A few weeks ago, I shared that I had (finally!) chosen a specialized direction for my web agency. Now, it’s time to do the work to get my name out there.
As far as marketing my new service, I have already launched a microsite all about it. But, putting up a four-page website isn’t enough to get buried in a deluge of inquiries.
I need more content, and I need proof.
So here’s what I’m doing first to develop my specialty: free work.
Yep, hours and hours of work for $0.
I have started working on SEO for a couple wedding professionals I know, a wedding planner and a wedding photographer. I view this as a highly strategic, long-term investment. Here’s why:
2 Reasons I’m Doing SEO Work For Free
1. To Develop Case Studies
As I mentioned before, I don’t have a ton of hands on experience doing SEO specifically for wedding professionals.
Now, I’m not saying I have no experience at all and am going to run out and mess up a lot of websites. I have plenty of SEO experience with clients I’d consider very similar to wedding planners and photographers. I just haven’t worked with someone specifically in this industry.
I recognize this is kind of weird when I’m saying that I’m specializing in this niche. So I need to build authority and case studies, fast. And the fastest way to get going is to offer my services for free to people I respect.
I also know I need to prove my ability to create results with SEO specifically for the type of businesses I want to work for. There is a lot of mistrust in SEO, so I need tangible proof that I can create improvements in rankings, traffic, and conversions.
Having these case studies on my website is going to really help build trust when someone hears about me or browses my website for the first time.
2. To Build Relationships
Both of the professionals I am working with now are amazing, experienced wedding vendors. These are the types of clients I will need to build a strong client base within the industry.
So it won’t hurt when both of their sites start ranking well, and they get excited about their uptick in traffic. I can imagine that they might be interested in spreading the word about how my services benefited them.
I certainly haven’t asked them to make referrals for me, but I’d like to do such a great job for them that they can’t help themselves but talk about it.
Why I Don’t Hate On Doing Free Work
I know some service providers really shy away from doing free work. They might prefer to just give a discount if they need to stimulate activity, so they at least make something. But I’m really not into discounts.
I listened to Sean McCabe a long time ago talking about only offering services at two prices: full price or free. He said:
“Giving someone a gift or doing work pro-bono is giving them something of full value at no cost. Unlike with discounts, the recipient of the gift values it at the full amount.” – Sean McCabe
I really agree. I think discounts can devalue the work you’re doing. When you discount a price, the client only values it at what they paid. They are likely to get confused in the referral process about how much you’d charge someone they referred to you.
When you do free work and tell someone how much you would charge for it at full price, they value it at the full amount.
Beyond that, when you give someone the gift of services for free, you are 100% in control of the situation and how the services are performed. You can let the client know exactly what you’re willing to do for free and how it will be structured, and it gives you flexibility to deliver the service how you want to.
So free it is for this phase of growing my specialty.
I can’t wait to have some case studies to share with you. PS: One of the sites I’m working on has already moved from page 7 to page 2 —Wheeeee! 🙂