Riley Hope joins the podcast to share her thoughts on making SEO financially accessible for all:
Charging clients according to local income for SEO work
SEOs setting fees that align with local business standards
Creating flexible payment structures and options for your clients
Not every client you work with will be a large enterprise site. In fact, I'd bet the good majority are SMEs and SMBs. To the latter, not every SMB has their feet firmly on the ground. It would be a shame for businesses that can't pay big money to lose out on the advantages SEO affords sites. But making SEO affordable to small businesses isn't as simple as it sounds. You as the SEO have your own bills to pay and your own mouths to feed. Even if you wanted to make your work more affordable to new businesses how do you know where to start? How do you know what is and what is not affordable?
In this episode of the SEO Rant Podcast, we get into the details around how you can make your SEO work affordable.
Here's a summary of what we discussed...
How to Make SEO Affordable for Small Businesses
SEO can be costly. As a result, many site owners who would like to have SEO work done may decide to move optimization to the backburner. But are there ways to structure SEO services so that even smaller businesses can afford them?
SEO professionals generally charge either by the hour or according to a flat fee structure. That might work in many instances. However, such payment structures can be quite taxing when dealing with a smaller business.
Here are some ways you can make SEO affordable for businesses of all sizes:
1. Charge Clients According to Local Income Standards
There is often a disparity between income in one location versus income in another location. Someone living in a big city might earn more than someone living in a very rural town. Conversely, someone living in one neighborhood of a big city might, on average, earn more than someone living in another location within the very same city.
You could elect to charge clients based on the median household income of their location. Meaning, you would be factoring in the general earning power associated with a given location. Obviously, the more you hone in on a specific location to understand its economic structure, the better. As again, economic conditions in one city can be quite diverse.
2. Aligning Your Fees to Small Business Standards
Depending on your area and country there should be established standards that recommend a given percentage of revenue be allocated towards marketing. There are often standards set specifically for small businesses in order to help such businesses understand how to allocate their resources. These organizations and/or government bodies will recommend that small businesses spend a given percentage of revenue on marketing.
In the United States, for example, you have the US Small Business Association. When dealing with a US client it may make sense to research the given standard recommended by the US Small Business Association to see what percentage of revenue that business type should be spending on marketing. Of course, consider that SEO is not the only marketing channel the client will need. Still, understanding the local standards will help you create a fair payment structure.
3. Use a Flexible Payment Schedule
One obvious way to help make SEO services more affordable to small businesses is to set up a flexible payment structure. That can mean being flexible in when you take payments and in what amount. It can also mean being flexible in what you take as payment. There's nothing wrong with a bit of bartering. If the business you are working with offers a product or service you would benefit from then an exchange might be a great way to help make the SEO process more affordable.
Also, when working with clients who can't pay your normal rates be upfront when the work takes longer than expected. You'll be surprised, most people will understand that and will then be flexible with you in terms of giving you a break on the deadlines for the upcoming work.
In other words, when you are upfront with a client that the current financial arrangement is not the norm they will be appreciative. In turn, they will often do things to support you and make your life easier. Don't just think about compensation in terms of dollars and cents. Your life being easier than it would normally be with a very demanding client is significant. Being offered a "quality of life upgrade" is a form of payment.
It's OK Not to Get Every Dime Out of an SEO Client
Of course, as an SEO you should be compensated, you should earn a nice living, and you should live a comfortable life. However, you may be able to do all of that without making sure you get every dime that's coming to you.
What goes around, comes around. Increase your SEO karma by giving folks who need a break some financial flexibility if you can.