Getting More Agency Clients (11 Proven Methods)
- Six out of ten agency owners are struggling to get new clients, and many fail to see the potential of search engine optimization.
- Social proof is an important asset when it comes to winning clients, especially for young agencies that need to set themselves apart.
- Clients that no longer require your services are not lost, they can be seen as dormant leads that you could reactivate at a later time.
An Agency’s life line is their client roster. A steady stream of new business is essential to keeping the lights on and the doors open. The question of how to get agency clients is one that many businesses struggle with. Some hope that potential leads will magically appear, others know they’ll have to put in some work.
Once you do find new clients, how can you convince them to hire your agency?
In this article, I’ll be covering proven methods and approaches that you can use to get more clients ready to pay for your services while building an agency that will stand the test of time:
Utilize your network
Promote your expertise through consulting and coaching
Join an agency marketplace or directory
Leverage social proof
Think about productizing your services
Treat lost clients like dormant leads
Create (or buy) a product and give it away for free
Join networking events
Get involved in online communities
Prioritize a great customer experience
Launch a newsletter
Why are small business owners struggling to get clients?
Before we dive into our strategies, I want to talk about the pain points many agency owners have when it comes to finding their ideal client. To do that, let’s look at the Marketing Agency Growth Report from Hubspot.
According to the report, finding new clients was the pain point for 60% of all surveyed agency owners; 55% realized that they need to do more marketing to grow their business.
Diving deep into the report reveals why many agencies are struggling. Most of them still fail to see the potential of SEO. They are not ranking for keywords related to their services. A staggering 38% of digital marketing agencies receives new leads via referrals, while the website is only the main lead source for 18% of surveyed respondents.
Another pain point is that competitors often have the upper hand when it comes to securing new clients. Some of them are not even agencies, but freelancers. They try to sway leads by offering low pricing, which larger agencies cannot offer.
If you’re looking for more information on how to grow your business, check out our blog post on business development for agencies.
11 strategies on how to get agency clients
If you’re a part of the 60% struggling to find new leads, take a look at the 11 proven marketing strategies to find your target audience below.
1. Utilize your network
Your professional network is one of your most valuable acquisition assets. In fact, word-of-mouth referrals have the highest conversion rate of any customer acquisition channel at 3.74%. As the Hubspot report also mentions, most marketing agencies get new clients primarily via referrals.
While this shouldn’t be your main source to find clients, it can be one of many. Reach out to your network (both online and offline) and see if anyone can introduce you to potential leads. Don’t be pushy—just ask if they know of anyone who might benefit from your services.
If simply asking isn’t enough, you can always sweeten the deal by offering a referral fee or commission. With client portal solutions such as SPP, every client gets a unique referral link as part of the Affiliate Program module that they can share with their network. When someone clicks on the link and becomes a paying client, the referring partner gets a commission—it’s a win-win!
2. Promote your expertise through consulting and coaching
If you’ve not just founded a company, but succeeded in building an SEO agency that is successful, your expertise is a valuable commodity. But how can you show it off in a way that will attract new clients?
One of the most effective (and direct) ways is to join a consulting or coaching marketplace, such as:
People use consulting marketplaces to connect with experts who can offer them valuable insights and advice. By joining one of these platforms, you can put your agency’s skills and knowledge on display for potential clients to see.
If you impress the right people, you may be able to land some high-paying consulting gigs—which can in turn lead to long-term agency clients. And at the very least, you’re improving your agency’s online visibility and backlink profile.
Tip: Another way to prove your expertise is by writing a guest post on relevant websites.
3. Join an agency marketplace or directory
This method is pretty similar to the one above. The difference is that with agency marketplaces, you’re not promoting your individual expertise—you’re promoting your agency as a whole.
Some popular agency marketplaces include:
By joining an agency marketplace, you can showcase your agency’s work and get in front of potential clients who may need your services. And as a side note, these marketplaces are great for collecting reviews, testimonials, and other forms of social proof.
4. Leverage social proof
You’re probably at least somewhat aware that social proof is important when it comes to winning clients. But you might not be aware of just how insanely effective it can be. According to some studies, B2B reviews and testimonials can increase conversion rates by up to 270%.
So, if you’re not already leveraging social proof on your website and in your sales process, now’s the time to start.
Make it easy for past clients to leave reviews on the platforms we mentioned above by sending them follow-up emails or adding review links to your client portal software. Once you have a few reviews under your belt, showcase them prominently on your website.
As Chatty demonstrates in the example above, social proof works best when it’s interwoven with the main content of your website. That way, it gets absorbed naturally as visitors learn about your agency!
5. Think about productizing your services
If you’re having trouble selling your agency’s services, it may be because you’re not packaging them in a way that’s easy for prospects to understand. That’s where productization comes in.
Productization is the process of turning your services into a repeatable, predictable product that can be sold on a consistent basis. You’re taking your services and creating a process around them so that prospects know exactly what they’re getting—and so your team can deliver those services consistently.
Grow your industry knowledge
SPP is a client portal tool that’s specifically designed to help productized agencies make the most of this business model. With SPP, you can package your services into easy-to-sell packages, automate key parts of your sales and delivery process, and scale your agency more effectively.
6. Treat lost clients like dormant leads
There are many reasons why agencies lose clients. Sometimes, it’s simply the nature of their service (if it’s one-time only, for instance). In other situations, the customer wasn’t happy, or they simply needed to cut their budget.
Rather than writing former clients off as a lost cause, view them as dormant leads.
More than anything, this is a mindset shift. Instead of seeing a churned customer as someone who will never work with you again, treat them as someone who is taking a break from your services.
To get them back into your funnel:
Reach out to understand why they decided to leave. This feedback can be invaluable in helping you improve your agency’s services and reconnecting with the customer tin the future, so make a note in your agency’s CRM!
Reach out with relevant news. When you have news that’s relevant to past customers (and the reasons they left), reach out to them. This shows that you’re still paying attention to their needs and could help reignite their interest in working with your agency.
A simple example would be a client who left your SEO agency because they needed content writing services that you didn’t provide at the time. If you’ve since added this service to your offerings, reach out and let them know—they may be intrigued enough to come back.
7. Create (or buy) a product and give it away for free
Giving a product away for free might sound counterintuitive, but it can actually be a great way to attract new clients.
By product, I’m talking about anything that offers real value—usually by solving a problem. The key is to make sure that your product is high quality and relevant to the people you want to work with.
Here are a few examples:
E-books: A well-written, informative e-book can be a great way to attract attention from potential clients. In the e-book Break Free of Boring B2B, Toprank Marketing shows off their thought leadership and attracts attention from prospects in the process.
Templates: These can save a ton of time and deliver better results. If you have any industry-specific templates that you use in your work, consider sharing them. The Digital Marketing Templates Library by Backlinko is a great example of just how much information marketers are willing to give away for free.
Software and tools: If you have a tool or piece of software that’s relevant to your target clients, giving it away for free can be an effective way to get their attention. Neil Patel bought the keyword research tool Ubersuggest for $120,000. He spends roughly $250,000 per month on maintenance. He also gives most of its features for free. Why? Because it’s great at turning users into paying agency clients.
In most cases, you’ll want to put some sort of lead capture form on your free product landing page. This way, you can collect the contact information of anyone who’s interested in what you’re offering.
Once you have their information, you can reach out and start building a relationship—which could eventually lead to them becoming a paying client.
8. Join networking events
Even though a lot of client acquisition is online these days, you should overlook the importance of face-to-face interactions—especially if you’re a people person. A lot of times, it’s easier to make a connection with someone when you’re actually meeting them in person.
One of the best ways to do this is to get involved with relevant, real-world communities and events, such as:
The odds are pretty good that you’ll be able to meet potential clients at any of these events. But even if you don’t, getting involved in these communities can help you build relationships, learn from others in your field, and generally become a more well-rounded individual.
9. Get involved in online communities
In addition to real-world communities, there are also a ton of online communities where you can interact with potential clients and find opportunities.
Just be aware, there’s often a clear distinction between educational communities and communities that are designed to help with lead generation. If you try to use an educational community for lead generation, you’ll probably end up getting banned pretty quickly.
Here are a few online communities to consider:
10. Prioritize a great customer experience
This last point is more of a long-term play. But if you want to attract and retain clients, you need to make sure that they’re having a great experience working with you. Customer retention has a better ROI than acquisition—plus, happy customers are more likely to become agency ambassadors.
So, how can you create a great customer experience? It starts with communication.
Your clients need to be able to get the information they need from you when they need it. And the easiest way to make sure they do is by investing in a client portal. It’s a central hub where your customers can access all the information they need about their project.
This might include:
contact information for team members
invoices and order histories
files and deliveries
With SPP, you can manage all of this information in one place—and give your clients 24/7 access to it. That way, they can always stay up-to-date on what’s going on with their project—and you can avoid those frustrating back-and-forth email chains.
11. Launch a newsletter
Business owners can strengthen their brand value by focusing on email marketing with the help of a newsletter. Advertise it to your existing followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, and include it in email footers. The more subscribers you get, the higher your chances to find new customers.
When you decide to launch a newsletter, take some time to define a topic, focusing on pain points your ideal customers have. Or, you could target other agency owners, and build a relationship with them. Many agencies face the same troubles as you: they are having trouble generating leads.
As we’ve detailed in our case study with Podblade, instead of searching for new clients, they partner up with companies that would benefit from their white label podcast editing services, for instance podcast coaches, or marketing agencies.
Start attracting new clients at scale
If you want to attract more clients for your agency, you need to start with a solid acquisition strategy. By following the tips in this guide, you can put yourself in a position that allows you to scale your agency.
And once you convert a new client, make sure they stick around by providing them with an amazing customer experience. If you do, there’s a good chance they’ll become a lifelong client—and maybe even an agency ambassador.