Managing Your Marketing Business: Making Travel Plans.
It’s important to see the world, to take on new perspectives, to open up one’s mind and one’s business to things abroad. But if you run your own marketing business, especially one that demands your exclusive presence for client and project maintenance — how will it ever be possible for you to get away?
If you run a small SEO business, chances are you do a few things for a few different clients, and maybe you have a bit of help from a partner or an intern, but you might not have a person into whose hands you can safely entrust your entire empire. With the benefit of contract and work-for-hire freelance help, you can wear a bunch of hats while doing SEO. But is there any travel possibility in your future?
In your mind, you’re confident that you can run the entire operation from the road. A little bit of WordPress’s simple features worked to your advantage, and some double-duty the month before you hit the road for Europe or Asia, and you’ve got a string of posts set to publish in advance along a weekly editorial calendar. You know you’ll have access to Internet frequently from the road, and so posting on a consistent frequency through social media channels like Facebook won’t be a problem either.
Last, you’ve got complete confidence in your own ability — and maybe more importantly, your own sense of ethical business — to do the jobs that your clients are paying your for, and to make that work a priority no matter how compelling your travel destinations might actually be.
So what can you do? How do you go about minimizing your clients worries and fears, while still being honest with them about your plans to do some extensive traveling?
Here’s the best way we’ve found to address client concerns when travel is imminent:
+ As far in advance as possible, and during a normal weekly or monthly meeting, let them know how hard you are working for them, and make sure they know that when possible, you take advantage of getting content ready well before it’s time to publish those articles.
+ Make sure your clients are aware of the ability of some CMSs like WordPress to post-date articles, so that they might be ready to go live, but scheduled in advance to publish on a future date of your choosing.
+ Always strive to maintain the most professional reputation possible among your clients.
And when it’s getting closer to the date when you will be leaving for a month or more…
+ Be honest and clear with your clients well in advance, let’s say at least a month before you go, and let them know in person (when possible) that you are leaving the country for an extended period of time. Make sure they know the dates, and give them plenty of time to absorb the news.
+ Don’t spin the trip in any way — be clear about the dates, what you’re going to be doing while you are away, and that you have every intention of continuing to provide them with the highest levels of service while you’re gone.
+ Schedule a follow up meeting! We can’t stress this enough. Most clients will have a version of “sticker shock” when they hear that their SEO firm is heading out of the country. When you meet with them a second time, perhaps two weeks before you go, ask questions and listen to their main concerns. Address these fears and concerns clearly, and be honest about your availability on the road to make their business (and yours!) a priority.
+ If it’s possible, make them aware of the pertinent details in a dedicated email that includes a subject line that will be easy for them to track: “SEO FIRM NAME: TRAVEL PLANS AND CONTACT DETAILS” or something of this nature. Include your travel itinerary, the time zone and time difference, special phone numbers or contact details, and anything else that might calm their nerves.
+ When you arrive at your destination, get online as soon as possible, whether it’s in your hotel, residency, apartment, or at an Internet cafe, and send your clients personalized emails. Let them know you’ve landed, you’re connected online, and you’ve got them and their business on your mind.
+ Get to work! Do the math, calculate the time difference, and stick to your normal publishing or social media update schedule. If you typically post in the morning, and you’re going to be nine hours ahead, then factor those numbers in and continue to post in the morning (when it’s morning for your client!).
[Photo Via: yourchildlearns]