One thing I’ve learned, having worked with hundreds of clients in the SEO space, is that you can’t save everyone. No matter how good your intentions are, or how hard you work – sometimes its just not going to happen.
I found this out pretty early on in the game, because I actually give a shit about getting results and helping people. But you can’t help a client who cant run their business properly.
The cause can be numerous. They’re either not great business people or their business is just fucking broken. You can be doing the world’s greatest SEO and sending them leads, and trying to help them make sales, but if the business is fucked, then none of what you do is going to make any difference.
And they’ll fucking blame you for it.
What to look for
There’s a couple of key points that I want to run through here, for those that are operating in the SEO space who might be experiencing this issue.
Firstly though, I want to share an interesting observation that I’ve seen.
Some business owners are fucking clueless
Now, I’ve worked with hundreds of different types of clients across numerous types of industries, and it’s interesting – sometimes I’ll see two different business owners operating in the same space, who are achieving drastically different results.
For example, I might be working with two plumbers at the same time.
One that’s motivated and doing everything right. They’re investing heavily in marketing, they’ve hired staff, they’re focusing on bigger, more profitable jobs, but most importantly of all, they’re being proactive. They’re actually fucking doing something and know their business inside and out. Oh, and of course, they’re tracking and measuring their efforts, so they’re not fucking around with stupid shit that’s not having a positive impact.
These types of clients have their shit together and they’re making good money.
At the same time, the other plumber is on the phone fucking whinging about everything.
- “How much longer is it going to take John?”
- “Its just me in the business, I don’t have time to answer emails”
- “Im driving around all over the place to do small shitty $30 jobs and no one wants to pay me”
- “If this SEO stuff doesn’t work Ill lose everything”
These are the dimwits that are just sitting on their asses waiting for customers to come to them. They’re not doing fucking anything – except fucking whinge and complain.
Again, you can be doing the world’s greatest SEO, but if the business owner is a fucking knob, it’s not going to making any difference.
Having said that, here’s a couple of reasons why – regardless of how hard you try, your SEO campaign might be a total waste.
Clients that couldn’t close a door
Poor close rates. When you’re dealing with a client and you’re sending them a shitload of leads, and they’re wasting them. So they might come to you and say, “John, we’re currently getting 20 leads a month, within 12 months, we want to be getting at least 250 leads a month.”
So you work your face off and get to that figure, and you’re on an end of month strategy call and you’re having a discussion with a client and you’re saying, “Okay great, the numbers look great this month, Bob. We’ve acquired 250 leads this month” and they’ll say, “Yeah, but we only got 20 jobs out of all that.”
Then something’s fucking broken, and its broken big time.
I’ve been in this position before. There’s one business in particular that comes to mind. I was pushing shitloads of leads at this site. They started at 20 a month, and I got it to over 400 within 18 months, and I yet I get the business owner on the other end of the phone during an end of month strategy call, saying, “Ah yeah, John, that all sounds great, but we’re only closing about 10% of the leads that come through.”
What the fuck is going on?
Its obvious something is fucked somewhere. In this case, I managed to solve the problem by implementing call tracking (somewhat against the will of the business owner, but I had to – I needed to know WTF was going on). Anyway, the problem became obvious almost immediately. SEO wasn’t the problem. The business wasn’t the problem. It was the girl answering the phone on the front desk.
She was fucking useless.
She wasn’t closing calls. She didn’t give a shit. She was closing about 10% of the enquiries that came through.
You need to be mindful of that. As an SEO professional, if you’re pushing a shitload of leads at a client and they’ve got poor close rates, then that’s a fucking issue that lies with the business owner, not you.
Clients with shit customer retention rates
The other one is poor retention rates, and this is one that comes up every now and then with businesses that are constantly losing customers. They’re starting every fucking day trying to find new customers, and this is usually due to a poor service offering, or a low quality product.
There’s one client I had that comes to mind here where he had a retention rate of fucking 10%. He’d get 100 customers and 90 of them would just bail. But what made it worse was that he didn’t seem to care. You can’t help people that aren’t following up with customers and asking why. “Hey, why aren’t you coming back? What’s the problem here?” Again, it’s hard to demonstrate a positive return on investment when you’re sitting in on an end of month strategy call with a client, when they’ve got really shitty retention rates, and they’re too fucking lazy to pick up the phone and ask people what the problem is, or follow-up with some sort of feedback or at the very least gather some feedback so that they can figure out what’s broken in their business and fix it.
Clients that are just winging everything
The next point down is that they’ve got no processes in place.
I’ve had so many of these its not even funny.
They’ll make comments like –
- “Yeah we’ve got those account details here somewhere?”
- “We have no idea what the average value of a customer is?”
- “Shit sorry John, all that information is on my phone and I dropped it in the toilet”
- “Yeah no idea John, I just wing it”
Again, you can’t save everyone and if the business is fucking broken, it doesn’t matter how well you rank them in Google, how many fucking leads you get them, or how many people land on their website, if the business is broken at the other end, then there’s nothing you can do about that.
Again, that’s a problem that lies with the fucking business owner.
The business sucks
My next point is this. The business just isn’t viable. I’ve spoken with business owners who have invested years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars into a business that’s making about $1,600 a month. It’s fucking ridiculous. Again, it’s the business owner and the fact that the business just isn’t viable. You can’t be under the pump, sitting up ’til 2:00 in the morning, stressed as, because you’re trying to fix a business that stands absolutely no chance of success at all.
The business owner got lazy and didn’t innovate
This is an interesting point, ’cause I’ve worked with businesses where they’re doing really well one minute, and the next the whole business fucking goes quiet. It’s simply because there’s a new trend or there’s a change in technology, or people are no longer using their product or service because there’s something new in the market that’s replaced it.
When you start working with a business owner that hasn’t taken the time to grow and evolve and be proactive in their industry, and they’re on the decline, then that can be incredibly frustrating. Again, regardless of what you do, if the market has changed, and the business hasn’t changed with it – then you’re not going to be able to save that person at all.
Clients that are useless at book keeping
Here’s another key point. They have no idea of their numbers.
I’ve worked with so many business owners where their bookkeeping is a fucking mess.
- “Shit sorry John, I misplaced that invoice, could you resend it?”
- “I think we sold $23,000 worth of stock, but it could be more, I don’t know”
- “John, our book keeper does all this stuff, but shes away on maternity leave at the moment”
They’ve got no idea, and truly don’t even understand their own business. But in addition to that, they’ve got their wife doing their bookwork, or their brother-in-law handling inventory and shits all over the place.
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting on a call with a client and trying to get to the bottom of how well the business is performing based upon your efforts with SEO, and you can’t do that, because they’re not fucking taking notes or keeping spreadsheets, or recording data or anything at their end. It’s really hard to demonstrate a positive return on investment when you’ve got someone at the other end, saying, “Oh sorry John. I wrote those numbers down on a napkin but I lost it.”
It’s fucking hopeless.
There’s no reinvesting of profits
Okay, here’s my next point and this point is a good one. They’re not reinvesting into the business. I’ve worked with business owners that decide to go on a fucking holiday every month. One minute they’re in Bali, and the next minute they’re in fucking Thailand, and then they’re in Canada, and then they’re going to Las Vegas. Meanwhile the business is falling apart, I don’t hear from anyone and things are just dribbling along. They’re not reinvesting or amping up their marketing spend, and they’re wondering why the results aren’t as good as they should be.
Pretty fucking obvious.
They should be reinvesting the profits back into the business. But they’re too busy holidaying in fucking Hawaii.
Don’t get sucked into a black hole with clueless business owners
Okay, and this brings me to my last point. Don’t ever say yes to a panicky client.
Clients that don’t know what they’re fucking doing are the worst. Their business is broken, their product or service sucks, they’re just jumping from one fucking customer to the next, they don’t have good retention rates, their numbers are all over the place, and they’re just trying to wing it.
The last thing you want to do is get sucked into a giant black hole, because let me tell you, it can be incredibly fucking stressful when you’re on a call with a business owner and they’re saying, “Listen John, if you don’t save me, then my wife’s threatening to leave, and I’m going to lose access to my kids, and I’ll have to remortgage my home and sell my car. I’m really fucking stressed John, so I need your help and I need you to guarantee me that you’re going to be able to do that.”
The last thing you want to do is get involved with anyone that’s in this position, because it’s just going to be incredibly fucking stressful.
Always do your best to help people, but know when to cut it. Its unfortunate, but there are many business owners around who are utterly clueless, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up being their punching bag.
Always prequalify and be smart about what you say yes to.
Want to work with me?
Send me a message and we can organise a cup of tea and some Lamingtons to discuss how I can help you make $100,000 a year within 12 months.
As always remember to share this on social media so people can point and laugh and do whatever else it is they do.