How to Get SEO Clients Even if You Don’t Have a Website

By | November 13, 2019

Just two years ago, I was running an agency. And our client base was pretty widespread. Everyone from lawyers to banks to world renowned DJs. Now, you want to know the craziest part of this all? We didn’t even have a website. So how were we able to get SEO clients and
how can you get them for your business? Keep watching because I’ve got some pretty
cool tactics to share with you today. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your niche. Now, when I first started looking for client
work, man… it was tough. But after focusing on just a few strategies, things started to click and getting clients
became actually really fun. In fact, the very reason I’m working at Ahrefs today
is because I tried to convert them into a client, which worked and didn’t work at the same time. More on this later because right now I want
to get into some strategies that worked for me and others in my network. And I hope they’ll work for you too. Let’s get to it. Now serious sidenote: This isn’t a tutorial about getting clients then
trying to figure out if you can actually help them. I hate those kinds of courses and tutorials. You should have a history of producing results and
be able to help any client you choose to take on. So if you’re just looking to make a quick
buck, I recommend mastering your craft first so that the tips and strategies you learn
today will be 10X more effective. Alright, so the first way to get SEO clients
is to get involved in partnerships. Now, there are two types of partnerships
I want to talk about. You might have heard of the first one and that’s to
team up with non-competing agencies and freelancers. For example, if SEO is the service you sell,
then look for like-minded agencies that specialize in other digital marketing channels like PPC,
web design or social media. Assuming your businesses are somewhat at
an equal stage, then referring clients is a free and passive way to grow together. There’s no need to get greedy. The SEO industry is approaching 80 billion dollars. And chances are, if you’re watching this video,
you probably don’t own very much of that market. A great place to meet like-minded people is
marketing conferences because they attract marketers from all lines of work. For example, if you’re a freelancer that focuses on SEO,
you might want to go to a general marketing conference to meet web design, social media and PPC freelancers. You probably wouldn’t want to go to an SEO
conference for this purpose because everyone will be selling the exact same services as you. Now, if you don’t have an “equal” number of
leads to pass back and forth, then a common structure is to offer a 10-20%
kickback for any referrals that turn into clients. The second partnership model is probably my
favorite and that’s to partner with companies who have your audiences, but are in completely
unrelated industries. An awesome example of this is to team up
with business bankers and private lenders. Everyday, they have tons of leads coming in and
if you’re dealing with one of the bigger banks, they can send you more clients than you can handle. A model that I’ve seen work really well is to
have the lender sell a high-level SEO strategy. Reason being, the barrier to entry is pretty low. They can essentially upsell your services
for a one-time fee and take around 15-25%. You then have the opportunity to give your presentation, showcase your value, and bring them onto
a retainer agreement. Alternatively, you can approach other professionals
like accountants and corporate lawyers where you can refer clients to each other. Partnerships don’t always come easy, but if you’re able
to execute and systematize, your revenue will grow fast. Another way to find SEO clients is to speak at conferences. I actually didn’t attend or speak at conferences
until I was out of the agency world. And I think it was a huge opportunity I missed out on. For example, I spoke at a conference earlier
this year where I gave a talk on link building. Afterwards, a handful of people came up to me. But they weren’t there to ask me questions about
the strategies I shared. They were there to hire me. And these weren’t your average mom and pop shops. They were decision makers from companies doing
1-20 million dollars in ARR or backed by VC money. I strongly recommend applying to speak at
conferences where your target audience would be and deliver as much value as you can. Next up is inbound marketing. And this is likely the most valuable for your business because your results are your strongest selling point. For example, Ahrefs isn’t an agency. We provide a suite of SEO tools. But a lot of the content we create is targeted
around keywords that potential SEO clients might be searching for. And they’re finding us through marketing mediums
like Google and YouTube. And by teaching how to do SEO, not only do
we get customers for our tools, but we also get numerous requests for consultations. Not to mention the individual emails we get
from great companies. By creating content that demonstrates your
expertise and ranks, you’re building trust with prospective clients through proof of concept. And in my opinion, trust is the most valuable
commodity when it comes to winning new clients because it instills confidence. Now, if you’re still relatively new to the game, it might
be advantageous to focus on one specific niche. For example, if you wanted to do SEO for realtors, you can find some topics by going to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and searching for broad keywords like “SEO,” “keyword research,” and “link building.” Next, go to the Phrase match report to see
keyword ideas that contain your seed keywords. From here, I’ll click on the Include search filter, and type in words related to the profession like
“realtor” and “real estate.” And I’ll choose the “Any” option to show all keywords
that contain any of these words. And as you can see, search volumes may not
be massive compared to the head terms, but they’re lower competition, and seem to have
a good amount of commercial value based on the CPC values of these terms. We have a full tutorial on doing keyword research,
so feel free to check that out for more great ideas. The next strategy is actually the last one
I tested before giving up agency work, and that’s to apply for jobs. As an agency or freelancer, you want clients. And when a company posts a job listing, they
likely want to hire someone in-house. Now, while these two things might seem vastly different, there’s a more powerful factor that comes into play. And that’s intent. So nearly two years ago, I decided to run a
lead generation experiment on Ahrefs. They had a job listing for a “funnel hacker,” so I applied
for the job with the intent to turn Ahrefs into a client. Tim, on the other hand, was the one handling interviews. And he was looking to hire someone in-house. Long story short, we were able to come to
some kind of agreement where I was able to work full-time for Ahrefs, but I was still
able to be involved with my agency. And after a year of doing work for Ahrefs,
I decided to give up agency work. Now, my point is that with job postings, you
and the lead have the same overall intention. In my opinion, if you can sell them as an individual
candidate, then converting them to an agency client is the easiest part of the battle. If you want to learn more about this little experiment, I’ve added a timestamped link in the description which goes through the story from my end
as well as Tim on the hiring the side. Finally is the most common approach to getting
SEO leads and that’s cold outreach. Now, when you’re doing cold outreach, you
want to provide as much value as possible and you definitely don’t want to be too pushy
in your first email. Here’s a sample template that Daryl Rosser
wrote on our blog about getting SEO leads. I’ll break it down as we go through it. “Hi Ricky, I came across your website today
when searching for “Roofing in London,” and noticed that you don’t show up in the maps
section and are #33 in the organic listings. That’s a lot of calls you’re missing out on.” So he told Ricky how he found him and addressed
a pain point that I’m sure Ricky already knew about. He goes on to say: “So I made a video showing you why your top
3 competitors are out-ranking you: Site 1, Site 2, and Site 3.” This is a super-simple way to differentiate yourself from all of the other emails these people are getting. Most people won’t go through the trouble to create
a video and it also gives a more personalized feel. Best of all, he’s mentioning competitors that
Ricky should be well aware of. Finally, he says: “Are you the right person to send this video? If you are, please reply to this email, and
I’ll send it over. Otherwise, just let me know.” The final part is a simple conversation starter. Do you want the video, yes or no? Or if I contacted the wrong person, then can
you point me in the right direction? Then after they respond, you make a video, send it to them, and have your CTA in the video,
which would be to jump on a call. Super-simple and I can imagine it converts really well. Now, for you agency owners and freelancers out there, I’d love to know what you do to get more SEO clients. Leave a comment and if you enjoyed this video,
make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. So keep grinding away, find creative ways
to find prospects, and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.

6 thoughts on “How to Get SEO Clients Even if You Don’t Have a Website

  1. Rajat Agnihotri Post author

    Thank you 🙏💕 I requested to make a vdo on this topic

  2. Rahim Agayev Post author

    Thank you, Sam. Very informative video, again. However, I've got a question. How can I get one of those t-shirts? 😁😁

  3. Michael Gordon Post author

    Great video. Thanks! Love the part about "mastering your craft before trying to make a quick buck"! There is a lot of fraud out there.

  4. Harshit Post author

    When you used to run an agency, how did you cope up with the competition?


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