Trust sets the foundation for all relationships, personal and professional. It is, however, more crucial in some settings than in others. During a cash transaction for goods, two parties need not trade an excess of trust. The cash itself is proof of value for the physical goods exchanged.
Not all transactions follow this oversimplified model. In digital marketing, the recipient of PPC, email marketing, social media, or eCommerce SEO services must believe the service provider is going to promote and improve the value of their brand, interact positively with their customers, and help to promote higher sales and develop a larger clientele.
Here, as elsewhere, the necessity of trust varies according to the individual details of the processes involved. Take an eCommerce PPC campaign, for example. A client who subscribes to PPC management services from an eCommerce marketing agency may not have cultivated a strong trust with the provider, but the fruits of the advertising campaign will be evident enough.
Recipients of such services can see which ads receive the most clicks, which ads result in conversions, where along the process users may have bounced or lost interest, and much more. The success of such a campaign can be calculated with a fine precision that is rare in other areas of advertising.
By contrast, eCommerce SEO develops results much more slowly over time, and these results are not always as directly traceable to the efforts of SEO experts as would have been the case with a comparable paid search campaign.
With resources being poured into a SEO campaign, in the absence of verifiable results or reporting, it may seem to some clients that their investment is not being substantiated.
This is where and why the value of trust takes a central seat in the success of an eCommerce SEO campaign. 1DigitalⓇ Agency was the first on the scene to take a focus specifically on eCommerce clients, and as a result, we’ve been refining our processes since day one. We know a thing or two about the value of trust to the success of SEO – here’s how we build it.
Starting Out Right: Fielding Concerns
Often the first people to interact with potential clients on our team here at 1DigitalⓇ are our business development professionals. They are the first to uncover potential client concerns surrounding trust and to provide valuable reassurance to allay customer doubts.
Mike P, our Director of Business Development, offered a succinct summary of some of the most common customer fears,
“A lot of customers exhibit hesitancy regarding certain recurring items. Generally speaking, some customers lament that SEO has not worked in the past. Others are concerned that there might not be a path forward. Other clients are concerned that SEO will not make sense given their unique situation.”
When SEO hasn’t worked in the past for customers, Mike has found that oftentimes that resulted from a previous project lacking two specific things: a team that didn’t invest adequate resources into getting to understand the client’s industry and a process that was not built specifically for it.
To better understand the client’s uncovered concerns, Mike and other members of the sales team must uncover other customer concerns before a custom solution can be developed.
Starting out Right: Getting to Know the Customer’s Pain Points
One of the chief elements of 1DigitalⓇ SEO processes that differentiate us from other SEO agencies is that no two projects are alike. From the moment a member of our business development team makes contact with a potential client until long after our technical SEO team, project managers, and content writers begin collaborating, there is a collective emphasis on developing a thorough understanding of what matters to the client.
It’s all about getting to know the customer’s points of concern and the fine details surrounding their industry. Mike P. makes that a focus right out of the gate. As one of the first people on our team to interact with any client, he takes a strong interest in the concerns of the client and in the unique atmosphere surrounding the project.
He wants to know what work was performed on previous SEO projects. Often the case is that previous SEO providers delivered link-building results without providing other vital SEO services like optimized content publication and technical optimization. When a customer has had an experience like this in the past, Mike builds trust by elaborating on the value of a thoroughly built project that is holistic in scope.
“For clients for whom SEO hasn’t worked in the past, it is often because the client or their previous SEO specialist didn’t really have an SEO plan,”
adding that providers that don’t put together a specific SEO process and only account for one or two elements impacting SEO are bound to produce less than desirable results.
Other customers are concerned that they will not be able to outrank the competition. For these customers, one of the key components in trust lies in developing a custom SEO project for the client.
Putting the Custom (Solution) in “Customer” Project
Another ineluctable element of building trust between the client and the 1DigitalⓇ process lies in carefully explaining and outlining the nature of the project, which has been carefully developed with the client’s needs in mind.
For example, some clients are concerned about the stiffness of the competition in their sector, fearing that there is no way to make realistic progress with rankings. This is only one finite example, but developing a custom scope and explaining the steps necessary to succeed goes a long way in instilling confidence.
Mike P. elaborated on the process of outlining a custom solution for each SEO project,
“[Regardless of the competitive nature of the industry] there is always a path forward, no matter what. Nobody ranks for everything. Not even Amazon. There is an unlimited amount of keywords that exist.”
He explained that even well-optimized websites have room for improvement, whether that improvement will come by leaps and bounds or by small increments.
For some clients, trust comes from a careful explanation of the practical bounds and implications of their project. Oftentimes, the prospect of success is delineated by the nature of what keywords are, and aren’t, profitable to pursue. Mike P. is judicious in explaining this to his clients. However, he is also careful to lay the groundwork for the prospect of success; the 1DigitalⓇ process will uncover keywords that do represent lucrative opportunities and then aggressively target them.
Setting proper expectations and providing a customized solution to address the customer’s concerns is only one battle in the war to win trust. For us at 1DigitalⓇ Agency, it goes much deeper.
Taking an Interest in the Customer’s eCommerce Business
Joe, a veteran project manager here at 1DigitalⓇ, works closely with members of our Sales department before projects get handed over and our SEO process begins. He, likewise, believes in the value of trust but is also committed to getting to learn the customer’s business and pain points inside and out. He commented,
“We make trust a two-way street. If they’re willing to tell me, I’m eager to learn about their business. I want to learn about what products are coming in the next few months. How to make headway before products hit the site and which products to pivot away from before that happens.”
By engaging the customer on the goings-on of their industry and business, Joe adds a human touch to each project that bolsters confidence and trust – but it is also an effort that introduces additional value for each customer, even if they don’t know it yet.
Much of SEO revolves around customer searches and search intent, and by becoming more familiar with the industry, new products, and in-demand goods and services, Joe and the rest of our Project Management team position themselves to fill the customers’ shoes and be ready to make changes to the SEO project, even before they need to occur.
Leveling the field and engaging the customer keeps the human actions behind the scenes in focus, as does a commitment to open communication.
The Value of Open Communication and a Transparent Process
One of the other things that Joe esteems very highly is the value of transparency. Typically, SEO agencies do not clearly present information or reporting being done in the early stages of a project. This stands in sharp contrast to 1DigitalⓇ and our process.
Joe explained the thorough details of the communication that takes place between him and his clients.
“We give them reliable reporting on those activities which are taking place and we do that in a variety of different ways. [At the beginning of each project] We create an SEO project report where our technical team will record technical work they do on a website. If they change a meta title, it will be recorded in that report. If they build a backlink, it will be recorded. If they find and disavow a toxic link, it will be recorded in that sheet. Because that work takes place in the background, we want clients to be able to see it even if it isn’t immediately apparent.”
In addition, he offered some details on other methods by which he communicates openly with his clients.
“We alert our clients every time a new piece of content goes up, giving them the opportunity to review it. We invite them to a proprietary dashboard that is created to show them how rankings are moving and which links are being built, providing insight into average keyword ranking. We also have a monthly check-in meeting with each client where we go over the results and explain what different KPIs mean, and we have a bi-weekly video update where we go through the dashboard and discuss the work that has been performed in the background.”
To Joe and other members of our Project Management team, thorough reporting on the work we do in the background is just one more piece of the puzzle that spells out trust.
We do an admirable job and our customer satisfaction ratings are an objective testament to this, but we don’t stop with that. There is also a firm commitment to continuous improvement.
An Emphasis on Continuous Improvement
Joe, Mike, and the rest of the SEO team here at 1DigitalⓇ Agency are backed by Colin, our SEO team lead. For him, trust with customers is formed from all of these elements, but he has to take it a step further. As our team lead, Colin is responsible for making sure our SEO process is as effective and results-oriented as it can be.
To do that, of course, Colin needs to engage and interact with customers and learn from their concerns, objections, pain points, their suspicions, and even the unique situations surrounding their industries. He has the unique ability to take a step back and analyze our process from a higher perch than the rest of the team.
“I take literally everything back that I can. When we get feedback from our clients, it’s something we use to improve our processes,”
Colin reflected on his ambitions to continuously improve the SEO process 1DigitalⓇ utilizes.
When asked for specific improvements he had worked to implement in the wake of customer concerns, he reflected that in response to a customer concern regarding the length of time during which keyword research occurred and before content was published pursuant to their campaign, he devised a solution to streamline the process, which resulted in faster, more efficient keyword research and a more timely stream of content publication to boost rankings and authority.
It’s one drop in a bucket of improvements the company has implemented over the years in order to improve our overall SEO process and approach.
A Particular Obsession with Setting the Bar for eCommerce SEO Companies
Our commitment to cultivating an atmosphere of trust with our clients, along with our commitment to improving our processes, is not an accident. It’s baked into our image, it’s in our DNA.
Our founder and CEO, Dan Kogan, has had a lot of experience in eCommerce in general and SEO in specific. It predates even his foundation of 1DigitalⓇ Agency, where he was in the past a customer of other SEO companies.
When asked how he, as a customer, viewed SEO services, he was sympathetic and understanding of their concerns. Putting himself in the customer’s position, he reflected,
“My biggest concern as a customer with any SEO agency really was about trust. If you don’t really fully understand the process, which most people don’t, it’s hard to part with your money and wait for results, especially with SEO.”
As to the matter of the obstacles to trust, he commented that the biggest one took the form of gaps in communication, a lack of transparency, or a lack of understanding of the process.
“Periods that go by between responses and results. As a client, it looks as though someone is doing nothing in the background and you feel vulnerable. You may not realize that there’s a lot of work behind the scenes. The agency actually is working on things. There is a process. There is momentum. There is brainstorming and research and writing being done, and all of that doesn’t always come across when you start a project with a company.”
It should come as no surprise that 1DigitalⓇ Agency has taken such initiative to develop a process wherein communication and transparency take the top spots of importance. This sentiment – this concern – echoes the comments contributed by other members of our team.
He also reinforced the sentiments of other members of our team with respect to continuous improvement, stating
“I would love to think that our process is perfect. Even though I’ve been a client in the past and I know what I want, that doesn’t instantly relate to process. We’re constantly finding ways to improve. Ways to improve our processes; everything that we’ve been doing is an evolution because our goal at the agency is not only to help our eCommerce clients grow; our goal is also to make sure that they’re happy.”
1DigitalⓇ Agency is committed to continuous improvements; it is nothing short of an obsession to improve the process, to be, in our CEO’s words, “the absolute best, period. We’re honing in and defining The Art of eCommerce™.”
It starts with trust in the process, and it doesn’t end – it continuously improves.
- Michael Esposito
- April 2, 2021