Growing a successful agency requires ongoing pitching and winning of new business. Learn what to include to highlight experience and promote value.
Part of sustaining and growing a successful agency is the ongoing pitching and winning of new business. Getting invited to present your services is a victory on its own, so why blow it because of a poorly crafted search engine optimization (SEO) proposal.
Over the years, I’ve seen a variety of SEO proposal templates. The ones with a higher rate of getting new clients included similar information to what’s below. That’s because it highlights experience, trust, and value.
I. Key tips for an SEO proposal
Before we get into the SEO proposal example itself, there are a few key tips to keep in mind:
- Keep it simple
It can be tempting to include tons of SEO information to show experience, as well as arm clients with knowledge. However, I recommend keeping the presentation minimalistic. This means you need to know how to explain SEO in a clear and concise way.
Additionally, sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you show it that can make a big difference. Your voice over should amplify the great text and visuals that are in the proposal.
Make sure to use a clean format that keeps the SEO proposal engaging, light, and relevant. If people get lost with your SEO proposal template, they might be thinking about how confusing it would be to work with you.
- Show value
The folks in the room want to know how you’ll help them accomplish their desired outcomes. They want to know what to expect based on what’s important to them. This could include revenue and site engagement, as well as the additional resources you’ll need from them (e.g. developer time).
They want to know why I should pay for this person. The SEO proposal should help in instilling confidence in your SEO agency. It should also highlight that your business has the right people for the job. So do your research, build out an awesome proposal, and win the client!
- Be prepared
There is so much that goes into a successful SEO proposal. The goal is to help increase the chances that you will seal the deal. I want you to stand out from the beginning because first impressions matter. Knowing that you’re prepared will help you feel more confident and relaxed. Before your pitch, make sure you can answer questions such as:
- Do I know my potential client and their goals?
- Have I tailored my pitch to them?
- Am I confident in my ability to sell our services?
- Did I do my research?
- Is my pitch easy-to-understand?
- Is it focused on the client?
- Can I provide testimonials?
- Have I practiced my pitch?
- Have fun
People like to buy from people they know, like, and trust. In addition to selling your services, you want to connect with people in the room. Find commonalities and use your personality and sales skills to sell yourself. Focus on the client and what you can do for them. Be excited to pitch! Make it fun.
II. SEO proposal sections and examples
Here are examples of what to include in your SEO proposal presentation. Depending on the client, remove slides that don’t make sense and add ones that do.
- Introduction Slides
- SEO & Client Industry Background
- SEO Analysis & Competitive Insights
- Recommended Next Steps
1. Introduction Slides
This section should include slides such as the agenda, mission statement, team members, and select clients. You may want to also consider including slides such as:
- How your team is unique from other SEO agencies
- The various types of SEO services you offer
- Enterprise tools and partnerships
- Industry awards and accolades
However, I may include these types of slides in the appendix so there’s more time to review the rest of the proposal.
2. SEO & Client Industry Background
This is the part of the presentation where you can provide quick information on why SEO is important, what you know about the client’s industry, and how an SEO strategy can help.
- SEO Statistics
Highlight how much potential there is by utilizing SEO into the marketing mix. Add a few search engine stats that make sense to the type of client you’re pitching to. Below is an example of what we included in a local SEO proposal.
- Client Industry Background
Conduct research into the potential client’s industry to see if there are important stats to share. For this, you can use sites such as eMarketer or Think With Google.
This information can help confirm what they already know and show them that you took the time to do your homework. In some cases, it can surprise them to see which direction their industry is moving. Either way, this should help with making the conversation a 2-way street and can inform a few next steps.
- Other Considerations
Also consider adding search engine stats related to voice search, SEO + SEM combined and/or ecommerce – again, it all depends on who you’re pitching. Other potential slides include how SEO solves problems, how SEO has evolved over time, and what the client could stand to lose.
3. SEO Analysis & Competitive Insights
Now it’s time to show an analysis of the potential client’s current online visibility. It should show tons of screenshot examples that are tailored to them and their goals.
I cannot stress this enough when I say that this section should be customized to the client. I’ve seen an SEO proposal template from a well-known company with only screenshots of other client examples.
Take the time to convert the information from third-party tools into easy to understand slides. This will go a very long way in showing your value.
- Which Listing Would You Click On?
I love including a little fun game that I call “Which listing would you click on?” It shows about four listings from Google for an important keyword phrase with black boxes over the company names. The client will be tasked with reading the listings and picking the one they would click on.
On the next slide, I take away the black boxes so everyone can see which listing they would have clicked on. Sometimes the client will pick their listing, sometimes not.
- Content Analysis
Another slide to consider including relates to content. There are different ways to illustrate the importance of valuable content and the example below shows one.
- Local Analysis
For those pitching a local business, consider adding a slide on the importance of increasing positive reviews. Also, show how the potential client compares to competitors in the area. Another option is to give a quick snapshot of their local directory listings.
- Online Reputation Analysis
If pitching online reputation services, consider showing the sentiment for core keywords. Another item would be to include client reviews and why it’s important to monitor and address them.
- Technical Analysis
I recommend that you avoid doing one of those technical crawls that say every little error that you found. That’s because clients don’t understand what all of that means. On top of that, not everything is a top priority error.
Take one or two discoveries and show how that’s negatively impacting the website. I use this to inform the need for a larger technical audit, which will prioritize errors based on the importance, impact, and resources needed.
- Link Analysis
Here I like to differentiate between link building and link earning. I also like to show a few link building opportunities and the importance of monitoring external links. Clients don’t always know who is linking to their site, and while most of the time it doesn’t warrant next steps, sometimes it does.
- SEO Forecast
Many potential clients want to know one of two things: how can you make me money or how can you save me money? Consider putting together an ROI forecast to help with illustrating this point. Of course, these types of figures are never perfect and are based on a number of variables, but it’s something.
One way to figure this out would be by using Excel’s forecasting function. Just note that this requires you have access to the client’s Google Analytics data. Other methods would also require information from the client, such as average order value and conversion rate.
4. Recommended Next Steps
After you reviewed the client’s online visibility, the final part is to discuss next steps.
- Proposed Deliverables
Based on the errors you discovered, include a slide on all the SEO deliverables you’d like to work on over the course of your engagement.
Along with the last slide, also consider a project timeline of when you plan to provide each deliverable.
This is the million-dollar slide where you finally talk about how much this will all cost. You can mention what’s included with the fee, such as resources and enterprise tools. We also wrote an article on how much SEO costs in case you need help in pricing your services.
Most of the background information or deeper analysis information should go into the appendix. Here are a few of the things that could go in there:
- Case Studies: Provide a few relevant case studies or client testimonials to highlight successes. This can include how you helped them to:
- Generate more revenue
- Improve rankings in search engines
- Increase organic visits
- Make PPC more efficient
- Deliverables Breakdown: You can include more information about the deliverables mentioned in previous slides. This can include what they are, why they’re important, and screenshots of examples.
- SEO Background Information: Depending on the client, it may be a good idea to include information such as:
- How search engines work
- The importance of keyword research
- How blog posts can provide SEO opportunities
- The value of creating an SEO strategy
III. Additional factors
Here are a few other considerations that may help accompany your winning proposal.
- Keep your social media active and fresh
Having an active presence on social media can be another way to engage with potential customers. It can be an asset that gets viewed by them to learn more about your company values and thought leadership.
- Increase the number of positive reviews
While part of the consideration phase, one area that can be looked at is reviews. This can include Google My Business, Facebook, Clutch, Yelp, Home Advisor, etc. Try to get those positive reviews up since it might be the thing that gets a client to say yes.
- Positioning your business as a thought leader
Whether a blog post on your website, a speaking engagement at an industry-related conference, or conducting a webinar, your business should be positioned as an expert subject matter.
IV. Final thoughts
The information above contains only a few examples of what I have included in our proposals. It can look completely different based on who is being pitched. There are times when my proposals look nothing like this – it all depends.
Why am I sharing this information? I believe it’s important for clients to see that you have a game plan and a clear explanation for why you’re charging what you’re charging. There’s a lot of SEO work out there for everyone, so if what you’re doing isn’t working, give this a try!