find a way to cherish the quality work they offer and cherish the people themselves. Fact – there are A LOT of people out there offering the services we offer and they have no clue what they are doing. When you find someone good you want to make sure you always have the opportunity to work with them in the future.
Melissa is the Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal & owner of SEO Aware, LLC. Her company specializes in the Psychology behind online sales and conversion. She is a self-proclaimed Star Wars and Internet geek and volunteers with big cats at BigCatHabitat.org.