Based on verticals
The positioning of your agency will be closely linked to the verticals you serve.
If you are focusing only on a specific business size (SME or company) or a particular industry (e.g. lawyers, dentists, car dealers), this variable is already taken into account.
But if a vertical specificity emerges naturally from your client portfolio, you may want to re-evaluate your services. For example, Liberty just created Foundation, a spin-off digital performance agency focused on beauty brands, due to their rapid growth during that time.
Or maybe you want to generate new business in line with industry trends, so you only focus on growing companies and their requests for quotations:
- You can gauge this, once again, through YoY search trends and gauge their growth rate.
- You can research investment trends, venture capital funds and their portfolios, and find useful information about potential leads.
Also pay attention to the positioning of the lead. As the CEO of Go Up points out, if a “jack-of-all-trades” type company shows up and wants to play in the specialist space, then it is prohibited from the start.
Based on the SEO opportunity
Is this a realistic business case?
This is another key and delicate question to ask. The answer depends on your SEO research information and the accuracy of the data you are working with.
Edward Coram James talks about “viability testing” through a forecasting tool that allows you to assess the overall potential of the business goal and SEO as an appropriate marketing channel. “It allows us to stay honest as an agency and reverse engineer the project. We are therefore assured that the manager’s investment is on the right track, ”adds James.
By examining your list of targeted keywords and the variables that influence them – from search volumes and their year-over-year trends, seasonality, SERP features, device distribution, and CTR curves – you can model scenarios. and assess the difficulty of this objective.
Of course, an established fashion brand will have high search volumes and big margins, so the agency knows it’s worth taking on the project without any predictions. But for a niche business such as software automation or cryptocurrency, calculating the numbers and evaluating potential additional traffic and conversions (if certain ranks are achieved) will give the agency a realistic idea of the market. possible success of this prospect.
If it’s a matter of 3-4 years before the manager’s business reaches that point, you will need to assess their willingness and patience to embark on this project with you, as James concludes.
Based on the culture of your agency
It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about qualifying a client, but certainly one of the crucial aspects to maintaining a happy, long-term relationship is this: is it a cultural adequacy between your agency and this manager?
Gareth Morgan of Liberty Marketing calls this the attitude and ambition point. The agency assesses the communication and growth potential of this relationship:
- Can you work together for many years to come?
- Can you establish a relationship with them?
- Do they trust you to experiment and take calculated risks for their projects?
This point is also echoed by the CEO of Go Up, who points out that you can say a lot about a prospect on the first email request about their willingness to be transparent, to make a follow-up call, etc. If they just want a price offer without further contact, then clearly something is missing. That’s why the agency always makes an initial appeal to culture before moving on to business goals and profiling.
Additionally, there may be industries that you don’t want to get into or industries that you want to focus all of your attention on. For Go Up, it is above all about their customers being ethical companies. For IO, these are only large-scale international brands. For Climb Online, it is first and foremost a shared entrepreneurial mindset.
Based on your agency’s growth objectives
A final major point that we address here is the convergence of your agency’s growth strategy and the leader’s business model and market position.
Is there a potential to increase the scope of the initial project and get more business from this lead in the future? Is there a potential to deepen your agency’s expertise and education through this lead?
You need to think about the many opportunities for growth together, whether through innovation or increasing a specific market share. Gareth Morgan wants to make sure his agency is at the forefront of their industry, which is why they created an innovation manager position to oversee their data analytics capabilities and then look into other departments for s ‘make sure they all have a head start. It will also shape their customer portfolio.
Another approach is to aim for established brands, which involves scaling up the agency’s business development or sales team. Go Up is currently in this process, targeting big names to add to their portfolio while reaffirming their positioning as a premier SEO agency.
In a word
Choosing the right clients for your SEO agency is crucial for the long term growth of your business. Even if sometimes you feel like you are missing something or have to compromise, always keep in mind past failed clients / projects and what they cost you.
There are different ways to approach this qualification process, but some of the key points to consider are:
- Budget and resources: Is the client able to afford the services of the agency?
- The business verticalI: Is this an industry in which you have expertise? Is it a growing market?
- The SEO opportunity: Is this a realistic business case?
- The culture of the agency: Is this a good match in terms of attitude, mentality, communication?
- The agency’s growth objectives: Is there a potential to extend the collaboration or to gain prestige?
SEOmonitor’s forecasting module can help you spot SEO opportunities and calculate the potential for a business case. You can model various scenarios, looking at better or moderate growth projections while weighing the difficulty of the future SEO campaign.
SEO forecasting is just one of the many solutions we’ve developed to help agencies acquire, manage and retain more clients.
Join us on our journey to bring more transparency to the SEO industry.