How to Get Paid Before You Close a Deal
Nothing is more frustrating than when you spend a lot of time and effort prepping an unpaid pitch for a prospect who doesn’t end up signing on with you, or does, but the process to close the deal takes time.
As the saying goes, time is money, and there is no reason that you need to spend hours on end creating plans for free for people who may or may not sign on with you.
Well, I have good news, you can stop spinning your wheels and actually get paid for this kind of work. I do it all the time, and you easily can too.
The Total Online Presence Audit
The total online presence is essentially a comprehensive audit that you can put together for a prospect that includes a detailed report that shows their highest priority issues for optimizing their online presence. The report basically tells them how to get more out of their marketing efforts.
It can give them a complete picture of their current presence as well as a roadmap that they can follow to dominate their target market.
The intent behind the audit is to prove the value of working with your business in hopes that they’ll sign on for a long-term engagement with you.
What’s great about all of this is that if they decide to sign on with you after this presentation and have you implement the recommendations, you essentially have your to-dos and background research for the first few months (or even longer) in the bag, so you can hit the ground running without doing any additional discovery calls.
If they don’t sign on with you, they still receive a ton of value from your efforts since they’ll be walking away with a plan of attack to move forward with, and you’ll have a paycheck in your pocket.
We charge $799 for these audits but base your price on experience and expertise.
Sections of the Total Online Presence Audit
If a person signs on for a total online presence audit, be sure to send them an intake form that will give you basic information to get your research efforts started. The questions you want to be answered are up to you, but a few that may be helpful include:
- What are their products and services?
- What words would people use to search for them?
- Gather their social profile links
- Gather links to top 3 competitors
- Get their business address and phone
The list goes on, but try to get information that would be more helpful to gather from them, rather than researching on your own. Once you get that information, you can begin your research.
To kick off the presentation, I find it helpful to not immediately dive into your findings. Start with strategy, like their customer’s journey and point of differentiation, and confirm everything that they filled out in their intake form. Walk them through the methodology you took to come to your recommendations. Make sure they have a clear understanding of the value of the presentation you’re about to give them.
In today’s marketing world, content is air (i.e. a must), so this needs to be a big focus area in your audit. Start by reviewing the homepage of their website. If there are issues there, there are likely issues on other pages as well. Take note of the following when you put together this section of the report.
- The target audit must be identified on the homepage. The more personal the language is, the more likely they’ll be to stick around and learn more.
- The homepage should address a problem above the fold that the target audience experiences.
- Keep an eye out for trust, proof, and authoritative elements including testimonials, association badges, press mentions, client logos, awards, etc. Showing these will help to build trust with their audience.
- For SEO purposes, homepages ideally have between 300 and 400 words of copy.
- While not a necessity, having a video on the homepage, as well as sprinkled throughout the site, is definitely a bonus and could help with SEO.
- Identify lead generation opportunities and CTAs on the site. Not all site visitors are ready to buy, so putting a system in place to generate and nurture leads is a must to keep a lead pipeline in good standing.
On-page and off-page SEO
While conducting your audit:
- Review title tag, alt text, meta description, H1 tags, and schema and make sure they are keyword optimized and fit within the recommended character limit.
- Ensure their site is mobile optimized.
For local businesses:
- Be sure their city or area they serve is included within their on-page attributes.
- Take a good look at their Google My Business listing
- Make sure they only have one listing for their business (if their business has multiple locations, each location should have its own GMB listing).
- Make sure the category is accurate and specific.
- Make sure the NAP (name, address, and phone number) is accurate and consistent across all listings and the website.
- Confirm there are positive reviews and that they are being responded to.
- Ensure there are photos, posts, and videos when available.
- Make sure your prospect’s business is listed in online directories, including local directories.
- Ensure they include local-focused content on their website.
Review of social profiles
Your prospect doesn’t need to be on every social platform “just because.” In the audit, have answers to:
- What is the status of their [page on social media platform] branding, activity, and engagement?
- Are they present on all relevant social channels?
Review of directories and citations
Take note of the following:
- How many inbound links do they have?
- What are high priority keyword opportunities?
- How many indexed pages do they have?
- How much traffic do they have and where is it coming from?
Review of online reputation
Be sure to review:
- What their reputation is across Google, Yelp, and other relevant industry platforms
- A citation profile scan, especially of Google, Yahoo, and Bing
Take a look at the competitors they mention in their intake form and note what they are up to so that you can see how they compare and based on your findings, but together recommendations for areas of opportunity for your prospect that the competition isn’t focusing on.
Once you take a look at all of the sections above, you’ll be able to pull the report together to include:
- A roadmap outlining critical elements that need to be fixed
- An overview of what’s the prospect is doing well
- Highest priority elements that need to be addressed
- Recommendations for optimizing their online presence
- A plan of action for their online presence
- Woorank – Address SEO issues on your site.
- Website Grader – A free online tool that grades your site against key metrics.
- METASEO Inspector – Useful to inspect the meta data found inside web pages.
- Yext – Check how your business appears online.
- BuzzSumo – Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor.
- Ahrefs – Ahrefs covers backlink checking, competitor analysis, keyword research and more.
- SimilarWeb – See website traffic and key metrics for any website.
- QuickSEO – Fast & light weight SEO tool to analyze PageRank, Backlinks, Alexa Rank and other SEO metrics.
- RivalIQ – Social media marketing analytics with advanced competitive analysis, SEO, social reporting and content marketing tools.
- Facebook Pixel Helper – A troubleshooting tool that helps you validate your pixel implementation.
- Grade.us – A robust review management software solution.
- AdviceLocal – Help businesses show up in local search results.
- Wappalyzer – Uncover the technologies used on websites.
- Loom Instant Video – Quick videos, faster than typing.
- Zoom – This is a great tool for presenting to clients
- Google Analytics – Measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
Additional lead conversion opportunities that don’t take a lot of time
As mentioned, the goal of the Total Online Presence audit is to convert the prospect into a long-term engagement. However, some people may not want to pay you or, you personally may not want to spend that much time on a lead. If either are the case, there are other lead conversion opportunities we recommend, and although they aren’t paid efforts, they are a good way to engage a lead without wasting a lot of your time.
This is a much scaled down version of the audit that should result in a 5-8 minute video of initial findings and recommendations based on a quick review of this site. We recommend delivering this via video (Loom is a great tool for this).
This idea can be used to attract cold or trial prospects with the promise to evaluate their current marketing based on information they submit through an online form.
From their, you can schedule a quick call to discuss observations you noticed on the form and offer a couple of quick actionable recommendations.
Do you feel a bit relieved? Your time spent doing endless amounts of work without pay can be over!
If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice.