In the arms race of SEO it seems to me in the past couple years we’ve forgotten some of the basics. We’re all focused on our cool tools are and fancy monthly reports. I see so many people stumbling over the basics of effective client communications.
It comes up every year in some report or another that customer service is more highly valued than the actual results. That said, don’t be mistaken and think that you’ll keep clients just cuz you write a good email, are good the phone or dog-gone-it people like you. If you’re not getting some level of results you should have your ass fired.
Here’s a few things I’ve picked up in past years of SEO communications.
1- Screenshots – If you’re reporting finally cracking the top 10 on Google for a top term for a client send them a screenshot with your email. Rankings fluctuate daily in some verticals and then there’s all the geo crap that Google does so your client may not see it as you see it. Sure screenshots can be faked but if you and your client are actually worried that you’re lying to each other you might as well terminate the relationship right now.
2 – The Bad News Sandwich – We’ve all had to communicate bad news to a client at one point or another. I don’t remember where I learned about the Bad News Sandwich but it’s a very simple concept. Basically you bury your bad news between other items in an email. Ideally the other items are good news. The point is don’t lead with bad news and don’t end with bad news. The good news may be that you’re holding steady on some rankings. No big deal but it’s worth saying.
3 – The Plan – So you’ve had to share some bad news and you buried in the middle of other news. That’s a good start. The next piece of that same communication is that plan you have to combat the bad news. DO NOT EVER share bad news with out a plan. Even if you current plan is to simply figure out what happened so you can create a better plan tell your client you are working on it and you are working on it RIGHT NOW.
4 – Ownership – You are going to mess up. There’s no way around it. Own up to your mistakes and offer the plans to fix them. If you keep blaming the search engines when results aren’t achieved then you really aren’t a search professional and you should be fired anyhow.
There you go. Four quick points to remember when you are communicating with your clients.
Remember: Results aren’t enough if you’re a jackass.