How to Generate SEO Leads – 10 Tips for Agencies
By: Dileep Thekkethil
August 30, 2022
Table of Contents
You decided to plunge into an ocean of agencies that are already providing Search Engine Optimization services. Congratulations!
Now, the haunting question lingering in your mind is, how to generate SEO leads? How do these other agencies survive and sometimes earn millions with the same SEO service that I’m offering?
How to Generate SEO Leads – 10 Essential Tips
It’s imperative to follow tried-and-tested SEO lead generation strategies to get at least the bare minimum number of leads to stay afloat in the SEO business.
Without a proper lead generation strategy up and running, it’s not going to be easy for you to achieve the business goals.
So, if you are thinking – will all this work? Don’t worry; this is not one of those prophesy articles you find online that never walks the talk.
We have used these strategies in-house to generate the first 1000 clients, many of whom are still our fans.
Ready to fish out leads from the ocean of opportunities? Let jump in right away.
1. Rank on Google’s First Page For Your SEO Service
We are in the business of helping websites rank higher on the SERPs, and to be frank, the first client of any SEO agency is the agency itself.
We have all come across agencies that promise the #1 position on Google. But a quick Organic Research reveals they are nowhere on Google’s first page for the SEO campaigns they offer.
Nowadays, clients are pretty smart, and some have already burned their money with some other SEO agency.
One bad thing about these clients is that they are overly skeptical. They do all the research before zeroing down on the next agency.
Since they have already been trained in using one or two tools, it’s just a matter of time until they know that the agency is not doing great.
Suppose you are an SEO agency focused on a particular city. In that case, you must ensure that your website dominates on SERPs for local keywords that businesses type while searching for SEO services. A great way to do this is by optimizing your GMB listing with an accurate description and Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) details.
By optimizing your business website for the location-specific target keywords, you can reduce the competition by a great deal. But if you are focusing on national or international leads, you have to use a different strategy.
Unlike ranking for your SEO agency’s local search term, ranking for a global search term requires you to use the same strategies you may implement for your bigger clients.
Also, the results for such a business may take a while as you compete with the industry’s best SEO agencies.
In such a case, you have to identify the USP of your agency that people care about. If you are also offering services outside of English-speaking countries, make sure to implement multilingual SEO.
Also, check what your top competitors did to rank higher on search results and probably, use the well-renowned Sky Skyscraper technique of Brain Dean to achieve success slowly.
We at Stan Ventures have a separate department to concentrate on our brand growth. They are involved in activities that aim to grow our brand visibility. This is the reason why we are ranking #1 for some of the most competitive SEO target keywords like “buy guest posts” on Google search, which is driving our leads and conversions in plenty.
Another real-life example is to make sure that you have a physical presence in the locations you want to rank for. We found an exponential increase in the traffic from the US after we started functioning from Illinois.
Now, we have 300% more target keywords ranking in the US than in India, which wasn’t the scenario a few years back.
So, here is the thing, ranking higher on the SERPs for service-based keywords or even for the blog keywords will increase the chance of getting leads and conversations.
2. Offer Free SEO Audit for Lead Generation
Who isn’t interested in checking out the SEO score? Some of the best SEO agencies out there are cashing in on an innate quest among the website owners – how good is my SEO score.
You get high-quality leads by providing a free option for such website owners to do an SEO audit.
I say high-quality because these are people who are definitely wanting to improve the rankings on the search and are possibly looking for agencies to get the SEO issues fixed.
You, as an agency owner, can offer an instant SEO Audit or a custom SEO audit. While the earlier one is easy and takes just the time to purchase an API from popular tool providers like SEMRush, the latter one takes manual effort but has a higher conversion rate.
Both are useful ways of doing it. However, if you want an API, I recommend going with SEMRush, which offers a lead generation API to do site audits for your potential customers for Free.
All you have to do is integrate the API with your website, and each time a visitor does a free audit, you get notified with the site details and email address.
If you want more quality leads, you can provide a free SEO audit that is 100% unique and customized. However, you may require a bigger team to do this, but the quality of the leads and the initial impression you create will be unmatched.
The reason why I say this is because we use this strategy here at Stan Ventures. We offer Free SEO Audits every month for our 20 new subscribers. Each of them will receive a customized SEO audit and a free strategy call with our expert, explaining the issues lurking within their sites and ways to fix them.
One practice that we follow in this process is making the call less salesy or using this as an information-sharing session. This helps us build the initial trust, and a majority of our strategy calls end with our leads asking, “why don’t you implement these things for me.”
Yes. That’s a sale!
3. Lead Magnets AKA SEO Resources
Most website owners think that SEO is a cakewalk, and ranking higher requires just building a website that looks amazing.
The initial days after the site launch are in a DIY mode altogether. They want to learn and then implement SEO by themselves.
If SEO results were so easy to accomplish, we all would have been without jobs by now. But website owners have all prerogative to try it out, and they are looking for resources that can help them achieve it.
As an SEO agency owner, give these website owners all the resources required to try out SEO. If they can achieve success using the resources that you give away, just pat your back.
But the majority of the people who download assets are not determined to implement SEO strategies because they have other operational issues to handle. Only in rare cases do these websites hire in-house SEOs.
We have a lead magnet that is worth mentioning here. We offer a 5-in-1 Blogger Outreach Starter Pack for website owners to try their luck building backlinks.
In our 5-in-1 starter pack, we have included all that is required for a website owner to kick start the link-building campaign.
Included in the kit are:
- 20+ Subject Lines with High Open Rate
- 1000+ Real Niche-Specific Websites Outreach
- 20 Outreach Email Templates
- How-to Guide for Doing Blogger Outreach
- Tips to Find Email Addresses to Reach Decision Makers
Here is what usually happens a while after they download this resource.
They try out these strategies, and it works for them, but they come back to us to implement the strategy since it takes time and effort. So we usually don’t have to teach them or tell the process we follow for link building as we successfully educated them through our 5-in-1 resource.
Converting an SEO-educated client makes the process easier, and they are likely to be your Monthly Recurring Client for a longer duration.
The second resource that most SEO agencies use as their lead magnet is Case Studies.
Case studies are considered more trustworthy than testimonials by most prospects.
But there is a catch. Case studies are double-edged swords! They require frequent monitoring and also, faking it would be the worst idea.
The clients are now smart, and they don’t outrightly believe all that is said. They might check the facts through SEO tools, and if they find contradictory data, they will never come back to you.
So, make sure the data in your case studies are frequent updates and if you see a decline in the overall organic growth of the website mentioned in the Case Study, just remove it ASAP.
We have separate case studies for these industries, which helps convince visitors within these niches about our SEO expertise.
Blog Posts that are strategically written as part of your content marketing strategy can act as your lead magnet. The best way to make full use of your blog is by identifying a pressing issue among your target audience and giving them a solution by creating content.
Use your discretion to place a CTA or a Contact Form to collect the details of your readers, who may require your assistance to resolve the SEO issue.
For example, most website owners complain about the slow load speed of the pages. It requires a highly skilled technical SEO team’s intervention. We have a blog about how to increase the page speed of a website with reference to Core WebVitals. It also demonstrates how a few of our clients were able to achieve the perfect WebVitals Score.
We get many inquiries through this blog for technical SEO fixes, and most of them become our clients soon after.
4. Enable Live Chat for SEO Lead Generation
Some website owners still believe that live chats are a thing of the past, and they are annoying. Yes, this was true some time back, but much water has flown under the bridge after that.
AI-enabled Live Chats make the initial conversions lively than robotic messages that used to appear during the earlier part of this decade.
Also, keeping in mind that a prospective lead for an SEO agency lands on service or blogs to find resolutions, the Chatbots can be handy. This improves the user experience and keeps the potential customer engaged for longer.
This is yet another strategy that we have deployed in Stan Ventures. We have a dedicated team of representatives who are trained in SEO to help our visitors Real-time with SEO fixes.
While we answer the SEO-related questions to match the expectations of the visitors, they are keen to explore more and choose our services for professional solutions.
You can take the audience to confidence and move them through different stages of your digital marketing sales funnel by enabling chatbots.
It may be weird, but some clients ping on the live chat even after signing up with us for quick help.
Chatbots are a great help in gathering information from your visitors, converting them into leads, and moving them through different digital marketing stages. For an SEO agency, live chat provides relevant solutions that can help them decide early.
Suppose you are focused on getting more leads. In that case, Chatbots are going to be a decisive element that you must have on your SEO agency website.
5. Referral Programs for SEO Lead Generation
The Internet is rife with web design and associate service providers. Consider them as the grooves to reach your potential customers.
Reaching out to the other agencies offering allied web services is one successful lead generation practice that we are involved in. We offer them a 10% commission for every sale that happens through their reference.
Thinking this is an odd practice of lead generation. We were also in your league a few years back, but when we found our top competitors using this strategy to churn out new clients, we decided to shed our false beliefs. Frankly, the results were just astonishing.
Another advantage of this lead generation strategy is that you can tie up with as many agencies as you want and all you have to do is give a referral commission.
6. Lead Generation Through Social Media
You may have to spend a few thousand dollars on ad campaigns to get the first few initial customers when starting an SEO business. But you can deploy a different strategy simultaneously to get more leads – social media lure campaigns.
A lure campaign intends to get you the leads of people looking for similar services like the one you are offering.
You may ask why to go with social (specifically Facebook) and not Google. The answer is simple, the cost involved.
The cost for lead generation via Facebook is relatively less compared to the PPC campaigns that you run on Google Ads.
Another reason to choose Facebook is that a lure campaign focuses on larger audiences. They may or may not be interested in buying your service but are somewhat interested in doing SEO DIY experiments.
The best way to run a Facebook lure campaign is by trying to do ads for an irresistible resource that you have. Before I go any further, let me clarify that not all the people who sign up via the lure campaign will easily convert. You have to create a digital marketing sales funnel and set up a series of follow-up interactions before at least a few of these leads convert.
One additional tip while doing a lure campaign on Facebook is to make sure that you record the email address of the people who are downloading the asset. If you are planning to use AdRoll for retargeting, make sure that the users are directed to a landing page on your website.
Remember we discussed the 5-in-1 lead magnet asset here at Stan Ventures, we are doing a lure campaign for the same on social media to target website owners looking to build authority backlinks.
7. Lead Generation through Email Marketing
Before I start, let me tell you this. Email marketing doesn’t only mean cold email outreach. Email marketing as a lead generation strategy has to stand out in the higher strata as it can get your SEO agency quality clients.
I would like to stress the word quality here because there are clients who are pretty hard to accept facts about SEO, and there are those who understand how SEO works.
I prefer getting just 2 quality clients under the second category rather than ten from the first batch because they are a significant time sink. The end result of explaining to them all the SEO wisdom available could be complete dismay.
Email marketing for lead generation is the best lead generation tool you can use to gather more leads with the right strategies in place. But don’t expect magic to happen overnight. You may have to tweak the strategy, process, and message several times before getting the optimal results.
For a successful email marketing campaign, it’s imperative to choose a CRM that can seamlessly link up all your email marketing data, allowing sales teams to act quickly.
The campaign messages have to be customized based on each stage of the digital marketing sales funnel through which the prospective customer interacts with your SEO agency’s website.
Each time you send an email, it must focus on moving the prospect a step further into your funnel. Though email marketing is time-consuming, if you have a pre-defined process, it can work magic for your SEO agency.
Each time you send an email, it must focus on moving the prospect a step further into your funnel. Though email marketing is time-consuming, it can work magic for your SEO agency if you have a pre-defined process.
8. Podcast for Lead Generation
Podcasts like Live chat are making a real comeback in the industry. While podcasts in the early part of the decade got less traction, people are tuning into podcasts more often than ever with the abundance of smart devices.
A podcast is one of the assets that you can add to an SEO agency website as part of the resource and it has the potential to drive a lot of leads. However, few agencies have tapped into podcasts as their lead generation medium.
If you are an agency looking for partnerships with smaller or bigger agencies, the podcast can act as the bridge that can connect you. Unlike the emails you send and the replies you receive, podcasts make the conversation real interpersonal and pave the way to lasting partnerships with other SEO agencies.
Additionally, podcasts act as a pure lead generation tool, so you should make sure that the podcast topics you select and the subject matter experts you invite are relevant to the SEO campaigns you offer.
Strategically placing Calls to Action (CTAs) within the podcast can increase the number of leads you get. Also, keep in mind that podcasts, unlike blogs, don’t rank higher on SERP results for generic search terms (this trend could change over the next few years when podcasts become more popular). This calls for making use of different distribution networks for the dissemination of the content.
The CTAs you place within each podcast could be a lead magnet that is directly linked to the topic discussed. This increases the chance of visitors downloading the lead magnet.
9. Local Lead Generation
Large, Small, or Medium-sized businesses can implement all the above-mentioned lead generation strategies at any point in time.
However, suppose you are a local SEO business owner focusing on websites and businesses in one particular region, for example, Maryland, DC, implementing a local lead generation strategy should be your #1 priority.
Earlier, we discussed how important it is for a local SEO agency to rank higher on local search results – both on Google Map Pack and organic results for near me queries. This remains critical even for local lead generation because of the quality and the higher number of converting leads you get.
However, there are a few additional things that you have to keep in mind to get the full benefit of local lead generation.
Local Events: One of the most effective ways to drive local leads is by ensuring your business presence in events that represent local businesses.
Get a kiosk or make use of the networking session to represent your SEO firm and tell the business owners about the importance of ranking the websites. Try convincing them how you can help them in achieving it.
Google My Business Ads: Running paid advertisements is always a good lead generation strategy. If you are a local SEO business owner, make use of the new Google My Business ads to get featured on the top of local Map Pack results. This can increase the number of phone inquiries and mails.
FM Stations: Local FM stations or Online platforms such as Clarity.fm, which takes interviews of experts in a different industry, can get you a lot of leads.
10. Lead Generation Through Customer Service
You did everything right, followed the point-by-point approach that I listed here. But still, if you miss out on this important strategy, you are not going to scale your SEO business.
You may get a few hundred clients after following the strategies above; however, what if they find your service less seamless and uninteresting. The result could be a gradual shedding of the clients you have accrued. This is especially true if you are focusing on adding more clients and not trying to retain the existing ones.
Any service business’s success greatly depends on how they ensure that their existing clients stay happy as they add new ones in the background.
Think of yourselves being in the restaurant industry. If you only welcome the new ones and the seated customers are kept waiting for the order to be taken, what would happen? They all will slowly leave and probably never come back again. The same applies to the SEO industry.
While a bad customer can kill sales, a happy customer will get you evergreen sales. We have seen happy clients refer our services to their friends. This cycle repeats itself each time we show tangible SEO results.
On the other hand, if negative reviews are shared online, they are bound to test your reputation management department’s skills.
Some businesses outrightly disown the client and repartee the comment by passing on the buck. Still, there are smart ones who accept the mistake and offer a resolution.
The latter ones thrive and learn from their mistakes. At the same time, the former will face more heat as other clients who were dissatisfied with the service will join the online conversation and cause more damage.
With online reviews making a statement by themselves, prospective clients may be deterred from associating with any SEO agency that lacks online credibility.
Ensure that your SEO agency has a dedicated account management team that takes the queue of the customers’ satisfaction level. They have to take adequate steps to make the process easy and seamless for clients.
At Stan Ventures, we assign a dedicated account manager for each of our clients, and the responsibility to delight them is vested upon the team assigned. We do it with such ease that our clients continue working with the team. Upselling becomes so much easier when dealing with already delighted clients.
They frequently speak with the customers and ensure that the deliverables are within the expectations. This reduces the time spent on reworks and, more importantly, firefighting with furious clients.
To Wrap Up
You have landed in an ocean of opportunities, and there are SEO agencies that are sailing ahead of you. Accept that you are not alone in the race and adopt the right lead generation strategies. You can turn the corner and anchor yourself in a position that no competitors can challenge.
If someone told you SEO is a saturated industry, they have just seen the tip of the iceberg. With businesses flourishing globally and the usage of the internet’s power increases, the demand to rank higher on search results will never dry out.
In SEO, the winners are not decided by longevity but rather how soon they pivoted using various strategies listed above. Process and strategy are two intrinsic SEO terms that beacon your way to success.
A swarm of leads is waiting for your bait. It’s up to you now to choose the best strategies to entice them to your SEO business.
All the best, and drop a comment if you found this post useful.