Starting a local SEO business can be one of the best opportunities that you will find. Yes, it has challenges and yet it can be financially rewarding as long as you learn how to grow your business.
Learning the search engine optimization skills you need is the easy part. Staying organized and getting new clients should become your focus point.
We started a local SEO agency back around 2011 and 2012 and we learned a lot of valuable lessons. It’s crazy but we started out trying to get businesses to rank on the first page of Google for $100.
We would produce a video and write a small description and whala, it was on the first page (short version).
After that, the customer would buy off on the ranking and pay us our $100. Then we got out of the business for a couple years and started up another Local SEO company in 2014.
Times have changed. Our new strategy was to offer a low-cost product that many businesses need. Mobile websites. That is how we got into the door.
We used cold calling as our way of gaining prospects. All we were doing was showing business owners what their website looked like on a mobile phone.
It was a very easy pitch and got us by the gatekeepers with no problem. Have you seen your website on Google? What’s the name of your website? Do you have a business card?
Punch the website into your phone and say has the business owner seen this? That would let them know if they needed a new website, a mobile website, or desktop and a mobile site immediately.
Naturally, times have changed and we had to adapt to different strategies.
3 Lessons We Learned Starting A Local SEO Business
Usually, the owner would come out and want to see what their website looked like on the mobile device. We had a killer offer. It got us a fair amount of business quickly.
We were using a few little SEO tips and would complete the mobile website. After we started to get a little ranking with a couple of short videos (done on a mobile phone) we would then have the trust of the business owner to accept a bid on our local SEO services.
Lesson learned here is to make sure you charge enough for your services. We were the cheapest you could find. We were getting clients that were new and we did not use a contract (another big mistake). These are the 3 lessons that almost cost us our business.
- Not Using A Contract
- Have A Solid Pricing Structure (use 3 options)
- Say No To Business Owners Looking for Cheap Services ( Get Paid What Your Worth)
Just those 3 areas had me working day and night with very little money coming in. Finally, we had to come up with solid pricing. We started to offer 3 pricing options so the customer could choose the plan they wanted.
You can use many different companies to help you out with some of the work but you must add in the cost to get the work done and a profit for yourself. You also should use some type of proposal template.
We believe that you should offer some type of low-cost affordable service to help you get into the door and build trust with the customer. We used mobile websites back in 2014.
Now you can probably use Google My Business, social media WiFi, or offer a DIY website builder, social media management, or whatever you think works for you.
Your Local SEO Business Needs To Rank On The Top Of The Search Rankings
We have seen and come across many people starting a local SEO business and their website does not even rank. How do you explain that to a customer?
When you can rank on the page and get into one of the top spots you build credibility with your potential client.
That should be one of the first things you do when you are starting a local SEO company. Get your own website to get on the first page of Google. You should also have a decent looking website and start a Facebook Fan Page.
Nowadays one of the first things we discuss with the business owner is their Google My Business account.
This is also a great way to get your foot into the door. Offering your knowledge of getting everything set up for that particular business on Google. Offer improvements and suggestions on how to get more reviews. This is also the time to check out their website and Facebook fan page.
You have got to build that trust factor before someone is going to give you a nice chunk of change for your services.
There are a lot of different things you can do to earn your money for the SEO services that you are going to perform. We let the customer know up front what we plan on doing and give them the local SEO ranking factors that we are going to start with.
Starting A Local SEO Company With Tools To Help You Get Better Results
When starting your local SEO agency you may want to have a few tools to make your job easier. One of the first things is a course a website builder.
You could team up with a local agency but with the low cost of designing a local businesses website, you may want to consider using a WordPress theme or a DIY website builder like Builderall.
WordPress is one of the best platforms you can use. You must have blazing fast WordPress hosting to prove to the owner that they need your services. You want that website to load under 2 seconds.
We use WPX hosting or Site Ground to accomplish that feat. Both companies have great customer service and will pay you an affiliate commission.
We also use Builderall because it comes with many local marketing tools you can use for that business. You can then transfer the website to the owner once they pay for that hosting package.
As long as you have the Builderall Business Plan you will also get paid monthly for that customer. Is Builderall worth it? You be the judge.
So, pick your platform that you like the best or get both and go for the gusto. We have also gotten into affiliate marketing here lately to create another income stream.
Anyway, one of the best places to learn about SEO is from the Moz website. You also want to get a website built for your company and get it ranked on the first page.
Resources To Help You Get Started With Your Local SEO Business
Personally, I wouldn’t purchase anything else until you make a couple of sales. But once you gain your first customer by building them a website you should now have at a minimum of anywhere from $1000 – $2500 (those prices are for the low hanging fruit), to get your business off the ground.
The next thing to do is get another client.
Save that money until you get another client. That way you have a little backup cash just in case some goes in a direction that you were not expecting.
After about 3 clients you should be ready to start going full time. You also have 3 potential clients to sell your local SEO services too.
Powerful Tools To Help Your Business Grow & Get Better Results
Now you’re ready to start making a monthly income. Let’s get into some of the resources to make your job easier. Freshbooks or Quickbooks is a good service to keep your expenses in order.
Brightlocal or Whitespark are good companies to use for local SEO data and citation building. Both offer lots of different services so you will need to decide the one that will work the best for your business.
SEO Power Suite is another great tool that you may want to consider. They have a powerful keyword research tool with built-in PPC analysis. On-Page SEO Audit, an in debt competition analysis, and much more.
It’s a powerful tool to have to help you get results for your new clients.
If you need a great way of providing proposals then you may want to consider Proposify. This software will take your proposals to the next level.
This will also help you close those deals that you may be on the borderline with another competitor. You’ll look more professional and be able to spell everything out using their simple and stylish design.
Summary of Lessons We Learned Starting A Local SEO Business
- Use A Contract
- Get Paid What You Are Worth (at least $100 an hour)
- Learn To Say No To Cheap Customers
- Your Website Should Be On The First Page
- You Need To Offer Blazing Fast & Secure Hosting
- Use Low-Cost Services to Get Them In Your Sales Funnel
- WordPress or Builderall Website Builders
- Use The Tools To Be More Effective
- BrightLocal or WhiteSpark
- SEO Power Suite
Generating Clients & Adding Staff When Starting A Local SEO Business
Setting up your website and getting that first-page ranking is your first step. Next get active with the local business community.
Start going to events in your local area. Offer advice to help local businesses.
Google My Business is a great place to start informing local business owners. Social media is another place that you need to be active on.
Facebook and Instagram are going to be 2 hot places for local businesses. Offer solutions to their problems. Give them suggestions to help them get a better ranking score.
Offer tips to build a better website. How to improve their website speed. You should also start blogging and use keywords to rank in the local organic search results.
Like we mentioned earlier we always like to have a product that is very low cost. Sometimes we’ll just go out to the local business community. Pick a target niche and go talk to those business owners.
We have found that they get tired of being bombarded with emails, snail mail, and phone calls. Get to know these business owners. Do not go in their business trying to make sales.
You can do that when you start using follow up techniques. Remember you are trying to build your brand and identify suspects. Once you find some suspects then you have to turn them into prospects.
Now you got someone you can offer your services to. Use Craigslist to offer your services and other places that are similar in your area.
Sign Up For Thumbtack Pro & Send Out Proposals
One other idea is to sign up with Thumbtack as a pro. This is a paid service. With this service, Thumbtack sends you potential clients wanting a specific service.
You’ll need to put proposals together for managers or business owners for the services they request. This is when Proposify comes in handy.
Maybe they need a website, social media management, or local SEO service. It gives you a way of having an opportunity to get more clients that actually want your services.
They are always sending you emails of business owners that need some type of service. Nothing like picking up a couple of extra jobs to gain a little more cash flow.
Even if they only need a small service like a $1000 small website. Do a great job and gain that trust because it can lead you to have a prospect for your SEO services.
That is why we like using smaller services to get our foot into the door.
Social media WiFi, video marketing, and mobile marketing are great examples of low-cost services that can lead the customer to get your higher-end services. You may need to hire other talents in order to offer these services.
When Will You Be Ready To Start Adding Staff
Before you start to add on staff you need to ensure you keep adding on more new customers. The ultimate goal is for you to have a local SEO company that you do not have to be there for it to run effectively.
That will take a little time. It gives you the time to learn the skills you need to become an expert.
As your income grows then it may be time for you to add on a specific job. Another thing you can do is work with other agencies in your local area. Maybe you only need specific work done for a short time frame.
Once you start adding on employee’s you need to offer them a great wage. Employees can help your business grow.
You want folks that do not need supervision, trustworthy and gets the job done especially before a deadline. You may need to train these people or offer suggestions to get maximum results.
You’ll know when that time comes because you will start to get overloaded with too many tasks. People are always looking for a better opportunity to stay on the lookout.
Another way to justify adding on more talent is by bringing in someone that knows other tasks that you do not. Like maybe a social media manager. Not only will they help you gain more customers but you can offer those services as well.
It does not take a lot of clients to get to a 6 figure income. But when you start adding employees, expenses, taxes, and other things you need more clients. Plus you never know when you’ll lose a client so stay prepared.
Summary for Generating Leads & Adding Staff
- Get Your Business Website Found Online
- Build Your Brand On Social Media
- Blogging for Local Organic Search Results
- Cold Calling
- Attend Events
- Offer Your Expertise
- Use Craigslist
- Sign Up for Thumbtack As A Pro
- Add Employees That Need Very Little Supervision
- They Must Know A Specific Skill
- Use Temp Workers Only When Necessary
- Pay Your Workers Well
- Employee’s Will Grow Your Business
The conclusion of Starting A Local SEO Business
Starting your very own SEO Agency can be a challenge. But you can learn a lot of local SEO techniques by researching, following SEO experts like Brian Dean, staying up to date with Google, and following the information on the Moz website (leaders of SEO).
Do not make the mistakes of not charging enough, having a contract for your clients, and allowing yourself to take on those cheap customers that complain all the time. They get what you offer them. Have 3 pricing strategies for them to choose from.
Having the right tools will enable you to become more effective. Learn other skills that can benefit your business like website design, content creation, email marketing, social media marketing, and any other skill that will help your business grow. Generating customers should be a top priority.
Adding key new employees when the time is right. Employees can help your business grow so pay them well. Get involved with events and the local business community. Start out with a solid business plan with goals that you want to reach at a certain time.
Start Out With A Solid Business Plan
- Get Paid What You Are Worth (Minimum $75-$100 A Hour)
- Use Contracts
- Use Low-Cost Services To Get Your Foot In The Door
- Do Not Take On Cheap Complaining Customers (unless you like headaches)
- Get The Right Tools So You Are More Effective
- Hire The Right People For Specific Jobs
- Generating Leads Needs To Be A Priority
- Your Website Should Be On The First Page
Feel free to comment below about starting an SEO company. You can follow us on Facebook so you can keep up on all of our great SEO tips. Can you do us a favor? Share this post on your favorite social media site and we’ll see you running your own agency here in the near future.