One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of building a marketing agency is getting new clients.
For some people, sales is what holds them back, for others, it’s promotion.
Personally, I enjoy the promotional side of building an agency so that’s what we’ll cover here.
In this article I’ll detail how marketing agencies get clients by discussing the lowest risk strategy for promoting your services.
Start With the Audience
At its core, the purpose of a business is simply to provide solutions for a set of customers.
The problems a business solves come from the needs of the market. As marketers, it’s easy for us to preach the need for market awareness to our clients but so easy to neglect this in our own business.
All effective marketing and sales begin with the audience.
Who is it you want to serve and what do they need solved?
Define your target market down to their language patterns. A lot of this can be accomplished through internet research but the best feedback comes from direct conversations (preferably with money involved).
From conversations and research, you’ll be able to compile a fairly accurate image of who you’ll be promoting to.
We’ve created guides on the best businesses to target as well as how to find digital marketing clients if this is the route you end up taking with your agency.
Develop An Offer
With knowledge of your audience, you’ll have an accurate initial aim of what it is they want in the first place. You’ll be able to craft an offer around the objections of the market and create a product/service that sells itself.
Now-days, everyone wants to sell internet marketing services, and for good reason. Likely, you’ll service offering will fall in that scope but by no means limit your offer to the online world!
Create an initial hypothesis of what your audience wants then quickly bring it to market. Begin manually outreaching to potential clients and pitching your offer. Manual processes are the fastest way to get direct feedback. Too many people, including myself, jump straight to ideas about scaling when, in reality, we should be doing the hard work upfront to first optimize.
The second thing to note is that the offer you create is just an initial hypothesis. The point of pitching your service is to get feedback to optimize your sales process.
The longer you spend optimizing the manual sales process (which requires lots of testing) the more effective your promotional funnel will be.
Get these early stages right and you’ll never have to worry about ROI on a marketing funnel again.
In the early stages of an agency, milk organic traffic sources as much as possible as these will help you to optimize your funnels at low financial risk.
Once you’ve refined a process that converts well, then I’d suggest moving into paid avenues.
These methods of promotion are great in the initial stages because they tend to produce sales conversations and cash flow as soon as possible.
The early you get feedback from your market the sooner you can invalidate or validate your offer so stick with these when optimizing.
Cold Emails: Video Audits
Cold emails have definitely been overused and given a bad reputation from crappy “marketers.” Yet, they still work; quite consistently, in fact.
You do want to differentiate though when sending cold emails to businesses. Fortunately, your competition hasn’t made it too hard to do this.
Differentiate yourself by offering value upfront and taking an indirect approach.
A solid strategy is to send video audits (4-7 minutes) to interested leads. Embed this video on a landing page with trust signals and the ability for the prospect to schedule a free consultation with you.
Video auditing emails are a) going to likely get better responses b) pre-scan out low quality leads and c) warm up leads before they get on the phone with you or your team.
Networking: Group Prospecting
Networking is still one of the best ways to build relationships with some of the larger more successful businesses in your industry. Most of the time these business owners don’t have their contact information listed on the web so in person is really the only way to get in contact with them.
Search Google for “your niche” “events/conferences/workshops/etc.” and you’ll get a long list of events you can attend.
You may also want to check out the website MeetUp.com for some more opportunities in your local area.
Lastly, make sure to join your local chamber of commerce and attend the meetings they host on a monthly basis.
Organic – Inbound Strategies
I’d start investing in organic promotion once you’ve validated your offer and have a few case studies/testimonials under your belt.
Some of the traffic you build organically to your website and profiles will convert instantly to a sales lead but for everyone else you’ll want to work them through a funnel by offering a free/low-end, easily digestible offer.
The whole point of beginning with organic traffic is to test your complete marketing funnel (free to sale) with low financial risk. Eventually, you’ll be paying for traffic to this funnel so you’ll want to optimize as much as possible before-hand.
Here are two amazing ways to organically promote your marketing agency…
Content Marketing on Social Platforms & Blogs
Most big marketing agencies have neglected the content side of their business. Content is likely your secret way into a new space that’s dominated by big names.
You’ve already determined some of the needs of your audience so begin providing solutions for free via content.
I’d suggest leveraging YouTube and your blog for the promotion of content.
Perform keyword research to find long-tail search queries your market is performing to solve issues in their field. These searches can, and likely will be, earlier in the customer’s buying cycle so don’t be afraid to create content that isn’t directly related to a need for marketing.
Then, once you start building some traction, begin interviewing businesses in your target audience. This interview can be with past/current clients or can even be used as a subtle, foot-in-the-door, strategy for beginning relationships with businesses.
Release these interviews to your small audience and you’ll quickly build massive trust and expert status.
Continue turning this flywheel for at least a year and you’ll be very very happy you did. You will not only have built something that passively generates leads but you’ll also have a significant retargeting audience for which you can launch paid campaigns off of (and create lookalike audiences from) in order to get amazing ROI of your ads.
Paid – Inbound Advertising
This portion of promoting an agency should be the easiest part if you’ve done everything correctly up until now.
Facebook & Youtube Ads: Niche Content Funnel
Begin your advertising campaign simply by retargeting your YouTube and blog traffic audiences with advertising to push them through your advertising funnel.
At this point in time you should have already been testing your offers and funnels organically so you’ll have a good idea of what to put in front of your existing audience.
Then, once you’ve managed to get positive ROI on this campaign (probably fairly quickly) begin expanding to colder audiences on YouTube and Facebook.
Leverage lookalike audiences for your existing traffic/leads/customers to improve the targeting and overall effectiveness of your ads.
Systemize Your Sales Process
You likely will have more leads than your team can handle at this point in time. There will come a point when your marketing funnel reaches diminishing returns. At this point, you’ll shift your focus to sales, operations, and automation to improve the process in which you vet and handle lead inquiries.
At this point in time you may want to look towards offering additional services to your customers to increase lifetime value. This could look like selling SEO to clients and or selling online advertising as a means of increasing the value your company produces per lead.
Iterate & Optimize
The process of getting marketing clients is anything but easy or static.
Throughout the lifespan of your agency you’ll need to be constantly optimizing every facet of your business.
I’ve attempted to give you some sort of chronological instructions but really, the entire process of optimizing your business is done in tandem.
The main point to take away from this article is to start manual, iterate fast and free, then slowly increase the traffic to your business overtime through organic and paid mediums.