After a particularly bad week that was sprinkled with family emergencies, very long road trips, Easter plans disrupted and who knows what else I’m forgetting – I was left thinking today about what makes a good client. I have several clients with a variety of personalities and different qualities that make them unique. For the most part I have a fairly good relationship with my clients and communication is first priority. Unfortunately, during my hectic week I had forgotten to notify many of my clients of what was going on and I let a few emails and phone calls go un-returned. This type of behavior will usually bring out the worst in a client and shame on me for behaving so, but there are times in one’s life where other things take precedence over the J.O.B. and this week was definitely one of them for me.
What really touched me during this trying time was how many of my clients were genuinely concerned about me and my family. Even prospect clients found their hearts, put their urgent marketing needs on the back burner and respected my need for time to deal with one crisis after another. They would send their well wishes, drop emails with happy thoughts and were understanding to the fact that work on their projects might be delayed a day or two. To me, that speaks volumes about a person and those are the types of people I love having as clients.
When I work with great clients like these, I am motivated to get them great results because the relationship is rewarding for me. Conversations with this type of client usually results in new ideas, constructive criticism and to-do items that keep the project moving in a forward direction that produces results. I find myself suggesting new things to try with these clients, even if I haven’t tried it before. I learn along with these clients and we work together as a team toward an agreed upon goal. These are clients that I could consider “friends” rather than acquaintances or colleagues.
Now, I’ve had my fair share of the heartless, money driven, micromanaging types who “know” more than I do about SEO and could care less whether or not I have an actual life outside of their project. I probably have one or two now, but thankfully they aren’t too terrible. These clients are generally hard to communicate with, will never see things any other way but their own and I believe that in a way they sabotage their own projects. Although they may think they are doing right by their company, staying on top of some free spirited SEO, demanding details at every turn and expecting over night results they could be sucking precious time and effort out of their projects and into mundane emails filled with explanations and numbers, pretty graphs and large percentages. To me, that is time wasted and is sabotage to the SEO project. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in the power of reports and communication and think that client education is very much a good thing. What I don’t agree with is justifying everything being done on a project – when, where, why and how.
What I’ve learned in my years doing SEO is that if a client and I can truly work as a team on their project things will go much smoother. If I constantly have to defend my position and be ready to battle at every turn then the project is destined to be an uphill battle – constantly. So what makes a good client? For me, it’s a client that knows what they want from their project, isn’t afraid to try new things, isn’t trying to undermine me at every turn and one that knows the value of communication but doesn’t expect constant hand holding. These are the clients that will have successful projects.