Client Acquisition Strategy for Digital Marketing Agencies
Having an actual client acquisition strategy is something most digital marketing agencies are missing.
When your livelihood is dependent on your client acquisition strategy and execution—there’s a lot of pressure.
It’s not like running a restaurant (which are tough in their own right).
You are literally selling your ability to bring in revenue. In the end, you’ll use SEO, websites, and/or Facebook ads, but you’re really selling money.
This comes with some tricky hurdles to jump and concepts to explain. So, what happens when you need a consistent stream of clients?
That’s probably something that you tell your prospects you can give them, right?
I can definitely relate.
Understanding how to help others with their situation while having a much harder time sorting out your own situation is common. It happens to everyone.
A restaurant needs better revenue. You know exactly how to go to Yelp, get reviews and clean up the reputation quickly.
Mechanic needs more customers?
No problem. You can find out what parts most commonly break, put an ad on social media and Boom! Your client has to hire more people.
But when it comes to developing a client acquisition strategy for yourself—sometimes we all need a little help.
Use Techniques You Don’t Sell
You probably know a good chunk of client acquisition strategies. There may even be a post on your blog that explains some of them (in relation to your own clients).
So, we’re not going to tell you to “tweak your lead magnet” or “listen to your leads”.
That would be lame. And we could probably learn something from you in the area of inbound lead gen methods.
We’re going to go counter-intuitive on you and try to create a pipeline of leads using methods that you won’t suggest to your clients.
Time for Outreach
Most of the client acquisition methods we’ll be showing deal more with outbound.
By being a B2B that works with a smaller number of clients than most other businesses, you can afford to be a little pickier when it comes to your clientele.
But it also means that your target audience is harder to reach with ads and inbound methods.
Outreach is still one of the best ways to reach decision makers.
Using cold email to get decision makers on the phone will help your client acquisition efforts faster (typically) than bringing them through an inbound content funnel. And, if we took a guess, that’s probably not on your list of services.
So, get out your in-depth buyer personas and let’s go hunting for who you’re going to reach.
Go Broad in Your Pitch
Any digital marketer worth their salt is going to have a huge toolbox. SEO, content creation, Adwords, design, site creation, copywriting, the works.
If you’re trying to sell those services individually, you’re not maximizing potential.
Business owners may partially understand the benefits of a few of your services, but it’s likely they don’t know how these tools can solve their pain—getting more customers.
Client acquisition is about selling the vision of your solution.
Sell the Results, Not the Tools
Take a step back from keyword research to find that one dentist looking for an Adwords expert and think about what your clients actually want.
We (unfortunately) see emails go out every day that say things that don’t trigger the pain in their readers. Like:
- Increase your site traffic
- Rank for more relevant keywords
- Find more customers on Facebook
None of these value propositions will get responses. Why?
They’re selling a widget, not a solution.
You know that (good) site traffic will likely lead to more clients, but your targets may not.
Keywords are the way to get that traffic, but it’s not widely known. Facebook ads are a great way to find new business… you get the point.
How about a few of these (using dentists again).
- Need clients for your new practice?
- Want to open up a second office?
- Having trouble attracting talent to your location?
All common problems of dentists, spoken in plain English. These, among other things are great questions to move toward getting a response from your cold outreach.
“Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do.” — Ben Feldman
Go Narrow in Your Search
Given your expertise, you probably know about niching down.
There is also a near 100% chance that your buyer personas are only a click away on the computer you’re reading this post on.
But do you use those personas to find prospects to actively pursue? (As opposed to identify prospects in your pipeline.)
It’s a small, but significant switch in the mind to not just try to attract “Businessman Bob” or “Founder Frank”, but actually try to find them and start the conversation yourself.
You can use tools (like ours) to take those same profiles and search out the clients you already love.
Instead of waiting for leads to come in and checking their firmographics against your personas—you can directly get a hold of those businesses.
You can even narrow it down further.
Why not reach out to dentists, but only dentists who have 10+ employees in specific employees?
Once you know what you’re selling and to whom you’re selling, it’s time to actually get them to talk to you. This is more in your wheelhouse.
Ok, There is One Thing You Already Do
Mixing outreach with a very successful technique of inbound is the best way to get responses to your cold emails—Make an awesome resource.
Yep, this is where any digital marketer should shine. Creating something that will make leads want to respond.
The difference here may be where the resource goes. Typically, you’re touting lead magnets via ads, banners, and web pages.
This one is going right into your cold email.
Resources for Packaging Your Resource
You may not send a lot of cold emails. But it’s what we’re all about and we’ve written on the subject extensively.
To help you improve your outreach we’ve compiled a few resources here:
- What is Cold Email (and Is it Spam?)
- Here’s one totally about the subject line
- Here’s one that is all about creating a cold email that gets responses.
- Here’s our Guide to Creating a Good Email Sales Pitch
Add Formalities to Your Sales Process
We understand that most digital marketing agencies are small (but powerful).
You may outsource a lot of your services at this point (shh, we won’t tell anybody). It’s totally possible to run a mid six-figure agency from a corner of a bedroom.
It’s one of the great things about the internet. People can work with Inc. 500 companies from the comfort of their own homes.
But that doesn’t mean you should be perceived like you’re small time.
Even companies with an office and several employees can be taken less than seriously if their processes don’t show a certain level of sophistication.
If you’re trying to close an account on the first phone call, that could be the problem.
Every other level of your lead gen could be fine. But the leads you’re talking to may need a little more conversational nurturing than you’re giving them.
How to Fix It
Adding a layer to your sales process is better for both you and your leads.
Once you get a hold of them (through either inbound or outbound), you should have a qualifying call that ends without a formal demo/pitch.
There are a few specific things that you (or a rep) are trying to find out.
Important: This qualifying phone call is not to sell them. It’s to get them to want to know more. You can do this by saying something like, “What if we could take a portion of that budget and show you exactly how we’ll track and prove how many leads we brought you?”
They’ll show up for a call like that.
Next, you’ll get them to say yes to something (another call). The key here is to get them to schedule another call where you will sell them a marketing strategy that solves their pain. Not SEO, not a landing page, not copy.
You’re selling more money for their business. Tell them how you’re going to do that.
Your job is to get clients to think outside of the box.
What we’re telling you is to try an older, yet plenty effective, method and mix it with a bit of your expertise.
Create that resource that will get leads interested in the world you create. Just send it to them without having to opt-in to an email list.
Give your prospects something that will excite them, just do it on the offensive.
Client acquisition is about finding your ideal buyers and start the conversation.
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