New To Digital Marketing? Here’s 5 Ways Agencies Get Clients (1 of 3)

Why First Quarter Is About Sales, Sales, Sales!

We’ve made it to the new year, so it’s time for new goals. Maybe you’re thinking about profit or revenue goals, or mulling whether to expand into a new service or skill. Or maybe you’re looking to scale, once you acquire a certain number of clients.

In Q1, we’re going to focus on revenue generation for digital marketing agencies at beginner, intermediate and advanced stages, so that everyone starts 2021 with momentum. 

This post focuses on newer, younger agencies

Next month we’ll focus on groups with experience who want to push further. After that, we’ll take a look at what more established agencies can do to expand their revenue streams.

When you first start in business, you face a lot of options for marketing your services. We’ll focus on a few basic things you can try, so that you can establish some momentum.

ALSO READ: Quick Start Guide to Building Your Local Digital Marketing Agency

Why It’s Time To Diversify

I like the analogy from the world of investing – if you want the most consistent return over time, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

Tom eggs in basket

“But wait!” you say. “Don’t you encourage new agencies to ‘niche,’ or serve one particular segment of the market?”

Absolutely, we do. But this can be problematic for some of our clients. Sometimes, what can happen is the “niche” you want to serve … isn’t buying. You might have a really cool idea, but that’s not what they’re looking for. You have to be willing to serve them what they’re looking for, in a way they want to receive it. It can be time-consuming, reaching your “bull’s eye.”

Other Sharks we work with aren’t so specific about an ideal solution for a target client. They want to go the other way around – find the ideal clients, and then provide them ideal solutions. This can also be time-consuming …  because you can go through plenty of clients who seem like the target. Ultimately, you may have to find out who you don’t want to work with, before you can truly lock down the avatar.

The same could be said for your marketing tactics.

For some Sharks, a good website is a long term investment. You’re unlikely to publish your landing page and receive 10 inquiries from interested clients on the same day. But as your reputation grows, and more people land on your site due to content, referrals, and paid ads, it will help you seal the deal.

On the other hand, a paid social media campaign attached to a time-sensitive offer is riskier and more aggressive. They sometimes work, but they’re not typically the first thing that comes to mind when you haven’t established a brand or reputation.

New digital marketers must treat everything like a tryout. What you do to market yourself is the same as what you do to market for your clients. In this sense, everything you do is an “audition,” to showcase your skills. Who wants to hire an agency that cannot effectively market itself?

Additionally, the more diverse your marketing approach, the more robust your demonstration of skill. A digital marketing agency “should” have no problem gaining new clients. After all, they’re marketing experts; how could marketers themselves … not understand marketing?

Well, perhaps the sheer volume of marketing agencies on the planet would help to answer that. Just remember, everything in your stack is a tacit demonstration of your ability to help your clients. If you preach what you practice, and practice what you preach, your results will speak for themselves.

ALSO READ: Client Acquisition Methods To Launch Your Business

5 Ways Agencies Get New Clients

  1. Focus On Outbound, Not Inbound

Many marketers make a mistake by focusing way too much on their inbound marketing, to the detriment of actually gaining clients.

Inbound,” in this case, means anything where the prospect comes to you. Think of your website, social media pages, content marketing, or even your podcast. You certainly need a strong inbound presence, but it works much better when you have a solid reputation and higher traffic.

Too many new agencies spend money and time they don’t have fine-tuning their website, and then wonder why leads fail to materialize.

When you start out, develop a workable website, promise yourself to improve it later, and then spend 90% of your time generating leads through outbound marketing. 

Tom salesman

Challenge yourself to make 5-10 cold emails or calls a day. Reach out to people you know who may need help marketing their business, without being too pushy. Participate in online forums and communities to build relationships. Explain what you can do when the time is right. Do the absolute best you can with the first task someone gives you.

  1. Develop Social Proof

The trouble with social proof is you’re only starting, so you don’t have any yet. 

But you could obtain proof of something you did for your cousin a few years back. It could be a brief testimonial video from a past colleague about what it’s like to work with you. It could be a video tutorial of you performing one of your services … on yourself! (That’s how Nick got started).

Have you ever seen a billboard that said, “Your Ad Here”? It’s the same concept. If you’re brand-new, you can offer to work for a testimonial in lieu of payment, and use a system like to make it simple for people to give reviews of what it’s like to work with you.

  1. Offer Value Up Front

Speaking of trading time for testimonials, one way to gain new clients is to offer something valuable up front, for the amazing price of $0.

You could offer a free audit of a prospect’s current marketing stack. Evaluate everything they do thoroughly, and take copious notes. Gather all the metrics you can.

An audit contains three benefits: 

  • It’s a valuable service for the prospect
  • It demonstrates your capabilities
  • It increases the likelihood the client will ask you for help

If they’re willing, you can also do the audit over Zoom and ask the prospect’s permission to record and share it. That way, no matter what they decide at the conclusion, you walk away at a minimum with a visible demonstration you can show to other prospects.

  1. Ask Existing Clients For Referrals

Some clients, when you do a good job, will immediately introduce you to a friend who needs your help. God bless them. But not everyone thinks in these terms. Some will hardly think of it at all… unless you ask.

A good way to phrase it goes something like this:

“Hello X, thanks for the opportunity to partner with your business. I’m curious, is there anyone you know who could also benefit from my services? Thanks again!”

You only need to ask about once a quarter, but one thing’s for sure: you will definitely not receive, if you don’t ask. 

  1. Go Offline

Chances are, there are many local businesses within ten miles of you. They’re doing the best they can, trying to bounce back after a tumultuous year. Some of them have little to no online presence. You can help them survive and thrive by approaching them and offering to establish them on the internet.

Because so many small businesses lack a virtual presence, you’re among the few who can reach them. Digital marketing grows increasingly competitive, with each passing year. Why not tap into the prospects everyone else ignores?

When you’re new, the best tactics are … the ones you haven’t tried yet. Feel free to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. At the start, spend 90% of your time on direct client acquisition, and when someone says “Yes,” make sure you over deliver.

FURTHER READING: How To Spot a Tire Kicker When Negotiating with New Prospects

Photo by Katie Bernotsky on Unsplash

Picture of Tom Gaddis

Tom Gaddis

Attended the School of Hard Knocks. A former restaurant manager in Oklahoma, Tom always wanted to be self-employed and free from the butt-smooching of the corporate world. He wanted success bad enough that he picked up his family, including two small children and moved to beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Starting from zero, Tom embarked on building a local marketing consulting business. And promptly fell on his face! It seems Hawaiians were lovely people, until you tried to sell them something! But he persevered and learned from his mistakes. Today he's arguably one of the most successful in his niche and expecting to grow over 100% this year alone.

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