Sign up for our daily recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
How to nail a local SEO pitch
Wondering how to make a good impression with potential clients? Columnist Lydia Jorden shares her process for successfully pitching to local businesses, even if they don't have much SEO knowledge.
Local SEOs just get it.
We understand that a company needs to be present when a customer digitally seeks its services. We get that businesses are virtually handing over potential revenue to competitors that invest more heavily than they do in local SEO. We recognize all of this wholeheartedly and put our blood, sweat and tears into helping brick-and-mortar businesses understand the importance of local search optimization.
Unfortunately, not all clients understand the positive impact local SEO can have on their business. When clients come to me asking for specific digital marketing services, they usually are completely unaware of local SEO and its benefits. These clients have heard all the buzzwords — big data! content is king! — and insist on implementing trendy tactics without understanding the impact they might have on their business.
Understanding how to tailor a pitch to clients that have already dismissed tried-and-true digital marketing methods in favor of their own buzzwords is challenging. Just like having a political discussion at a Thanksgiving table, many of these clients do not want to hear your suggestions, as they have already mentally invested in the tactics they believe are most important.
Selling local SEO is challenging. However, you may begin to find client hesitancy replaced with open-mindedness when using strong pitch strategies along with data-based evidence for your recommendation.
Steps to refining your local SEO pitch
1. Understand local search optimization
Completely understanding the discipline you are speaking about is key to a smooth pitch. Being comfortable with the material you are presenting can not be overstated. Overall nervousness, including filler words (“um,” “like”), will take over your pitch if you are not familiar with the content being presented.
If you do not understand the material you are speaking about on even the most basic level, seek out resources and educate yourself on the topic. Invite experts who work in local SEO daily to join you on the call. Seek out resources like Search Engine Land’s local optimization articles and Moz’s Local SEO published content.
Even if you do not fully understand the scope of the tactic you are pitching, by being resourceful, you can still come prepared.
2. Understand your client
Do not be afraid to ask for more information that will help strengthen your understanding of how the client performs in the digital landscape. Having a deep understanding of your client will significantly increase your pitch’s success. This means asking upfront for Google Analytics and Google My Business access, along with login information to other platforms where the client has a presence.
Here are some of my favorite preliminary tools to initially understand clients before I pitch:
- MozLocal Listing Tool. This is the most important tool to use when analyzing whether a client needs local listing support. The results should help you determine an overview of whether it’s worth selling local SEO. It’s free.
- SEMrush. The free version gives solid insight into waves in visitors to the site, keywords the site ranks for, the respective keyword’s position and how much the domain spent on paid traffic. It’s a great tool to begin a digital marketing health analysis before getting into local performance.
- Local listing vendors, including MozLocal, Yext, and BrightLocal, will usually provide demos for your specific client if you inquire. These insights help the local listings partners pitch to you but can also help you understand gaps in your client’s local listing strategy and then present those findings during your pitch.
You’ll find success using the free versions for an initial dive, but if you’re wanting something deeper, you’ll need to upgrade to paid versions.
Engaging a potential client comes from personalizing the pitch to them specifically. It will be hard for the client’s mind to wander when you are providing them with information that directly relates to his or her business. Personalizing your pitch to the specific client shows that you did your homework and are deeply invested in the partner-client relationship.
4. Educate to show value
I always add specific gems I find within my pitches. These gems are tidbits of knowledge that I want to share with my potential client to build trust and credibility that relate directly to helping the client with local SEO.
If I share too much, I run the risk of giving too much initial value and the client implementing what I taught without my help. However, the value of upfront transparency outweighs hoarding educational insights that I find. Opportunities that I present are fruit-on-the-ground but give the client food for thought about how to modify tactics to better serve his or her goals.
I find practicing the material in advance helps me understand where I am going to have difficulty. If I find myself stumbling over a particular method, I know that this is an area where I need to focus. How can I best present the method in an easily understandable way?
Smarten up the content to make it easily digestible by someone with limited knowledge on the subject. Only someone very smart can make something that is complex appear simple, especially when it’s regarding the complexities of local search.
6. Follow up
Reach out t0 the potential client after the pitch, but don’t bug them continuously. Try to refine the follow-up and consciously provide value at all touch points to this potential client.
This means doing research, understanding new trends in local SEO and how they relate to the potential clients’ industry, then offering additional value. This might be finding an opportunity in the local search landscape for that client and sharing it with them. It could also mean finding an article that directly relates to that potential client’s business and creating dialogue about why it’s important for him or her.
Give it a shot
Share your thoughts on social media or shoot me an email to let me know if these tactics helped you pitch local SEO.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.