There’s various aspects to building an advertising agency that must come together in order to achieve a thriving business.
One of the most important of these aspects is your promotional strategy.
No business can survive without a constant influx of fresh new clients. It doesn’t matter how good your sales team is if they don’t have prospects to sell to.
The focus of this article is to give your ad agency a solid marketing plan that will serve as a foundation for growing your client-base through self promotion.
You’ll learn how to promote an advertising agency in a way that is low-risk and high return.
Lastly, we’ll not only help you get more clients for your ad agency but position your services in a way that only gets you the right clients.
Start With the Audience
The cardinal rule to marketing is to begin with the audience. So many marketing agencies preach this to their clients but forget to do this themselves.
Your promotion begins with diving into the mind of your ideal customer.
Who is it you want to work with?
Start by defining the characteristics, industry, company size, etc. that you want to serve.
Ultimately, your business will have a stronger presence the more this industry/individual has some deep meaning to you and your organization.
Why are you serving this audience?
Humans naturally want stories. The story of why you’re serving this space is a huge leverage point for your marketing and sales teams.
Then, define avatars for your clients. An avatar is simply a mock character detailing who the person you’re promoting to is.
What do they look like, what is their nationality, what is their age, what are their beliefs?
Focus on distilling their demographics, psychographics, and affinities until you have a complete picture of who they are.
Now, scour online and offline for every space your customer exists; this is called, market mapping.
Once you know the market space, you can now dive headfirst into each of these client pools in order to understand the audience on a deep level. Look for conversations, problems, solutions, products, services, etc. Then, venture into starting actual conversations with the audience.
Reach out to potential prospects simply to continue market research. The point isn’t to sell customers during this phase but to understand them.
Develop An Offer
By the end of all your market research efforts you should have some hypothesis for what your ideal client wants in terms of products and services.
Use this hypothesis to craft an offer that addresses all the major objections, upfront! Here, you are literally selling clients within the product itself.
The idea is to create irresistible offers that reduce promotional resources needed to acquire new customers.
NOTE: promote your agency manually in the beginning stages to stay close to the pulse of your customers. Direct conversations with your customers will help you to more quickly shape your offers around the needs of the market. This being said, you also want to consider developing not just one product but multiple tiers of products. The more you can up-sell, cross sell, and down-sell, the higher average client value you have. The higher your average customer value is, the more you can afford to spend to acquire a new client.
We won’t go over the intricacies and differences in selling internet marketing services<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> as opposed to traditional print in this article. However, we recommend checking out the article linked above to get a better grasp of those differences and to define common pricing models.
Now that you’ve defined your audience, optimized your offers, and proven your service work, the next task is to scale promotion.
The strategies listed below will work to get you digital marketing clients as well as for print advertising.
I’d suggest continuing with the slower, free, organic approaches listed (first 4) before moving into paid advertising as these will help to buffer expenses once you do start running ads.
There’s likely no quicker way to get a client for your advertising agency than cold outreach. I’m lumping mail, email, door knocking, and cold calls all within this category. These methods of promotion have worked for decades and continue to be one of the highest ROI marketing strategies to date.
However, there are some industries where cold outreach has gotten so saturated that the effectiveness of manual outreach has diminished.
Many big advertising agencies get clients solely through existing relationships they have.
Plenty agency owners simply build an agency because it’s an add-on for the other businesses they own and are affiliate with.
Don’t worry if this isn’t you!
You can still take advantage of proactive networking to gain clients.
Leverage industry-specific events/conferences/workshops to build a portfolio of successful business owners that you can stay in contact with.
You can create a list of these organizations through simple Google searches, reading through trade magazines, and joining MeetUps in your local area.
Content Marketing on Social Platforms
Most agencies are neglecting this strategy which opens a huge promotional gap for which you can acquire new customers.
Agencies tend to stray away from social platforms because a) their new (ish) and b) creating consistent content is hard and time consuming.
You can solve the second challenge with repurposed content. A solid strategy in the early days of your agency would be to outreach to successful businesses during the market research phase of your plan and ask for interviews with them.
These interviews serve multiple purposes. They…
- Give you insight into your market
- Build relationships with your target market in an indirect way
- Provide you with video content to release on platforms such as Facebook and Youtube
- And, they pin you as an expert in your field by mere association
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your agency website is foundational to your marketing plan. Search engines provide a steady stream of qualified leads to your business and do so quite passively.
The trouble is, most people have already recognized the power of search marketing and have saturated the space.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest marketing budget here though!
You can once again find a promotional gap in search marketing through the use of content.
Yes, your audience is using search engines to look for advertising agencies but this is only the ones who are ready to hire.
You can still get a foot in the door early in your prospect’s buying process.
Plenty of people are searching for solutions to various aspects in their businesses that you can help them with.
Find out what your audience is searching for and provide blog content that helps them solve that problem.
The value you add upfront will come back to your agency!
Of course, an advertising agency wants to walk-the-walk.
However, I’d keep this method to later on in your agency’s growth cycle.
Make sure you’ve built a strong USP, optimized your marketing and sales funnels, and have countless client success stories before investing large sums into paid advertising.
Whenever possible, niche down the media in which you advertise on. The larger (broader) the pool you fish in the more investment you’ll need.
Additionally, keeping your advertising to smaller niche media allows you to focus your message to the market and you’ll likely get much higher conversions.
Iterate & Optimize
As you may already know, everything takes testing and optimization.
The process of marketing your own ad agency isn’t/shouldn’t be a one-shot deal; it takes constant refinement to dial in a successful marketing campaign.
What we’ve presented you here is simply the foundation. It’s up to your agency to improvise and improve on the fly.