According to Sprout Social, social media marketing is one of the fastest growing advertising channels and has recently even overtaken paid search like Google ads in terms of marketing spend. It’s clear more businesses are interested in leveraging the benefits of an expertly crafted social media strategy or having an experienced marketing professional run their social media campaign for them. However, unlike local lead generation agencies that seem to sign long-term clients with ease, many social media agencies struggle to find clients for their business. In the following article, we look at 5 common mistakes agencies make that hurt their ability to get clients, 9 effective methods for finding clients, and a simple tip to get more clients so you can start generating massive revenue in your social media agency!
5 Detrimental mistakes new agencies make
1. Not setting standards for the clients you take on
When first starting out, it may be tempting to sign any client to start generating revenue for your agency. However, the type of clients you work for reflects your business, so it’s best to set some standards. Make sure potential clients have a viable product or service to offer and positive customer feedback. This will ensure the foundation is set for you to achieve optimal results for the business and they will be more capable of remaining a long-term client if they have a strong business. Furthermore, getting client reviews from legitimate, well-perceived businesses is much better for your agency.
2. Pitching without listening
Do you have the perfect sales script ready to pitch potential clients on why they should let you run their social media account? Many people mistakingly view sales as talking, but the best salespeople are excellent listeners. Before making your pitch, let your potential clients talk about their business and ask questions as needed. You will be surprised how much easier it is to learn about their business goals and pain points so you can effectively follow up with a pitch tailored to their exact needs or quickly assess that your agency’s services don’t meet with their needs.
3. Skipping the vetting process
Before wasting either your own or your potential client's valuable time with a sales call, you should pre-vet them to determine if there is a good opportunity to work together. Some basic questions you should have answered before meeting with a potential client are:
- Is this a client I can help?
- I see myself working with?
- A project that I would enjoy?
Start by verifying that the prospect is in the specific industry or niche your agency is focused on serving. Research their website, social media pages, and any other digital information available. If reaching out by email or direct messaging on social media, you can request that they answer some brief questions about their business. Also, it's important that the brand or their offer should be of some interest to you. You are much more likely to perform the role to the highest standard and remain motivated as a social media manager if you have a passion or interest for your client's industry and brand.
4. Letting quality of work slip for current clients
One of the most common mistakes that causes new agencies to lose the clients they’ve already gained is putting too many resources into scaling and letting the quality of work slip for current clients. Your current paying clients are the engine of your business and have already proven they will pay you for the work, so make sure you perform for them first and foremost. Besides just generating revenue for your business, your clients can help you grow your agency by providing outstanding reviews as social proof for new clients and may even refer other related businesses they know to your agency.
5. Giving up too soon
Many digital marketing gurus selling the social media agency model sell it as an easy way to start making money online. This leads aspiring online entrepreneurs to assume they will be able to land clients without hassle and start generating revenue in their agency. However, there are many learning and business growing pains you must overcome if you want to establish a successful agency, so don’t give up when it doesn’t go as planned! It may take countless sales calls before you ever land your first client as you perfect your pitch and learn how to sell your agency. As long as you take each experience as a lesson and make consistent improvements, you’re on the right path.
9 Methods to get clients for your social media marketing agency
Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, here are some effective strategies for finding social media clients for your agency.
1. Leverage your current network
The best place to start your search for clients is with the family, friends, acquaintances, and former colleagues. These are people that already know you. If their experience with you left a positive impression, there is a good chance they won't mind recommending you to others in their network or even hire your agency themselves if they have a need for the service.
Before reaching out to these contacts, make sure you have some assets prepared to show them you are running a legitimate business, like a website, business details, and social media accounts. Use a non-entitled tone in your outreach message and ask if they or anyone they know may be interested in your services. If so, request that they pass along the contact details so you can reach out. Compile all received responses into a list of prospective clients. These leads from your current network are especially valuable because they are like referrals, as you can name drop the person in your network who provided the details when you reach out.
2. Connect with other agencies
Connecting with other digital marketing agencies is another great way to find clients for your business by:
A non-competing digital agency is one that does not deal with social media services, so you could partner with an email marketing agency or one that specializes in Google AdWords. Also, many established agencies may already be at capacity and unable to accept new clients. In those cases, you could sell them on the mutual benefit of you paying them a monthly commission in exchange for passing you the clients they can’t accommodate. Lastly, you can check out competing agencies' websites or social media accounts to see what kind of landing page format they use or promotional deals they run for new clients and incorporate those into your own strategy.
3. Hook them with a free social media site audit
People and businesses love to get a good deal, which is why using a value offer like a free social media site audit can be so effective. Not only will the potential client be grateful and more likely to use your social media marketing service, but it also gives you the opportunity to improve your sales pitch with specific points and show them what level of customer service they can expect when partnering with you. Plus, if you want to run a profitable social media agency, it's useful to understand what level of service the business will require from you to generate the intended results before making an agreement.
4. Invitation to a free social media management workshop
Another free value you can offer prospective clients is a social media-related workshop. With a workshop, you spend an hour or so going over a specific social media-related topic like how to successfully run Facebook ads or strategies to attract more followers on Instagram. The goal of the workshop is to provide business owners with enough valuable information to leave satisfied, while highlighting your expertise and the additional services your agency can offer that potential clients would be interested in. With digital meeting software like Zoom or Skype, you don’t even need to run the workshop in person. Instead, you can make it convenient for potential clients to attend by running a completely virtual workshop.
5. Use remote work/freelance websites
Remote work and freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr are some of the best places to find businesses in need of your services. These websites allow businesses to either post their specific needs so you can apply to perform the service for them, or they enable businesses to search for profiles with the best match for what they need. Here are some tips for landing clients from these sites:
6. Let your clients build your business for you through referrals
If you already have some clients, you can reward them for helping you build your business. With referrals, you offer your clients a reward for referring other businesses in their network to you that could also use your services. Referral rewards can include things like cash, discounts on services, service credit, and more.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful because of social proof. If your client recommends you because they have had success following the social media marketing strategy you created for them to establish a social media presence that other businesses would be envious of, it's likely their business contacts would want to imitate that success, too.
7. Get out and network
If you’re focused on serving businesses in your local community, in-person networking has some advantages over virtual interactions. In-person networking allows you to get in front of potential clients, discuss their marketing pains face to face using more expression and emotion, and then offer them a solution if the opportunity presents itself. Instead of the drawn out prospecting process that can occur through virtual communication like email or direct messaging on social media, in-person interactions can make deals happen quickly. Some of the best opportunities to reach businesses in person are by attending a networking event for your specific niche, trade shows, or conferences.
8. Establish yourself as an industry expert through content marketing
According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates over 3x as many leads as outbound marketing activities and costs 62% less. Content marketing is so effective because it allows you to present your skills and abilities to your target audience by providing them free information and instant value. For example, you could create a video or blog post about how to set up a successful Facebook page for a dental clinic. In your content, you could include a call to action for them to use a related service from your agency, such as “If you need help with running Facebook ads, you can reach out to us!”
If your content is well made and helped the agency achieve their goal of creating a Facebook page with dental clinic specific tips, they are more inclined to reach out to you for help to run their Facebook ads because you have proven your expertise. When you create content like this consistently, over time you’ll have a vast catalogue potential clients can use to verify your expertise and find your business.
9. Cold outreach
If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for with these other strategies, you may have to turn to cold outreach. Cold outreach through channels like email or phone calls is a classic outbound sales strategy for prospecting clients and generating leads. Although many people find cold outreach uncomfortable, it’s actually a strategy that can generate great results if done right. In fact, according to QuickMail, the average open rate for cold emails is 44%! You can find leads for cold outreach by looking in a niche-specific Facebook group, searching on Google or LinkedIn, or browsing through local business directories like Yelp or Foursquare. Even if you don’t land any clients, at least you can generate some brand awareness from your cold outreach efforts.
Why you should incorporate multiple methods to find social media clients
Any of these 9 methods alone can be effective to find clients for your digital marketing agency. However, if you want to maximize your ability to find new clients, you should incorporate at least a few of these into your strategy. You may reach some businesses through their social media channels, while others may not even use a social media platform at all yet and can only be found in-person or through traditional channels like email or phone. There are so many potential avenues to find your ideal client for your agency, so it’s best to test and see where you have success before narrowing down your approach.
If you’re keen to help businesses grow by finding the right partners for influencer marketing, scheduling captivating content for their Instagram story, or coming up with the perfect caption for a social media post, starting a social media agency could be a great opportunity for you! However, a social media marketing agency is not for everyone because it requires nearly constant attention and regular meetings with your clients. Fortunately, there are other more passive income online business models like local lead generation or affiliate marketing you can choose. Whether a social media marketing agency is your cup of tea or you elect to go with another online business opportunity, the important thing is to not give up until you’ve achieved your goal. The world of online business can be immensely competitive, but for those that keep going despite the challenges, the rewards are incredible.