Over the past decade, the digital space has become increasingly saturated with marketing agencies.
The gold rush of consulting is upon us. Floods of marketers have jumped on the bandwagon and milking the opportunity for all its got.
Don’t let the competition dissuade you!
There are still 100s of thousands of local businesses in need of experts to help them navigate the technical world of the internet.
For some, the easy part of the agency model is fulfillment; for others, it’s sales.
However, if you’re like the majority of marketers, your biggest challenge is likely getting more profitable clients to fuel your agency.
This article is going to cover how to get clients for digital marketing from start to finish. You’ll learn the basics of finding, approaching, and selling local businesses for whatever online service you plan to offer.
Focus On a Niche
It takes far more energy and time to fumble through initial stages, systemize, and then scale marketing services than most entrepreneurs expect.
You can spend a decade building a generic marketing agency or you can scale a niche agency to 6-figures in 18 months.
Your marketing and sales processes will be far more effective if you first choose to focus in on a specific industry.
In order to optimize your marketing and sales processes you’ll need to know the target market on a very deep level. This will require you to do massive amounts of research into an industry to understand their needs, challenges, mindsets, terminology, demographics, and what strategies are most effective for marketing their businesses.
For this reason, try to consult in industries where you have some form of affinity. This being said, still try and select proven viable niches as these will likely produce the best digital marketing clients and results.
Deep Market Research
Most agencies (new and established) jump straight to promotion. These agencies break the cardinal rule of marketing; know the audience.
The first step to get digital marketing clients is to not try and get clients.
Marketing and sales begin with understanding your ideal client. Find out what your niche needs and give it to them.
You can dig deep into the demographics and mindsets of your audience through multiple mediums: forums, groups, events, magazines, TV shows, radio stations, podcasts, etc.
Create a map of the market space that lists out everything about the target audience.
Using this map, begin engaging in conversation with the market. Talk with the members of the group, read comments on videos, chat in forums with people in the industry.
From this, you should be able to craft an image of your ideal customer and what they want.
Define an Offer
Based on your previous research, determine the digital marketing service you want to offer.
Similar to serving a single industry, it’ll help you focus in on one service to offer in the beginning stages of your agency.
As ar as services go, I’d stick with one of the big 3 services…
(1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
(2) Google Ads
(3) Facebook & Instagram Ads
These services are in high demand and produce recurring income which will help build compounding cash flow for your agency.
The pricing of your services is another component that factors into an offer. You should quickly be able to judge median ranges of pricing based on competitive research and conversations around the web.
Further, you can price your services at a premium tier if you focus on tweaking offers around the main objections of your market. Customizing your offering in this way will differentiate your services from competition, allowing you to capture a majority of the market share.
Pitch Your Offer & Refine the Sales Process
Your initial service offering is just that, an initial offer. The aim is to create a service that sells itself. To do this, you’ll need to be continually optimizing the sales approach.
The fastest way to get feedback on your offer is to pitch it directly to clients. Prospects will tell you exactly what needs to be changed once money is in question.
Look out for patterns in objections as well as the aspects and terminology that consistently sells.
Optimize your sales process manually at first because a) it’s the fastest route to feedback and b) it’s free.
General Sales Process
The beginning of sales starts with outreach.
There are various ways you can promote a digital marketing agency to generate sales leads but the most simple is through cold email or phone calls.
I personally prefer to use cold email for the initial touch point since it scans out low interest businesses immediately without having to make a call.
One of the most effect outreach strategies is the video audit method. This tactic consists of an initial email that introduces who you are, mentions why you’re emailing them, quickly points out some aspects of their marketing, and asks if they would like a video you created to help improve their marketing systems.
Once a contact expresses interest in receiving the video (via a reply), you can then create a 4-8 minute video that audits the marketing system in question.
Embed the video on a landing page with a call to action for the prospect to schedule a free consultation call as well as trust signals such as process information and client case studies.
The whole point of all this is to get qualified companies on a 15 – 30 minute discovery call.
In general, it’s best to meet with business owners in person as this will build rapport much faster than a phone call.
However, not all companies are local to your area so in most cases you’ll likely have to sell over the phone.
Either way, try and leverage video conference software such as Uberconference as this has FaceTime and screen sharing capabilities that normal phone call lack.
Digital Marketing Discovery Calls
Your sales process will likely take 2 calls in order to close a client.
Your first call with the prospect is all about discovering more information about their business whereas the second call will cover specifics such as process and pricing.
In the first call, you’ll likely want to be prepared with a set of predetermined questions for clients in order to quickly decipher good prospects from bad.
As you may expect, the digital marketing sales process will vary depending on your offer and service. However, the principles of sales rarely change so it’s important to understand a standard process of how to sell digital marketing services before jumping on calls.
The more prepared you are going into a presentation the better off you’ll be. In general, it’s helpful to have a slide presentation to use for your own purposes and for the prospect if you happen to be using software that allows for screen share.
Your digital sales presentations will likely have the following structure.
(1) The Hook
(3) Your Pitch
(4) Handling Objections
(5) Closing the Deal
Each phase of the sales process has various intricacies you’ll have to understand and master.
We’ve written, in more detail, about digital marketing sales pitches so we’ll leave you with the basic format in this article.
Scaling Through Inbound Strategies
In the early days of consulting, it’s recommended you stick with manual processes. This manual approach will allow you to most effectively detail the process to either delegate or automate it.
This delegation and automation is what eventually will allow you to scale.
To continue reducing risk, invest first in organic lead generation rather than paid promotions.
Organic traffic is free so it’ll allow you to continue optimizing your marketing and sale process while keeping your expenses low.
You can build a stream of organic sales leads to your business online or offline. Offline strategies are more direct and will generally provide quicker feedback while online lead generation methods tend to be more passive.
Whatever you do, make sure to stand out from the competition. One of the easiest ways to differentiate when promoting your agency is through content.
Most larger agencies have neglected producing good content for a specific niche. This opens up a big opportunity for you to take over the space.
Long-tail focused content on social media and your blog is perhaps one of the most underutilized tools for acquiring more sales lead.
There are a bunch of strategies on how to market a digital agency but I’ll quickly mention one here.
Lead Generation Strategy for Digital Marketers
Most people know by now that ranking on Google isn’t the easiest thing to achieve in the digital marketing space. The process of competing in the already saturated search space takes a long time and requires capital.
Instead of fighting where everyone else is find a different battlefield.
The competition on YouTube is still far less than that of Google so is an amazing lead generation platform for your business.
The strategy I suggest swiping is interviewing. Interview your past/current successful clients and leverage this as content for your company’s channel. Talk with these businesses about the story of their company, financing, operations, sales, and marketing. The types of people who will watch content like this are other owners in the industry.
Interview content is great because you don’t have to say anything about yourself to assume expert status. The mere fact that your audience sees you talking with successful businesses in their industry labels you as an expert and one of them.
Don’t underestimate the power of interviewing as it can even be used for initial outreach. Instead of pitching owners on marketing services you can take an indirect approach with an interview. Interviews appeal to people’s egos and will help you build a more concrete relationship before pitching them on your services.