If you’re an agency owner, you probably know that leads can be hard to come by. People stop responding to your cold emails, your advertisements aren’t generating traffic, and your funnel starts to look emptier than ever before.
It’s a constant problem that plagues the agency business, even though it shouldn’t. As long as the world is turning and people are buying things, there will always be a need for marketing. Businesses, no matter the size, need good marketing and hiring a marketing team is oftentimes too expensive for to afford. The demand for marketing agencies is definitely there.
And if you think there’s too much competition, think again.
If you did the math with the amount of small businesses and agencies that exist today, there would be about 250,000 small businesses per marketing agency. There are more than enough prospective clients to go around, yet lots of marketing agencies still have trouble finding leads to fill their funnel.
So, why is that?
It’s not because you’re a bad marketer or a bad salesman. Again, most new and up-and-coming agencies have this same problem. It’s just because, despite how much of market there is for it, it’s usually because agencies are going about it all wrong…
Unless you have an unbelievable number of clients, you can’t just rely on referrals to get your business where you want it to be. And if you did, then finding new leads wouldn’t be problem and you wouldn’t surfing the web for answers.
And unfortunately, relying on a big advertising budget, a team of salespeople, and a big social media following aren’t going to fill your funnel either. They will definitely help you down the road, but they are not the place to start.
You first HAVE to be able to predictably turn your prospecting into paying clients. The kind of clients who are higher paying, easier to work with, and allow you to do the work you actually enjoy doing. You can’t just throw a bunch of moving parts together and expect qualified leads to appear at your front door—you need to develop an organized system and plan to get them there.
Once you have that plan, all you have to do is ask one simple question to turn ideal prospects into customers. But again, the place to start is with your predictive plan to get people interested. A plan that will actually work.
And once you have it, you’re not only going to bring in more clients, but you’re going to help your clients be better prepared to grow their business. You’re going to help them craft a marketing plan of their own which will enable them to take control of their business. Then, after you help them craft their plan, the only thing you’ll need to do is ask that one simple question: “Need some help with that?”
It’s really as simple as that.
Creating a plan for your agency
Creating a plan to convert prospects into clients isn’t obvious. It’s hard work, and it admittedly takes a lot of trial and error. For some agencies, that process of trial and error can become too costly or too time consuming. For some, it doesn’t produce instantaneous results, and they get discouraged. In either case, they revert back to their old strategies that may produce results for a little bit but will inevitably run dry after a little while.
So, word of advice: don’t get discouraged. Developing a plan is necessity and knowing where to start is half the battle.
We’ve witnessed hundreds of agencies try, so we know a little bit about how the process works—which means we know a good place to start.
Here at DM, we don’t offer agency services, but we do work with a LOT of agencies we know and trust. This means we get to see “behind the scenes” of what all the most successful agencies do… and we’ve boiled it down to a simple formula that we call the Agency Growth Flywheel
The Agency Growth Flywheel is a 4-step process that we’ve identified from examining what lots of successful agencies do. It’s the fool-proof formula that has the potential to work every time, all you have to do is execute it correctly. It goes beyond advertising budgets and lead magnets—and it delivers predictable growth for agencies that are willing to commit to the plan.
It’s easy to implement, there is only one thing you have to make sure you are able to provide: value.
All that means is you have to be able to effectively do your job. If you have an understanding of advertising, and you know your clients will be happy with the job that you do, then this formula is all you will ever need to make sure your funnel stays as full as your bank account.
Let’s break down this 4-step formula…
(NOTE: And if you want to learn even more about what goes into the Agency Growth Flywheel, we’re offering a free training webinar so you can learn the in-depth details about the process that can unlock your agency’s potential.)
Step 1: Acquire prospective clients through value in advance content
The best way to get prospective clients in the door isn’t through some slimy sales pitch. Business owners take their businesses very seriously, and many of them don’t want to be sold to by someone they don’t know anything about. And, even if you do get them interested, it will be really easy to overpromise and underperform.
The best thing you can do to get people interested in your agency is showing them that you know what you’re talking about. The best way to that is through value-heavy content.
It’s important to note that this content needs to be low-cost or even free. Your end goal is to turn your readers into clients, and charging them to even get acquainted with you will directly inhibit that. You want to get as many people as you possibly can to view your content, so that way you can get your agency’s name out there. Not only will it build your reputation, but it will also help you bring in more leads.
This content can come in many different forms: blog posts, webinars, online videos, and everything in between. All that matters is that you produce content that people can actually get something out of. You should be able to teach them something new with your content, which will make a big enough impact for them to remember you and your agency. Once you do, you’ll be able to establish a bit of credibility with your prospective clients in your industry, it will be a lot easier to get them in the door for a meeting or get them to attend an info session.
Step 2: Invite them to a free “discovery session”
Once you’ve got them interested in what you have to offer, you can get them in the door to have them learn more about your products or services. But this isn’t some sales pitch in disguise—it’s a meeting to figure out what their needs actually are. You can do this organically (interview-style), or maybe you’ll want them to fill out a questionnaire. No matter the strategy, you just need to learn more about what their business does and where they want it to go.
In reality, this meeting is actually more for you as opposed to your prospective client. This meeting can help you learn more about their business and what problems they’re facing. Again, this approach gives you control on who is and isn’t your ideal client to work with. The goal is for you to work with clients that you actually like and enable you to do work that you actually enjoy doing. If you don’t think you and that client are a right fit, then you can move on to other leads.
When you have your prospective client in this meeting, it’s important to map out their Customer Value Journey—it will be the foundation of the strategic plan that you implement. Understanding what your client wants out of their customers, and what goals they want them to hit in each step of the journey, will go a long way in determining if that client will be a right fit. If you can effectively map out the CVJ with your client, and you both feel excited about the work that needs to be done, then you know that they’re going to be a good fit.
Step 3: Convert your prospect into a short-term paying client
The next step is simple: get your clients on the book. Once you know who they are and help them iron out a predictable system that could work for their business, you need to make the partnership official. But you don’t want to make a critical mistake that lots of agencies make…
In this step, you want to sign your client to a short-term deal and start to put their plan into action. You don’t want to sign them to a long-term retainer deal—again, this partnership is as much about you as it is them. You’ll help them figure out where to start, come to an agreement on what “success” looks like, and then figure out what metrics will illustrate that success.
Stay by their side and walk them through the process. Ideally, you both will start to see some results. Then, once the plan is in action, all you’ll have to do is ask that one simple question: “Need some help with that?” and move to Step 4.
Step 4: Ascend your clients into an ongoing retainer
Now that the hard part is done and there is a relationship built not only on trust, but also on results, you can ink a long-term deal. Your agency will provide the marketing help when they need it, and you’ll have yourself an extremely loyal and satisfied client.
If they do encounter problems later on and need serious help, there is no one better qualified to help them than you. You understand their business, their pain points, and their customers. You’ll officially have a relationship where everyone wins, and both you and your client will be able to reap the benefits of it.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s because this was the abbreviated version of the process.
There is a lot more that goes into the process of the Agency Growth Flywheel, so be sure to check out our free training webinar.
Once you’ve mastered the process, it’s almost impossible to stop. Many of the agencies we work with have seen 25-30% of their free discovery session meetings turn into paid clients. And yes, they actually want to work with them.
But that brings up one more question that you may be wondering: “How do I find the right client?”
When you host your discovery session, anyone could walk through the door. There may be some winners within the group, but you probably want more efficiency than that, so you need make sure that qualified candidates are walking through the door every time.
There are lots of qualified leads out there, and there are tons of creative ways to find them. You’d be surprised what just talking to people in line at the store will accomplish for you. But if you also want to learn about how to identify and contact those qualified leads, we can help you with that too.
Click here to download our new guide Refill Your Pipeline by Friday. It will walk you through all the different ways to find leads, as well as the messages that will get them interested in you.
Then, once you understand both sides of the agency equation, you’ll be able to accomplish the growth that you envision.
It might sound crazy but scaling your marketing agency can be as simple as a 4-step process and one simple question. All you have to do is be willing to put in the work (and have the system to match.)