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Clients’ Expectations: 5 Things I’ve Learned the Hardway

Honest truth. I never wanted to start my own business. I didn’t want to have to work my day job and then come home at night at work some more. But all that changed when I met my husband. Together, our business development firm can do amazing things. We can do SEO, public relations, online marketing, website design, social media, IT, network management – basically you name it, and we can do it. If not, we’ll find someone who can.

Another truth. I’m not young anymore. There I said it. And one day, I will be forced to retire but I’m not ready. So owning our own business, WinnComm, will keep me thinking, producing, telling stories, long into my future.

I’ve read several articles and most say it take three years for a business to be successful. The first year you lose money. The second you break even and the third, there is profit. I would say that is the track we are on. And although my patience wears thin, this is not the hardest part of owning a business. The hardest part is managing client expectations.

When a client isn’t satisfied, it frustrates me. I even go as far as feeling as though I’ve failed, even though we’ve done everything we can to meet client’s expectations. I’m a perfectionist and I go beyond the scope of work WinnComm has been hired to do so yes, it hurts a little when a client isn’t satisfied. I try to not take it personal but this is my time, my effort, my brainstorming ideas all for the win and to make client successful! You can get a client in the top spot of two high ranking search engines, BING and Yahoo! but it’s not Google. We got them to page four within one month and it was climbing but they lost their patience.WinnComm, LLC We told them upfront it would take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, especially with Google and especially since Google penalized them for doing blackhat tactics not long before they hired WinnComm. They needed to build credibility with Google, Our strategy was working but they lost their patience. We were disappointed that our client lost faith in the strategy. We had wins. We had Bing and Yahoo! Google was climbing. But it wasn’t the big player. They wanted out after only two months.

Another client. A start-up company tackling one of the hardest topics for businesses. Diversified team and how to make them successful. The firm hired WinnComm to get speaking opportunities. After researching local and national conferences, I’ve learned that most want speaking experience, video tapes of speaking gigs – none of which our client had. We felt we needed to step back some and try to establish reputation through media relations. I’ve spent countless
hours creating media lists, researching stories about diversity and discrimination, introducing the firm to local and national reporters. The firm had no news to share. No clients to use as an example for stories. No speaking engagements. But she had passion, 30 years of human resources experience and her own personal testimony. We’ve gotten her three interviews, one live spot on TV, another TV interview, and a blog interview. I’ve introduced her to over 125 reporters. We’re establishing credibility, building reputation. And yet, within 2.5 month, she gave notice – just as we were going to present her with the PR plan. There wasn’t even enough time to build, grow and get local speaking opportunities so that we could videotape her and submit her for larger opportunities. She was sure happy when we got her those interviews, but it didn’t lead to work, so she got deflated.

At this point, I’ve had it. I wanted to quit WinnComm. I take it too personal when I need to look at it as just business. I reached out to other PR professionals and dsc_0191_editthey agree that managing clients’ expectations are the hardest thing to do. One firm puts a clause in her agreement that PR is never guaranteed. It you want 100 percent guarantees, do advertising. She set expectations right up front.

And it’s not all bad either! We help a local veterinary animal hospital with their storytelling, client relations and social media. They love us. We’ve grown their online reputation, increase their engagement, give one-on-one communication with their clients so they are learning why their clients come to them with their beloved pets. When we get emails of praise, we are happy! Plus, we get to play with cute puppies, kitties and guinea pigs.

We helped a non-profit organization that helps veterans get a radio interview, a TV story and a story on a Veteran’s blog with only two days notice about an event. It was just a one-time thing but they were happy with the results we got them in such a short amount of time. (We also almost had a second TV interview but were called away on their way to our story location. Bummed but used to it by now).

But like I said, I’m a perfectionist and I want to make all of our clients happy. What the saying, … you can’t please everyone? So here’s what we’ve learned over the past year and half of starting WInnComm about client expectations. (Now, my husband has had many businesses so maybe this is what I’ve learned).

  1. Manage expectations upfront – your own as well as the clients.
  2. Discuss with the client that there are no guarantees and that it takes time. Don’t just put it in their contract. Verbalize it
  3. Small businesses with minimal funding have higher expectations. Realize this if you decide to hire them within their budget, which is typically way below your normal prices. Then communicate often, maybe even over communicate. Let them know you’re not sitting idle and you’re working hard on their behalf. It’s the truth.
  4. Develop goals and strategies upfront before doing any work. Create KPI and a timeline. This is will help manage expectations and they can decide upfront if they want to proceed with the contract.
  5. Don’t take it personal. If you know you’ve done everything you can, even beyond what the agreement called for, then know you’ve done your best. Maybe sit down with the client, let them know the scope of work you’ve completed and if they still want to give their 30-day notice, then it’s just business. (I keep telling myself this over and over… I hope it works one day but I’m new to this. I haven’t been able to sleep and it’s stressing me out big time. It’s just business. It’s just business).

Thanks,

Sharon

Posted on

Clients’ Expectations: 5 Things I’ve Learned the Hardway

Honest truth. I never wanted to start my own business. I didn’t want to have to work my day job and then come home at night at work some more. But all that changed when I met my husband. Together, our business development firm can do amazing things. We can do SEO, public relations, online marketing, website design, social media, IT, network management – basically you name it, and we can do it. If not, we’ll find someone who can.

Another truth. I’m not young anymore. There I said it. And one day, I will be forced to retire but I’m not ready. So owning our own business, WinnComm, will keep me thinking, producing, telling stories, long into my future.

I’ve read several articles and most say it take three years for a business to be successful. The first year you lose money. The second you break even and the third, there is profit. I would say that is the track we are on. And although my patience wears thin, this is not the hardest part of owning a business. The hardest part is managing client expectations.

When a client isn’t satisfied, it frustrates me. I even go as far as feeling as though I’ve failed, even though we’ve done everything we can to meet client’s expectations. I’m a perfectionist and I go beyond the scope of work WinnComm has been hired to do so yes, it hurts a little when a client isn’t satisfied. I try to not take it personal but this is my time, my effort, my brainstorming ideas all for the win and to make client successful! You can get a client in the top spot of two high ranking search engines, BING and Yahoo! but it’s not Google. We got them to page four within one month and it was climbing but they lost their patience.WinnComm, LLC We told them upfront it would take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, especially with Google and especially since Google penalized them for doing blackhat tactics not long before they hired WinnComm. They needed to build credibility with Google, Our strategy was working but they lost their patience. We were disappointed that our client lost faith in the strategy. We had wins. We had Bing and Yahoo! Google was climbing. But it wasn’t the big player. They wanted out after only two months.

Another client. A start-up company tackling one of the hardest topics for businesses. Diversified team and how to make them successful. The firm hired WinnComm to get speaking opportunities. After researching local and national conferences, I’ve learned that most want speaking experience, video tapes of speaking gigs – none of which our client had. We felt we needed to step back some and try to establish reputation through media relations. I’ve spent countless
hours creating media lists, researching stories about diversity and discrimination, introducing the firm to local and national reporters. The firm had no news to share. No clients to use as an example for stories. No speaking engagements. But she had passion, 30 years of human resources experience and her own personal testimony. We’ve gotten her three interviews, one live spot on TV, another TV interview, and a blog interview. I’ve introduced her to over 125 reporters. We’re establishing credibility, building reputation. And yet, within 2.5 month, she gave notice – just as we were going to present her with the PR plan. There wasn’t even enough time to build, grow and get local speaking opportunities so that we could videotape her and submit her for larger opportunities. She was sure happy when we got her those interviews, but it didn’t lead to work, so she got deflated.

At this point, I’ve had it. I wanted to quit WinnComm. I take it too personal when I need to look at it as just business. I reached out to other PR professionals and dsc_0191_editthey agree that managing clients’ expectations are the hardest thing to do. One firm puts a clause in her agreement that PR is never guaranteed. It you want 100 percent guarantees, do advertising. She set expectations right up front.

And it’s not all bad either! We help a local veterinary animal hospital with their storytelling, client relations and social media. They love us. We’ve grown their online reputation, increase their engagement, give one-on-one communication with their clients so they are learning why their clients come to them with their beloved pets. When we get emails of praise, we are happy! Plus, we get to play with cute puppies, kitties and guinea pigs.

We helped a non-profit organization that helps veterans get a radio interview, a TV story and a story on a Veteran’s blog with only two days notice about an event. It was just a one-time thing but they were happy with the results we got them in such a short amount of time. (We also almost had a second TV interview but were called away on their way to our story location. Bummed but used to it by now).

But like I said, I’m a perfectionist and I want to make all of our clients happy. What the saying, … you can’t please everyone? So here’s what we’ve learned over the past year and half of starting WInnComm about client expectations. (Now, my husband has had many businesses so maybe this is what I’ve learned).

  1. Manage expectations upfront – your own as well as the clients.
  2. Discuss with the client that there are no guarantees and that it takes time. Don’t just put it in their contract. Verbalize it
  3. Small businesses with minimal funding have higher expectations. Realize this if you decide to hire them within their budget, which is typically way below your normal prices. Then communicate often, maybe even over communicate. Let them know you’re not sitting idle and you’re working hard on their behalf. It’s the truth.
  4. Develop goals and strategies upfront before doing any work. Create KPI and a timeline. This is will help manage expectations and they can decide upfront if they want to proceed with the contract.
  5. Don’t take it personal. If you know you’ve done everything you can, even beyond what the agreement called for, then know you’ve done your best. Maybe sit down with the client, let them know the scope of work you’ve completed and if they still want to give their 30-day notice, then it’s just business. (I keep telling myself this over and over… I hope it works one day but I’m new to this. I haven’t been able to sleep and it’s stressing me out big time. It’s just business. It’s just business).

Thanks,

Sharon

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This is a story about a poor guy with an inept domain that wanted to build a site geared for a very competitive keyword and his long, agonizing journey toward the true light of SEO wisdom.

Here’s a little foundation for what I’m about to cover here. A while back I bought a stupid domain name. It was one of those fairly useless domain names that might have been good for maybe selling cellphones or something. The thing is, though, I’m a poor guy. I don’t have time to tailor a site for cellphones with the pitiful amount of money I have. This was my thinking not long ago at least.

After sitting on this domain name forever I decided to put a site up there and give myself to the study of SEO or search engine optimization. It seemed like an interesting subject and I knew to those that managed to learn SEO, marketing, and some web design would fall infinite riches. It really sounded good to me.

So I went for the throat so to speak. More precisely I picked out some search terms that I will probably never be able to get traffic for in my lifetime. Smart I know. This had the grand side effect of having the site sandboxed by Yahoo and Google until pigs flew.

Recently they flew, however, and I’ve come out of the sandbox altogether and hit face to face with a few SEO surprises. I did manage to get a tiny trickle of traffic but not from the terms I tried to get it from. After trying to optimize those pages for the key terms I received traffic from I got more traffic. This of course started me down a long road of speculation and hair pulling.

After many a night of such I’ve come up with a few things that I believe will give anyone the power to eventually pull traffic off the net and convert it into a good decent living. I’ll probably write an ebook and make millions one of these days.

Optimize by the page
Don’t fall into the trap of focusing totally on building this far flung and far reaching site that will rule the world or make you millions instantly. Unless you have lots of money you’re going to need to work for your traffic. Plan your site out carefully and make sure each page is a precision crafted piece of art.

I love serverside scripting and dynamic websites but I’ve come to realize there is a danger that people will overuse it. I know I have. If your site is dynamically generated, make sure every page isn’t a total cookie cutter image of every other page. It’s good to have the same navigation and same general layout but each page also needs to be special. Each page should have careful, proven SEO techniques applied to maybe a single key phrase.

Don’t try to optimize one page for a handful of phrases. Just focus on one phrase. Do your keyword research and, whatever you do, don’t haul off and pick a key phrase with 2 billion wealthy competitors in Google. Pick something that can be attained and can get you some traffic relatively fast. Select a phrase that is as specific as possible to your particular niche and still gets a couple thousand or so searches per month from Yahoo.

Whatever you do, make sure that one web page has good, solid, desirable content that is keyword rich and one of a kind. This will help make it special. At the same time your content obviously needs to lead the customer toward your intended goal for monetizing your traffic.

Keep it simple
I’ve found to my dismay that building a complex web site with all the content management stuff and all the database thrills isn’t exactly what really gets the attention of search engines. Weirdly enough this can be true for internet surfers too. A nice, clean layout with very accessible content and intuitive navigation will be recognized by both search engines and surfers alike. If you can figure that part out you’ve just pinned down about 90% of SEO in my opinion.

Engineer your site for your traffic
When you start getting search engine traffic to your site take a very close look at what they are searching for. I assume you have some kind of statistics program and can mostly see what search terms people are using to get to your site. When someone comes in on a keyword or phrase you haven’t optimized for do a little research. Does the page they are coming to need touched up to include the search term or would this search term merit its own search engine optimized page to handle the traffic.

Conclusion
With every page you add you are gaining another potentially valuable piece of internet real estate. If you’re doing your job right then eventually each page should get its own traffic and you should begin to attain your goals. Patience and learning are the name of the SEO game.