Market research, specialization, and networking help identify the best market for a growing SEO company to target and recruit new clients.
Many digital marketers pitch their SEO services only to find out that they’re talking to the wrong people.
Before you market your SEO services, it’s important to identify your target market.
Identifying your target market accomplishes 2 crucial factors for growing your company:
- Earns more targeted traffic to your site and boosts conversions by focusing on the right people
- Builds better relationships with your prospects
This article introduces 3 steps to help your agency target the right market.
1. Conduct Market Research About Target Industries & Clients
Market research helps you identify the customers you should target by providing relevant data about potential customers, their industry, and their needs for your SEO services.
Conducting effective market research helps you launch and market your SEO company in 2 primary ways:
- Identifying target industries: Market research helps you identify industries that allow you to quickly develop expertise in those with opportunities to leverage existing connections.
- Fine-tuning customer personas: Provides a clear picture of your ideal customers, the type of marketing messages that appeal to them, and the goals they want to achieve. Understanding your customers, their decision-making authority, and their business needs all help you cater your services to appeal to them.
When you conduct market research, target the following information:
- Industry structure and competition: How challenging is it to establish your company in a particular industry? Identify the key challenges of working in an industry and determine how your agency can help solve those issues. Determine the national and local competition and whether the existing clients in that industry are willing to switch service providers.
- Customer lifetime value: Is the industry made up of companies with high customer lifetime value – or clients with high margins from an individual sale – or will you rely on customer loyalty over time to consistently generate revenue?
- Cost of transaction: What is the value of the average SEO services agreement in the industry? Can the businesses in this market afford your services? This information is critical for determining whether it is financially viable to take on clients in an industry.
- Networking opportunities: What networking opportunities will your clients present? Do you have personal connections in that niche? It's easier to establish your company if you have an insider in the industry who can introduce you to potential clients.
When doing market research, don’t initially focus on one industry. Research multiple verticals so you can weigh the pros and cons of each.
2. Find the Right Industry
Choosing a target industry establishes a clear picture of the clients you will serve.
Based on the experience of the agencies we’ve worked with, we recommend targeting the following industries:
- Industries with high singular ticket value: These are industries that deliver high-profit margins — for example, real estate companies, cosmetic surgeons, and car dealerships. Targeting industries such as Real Estate SEO makes it easier for your agency to justify your budget and convince potential clients that they will earn a high return on their SEO investment.
- Industries that provide customer lifetime value: Businesses in these industries rely on recurring transactions from customers. Examples of lifetime value businesses are gyms and insurance companies. In this industry, you justify your cost against customer transactions over time. As you drive more leads to your client’s business, they get more customer lifetime value.
- Industries with expansive networking opportunities: These industries are made up of companies and individuals that refer you to others and allow you to build relationships with them. Customers are more likely to buy from a company that is referred to them. Family physicians are a good example of this. So, if your agency conducts successful SEO campaigns for a physicians group, they may be able to refer you to their other healthcare partners. The more you grow your network in that vertical, the better your opportunities to earn more business.
We advise SEO companies to avoid beginning their search with industries that produce low-profit margins. Businesses in these industries offer low sales for individual customers and don’t have high customer lifetime value. Most will question your SEO pricing, and you don’t want to spend your time trying to overcome this type of objection.
3. Start Building Relationships
If you want to build relationships, you need to put yourself out there.
Don’t wait for prospects to find you, it's up to you to find potential customers and initiate contact.
Use the following approaches to build relationships with potential clients:
- Join social media groups: Join Facebook and LinkedIn communities with your peers or join groups that focus on your target industries. Use these community groups to network with other companies in your field or to collect contact details from potential clients.
- Attend events, conferences, and trade shows: Use sites such as Eventbrite and Facebook to find events that your target customers are interested in and regularly attend.
- Bring a business card with you wherever you go: A business card is always valuable during face-to-face interactions. It provides your prospects with something to remember you by after your initial conversation. More importantly, it has your contact information, which makes it easy for them to reach out to you.
Target High-Growth Markets For Your SEO Services
Ask yourself this: Will it be more productive for your agency to sell to everyone, or will your SEO services company perform better if you target specific, high-growth markets?
The answer is pretty obvious — go for the high-growth market.
If you can effectively identify your market and align your goals with them, you are on your way to scaling and earning clients for your SEO agency.
About the Author
Itamar Gero is the founder and CEO of SEOReseller.com, a white label SEO program and digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local business clientele all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).