How to Generate SEO Leads
Selling SEO is tough business. Most biz owners have horror stories of shady SEO companies who took their money and literally did zero work.
On the other hand, some business owners will buy a $99 SEO package from YP or Dex and think they’re going to dominate the payday loan market. Those $99 SEO companies exist for one reason: To give the biz owner a reason to say NO to other companies who want to sell them things.
Either way, it’s really hard to sell SEO these days. In this post I’m going to teach you how to generate SEO leads. It’s a lot of work but it can pay off – big time!
Tools I Use
(I’m not putting affiliate links in this post. Just use Google to find these tools if you need them)
- Scrapebox – For scraping emails.
- Atomic Email Studio – Verifying and sending email. This also has some great tools to help you manage very large email lists.
- SMTP Providers – Amazon SES, Sendgrid, Mailgun, and SMTP2Go. You need a high volume SMTP provider if you want to scale your cold emailing. Forget MailChimp, Gmail, etc. Spend the time setting up a legit email system.
- Paigham Bot – For contact form submits.
- CallRail – I use this route calls to my sales team. I also use it in other parts of my business.
- Text Mechanic – I use this free tool to manipulate text files. Very helpful.
- Sales Genie – Around $100 p/m for view-only access. Complete database of all businesses in the USA. Can filter by niche, sales volume, # of employees, etc.
Why Do People Struggle to Generate SEO Leads?
Because it’s not easy. Also because there a million products and courses that claim lead generation can be easy. Yes, it gets easier over time but that’s only because you’ve improved your processes and have a found a proven, repeatable method that you can scale.
Another reason people struggle to generate SEO leads for their business is because they afraid to execute. They’ve heard that cold email is spam (legally it’s not), or that cold calling is annoying to prospects. The fact is, these prospects don’t know that they need SEO (else they would already have hired someone). It’s your job to show them that not only do they need SEO but that you are they person should buy it from.
What if I’m not a good salesperson?
Not everyone has a knack for sales. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn though. You just need to put all of your preconceived notions aside and focus on one thing: making money for your business.
3 Platforms to Generate SEO Leads
I use 3 different channels to generate my SEO leads. I’ll highlight their strengths and weaknesses below. I’ll also show you the tools I use.
If you think cold email is spam, just turn back now. If you think that you must sound professional at all times when dealing with SEO prospects, you’re in for an awakening.
I won’t give you all of my SEO lead gen secrets, but I’ll give you enough to put the puzzle together. If you have any questions you can leave them in the comments below.
Channel 1. Cold Email
Cold email for selling SEO is a tried and true method, yet so many of us fail.
People fail with cold email for a couple different reasons:
- The messaging is off and reads like a sales pitch
- Not enough emails are being sent (you can’t send 50 cold emails and expect a good result)
- The proper tools are not being used (people send email from joeSEO(at)gmail)
- People are afraid of offending the prospect by emailing
Here’s my video for scraping emails:
Writing Cold Email for Selling SEO
Crafting your message is probably the most important part of cold email. I see a lot of people sending long, drawn out emails that nobody has time to read. I also see people trying to sell the prospect in the initial email.
Cold email is not used to sell SEO, but to generate a lead! The selling takes place in subsequent contact with the prospect.
Your email doesn’t need to be longer than 2-3 short (1-2 sentence) paragraphs. Make it direct with a good call to action (either visit a landing page or call you – or both). Grab their attention, generate an inquiry, and put them in your pipeline.
Niche Down Your Emailing
I’ve found that by focusing on one niche at a time, and crafting a message specific to that niche, you can pique more interest than just a general SEO sales email.
Don’t just blast cold email to everyone and their mother. Niche it down and make the messaging specific to the industry that you’re targeting. If it’s roofers, make the email specific to roofers, etc.
Each landing page contains my phone number and a contact form – two ways for them to get in touch. Some people want to talk on the phone and some just want to fill a form. Give them both options.
I make a landing page specific for the industry that I’m targeting. If I’m targeting roofers, I make a landing page specifically for roofers.
Doing this makes you appear to be the specialist in their niche. Whether you are the specialist or not, it’s important to make them believe you are to generate the lead.
Offer a lead magnet such as a competition report or site audit. Also, make sure the language in your landing page is direct – just like in your email. People don’t care about your link building skillz, they care about getting more customers for their business. Don’t talk about anything technical on your landing page.
CALL THE PROSPECT!!
When you get a lead, pick up the damn phone! I see so many agency owners that just want to close sales via email. This is definitely possible, but if you call the prospect immediate after you get their lead, your chances of landing the client improves dramatically.
When you call them right away, you’re still fresh in their mind. As a business owner you know how busy you can get. If your prospect gets busy and forgets about your email and landing page, they’re likely to tell you to eff off when you do finally get around to calling them.
When you call, start talking about their business. Figure out if they’ve had a negative experience with SEO companies (99% chance), and do what you can to make them feel at ease. this post isn’t about sales methodology so I won’t say anything else about the sales process. Just make sure you call them as quickly as possible after they contact you via email or form submit.
Channel 2. Facebook Ads
Facebook ads can be an awesome source of SEO leads if you know how to target properly. See, Facebook doesn’t give you the option to target just roofing business owners or carpet cleaning companies so you have to use your wits and figure out how to reach these people.
Even on Facebook, I make my ads niche specific. It’s important to niche your advertising down because people are more likely to respond if they think you are the expert in their industry.
I personally use the Facebook Lead Form ads because it’s super easy for the prospect to complete the form. My lead cost ranges from $3-$7 depending on the niche. One time my lead cost was as high as $12 but that only happened once.
How to Target Business in a Particular Niche on Facebook
This is the hard part and doesn’t work for every single niche. I’ll give you my recipe for roofing companies since I already beat that niche to death with Facebook ads. See below:
Channel 3. Cold Calling
Very few people actually enjoy cold calling. However, in most lines of business, cold calling is the single most effective way to build your pipeline. This is also the case with selling SEO.
There are many gurus out there that will sell you the dream of a “completely hands off customer acquisition strategy” or some other load of crap. There are some successful inbound strategies but if you’re just starting out or making under $15k p/m from client SEO, cold calling is the way to go.
Anatomy of a Telesales Cycle
Unless you’re charging more than around $3k p/m, you can expect close sales over the phone in 2-5 calls, plus some emails back and forth to the prospect.
Your goal on the first call is not to close the sale, but rather to build the prospects interest and get them asking you questions. The best way to do this is by asking them flat-out if they can take on additional customers. It’s kind of a no brainer question but it gets them used to saying yes to you early on.
Here’s my telesales sales cycle:
Call 1. (5 – 15 mins) Get them interested, get them used to telling me yes, and qualify them as a legit prospect.
Call 2. (10-30 mins) Review my findings, discuss competitors, negotiate price.
Call 3. (10-30 mins) Closing. Give them a high-level overview of the next steps, accept payment, follow up email requesting logins.
What to Say on the Phone?
When cold calling, you’ll get hung up on, encounter rude gate keepers, and generally get beat up on the phone. You just have to power through and not let things bother you. If you are starting from $0, make 100 dials per day and stick to a script, and you’ll get sales. Even a blind squirrel can find a nut.
I’m not going to give you my scripts or any in-depth tactics. There’s plenty of content on YouTube about telesales. What I will give you is some insight into the mechanics of a sales call. The main thing you need to know and practice is objection handling.
SEO Sales Pro Tip:
People tend to buy from people who are similar to them. Try to mimic your prospect. If they’re a slow talking southerner, then slow your pitch down and match their tone. If they’re a fast talker from New Jersey, speed it up a bit so they don’t get bored.
For example, when the prospect says, “I’ve been burned by SEO companies in the past”, you need to know how to handle that and not let it end the call.
If a prospect said that to me (and they do all the time), I would say: “I can understand. there’s lots of shady companies out there. I don’t have affiliation with any companies you ever worked with in the past. Can you tell me how they screwed you over?”
So basically, you remove yourself form being associated with the shady companies and then ask a question to keep the conversation going. You always want to keep the conversation going. If they’re sick you, they’ll just hang up the phone. No need to give them an easy out.
Common SEO Objections:
- I’ve been burned before. – Answered above.
- I don’t need SEO. – “Yeah, I mean, it’s not like you’re going to go out of business or anything. I’m just telling you that I can make your phone ring off the hook by beating out your competitors. How do you get most of your customers currently?”
- I’m working with another company (Dex, YP, etc). – “Those companies sell something that they call SEO. At the end of the day, you’ll never know if it was effective or not. What I can promise you is that your competitor is getting at least 3x the amount of calls you are by being #1 on Google. I know for a fact they’re working with an SEO company. When’s the last time you tried to really dominate your local market?”
- I tried SEO and it didn’t work. – “I hear this from time to time. The fact is, real SEO does work. It’s how your competitors are sitting at the top, getting all the calls. I’m not affiliated with any other company you’ve ever done business with so I can promise you it’s not my fault that it didn’t work before. If you really want to increase your sales and get more calls, I’m the guy that can make that happen. What was the company you worked with in the past?”
There are other objections such as objections on price and other things but those can further through the sales cycle. The objections above the ones that usually appear in the beginning and will need to be overcome in order to further the sales process.
As you start to hear more objections throughout your sales presentation, you can craft your own responses based on your own personality and knowing what works for you.
Are You Ready to Make Money?
At the end of the day, you need to make money. Are you going to follow the gurus who promise easy cash methods or are you going to pickup the phone, grind it out, and make yourself rich?
If you start closing a bunch of sales and need complete fulfillment, click here for white label SEO services.