Marketing a consulting agency is very different from selling a product. The features that set your services apart — your expertise, insight, and personality — are difficult to convey in an ad. The best way to find new clients is to cultivate agency leads who are a good fit for your services.
To show potential clients how you can help them, you need to find ways to reach people with rich content — in the form of blog posts, videos, webinars, or infographics.
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How can you find leads in your niche and give them a chance to get to know you? Here are 10 of the best techniques for finding good agency leads:
- Define your target audience
- Optimize your website
- Improve your lead form
- Target and retarget your ads
- Publish great content
- Offer free webinars
- Write guest blog posts
- List with directories
- Be present on LinkedIn
- Encourage referrals
1. Define your target audience
The narrower you define your niche — by industry, by client size, or by experience — the more you can tailor your messaging specifically for your target audience. Casting a wide net can water down your message until it’s meaningless.
There’s a world of difference between a statement like “We provide financial services for a variety of clients” and “We help startups and entrepreneurs set up user-friendly bookkeeping systems and deliver actionable insights about profitability.” Potential clients will respond positively to the knowledge that a consultant is used to working with businesses like theirs and understands their needs.
2. Optimize your website
Your website is only a great marketing tool if people can find it. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important.
What problems are your potential customers facing, and what search terms are they using to find solutions? Research those keywords and use them in your headlines, text, image tags, and other strategic locations throughout your site to improve your SEO.
3. Improve your lead form
Make sure you’re offering a compelling reason for visitors to share their email address with you. Can you offer them a resource, an ebook, a downloadable checklist, or a helpful online tool? You may want to consider offering a free consultation or at least a chance for them to ask you relevant questions.
Let people know what to expect from your emails — whether it’s industry news, insider tips, a monthly newsletter, or special offers. Include a sentence reassuring your visitors that you won’t sell or share their emails, as well.
4. Target and retarget your ads
Pay-per-click advertising services like Facebook and Google are a great way to amp up agency lead generation. Their demographic selection tools let you specify exactly the kind of customer you want your ads to reach. For instance, you could target entrepreneurs in the financial services industry or homeowners with annual incomes over $100,000 in your state.
Since you pay only for people who click on your ad, the expense is connected to results. You can cap your spending on a daily or monthly basis to keep the cost of advertising within your budget.
Retargeting campaigns are the ads that follow consumers around the internet and show them products or websites they’ve looked at recently. These campaigns maximize your exposure to people who were interested enough to visit your site, and they can be very powerful.
5. Publish great content
Offering useful content for your target market is a great way to:
- Bring more visitors to your website
- Build your brand identity
- Grow your email list
- Establish yourself as an expert in your prospects’ minds
Create blog posts that answer their most burning questions. Provide free calculators and other tools on your site, relevant to your expertise. Fill a Youtube channel with brief explainer videos. Create infographics or industry-related memes to share on social media. All of these actions will help you gain agency leads.
The best thing about this lead generation technique is that the content you create can be repurposed for other initiatives with a similar goal. In the next few sections, you’ll learn how you can use the same materials in guest posts and webinars.
6. Offer free webinars
Why should you give away advice? The reasoning here is the same for a wine shop that holds a wine-tasting event. People don’t always know what they’re missing unless you let them know what you’ve got.
A free webinar lets your prospective clients “meet” you and get a sample of what your expertise can do for them. If you can think of a non-competing company that shares your market, offer them one of your webinars as a free resource for their clients. In exchange, participants can opt-in to receive your email marketing campaigns.
If you have an active retargeting campaign, send participants to your website to download a free worksheet or resource so they’ll see your ads after the webinar.
7. Write guest blog posts
Guest posting on other websites can help you get your name and brand identity in front of potential clients even if they don’t find your site. Remember that each site linking back to yours helps boost your search engine ranking, as well.
You can use the same outlines, research, and information from content that’s already published on your blog — as long as you change the wording to make each post original and unique. Direct the readers to a free, valuable resource on your site. The latter gives you a chance to convert them into email subscribers or draw them into your retargeting campaign.
8. List with directories
Listing your website in professional directories is a smart move. People still use directories to find consultants, and any inbound links from respectable websites have the potential to improve your site’s search engine ranking. If you belong to any professional organization, make sure your listings with them are up to date.
Most importantly, create a Google My Business profile to help your business information reach the top in local search results.
9. Be present on LinkedIn
Keep your LinkedIn listing fresh and experiment with publishing content or sharing your blog posts there to see what draws attention. Visit the site at least weekly and interact with others by liking and commenting on their posts to build relationships.
10. Encourage referrals
Word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the best ways to build and grow a consulting business.
Cultivate relationships with closely-related professionals who share your customer base but aren’t direct competitors. A CPA and an investment advisor can be rich sources of referrals for one another, for instance.
Rewarding your customers for making referrals is more acceptable in some industries than others. If it feels comfortable for your business, explore the idea by checking out what others have done.
Keep the momentum going
Now you know ten different ways to generate agency leads. As you try them out, keep track of what’s working well and what’s missing the mark. Put your energy into the most effective methods, and keep tweaking the details until you find the best system for you. As you build your audience, don’t forget to use emails to build a relationship with each individual.
Check out Constant Contact’s The Download to learn more about how consultants and professional services can use digital marketing to build a client base.