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Selling SEO - Partner with small businesses instead of charging them monthly.
When you get into the SEO game, you might think you're going to make a ton of money and do whatever you want while sipping drinks on a beach. Well, that's a dream, and you're going to wake up soon because reality is going to hit hard. It's tough to sell SEO now that we're all competing with overseas pricing and the fact that no one knows what they're buying. This is why you should pitch a sort of partnership that will pay out later on, and anyone you partner with will feel more at ease since they're not fronting a ton of money for something they aren't sure will work.
I've pitched this idea to at least 20 companies who said they couldn't afford my services, and the response was pretty shocking. I had 13 of the 20 companies come back and say, "We love that idea, when can we start?" and that's how this discussion came to be lol.
Small businesses don't have a marketing budget
Remember back when you started and you didn't have much money to invest? Well, that's how the majority of companies are, and they are more willing to bring you on board as a partner than pay you for your time and expertise.
If you start contacting companies, let them know what you can do for them, show them examples of your work/skills, I'm sure some of them would be more than willing to bring you on board. You could be the specialist that boosts their websites to the top of the rankings, get loads of traffic, and turn that traffic into sales. All of this will help you be more profitable when they begin to pay you from your percentage of the company
They will welcome your partnership (usually)
Since these companies will not always have an SEO specialist on their payroll, they will likely welcome you to their team, as long as your terms aren't ridiculous. You will need to make an offer they can't refuse, without insulting them, and you should never ask for a lot of equity in return for your services.
A good amount to start with is 25% of the company, which means you own 1/4 of the business, but you're not taking 25% of the profits. Remember, you're building this business up because you own part of it, you're not going to take a bunch of the profit for yourself until there is plenty of it to go around.
Build them up, renegotiate, and profit more
One of the best things about this is you're likely going to be the person bringing in the sales, which is hard to fight with if you start to renegotiate your terms. If you're hitting all your goals, bringing in the sales, and turning a decent profit, then I don't see why you can't ask for more of the company. You can also save your paychecks and purchase more of the company if that's the case.
Don't be too pushy about renegotiating your contract/equity. You already own part of the company, and now you want to be an equal partner who has a say in what happens. If you own 25% of the business, then you can't make any decisions on your own you need to run everything pas the "Boss" and make sure they know what you're doing. The downside to this is that the upper management of the company may have no clue what you're doing, which makes the decisions difficult, so if you have an equal partnership with a clause that says you have creative freedom, then you can pull out all the tricks in your bag and funnel people to the site
Help streamline their website and systems
You should understand that if a company is willing to bring you on board as their "SEO guy" then they likely don't know what they're doing with their website. I've come across plenty of people who will say, "My grandson handles everything related to our website," and after I do a quick audit I can tell the kid doesn't know what he's doing.
You'll need to step up and say you can do everything literally with the website, not just SEO, to make the company as successful as possible. You will handle everything offline while the other people handle all the calls, emails, interviews, and in-person things so you can focus on bringing in the money.
It's not easy to get someone to sign over a chunk of their company because they have an attachment to it. They will not want to sign it over unless you've proven yourself, if you have other people vouching for you, and you seem to be the best fit. You should work for free, not taking a paycheck until the company is profitable, and that will put the business owners more at ease about bringing you on board. There will always be a contract to sign when partnering like this, so be sure to read through it and bring it to a lawyer to double-check, you can never be too careful.
Thanks for reading