There are many challenges involved in starting and running a social media marketing agency. However, there’s no doubt that the biggest challenge that agency owners have to face is in actually landing clients. You could be organized, have great ideas, and be hard-working, but none of that will matter if you aren’t bringing in clients or generating revenue.
The key to turning leads into clients is in remembering that you need to make your relationship with your co-workers, peers, and clients a priority. As simple as it may sound, it’s undeniable that building relationships is the most important aspect of building a business. Clients will do business with businesses that they trust and know on a personal level, and earning and growing that trust and nurturing your relationship is how you land clients.
An executive may meet dozens of people during the day, but if you can make yourself memorable by finding a way to connect on a personal level, you won’t be forgotten. That’s how I’ve been able to build my client-base, and how I was able to land a high-end client!
In this video, I’ll be telling you what I did to land a client worth $26,000, and how you can apply it to your own marketing strategy for your own agency or brand!
How to Find Leads
Finding qualified leads that you can turn into clients requires actions. Leads aren’t just going to fall into your lap—at least, not when you’re first starting out—you need to go out and find them. There are a number of ways you can find leads, both online and in real life.
One great way to find leads is to start networking. Start with friends and family and see if anyone could benefit from the services you provide, and make sure that people in your social group are aware of what you do and that you’re always looking for clients.
When setting out to look for clients, it’s also a good idea to decide on a specific niche and look for clients in that industry—for instance, your SMMA can specialize in helping real estate agents, or doctors, or any other industry that you might be passionate about. So when you’re networking, make sure you’re meeting people within that niche.
Networking requires going out and talking to as many people in your niche industry as possible. Find groups or events in your area where you can meet up with people in your own industry and within your niche industry. Attend conferences or speaking events, or joint a committee or board of a group of interest to you. You can also join networking groups such as:
- Business Networking International
- Mastermind groups
- Chamber of Commerce
- Rotary Club
You can also find leads by paying attention to the companies in your niche that are already advertising locally. Looking at all forms of outdoor advertising to see who in your area is already spending on marketing—obviously they have a budget and the desire, and you can help them incorporate digital marketing into their marketing strategy. Forms of advertising you should look at include:
- Billboard advertising
- Point of sale displays
- Street furniture such as bus shelters, kiosks, phone booths
- Transit advertising and wraps such as taxis, buses, subways, trains
- Mobile billboards
- Guerilla advertising
- Direct mail such as coupons, flyers, pamphlets
Performing a search on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook is also a great way to find leads. Look for businesses who obviously need a little bit of help in taking advantage of the potential of social media.
Make the First Move
Once you’ve found qualified leads for your SMMA, the next step is to make your move. You will need to reach out to these leads, but you need to be prepared. To be successful you must know what your client does and what matters most to them before you even reach out to them with any kind of proposal.
Sending out an email to introduce yourself and inform them of your services is one way to make initial contact, or even reaching out through social media is a great way of making first contact. Any way that you can get your foot in the door and to start talking to the decision-maker at a business is great.
This stage will likely be the most difficult. There will be many businesses that you reach out to who may not get back to you, or who won’t be interested in engaging your services. Just remember to spread as a wide a net as you can, and don’t get discouraged. Succeeding with a social media marketing agency requires persistence more than anything else—as long as you keep reaching out to people, you will eventually land a client.
Communication is Key
Communication is the most vital component of turning leads into clients. You need to develop a good rapport with your leads by keeping in touch. Building a relationship with all potential leads needs to become a priority to your business.
Once a relationship has been established, you need to show that you think of the client as a person, and not just a business or potential client. Strengthen the relationship by finding out what they’re interested in outside of business, whether it’s sport, reading, movies, or if they have a family that they’re fond of speaking of. Email them an article about their favorite sports team, ask how their family is doing, or discuss new releases—anything to show that you care about their interests. Keep in touch to stay top of mind, and build your relationship with them by regularly emailing out more content they’ll be interested in.
Good communication also requires moving offline. While email and social media is a great way to make initial contact, you can’t rely only on social media to grow your relationship. Connect via phone if the customer’s schedule allows for it, and when possible, and if possible, set up a meeting in person or over Skype. Face-to-face connections with always be strongest and the most personal, so strive for that.
Give them Value
As you work to strengthen your relationship with your prospective client, you need to be able to show them the value you can provide as their digital marketer, and the best way to do that is to provide value at every opportunity, even if they haven’t hired you yet.
Find ways in your hectic schedule to bring value to not only the relationship, but to their business directly. Share your experience freely and find opportunities to connect and exchange value. Make sure you provide value before they even ask for anything—that will bring them that much closer to signing a contract by the time you reach out with your proposal.
Offer a free download of something that’ll be of value to your ideal client’s business, give free consultations to those who fit the profile of your ideal client, or create a free online course that addresses some of the issues you’ve found your clients struggle with. Allow them to indirectly test the waters of what it would mean to hire your services and show them how successful a partnership between your businesses could be, without being pushy or overly sales-oriented.
If you can show your potential clients that you can clearly solve their challenges or give them the tools and empower them to solve their own issues, then you’ll be a shoe-in for the first person they call once they’re ready to hire a digital or social media marketing agency.
Remember, generosity is the single most attractive thing in business. To attract better clients, give more. You won’t regret it.
Find out more about how you can excel in social media marketing by enrolling in our online Digital Marketing School, where you’ll learn everything you need to know to run a successful digital marketing agency. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for helpful content daily, or visit our blog for more FREE training.