There are three key source types that help digital marketing agencies find new business. From personal networks and job boards to paid media and networking events, different options for finding new clients tend to fit into these three categories:
- Internal sources: Personal access that cost nothing
- Low-cost sources: Requires a small investment of time and money
- High-investment: Sources that pay out well for ample resources
Using all these sources, marketing agencies can start collecting new clients and begin forming an impressive portfolio in a short amount of time. When starting out or looking for growth, agencies can sometimes struggle, at first, to see all options for generating new business. But, they always succeed in achieving a diverse group of clients if each source is considered.
Because so many agencies turn to these fundamental sources when trying to gain new business or land a fresh client, it’s essential that you evaluate for yourself which sources are best for you.
For internal, low-cost, and high-investment sources, we outline what each business-generating source is and teach you how to effectively find new businesses using it. You will learn over a dozen sustainable and unique ways to generate business for your agency in this guide.
1. Internal Sources
Sources of new business that cost nothing and you already have access to are internal sources. Here are three instances of internal sources that can help any small business or agency to attract new customers.
Referrals are one of the easiest ways to grow your client list—but don’t wait for your customers to refer you on their own. Inspire them to talk about your business and rope in their friends by implementing a system for asking for referrals from customers.
You can incorporate “referral-generating” in your sales process with tools like ReferralCandy. Send a follow-up email with every successful project to ask them to refer you, or introduce your customers to your referral program after you satisfy a major milestone. Whatever you do, ask for referrals because they are an effective way to gain repute for your business through a widening circle of influence.
You can prepare a contact for generating referrals by asking them from the beginning to tell people about your business if you do great work. Whenever you get a compliment, make sure they know they can share it directly with others and refer you to specific contacts. And, finally, don’t accept just any referral. Instead, be specific when requesting one, seeking out a specific kind of relationship or business. Along these lines, remember a referral is as valuable as its quality.
Once you are generating referrals, you can turn to cultivate a supportive professional network and engaging word-of-mouth marketing. You’ll need to participate in networking events and organizations relevant to your customers and industry, but the relative effort is absorbed by building relationships that lead to new customers.
As you seek word-of-mouth and a renewable tree of relationships to draw on in times of need, always seek to network with an attitude of helpfulness. Rather than assessing whether there’s something in it for you, ask how you can help others and be of service to their needs. Naturally, reciprocity will lead them to help feed your business.
There are a few things you can do to make the most of your network. For example, set a goal to meet a certain number of new people at every event you attend, and try to attend multiple groups per month. Sometimes bringing friendliness and approachability to new people will prepare them easily for an active partnership. You never know. But, you must be willing to invest some energy and time in order to receive returns.
Old customers can be made new again. In particular, looking at prior customers that haven’t engaged your business in a while can be fruitful if you know when to strike. Go through your customer contacts on a frequent schedule and, after months of inactivity, you can reach out with a custom offer by email, phone, and direct mail. They’ll appreciate the thought and see that your interest in winning them back through a great deal.
Sometimes a customer falls out of the project or initiative because something interrupts the flow of their business or the timing isn’t right. But, you can rejoin these customers and remind them why they were poised to do business with you in the past. It’s another chance to establish a long-term, sustainable relationship.
To engage an existing or former customer, you can send them a personal note in the mail that could pack a punch if it contains valuable information. You can even re-engage them by simply asking for feedback on their completed project. Let them know that you host a customer event every year, for example, or ask them out to eat. There are hundreds of ways to engage someone personally while still staying focused on your agency’s goals.
2. Low-Cost Sources
There is a small price to pay for gaining new business from these sources which include job boards, blogs, and webinars. When you approach these sources, set goals for how you will invest strategically in these avenues.
Job Boards and Postings
You’re probably aware that LinkedIn, UpWork, and business job boards are all good places to find clients for independent contractors—and they work for agencies too. Search for lucrative freelance and contract opportunities while filtering results on LinkedIn and UpWork for your specific niche keywords. You’ll also want to bring your most professional and personable self to chatting with potential clients on LinkedIn or UpWork.
Marketing job sites on the other hand will allow you to cherry-pick chances to gain new business, usually requiring a strong portfolio and proven results to get attention. Try putting together your materials and a general cover letter to optimize for each role before you begin applying for these jobs.
But, how do you break through applicant tracking systems that discard resumes and become one of the few hires for each ad? Follow this process:
Find a Personal Contact.
Imagine you find a great fit. Your first instinct may be to apply, but many job seekers find greater success by finding information or clues about who the hiring manager might be. Use this to reach out and bring attention to your application.
Joining a group on LinkedIn to start engaging a community or to begin sourcing sales leads is a great way to establish new, exciting connections. An invitation to connect or direct outreach can even pique the interest of a hiring manager if it’s personal and relevant to them. Offer insights to your connections as it will help you gain proximity to their projects.
If you’ve established a conversation with a company employee or hiring manager, you’d be missing out if you didn’t ask for a referral. Few people realize that referred candidates are two times as likely to be interviewed and nearly 50% more likely to be hired.
Do not underestimate fresh content. As part of your marketing strategy, you should use content marketing to attract, entice, and convert customers. You can use blogging to your advantage because the more you blog, the higher you’re likely to rank for important online searches related to your service offerings. The result? You’ll gain more unique visitors to your website which will turn into leads and help you achieve your sales goals.
As you look to beef up your blog for these benefits, you need to start with a clear plan. You would be unpleasantly surprised by how even huge businesses offer a backseat to the lucrative possibility of creating thought leadership and demonstrating value through blogging. Set reasonable goals with clear strategies and objectives.
- “What are my goals for increasing brand awareness, engaging readers, and growing traffic?”
- “How will I specifically improve our search visibility to generate and nurture business-developing clients?”
- “How will I retain these new customers and increase our marketing ROI overall through blogging?”
To help you actually plan topics for posts once you have a plan of attack, you can look to your audience. Get to know what interests them, and use keyword and query research to see what kinds of questions they ask about your industry. You may not be able to compete for competitive keywords just yet, but perhaps there is low-hanging fruit you can capitalize on. Free tools, like Ubersuggest, can help you identify keywords, with low competition, your audience is looking up in search engines that you can rank for.
Finally, publish on a schedule. Develop a content calendar you can refer to for keeping this ROI-improving project on track and on target. Remember as you schedule major posts to have them coincide with product or service launches so that you can create synergy between your blog and other client-seeking activities.
Most websites have multiple functions for meeting the many needs of potential clients. In ensuring a successful website that nurtures traffic into hot leads for the sales team, you need to invest in three major areas: content creation, search optimization, and crisp, convincing copy. The project of creating a website (or reworking the one you already have) is a complex one, requiring many areas of expertise.
Hire a simple but competent team to produce fresh articles and posts, optimize your website for ranking on search engines, and create a user experience that convinces them to become customers. If you manage the project correctly and offer the right vision to your team, you can easily see the results of well-laid plans.
As you research what you want to create for your online customer experience, observe how some of the best, most attractive agency websites have a clean feel, mobile optimization, and balanced pages. The construction is thoughtful, fresh, and comfortable to allow for a pleasant consumption experience. There are also multiple types of media that help it function as a sales funnel such as testimonials, video, bold headlines, and galleries for projects and past clients.
However you put together your site, make sure that you are checking off the three main areas of investment in a high-performing online hub:
Focus on Your Persona
Produce and promote original, thought-leadership content that makes your customer aware of your expert knowledge. It will help support the trust they have in your abilities, as an agency, and it will also help you improve your website’s search-engine-optimization (SEO).
Optimize For Search
Strategize and coordinate the optimization of all your site’s pages, posts, images, and videos to be visible to search engines. With proper keywords, tagging, and linking, alongside a pleasant experience, you can create a magnet for customers.
Convert With Clear Website Copy
Write and rewrite your copy until it conveys clarity and uses an active voice to engage customer’s minds. Your customers should learn everything they need to make a buying decision on your site, so help them along by crafting simple, direct language to sell.
If you master these three components of a healthy, lively website, you will find yourself generating clients passively through the rising rank you enjoy on search. You’ll also love the ability to nurture that traffic into leads through great copy and design.
Your social presence can be just as important as your website. Customers use social media to rate you, reach you, and promote your agency. Some firms gain a good deal of their business through social channels where social media users purchase a product or hire a team after seeing a relevant post.
As you look to leverage social media, remember a few key points when sourcing clients. For one, post consistently and regularly. Now, we’re not saying you should sacrifice quality in the process, so make sure your content will generate enthusiasm on a schedule. You must keep your audience engaged.
Tagging can also help you as you seek to form alliances and relationships with other leaders on social media. This practice dramatically increases the likelihood of you getting a repost or an influential share. The exposure is mutually beneficial, so use it as you find your niche and speaking voice.
As a final point, remember the importance of strategy and metrics. No social media initiative should be complete without clear performance indicators that demonstrate ROI for the organization. In this case, one indicator of success will be the sheer volume of customers or sales that you bring to the firm. But, more specifically, you will want to track these figures to gauge your effectiveness and make adjustments.
As an agency, you have a wide variety of services that meet your client needs, but you’re more likely to be an expert at a few essential things. For clients to get the best, they often seek the collaboration of multiple agencies. You must work to build alliances and partnerships with these specialist agencies so that you can mutually support theIr client with greater effectiveness.
Select those clients that make the ideal source around which to establish yourself as an extension of their business. By aligning complementary values and goals, you can select partners that can offer you long-term success if you stay in tune with the gaps and needs of their organization. True partners pay attention to these high-level concerns in order to help each other focus on long-term value and loyalty.
For the majority of agencies, partnerships are lasting connections with a strategic edge. While they sometimes require a small sacrifice to your preferences or prices, the show of commitment to a partner can be the start of mutual support. By and large, however, these kinds of alliances are helpful because some agencies gain most of their income from business they land through partnerships.
Webinars and Events
You can build a webinar to not only strengthen customer relationships but also to seed them. A creative way to attract new clients is to deliver insight and value before they sign up. Webinars attract huge numbers of leads, and they can help close the end of your sales funnel. Hosting a helpful webinar is relatively simple for most agencies.
Start by identifying the major pain points of your customer so you can offer a relevant, helpful, and unique webinar that addresses these frustrations. Then, choose a speaker that can represent your firm with knowledge and repute.
Handling the question and answer session at the end, finally, is critical for giving individuals opportunities to interact with your agency’s leadership. Close the session with an opportunity to learn more and make an invitational pitch.
3. High-Investment Sources
Those sources of clients that require the most time, money, and resources are high-investment, high-return, and high-level. At their best, they offer an aggressive advantage to agencies, and many small firms busy themselves every day with guiding their paid media, content marketing, email outreach, and social posting.
While you can’t throw money behind any old ad or promotional post, paid media is a lucrative way to buy access to a variety of customers. By targeting them through strategic campaigns, you can design ads and develop offers that entice new business. Leverage the expertise of your employees, freelancers, and marketing contractors to develop campaigns as good as those you create for clients.
Content marketing can be an expensive business. Knowing how to recycle assets into new forms is key as you come up with a diverse multimedia content strategy through videos, blogs, podcasts, papers, and graphics. The spend for content can seem steep in some specialized and high-stakes industries where language and attention to detail matters, but it can pay for itself in capturing an attentive audience.
Email is profitable and has the power of being personal. Distributing large announcements, offers, and information by email can cost depending on the software, writers, and designers used. However, with the strong open and click-through rates, you can generate excitement about your agency with just a few simple words. The challenge will be to allocate appropriate time and resources to this arm of your client acquisitions.
Social posting is flexible, but the most far-reaching and influential pages and presences require significant investment. Sometimes it takes a team of people to manage and follow engagement across channels and platforms.
For the most part, time and energy go into social, but there is also the opportunity to spend in exchange for exposure. It is sometimes seen as an expense on other activities and tasks, but social media has a virtue of its own to invest in a powerful, convincing, and valued social persona. Then, when you work in paid promotions and advertising, the rewards of a leading social presence become obvious.
We created this guide in order to inspire you and show you all the ways you, as a new agency, can generate new business. We advise taking a helpful, human approach to attracting and vetting potential clients whether you find them through your network, contact list, social media, or elsewhere.
Taking the time to get to know your prospective customer will help you to understand what they need to become a new client. Then, all you have to do is deliver. You’ll be amazed at how remembering a few, simple key ideas will help you develop a fresh source of partnerships and profits.
If you want help implementing these strategies, Centaur Consulting Group partners with marketers to improve their resiliency through persistence and effective communication. We can help you achieve marketing landmarks as you innovate and grow along the way. Collaborate with us to develop solutions and tactics for your agency that work for your clients as well.You can finally reclaim time lost struggling to attract new business through less effective means. Start taking a many-sided approach to signing on new clients. Schedule a free consultation to develop a clear plan of action.