From the very birth of entrepreneurial activity, there was a question — how to attract clients? This was of interest to merchants, artisans, and peasants alike. Times have changed. Companies, entrepreneurs, and agencies came to replace merchants and artisans. But the problem of attracting clients has remained. Perhaps in the last couple of years, it has become even more acute. Over the long history of its existence, knowledge about how to get clients has accumulated. And we decided to structure them in this article!
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And in this article, we’ve compiled the top 9 non-obvious but effective ways to attract more clients. So read on! But first, let’s determine whether there is a problem with agency growth at all.
Reasons why it’s not easy for agencies to find clients
Absolutely all agencies have problems with growth. During Smart Insights interviews, many agency founders said they have trouble finding new clients. Other respondents shared another problem – ranking for target keywords. And almost all of them reported tough competition.
Hubspot, in its 2018 Agency’s Growth Report, also found this problem:
The study showed the following. 79% of agencies are confident they can close their clients. But only 60% are confident in their ability to attract new leads.
But this data only points to the root of the problem — namely, the agencies’ inability to reach and attract the target market.
Why is this happening? Many people interviewed by Smart Insights reported relentless competition among large agencies and even freelancers. In addition, they drew attention to the oversaturation of marketing channels.
So it becomes evident that some advice is still needed. And below, we will look at some tips. Tips for people who wonder “How to get clients?” can be divided into two categories — tips for beginners and advanced ones. If your agency is still relatively new, here we’ll break down a few options you can use.
Tips for Beginners
Use freelance marketplaces
It’s easy to find profiles of both market leaders and smaller companies on international sites. For many agencies, freelance marketplaces become the main source to get clients at the beginning of their journey. Many newbies take on almost every task, from keyword selection to setting up analytics. You can use marketplaces even when you’ve already grown noticeably as an agency. But you’ll need to choose your clients more carefully. Look at business opportunities, client history, ability to pay, communication, and many other key factors. This source has both advantages and disadvantages. You may get a quick order, but you may not notice that the client is inadequate because of the speed. They can sabotage your profile with a single review. Even if you are 100% right, marketplaces often take the customer’s side since they are the ones bringing them money.
Marketing buzz or recommendations
This is the most grateful way to get clients. It feels damn good when your clients are happy with your results and recommend you as a professional to their community. The loyalty of an audience that comes from a recommendation is maximized. Everyone loves those customers, and to get them, you need to do your work with high quality and give your clients more than they expect from you. Satisfied clients will talk about the quality of your services, and new people will seek you out on their own.
Also, don’t forget about the feedback on your site or other platforms! However, not many agencies ask their clients for it. Most wait and hope that a satisfied client will be able to share their impressions of your work. And sometimes, it does happen. However, at the current pace of life, most of your clients are simply too busy and may not think about the fact that you also need assistance in developing your business, albeit in such a non-time-consuming way. So don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your work right away!
Create a corporate blog
When you wonder how to get a client, do not hesitate to publish your achievements and findings on your site. Such a way will give a good increase of traffic to the site, increasing the position in the organic search results, and attract the attention of your future clients and partners. With each published article, you can get several inquiries for your services. It also builds your reputation in the market as a specialist.
For example, you can write there not only about your niche but also about your colleagues. The agency’s reputation is created by its employees, and often clients want to go to a particular specialist. On this basis, the following conclusion — demonstrate the professionalism of your team and form an image of experts.
Use contextual advertising
Advertising your own services in search engines and social networks is another very simple but quite effective method of getting clients. From the previous point, an important point to remember comes to mind. To set up your advertising, you must have a user-friendly site — with examples of your work and prices. From the pitfalls of this method, we can note the high cost per click and a rather high conversion price.
One of the cheapest and most practical options would be to choose Facebook ads. In addition, this platform allows you to research your client’s gender and geographic location. This is a significant advantage when you are building a marketing strategy for your product among potential clients.
Don’t forget LinkedIn
Update your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. Add your agency as a new place of work, include your position, and describe exactly what you and your agency do. It’s also a good idea to build a network of over 500 contacts and ask your clients or former colleagues to leave recommendations on your profile. Potential clients often check the agency and staff’s LinkedIn profiles before they ask for a service. And if you have few contacts or a poorly designed profile, it can be a reason to choose another agency.
LinkedIn is a good place to make the right connections. The main rule is not to send spam. If you have found the right person for you, first of all, find common interests with them. Before you sell something, try to get to the heart of their business and think about how you can really be useful to them.
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So, we’ve looked at a few options for beginners. Now we are going to look at some more advanced ones. If you’ve used the options above before and are looking for something more unobvious, read on!
Become an expert and prove it
Becoming an expert in your niche is a good alternative to industry rankings for smaller agencies.
Often companies, before turning to an agency, try to do everything on their own. At the same time, they look for recommendations on working with platforms on various thematic resources. Your goal is to publish articles describing your approach to setting up campaigns, little know-how, and tips for beginners. When potential clients run out of options and start looking for a contractor, they are more likely to choose a brand that has already gained their trust with expert knowledge.
You can acquire it in other ways as well. If you can find a few extra hours and a sociable employee, hold a series of webinars on the types of services you specialize in. To do this, you can:
- Arrange with educational platforms a series of educational masterclasses;
- Hold webinars yourself, using one of the online services with a free account (e.g., Zoom); in this case, it will be more challenging to get coverage of your target audience because you will have to invest in advertising.
Try to give listeners at least one non-standard piece of advice. It will help stand out among the endless repetitions of basic things.
A more complicated but more effective option is to take part in industry conferences. Quite often, at such events, you can meet business owners. The list of speakers is usually confirmed several months in advance, so announce your desire to participate in advance. You’ll need a relevant topic, a few cases to illustrate your experience, and some preparation. There may be auditions for the selection of participants. You should come there with a ready-made public speech.
By the way, visiting conferences is also suitable for networking. Even if you are not a speaker, nothing prevents you from getting acquainted with the person sitting next to you and making new acquaintances during the coffee break.
In general, any publication of your own expertise in digital communities will be beneficial. These include discussions on Twitter, forums, groups in Slack, Telegram chats, and so on.
Participate in tenders
Usually, tenders are held by large companies when they want to buy something for a large sum. The client company announces a tender and invites several service providers to participate. The tender is held at a strictly scheduled time, during which all participants offer their prices and conditions.
Tenders are a great way to find a big client and make yourself known in the market. It is necessary to be able to offer comprehensive client solutions and a professional approach. Of course, it may be that you will not be able to work with the desired client on the first try. But that is no reason to give up. Start preparing, gathering information for the next stage, even if it will start in a year.
Of course, we would like to offer you some reliable algorithm or methodology for winning tenders. But they do not exist. Your victory will always depend on three factors:
- Your competitiveness (how much you are willing to lower your price);
- The correctness of the application (very often, participants are rejected for incorrect applications);
- The ability to find tenders in which there will be few or no competitors.
Create the right expectations and emphasize the benefits
In the eyes of future clients, every agency wants to look like the best on the market. But there is a fine line between emphasizing strengths and creating inflated expectations. For example, the phrase “we’ll get you to the top of the search in 6 months” can be fair if you specify low-frequency and low-relevance queries for this.
It pays to be specific and realistic about future results. Unlikely optimistic predictions guide clients, and then they get disappointed and terminate the contract.
Real cases from your practice are an exception. If you managed to achieve impressive results at least once, you can and should talk about it. You can’t guarantee the same return from every campaign, but you can’t argue with the facts. Case studies are the best proof of expertise. Use them to demonstrate your advantage.
Become your own client and promote your marketing agency
This growth strategy may seem illogical, but it’s effective if you do it right. Clients know that the best way to measure your experience is through your results, not your promises.
Use your own services. When you become your client, it means you are determined and willing to deliver results for “yourself.” You will be able to promote your agency (as if another business had hired you).
In fact, you can use the results you get (perhaps an increase in rankings in organic search of your agency’s website) as proof that you’ll attract new clients. Case closed. You got clients and a great case study for your portfolio at the same time!
The bottom line
Bringing in new clients can put a lot of pressure on your team. Make sure you’re ready to take it on. Outsourcing and automation are the main companions of a growing agency, and it pays to deal with them before the number of orders grows. Also, don’t forget to update your knowledge of all new promotion methods. For example, you can take advantage of our webinars by industry experts.
Use agency-focused advertising automation systems. They make it easy to create and import client accounts across platforms, controlling all campaigns in a single window. Mass processing tools for keywords, budgets, audiences, and ads reduce the basic chore that’s inevitable when you start a new project.
ROI (up to 35% of ad spend) helps earn money at the expense of scale and serves as an additional motivation for sales. It also provides additional opportunities for bonuses and discounts — another reason to work with you.
Summarizing the article, we can say that there is no perfect method of attracting clients to your agency. It all depends on the individual characteristics of the brand. The criteria of success even in crisis remain the same: quality work, flair, professionalism, the ability to motivate the target audience. Always remember that sales are a systematic process, especially if you aim at large orders and long-term cooperation. People buy from someone they trust, and it doesn’t matter from what source the client came to you.