This is a common question agency execs ask. But it's not the right question.
Instead, you should be asking: How do new clients find my agency?
Yes, you should be asking for referrals from your current clients and building a list of prospects who would be a great fit for your agency's expertise and services. But to build a more predictable and profitable agency, you need to define a sales funnel where prospects search you out for your expertise and authority. Clients are looking for agency partners on their own, so you need established acquisition channels that bring these searchers to you.
What little task or question keeps coming up with all your clients? Is it something you can develop a tool, calculator, or decision-tree to help them answer? If so, making such a tool freely available on your website will give people who have the same questions a reason to keeping coming back to your website.
One of the best examples of this tactic is CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer. The tool isn't gated, and it's free. To turn traffic for the tool into leads, use entry or exit pop-ups with a CTA for your newsletter or some other content.
So get in the game. Regularly publishing video content on your agency's branded YouTube channel opens up an entirely new lead generation stream, provides more opportunities to share CTAs promoting your other premium content, can boost the SEO rankings of the agency's website, and goes a long way in establishing your agency as a thought leader.
You can use your YouTube channel to publish video case studies, "how to" explainer videos, trailers for your webinars, discussions on hot marketing topics, and interviews with client and team members.
Speaking of which…
3) Share Agency's Content Process with Prospects
Attract new leads by sharing inside details on how your agency works. You can generate written, image, and video content that gives prospects a peek into your process and your people.
Let your prospects get to know your agency and team. It helps potential clients envision what working with you would be like for them. It removes a great portion of the emotional risk of going with a new agency -- do I want to work with these people?
In the sales trifecta of "know, like, and trust", you use your content to build trust and authority. But the knowing and liking parts are hard to achieve without some direct, personal contact. Showing the inner workings of your agency expands the opportunities prospects have to start knowing and liking you before direct contact is made.
4) Create an Agency-Branded App
Another option is to build a tool in a format people can download and share. Or how about an app? If you go the app route, it doesn't need to be a tool -- just something that will educate, inform, or be useful for marketers on the go.
Do you have some typeface junkies in your agency? Create an app that regularly updates with background and design tips about different typeface families. A good example is this non-commercial app that updates every five days with new information about one of Japan's 72 seasons. Gorgeous, interesting -- and it's frequently updated.
5) Repurpose Content With New Titles
We did an A/B test on the title for one of our ebooks to improve its lead generation. The original title was The Productivity Handbook for Busy Marketers. We increased our leads off this ebook by 776% when we changed its title to 7 Apps That Will Change the Way You Do Marketing. The ebook itself didn't change.
A/B testing content titles is one of the most cost-effective tactics to quickly find more leads without having to develop more content. This tactic can work on both high- and low-performing content.
Tweak the title for a high-performing piece of content to focus on an angle more attractive to a different persona or to align better with a new distribution channel. Continue to refine the title on a poorly-performing piece of content to figure out what will increase its shares and downloads.
Looking for the tactic you can use today? This is it.
6) Refine Social Listening Strategy to Land Clients
Social listening shouldn't just be about monitoring your mentions or mentions on behalf of current clients. Every agency has its "white whale." Hopefully more than one. You don't land these coveted client accounts by buying lists. Instead, refine your social listening strategy to include your real-life, ideal clients.
You'll know when they're in the news and learn how they're responding to industry trends. Now you can start to build a profile of their specific needs and challenges. Use this to identify the right time and most effective way to approach them with targeted content and information about your agency.
Originally published Jun 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM, updated December 19 2017