There are so many benefits to owning your own social media marketing agency—the freedom work whenever, wherever, the ability to be your own boss, and the opportunity to do work that you’re passionate about. However, just because it’s a great job doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.
The most challenging step after starting your SMMA is finding and attracting clients. Most importantly, you want to be able to find and onboard new clients quickly.
In this blog I’m going to go over some easy methods to help you prospect new clients and start to build your business.
Knowing where to start may be the most difficult. The following strategies are easy and have proven to be effective in onboarding new clients. Some may not be a fit for your business, but experiment with each to see what works best.
Grow Your Personal Network
Networking is an essential part of any business, and that makes it a great way to start when you’re looking for clients.
Put out a net by starting off by reaching out to family and friends. Open Excel and add the names of your 20 closest friends and family members along with their email address, where they work, job title, phone number, and links to their social media accounts. Later, you’ll extend this spreadsheet to include prospects from LinkedIn and other sources.
Draft an email introducing yourself and your business. This doesn’t have to be a novel—keep it short and sweet and engaging. This email should summarize what you’re doing and what you’re offering.
As we know, networking involves a lot more than simply sending an email and communicating with people online. Tell people you know that you have started a SMMA and you are looking for clients. Ask for advice and brainstorm ideas with the people in your life—ask what they would require from a business like yours in order to hire your agency.
The more people who know about your agency, the more possible opportunities you will create to connect with decision makers that you will be able to pitch your services to.
Partner With Another Non-Competing Service Provider
Networking obviously isn’t only about making direct connections with people or businesses that will hire your services, but also about making connections with other companies that you can work with and learn from.
Identify your target clients and discover what services they need that you don’t offer. Now, identify other businesses that offer these services and put their information into an Excel spreadsheet with the type of business, the services they offer, and their contact information.
Contact these non-competing businesses in your area that provide those services and try to create a relationship. Send an email introducing yourself and your business. Open the conversation by asking what services their customers need that they don’t provide. Update your spreadsheet to keep track of who you reached out to so you can follow up
LinkedIn Search Feature
LinkedIn is an incredibly helpful resource when it comes to growing your business. Using this tool you can search by industry, seniority level, location, and even company size. Focus on searching for companies in your niche market and create a list of potential contacts.
Being able to see someone’s job title and level of seniority will help you pitch your message appropriately, while their personal and company profile will give you a good insight into their business challenges. This will also help you make sure you’re reaching out directly to the decision-maker who will be able to give you an answer.
Every couple of weeks, make some sort of contact through LinkedIn with each person in the spreadsheet that you’ve created based off of your searches. Start with a soft touch such as a like or comment on their updates.
After a few subtle interactions, look for an article they may enjoy based on their interests and share with them directly. You may also decide to tag them in an interesting photo you find using a hashtag search on Instagram by mentioning them in the comments.
Repeat this for 2-3 months and then send an email asking for a quick call. You can gently nudge towards this by mentioning that you’ve been connected for a while and that you’ve enjoyed their content and wanted to get to know their business a bit better.
Free Advice & Training Live
Everyone needs help doing a better job with their social media marketing; as a startup agency, your challenge is to be seen as an expert in this area. Luckily, when it comes to social media marketing, you can actually show your expertise by practicing it with your own marketing for your agency.
Host a live training on GoToWeb, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, or IG TV session for your followers. Set up a date and time and then get to promoting. Use social media to promote your training event and reach out to people you think might benefit from the session. Also do searches on Quora or other forums and leave answers to niche questions and invite them to attend your free training.
Each registrant then becomes a potential client for your business, so you need to make sure your content is impressive enough to at least get them interested. Make sure to record the training and upload it as a webinar to YouTube. You can then repurpose this content across all of your other social media channels.
While you’re promoting the event, be clear that it is free and that there is no financial commitment to attending the training. You can also give a small offer to attendees, such as a template or e-book in order to get them into your funnel. This offer should revolve around content surrounding what you are an expert on. It does not have to be perfect, it just needs to be created and shared.
Word of Mouth
Nothing is going to help you find qualified clients better than word of mouth. A satisfied customer will tell others about your and refer other business to you. That means you need to make sure that you’re doing the best job possible with the clients you’ve already landed.
One way to make sure your client is satisfied is to start off on the right food. It is important when first working with the client to set realistic expectations by setting realistic goals. And you also need to keep expectations realistic for yourself. It takes time to see results with social media marketing, and you need to manage that timeline with your clients.
By agreeing on common goals with your clients and defining steps that move you towards achieving them, your client will have full transparency on where you are focusing your efforts. They’ll be even more satisfied when you’re able to accomplish those goals for them and their business.
While all of these steps will help you find prospective clients to reach out to, it’s important to manage your own expectations as well. All of these strategies are effective, so long as you are persistent. Make sure you’re going after the right prospects, and make sure you’re going after enough.
Not every prospect is going to hire you, but if you stay focused, driven, and persistent, then you will definitely start landing clients. Soon enough, your social media marketing agency will be a huge success.
If you’re ready to take your social media marketing agency to the next level, then visit our Cereal Entrepreneur Academy blog. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for helpful new content daily.