Seo agency

How to Hack the SEO Agency-Client Relationship: Part One

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, you’ve witnessed monumental changes in digital marketing, especially SEO. However, the most powerful advances are sometimes shockingly simple. With the changing landscape of the digital marketing world, it is essential to build a solid foundation of transparency, both on the agency side and on the client side.

At Big Leap, we strongly believe in transparency by rejecting the illusion that interactions with customers are somehow different from those with our own employees. If we’re serious about “working together” to improve our clients’ organic search, we need to treat them like true colleagues rather than lower-class citizens who aren’t “worthy” of our insight and expertise. We can’t do good work without them and they can’t do good work without us. Like all ecosystems, it requires balance to function effectively.

Being transparent and authentic seems obvious, but it’s a bigger challenge than you might think. When it comes to partnering with a digital marketing agency, there are four client-side hacks and four agency-side hacks to build a cohesive relationship that benefits everyone. Let’s start with the four client-side hacks.

1. Commit to transparency in your online marketing.

Transparency in marketing is the only way to succeed with younger generations (and really, people in general). People don’t do business with brands they don’t trust – and they reward trustworthy brands with loyalty (and dollars).

But if you think you can just appear be transparent in your marketing without actually to be transparent, think again. You need a fundamental shift in your marketing strategy that extends to partnering with your agency.

You need to be completely transparent with a partner agency because they need to be able to market your brand to your clients truthfully, openly and clearly. Often companies resist being fully open with agency partners, perhaps out of mistrust of the agency or even fear that it might put their business in a negative light.

So, to get started, commit to transparency at all levels in all of your online marketing, even when it comes to partnering with agencies.

2. Gain followers.

The holy grail of customers is the “brand advocate.” They help sell your products and services to other customers, provide positive reviews (who people really trust), and they stay and buy from you for years to come.

The marketing agency you choose to partner with should be filled with advocates. They must believe in your products and services enough to use them and recommend them to their friends.

Since you’re paying a partner agency for their services and expertise, you should expect them to advocate on your behalf, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to sell them what you do. When they truly believe in your product as much as you do, they will be able to represent you much more authentically.

Once you’ve convinced an agency of your company’s value, it’s up to them to convince you of theirs. They can do this more effectively by avoiding the appearance of information and ideas that could be useful to you.

Once, an agency offered me their services, offering simple but quite important solutions that I could implement immediately – without their help. Let me rephrase that: they gave me free, actionable advice. That alone won them my case.

3. Remove ambiguity.

Clarity in business is a lost art. There is so much noise in a consumer society, where people are constantly bombarded with media messages. Don’t let your brand add to the noise. Give your customers a moment of clarity when interacting with your brand.

If you want to be transparent in your communication with agency partners (and clients), you must also disambiguate at all costs. Be clear about your motivations, your goals, your most important key performance indicators (KPIs), etc.

If your marketing agency receives a clear and unambiguous message from your team, they will be able to provide your clients with a consistent and relevant brand story that doesn’t add noise.

4. Trust your employees.

Part of promoting transparency is trusting your employees to do their job. These are the people you trust to interact with a digital marketing agency. It doesn’t have to be you specifically – you can delegate day-to-day communication and collaboration to your trusted team of high performers.

The commitment to transparency is a matter of trust. When you withhold privileged information, you demonstrate a lack of trust. When you insist on doing everything yourself, you show a lack of trust in your employees.

Surprisingly, the art of transparency is an act of letting go and trusting the people you have surrounded yourself with. Plus, it’s always a good reminder that the people you’ve hired are often better than you at their jobs. After all, that’s why you hired them in the first place.

Transparency, support, clarity and trust aim to eliminate guesswork. You are transparent to avoid blind spots. You plead for support because two brains are always better than one. Clarity removes the inevitable disappointment of people who believe mind reading is a thing. And without trust, you’ll be questioning yourself long after the job is done and the bill has been executed.

Agencies and clients are not two opposing forces engaged in some sort of chess match, but rather two sides of the same coin trying to work together towards the same goal.

Look for the second part of this article, where we cover four agency-side hacks.