Looking for a new agency and a fresh set of eyes to appraise your current SEO standing can be daunting. The path you’re guided down from enquiry to pitch may even seem arduous at times. After all, you’ve contacted your carefully selected, chosen few agencies and they’ve begun a dialogue full of lengthy (albeit necessary) questions.
Here’s what we recommend you could prepare so you can streamline the process and get the most from this early interaction:
An overview of your company
This may seem odd information to ‘prepare’. Regardless of whether your brand is a household name or not, if your website has a developed ‘About Us’ page then this information is readily available. However, there’s no guarantee this aligns with your view from the trenches or vision for the company and no guarantee it can convey the same enthusiasm and love for a brand an employee can. So when giving an overview of your company, as well as listing key metrics like headcount and turnover, maybe think about your company in the following areas:
- How do you make a difference to your customers’ lives?
- What does your company do differently to its competitors?
- What are you most proud of your company for achieving?
This kind of information helps an agency to understand your company but also the ‘why’ behind it, its raison d’être as it were. When they then brief the wider team, an agency is fully bought into your organisation, they can explain why you do what you do and begin to emulate your enthusiasm for the business.
A brief history of your SEO activity
Whilst this need not cover every adjustment ever made to your website, this will help an agency to efficiently contextualise data seen in Google Analytics and Search Console. Key things to include might be:
- If you’ve been subject to a penalty
- If you’ve been negatively impacted by an update
- What areas your SEO activity has focused on to-date (technical SEO, on-page SEO or Digital PR)
- Whether your SEO has been managed in-house or by an agency
Your goals for a new campaign
To allow a new agency to create a valuable pitch or proposal, they need to know their client’s specific goals. This will affect the person assigned as lead strategist on your account and consequentially, the strategy an agency will formulate. If you can, explore why you want to take on SEO. For example, your goal might be: to achieve brand placements. However, the reasons for this could be twofold. You might be looking to raise awareness of your company or improve keyword rankings for critical terms. This is by no means a choice – you can have both as goals (in fact they often go hand in hand). By letting your agency know what you’ll be measuring them against they can hit the ground running and explore how to drive results that are significant to you.
Giving an agency a clear view of your goals doesn’t mean that they are set in stone. It’s important that goals, and the accompanying strategies aimed at realising them, are fluid. For example, imagine your goal is to improve keyword rankings for critical terms. As such, you might inform a prospective agency that link earning should be a secondary goal, a means of achieving your overarching goal. However, it might be the case that a more holistic approach to SEO is a more efficient means of achieving this. Here, it is important to let an agency and their knowledge of best practice guide you on strategy,
Your decision making factors
Knowing the key influences on your choice of a new partner enables them to showcase the most relevant aspects of their service offering. Of course, they’ll talk about other aspects too but by making it clear that your decision will be highly affected by previous experience (for example) means an agency can highlight theirs and present to you the most applicable information.
Of the following (non-exhaustive) list of agency attributes, start to consider which carry the influence for you:
- Website Content / Blog
- Organisation size
- Case studies
Your levels of internal SEO knowledge
No agency wants a client to leave a meeting thinking “Digital marketing… it’s Greek to me” but equally if you have in-house resource an agency needs to cater to this. Understanding your knowledge levels and those of the wider team who’ll be interacting with a potential agency allows them to gauge the level of depth required and how much technical information it is appropriate to include.
It’s unlikely you’ll have an exact budget in mind and for many companies budget is dependent on returns and innately scalable. However, a good place to start is your previous levels of investment. In giving an agency a ballpark idea of what you’d be looking to invest you educate them as to the type of proposal they should be putting together for you.
We’ve provided some ideas around topics to familiarise yourself with so you can efficiently manage the enquiry-pitch process and kick-off a potential SEO relationship as you mean to continue: with an agency well equipped with information to deliver on your goals. Of course, these conversations aren’t rigid and agencies may ask you about none, some or all of the above topics but what we’re really trying to do is get to know your business and unique situation a little better to see how we can add value.
If you’re interested in how Impression can add value to you company, please call or email us to explore how we might help!