Internet Marketing Tips, Suggestions, & Ramblings

Managing Stakeholders expectations

Bringing a new client on board has always been an interesting event.  Each client comes in with initial Marketing Strategy and an outlined set of objectives, you mostly know what you’re going to get.  What you usually don’t know are the client’s expectations for the Campaign.  Implementing a solid SEO Marketing Campaign with all its non guarantee’s can be a lot easier than managing the clients expectations.  This can be difficult for a variety of reasons.  Client’s knowledge of SEO may be built from scouring website after website grabbing tidbits of optimization advice or maybe they go some advice from a friend over coffee.   This is the greatest struggle as a SEO project manager.

There is more to managing expectations than letting the client know that Optimization is not instantaneous.  Regardless of the time taken during the proposal phase to inform the client of the amount of work that goes into a Marketing Strategy, some clients still think that it is all about keywords.  Suggesting anything outside of meta changes can stop an organic optimization in its tracks.

Here some points I have learned the hard way.

  • Start at your initial conversation: This is your first opportunity to explain to the client that there may be components of the Campaign that will be dependent on them for implementation. This should help eliminate any surprises.
  • Make sure the client understands the process: Take the time to inform your client of processes.  Let them know how and why you are making your suggestions.  If you listen to your clients responses you can gauge whether or not they understand you.
  • Be Honest: If the Optimization has stalled or have not generate the success you and your client had hoped for, you may find it easy to tell the client “ Google is updating their algorithm” or that “it will just take a little more time” in an effort to curb their concerns.  Not only is it dishonest, but you will have to ultimately answer for the success of the campaign.  Your best bet is to be upfront and tell the client that you are not satisfied with the results and propose a solution.
  • Stick to your guns.  There may be times when you are working with a client that believe that that they are a “SEO Expert” and strongly makes his own recommendations.  There may be a tendency to go along with the clients suggestions to avoid any disagreements.   This is kind of a tricky area, you really shouldn’t argue but if you allow the client to dictate the optimization you will lessen your value and you run the risk of a unsuccessful optimization campaign. This is an area where “I told you so” doesn’t work for building long term business relationships.

This may all seem like common sense stuff, and it is.  The important piece is that each and every client is unique and managing their expectations is just as important if not more than the success the Optimization Campaign.

About Garry Grant

Garry Grant is a veteran expert in search engine optimization and the digital marketing industry. With nearly 20 years of experience, Garry has successfully built a multi-service operation at SEO, Inc., developing proprietary technologies through complex strategic solutions. He has extensive experience in key initiatives and operational responsibilities grounded in information technology and performance management.

Garry’s expertise and esteemed reputation, coupled with SEO Inc.’s impressive client success record has earned him such accolades as Entrepreneur Magazine's 2005 Hot List for the Hottest Internet Property, Inc. 500 2007 Honorary award for Fastest Growing Private Company in America, an Inc. 500 top 50 Company in San Diego, and interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

Garry Grant began his online career in 1993 creating strategic Web and e-business solutions for Homepage.com, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Premiere Radio Networks, Clear Channel Communications, EarthLink and Artisan Motion Pictures. Today, Garry and SEO Inc.’s highly skilled digital strategists develop proprietary technology and strategic digital marketing direction for Fortune 500 companies including, SC Johnson, McAfee, Entrepreneur.com., Inc Magazine, IGN, Tacorri, LPL Financial, National Kidney Foundation, G4 TV, Fuel TV and Sony, just to name a few.