SEO

6 Great Questions to Ask Any SEO Prospect: Part 1

If the end goal of an SEO sales rep is to offer a campaign that meets the needs of a prospect, the SEO discovery call is the foundation for that meeting.  Simply put, so much is accomplished during the first or second phone call that one has with a prospect that it does the sales rep well to consider what types of questions and what specific questions to ask. To aid in the quest to best discover what a prospect is needing, I have decided to share some of my favorite questions that I invariably ask during a sales discovery call.  Alternatively, if you are considering SEO for your website, you could ask yourself these questions, and you will find that you are in a better position to explain your challenges and needs to any salesperson providing SEO services.

  1. How will you measure the success of your SEO campaign?

This one is a great question to help uncover the prospect’s main metric for success, and it will help you shape a campaign that can produce the desired results.  There could be a variety of different answers to this question.  Just a few measurements of success could be: traffic to the website; increasing rankings for long tail keywords, broad keywords, or branded terms, conversions on the website (which, again, could mean a variety of actions on the site) or simple brand recognition in the search engines.  Once you and the prospect know this answer, you are better equipped to present a solution, and the prospect is better equipped to judge how well his or her campaign has performed.

  1. What is SEO’s place in your overall marketing strategy?

I am going to let you in on an industry secret.  SEO is not a panacea for all one’s business challenges.  Just like Frosted Flakes, ideally it will be part of a well-balanced marketing diet.  For example, has the prospect given thought to paid ads in the search engines, investing in a mobile responsive site, or even dipping into social media?  Inevitably, this discussion is always related to and constrained by the prospect’s budget, so that will have to be taken into consideration.  Asking this question opens up several avenues of discussion that should be explored including SEO’s effectiveness as a long term strategy and budget talking points (see below for more on budget.)  Finally, this helps the prospect to see that you are not simply interested in taking his or her money; rather, you demonstrate an overall concern for their marketing strategy and see SEO’s place in that larger picture.  This helps build trust and better prepares the prospect to make an informed decision.

  1. Have you (or an agency) done SEO before to this (or any other) website of yours?

This is a great question for three reasons.  First, it is a helpful way to ascertain how much the prospect understands about SEO best practices and topics.  If he or she starts talking xml sitemaps and 301 redirects, this indicates the prospect is likely well versed in SEO.  You can then adjust the level of SEOease you are speaking according to your prospect’s knowledge level on the topic.  Second, if an agency has done SEO for the prospect before, this will likely have colored the prospect’s expectations for campaign strategy and tactics. Knowing what expectations are allows you to place your services inside the prospect’s paradigm if it is accurate or correct his or her thinking if he or she is spouting outdated or black hat tactics as the norm.  Speaking of black hat SEO, that brings us to the third reason that this question works.  If SEO has been done on the current site before, you will get a sense for what has been done and what you are working with.  The past SEO work could be fairly innocuous as in some light on-page work only, or, it could be significant as in a Domain Authority of 60 or higher or a manual penalty against the site.  Knowing these items clearly gives you an advantage in building and presenting a solution to a client.

This brings us to the end of this round of questions.  Hopefully salespeople and interested website owners alike can benefit from them, or even better, perhaps it will get the juices going about questions that will best help clients and SEO service providers communicate. See three more vital questions to ask any SEO prospect in our next post.

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