All growing SEO agencies face the same circular problem: to secure your first client, you need a portfolio of work. To get a portfolio of work, you need to secure your first client.
Thankfully, I’ve found a way out of this Catch-22 situation. These 6 tactics are designed to help you get SEO clients without any prior experience. There’s no need for portfolios, references or work history – and these tried-and-tested techniques will help you get your agency up-and-running in record time.
6. Use your own website as a portfolio
As an SEO expert, you know how to use search engines to increase a website’s visibility. Thankfully, this is a skill that you can showcase without having a single client. Your own website can be a powerful ally, acting as the perfect case study of your SEO skills in action.
Apply all of your professional skills to your own website. Build high-quality links, create keyword-rich content and generate a social media buzz. Treat your website with the same professionalism, dedication and consistency as you would a client’s. Track your success, and record key metrics like views, visits, referrals traffic and organic search – and put together a kickass case study that demonstrates your SEO skills. You’ll also attract targeted, engaged visitors to your website, and demonstrate your expertise from the outset.
5. Don’t undervalue your services
It’s natural to think that lower prices will increase your chances of securing work; but if you want to attract your first client, it’s crucial to avoid undervaluing your services.
Low prices will reflect negatively on your business. Without any past work to justify the quality of your SEO services, potential clients are likely to think that your prices are low because the standard of your work is low. They also imply that you don’t understand the value of the service you’re providing. If your SEO skills can net a client $10,000 per month, why would you charge $200 per month for your services? Choose a fair price, and stick to your guns.
4. Give work away for free
Offering free SEO trials allows you to overcome the biggest hurdle of securing new clients: demonstrating the value of your service. A free 30-day trial will allow you to secure a handful of killer backlinks, and begin the process of improving your client’s website traffic. You’ll be able to get your client hooked on your services, and when the trial ends, they’ll be much more likely to agree to a paid contract. To improve your odds even further, keep track of all the successes of your work, and create a short data-filled presentation of everything you’ve achieved.
3. Work on a white-label basis
White-label businesses provide anonymous products and services to other businesses. They specialize in a very particular niche, and allow other businesses to re-brand and re-promote work as their own. There’s a high-demand for white-label SEO in particular, with multi-channel marketing agencies looking to partner with search experts to improve the quality of their search marketing.
Pursuing this style of service helps overcome the hurdle of professional portfolios and references. White-label businesses work anonymously, and often adhere to strict non-disclosure agreements with their partners. This prevents you from sharing references with potential clients, without having to explicitly state your lack of experience.
2. Build your brand profile on social media
Social media is a powerful platform for any business looking to increase their exposure. Sharing killer content is enough to make your brand stand-out; and there’s no need for extensive client experience or a massive portfolio.
Choose a couple of relevant social media networks, and begin to build-up your brand presence. Write and share your own content, and content from other agencies; engage in industry discussions; and wherever possible, do your best to help and educate other users. Every person you engage with on social media is a potential lead – and with billions of active social media users, you stand a good chance of securing a client.
1. Never give up
It doesn’t matter how many times you fail in securing a client – you just need one success to set your business on the path to meaningful growth. It’s crucial to stay consistent in your own marketing efforts, and continue chasing potential clients. Continually educate yourself, and experiment with new tactics – and when you find something that looks like it could work, stick with it.
As Woody Allen famously said, 80% of success is just showing up.