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The SEO Process - How to Use my SEO Business Kit - The Documents in Action
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The SEO Process - How to Use my SEO Business Kit - The Documents in Action

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Freelance SEO Consultant, Web Designer and Internet Marketer.

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Having the right documentation and contracts is essential in this business. However this means little if you aren't using them to their full potential. In this article I give a brief overview of how to use each document included in my SEO Business Startup Kit, it's purpose and when it's best to use it. Be aware this isn't this an exhaustive list of all the documents included, just those required during this particular step of the seo process.

For this particular example, I'm going to assume that you have already made contact with the client and have organised the first meeting.

Here are some of the documents necessary for each particular step. I have written each particular section with the following structure to make it easier to follow.

1. Give to the client - Documents you need to give to the client.
2. Get back from the client - Documents and information you need to get back from the client. 

1. Before the meeting.

Once you have spoken with the client and scheduled the first meeting, it's always best to send them the following documents. Unlike most of the other documents, it's best to send these in hard copy, as some of them need to be filled out and returned. Either that or have them faxed. Infact, for any documents that need to be signed, I always encourage that they are given in hard copy, or faxed.

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

Meeting Confirmation Letter – Thank the client for choosing to meet with you and confirm the time, date and location if required.

New Client Profile Form – Regardless of whether or not you secure the project, always get the clients details. This allows you to “follow up” with the client at a later stage to see how they are doing, and if you can assist them in any way. This doesn’t mean spamming them to death.

Client Needs Analysis Form – This document allows you to obtain certain details about the client, their business and why they have chosen to implement search engine optimization. The client questionaire included captures vital information that will assist you when holding the first meeting. With this information, the initial meeting should be easier, as the information is already provided to you ahead of time. Basically, you just need to clarify anything that isn't clear during the meeting. This document is a must have. Be sure to have this returned before the first meeting.

GET FROM THE CLIENT

Client Needs Analysis Form – Once this document is completed and returned, go over it, and take notes where necessary. This document will form the framework of your meeting. Any details that aren’t clear can be covered further once the meeting is held. Consider it the basis for your questions.

2. The initial meeting.

 

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

SEO Process Client Reference Sheet – This document exists to give the client a better insight and understanding into what constitutes an actual SEO campaign, the work involved and the benefits of doing so. It also helps educate them on certain terms and is intended to make them feel a bit more comfortable during the work phase.

Benefits of SEO Client Handout Document – This document exists to give the client an understanding of how SEO can benefit them and their business.

Business Overview – If you have compiled a small information brochure about your business, the people that work there, the services you offer, and perhaps previous work with testimonials and case studies, then give this to your client as well. This will help build credibility.

GET FROM THE CLEINT

New Client Profile Form – The clients information should be processed and their details entered into your system. I usually encourage that both name and email be entered into an email autoreponder for ease of follow up and continual contact. Ensure you always get permission to do so before entering any information into a subscription list. You can pick this up at the actual meeting itself, or have it returned along with the Client Needs Analysis Form prior to the first meeting.

At this point, be sure to cover in detail …

  • Clarity of the job.
  • A clear understanding of what the client wants.
  • An idea of their allocated budget (important)
  • Their details if they havent yet returned the new client profile form.
  • Any other details that are of importance.

3. After the meeting - the follow up.

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

Thanks for Meeting With Us Letter – Thank the client for meeting with you, and give instructions on what’s taking place next. This includes informing them about your intended website audit report, and also preparation of the seo proposal and initial quote. It’s important to always keep your client updated with what’s going on.

GET FROM THE CLIENT

Nothing at this point.

NOTE - At this point I normally perform a comprehensive website audit report. I don’t typically spend a great deal of time on this if possible, as there’s no way of knowing whether or not the client will work with me. However the benefits of performing the audit, are as follows :

  • I can identify any potential areas that require attention, both offsite and onsite – this in itself will help me sell my pitch during the follow up meeting.
  • The results from the website audit will assist in terms of estimating cost.
  • The results from the website audit will assist in terms of estimating campaign duration.
  • Data collected from the website audit will be used to complile the SEO proposal and accompanying contracts, which will be presented to the client upon the follow up meeting.

Whilst I usually tend to avoid doing any work unpaid, I don’t consider spending time on the website audit report to be a disadvantage at this stage of the process. The website audit report can be done relatively quickly, and will play a vital role in potentially securing the project. Clients are typically more responsive when they can see measurable factors that will influence the outcome and success of the project.

4. The follow up meeting.

The documentation you submit at this stage of the process may seem a little overwhelming to your client, but I feel if it’s bundled up and presented nicely, and you make your best efforts to explain the importance of each one, then this should help the client feel a bit more comfortable and quite possibly more receptive to your offer. 

Everyone has their own style of selling, so how hard you press during the meeting for closure is entirely up to you. I’ve found most clients have requested additional time to go over the documentation in more detail before giving a final answer. This may require holding a third meeting, which is fine.

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

Website Audit Report Cover Letter – This is just the cover letter outlining the actual website audit itself. Attach this to the website audit report.

Website Audit Report – This document is key in terms of potentially highlighting areas of your clients website that may require immediate attention. This document provides a complete scorecard in a sense, of the site to be optimized. This helps clarify the project and give better direction to the strategies to be implemented. It can also allow you to presell your strategies – in that you can provide a before and after scenario to your client.

SEO Proposal Cover Letter – This is just the cover letter outlining the actual seo proposal. Attach this to the SEO proposal document itself.

SEO Proposal  – This document provides a way of ensuring clarity and certainty before the commencement of any SEO or marketing work. It allows both yourself and the client to go over the details of the project and to ensure an agreement on both costings, timeframes and work to be performed. This is one of the key contracts and is a must have.

Initial Quote – This is typically a simple invoice displaying your costings. This can be included within the actual SEO proposal itself if desired.

SEO Contract – When it comes to the seo contract, I prefer to give this to the client along with the proposal and other accompanying documents straight away. This way there’s total transparency. In the past I’ve found that some clients, once having read my terms as setout in the contract have decided against using my services. This is in most cases because we haven't been able to come to an agreement on terms. This happens rarely but when it does, it can be a bit of a nuisance. Remember, never change your business system, or your terms to suit just one client. 

SEO No Guarantee Disclaimer – This document could infact be incorporated within the actual seo contract itself, however I like to keep it separate to really emphasise this particular section. Clients must have a clear understanding that there are no guarantees when it comes to search engine optimization. This is definitely an area of the agreement you want total clarity on. Be sure to have it signed and returned.

GET FROM THE CLEINT

  • Answer any questions the client may have.
  • Call to action or agreement to proceed.

5. Additonal Meetings

Occasionally you may find clients requesting numerous meetings before coming to a decision. In most cases this is to simply recap on previous questions, and to get a better understanding of the documentation and work involved. This is natural, be prepared for it. Use your own judgement here though when it comes to how much time you want to invest towards meetings. I’ve had clients request ongoing meetings that have ended up taking up a great deal of my time, and then not landing the project. Definietely something to be mindful of.

6. Client says no – next steps.

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

Thanks for Considering Us Thank You Letter – Thank the client for opportunity to work with you and wish them the best of luck. Be sure to enter their details in your system for future follow up. Often, a no now may mean a yes later.

GET FROM THE CLIENT

Feedback – There’s nothing wrong with a client saying no. They can't all be winners. What's important here is that you find out why they said no. Feedback and customer surveys can be very useful in these situations. For this, I would highly recommend using survey monkey to gather feedback as to why the client decided against working with you. Without getting too bogged down in how survey monkey works, put simply, it allows you to create simple custom surveys to which you can request your clients fill out online.

6. Client says yes – next steps.



Fantastic! The client has decided to work with you, that’s great! Now it’s time to get your contracts and documents in order before commencing work.

GIVE TO THE CLIENT

Thanks for Choosing to Work With Us Thank You Letter – Thank the client for choosing to work with you and request settlement of the deposit.

SEO Invoice – Always get a deposit before doing any work. The amount of the deposit will vary between projects. It will also depend upon the way you charge. For monthly campaigns, I request to be paid monthly in advance, and with fixed pricing, I normally request at least 33% up front, with the remainder being paid upon completion. Remember, payment types will vary greatly according to the work being requested. Regardless of this, always get an initial deposit. Never start work unpaid.

Website Access Authorization Form – This form provides you with the approval to perform operational work as external contractors on the clients website as agreed.

Copyright Authorisation Form – This form ensures that any material, and content that the client provides you with is legally theirs, and doesn’t infringe on any copyrights. It also gives permission to use that material in order to complete the requested work. Just a precautionary measure mostly.

Credit Card Authorization Form – This authority provides you with the approval to use the clients credit card account details for services or payments required in order to complete the tasks as outlined within the SEO proposal. This may include content creation, paid directories, link building and so forth.

GET FROM THE CLIENT

Deposit – Don’t do anything until you receive payment! This should be your initial deposit paid in full – no excuses!

SEO Contract – Be sure to have this returned as soon as possible. It's important to have the client initial each page and sign the very last section. Don’t just have them sign the last page.

SEO Proposal – You don’t have to do this, but I normally do, just to ensure I cover all my bases. Just like the seo contract, have them initial each page and return it to you.

SEO No Guarantee Disclaimer – Ensure this is signed and returned.

Website Access Authorization Form – Ensure this is signed and returned.

Copyright Authorisation Form – Ensure this is signed and returned.

Credit Card Authorization Form – Ensure this is signed and returned.

7. Commence the campaign.

Once all the documentation is returned, you can now commence the actual seo campaign itself. Be sure to keep your client up to date throughout the campaign at all times.

I hope this small summary of each section is helpful. Remember, each of these documents are available in my SEO Business Startup Kit – which you can purchase by CLICKING HERE.

Author
Gary Ruplinger
Freelance SEO Consultant, Web Designer and Internet Marketer.

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