Lead generation is important in any company, but especially in the highly competitive market of creative- and digital agencies; you need to be ahead of the competition to make the conversion from “just” a lead to an actual customer. There are many creative agencies out there; so, finding your unique niche and nailing your marketing and sales channels are especially important.
A survey conducted by HubSpot, suggests that 90% of agencies’ primary source of new leads is referrals. Referrals are definitely great, but they’re also out of your influence, at least to some extent. It requires that you absolutely nailed your projects, which of course you should aim for, but it’s also a relatively slow lead generating method. And, not the least a problem if you’re a new competitor on the market.
Second on the list is organic website, social media and blogging activities with a combined 64%. Third, networking events, conferences and speaking at events with 54%. And fourth, smaller activities like cold calling, email outreach, email marketing, PR, paid online marketing, webinars and guest blogging with 39%.
Below, I will suggest a few steps to improve your lead generation activities.
Find your niche
First of all, you can’t conquer the whole market; unless you have a massive base of resources, you need to find your unique segment of the combined market. What is your agency and team’s special treat? Are you a smaller agency that always has the needle on the newest trends within the market of apps for kids, or are you a bigger agency that’s working with more traditional industries like the construction industry? Look at your current project portfolio, and the skills of your team.
Your chosen niche will also determine your lead generation channels. Naturally, a smaller agency might not have the same financial budget to rollout a huge marketing campaign as a bigger established business. So, you would probably want to focus on nailing your organic marketing activities, incl. website, social media, blogging and attending events. Referrals will come automatically, maybe with some minor force in terms of asking and agreeing with your clients. Also, remember to work with your clients to put some of the work you’re most proud of in a portfolio on your website. This will be super interesting for visitors in building trust, and ultimately make the decision to reach out.
At least one of the most cost effective methods of marketing when you’re a smaller agency is organic marketing. Improving your website, your searchability on services like Google, engage on social media, and create useful content for your audience (i.e. potential customers), e.g. blog posts, podcasts, infographics, videos, webinars, and similar. It’s really about providing value for your current and future customers.
And, now that you’ve found your niche, you can probably also think of some content that your audience may find useful. Make your website appealing, and write quality content to improve your rankings on Google and other search engines.
Attending or hosting events
Doing public speaking, hosting or attending events is a great way to spend relatively little time and money on something that may reach a good amount of people, and often with their explicit focused attention on you. The size of the events may actually not matter as much as you might think. Actually smaller events can often be more effective, since people feel a more intimate and closer relationship with the speaker when you can actually see the person directly, instead of through a screen, and when you can go talk with the person after their presentation. It’s a unique opportunity to give back to the community, while you may at the same time meet your next client.
Remember to promote your event on various channels; Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, Eventful, Universe, etc. Use the platforms that are popular in your target group, interests and geography.
When it comes to taking the last step and actually closing deals; outreach through a phone call or email is often a great approach. You hopefully have some of this contact information following your previous marketing efforts in terms of providing quality content, that your potential clients may sign up for to receive, in exchange of their information.
After getting your business going; public relations and guest posting in various media may be a great way to extend your efforts. Collaboration within your area of attention is always a great approach to meet new potential clients, and especially to gain trust within your industry. You want to become the top-of-mind agency within your niche, which is trustworthy and known to deliver high quality value for your clients in a rapid manner.
If you still don't feel that your marketing efforts are taking off, even after significant changes and iterations, it might be time to go into some paid advertising. Paid advertising should most often not be your first step, because it automatically adds an extra barrier between you and the recipient, since paid and sponsored content is by default labeled as less trustworthy. But in the case that you feel like you already have great organic content out there, you just need a small kick to actually get it out there, then paid advertising can be a great method.
As with organic marketing, finding the right channels for your paid efforts is just as important. Where is your target audience engaging? Which types of media, physical or digital? Which platforms? When are they engaging each platform, why and in which situations? Create and adapt your content to each platform and situation. Make it look as natural as possible, but still make it stand out in the crowd. A great idea is to play on your target’s pains. What is your “magic” solution?
Put it all together
Now, the most important part is to put it all together, and make sure that everything is “in-sync”; the marketing strategy, the content, the channels, the events, the outreach, the advertising - all of it. Consistency and high quality of your work is what brings you greater trust from your future clients.
Track your efforts
Last but not least, make sure all your marketing campaigns, no matter if they are organic or paid are trackable. One way to do this is with UTMs parameters or a platform like Rebrandly. Rebrandly is the industry-leading link management platform to brand, track and share short URLs using a custom domain name. Creating a consistent tagging is highly important as you can get a good understanding of how your visitors arrive at your website.
Forecast is a professional services automation tool, with resource- and project management built-in, to help ease your management and organizational efforts; so that you can focus on all the creative stuff that's really what makes your business fly high. Book a personal meeting with one from our friendly success team for a discussion on how we may help you.