Your guide to top-notch clients

Picture it. A local business owner searches for “SEO agency” on Google and is completely overwhelmed by the number of options available. There are so many agencies — too many agencies — which means your agency must step up its game to be seen. This is called “agency positioning.”

Now, let’s look at what agency positioning is, why it matters, and how to master it to propel your agency to success.

What is agency positioning?

Agency positioning refers to establishing your agency’s unique value and competitive advantage in the market. It’s about creating a distinct, relevant, and consistent image that appeals to your clients. 

The way your clients view you depends on how you position your agency. This view consists of (1) what your business is and (2) what you do and don’t do. That’s why you need to clearly communicate to your audience how you’re different from your competitors and what your unique selling proposition is. Why should they work with you? How are you different from the dozens (if not hundreds) of other agencies available to them?

Superior agency positioning means speaking the clients’ language and meeting them where they are at. Agency positioning isn’t about you at all. All eyes should be on your audience. If you position your agency effectively, it should be clear to potential clients how and why you’re the best pick. In short, positioning is great for your reputation, identity, branding, and gives you a competitive edge.

And although the three are related, don’t confuse positioning with branding and design. Branding is about overall brand identity and personality, while design refers to the brand’s aesthetic and creative expression, usually through graphic visuals.

Positioning, on the other hand, lays out the strategy.

Main components of agency positioning

Let’s go a little deeper into the pieces that craft together the puzzle of agency positioning!

Agency positioning encompasses things like:

This involves defining your ideal clients and the segments you want to serve (by industry, company size, geography, or other attributes). You also need to understand this group’s needs, preferences, and behaviors.

  • How you market yourself to your target audience/how you want them to see you.

This is about shaping your target audience’s perception of your agency. You need to develop a brand image and identity that aligns with your values and resonates with your ideal clients. And, you must craft key messages that clearly articulate your selling points.

  • The services you offer and their price points.

Your service offerings and rate structure should align with your positioning. The goal is to demonstrate value, not just cost. Your pricing should reflect your expertise, capabilities, and your unique value.

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Define the outcomes clients can expect after hiring your agency. How will you move the needle for them? Positioning is about communicating promised benefits, not just features.

  • Testimonials, reviews, and case studies that prove your impact.

These are powerful tools for reinforcing your agency’s credibility. They provide tangible proof of your impact and showcase your ability to deliver results.

But how exactly can you put them into action?

How to effectively position your agency

Let’s use what we’ve discussed so far to jump into some key methods for honing your agency’s market positioning. The following five steps will guide you in making your agency stand out from your competitors. You will also learn how to communicate to your ideal clients why you’re the top pick:

1. Narrowing down your niche

“We work with everyone!” you might be saying. But you’re going to want to rethink that. Agencies who try to work with everyone end up reaching no one. This hurts their market positioning in the process.

An agency needs to stand out. Be that in their offering, approach, service or brand. Or a collection of these. The key is to be distinctive in some way or another. For some, that might mean niching down; for others, that might mean focusing on one area of work. But trying to be everything for everyone is the fastest way to be nothing to everyone.

We understand why this might seem counterintuitive. It’s easy to think that if you’re targeting fewer types of clients, you’re missing out on opportunities. But this is not how it works. If you’re trying to reach a broad audience, then you’re targeting too wide a range of people. This will cause your positioning to be incredibly vague. Your potential clients will not feel as if you’re talking to them—because you’re not. You’re talking to everybody, which prevents you from making any real connections.

The outcomes of niching down are powerful. Really focusing on where we know we can have a true impact and have the most productive relationships means that we’re able to consistently deliver results, which drives client satisfaction and retention. Once you retain/grow clients and then add new business, things scale fast.

On the other hand, when you address a very niche audience, you’re far more likely to get their attention (and keep it). Yes, you’re targeting fewer people, but you’re reaching more customers that resonate with your product vision. This ultimately strengthens your brand positioning in marketing. 

If you look at Whitecap as an example, you’ll see that they focus all of their SEO efforts on ecommerce brands. This is a prime example of narrowing your niche and the range of services your agency provides. Maybe you only want to do SEO for startups,r healthcare SEO, or, as in Whitecap’s case, ecommerce SEO.

There are countless agencies out there, but it’s at the edges that you’ll find growth. You could be the SaaS SEO agency that specialises in content. Or the link-building agency for small businesses. At the edges, you’ll find it less competitive and easier to convert.

This focus on a niche will help your agency build highly tailored solutions to serve your clients. At the same time, your clients will rely on you as an expert in their specific needs. Your agency will be perceived as a trusted service provider rather than a jack-of-all-trades.

Unique value proposition is critical. In 1000s of agencies, what makes yours unique? Everyone is going to say they’re data-driven or that they’re client-centric, so what are you doing differently? Genuine thought leadership can become a huge differentiator. Being able to show off a smart innovative team is worth the investment.

Here are some different approaches to narrowing down your agency’s niche:

  • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses to gauge your agency’s competency level.
  • Research your past successes and see what your clients had in common.
  • Map out the competition to identify less competitive niches.
  • Analyze the search results for a particular keyword with SERP Analyzer to see who’s ranking high and how they’re positioning themselves at the top.
SE Ranking's SERP Analyzer
  • Discover what your target market is searching for online with keyword research tools. You can integrate these search queries into your SEO campaigns and optimize your agency’s website to appear prominently in search for those queries.
SE Ranking's Keyword Research Tool
  • Research your competitors to discover their search strategies and how they are ranking well. This helps you understand how to differentiate your own agency.
SE Ranking's Competitive Research Tool

And though this may be a tough pill to swallow, don’t work for clients who don’t share your vision. Once you’ve defined your niche, it’s best to steer clear of any potential client that falls well outside those boundaries. 

2. Establishing your brand voice

What is brand voice exactly? It’s how your brand expresses its personality, attitude, values, and perspectives. This can be communicated through your blog, social media channels, and email marketing.

Brand voice is important because it’s how you establish rapport with your target audience. Think about a special friend or relative in your life. Why are you so drawn to them? We’re going to guess it has something to do with their amazing personality.

The personality of your agency is the same thing! You want your voice to be magnetic, likeable, and memorable. People should look at your agency and think, “I really like them.” 

Ignite Visibility does a nice job of this. They do a great job at differentiating themselves on both their website and social media channels. You can tell that you’re looking at Ignite Visibility thanks to their unique style on top of their warm and inviting presence.

3. Pricing your services

Pricing is an understandably challenging arena for agencies. A common line of thought is, “If I price my services lower than my competitors, then I’ll land more clients.” This is only partly true.

Here’s why. 

The truth in this statement lies in the fact that some clients out there are looking to get what they need for as cheap as possible. They are more focused on the price tag than anything else. But these clients tend to be problematic because, perhaps ironically, they’re often the most high-maintenance!

The falsity in this statement lies in the fact that being the cheapest agency around is, for many potential clients, a red flag. They may see your abnormally low prices and think, “Why are they so cheap? Are these people amateurs? What’s the catch?” 

To quality clients, there’s nothing attractive about being the cheapest agency in the bunch. In addition:

If price is your unique selling point or the reason why people will go with you for this specific contractor mandate, chances are it’s a race to the bottom. There will always be someone that will be cheaper than you.

However, this doesn’t mean you should intentionally charge more than all of your competitors for no good reason. So, how the heck do you price your services?!

Well, you can start by looking at the averages. For example, we ran a survey in November of 2023 to gauge what SEO prices will look like in 2024. We learned that the average monthly retainer (the most common way agencies charge) is $1,200. The minimum is $90, and the maximum is $10,000.

This bit of information alone gives you an idea of the range that you should be working within. Even at a glance, $90 seems almost absurd. On the flip side, if you plan to charge more than $10,000 a month, you better have a really good reason for it.

We review our pricing model often but generally speaking, we analyse the cost of delivering work across all services and then build in a margin to build a pricing model.

Above all else, you might consider this: How much is the results that you deliver to your clients worth? 

For example, if you get a client to land on page one of the SERPs, they might see a huge increase in revenue as a result. Your pricing should reflect that.

You should also factor in the literal cost for your business to provide this service to a client. How many people are working on that account? What are you paying them? What tools and software are you using? How much do these features cost?

Remember, when people pay for your services, they’re paying to gain access to everything: your years of experience, your team, your tools, etc. Communicate your prices, services, and intended outcomes in your SEO proposal to ensure you and your client are on the same page.

4. Promoting your agency with authenticity

There are many good ways to support your agency’s brand positioning, but one of our favorites is to tell your company’s origin story.

For instance, Black Swan Media was born out of a need identified by the company’s CEO. While offering white-label services at the time, he realized that the agencies utilizing his company weren’t delivering the results that their clients wanted. So, he closed the company down and opened up his very own SEO agency, now known as Black Swan Media.

Telling your origin story not only gives your company more of an identity but also builds trust with potential clients. In Black Swan Media’s case, customers can learn how the company’s seeds sprouted and see its clear intentions to create a positive change. And that’s something we can all appreciate.

5. Showcasing the results you’ve delivered

One area where a lot of agencies fall short is in communicating their successes. Sometimes, it’s just because they haven’t had many yet and don’t know how to deliver on their commitments. Other times, they just don’t know how to show off their work! 

Highlighting your impact isn’t just about sharing raw metrics. It’s also about demonstrating how you helped your client grow.

According to Jen Cornwell, VP of SEO at Ignite Visibility, she and her company see the most success when fostering client relationships that are more like strategic partnerships.

It’s shared success too – they’re seeing great results and growing their business while we scale service with them. Finding ways to make your agency indispensable creates opportunities to expand your business with them and really show strategic value.

Let’s go back to our example of getting a client on page one of SERPs. Saying that you increased their impressions by 200% and website clicks by 110% is great, but what exactly does that equate to? Did this help your client add 5,000 new users to their email list? Did they 10x their sales? What was the result? 

Tools like SE Ranking make it easy to track your results and present them to potential clients. For example, SE Ranking’s Agency Pack allows you to: 

  • Leverage unlimited report automation to present the value you bring to your clients in a visually appealing format. 
  • Grant clients customized access to specific sections in SE Ranking through extra user seats. This builds trust by showing how transparent and open you are with your clients.
  • Customize reports and the entire SE Ranking platform with your branding. Add your logo, corporate colors, domain name, and much more, for a personalized client experience.
SE Ranking's Agency Pack

Use visual content marketing as part of your brand positioning marketing strategy to display these results. This could include infographics, case studies, testimonials, or video interviews. This type of content will resonate better with potential clients compared to raw data.

Why agency market positioning is so important 

It might seem like a lot of work, but market positioning is a worthy investment for your business. The following key benefits are a byproduct of expert positioning:

  • Heightened work efficiency: Being laser-focused on giving your target audience exactly what they want streamlines your internal processes.
  • Hiring is easier: The process of finding qualified employees will be simpler because you’ll know what you’re trying to accomplish and who can deliver those results.
  • Streamlined client conversions: Expert positioning removes a ton of friction from the client acquisition process. Landing new clients will be easier than it was in the past.

We understand that building your brand can feel like an unclear and even daunting process. If you’d like extra guidance, check out our free course for agencies to learn how to craft a captivating brand story, produce high-quality deliverables, develop a flywheel growth model, and appeal to top-tier clients.

Wrapping up

The importance of brand positioning in marketing cannot be overstated. With the agency market becoming increasingly crowded, simply being skilled at what you do will not take you to the finish line. Your agency’s brand positioning is vital for distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack.

Niche down, build a brand voice, price accordingly, promote the story behind the business, and proudly show off your results. If you do these things, your agency will find stable footing on which to stand out from the competition.

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