Posted November 26, 2006 8:58 pm by with 18 comments

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Back in September, I posted the Top 10 Mistakes Search Marketing Firms Make. Since then, business coaching for SEM firms has become a large part of my consulting services. I’ve had the privilege of working with SEOmoz, We Build Pages and many other marketing agencies, looking for assistance with scaling their business, structuring their services and building a better SEM firm.

I’m going to write a follow-up article that looks at the top-10 ways to grow your search marketing firm. I have some ideas for the list already, but thought I’d get your input on what areas you’d like me to cover.

Here’s some of the ideas I have already:

  • How to price a campaign to win a client account
  • How to grow your business to 200 employees
  • How to stay small, yet grow profits
  • Where to find new clients

So, what would you like to see covered in the follow-up article? This is your chance to effectively get my consulting services for free!

List your requests and suggestions below and I’ll tackle the most popular and interesting.

  • I like “How to grow your business to 200 employees…without loosing quality of your service”

  • Jim I would say that’s impossible and I think anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.

    On what I think should be covered, how to explain to clients as an SEO the last thing they should actually be concerned about is rankings. Instead they should concern themselves with traffic and conversions. Rankings are a means to an end.

  • Jeremy raises a valid concern, but you can grow your business to 200+ employees. The trick is keeping the quality of service once you pass 150 employees – 150 appears to be the testing point for any company, not just SEM firms. Firms that fail after 150, did not set-up their business to grow beyond that number.

    If others are interested in this topic, I’ll explore in more detail in the eventual article.

  • Ethan

    I would say…

    How to price a campaign to win a client account
    How to not give away the farm with monthly fixed price engagements

  • When to decide if you should have clients at all?

    At some point a skilled SEM will ask this question.

    If you have a printing press capable of printing money, you might as well ink ‘er up.

  • How about “how to say no to clients without offending them?”?

  • Melissa Chapman

    What is an effective number of people to run a small firm and what duties should be split?

    I would also like to know what a good rate for SEO work is. I am an individual that specializes in real estate sites. Should it depend on the type of work like design, content writing, link popularity, blogging and such?

    How much free consulting should be done before you charge?

  • How about info on SEM firms working with agencies, such as in partnership relationships, the ways to go about it as well as ways to not go about it. I know agency relationships have worked very well for us.

  • Hi! and what about new SEM firms?

    I’m starting a SEM firm in Mexico, so I would like to know how to attract new clients, the most difficult part is to convince them that they need a SEM.

  • Andy, my question is along the lines of Jorge’s. How to attract clients in my niche, (local) is difficult. If a client is versed on internet marketing he may look for my service on the net however the uninitiated (my target client) won’t begin his search for marketing help online.
    The local newspaper won’t take an ad due to competitive issues.
    Thanks Andy!

  • Some great ideas, keep them coming! 🙂

  • I am just begining to get steady work after a long time marketing myself word-of-mouth. I am now looking for proposal techniques as well as contract information to protect myself and my clients. What are things that I maybe forgetting to include in a SEO/Internet Marketing Contract?

  • Essential positions for a small firm, JV’s with design firms and ad agencies.

  • Thanks for your feedback. I’ve decided to get more granular with the next article. Look for it this week, with follow-up articles based on all your suggestions.

  • Hi Andy.
    It seems than nobody wants your advice anymore. I can’t believe it. No posts since last year.
    Many clients are concerned about prices. So I would appreciate your advice in How to price a campaign to win a client account.

  • That’s most because I’m too busy to write any at the moment. 😉

    BTW, please don’t use keywords in your profile name.

  • Miriam

    Hello, Andy.
    The most pressing issue I am coming across is also how to charge a client on SEO. Any advice on that?
    Thank you.

  • Andy,

    I have been reading up on some of your great past articles. I would like you to cover topics relating to “Measuring Success of Online (SEO) Marketing Campaign”. We have developed several matrices on this subject and would like your thoughts on it. I think a lot of clients limit spending on organic SEM but are generous with PPC spend only because measuring PPC success is relatively simple math. Also, in the absence of industry standard measures for SEO, most SEO companies fall back on measuring misplaced data like “higher ranking”, which may not necessarily fulfill client’s business objectives.

    Your views please.

    Atul Gupta