You’re about to sign on the dotted line with a new client, but you’ve got that gut feeling. What if I get burned again? What if the client drops me within two weeks? What if I have another stressful period where clients don’t understand what I’m doing?
It’s okay to feel like this. We know there are some experiences working as a local SEO freelancer, consultant, or agency that cause a great deal of stress. However, there are also really great experiences that can make you truly enjoy work.
These are what we call ‘green flags’; the signs you might see in a potential client that indicates whether the two of you are a good match and if there’s potential for a strong working partnership.
1. The client follows your onboarding process to a tee
The clients who collaborate with your onboarding processes effectively are the ones to look out for.
They don’t ghost you for a few days when they’re meant to be giving you access to their Google Business Profile and Google Analytics account, and they don’t ask about cancellation processes as soon as they’ve signed up.
“If the client asks about the cancellation clause DURING THE ONBOARDING CALL, don’t be surprised when they cancel before the contract period ends.”
Melanie Diehl shared her learnings from the past year.
2. They don’t shy away from telling you their budget and their long-term business goals
They don’t try to get your price down or get you to do more work for less money. They don’t err on the side of caution when it comes to marketing budgets or suggests they might only have enough budget to pay for a short SEO campaign.
They’re willing to invest in marketing and they understand how essential local SEO is to their business. It’s great when a client is open with their plans and wants you to join them for the ride.
3. They show they trust you and your local SEO skills
It’s great when a client is genuinely trusting of your skills. They respect your experience and the success you’ve had with other clients. They’re excited about how you can help them.
They might share an idea or two, but they don’t tell you how to do your job. They give you a clear brief and are open to hearing about your priorities and strategy for their local SEO campaign. They listen to what you say and implement your findings.
Marina Milutinović also shared her experience in our Facebook group, saying she loves when clients participate in the work they do:
“We can always do research on our own but their input is really important. And it has happened before that when we suggest improvements they ignore them and just stick to their methods that haven’t really brought any benefits.”
Marina Milutinović explains what she looks for in a client.
It’s also great when the client commits to collaborating with you.
Reuben Colazo shared his positive experience with clients, saying:
“[It’s great] when they work with you to form a system for gathering content (ie. photos) as well as taking your instructions on how and what to ask for in a review. I generally tell them that as a behind-the-scenes person, some of these things are out of my control so it’s up to them to help grease the system and keep it moving. Oh yeah, and immediate trust is nice.”
Reuben Colazo explains how he works with clients.
4. They wait for your updated monthly reports about project progress
We know that SEO is a slow game, but do our clients? The best clients don’t ask why they’re not number one in the map pack after two weeks but show they’re interested in the work you’re doing to get them there in the meantime.
In a recent post on The Local Pack, we learned some awesome ways to get clients on your side with reporting progress.
Stefan Janjić Lozo suggests:
“Schedule a 30 min call once a week, two weeks, or a month, depending on the size of the project. That way you walk them through the progress for the previous period. There is no need to report back to the client every few days.”
Stefan Janjić Lozo gives his suggestion to managing client expectations on progress.
Magen Hyatt also shared:
“I have an initial setup meeting where we set the expectations that this is long term and we can’t expect instant results so it’s a process. I think most people just think you’ll do a few things and then they’ll show up in a search if they weren’t before or that they’ll move to the local pack immediately, but we know that isn’t the case. If you’re upfront initially with what is involved and the long-term plan/goals I find that those clients settle down and better understand what they are paying for and all that you’re doing.”
Magen Hyatt gives another great example to setting expectations with clients.
5. They genuinely show interest in you as a person, and support your business
They treat you as a human and understand your limitations, your work schedule, and you as a person. They’re not calling at all hours, demanding you answer their questions. They enjoy your catchup meetings with you and demonstrate good rapport. They might even give you a testimonial to say how amazing your work is.
When a client has a positive attitude, you know they’ll be easy to work with!
6. They respond to your emails quickly and efficiently (and they pay their bills on time!)
It’s great when you get a timely response from your clients, and you’re not spending all of your retainer time chasing them for the answers you need. They answer your questions without going around them and help you make quick decisions about what you need from them.
A bonus is that they pay their bills on time, so you can actually eat and pay your rent that month!
What do you think?
What are the green flags you look out for when signing a new local SEO client? Share your ideas in The Local Pack! We’d love to hear from you.