If you’re always short on time, and struggling from project deadline to project deadline, relax. I’m going to show you how to free-up more time, attract more clients, generate more revenue, and generally remove a ton of hassle and stress from your working life – with 5 simple steps to streamline your SEO agency.
1. Define your sales funnel
Every SEO agency, along with every business, has a single goal: to convert their audience into paying customers. There are dozens of different ways this can occur, from prospects calling you directly, to a potential customer filling in your website contact form. In order to streamline this process, it’s essential to identify all the ways potential customers can contact you, and prepare a standard response to each.
This process is known as defining your sales funnel: identifying methods of communication, and creating a template for each. To help you get started, I’ve created an example sales funnel for an SEO agency.
Contact form enquiry > General email response > Prospect response > Sales pitch email response > Prospect response > Package #2 and briefing document email > Prospect response > Invoice email
The bolded stages are the parts of the funnel that can be standardized; and by creating an email template for each stage, you can simply mix-and-match templates to meet the needs of each prospect. Doing so allows you to scale your processes, and respond to new leads in a fast, efficient and effective way.
2. Get your finances in order
Sound finances are at the heart of every successful business, and your SEO agency is no different. Thankfully, accounting isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as it used to be. These 4 steps will help you keep tight control of your finances, without any end-of-year panics or extortionate accountant's bills.
- Set up a business bank account. A separate business account will make book-keeping a total breeze. By separating out your finances, you’ll be able to identify business expenses in seconds, and keep track of the money owed and paid by your clients.
- Subscribe to cloud-based accounting software. Accounting used to be a nightmare for most small businesses, requiring hours of wasted time spent deciphering cryptic invoices and interpreting meaningless jargon. Thankfully, cloud-accounting programs like FreshBooks and Xero have made the process a whole lot more accessible – and their easy-to-use interfaces make accounting easier than ever.
- Invoice clients and track their responses. Every single sale you make needs to be accompanied by an invoice, from $10 PayPal transactions to $10,000 bank transfers. Invoices will make it easy to track your income and profit, and they’ll keep your clients aware of what they owe you. Best of all, apps like FreshBooks will track your client’s activities, notifying you when they open your invoice!
- Monitor your business expenses. Keeping track of your business expenses as and when they happen will make your end-of-year book-keeping super easy, and prevent you from ending up out-of-pocket on any project.
3. Set up a CRM
Customer Relationship Managing software (CRM) will allow you to keep in touch with both clients and potential clients. CRMs are designed to be part database and part marketing automation powerhouse, allowing to automatically respond to your prospects when they complete certain actions – like sending out a sales email when a contact downloads your eBook, or offering a 10% discount to a customer if they haven’t visited your website in a while
Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM, and purchasing a monthly subscription will take away the hassle of chasing up leads, sending out emails and connecting to new clients. Just set up an email template for each action, and your CRM will take care of the rest – allowing you to focus on SEO. But it is also really expensive and you can build one yourself based on Trello, Basecamp and spreadsheets.
4. Outline your marketing strategy
Marketing will allow you to attract potential customers to your website, and allow them to enter your sales funnel. As with every aspect of streamlining your SEO agency, it’s a great idea to have a series of pre-defined processes for every area of your marketing; allowing you to monitor the return on investment (ROI) of each strategy, and easily tweak strategies that aren’t working.
- Content marketing. Create an editorial calendar for publishing blog posts and guides, and use brainstorming apps to keep track of your ideas.
- Social media marketing. Use applications like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule and automate your social media posts. Pair this up with analytical tools like Quicksprout for super-effective SMM.
- Email marketing. Use your website’s sidebar to promote subscription to your newsletter, and use free and paid services like MailChimp to manage your mailing list, and send out targeted sales promotions.
- Paid advertising. Paid marketing strategies can have a hugely beneficial impact on lead generation – but they can also get expensive very quickly. If you regularly use AdWords or social media advertising, track your expenditure, and review your campaigns on a weekly or monthly basis.
5. Streamline your day-to-day operations
Virtually every aspect of running a business can be streamlined; and it’s often the small and seemingly insignificant tasks that can be most improved. Activities like brainstorming, writing blog posts and managing freelancers can all be seriously streamlined – and I’ve listed some of the best streamlining tools here for your SEO agency to check out!
Time tracking: HarvestApp
P.S. I have one more tip to share with you. If you’d love to streamline your entire SEO process, check out LinksSpy. It’s an automated link intersect and outreach tool, designed to identify the net’s best backlink opportunities, and secure links for both you and your clients. It’s fast and effective, and the perfect tool for pitching to your new clients. Interested? Find out more about LinksSpy now!