I’ve posted a lot of content recently about the importance of SEO and the reasons why, in my opinion, it’s one of the first places to put your marketing dollars. I’ve gotten a fair number of questions back from people asking how to find partners that can really help for small businesses.
Investing in SEO can seem like a major expense and selecting the wrong partner can be disastrous from a financial perspective. When I think about how to select a good partner, there’s multiple factors that go into it.
Number one – I think it really matters how this company is pitching you and how their sales process works. If a company gets your attention and gets you on a phone call or on a Zoom, listen closely to how they’re trying to close you. If there’s pressure to take advantage of some kind of special pricing that’s only available if you commit now or if they’re asking you to commit on the call and hand over a credit card so you can get started right away, that’s probably a red flag. In my experience, reputable companies want you to feel good about what you’re buying and they want to make sure that they can actually service your business and that’s not decided on a phone call or the first phone call that you have. It takes a minute to figure that out and if they’re not going to give you that minute, I recommend you keep looking.
Second – SEO is not one size fits all. In fact, it’s not even three to four sizes fit all. No two companies have the same set of problems. When you’re talking to a prospective partner, you really want one that will customize their solution and approach to your unique needs not one that’s handing you a menu and asking you if you want the small, medium or large package. Your needs are unique and you should look for a partner that can tailor their solution to those needs – kind of like a custom suit. Number three – I really want a partner that’s a specialist. One of the most frustrating things for me when I was buying agency services was when I’d hire someone for one service and within a few months, they were pitching me on something else. Now I’m not saying you need someone that only does some micro specialty within a certain field – but you want a partner to be focused as a company on the field you’re hiring them for. If you’re talking to an SEO company that also does tv advertising, media buying, creative, direct mail, outdoor signage – you’re probably talking to someone that’s okay a lot of things but not great at any of them. Find a partner with a strong record in their field and a passion for reinventing and bolstering their expertise as the space evolves.
Lastly, I want to meet the people that are on my business. Many partners pitch with one team and deliver with another. That never felt good to me. I want to know who’s working on the business. What are their credentials? Do they pass the personality test? In other words, do I enjoy being around them? That stuff is important to me and it’s way more relevant to my business than whether or not their sales team is good at closing.
So, in answer to these questions, those are a few of the things I’d think about as you evaluate your potential partners. As was mentioned, getting the wrong one can be a big problem but if you get the right one, together you can drive your business to new heights