The Questions You Forget to Ask

There’s a lot of reasons online marketing is very different in strategy and execution when compared to traditional marketing, but there are some things that remains the same whether you’re doing business development for an SEM agency or a traditional Ad Agency:

  • Identify Client’s Needs
  • Analyzing Gaps in Current Performance
  • Suggesting Business Solutions that Fit Client Goals
  • Identify the Client’s Existing Inventoriable Assets

It is quite rare to find a client that has not taken baby steps into the world of online marketing, whether that be putting up kijiji ads for their business, or having strategic partnerships with vendors, suppliers, customers etc.

I’m prepping some of my team in Montreal for client pitches in French (which I understand, but am not very good at speaking), and thought that any biz dev folks reading this could benefit from it as well. Expert SEOs can often spot such ‘client asset’s or ‘useful inventory’ but that process can be optimized by simply asking the client the right questions.

10 Question You Should Ask Your Clients Today

  1. Do you have a list of unused domains you may have bought but aren’t using? [ Redirect Them ]
  2. Do you advertise your url in any offline advertising outlets? [ Helps Estimate Direct Traffic Numbers ]
  3. Do you use server load balancing i.e, [Duplicate Content Issues]
  4. Do you already have listings on Craigslist, Kijiji, Gumtree? [ If Listings Rank Well…Put Tracking Links In]
  5. Do you use Facebook, Youtube, Google Video to promote your services? [ Consolidate the accounts ]
  6. Where are your additional unused domains being hosted? [Localization & SEO]
  7. How many sub-domains do you currently have? [Duplicate Content & SEO]
  8. Do you have any embeddable content (widgets, calculators) that use dynamic query strings?  [ Might create indexing problems, link juice concentration problems, and might look unsightly. Eg: 5th backlink down the results].
  9. Are all your telephone numbers, addresses, and contact email id’s up to date? [Usability and Accuracy]
  10. Where do you see your online marketing efforts going in 1 year’s time? [ Client’s need a vision too, even if you help them see it. Also judges worthwhileness of the client]

Folks, I’ve learned to ask these questions over time and through experience, because I’ve lost precious time and money discovering errors on a client’s site on my own time and without prior knowledge from the client.

Examples of such errors include:

  • Finding 95 sub-domains on a PR8 site that gets over 3 million visitors every month that was majorly sucking SEO juice off the parent domain. Each sub-domain was named,, and none of them redirected to the main domain. Worse yet, they were all duplicate versions of the same site.
  • Load balancing issues with a large corporate bank with each load balancing server running slightly different versions of the same site. Each time you tried loading up the main domain, it would lead you to a visibly different version of the site with completely different product and service promos.
  • Embeddable content woes where there were 4 query strings in pulling data off a simple calculator.
  • Discovering 50 additional hyper local domains that were never mentioned 3 months after taking up a contract!

Avoid the horror stories and ZOMG moments by remembering to ask the questions you usually don’t ask your client the next time around. I’m sure there’s more that experienced SEO’s can offer, so please leave me a comment with your feedback. Don’t forget to sign up to my RSS feed while you’re at it too!

Photo credit: Anyhoo

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Tagged with: Ad Agency, Client, Craigslist, Facebook, French, Google Video, Gumtree, Kijiji, Montreal, Online Marketing, SEM agency, SEOs, Youtube

About Dev Basu

Canadian SEO & Inbound Marketer. Founder at @PoweredbySearch. Professor @SenecaSoME. I love startups, fast cars, & smart people. Helping brands with #DemandGen.