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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Is Serving Clients’ Best Interest Really In Their Best Interest?

Those of us in the SEO industry operate by some pretty simple principles. We’re in business to help clients succeed. Success can mean many things, but, to most businesses, every lost ranking position looks like lost business! As SEOs, SEMs, link builders and inbound marketers, it’s important to be successful – not just for our own sake, but also for the companies we work for.

I often tell our clients that it is in our own best interest that they succeed because our success is tied directly to theirs. If they fail, we lose.

But the reverse is also true. If the SEO company fails, the client loses. This is the dual struggle that many companies, including mine, fight against. We want to do everything necessary to make sure our clients succeed. The problem is that not all clients are doing the same for their own success. As the service provider, however, the burden often falls onto us to deliver what is in clients’ best interest, even if they are not willing to.

Who’s looking out for you/me/we/us?

It’s nice to think that doing what’s in the client’s best interest is really in the client’s best interest. Unfortunately, it’s not always true. Sad to say, but the “something for nothing” entitlement mentality has taken hold, even among business owners. It’s nice that the Internet gives us all kinds of cool things for free. But not all good things are available at no cost. Those that rely solely on what is cheap or free only shortchange themselves.

In SEO, clients may purchase services that provide xyz, based on their budget and hopeful outcome. But when xyz isn’t enough to get them where they want, the client then expects the SEO to deliver abc on top of it.

The last thing any SEO wants to hear is, “Why am I not ranking for this keyword?” On the flip side, the last thing the client wants to hear is, “Because you’re not paying for that!”

Imagine taking your vehicle to a car wash and paying for the basic wash service. When your car comes out, it’s all sparkly clean, except the engine needs to be cleaned, the inside detailed and it could use a coat of wax. Now, the car wash company wants you to have a nice, clean, shiny vehicle. If you’re not happy with the wash, you won’t be a repeat customer. But it’s silly to pay for a wash and then be shocked that the wash alone wasn’t enough to make your car look just the way you wanted!

This is what SEOs face all the time. Clients taking a lower service but being upset because they get the lower results!

My best interest is in your best interest

Whenever two companies do business together, their best interests almost universally become one. What is good for you is good for me is good for you.

Businesses come to SEOs because they want (nay, need) to make money. The SEO also wants (nay, needs) to make money. Both need profits to survive. It’s in the best interest of both companies when both companies are profitable.

If one is not profitable, it affects the ability of the other to hold up their end of the contract. What would otherwise be a nice long-term and mutually profitable agreement becomes an agreement where, ultimately, neither benefit in the long-run. Your business agreement is out of balance.

If you only look after yourself, then you’ll find that no one is willing to work with you, which shortchanges your own efforts. On the other hand, you can’t only do what is best for others; otherwise, you won’t be able to deliver as promised, which also shortchanges your own efforts.

If you think always doing only what’s in your customers’ best interest is really the right thing to do, then I challenge you to give away all your services or products free of charge for one year. Wouldn’t your clients/customers be better served by such a move? Wouldn’t that allow them to get a higher profit margin or keep more money in their pocket?

Of course it would, but it certainly wouldn’t be in your best interest. Nor could you do that indefinitely. Sooner or later, your ability to give your clients what they expect will suffer. They’ll be unhappy and so will you!

SEO clients need to ensure they are not demanding more than they are willing to pay for, just as SEOs must be willing to do everything they can within the framework provided to get the best results possible. It’s in both the SEO’s and the client’s best interest to ensure they have a mutually beneficial agreement that sets proper expectation for results and that neither takes advantage of the other or allows themselves to be taken advantage of.

Follow at @StoneyD and @PolePositionMkg.

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