SEO can really suck sometimes. I think I actually did a post on that once. But seriously … clients will take advantage of you if you let them. For example …
I had a client who came on board with me last February. A pest control client. He had been working with another SEO guy who I guess didn’t do such a great job for him so he decided to work with me instead, per that guy’s recommendation. He was located in a tiny town right outside of Jacksonville, NC, so I decided to get his website established within Jacksonville in order to boost his local SEO. He was really intent on making everything rock and roll by April, because that’s when the busy season typically starts. He let me know that things typically slow down in October and at that point, we could look at rebuilding his website and expanding his business to Wilmington. I honestly thought this would be a lifelong client. We communicated well, he was impressed with the fact that I was open and honest with him from the start, and I got his phone ringing off-the-hook by July. In August, he actually emailed me to let me know he was the busiest he had ever been in 30 years of doing business and said “keep up the good work.”
So I did. I kept plugging away. Diligently working to maintain his rankings, building backlinks, and doing everything I could to get him as much business as possible. And then, as he had told me from the beginning, things began to slow down in October, and his lead volume had dropped drastically by the middle of November.
Sometime in October, I decided to build him a new website. I didn’t charge him extra for this. I just did it, and sent him a preview so he could see what it looked like and give me his feedback. A month went by, and crickets. I sent him the preview again. Again, crickets. He completely stopped communicating with me! I emailed him to ask him about some potential back linking opportunities and couldn’t get him to respond. So finally, a week ago, I called him and left a voicemail.
He didn’t even have the decency to respond back to me by phone. He emailed me to let me know they were moving to another marketing company and that my services were no longer needed.
This is the same man who was being a pain in my ass when we first started working together, emailing to ask me a ton of questions about why his website didn’t immediately start ranking higher after I came on board. I had to explain to him that SEO takes time. Then, after I explode his business, he quits talking to me, lets me build him a FREE website without a peep, and then lets me go over EMAIL after I called to check up on him after multiple months of unresponsiveness.
So here’s the moral of this story. I have stopped listening to my clients. I’m going to control the board from now on. I’m going to build websites that I own, generate leads for business owners, rent those leads to them for a price, and when they decide to let me go despite their business exploding as a result of my efforts (it almost always inevitably happens eventually, as much as I hate to admit it), I’ll just go to their competitor and sell the leads to them instead.
If you’re an SEO, I’d like to extend a free word of advice: stop listening to your clients. Stop letting them dictate what happens when. YOU run the ship. YOU are the expert. Not them.