In the digital age, the landscape of marketing agencies is crowded. From boutique startups to global conglomerates, every agency is vying for a slice of the pie, hoping to grab the attention of potential clients. As an agency owner who has navigated these choppy waters and catered to some of the world's most illustrious companies, I understand the challenges of attracting new business. The competition is fierce, and standing out is not just an option; it's a necessity.
This article will delve deep into our strategies and tips to bring new clients on board, helping your agency grow, thrive, and scale in a dynamic market.
The Importance of a Multi-Channel Acquisition Strategy
If you rely on a single strategy or channel to generate new business this can be akin to putting all your eggs into one basket—a risk few agencies can afford to take. A multi-channel acquisition strategy is not just about diversification but maximizing opportunities and tapping into different segments of your target market. Let's dive into why a multi-faceted approach is crucial for agency growth.
Reach a Broader Audience: Different channels cater to different demographics. While LinkedIn might be the go-to for B2B professionals, Instagram or TikTok could be where younger entrepreneurs or startup founders spend their time. Spreading your efforts across multiple channels ensures that you cover a wider spectrum of potential clients.
Resilience to Platform Changes: Digital platforms are notorious for changing algorithms, policies, or ad structures. If you're solely dependent on one platform and it undergoes a massive shift, it can significantly impact your lead generation. Diversifying your presence insulates your business from such unpredictable shifts.
Optimized Customer Journey: Clients have varied preferences when consuming content or engaging with brands. Some prefer watching a webinar, while others find value in reading a long-form blog post or engaging with interactive content on social media. A multi-channel strategy allows you to cater to these varied preferences, ensuring you're always where your clients want you to be.
Data-driven Decision Making: Leveraging multiple channels means access to a wealth of data. This can help you understand what's working and what's not, allowing for more informed decision-making and resource allocation. You can optimize your strategies based on actual results rather than gut feelings.
Increased Brand Touchpoints: The more channels you employ, the more touchpoints you create with potential clients. This reinforces brand recall and builds trust, making it more likely for a lead to convert into a paying client.
A multi-channel acquisition strategy isn't just a "nice-to-have"; it's an essential component for agencies that aim to be agile, resilient, and growth-oriented. By diversifying your approach, you set your agency up for consistent lead generation, ensuring a steady flow of potential clients, irrespective of the ebbs and flows of individual platforms.
How to Get New Agency Clients at Scale
In agency growth, scaling your client acquisition isn't just about increasing numbers but amplifying impact while optimizing resources. As your agency reaches new heights, mere sporadic client additions won't suffice. You'll need a systematic, streamlined, and scalable approach to ensure a consistent influx of clients without draining your resources or compromising quality. Let's delve into the specifics of achieving this balance.
Step 1 - Develop a Plan of Attack
Every successful campaign begins with a well-structured plan. Crafting a 'Plan of Attack' involves a mix of methodologies tailored to your agency's unique strengths, offerings, and target audience.
Here's a breakdown of some pivotal strategies and how to harness them effectively:
Cold Email Marketing
Cold email marketing, when done right, can be a powerful tool for agencies to reach out to potential clients. But the success of this method lies in the precision of your approach and the tools you deploy. Let's dissect the process that we use:
Data Scraping and Target Demographic Identification: The first and often the most critical step is to identify your target audience. This is where LinkedIn and information from platforms like ZoomInfo come into play. By scraping data from these platforms, you can hone in on your target demographic based on specific criteria such as job role, industry, and more. This ensures that your cold emails are not just shots in the dark but targeted arrows aimed at potential leads.
Crafting the Perfect Email: Once you've got your target list, the next step is crafting a compelling message. This is where understanding the nuances of your target demographic's job role, title, and industry becomes crucial. Tailored messages resonate better and have a higher chance of eliciting a response.
Deploying the Right Tool: There are several email marketing tools out there, but QuickMail.io offers distinct advantages for cold email marketing:
Gmail Server Utilization: One of QuickMail's significant benefits is its ability to send emails via the Gmail server as part of G Suite. This boosts the deliverability rate, ensuring that your emails don't end up in the recipient's spam folder.
Higher Deliverability Rate: Compared to platforms like Mailchimp, QuickMail boasts a higher email deliverability rate, making sure your messages reach your potential leads' inboxes.
Continuous Campaigns: QuickMail operates on an ongoing basis. This means that once your campaign is set up, it runs in perpetuity. All you need to do is keep adding new potential leads to your list, and QuickMail takes care of the rest.
Tracking and Optimizing: Lastly, but equally important, is the tracking of your cold emails. Monitoring open rates, click-through rates, and response rates will give you insights into the performance of your emails. This data will inform you about what's working and what needs tweaking, allowing you to optimize your campaigns continually.
On average, by deploying the strategy above, we have been able to generate open rates in the 40-50% range on a consistent basis. Segmentation of targeting and messaging is key, but so is the data you are using for solicitation.
The cold email marketing campaign that we deployed for Check Capital, a wealth management firm, was highly successful. We reached a targeted audience of prospective investors by targeting CEO’s/business owners of companies with $10M+ in revenue per year. Open rates hovered at 62% and new client discovery calls increased 200% quarter over quarter.
SEO and Content Authority
Content Marketing: You have all heard the saying, content is king. By producing regular, high-quality content, you establish your agency as an authority in its domain. This could be in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, or video content. The goal is to offer value to your audience, addressing their challenges and showcasing your solutions.
SEO Strategy: Merely producing content isn't enough; it must be seen. By optimizing your content for search engines, you increase its visibility. This involves keyword research, optimizing meta tags, ensuring mobile-friendliness, and building high-quality backlinks. Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can aid in crafting a robust SEO strategy.
Our number one source of inbound lead flow comes through our SEO efforts. On average, we increase traffic on a yearly basis anywhere from 15-20% through tireless content creation and SEO strategy. This consistent growth allows us to better forecast the influx of new revenue to our business.
Referral programs can serve as one of the most potent tools in your arsenal for client acquisition. Unlike cold outreach, referrals come with a degree of trust, as these referrals are often introduced by satisfied clients who vouch for your services.
Here's a deeper dive into how an effective referral program can be executed:
FVG's In-House Referral Mechanism: Our agency, FVG, boasts its own built-in referral program. Instead of relying on third-party platforms or generic strategies, we've developed a system tailored to our unique client base and service offerings. On a yearly basis we outreach to our existing clients for referrals and have on average three (3) new business deals per year with this effort.
Engaging Loyal Customers: The key to a successful referral program lies in identifying and reaching out to your most loyal customers. These are clients who've been with your agency for a significant period of time, have worked with you on multiple services, and most importantly, are satisfied with the results.
For FVG, we ensure that we nurture our long-term clients, keeping the lines of communication open and maintaining a healthy relationship. Periodically, we approach these clients with a gentle request for referrals. Given their positive association with our agency, they're more likely to introduce us to potential leads within their network.
Why It Works: The power of a referral lies in its authenticity. When a potential client is introduced to your services through someone they trust, the typical barriers to conversion—like skepticism or hesitation—are considerably lowered. Furthermore, leveraging loyal customers ensures that the referrals you receive are of high quality and align with your agency's target demographic.
Our goal as an organization is to generate one new referral client per month. If we are able to do this, the compounding effects the referral program has on our organization is tremendous.
LinkedIn Personal Branding
Personal branding on platforms like LinkedIn isn't just a nice to have—it's a necessity. Especially for decision-makers in agencies, crafting a strong personal brand can open doors, establish authority, and drive new business opportunities.
Here's a closer look at how to leverage LinkedIn for personal branding:
Audience Targeting Assumptions: Before diving into content creation and distribution, it's crucial to understand your audience. Making informed assumptions about who you're targeting can streamline your content strategy and ensure your message resonates. Are they C-suite executives? Middle management? Entrepreneurs? Knowing this helps craft content that speaks directly to their interests and pain points.
Branding Decision-makers as Thought Leaders: LinkedIn offers an ideal platform for decision-makers to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. By sharing insights, experiences, and industry trends, you can not only foster engagement but also enhance your credibility.
For agencies, this is particularly pivotal. When a decision-maker from an agency is recognized as a thought leader, it indirectly boosts the agency's reputation and can lead to more business inquiries and collaborations.
Consistency in Content Creation and Sharing: Building a personal brand isn't a one-off task; it demands consistent effort. This involves:
- Creating High-Quality Content: This could be in the form of articles, videos, infographics, or even simple posts. The aim is to provide value, showcase expertise, and foster engagement.
- Regularly Sharing on LinkedIn: To maintain visibility and stay top-of-mind for your connections, it's essential to share content regularly. This doesn't mean spamming feeds, but instead sharing thoughtful content that encourages discussions and interactions.
- Engaging with Other Content: Being an active participant in discussions, commenting on relevant posts, and supporting other thought leaders can enhance your visibility and solidify your positioning as an industry authority.
Make your goal to increase your network connections by 10-15% over the next three months and post consistently on the platform. I am regularly having conversations with our ideal target market via the platform because my content resonates with the specific demographic I connect with. This is not by accident.
Positive reviews can significantly amplify your agency's credibility. Consider implementing tools like Trustpilot or Podium to automate review outreach. Reach out to satisfied clients with personalized messages, thanking them for their business and gently nudging them to leave a review. To make their job easy, send them easy-to-fill forms that do not take up much of their valuable time. To boost response rates, make the review process as seamless as possible.
Board of Advisors/Directors
An advisory board can be a treasure trove of expertise, industry insights, and connections. Consider onboarding individuals with extensive industry experience and aligning with your agency's vision. Their guidance can be instrumental in navigating challenges, accessing high-value networks, and solidifying your agency's reputation.
In the digital age, networking isn't restricted to physical events. Platforms like LinkedIn offer a plethora of opportunities. Consider joining industry-specific groups, participating in discussions, attending virtual summits, or hosting webinars. The goal is to position your agency front and center in relevant conversations.
Paid Media Acquisition
The world of paid media acquisition is vast, spanning platforms from Google to Meta and beyond. However, when it comes to precise audience targeting, especially for B2B agencies, LinkedIn emerges as a clear frontrunner. Here's a breakdown of why LinkedIn's paid media tools might be your best bet:
Precision in Audience Targeting: LinkedIn, as a platform, revolves around professionals, industries, and business-centric content. This niche focus provides an unparalleled advantage when you're looking to target a specific audience. Whether you're keen on reaching C-suite executives in the tech industry or middle managers in the finance sector, LinkedIn's targeting capabilities can get you there with pinpoint accuracy.
Brand and Content Supremacy: Unlike Google Ads, where listings often hinge on keywords and bid amounts, LinkedIn brings a more holistic approach to the table. On LinkedIn:
Brand Reputation Matters: Users often resonate with brands they recognize or have heard of. A strong brand presence on LinkedIn can significantly boost the efficacy of your ads.
Content is King: It's not just about the ad copy but the content that backs it. Sharing insightful articles, meaningful discussions, and engaging visuals can make your advertisements stand out and captivate your target audience.
Beyond Simple Listings: While Google Ads often revolve around search intent and can sometimes feel transactional, LinkedIn offers a richer, more contextual advertising experience. Here, ads can be nestled within a feed of industry discussions, thought leadership articles, and professional updates, making them more relatable and less intrusive.
Our work with OBP Financial is a great example of LinkedIn branding and lead generation succeeding. Through consistent, high engagement posts and direct messaging campaigns with messages tailored to individual investment management prospects, we were able to help OBP fill their calendar with an average of 10 new leads per month.
Step 2 - Monitor and Track Performance
As the old adage goes, "What gets measured gets improved." While the strategies outlined in Step 1 are pivotal for attracting potential clients, the real magic lies in effectively tracking the results of those efforts. Monitoring and analyzing the performance of your campaigns ensures that you're not flying blind, allowing you to refine your approach and optimize for even better outcomes. Here are key metrics and tools you should incorporate into your monitoring process:
Understanding UTM: UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are snippets of text added to the end of a URL to track website traffic's source and campaign details. They are crucial for discerning which marketing campaigns are most effective.
Implementation: When you share a link in an email campaign, social media post, or PPC ad, append it with UTM parameters. This will let you track the source (e.g., newsletter or Facebook), medium (e.g., email or social), and campaign name.
Analysis: Platforms like Google Analytics can then break down the traffic based on these parameters. You can allocate resources more efficiently to the most productive channels by assessing which sources drive the most traffic or conversions.
The Need for Call Tracking: In an era dominated by digital interactions, phone calls can sometimes be overlooked. However, they remain a potent lead source for many businesses. Call tracking enables you to determine which marketing efforts drive phone call inquiries.
How it Works: Use different phone numbers for different campaigns or platforms. When a potential client calls using a specific number, you'll know exactly which campaign or ad led them to you.
Benefits: Beyond identifying the source of a call, modern call tracking solutions can provide analytics on call duration, time of call, caller location, and even call recordings for quality assurance.
Breaking Down Traffic Sources: Your website is often the primary touchpoint for potential clients. It's crucial to understand where your traffic comes from. This can be broken down into organic searches, direct visits, referrals, social media, and paid campaigns.
Tools of the Trade: Platforms like Google Analytics comprehensively view your traffic sources. For a deeper dive into organic search, tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can provide insights into keywords driving traffic.
Conversion Paths: It's not just about the quantity of traffic but the quality. Track which sources result in the highest engagement or conversion rates. This might mean monitoring page views, time spent on the site, or specific actions, such as form submissions or downloads.
Refinement: By understanding where your most valuable traffic originates, you can refine your marketing efforts to double down on what's working and adjust or abandon what isn't.
Incorporating a rigorous tracking system is a non-negotiable aspect of effective digital marketing. With the insights gleaned from these tracking mechanisms, you're better equipped to refine your strategies, ensuring you attract potential clients and convert them into loyal, paying customers.
Step 3 - Revise and Consolidate
After laying the groundwork through strategic planning and rigorous tracking, the subsequent phase is to refine your strategies based on real-world results. Merely executing campaigns isn’t the endpoint; revisiting them, studying their impact, and adjusting them continually is how long-term growth is achieved. Let's delve into critical factors to consider while revising and consolidating your campaigns:
Did the campaign generate a sufficient amount of leads based on the cost-per-acquisition?
Quantifying Success: The efficacy of a campaign isn’t solely defined by the number of leads it pulls in. The cost-per-acquisition (CPA) — or how much you spend to acquire a single lead — is an equally significant metric. If you’re pouring significant resources into a campaign that yields many leads but at an exorbitant CPA, its viability becomes questionable.
Making the Call: Set benchmarks for what an acceptable CPA looks like for your agency. If a campaign consistently exceeds this benchmark, it might be time to re-evaluate its structure or consider phasing it out in favor of more cost-effective strategies.
If the campaign generated a sufficient amount of leads, were the leads of high quality and which ones generate the best ROI?
Quality Over Quantity: Not all leads are created equal. While one campaign might bring in a deluge of leads, the effort becomes less impactful if they don't convert into paying clients. On the other hand, a campaign that yields fewer but highly-qualified leads, who are more likely to convert, is more valuable in the long run.
Segmentation and Analysis: Dive deep into the demographics, behaviors, and conversion rates of the leads each campaign generates. Tools like HubSpot or Salesforce can offer granular insights. Focus on those campaigns that pull in leads with the highest lifetime value or the most substantial potential for upselling and cross-selling.
How much ROI did each effort generate?
Measuring ROI: ROI, or Return on Investment, is the golden metric in marketing. It offers a clear picture of the profitability of your campaigns. If you’re investing $1000 into a campaign and getting $5,000 worth of business, that's a 400% ROI.
Comprehensive Assessment: Calculate each campaign's ROI by subtracting the campaign's cost from the revenue it generated, then dividing it by the cost of the campaign. Once you've quantified the ROI for each effort, you'll have a clear picture of which strategies are most financially viable.
Consolidation: With ROI figures in hand, consolidate your efforts around those campaigns that offer the highest returns. This might mean channeling more resources into them, replicating their structure for other campaigns, or discontinuing low-ROI efforts.
The cyclical process of strategizing, executing, tracking, and revising is the backbone of sustained growth in the agency landscape. Continually revisiting and refining your strategies based on tangible metrics like CPA and ROI ensures that your agency remains agile, cost-effective, and poised for growth.
The Most Important KPIs to Help Drive Better Performance
In the expansive landscape of digital marketing, data is the guiding star. However, with many metrics at one's disposal, it's crucial to hone in on those that genuinely impact business outcomes. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as these critical metrics, providing a barometer for the effectiveness of your campaigns and guiding future strategy. Here, we'll dive deep into some of the most pivotal KPIs every agency should monitor:
What it is: This metric represents the number of visitors your website attracts over a specific period. It's a foundational metric, offering a bird's-eye view of your site's popularity and reach.
Why it's Important: Beyond mere vanity, website traffic provides insights into the effectiveness of your promotional efforts. An uptick in traffic can often correlate with successful marketing campaigns, SEO efforts, or content strategies.
Diving Deeper: Not all traffic is of equal value. Segregating this metric into sources (organic search, paid ads, social media, direct) can offer more nuanced insights. For instance, a spike in organic traffic might indicate successful SEO efforts, while a dip in direct traffic could suggest branding challenges.
What it is: CPL represents the cost incurred by your agency to acquire a single lead. It's calculated by dividing the total cost of a campaign by the number of leads generated.
Why it's Important: While generating leads is vital, understanding the financial viability of your lead-generation strategies is equally crucial. CPL offers a clear lens into this, allowing you to discern which campaigns offer the most cost-effective lead generation.
Optimization: By continually monitoring and aiming to lower the CPL, agencies can maximize their budget, ensuring that every dollar spent yields the maximum possible leads.
Cost-Per-Acquisition (revenue acquisition)
What it is: While CPL focuses on lead generation, Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) dives into the cost of acquiring a paying client. It's calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the number of customers acquired.
Why it's Important: Ultimately, leads are only as valuable as their potential to convert into paying clients. CPA offers insights into this conversion process, showcasing which campaigns aren't just attracting interest but are translating that interest into tangible business.
The Bigger Picture: By comparing CPA to the lifetime value (LTV) of a client, agencies can discern not just the immediate profitability of a campaign but its long-term financial implications.
What it is: CPC represents the cost incurred whenever someone clicks on a paid ad. It's a fundamental metric in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.
Why it's Important: With platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads operating on a bidding system, understanding the CPC is crucial for budget management. It offers insights into the competitiveness of keywords and the budgetary efficiency of ad campaigns.
Strategic Implications: Monitoring CPC can guide bidding strategies. If a particular keyword proves prohibitively expensive, it might be worth exploring long-tail variations or alternative ad platforms to maximize ROI.
While digital marketing is awash with metrics, a laser focus on these KPIs can offer agencies the insights they need to drive success. They serve as the pulse of your campaigns, guiding strategic direction and ensuring financial viability.
Navigating the intricate labyrinth of the agency landscape requires more than just ambition; it demands a precise blend of strategy, monitoring, and continuous optimization. Throughout this article, we've delved into a roadmap designed to ensure that agencies attract new clients and do so efficiently and effectively.
Strategy Comes First: Before diving into the vast ocean of digital marketing, having a clear 'Plan of Attack' is paramount. From cold email marketing to leveraging the power of LinkedIn branding, each strategy needs to be chosen based on its alignment with your agency's goals and target audience.
Measurement is Non-Negotiable: In marketing, data-based decisions always outshine those based on mere intuition. Monitoring and tracking performance, as emphasized, are the keys to understanding the fruits of your marketing labor. Agencies gain a clear view of their ROI and areas needing refinement by keeping a vigilant eye on KPIs like website traffic, CPL, CPA, and CPC.
Refinement is the Road to Mastery: The digital landscape is in perpetual flux. What works today might falter tomorrow. Thus, the ability to revise, consolidate, and pivot strategies based on performance data is the hallmark of successful agencies.
Key KPIs are the Compass: In the sea of metrics, focusing on pivotal KPIs ensures you're always headed in the right direction. They offer a bird's-eye view of campaign success and granular insights into specific tactics and strategies.
In wrapping up, the path to agency growth is a journey, not a sprint. It requires patience, persistence, and a relentless commitment to learning and optimization. By rooting decisions in data, staying agile, and continuously refining your approach, you're well on your way to making your mark in the bustling world of digital marketing.