Even if you or some of your clients wish it were, SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. To be successful, however, all partners must remain committed to the project from beginning to end.
As a result, communication is crucial. An important component of SEO project management is having a plan for how you will interact with your clients during the engagement.
When things go wrong, it's usually the customer connection that's at fault, not the work. This is true of all projects, not just marketing ones. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), one out of every five projects fails owing to poor communication.
A solid communication plan, in our experience dealing with customers, keeps projects on schedule. Furthermore, having frequent touchpoints can elevate your brand and service, resulting in happier customers all around.
Eight communication touchpoints you can include in your customer encounters are listed below.
1. Calls for the kickoff
The importance of a successful kickoff call cannot be overstated. Even if you already know what to do — and even if you've had numerous talks leading up to the client signing on — the kickoff call is still necessary.
Everyone involved in the project (both on your side and on the client's) learns about the scope of work and what to expect here. How often do you plan to meet? What are the deadlines for deliverables and approvals that you'll need? This is your time to lay out these procedural elements during the inaugural meeting.
A project's success hinges on its ability to meet expectations. It is imperative that the project team understands the client's expectations before beginning work.
2. SEO teaching
Teaching your clients about SEO is a great approach to keep the lines of communication open as you go over the intricacies of their projects. How would they know what questions to ask if they don't understand what a meta tag is, for example? It's critical that everyone on the project speaks the same language, so make sure everyone gets the same knowledge. The SMX Master Classes series is an excellent place to start.
Even if your clients are already familiar with SEO, your training is still important since it emphasizes your approach to SEO – no two SEO suppliers are alike.
Clients will be more familiar with all that goes into your SEO services if you provide SEO training. They'll know, for example, that you're not simply waving a magic wand, and *poof* rankings appear behind the scenes. From the viewpoint of the client, education adds value.
You'll be able to keep the project work focused if you conduct your training away from your normal calls. Otherwise, you'll spend more time on each touch-base call explaining ideas than you anticipated.
3. Calls for updates
Standing meetings are dreaded by some, but they are necessary for project management. They don't have to be useless, either.
If the project does not have some structure and consistency, it will break apart.
Make sure you have an agenda prepared for each meeting ahead of time so the customer knows what to expect during the conversation.
Then only take as much time as you require. Ascertain that everyone's issues or questions are addressed, as well as their future moves. You can send notes from the meeting after the call so that everything is documented and everyone has a record.
4. One-off emails
Have you ever gotten an email from a service provider with a helpful note just because they thought you'd find it useful? Do you recall the lasting impression it made? These small gestures can go a long way toward enhancing your client connections.
Consider how you can stay in touch with your client outside of your scheduled appointments. Perhaps something happened in the SEO sector that is relevant to your client. Perhaps something happened in their industry that had an impact on their SEO.
Send them a quick email with the specifics, why it's important, and how it might affect them.
5. In-house resources
Send it to your client whenever you generate a useful resource that they might find beneficial. Consider ebooks, seminars, and videos – in fact, any type of content marketing product.
Sure, you could send an email blast to all of your customers with a link to the ebook you created. However, a more personal touch would be to send it along with a personal note to a small group of clients who are battling with the issue addressed in the ebook.
6. Progress reporting
Your SEO reports are a more official client communication must-have.
Make sure you have a plan in place for when and how you'll report on your success. Also, make sure the customer is aware of the timeline. It could, for example, appear as follows:
Frequently: Update the customer on the status of agreed-upon tasks in between calls.
Monthly: Create a report that summarizes the month's progress. This is normally done in four-week sprints.
Quarterly: Create a report that details quarterly successes and challenges, as well as progress from quarter to quarter.
Project end: Finalize the project by writing a summary that contains a high-level overview of the project, as well as victories, losses, and next steps.
Yearly: Show year-end progress and year-over-year performance when you have long-term clients.
7. Client feedback
Allow your SEO clients to provide feedback on how the project is progressing, what's working, what isn't, and how you can improve at some point during the engagement.
Send out a survey to your clients and make their responses anonymous if you feel like you'll only obtain honest feedback if it's done anonymously. This is how an NPS score is calculated.
You can do this at regular intervals throughout the engagement (which is advised), or you can wait until the project is completed. What you learn from this feedback can be incorporated into future customer encounters.
8. Your blog
Make sure your customers are aware of your blog! When they initially engage, ask whether you may add them to the subscriber list.
It's not uncommon for clients to never visit your company blog, so missing out on a valuable resource. Your blog updates serve as a simple touchpoint to assist keep your brand top of mind once they've subscribed.
As a result, make this a resource that all of your clients are aware of.
To improve your service, use communication.
High performers, according to PMI, establish formal communications plans for nearly twice as many projects. Take the time to assess your communication plan as part of your SEO project management to ensure that as many touchpoints as possible are included.