Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.


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Picking a niche enables you to better craft your messaging, and it enables your work to compound. For example, once we create a case study from 1 client and get a testimonial from them it allows us to more easily sell future clients in that same industry together (as long as they’re not directly competing thus the recommendation for local/repeatable type clients).

Also, we don’t recommend targeting Presidents, CEOs, or Owners, in larger companies. They are tougher to get a hold of and refer you to their marketing department anyway. If you are actually getting a hold of the owner who is taking your cold call then their company is likely too small to be a quality candidate for services. Owners of larger businesses generally get inundated with cold calls and don’t respond to any of them.

Consistency of being in their voicemail earns you an email response. Cold email is often ignored. I recommend a call followed by an email approach. We find if you are contacting people more than 5 times, you’re wasting precious time on folks who won’t respond, and if you’re contacting less than 5 times and you’re throwing away expensive contact data that you’re acquiring.

Yes, but only if you are targeting the right customers.

The above statistics include a lot of lessons learned (We had 0 experience when we started cold calling. We had poor performing scripts, and dealt with poor quality contact info providers, bad cold call hires, etc.) Detailed below are the lessons we’ve learned. We share them here to ensure you have the greatest potential for success.

8. Target Market:

Don’t call without a contact name as that leads to very low conversion rates and poor meeting quality (you generally don’t get the actual decision-maker).

144.4 hours x $10/hour = $1,444 paid to generate one deal.

Look at sending out with a CRM like Zoho. Being able to send an email in 2 clicks makes you incredibly efficient and enables you to make more calls a day! Check them out here – ZOHO CRM.

Go after marketing contacts like CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), VP of Marketing, and Director of Marketing.

Especially ones that automatically dial for you. Look at providers like Telephony. This will increase your efficiency as well. –

The average was.

We don’t recommend calling Marketing Managers as they’re generally not good quality decision-makers.

We recommend targeting industries that meet the following criteria:

We suggest going after companies 5 million in revenue or more to ensure they can afford services and become a larger customer.

Let’s say you outsource that deal and make a modest 20% (most white labels make closer to 40%) = $380 a month / $4,560 a year.

6. Automate/Build Templated Emails.

You closed a $1,900 retainer deal x 12 months = $22,800.

We established a modest goal of 10 calls an hour / 80 calls a day. This is 100% achievable. You probably could make 15 calls an hour (if you’re getting all voicemails).

We share the above statistics to be transparent with our partners and prospective partners. Cold calls are generally a means to an end of winning your first few clients to start generating some income. For most, it is not what they do forever. To produce long-term success as an agency means using the first few customers you win to help you reinvest and evolve to an inbound marketing model (promoting case studies/testimonials of the first few clients you won), requesting referrals from current clients, and upselling current clients.

Conclusion: Cold calls are tough. It’s not for the faint of heart or those expecting quick wins/easy results. However big deals are out there. From our experience, the only possible way to truly make cold calling viable is to go after big-ticket customers. Calling on small businesses and winning a $1,000 a month retainer is not a successful cold calling model from our experience.

That Company’s best cold callers set 1 appointment set for every 65 calls they made. An average cold caller set 1 appointment for every 100 calls they made. These are averages over 2 years from 2013 to 2015.

Before you begin cold calls to generate new business for your agency, you’ll definitely want to read our below study on the effectiveness of cold calls.

6.93% of appointments turn into a deal. (40 closed deals from 577 set appointments.)

3. Keep a Spreadsheet of Your Conversations.

$1.00 per contact (email/phone/name/title/etc). Their model has changed a bit since we last made a purchase from then, and as we understand it, they have a minimum of around $5,000. However, the number of direct dial numbers they have, and the accuracy of their information is worth every penny from our experience.

How many calls today, appointments set, appointments showed up? Calls to Appointment conversion rate, Appointment to sale conversion rate.

Let’s say you hire someone for $10/hour and they make 80 calls a day, and they are averaging 100 calls to 1 appointment and you close 6.93% of the appointments into an average $1900 retainer deal that retains for an industry standard of 12 months what’s your ROI? (P.S. Our average client retains for 4+ years)

Total profit is.

In addition, while not local/repeatable we’ve had partners do well targeting the following:

85 days from appointment to close for deals we closed.

We then took that list of domain names to ZoomInfo and paid.

Note: Due to the sales cycle for cold call deals please be prepared to invest for over 3 months before you start to see returns.

Robert Mcmillin from 41 Local:

Now you know that there are various other options by which you can get SEO clients even if you are not engaging in cold calling. Need more tips?

5 ) Facebook advertising: It is one of the most powerful platforms wherein you can get a market of potential leads for SEO clients. Fig 5.

PROOF. Social Proof Testimonial Proof Actual case studies Nothing helps as strong as connecting a potential client with an existing client that had similar issues that you helped them overcome.”

Justin Bilyj from Bantamedia:

Scott Gallon from Digital Boss:

However, it takes time to generate the potential line-up of SEO clients from either of the tactics. Your client probably receives a bunch of calls and at least ten emails from various digital marketers ensuring the best SEO service. What’s important is to let the client know about your potential and how you are the right choice for them.

When you’re done reading below, be sure to check out a ton of tips on how to sell SEO as well.

Start with a friend, associate, or rank a site in a niche before pursuing client work. Many clients will ask for proof and a big barrier to entry to generate leads is lack of reputation. Build your rep with friends and your own stuff first so you have the case studies on hand as social proof.

I always think it’s good to have a specific target type of client. That could be an industry or type of person. Once you have that, find out where that client is online and market yourself at that same place.

It has 1.39 billion active users, according to B2C. You can target clients in a very specific way and do Facebook advertising. Neil Patel, in his blog regarding Facebook Advertising (3) states that you can bring clients to your site with irresistible ads.

Drop the hard sell and provide something of value. Learn about your customers, their businesses, their pains, and their goals. And of course, educate, educate, educate.

In this teardown, he showcased his knowledge on the concept. You can also write on your blog in a similar way showcasing your in-depth knowledge about the segment.

Setting up a booth at a trade show is great especially if you work with a niche. Every month trade shows take place all over the world in almost every niche. Pick a niche you want to do SEO for and go setup a booth at the next show.

If your brand new, get a good list of people you know or have some connection to and pick up the phone. Family, Friends, people you currently do business with and ask for some business or a referral. For existing agencies – Always be there for your clients and they will refer you. These are the best types of client you can get”

Matthew Holmes from chmstrategy:

It is 100% about referrals and reputation. If your business has neither, you need to build that credibility. Start at the lowest level and work your way up until you can handle businesses with a higher degree of technicality. You can’t just start at the top with big brands because you’ll make mistakes and they can sense you are faking it.

Jason Schulz from 5Tales:

I always run an initial website analysis before providing a quote or talking to a prospect to make a good first impression. A simple check can identify algorithmic penalties, ranking drop, previous SEO activates and keywords they are trying to optimize. That information helps me propose timeline, pricing, activities and strategy on the first call or email. I include keywords with monthly search traffic in the area, their current rankings, the estimated time to see results, monthly activities and any other information regarding their campaign and website. I know that many SEO companies won’t bother do the same and it helped me win many clients.

Jason Holmers from Oxsome:

Getting a steady stream of clients is the foundation for any successful business.

The best tip that I have is to do a great job for your clients by exceeding their expectations, and ask them for referrals while they are happy with the work. With a strong referral program and strong testimonials, you will grow your business with new clients.

Bennie Stander from Pretoria SEO:

I use Brennan Dunns roadmapping as a way to engage as a tripwire, small up front fee that allows both client and myself to ‘build’ out the proposal. It shows that I’m different from the other agency’s who push their tactics, while I come in as the strategic expert providing the way forward.

Don’t spend too much time or money designing the best logo, website, or social media accounts until you can actually afford to. Build yourself a lean start up and focus on prospecting.

In current times, as compared to cold calls, cold emails (1) have worked effectively but blogs, eBooks, and post contents on social media platforms are getting a wider response.

David Castro from RankRabbit:

Jason Feemster from Santa Fe SEO:

There also forums like Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn groups that can provide a lot of leads of SEO clients. (Fig 4)

For me it’s easier to keep my clients happy than it is to find and sell to new clients. Happy clients will also refer business to your agency.

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