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Adam Whitehouse, Studio Manager, Nettl of Birmingham

Nettl of Birmingham is considered one of our flagship studios. She’s a beauty. I’m very proud of the studio and what we’ve achieved. My team and I have managed to grow in what has been very difficult circumstances.

I’m Adam. Our business is about helping local companies promote themselves. A good part of that is still, and always will be, print related. Design, print, large format and signage. All ways for us to start conversations. But we’ve expanded our offering. Changed how our clients perceive us. We’ve done that by being able to provide a wider range of digital services.

Recently, we’ve seen a lot of demand for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Our print clients are recognising the need to invest in their online presence, and getting found. And I’d rather they came to me for that, than another agency, who might move in on their print spend.

A few years ago I knew very little about SEO. And it can be scary to even think about selling something you know little about. But with some support and training from our Academy, we’ve managed to grow our recurring revenues nicely. Our Nettl SEO offering is a ‘done for you service’, meaning that after we sell an SEO package, our centralised experts take on the work. We manage the client relationship. It means we can scale the offering, quickly. And we don’t ever hit capacity.

So, follow me as I take you through a day at Nettl of Birmingham where I’ll be focusing on all things SEO: how we win new business and how we retain customers.

(Estimated reading time: 7 mins)

Winning New Business In The Morning

Reporting & Analytics

First thing to do is to decide which of our customers could benefit from SEO. So running a customer report that shows me who the client is, and their lifetime spend helps us do that. The Nettl System generates the report in a minute or so and gives me all the customer information I need.

From that I can identify who to start conversations with…

We may have built their website for them, in which case we’ll have a lot more information within the system. But even if we’ve not built their website (yet) we can still start a conversation about how they’re getting traffic to their site and start an SEO package.


For the clients we’ve decided to start conversations with, I generate an SEO audit. The Nettl System produces a PDF of each within a minute ,at the click of a button. The reports are detailed but concise – each website is given an overall grade and then individual grades for various factors, e.g. usability or social. Depending on the customer I’ll either call them in advance of sending the audit, and tell them to watch out for it arriving, which sparks their interest, or I’ll simply email it across and tell them I was thinking of them, and should we have a chat. As the audit reports are so personal, it’s pretty unusual for a customer not to respond.

There’s also a Frequently Asked Objections page within the Nettl System that’s specific to SEO. It lives in the SEO Resource Book which is filled with things to help us start conversations & manage client relationships. The Frequently Asked Objections page was incredibly helpful when we first started offering SEO. As the team and I are now pretty fluent in discussing the service, we use the FAO less often but I still have it open on my Mac, just in-case! It helps me deal with typical questions like, “why is SEO important to me?” Or “What guarantees can you give me?”

Online Lead Generation

The SEO audit tool has also been brilliant in generating us leads from our website. We have a ‘Get Your Free SEO Audit’ button that links to a contact form. We grab those details, stick them into the Nettl System and generate the audit. The conversion rates are pretty high and the tool produces leads who we can up-sell to – websites, social media, print.

For clients or enquiries we have less of a relationship with, I delve back into the SEO Resource Book to scroll through marketing campaigns that I can use to start conversations with. I find this a better way to warm up lost and dormant clients or enquiries- after they’ve received a few e-shots and mailers I’ll then send the SEO audit. I choose a campaign and set it up to go out via the Nettl System. All done in about 5 minutes and the System will show me all the click / open rates I need to track the campaign’s success.

Being in the SEO Resource Book reminds me that there’s an upcoming SEO Education Session. It’s something the Nettl central teams do regularly – they host webinars about the importance of various elements of SEO and we invite our clients to them. The central team let us know who attended and we can follow up with them. The sessions have been great at sparking customer interest and we don’t have to do that much! I email and call some clients who I think would benefit from attending the session.


The Nettl Partnership includes online training in SEO via our Academy. This has been huge in giving the team, and myself, confidence in speaking to clients about the offering. The courses are run via Nettl Academy which is an online platform. All sessions are recorded so if I’m having a day like today, where I know it’s likely I’ll be speaking to clients about SEO, I’ll give myself 30 minutes to catch-up on the fundamentals and anything new within the industry.

Packages, Proposals & Pricing

All this talking to customers has generated interest so I need to get some proposals out. There are a range of packages that can be advertised and sold to clients. Nettl provides RRPs for the packages so we can quote quickly.

Each package comes with a ready made proposal that can be personalised – this only takes a few minutes as all of the content is pre-written. I click to share the proposals with clients via their individual customer dashboards. They can view the proposals, make comments and accept them. It gives the client comfort in what we’ll be doing for them. The Nettl System then automatically notifies me when they’re accepted so I can do other things whilst I’m waiting for the green light.

20 minutes later and we have our first acceptance! I set-up a subscription for the chosen package within the Nettl System. This alerts the central team that a new package is live and they start to get to work. I have direct communication with them but there’s a Launch Structure that we follow – I now know it off by heart! Deploying the subscription also automatically triggers an invoice from us to the client and, because we have their card details stored (safely via Stripe) within the Nettl System, payment is automatically collected. No need to remember to chase for payments or to send an invoice.

Retaining Customers In The Afternoon

SEO is seen by some as a bit of a dark art – it’s not uncommon to hear horror stories about clients who pay a small fortune every month, only to find out that, in reality, nothing has been done.

Nettl provides us with tools that counteract this belief which allows us to retain our SEO customers. And it gives the team and I the opportunity to cross-sell other opportunities.

Automated Reporting

We receive updates from the central team on what activity has taken place each month, for each SEO package that’s live. The reports are held in an online portal which makes it easy for us to view the various stats, KPIs and numbers that we need to pass back to clients. We can give them access to this portal too so they can view the results of the work 24/7. This has really helped in giving us, and customers, 100% reporting visibility. It’s reduced the number of phone-calls we get from clients asking us what’s happened within a 30 day period. And it’s given them trust in our offering.

For customers on one of the larger packages I’ll give them a call as a courtesy. The call is also a good excuse to ask what marketing plans or events they’ve got coming up so we can up-sell. I run a report from the Nettl System which gives me these clients and their contact details and I start calling them.


Once a client has an SEO package running I like to send them some recurring marketing to keep them exposed to the offering. So, I jump back into the SEO Resource Book and pull up some campaigns that I like the look of. Today I think I’ll send a few clients who have just had a package launched an SEO:Go booklet as it explains the first steps of the Launch Process. I see a new case-study has been added to the archive too so I download that and send it to a few prospects from earlier today.


One of our studio goals is to gain as much of the client’s wallet share as possible. We want their print, PPC, social media, web work and signage, as well as their SEO. I want to send some clients an e-shot about our new social media offering. The Nettl System has a marketing archive that is constantly updated with new marketing campaigns and downloadable assets. Recurring marketing goes out regularly from the Nettl System about various offers, new print & promo products and digital strategies. But the marketing archive contains more strategic campaigns. I download the new brochure explaining the social media packages for clients and email the PDF to some low hanging fruit.

And that’s it for today! I like days like this when I focus on one offering. Everything I need is in one place and all of the tools, assets and the infrastructure surrounding the offering makes related out-bound marketing a hell of a lot easier. Cheerio!

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Nettl Partner, or if you’d like to see the Nettl System in action, click below to book a demo or request a free info pack.