Okay, so how do I make this happen? I don’t have anything, I don’t know what to do! How do I get my first SEO client?
First, make things for yourself! Get results for your own stuff. And I don’t mean your SEO or marketing blog. Pick another topic and show that you can get results. You don’t need anyone’s permission, just do the work.
Then, once you’re getting great results, show that to local business owners — service providers are ideal. It could be a carpenter, a plumber, or a local up-and-coming photographer (my favorite). Ask them if they’d like similar results for their business.
Then — and this is important — offer to get similar results for their website for FREE. Yes, I recommend doing this first project at no cost to them. Instead ask them to pay you with a case study. In exchange for helping them get amazing results for their business (yes, that part is also essential), ask them if you can create a public case study using their data and numbers to show exactly what you did.
If they say no, they’re not the client for you, but find someone who is — many local service providers will jump at this opportunity!
Then once you really help them move the needle on their business, you’re going to write a case study in a very specific way — using a Hero’s Journey archetype. It’s based on Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and it’s the basis for a lot of George Lucas movies and other blockbusters. It’s solid and you definitely want to write your case study in this way.
Next, you want to get your Hero’s Journey case study in front of other business owners who want those results.
Here’s how I did exactly what I’m telling you to do. I created brazilian jiu jitsu gi review website and my own ecommerce brand. I got results, and I parlayed that into working with a local photographer who also happened to be a friend. Pro tip: always start with friends and people who know, like and trust you!
Over the next six months, I helped him make an additional $42,000 thanks to additional leads from SEO. Then, I wrote it up in a case study using the Hero’s Journey format. Then I got that case study in front of other photographers. I went on podcasts, I emailed them, I participated in online forums. I took every opportunity to get in front of photographers who might be interested in improving their SEO. My first four or five SEO clients were all photographers.
See, it’s not rocket science. It’s just about doing the work and creating something that matters!