You know the big dream for most SEOs, it's starting a marketing agency. There are a lot of ways you can make money with SEO and starting an agency happens to be the most profitable. But that philosophy remains true if you know how to attract more clients to pay you for your service. Because leads are the lifeblood for any service-based business. Without a system for generating leads, the business gradually dies.
But that's where you suck, right? You're an SEO specialist but not a salesperson. So, how do you generate new clients for your marketing agency?
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a salesperson. You only need to create a system that keeps introducing new leads to your business. In this post, I'll share working principles and methods to keep getting new clients and leads for your agency. And the best part is that you can do this yourself and don’t require having a degree in marketing or sales. So without wasting much of your time, let’s get started with creating a system for your marketing agency. Let’s dive right in.
#1: Niche Down
I know you desperately need new clients now, but what I’m asking you to do is to niche down. Instead of running an all-in-one SEO agency where you provide different services to different range of clients, this time around, focus on a niche. Besides, according to some sales statistics, multiple offers on a landing page decrease the conversion rate by up to 266%. Instead of multiple offers, find a particular offer that you can do excellently, then niche down. I’d rather hire a niche expert than a general marketing agency. Not just niching down on your services, niche down on the types of clients you work with too. Here’s how to do it.
A) Niche Down on your Service
Already, there are a lot of marketing agencies in the world. And you don’t just want to add up to the number without having a clear focus.
So start with a focused niche. Here are some of the niches that you can focus on; content marketing, guest blogging services, link building services, SEO auditing, and consultancy, Facebooks Ads, Google Ads, Social media marketing, etc. There are a lot. But the agencies that grow fast and keep having a line of clients willing to work with them are those that focus on a particular service. If your team is good at optimizing Facebook ads for businesses, then let that be your focus.
Are you good at building quality links to sites? Then that’s another focus that you can leverage on.
Taking one of Matt Diggity’s SEO service company as an example - Authority Builders:
Authority Builders focuses on providing ONLY a done-for-you white hat link building services.
The fact is, offering all the services doesn’t in any way help you reach the 7-figure mark. Likewise, offering a single service doesn’t limit your earnings potential. It’s best you niche down and become an expert.
B) Niche Down on your Client Personas
You need more clients, then narrow your client type. You shouldn’t brand yourself as a marketing agency that helps all business types. Absolutely, you’re better at helping some types of clients than some others.
So, you can focus on being a marketing agency for Law firms or Restaurants or Universities and Schools or Realtors, etc. The point is, focusing down and being seen as an expert.
And to decide which you should focus on, look into areas you have experience. Other than marketing, you definitely have other work experience or you know some other niche better too. That’s an opportunity to work on. Besides, niching down to your areas of strength will help you produce excellent results that speak for you.
#2: Build a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is the best thing that can ever happen to your marketing agency. Having a sales funnel offers more value, but the best part is its ability to keep driving new clients and leads your way. But as good as that sounds, a lot of marketing agencies are yet to take advantage of that.
Here’s what a sales funnel does:
A sales funnel guides every of your website visitors to take action, and for marketing agencies, it’s to contact you or ask for a quote or maybe join your email list. It does this by using a well-connected webpage alongside a good copywriting. A sales funnel uses copywriting alongside with templates and images to guide your website visitors to take action.
Without a sales funnel in place, the rest strategies wouldn’t be productive. You can run ads for your agency, drive traffic to your blog, niche down your focus, but if you don’t have a sales funnel in place, it’s near to useless.
Fine, you might be lucky to get a few clients from these strategies. But luck shouldn’t be the case for a business. You need a website that converts your visitors to clients. And that’s a sales funnel. A sales funnel thinks through the process a visitor goes through to become a client or customer.
Irrespective of the sales funnel builder or the website builder involved, the framework is what makes it a sales funnel. For example, if you run an SEO agency for restaurants, here's what your typical sales funnel should look like:
You could start by running paid ads to a landing page where you offer free courses for restaurant owners on how to get customers and increase sales organically without spending a dime on paid ads. Maybe that isn't the case, you could host a free webinar where you teach restaurant owners how to stay afloat during the crisis.Here's the thing, you're offering free value by sharing your knowledge with them. And by so doing, you turn a cold prospect to a warm prospect.
To unlock your free courses, your visitors and prospects need to provide their contact details in return. Phone, email address, and name. That’s the first stage of turning them into warm prospects. By the time they go through the webinar, if they really needed more help, you would be a better option for them to reach out via booking a call or filling out an application form. Most times, your would-be clients don’t have an idea of the agency they want to work with. If you’re able to get them first, then you can be sure of being a go-to resource or person when they need help. During the webinar, you’re building and forging relationships with your prospects. At the end of the webinar, you’ll already have a clear idea of the hot leads you can take advantage of based on their interest. This is something you can achieve with a well-structured sales funnelling process.
#3: Partner Up
Have you found a niche that you are good at? You also have a sales funnel? Great. Then consider partnering with marketing agencies that compliment you. Partnering with other marketing agencies will help you get referrals from these marketing agencies. And the best part; if you find a top-rated marketing agency to partner with, just a few leads from there could be more than enough.
In essence, partnering with a marketing agency might be all you need to reach your goal. But when reaching out, you need to look for marketing agencies that are NOT competitors but whose services could complement yours better. For example, if you offer content marketing services, then you can consider partnering with a link building agency. If you run a branding agency, then you can partner with a web design agency. It doesn’t have to be just one marketing agency. You can partner with as many as possible to stay afloat.
However, to land good partnerships with marketing agencies, you need to think about a value you could bring to the table for them. For example, you could also refer clients to them. It has to be a mutual relationship and both parties have to benefit from it. Just having a big marketing agency connect you with clients that need your service is more than enough, so you need to be able to contribute something substantial to them.
#4: Cold Pitching
Cold pitching is a very old strategy for generating new clients. Although it’s an old strategy, it still works. By sending real and genuine cold calls and messages to businesses that might need your services, you can land some high-paying clients.
Although the conversion rate of cold pitches are low, it’s still a good way of landing clients. Besides, you don’t need a hundred clients, you only need a few high-paying clients that keep bringing repeat work. And that’s exactly the type of clients you get when you try cold pitching.
To start with cold pitching, you need to create a client persona on the type of clients you are targeting. By doing this, you can come up with a list of those businesses that fit into that category. You need to generate the list of contacts to reach out to.
Just like every other outreach email, ensure you are reaching out to the right person. If you’re offering content marketing services, then you should reach out to the “Head Content Marketer”. Between, the position could carry various names and you’ll only find out when you begin your research. Send in your pitch, follow up if you didn’t get a reply after three days. And if you still don’t get a reply, followup after 5 days. Wait a minute, don’t send in craps as cold pitching. You need to be genuine and valuable when reaching out to increase the chances of getting a “Yes”.
#5: Ask for Referrals
“If you offer quality services, you’ll get more referrals.”
Do you still believe in those sales quotes? CTRL Delete. This doesn’t work anymore. You need to pitch your past and current clients to ask for a referral. There’s a lot that goes into naturally referring someone to you. And one of these things is being able to free-up time to promote your services to their friends, business partners, etc.
The thing is, when your clients meet up with other potential clients, they do that to discuss their businesses and not yours. If you want them to remember you during their conversation, you need to let them know that you’ll be happy to get referrals from them. Only then will they be more intentional about getting you referrals. In fact, some can go to the extent of making calls on your behalf.
But if you’re there expecting referrals to come naturally, then you are doing it wrong. There is really no weakness nor sin in asking. If we wait for someone to give us what we want, chances are we might never get it. Surely, you’ll get some referrals naturally. But you shouldn’t wait until then. You should reach out to past and current clients and humbly ask for referrals.
#6: Attend Events
I must say, this is a very, very old strategy. But who cares? As long, you can keep generating clients and revenues for your agency, that’s what matters. Attending events where you can meet potential clients is something you should consider. Wait a minute, I’m not referring to attending another marketing summit for agencies and marketers. Although going for such events also work, you’ll literally meet up with your colleagues and maybe competitors (who could also bring new leads to you).
But the kind of events where your ideal clients go will drive better results. For example, if you run an SEO agency for law firms; then attending an event for law firms and lawyers would drive better results than going for a marketing summit filled with thirsty marketers like yourself.
Besides getting new clients and leads, attending such summits will help you learn more about the industry you are working in. Law firms would prefer to work with a marketer that knows the ins and outs of their industry. And that would be you if you attend law firm events.
#7: Start a blog
Starting a blog is an important system for generating new leads for your marketing agency. And it’s the best way you can show your prospects that you know what you’re doing.
If you’re providing SEO services to clients, then ranking for some of your target keywords is proof that you know what you are doing. Besides, ranking for some of the keywords that possible prospects and clients search is a way of securing new leads for your agency. Some of those keywords include; “marketing agency in London”, “SEO agency in the UK”, etc. Okay, those keywords aren’t in-depth enough. Something like “SEO agency in Birmingham”, or “SEO for law firms” looks more specific and targeted. Makes sense?
Besides these kinds of keywords, there are a lot of other keywords that can drive new clients your way. And all you need to tap into this new stream of clients is to start a blog. Blogging about some case studies on how you’ve helped some of your previous clients is something you should also consider doing. In short, blogging shouldn’t be overlooked. Starting a blog could be all you need to grow your marketing agency. And that’s why Neil Patel and tons of other bloggers constantly blogs and updates their blogs. NeilPatel.com, is his biggest weapon and strategy for driving new leads to his marketing agency - NeilPatel Digital.
Do you need a system that constantly keeps pumping leads your way? Then a blog could be the answer.
#8: Manage Them Well
Project management is the most underrated skill that marketers neglect. It's either you can manage a project or you can't. There are no two ways around it. But if you can't manage your project, then you'll be losing all the leads you get from your lead system. Project management isn't a tactic or strategy to get more clients, it's the strategy of keeping your clients. It's easier to keep your present clients than to get new clients.
And that's why project management is quite important if you run a marketing agency. Under project management, there are a lot of other skills required like communication skills, productivity, and customer service. You need to be productive to grow and adapt with more and more clients willing to work with you. You need to effectively communicate with your clients to ensure that both of you are on the same page. You need good customer service skills to deal with customer complaints.
That said, no one is born with a management skill, the majority of us learned this on the job. There are tools like Monday.com to assist you with project management, task management, and team management. They are very helpful if you run a remote team. Besides if you run a remote team, you should also consider investing into a remote desktop software that allows you to share your desktop with others. But if you run an in-house team, you might not really need it except if you outsource some work to marketing freelancers.
Managing clients also means transparent regular reporting on progress. A white-label agency rank tracking tool like Nightwatch can help with automating this, delivering clients ranking reports on a defined schedule. Doing that helps keep everyone in the loop on progress, and saves you time on answering questions.
Putting it All Together
Finally, generating new clients for your marketing agency isn’t supposed to be that hard. Reaching your target might not be as difficult as you might have thought. Bringing consistent leads and filling your sales pipeline is a dream come true. But it always seems impractical. Well, the good news is that it’s not technical as you thought it to be.
By niching down, building a sales funnel, partnering with others, asking for referrals, and the rest; you would be building a lead machine for your marketing agency business.
About the Author
Khris Steven is a content marketer and the founder of Khrisdigital. He blogs about sales funnels, marketing tools and trends, and how business owners can make more from their business by serving and impacting lives.
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