If you want your agency to continue growing, earning more revenue and enjoying more stability, you’ll need to ensure you have a steady stream of new clients—or increased sales from your existing client base. But investing time and resources on new clients can spread your team thin.
So how do successful agency owners find new clients without compromising their existing workflows?
All sales and marketing strategies need to start with sound principles, and any competent agency knows this. By adhering to these foundational principles, you’ll not only increase your chances of getting seen, but you’ll also demonstrate your knowledge of marketing fundamentals:
Demographic targeting. All your strategies should be targeted to one specific demographic (or multiple specific demographics, with a segmented strategy). Aiming your words, ads, and sales pitches toward more specific audiences means you’ll instantly reduce your competition and simultaneously increase your relevance to that demographic. The better you understand the demographic, and the more finely tuned your strategy is, the more effective it’s going to be.
Competitive differentiation. There are dozens, if not hundreds of agencies like yours, so what makes yours different? In ads, marketing materials, and sales pitches, it’s vital to showcase how you’re different. That might mean lower prices, higher-quality services, a field of specialty, or even better customer service. In any case, it’s imperative to stand out.
Valuable offers. If you’re going to persuade new clients to enlist your services, you need to convince them of the value you bring. Don’t just pitch a new service; explain how that service is going to yield a positive ROI. Don’t just tell them a strategy is important, or that their competitors are already using it; show them the numbers, and explain how the strategy will affect their bottom line.
Experimentation. No client acquisition strategy starts out flawless. The only way to improve is to try different approaches, measure the results, and adjust your tactics in the future.
Ultimately, every strategy can qualify as an “outbound” or “inbound” attempt to acquire clients. Outbound strategies rely on intentionally reaching out to new prospects, pitching them on your services and persuading them to pull the trigger on a new contract. They come in many forms, but typically include traditional advertising and the use of an in-house team of salespeople.
Outbound strategies can be effective, but they require strict attention to efficiency. Hiring a team of full-time sales members might seem like a strong way to secure new sales, but it’s only worthwhile if you’re properly incentivizing those team members, measuring your results, and constantly tweaking your approach for improvement.
The other problem with outbound strategies is that they tend to have finite value; a targeted ad is only useful so long as it remains paid for, and your list of prospects is only valuable until you’ve exhausted it. Inbound strategies, by contrast, don’t suffer from these drawbacks.
Inbound marketing has several advantages over its outbound counterpart. Most of the strategies you’ll use here are permanent, or at least long-term, and will yield value indefinitely, increasing their ROI over time. They forgo the need for a robust full-time team of salespeople. And most inbound strategies are infinitely scalable; in other words, they can serve businesses of any size and at any stage of growth.
The best benefit of inbound strategies is that nearly all of them complement one another; investing in two strategies simultaneously can improve your results in both areas. Investing in multiple strategies can eventually result in a polished, lead-generating machine—and one that doesn’t require much maintenance.
For example, take the cohesion between these inbound marketing strategies:
Search engine optimization (SEO). SEO relies on both onsite and offsite changes that increase your site’s rankings in search engines. Search engines like Google measure your site’s authority based on its available content, its technical advantages, and the number and quality of links pointing to it, then use your authority to determine how to rank you for queries relevant to the content on your site. There are hundreds of technical factors, like how your site is coded, that could affect your rankings, but perfecting them can make your site far more visible to your prospects.
Content marketing. Onsite written and video content are some of your best tools for improving your onsite search optimization, but also serve as unique lead generation tools of their own. Providing valuable insights can improve your brand reputation and offer the opportunity to “convert” new visitors with a clever or persuasive call-to-action.
Link building. Link building with an offsite content strategy is one of your best tools for lead generation. Not only will you get more brand exposure and offsite visibility for your agency, but you’ll also generate an immediate stream of referral traffic to your site. Links will also, over time, increase your authority so you can rank higher in search engines.
Social media marketing. Social media marketing is an ideal channel to use while circulating and popularizing your content. It’s also good for building an audience, which you can then turn into a viable lead pool for future perusal. With high-quality content, this is also a strong tool for attracting new inbound links.
It’s incredibly difficult to manage a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy all on your own, so the most effective route here is to outsource at least some of your needs to another agency that specializes in inbound marketing. There are some risks when outsourcing strategies like link building, but as long as you choose a trustworthy partner, you’ll see a return on your investment.
Capitalization on Existing Clients
Remember, client retention is almost universally less expensive than client acquisition. In addition to utilizing strategies to attract or win new clients, it’s important for you to optimize your organization to reduce the chances of clients leaving—while also pushing for more sales from your existing client base. For example, you can improve your offerings with higher-efficiency and therefore lower-cost services, or you can try to upsell them on bigger, more effective packages of services.
If your agency needs a compelling link building service to add to your suite of offerings, or if you’re looking to outsource some of your marketing strategies to save time and resources for use with other client acquisition strategies, contact AudienceBloom today! We’ll provide you with a free consultation, and/or a quote for our white label link building services.
Timothy Carter is the CRO for AudienceBloom. Since 1997 he's been helping businesses maximize their sales revenue from websites via content marketing, SEO and Internet Marketing strategies. Over the years he's written for publications like Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, MarketingProfs and other highly respected online publications.