The size of your agency or your client might dictate just how far you have to go to really help a site improve. Over the years I have worked with large clients both in terms of the size of the site, turnover and staff to clients whose marketing department consisted of 1-3 people. It is on these occasions that you really get involved in every area of a client’s marketing strategy and gain a much deeper understanding of the client. I have regularly found that larger organisations often have internal politics which affects the role you can play as certain information such as PR, social accounts and site updates is loathed to be given over.
I personally feel you should essentially be an extension of a client’s marketing arm, and have found that by immersing yourself within the business you discover aspects that the client never shared at the beginning of the campaign but can help you improve your content strategy, conversion optimisation or off page campaign. My fellow blogger Claire Carlile’s post on starting a campaign with client questions is a good start if you have recently taken on a new client. Thinking like a marketer means that you have a solid understanding on USPs, audience, marketplace, competitors and think more about the end user than a search engine. It also means that some issues which traditionally you might not have gotten involved in are exactly where you should. The price of a product is one example and the CRM systems is another.
So what do you do when a client wants to raise the price of a product? Well I am glad you asked…
1. Clients want to raise the price of their products
A small thing like the client raising the prices of their products was never usually a discussion point for their SEO agency although I believe it almost certainly should be. As SEOs (if we can pigeon hole ourselves like that anymore) we are judged not only on traffic but ROI and any change to the price of a product can have a big impact on the conversion rate.
You should be consulted about this and should at least give your opinion based on research. Part of this research you can get from a common SEO practice – step forward Google Docs and ImportXML. Now if you are not familiar with this I suggest you read the ImportXML guide written by David Sottimano – who is a top bloke. Instead of manually collating your data you can use ImportXML to automate part of your price based research by looking at Google Products to gather data on:
– The price of competitors products
– The average price
– Your degree of flexibility you have to change the price without causing a negative impact
Common economics concepts should also be applied. How elastic your product is should have a direct effect on your pricing strategy.
“Depending on the type of your product, as the closer the substitutes available, the higher the elasticity is likely to be.”
Other factors such as brand loyalty and necessity of the product need to be considered. As a marketer with analytical experience you can use metrics such as the amount of brand related keyword searches in your analytics, returning visitors and interaction on your social channels to give a good indication on how loyal your customers are.
Also consider what USPs you have that your competitors don’t. You can use ImportXML for this process too, great eh? Instructing the spreadsheet to rip the meta descriptions of your top 10 competitors can be a great way of finding out their USPs without spending too much time going through their site. Why? Most well written meta descriptions will include 2 main aspects; a call to action and a USP for why you should click. The below will make more sense once you go through the ImportXML guide.
If you have FREE delivery and offer an extended warranty that your competitors don’t then customers will be more willing to pay the extra increase in price, as long as these USPs are communicated.
2. Removing Negative Reviews
Reviews, whether they are internal on testimonial pages or external on 3rd party sites are an important element of forming a good business perception. They also contribute to your ranking within Google Places and Products searches, especially since it now it appears Google are moving towards reviews rather than citations in Google Places
However, with this reliance on obtaining good reviews it seems that clients can sometimes miss the point of a bad review. Instead of asking how they can remove these negative reviews they should be asking how we can improve them. You should always try and take the conversation with negative reviewers’ offline for brand reputation management purposes and try to find out how you can help leave them with a positive review of your brand. Understanding why customers leave bad reviews can help your brand reputation management so it is always recommended to collate the information and categorise the negative reviews into categories.
- Product Quality
- Pre-order service
- Post-order service
All of the above can all form the basis of an audit for you to improve your service. And you never whether after taking out these actions they can always go back and change their review rating.
3. Supporting Offline Efforts via a Marketing Mind
There are various agencies around the UK that outsource their link building but one of the main downfalls of this practise is that they don’t benefit from the wealth of knowledge that you have gained from working alongside the client. You know their USPs and their audience inside out, you know where they hang out online and you know how they can be reached. Unfortunately, when link building is carried out separately from other marketing activities it is most often or not focused and driven to obtain one thing. This can be a short-sighted method for a variety of reasons:
- Relationships won’t be developed
- Brand advocates won’t be nurtured and established
- The links won’t have an impact on future sales and brand awareness
- You won’t reach your targeted audience as well as someone with inside knowledge
You know your market better than anyone so you can leverage this knowledge to create content and link building strategies. If you know your audience are quite responsive to price changes then you can use the Versionista tool to “target sites that change their content” This was recommended by Debra Mastaler and in this occasion by identifying price fluctuations between your client and other brands you can write price comparison piece and place it on an industry site where you know your target audience will come into contact with it. Not only will this include a link back to your site but a piece like this will be likely to have some kind of impact on brand awareness and future revenue.
This is just one example of how knowing your brand and having some marketing savy can help your link building campaign.
*of course you should think like a marketer in all areas of your online strategy but that title doesn’t sound as catchy does it?