Right after I wrote about instances when clients can reasonably fire their search engine marketing agencies, this one is meant to balance the equilibrium. SEO is not a one-side industry where agencies are at the mercy of their clients.
Search engine marketing campaigns fail not only because of lack of cooperation that leads to failed synergy in the partnership between clients and consultants. Just as there are several grounds to let go an SEO agency, there are also legit reasons for agency to initiate a breakup.
1. When clients lose respect for agency’s effort. There might come a time when clients continue to question efforts, discredit achievements and point out shortcomings of a campaign instead of paying attention to agency reports and further recommendations. It’s as though the client is finding ways to fire an agency by nitpicking on minute details and discounting them as part of short-term setbacks. Talk about restructuring a website’s structure or renaming navigation labels for clarity and consistency — leading to short-term dip in ranking.
2. When clients don’t pay on time. Consultants invest in time and effort to examine website issues, review performance of competitors and create opportunities for clients to thrive online. However, if this time and effort is not reciprocated by delaying payment of outstanding invoices, clients don’t seem to value presented to them.
The agency has bills to pay, paid tools to subscribe, and salaries of personnel to settle on time. Not paying promptly is a sign of lack of respect which can be translated to lack of interest. When interest wanes, it may be better to take different directions in the business. The agency can choose to stop work until outstanding bill is settled, or create a clause adding a late payment surcharge in the contract. But that might be a bit too much for the supposed cooperation to work.
3. When clients suddenly make outrageous expectations. SEO is intended to grow the business of a company, and growth is often proportional to the investment made — time spent on consulting, budget on developing content and effort to acquire inbound links. But if a client begins to feel that sense of entitlement that with a small budget (or subscribing to the lowest package) but expects the improvements to be big and delivered quickly, then we have a problem.
4. When clients demand so much time. Clients asking questions is perfectly normal and helps impart knowledge and enhance transparency at work. But if clients easily exceed the agreed consulting time and constantly makes ad hoc requests that are clearly out of the scope of work, they deserve to get charged more. That’s because such requests for information disrupts the agency’s time devoted for other tasks on hand, and it takes time to tune one’s mind to resume back to work.
Fine if client is open to a bigger engagement role with the agency and ready to pay more, but when consultants see they are losing money over a demanding client, it’s time to cut the losses and cut lose this client.
5. When client has too many people acting as lead contact of the project. The IT guy has his say about the recommendations and thinks it’s not worth implementing, so does the copywriter who feels her creativity is being curtailed the consultant suggests which topic to write and what keyword to focus on. In the end the job is half-baked, if ever it gets done and results disappoint.
By signing up with the agency, the client must understand about trusting its process, and not throw random thoughts from their own perspective without seriously understanding the method.
Clients are a lifeline of a consulting business, and good clients who are reasonable and responsible brighten up the spirits of agency people. It’s enough that the agency is trying its best to solve issues and improve the client’s online objectives. Hopefully client doesn’t add to the burden by being difficult to work with.