Depending on the field
Your agency’s position will be closely linked to the work areas you work with.
If you are only focusing on a specific size of business (SME or enterprise) or a particular industry (eg, lawyer, dentist, car dealership), this variable is already accounted for.
But if a vertical specialty emerges naturally from your client portfolio, then you want to reinvent your services. For example, Liberty just created the Foundation, a spin-off digital display agency focusing on beauty brands, due to their rapid growth in the period.
Or perhaps you want to generate new business in line with industry trends, so you only focus on the blasting companies and their offer requests:
- You can assess, once more, through YoY search trends and evaluate their growth rate.
- You can research investment trends, VC funds and their portfolios, find useful information about potential leads.
Also pay attention to the position of the lead. As the CEO of Go Up highlights, if a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of business wants to play in the space of experts, it is not one from the start.
Based on SEO opportunity
Is it a realistic business case?
This is another important and difficult question to ask yourself. The answer depends on your SEO research insights and the accuracy of the data you are working on.
Edward Quorum James talks about “feasibility testing” through a forecasting tool that lets you gauge the overall potential of the business objective and SEO as the right marketing channel. “It keeps us honest as an agency and makes us reverse engineer the project, so we’re safe to believe that lead investment is on the right track,” says James.
Your target keyword list and the variables that affect them – from search volumes, their YoY trends, seasonality, SERP features, device segmentation, and CTR curves – you can model scenarios and evaluate the difficulty of that objective.
Of course, an established fashion brand will have higher search volumes and larger margins, so the agency knows that it is worth taking the project without any forecasts. But for a niche business such as software automation or cryptocurrency, crunching the numbers and evaluating potential additional traffic and conversions (if some have reached the ranks) will give the agency a realistic understanding of the potential success of that lead.
If it is 3-4 years before the lead reaches that point in the business, then according to James’s conclusion, you have to evaluate their willingness and patience to jump on that project.
Depending on your agency’s culture
This is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about qualifying a client, but it is certainly an important aspect of keeping the relationship happy and long-term: Is it a relationship between your agency and that leadership Cultural fit?
Gareth Morgan of Liberty Marketing calls it the point of view and ambition. The agency evaluates the communication and development potential of that relationship:
- Can you work together for many years to come?
- Can you make a connection with them?
- Do they trust you to use and take calculated risks for their projects?
This point is further echoed by the CEO of Go Up, who underlines that you can tell a lot about a lead from the first email request to their desire to be transparent, make a follow-up call, And so on. If they just want to offer a price without any other contact, then it is clear that something is missing. So the agency always makes a culture-fit call before jumping in and profiling for business purposes.
In addition, there may be industries that you do not want to do or industries you want to focus all your attention on. For Go Up, it is ethical business for their customers. For IO, it is large-scale, international brand only. For Climb Online, it is a shared entrepreneurial mindset first.
Depending on your agency’s development objectives
A final, key point we are tackling here is the convergence of your agency’s development strategy and the business model of the lead and the market situation.
Is the scope of the initial project likely to increase and get more business from that leadership in the future? Does your agency have the expertise and ability to advance education through this lead?
You must think of several ways that you can grow together, whether through innovation or by increasing a specific market share. Gareth Morgan wants to make sure his agency is at the forefront of his industry, so he heads the Innovation Roll to oversee his data analytics capabilities and then look at other services to make sure they are all one step ahead. Huh. Which will also shape their customer portfolio.
Another approach is aimed at established brands, which means scaling up the agency’s business development or sales team. Go Up is in the process right now, confirming its position as a major SEO agency, targeting big names to add to its portfolio.
Choosing the right client for your SEO agency is important for the long term growth of your business. Even if, at times, it may feel like you are missing out or you should compromise, always keep in mind past faulty customers / projects and what they cost you.
There are many ways to approach this qualifying process, but some key points are as follows:
- Budget and resources: Is the client able to afford the agency’s services?
- Raise businessL: Is this an industry in which you specialize? Is this a growing market?
- Seo opportunity: Is this a realistic business case?
- Agency culture: Is it good in terms of attitude, mindset, communication?
- Agency development objectives: Is there the ability to expand cooperation or increase reputation?
SEOmonitor’s forecasting module can help you see SEO opportunities and calculate the potential of a business case. You can model different scenarios, looking at the best or medium growth projections when evaluating the difficulty of a future SEO campaign.
SEO forecasting is one of the many solutions we have developed to help agencies acquire, manage and retain more customers.
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