If your digital marketing agency struggles with lead generation, you’re certainly not alone. A recent study by Ruler Analytics shows that nearly 40% of the marketing agencies they polled listed “generating high-quality leads” as thebiggest challenge for their digital marketing agency to solve.
Agencies that struggle to generate leads know how unnerving it can be to scramble for clients each time you lose a major account. When these clients leave, your agency needs to be able to fill that revenue gap quickly. You need more leads and, more importantly, you need qualified leads.
While marketing agencies generally know the importance of generating leads, we often fall short when it comes to the how. We sometimes also fall behind when we slow down on sales efforts to manage the book of business we’re currently working with.
There’s a lot IMPACT has learned over the years about how to generate not only more leads but better ones that we enjoy working with and that continue to support our business. In this article, we will teach you strategies for generating more high-quality leads, including how to:
Get your agency in front of right-fit prospects in your target audience.
Train your marketing and sales teams to be world-class educators.
Bring an authoritative presence to the sales process.
These strategies are helping IMPACT grow faster than ever, and they are lead-generation strategies few digital marketing agencies use, despite how effective they are.
If you’re ready for real growth and want your digital marketing agency to have what it needs to rise above these lead-generation challenges and really flourish, here’s what to do.
Get your digital marketing agency in front of right-fit prospects in your target audience
Getting your marketing agency in front of the right people today isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition out there and marketing channels galore. Your target audience is inundated with choices and every agency wants more leads.
But when it comes to lead generation, narrowing down your ideal target prospects and knowing how to reach them can be a game-changer.
Here are two major things you can do.
1. Clearly define the services your digital marketing agency provides
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned at IMPACT is how useful it can be to know exactly what you do — and even more importantly — what you don’t.
While this might sound obvious, when an agency clearly defines these things, they spend less time chasing after the wrong potential clients that will never find value in your agency’s work and partnership.
Defining what you do and don’t do in the lead generation process helps set up the proper expectations and ensures the success of your client-agency partnership from the beginning — all while weeding out the bad fits that you would have wasted your time on in the first place.
2. Invest in your own content marketing
Inbound marketing agencies take the time to write content and create videos for our clients, day in and day out. But when it comes to doing the same for our own business, we tend to fall short.
But here’s the thing: Content marketing campaigns work just as well for inbound marketing agencies as they do for our clients.
As explained in Marcus Sheridan’s inbound marketing book They Ask, You Answer, one of the most powerful things you can do as a business is to use your website to answer every question your clients have ever asked about you — and our marketing agencies sure field a ton of them.
The first thing your agency must do to supercharge your lead-generation process is — and this is a big one — invest in a content manager or team that creates this content for your agency and no one else. You need someone in-house to manage the content creation process for your agency, or every time a big project surfaces, your own content needs will be sidelined.
You want to create effective content and get the biggest return on your investment in the shortest possible time by starting with The Big 5.
The Big 5 are topics that represent the questions buyers obsess about and search in-depth before making big purchase decisions. Coincidentally they are also the topics most digital marketing agencies, and businesses in general, refuse to address. They pretend these topics don’t exist (a marketing tactic we refer to as “ostrich marketing” because instead of facing your problems head-on, most agencies prefer to bury their head in the sand).
When your digital marketing agency is bold enough to answer these topics on your website, the lead generation process becomes easier. These topics do the heaviest lifting when it comes to attracting prospects and increasing traffic, qualified leads, and sales.
The Big 5 include:
Pricing and costs: Topics that show how much your digital marketing solutions cost (factors, considerations, what defines value, etc.). Most businesses don’t talk about cost on their websites, yet if we go to a business’s website and can’t find this information immediately, we are frustrated. Be as upfront and transparent about cost and pricing as you can. And if you can’t be specific about pricing, talk about why.
Problems: These are the negatives about, or issues with, your solution that buyers ask about. We’d love to pretend everything about our businesses is perfect, but that’s not the case — and your clients already know this. We can address the problems that clients might run across with our products and services — such as roadblocks that we run into with client relationships, alignment, and deliverables — which makes us part of the conversation. The alternative is leaving it to your competitors to address them.
Versus and comparisons: Show how your product or solution compares to similar products or solutions. There is nothing more we love to do as buyers than compare our options. Yet, most businesses feel uncomfortable addressing this issue because it often forces us to talk about our competitors. Your prospects want to know how your products and services compare to other options, so you need to talk about them.
Reviews: Your prospective clients want to read about honest and unbiased opinions and observations about your products and solutions — and from experts who know their stuff. As people consider your agency, they often want to know if your past clients are happy with your services or not.
“Best of” lists: As buyers and consumers, we love to search for best-in-class options. If we are able to see all our options and what people have to say about them, we can make better-informed decisions. List the options, and talk about your competitors without putting yourself on the list. If you create a “best of” list, your prospects will know you wrote it, and if you put your own business on it, you appear biased and you lose credibility.
It’s important to write these articles to educate buyers in an unbiased way and give them all the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Use search engine optimization tools to find all the questions they are asking and don’t be afraid to go in-depth. Creating the right content to serve website visitors’ needs builds the trust necessary for prospects to hand over their hard-earned money in exchange for your business.
Train your marketing and sales teams to be world-class educators
Once you nail down your niche audience and start creating content that answers their questions, train your marketing and sales teams on how to teach what you do at business events and conferences.
There is no better way to get your business out there and generate leads than by bringing your ideas to a roomful of potential clients and teaching them about what you do.
Many of the members of our leadership team, including IMPACT Partner and Principal Marcus Sheridan and CEO Bob Ruffolo, attend these events to get prospects excited about our services, which keeps the conversation open with new clients.
Also, train your sales team how toeducate your prospects before sales calls with assignment selling. This helps answer many of your prospects’ questions upfront and saves your sales team time on the actual call. We call this method assignment selling, and you can learn more about this effective sales technique in Marcus Sheridan’s free course, Assignment Selling: Content Is Your Greatest Sales Tool, and also virtual selling techniques to get your sales team more comfortable on video with the course titled The Visual Sale.
Give workshops and get full company buy-in
Before a client signs an agreement to work with your agency, their leadership needs to “catch the vision” and understand how working with you will benefit them.
The only way to get those leaders to buy in is to help them understand the what, how, and why of working with you.
If you’re able to deliver the workshop in a way that makes everyone in the room want to work with your team and understand the value your agency provides, you’ll be winning better clients regularly.
Bring an authoritative presence to the sales process
One of the things many marketing agencies struggle with — often without realizing it — is that they come off as desperate and needy. No one is going to give you their business because you need them to!
You might recognize this as the concept “beta trap” from Oren Klaff’s Pitch Anything.
Being authoritative in your sales process might be difficult to do, especially at first when you don’t have the luxury of saying no to potential clients, but you have to be willing to walk away and trust your process or it won’t work.
Remember, it’s the great-fit clients you want — not the mediocre ones.
Explain how you can help and move on to the next. This keeps your business in a position of authority in the sales process, which is where you want to be.
Why the traditional agency-client relationship might be setting your business up to fail
As marketing agencies, many of us feel like we have to provide and be everything to all our clients at the same time in order to succeed. Our teams are writing blog articles, filming videos, setting up and using CMSs, managing sales pipelines, and more — for several clients all at once.
As an inbound marketing agency, when you plan — and do — the work for your clients, it will always be difficult to generate qualified leads and build good relationships with your clients.
There are a few reasons this is true:
Your team members will be spread so thin trying to be everything to everyone that they will inevitably burn out.
As the ones responsible for your clients’ results, you will always be on the line for another business’s success.
You will always have to answer to your clients and be moving mountains to make them happy.
With our They Ask, You Answer Certified Coaching Program, we teach solopreneurs and marketing agencies how to improve their clients’ results with a simple, effective framework that helps you create long-term, consistent recurring monthly revenue and the tools needed to scale your agency.