10 things to put in your SEO proposal
Ian Lurie Sep 23 2010
It’s hard to write an SEO proposal. Clients are skeptical. You’re skeptical. Hell, everyone’s skeptical.
But there are some things that can help. These are a few of the components I put into any proposal – these avoid misunderstandings, set expectations and help me seal the deal.
- The price. Don’t hide the price. Do put it at the end. And include 2-3 levels. Clients like options, as long as you don’t present a menu with 60 choices on it.
- Your process. And I don’t mean a flow chart with cryptic stuff like ‘content analysis’. I mean a description of each major step: “We’ll use our crawler to analyze your site, checking for anything that might prevent search engines from completely crawling your content. Then…” etc.
- Your tools. Describe whatever technologies you use to help with SEO. Whether it’s yours or someone else’s, it demonstrates you know your stuff.
- What you’ll do for them. Don’t just prattle on about how cool you are. Write about your process and technology in the context of the client’s project. They’ll stay engaged.
- Relevant case studies. A few relevant examples of work you’ve done won’t hurt. Doesn’t have to be in the same industry, but if you can show a similar challenge, and how you overcame it, you’ll get a nice leg up on your competitors.
- Real results. Don’t show rankings in your case studies! At least, don’t stop there. Show changes in traffic and sales. Get permission from other clients before you do this.
- A message from the CEO. I still write most of our proposals, so I don’t often need to do this. But a message to the reader from the CEO, that’s clearly written for that potential client, will make it clear you’re a real company.
- Labor sources. Point out how you get your work done. If it’s all in-house, explain it to justify your cost. If it’s all offshore, explain it to justify the fact that everything will need to be done twice.
- No sales talk. Don’t promise you’ll get a top ranking. First, you can’t do that, and you know it. Second, any intelligent marketer will know you’re full of crap.
- Next steps. At the end, clearly point out the next step: “Call me to review this proposal”. You’d be amazed the difference that can make.
There you have it – my recipe for a successful SEO proposal.
If you want to see an example, check out this out-of-date but still relevant intro to one of our typical proposals:
By the way, if I see competitor proposals with rats, I’ll find you.
CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He’s recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch.
Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle.