This post was sponsored by Accelo. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.
Fear is a prevalent collective emotion these days. And it’s no wonder: The mainstream media feeds us alarmist content daily.
In business, you might feel a similar kind of dread when you compare your agency offerings to bigger, lower-cost agencies or powerful technology.
Many of the things that worry you also worry your clients; some issues are a big enough deal to make them end their contracts with your agency.
The SEO industry has already gone through plenty of changes in 2023.
You’ve faced a growing demand for data-driven strategies and consulting-like services and increased competition due to the move to virtual agency culture. So, the thought of higher client churn might be even scarier than it was in the past.
Now is not the time to put your head in the sand.
Instead, the best solution is to understand exactly why your clients don’t feel it’s worth working with your business anymore.
Why Do Agency Clients Leave?
The primary reason people are ending their relationships with agencies is because they’re concerned about spending money on a service that appears replaceable.
In other words, they aren’t convinced of the value your business offers over the alternative, which is accessible, SEO-focused tech.
Platforms that help to improve SEO are readily available, and your clients may think they can solve their problems in-house.
Instead of working with you, they may assume they can rely on a combination of Moz, Semrush, Similarweb, Ahrefs, Google Analytics, and other popular tools to generate the data and suggestions your team provides.
External economic pressures make these low- or no-cost options even more appealing.
Add in the intriguing capabilities of the growing field of AI, and you have a lot to prove.
Use the following five strategies to mitigate client churn despite these challenging trends.
1. Fight The Tide With Honesty
Remember – there’s an opportunity that lies beneath the discouraging news.
Consider what happened in 2020, when businesses had to act quickly and decisively in response to the pandemic or be left behind. Those that rose to the occasion with true compassion, supporting their customers’ emotional and physical health, won over their troubled base.
The result? Longer, deeper relationships and greater lifetime value.
The data reflects this truth: Salesforce’s 2020 State of the Connected Customer report revealed 90% of customers agree that how a company acts in a crisis shows how trustworthy it is.
If your clients are showing signs of being a churn risk, you must step up and clearly communicate the risks of leaving – and the benefits of staying. Consider bringing up the following with these at-risk clients.
Let your clients know that by using a disjointed SEO tech stack instead of our agency, they’ll risk:
- Compromising your business’s privacy and data security.
- Falling behind on SEO trends and watching your organic traffic suffer.
- Making costly decisions based on bad data analysis.
- Misinterpreting reports from multiple sources.
- Spending more than you have to on gathering data — and it may not be valuable.
Remind your clients that by working with your team of experts, they’ll gain:
- Access to niche expertise that they can’t afford to have in-house.
- Accurate, thoughtful data analysis that platforms alone can’t provide.
- Customized campaign monitoring that can save them money.
- Revenue, thanks to the new customers that wouldn’t find your business otherwise.
- The human creativity factor that can help them overcome unique challenges.
Again, clients leave agencies if they’re not satisfied with the value they can see. Addressing the proverbial elephant in the room can do wonders for their confidence.
2. Show Up With Data
Long before your clients appear ready to bolt, you should use hard data to demonstrate why they should stay.
Your clients desire – and deserve – regular and transparent reporting that clearly outlines the progress, achievements, and impact of your efforts. They need visibility into their ROI if you want them to be sources of recurring work.
A basic monthly summary won’t cut it.
Whether it’s a small jump in organic traffic, better rankings for target keywords, or increased conversions, highlight the most meaningful results.
Which numbers speak directly to the outcomes the client told you they wanted to achieve?
- Including a written interpretation of each notable result.
- Investing time in talking them through the data that stands out.
- Showing up with solutions if things aren’t looking good.
Pro Tip: Use a client portal to offer on-demand access to status updates and reports.
3. Offer Acknowledgment
Along with clear value, clients want attention.
They’ll stick with the people who make them feel seen and appreciated. If you’ve been under similar pressure as your clients, chances are you’ve not prioritized building customer loyalty.
Sometimes, perks and discounts do the trick; other times, it’s more frequent check-ins. And not every client is the same.
A custom thank-you in the form of an additional service or report could be more necessary for a high-value client.
Pro Tip: Determine what your clients need by paying close attention to their ad-hoc requests. Keep track by using a centralized, integrated ticketing platform.
4. Educate & Support
If your clients feel like you’re performing some sort of secret work behind closed doors, they’ll be less likely to believe you’re doing something they can’t do themselves.
Not only do you need to be transparent about how much and what kind of work you’re performing, but it can help to educate them about SEO and the various facets that apply to their businesses.
You might host a series of webinars, create an informative email campaign or offer an exclusive opportunity to ask questions of an industry expert. Offer these with an air of confident authority and generosity.
Have you thought about whether you’re serving the people who are most well-matched to your services?
Churn rate is often higher if you’re fighting to hold on to bad-fit clients.
Even though your team has the skill to improve anyone’s organic traffic, you shouldn’t necessarily work with just anyone.
5. Demonstrate Your Worth With Less Effort
Slow the exodus from your agency with internal tech usage that supports your value-add. Your clients may be tempted to take matters into their own hands by piecing together a haphazard mix of tech, but they’re likely to be confused about which platforms are worth it.
This is an opportunity to reassure them that you’ll take that burden off their plates.
Your team will handle the decision of how to use tech in the ways that help them most.
That means you won’t limit your tech to SEO data generation, but you’ll find platforms that help increase the speed and improve the quality of your service delivery to a degree that your clients notice.
An automated, end-to-end client work management platform allows you to offer the advantages of smart tech by proxy.
Every moment your team can save on mundane tasks is another moment they can apply to valuable client interactions that increase the perceived value of your business.
Don’t let your clients feel overwhelmed by how to replicate your services. Take responsibility for the value you provide, and get unmatched, efficient support with Accelo.
Janya Anderson, Chief Improvement Officer at Pure SEO, says, “Accelo has changed what is possible for our business today and in the future.”
Featured Image: From Accelo. Used with permission.