3 Ways Agencies Can Capture Quality Leads at Scale
Running an agency is tough work. You have immense competition and tough customers to deal with. Much of what you offer – expertise – is readily commoditized by competitors. To add to that, you have to constantly deal with talent attrition issues.
One thing that can make agency life easier is a relentless focus on new business. If you have a steady pipeline of leads, you can rest easy knowing that you aren’t one cancelled client away from not making payday.
Moreover, a full lead pipeline also gives you more room to maneuver as a business. You can’t really add additional services to your portfolio, launch in-house projects, hire top-tier talent, or upgrade your creative management software if you’re too focused on the day-to-day of your agency.
The question now is: how can your agency capture leads at scale? What sort of steps can you take to build out your new business pipeline?
We’ll share some answers in this article.
1. Build more search-focused landing pages
Much of agency new business efforts tend to focus on networking and referrals.
While attending conferences and asking existing clients for leads can work well, these tactics aren’t really scalable. You are ultimately limited by the number of hours you have. After all, you can only attend so many conferences.
A targeted landing page that ranks well for a key query, on the other hand, will pull in traffic day and night, tirelessly. And if you pair this landing page with the right kind of offer, it will also yield you some high-quality leads.
In fact, research even shows that the more targeted landing pages you create, the more leads you capture.
- Content marketing for dentists
- SEO for plumbers in NYC
- Content marketing strategies for startups
Each of these landing pages has the potential to attract traffic to your site passively. And once you set up a template for them, it’s easy to churn out dozens of them quickly. While each page might not bring in a lot of visitors by itself, 50 odd pages like these can quickly lead to some top-quality leads.
2. Offer free consultations or pricing tables to capture lead interest
Agencies typically follow the same template for their websites: an about page, a bunch of case studies, and a portfolio of recent work. There would be a contact form or email, but that’s about the only way a visitor can interact with the site.
This approach can work if your new business strategy is largely offline (such as networking), but if you’re trying to capture leads at scale, it fails disastrously. You might have people coming to your site in droves, but without a substantial offer (a contact page doesn’t count), you have no way to capture this interest.
The solution is to offer something that potential clients want from your agency. These can be:
- Free audits
- Free phone, email, or Skype consultations (limited to 15-30 minutes)
- Free pricing tables of your services
This approach is particularly common among SEO agencies. In fact, when we surveyed over 100 agencies, we found that a large minority of SEO agencies offered some form of free consultation or audits.
3. Build out your strategic partnerships
Partnerships are severely underutilized as a source of leads.
The idea behind this approach is simple: you find a company that offers a similar but non-competitive service. Say, a popular SEO tool if you’re an SEO agency, or a content marketing agency if you sell social media services.
Reach out to these companies and try to strike up a partnership.
There are a few good rules of the thumb to follow when striking partnerships:
- Right target: Build partnerships with companies that are larger and more successful than yours, but not overwhelmingly so. You want to use their bigger reach to find a new audience. In return, you should give them something they don’t have – access to a new market, new technology, or expertise.
- Right timing: Hammering out a partnership agreement can take countless hours of negotiations. Most companies review their partnerships at the end of the year or financial quarter. That’s a good time to strike up the conversation about partnership. Maybe the company isn’t happy with its current partner and might be open to new relationships.
- Right offer: The reason many agencies fail to land good partnerships is that they make it all about themselves. Whereas to be successful, the partnership has to be mutually beneficial. Offer them something they can’t get by themselves. And take from them something they’re not utilizing fully.
For instance, a web design agency might have a lot of happy clients who also need content for their newly minted site. If you partner up with them to offer content, you might be able to land some top-notch leads at scale.
In particular, look for software companies that have open affiliate or partnership programs, such as the Google Partners program. The massive reach of these software giants not only opens up new markets for you, but also gives your fledgling agency legitimacy.
Over to you
It’s not easy building an agency in 2019. The sheer amount of competition (for clients and for talent) and the increasingly complex nature of digital interactions means that you have to fight hard to land deals.
Building a scalable lead generation pipeline is one way to keep winning deals in 2019 and beyond. Try one of these three lead generation tactics to bag new clients and grow your agency faster than ever.