One of the most common questions we hear from our resellers (and our prospective resellers) is: how can I grow my agency?
That’s not always an easy one to answer. Virtually everyone wants to scale their business, but investing in growth takes quite a bit of effort. Ultimately, it comes down to getting new clients on-board -- and keeping them on-board.
Client retention is immensely important, as it’s actually more cost-effective than finding new customers. Some data shows that it can cost six to seven times more to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing client. If you want to retain your customers, you’ll need to focus on personalized service and come up with a proven strategy. But what if you’re having trouble getting new clients in the first place?
This is a more common problem than you might think. One recent survey published earlier this year revealed that 58% of U.K. business leaders said lead generation was the key challenge they faced. That holds true for countless U.S.-based businesses, as well. And if you can’t find potential clients for your organization, it’s going to be very difficult to grow.
Like any other aspect of your agency, you’ll need a comprehensive plan of action. If you’re not sure how to find clients for your digital agency or you feel you’re focusing on the wrong things, check out our guide that will help you learn how to find SEO clients and grow your business.
How to Find Clients For Your Agency: Key Questions to Answer
Before we delve into any specific techniques that may help you zero in on potential clients, you’ll need to ask and answer some basic questions first. These Q&As can provide you with valuable guidance as you develop your lead generation strategy and learn more about how to find clients.
Who is Your Ideal Client?
You need to know exactly who your current clients are (if applicable), but you also need to identify your ideal client that will support your business growth goals. You have to identify your market and understand the industry in which these businesses operate, as well as their size, their challenges, and ambitions. You should also have a clear understanding of their audience, meaning that you’ll be able to effectively market to their own customers.
If you’re looking to build your digital marketing agency, you’ll also need to determine how much information your ideal client already has about online marketing. In a perfect world, your client would know enough to understand the value of SEO and other digital marketing services but would not possess the ability or opportunity to make too many improvements on their own. You’ll need to find a balance between a client that has already seen a lot of digital marketing success and one that has virtually no online presence at all.
Many digital marketing agency owners will carve out a niche for themselves. They might focus on finding clients within a particular sector (such as dentists, lawyers, or those in the health and wellness industry). They might also diversify their clientele with a mix of different industries; this can be especially important if you plan to offer SEO and PPC services, as competitiveness (and subsequent budgets) can vary quite a bit from sector to sector. Most agencies will focus on a certain client size, whether it be small-to-midsize businesses or large enterprises. If you’re just starting to grow your business, you may want to be wary of biting off more than you can chew. It may also help to focus on industries you’re more familiar with to start, as that can give you a bit of an edge, but it’s not always necessary -- particularly if you won’t be personally fulfilling the product on your own.
What Do Your Clients Need?
Once you’re able to determine who your ideal customer is, you’ll be able to figure out what they really want and need. In some cases, those two things might not align perfectly. But given your expertise, you’ll be able to educate them later on about the best ways to achieve success for their business.
As part of figuring out your target audience, you’ll need to determine what your ideal client is looking for. For example, if you provide web design services in-house but are looking to learn how to find SEO clients as well, your approach may be different than someone who runs an agency that focuses strictly on PPC and SEO products. If a client is looking for a la carte services rather than a one-stop-shop, that might have huge effects on their status as a qualified lead.
Once you have a prospective client in mind, you should be able to readily identify what they really need to reach the next level. But before you reach that point, you have to know what a theoretical client needs in a general sense and feel confident in your ability to provide it. If you’re focusing on clients who don’t actually require your services, you’ll end up wasting your time and will feel frustrated with your lack of progress. But if you can determine the services and benefits that will best match up with your own skills and the client’s desires, you’ll have a much easier time converting potential leads into customers.
What is Your Competition Doing?
Your prep work can’t exist in a vacuum. You’ll also need to take the time to figure out how your competition is doing -- and find a way to fill the gaps that are left. If your direct competitor is already going after businesses in a specific niche and location, it may not be a wise decision to base your entire business model on those same variables. That’s especially true if your competitor is already more well-known or has a rapidly growing business.
You’ll want to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competition, whether that means focusing on owners of smaller businesses, diversifying client industries, looking outside your immediate area for customers, or offering additional services. Conduct some research into your main competition and figure out what they aren’t doing that you could. In many instances, this will naturally point you in the right direction for business growth and help you learn how to find clients in a more efficient manner.
Can You Provide the Value They Seek?
If you want to know how to find SEO clients that you can win, you’ll need to know the value you provide -- and be able to demonstrate that value to leads. You can do this in a number of ways, but crafting a value proposition is probably one of the most effective.
A value proposition is essentially the reason why a prospect would choose you over a competitor. Your value proposition needs to be something tangible and actionable; rather than merely stating you’re the best in the business, you need to come up with some claims of value that are both appealing to consumers and unique to your business. This could include anything from fully customizable plans to 24-hour customer service. Then, you can gather evidence that supports these claims and create a value proposition plan that will help you win new clients.
But before prospective leads get to that point in the buyer’s funnel where they’re trying to choose between you and a competitor, you need to make sure they’re aware of your brand in the first place and cement your place as an industry leader. You can illustrate the value you’d provide in several different ways, starting with your own website and social media channels.
A few different ways to demonstrate your value and bring potential customers to you include:
- Free resources (e.g., case studies, SEO audit tools, e-books, downloadable guides, title generators, webinars, YouTube videos)
- Optimized website content and other inbound marketing strategies
- Free proposal offers
- Social media posts, ads, and networking
- Referral programs
While you don’t necessarily need to do all of these things at once, tactics like this can improve your agency’s web presence and reputation over time. If you’re able to point to convincing data and show that you’re an expert in the field, that goes a long way in building trust with a prospect. And if your agency shows up prominently in Google searches about marketing for a certain niche, you may actually know how to find clients without breaking a sweat.
How and Where Can You Find New Clients For Your Digital Agency?
Presumably, you’ll now have a clearer understanding of who your ideal clients are and how you can solve their problems. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll know exactly where to find them.
That’s where lead generation comes in. Approximately 65% of businesses say that generating leads is their most significant marketing challenge. And although we know that around 80% of new leads never actually translate into sales, we can’t expect to sell our products or services without a lead generation strategy.
Essentially, this means you’ll need to market your marketing agency. If you want to connect with your ideal clients, you’ll need to know where to find them -- and how to pique their interest. Here are just a few tactics we’d suggest for sustainable and scalable lead generation.
- Publicly Share Your Knowledge: Customer trust is hard to come by. But if you’re able to position yourself as a leader who can provide the guidance that clients seek, you’ll already be ahead of the competition. Whether you create webinars and white papers for your own website, contribute to industry round-up blog posts, or speak at a live event, knowledge-sharing can be an incredible lead generation tool for your agency. Being able to demystify a specific aspect of digital marketing or appealing to a segment with whom you might not otherwise connect can boost your brand awareness and help you grow over time.
- Try Out Some Targeted Ads: It goes without saying that digital ads can play an important role in your lead generation strategy. But you’ll need to ensure that your ads are reaching the right people and striking the right notes. While you can use demographic data to target potential customers, you may fare better if you run ads based on keyword search intent. Social media advertising can also help you zero in on the best clients for your agency; that’s especially true for LinkedIn ads, which tend to offer more targeting options and appear on a platform that’s already about making business connections.
- Build a Referral Program: Referral programs may seem antiquated in our digital age, but they can still be highly effective. Establishing a referral network can help your team see the value of nurturing your existing customer relationships and benefitting from the connections those clients already have. You could also partner with another organization that offers different services within a similar niche (like a PR firm, a branding expert, a web design agency, or a graphic designer) to encourage mutually beneficial referrals to help shared clients. Typically, you might offer certain incentives to clients who refer your services to others or provide services to shared clients at a discounted rate. Making use of your existing network can help you keep the customer pipeline full on a consistent basis.
- Create Contact Forms That Convert: Website contact forms can be a highly valuable source of customer information. But if your contact forms are generic and provide little perceived value, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to capture that data. Asking a prospective client to sign up for your mailing list isn’t going to provide nearly enough incentive. You need to give customers something they really want -- like a free tool or proposal, a complimentary site audit or webinar, or some exclusive content that can help them grow their business. Not only will this give them a taste of the services you can provide, but it also helps to cement your authority and outpace the competition.
- Devote Time to Quality Content Marketing: As a white label SEO agency, we can admit that we’re big proponents of search engine optimization. But that’s because SEO tactics really do work. In fact, SEO is actually the most cost-effective lead generation tool there is. It’s affordable in the moment while allowing you to get more for your money over time. Content marketing provides you with the perfect opportunity to optimize your website in a way that’s truly valuable to your customers. Rather than optimize thin, existing pages on your site in the hopes that you’ll show up in SERPs, concentrate on creating some killer content that will keep visitors on the page. Long-form content is more likely to be shared, reduces bounce rate, and is generally easier to optimize in a natural way. Put in some time to create content that provides real solutions to prospective customers and will be seen as a valuable resource. Don’t be worried about giving too much away for free. The idea here is to encourage conversions by building customer trust.
- Answer Customer Questions: Realistically, your prospective clients are looking for quick answers. If you make it hard for them to find the information they need, they’ll likely go to a competitor who eases their burden. In addition to providing them with valuable content, you’ll also want to make it simple for them to access important information. For example, you could set up a customer chat function (which could even be automated so you never miss a lead) or create a highly visible FAQ page. These features allow you to engage on a more personal level with customers and show that you’re invested in their overall experience.
Of course, generating leads is really only the first step. Once you know where to find clients, you can then put the work in to turn those leads into customers -- allowing you to grow your business over time.
Winning Them Over: Turning Leads Into Customers
Now that you’ve learned how to find clients for your agency, you might think the hard part is over. But now, you need to put the work in and seal the deal. Here are a few tips that will help you learn not only how to find clients but also how to win them over.
Qualify Your Leads First: It’s possible that your lead may simply not be ready to buy quite yet. If you don’t know this going in, you could end up devoting a lot of time to this prospective client without much to show for it. In fact, you might end up scaring off this lead if you pitch too hard when they aren’t at the right point in the sales funnel. By qualifying your leads first, you’ll avoid disappointment and frustration while focusing on prospects that are a good fit in the here and now.
Don’t Let Leads Get Cold: There is a certain sense of urgency when it comes to converting a lead into a customer. While you don’t want to come on too strongly, you do need to move quickly once you know a lead is qualified. You should streamline your processes to ensure that you don’t keep a lead waiting around. The longer they have to wait, the more likely it is that they’ll move onto a competitor. If you think of leads in the same way you do customer support, you’ll be able to prioritize a speedy response and make sure they know they matter to you.
Use Data to Strengthen Your Pitch: Most people know when they’re being subjected to a hard sell -- and, generally speaking, they don’t like it very much. Although certain outbound marketing tactics still work, most companies have embraced inbound marketing for this very reason. Instead of trying to win prospects over with a slick pitch with little substance, remember that data is your friend. If you can provide evidence to a prospect that shows both your prowess and their potential for success, that’ll be hard to ignore. That might include performing an initial audit of the prospect’s website or doing some basic keyword research to show where they’re coming up short (and have room to grow). Not only will this prove to them that you know your stuff, but it will also be a good way to show you’re invested in their progress.
While these are far from the only methods you can use to grow your agency, this can serve as a great introduction if you want to learn how to find clients. We believe that growing together creates the freedom to do more, have more, and be more. If you’re looking to scale your agency, consider joining our reseller program. That way, you can focus on sales and customer service while we handle the fulfillment. For more, please contact Semify today.