Are You Your Agency’s Best Client? A Conversation with Ruth Burr of SEOmoz

Did you know that some companies get much better results from their agencies than others? If you’re surprised by that, you may not be getting the most you can out of your agency relationships.

I moderated an interesting panel discussion at PubCon Las Vegas in 2012 where Ruth Burr reminded me of the importance of this topic. Below is a follow-up interview I had with Ruth that I think you’ll find useful if you use agencies. By the way, this works for SEM Agencies, Design Agencies and, of course, Conversion Optimization Agencies.

Who is Ruth Burr?

Ruth is the Lead SEO at SEOmoz (and imagine having the guts to apply for that job!) She presented two topics at PubCon: Getting the most out of your SEO agencies and Advanced Relationship Buildings for Links. Here are some of Ruth’s insights for how to become the ‘best’ client for your agency.

Being your best client for your agency

Ruth’s believes that an agency engagement will often fail because of actions on the clients’ part. As clients, we only can control what we do and many clients don’t realize how their actions affect the results they’re getting.

So, what do you need to do as a company to prevent a failing agency engagement?

  • Do the things you commit to
  • Turn around approvals quickly
  • Share information needed to do the job
  • Hand holding and yelling are billable
  • Being responsive
  • Being partners in the engagement
  • Not expecting they just hired you and never have to deal with you again.

Benefits of being your agency’s best client

What do you get when you try to be your agency’s favorite client?
You are going to get more work out of them, because you turning things around faster so they are able to more done sooner.

The more they like you as a client, the more they’re willing to work for you and keep you as their client. In an emergency, they’ll go the extra mile for you to keep your business.

What’s happening at SEOmoz?

SEOMOZ is growing like crazy. Recently they acquired followerwonk. Followerwonk is a tool that you can use to search for Twitter accounts based on keywords people have in their bios, you can look at individual Twitter handles and compare them to see who follows whom and where the overlap of followers is or isn’t. It’s a great tool!

SEO for SEOmoz; that most have been an incredible terrifying job to apply for?

Terrifying is actually a good word! I was really concerned because I don’t think that I’m the greatest SEO in all of the land. I think SEOmoz has done a great job as an employer of saying: we don’t expect you be magical or work miracles. They have been very realistic about the engagement, but also one thing I learned about, that I found kind of heartening, is that all websites are all the same. The story of the cobbler’s shoes applies.

Tips to break into a great job in a hot company like SEOmoz

Meet people, put faces with a name, stay in touch on Twitter, at networking events and make a point of just like keeping in touch. It’s regularly networking, in real life (IRL). And when you know some people and you build a relationship with somebody, you know they will go the extra mile for you, because you would do the

By the way, these tips also can help for getting a job at WiderFunnel. (We’re hiring!)

Posted in: best practices

2 Comments

  1. Lincoln March 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Everyone likes to talk about how an agency can retain a client – but isn’t it so true that a poor client, no matter their size, brand, etc, can be more of a negative than a positive if you aren’t moving in the same direction.

    • @chrisgoward March 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      That's so true, Lincoln! The best results for both parties come with true goal and communication alignment.

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