This is a guest post by Andy Betts, who is currently VP of Strategy and Marketing at Linkdex. He explains how the right analysis can help you win an SEO pitch.
Losing that big SEO pitch is something that strikes fear into the heart of every search marketing professional. Regardless as to whether you are a large agency or a small independent – it hurts like hell. That’s because 90% of us care so much for our product and our industry. Search is an industry built on passion and losing should never be an option.
However – let’s be honest – “You win some you lose some”, and when the business development process is analysed a very important factor is often under looked. How good was the quality of the SEO data that you used in the pitch?
All too often the analysis feeds back to where you went wrong regarding the mechanics of the pitch. Was it the Powerpoint, the pitch team, pricing, the company offering, the company structure, a conflict of interest with client or a lack of testimonials?. It is only natural to focus your attention on the business development process and there are thousands of blog posts out there which can tell you the ‘do’s and ‘don’ts of pitch management. Here is an alternative way of looking at it;
Your SEO data and how you present it in a unique way defines how you pitch and how you win.
You should ensure that your data comes from a combination of accurate, complete, and useful data sources. Use large data sources and combine this with other sources and internal and external methodologies to crawl and index linking pages and capture content.
• Clean and capture this refined data.
• Profile and segment this data into site types.
• Finally, score sites based on authority and trust and relevance to your clients market defining keywords.
Ensure that your data gives you a unique and much better understanding of your prospects market. Using the same data as your competition is not a competitive advantage. Presenting something different will.
Rather than just looking at where your clients and their competitors are linking ensure you get a feel for the type and quality of links. Make sure you verify these success in almost real-time and filter for link spam.
• Score them for authority, trust and relevance
• Highlight how you will improve productivity over time by tracking SEO activity over time.
• Show your client how you will do this and remember to refresh your data before you go into a pitch.
• There is often a time lag of days and weeks from SEO data preparation to pitch. Most Business Development teams ask for the data and then spend a good few weeks , at least, building a pitch document and proposal. By that time data may have changed.
Show your client the real monetary value of their competitors free/low cost search traffic, show them the real value of their market and the ‘lost potential’. This is where you really need to inspire investment and spark some passion into your pitch prospect. It is important to show the CEO and the Marketing director this information as well, not just the SEO. You should foster collaborations and transparency with your prospect because once your prospect sees the value of your data and how to action and close gaps in their competitive market, they are far more likely to invest in SEO and indeed your pitch.
In every pitch, theatre is the key. It is the agency with a different story to tell that wins, let you data be the pitch anchor and build around it. It is crucial to present your data in unique ways whilst all the time using the data to highlight opportunities to your prospect, showing them what they are missing and what you can do to close the gap between them and their competitors.
Now it’s time to support your data and SEO methodologies with impactful insight, showcase your experience and the added value that your agency brings. Give your prospect the confidence that you can deliver whilst being open and transparent about building and reporting SEO campaigns in tandem with, not just their SEO department, but also their CEO, CFO, CTO, BD, Marketing and PR teams.
Gone are the days of promising a weekly report and a fixed service charge. Gone are the days of over promising. Working more transparently in the short term wins you that pitch and in the long term makes you more productive and it becomes a lot easier to show revenue gains and to justify budget.
Suddenly you will find your prospect is a client and this client is asking YOU to spend more to keep them competitive!
Andy has worked in search for almost 11 years working across SEO, PPC and digital media. He has worked across search, business development and marketing functions for many of the World’s leading brand and agencies including Latitude, DoubleClick Performics, Google and Publicis. He also consultants and ghost writes for brands and agencies in the search and social markets in the UK and US. Andy is currently VP of Strategy and Marketing at Linkdex.
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