HomeBlogHow to Get Clients for Your Agency (That You’ll Love Working With)

How to Get Clients for Your Agency (That You’ll Love Working With)

Author: Rob Glover
Last Updated: May 17, 2024 | Strategies for Agencies

You can’t grow an agency if you don’t get new clients. Heck, you can’t even stay the same size, as some clients will leave eventually. And that’s why new client acquisition is always a top challenge for agencies.

How to get clients - Graph showing agency issues

AgencyAnalytics proved what most know: getting clients is a constant struggle for agencies.

What’s even harder is finding the right clients. You know, the ones your agency can make successful and that you actually enjoy working with.

That’s why we included tips in this guide that will not only help you get new clients, but also sift out the clients that aren’t a great fit (and will become a drain on your resources).

We’re focused on ad and marketing agencies here, but most of these principles will help any service provider get more amazing clients:

  1. Generate referrals
  2. Get reviews
  3. Network with complementary businesses
  4. Turn employees into ambassadors
  5. Share your secrets
  6. Present fixes to prospect’s problems
  7. Price properly
  8. Be active on social media
  9. Create an ideal customer profile
  10. Go big on social proof
  11. Be transparent

1. Generate referrals from past and present clients

Referrals come from happy clients that introduce your agency to new prospects. That means a referred lead already has some trust in your agency, making it one of the most valuable types of leads you can get.

The first step in generating more referrals is simply to ask for them. Reach out to current and even past clients and ask if anyone else they know could benefit from the results you’ve provided.

But to really put your new client acquisition on overdrive, take a page from other high-growth companies and create a customer referral program.

How to get clients - screenshot of hello fresh's referral program

B2C companies like Hello Fresh rock customer referral programs and your agency can, too.

To get your referral program going:

  • Choose the offer: Pick an incentive, like a free service or future discount, to give to clients that successfully refer a new lead.
  • Make it easy: Create a simple form clients can use to refer other businesses.
  • Promote your program: Remind clients during regular meetings and via email so your referral program is always top of mind.

🛑 We’re just getting started! Get this free guide and learn actionable strategies to get new clients, expand your team, and refine your agency offerings.

2. Get reviews

Reviews are like referrals on blast. A single detailed review of your services in a highly visible place like Google can influence hundreds of would-be clients. And since 88% of people say an online review is as influential as a personal recommendation, reviews are an important method to get clients.

Get more clients - example of an agency review on Google

Reviews on popular online platforms are new-client magnets.

Of course, the first step in getting great reviews is to provide great service. Assuming you have that covered, you’ll want to attract new reviews in as many ways as possible.

Here are a few tactics you can use:

  • Directly ask (here’s a list of templates to ask for reviews by phone, email, and more)
  • Add a link with a call to action on your website
  • Hand out physical “leave us a review” card
  • Include review opportunities in customer satisfaction surveys

Don’t forget to respond to reviews, since most people reading a review also see your response. It’s a chance to celebrate great reviews and rectify the less-than-flattering ones.

3. Network with complementary businesses

Other businesses in your sphere need clients, too. You can help each other out by trading referrals.

Let’s say you focus on content marketing, but one of your clients needs help running PPC campaigns. Offer the lead to a PPC agency you trust and ask that they return the favor sometime.

LinkedIn is an amazing place to build your professional network. Message complementary businesses and let them know you’ll look out for them if they do the same.

4. Turn employees into ambassadors

Each of your employees has a network and a sphere of influence. As they work in their field longer, their influence grows. Tap into this network by helping your employees become ambassadors for your agency.

Get more clients - example of an agency employee's post on Linkedin.

Even if it’s just reposting content your agency creates, employees can introduce your agency to lots of new audiences.

An easy way to do this is to ask your team to post about important company milestones on their social media accounts. Maybe it’s your 100th client, 10-year anniversary, or the company retreat. Posts like this help build your brand without pushing a hard sell—something many people would be reluctant to do on their personal feeds.

Another option is to send employees to conferences. Junior team members can benefit from the educational and networking experience. Senior employees could be speakers or panelists. In either case, you’ll have people out in the field drumming up awareness for your business.

5. Share your secrets

Most people will run marketing in house before they turn to an agency. Teach people how to do it themselves, and your agency will be at the top of the list when it’s time to hire.

That may sound counter-intuitive, but some of the biggest modern businesses grew rapidly using that exact technique.

Get more clients - Screenshot of TikTok about PPC ads.

TikTok is a sleeper hit for educating prospective clients with quick, fun videos.

The good news is, there are plenty of formats and channels to educate your future clients. Without getting terribly creative, here are 10 options:

  1. Produce a blog (bonus points because it’ll help your SEO)
  2. Create a newsletter
  3. Speak at conferences and events
  4. Publish guest posts
  5. Be a podcast guest
  6. Create (or co-host) a webinar
  7. Share educational videos on TikTok or YouTube
  8. Post content on social media (especially LinkedIn!)
  9. Create mini-courses on your website
  10. Hold in-person lunch-and-learns

With a little imagination, you can probably come up with more. The goal is to pick the platforms that you’re comfortable with and that will appeal to your future clients.

6. Present fixes to prospect’s problems

This is an underrated tactic for getting new clients. Google companies in your target niche and see what their existing ad campaigns look like. Make a list of what you’d do differently, then email the company with ideas for them to improve.

This strategy works great for any type of marketing agency because advertising is, by nature, public. You can also use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to learn more about what’s working or not with your prospect’s marketing efforts.

Sure, some will take your thoughts and run with them. But many will want your help to make sure their next campaign is better.

7. Price properly

Agency pricing isn’t just about making a profit, it’s part of your brand. Let’s break this down.

Do you offer a truly a premium option with white-glove service? Then your pricing should be a little higher than your average competitor. Not just to cover the costs of the additional service, but also to signal to clients that what you do is different.

Alternatively, if your niche is helping fledgling businesses get a foothold online, and you do it at scale using automation, then your pricing might be lower. Again, it’s not just about the cost-plus-profit calculation. It’s another way to express your brand.

👋 Want to know how other agencies price their services (plus what they see as their biggest challenges)? Download the free State of the Digital Marketing Agency Report and find out.

8. Be active on social media

It’s impossible to understate the value of time spent on social media. Nowhere else can you build a network, prove your expertise, and directly connect with future clients on such a large scale.

But here’s the thing: you can’t just be a lurker. You have to be consistently active to get the benefits of social media.

Get more clients - screenshot of an interaction on social media.

Don’t just post on social media; reply to comments on your posts and comment on other people’s posts.

Here are a few actions that’ll get you more clients quickly from social media:

  • Look for hashtags relevant to your business and join those conversations
  • Reply to other people’s posts
  • Save your replies and expand on them to create new posts
  • Reply to everyone who comments on your posts
  • Fill out your profile completely (add links, professional images, and a business description)

9. Create an ideal customer profile

    An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a little like a buyer persona, but it focuses more on your client’s organization than just the point of contact. This works well for agencies selling to other businesses, since people change positions, but the company remains relatively the same.

    Creating an ICP takes a few minutes, but the time is worthwhile. An ICP will help you find the clients that help you be more successful while filtering out those that’ll drain your agency’s resources.

    Here are a few steps you can use to create a basic ICP for your agency:

    • List client traits you want to have on your ICP: For agencies, it’ll be things like marketing goals, business model, company size, and industry.
    • Review past clients: Where do successful and less successful clients fall in these categories?
    • Create a point system: Assign points to each trait (so if your dental clients are always successful and construction clients aren’t, then dental prospects get 3 points and construction prospects get 0).

    Place all of this on a spreadsheet. Then continue to refine your ICP based on the success of new clients. Over time you’ll have a foolproof way of finding the best clients for your agency.

    10. Go big on social proof

    We’ve already mentioned how positive reviews and referrals help you build a fast-growing agency. Social proof does the same thing, only it’s much broader and more flexible.

    Get more clients - screenshot of an agency's website with social proof

    Splash your awards, reviews, and results all over your website.

    Social proof is just about any trust signal that shows people how awesome your agency is. That can be quotes from customers, the total revenue you’ve earned clients, logos of companies you’ve helped, or awards you’ve won.

    Social proof can also be long form, like customer stories or case studies.

    As you gather proof that your agency is awesome, put that stuff on everything. Landing pages, emails, proposals, anywhere a potential client might learn about your business should be decorated with social proof.

    11.Be transparent

    It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of signing a new client. But it’s really important to communicate the realities of working with you at the very beginning. If the truth of what you do and how you do it scares a client away, that’ll save you a ton of headache later on (and allow that client to find the right agency for them).

    Here are a few points to make clear as you’re wooing new clients:

    • What you can and can’t do: If you’re a PPC expert but haven’t focused on SEO, let the client know.
    • Set a communication schedule: Let your new client know they’ll get a review every month and that Fridays are off-limits.
    • Set proper expectations: Tell a customer upfront that results will take a while if they’re in a heavily populated market and have a small budget.
    • Don’t be afraid to say no: If a client asks for something that will not work, tell them so.
    • Put everything in writing: Document each call in an email that you can refer to if there are questions later on.

    You may turn a few clients away who have unrealistic expectations. But know that they’ll be back after the agency that lies to them doesn’t deliver.

    Learn how to get clients faster

    If you don’t have a team of dedicated, experienced business development professionals selling your agency, then you might find it difficult to keep new clients flowing through the front door.

    No problem! Just remember these tips and you’ll find plenty of ways to get clients, even without a team of salespeople.

    And if you really want to ramp up growth, try these AI tools for marketing agencies.

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    Meet The Author

    Rob Glover

    Rob is a Senior Copywriter for LocaliQ and WordStream where he uses his content marketing experience to write about all manner of advertising, sales, and adtech topics. When not turning phrases, Rob loves to travel, cook, and spend time outdoors (especially hiking and mountain biking) with his wife and dog.

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