When you're running a design agency, there is no shortage of competing priorities you need to manage. You need to juggle client work, business operations, digital marketing, and, of course, sales expansion.
But to grow your agency successfully, you need clients. And to get new clients, you need a strong acquisition strategy. Thankfully, there are some proven tactics you can take to start turning your design agency into a supercharged client-generating powerhouse.
Why Customer Acquisition Is Crucial For Agencies
For most agencies, finding new clients can be a difficult task that can frequently result in less-than-desirable results.
A recent survey of agencies conducted by HubSpot showed that 60% of agencies faced challenges in finding new clients, from concerns with lead generation to challenges with closing deals.
However, securing new clients is essential for the growth and success of an agency, and a proper customer acquisition strategy is crucial for achieving that success.
Developing methods to secure new business is essential to the survival of an agency. This includes establishing a healthy top-of-the-funnel that brings in a consistent stream of leads and prospects who can be nurtured into customers.
Diversifying client portfolios is another key component to keep your agency afloat. By having both project-based and retainer clients, you can sustain the ebb and flow of client work.
By taking the time now to invest in strategies that will bring more clients into your agency, you can ensure the long-term success of your business.
10 Ways To Get More Agency Clients in 2023
When it comes to acquiring new clients, the marketing and sales landscape is constantly changing. To successfully acquire more leads in 2023, you'll need to adjust your strategy by applying multiple tactics like the ones below:
Build Your Website's Reach
Regardless of what industry you're in and the types of goods or services you offer, the reach of your website is essential to success. You could have an amazing website, but it won't do you any good if no one can find it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the best ways to increase your website's reach while paying long-term dividends to your business. SEO involves ensuring your website is properly optimized so that search engines can index it and rank it higher in their results pages for relevant searches.
This can include optimizing the titles and descriptions of your web pages, using keywords throughout the content on your site, creating backlinks to other web pages, and other optimization techniques.
Content marketing is another key strategy for building more visibility for your website and brand. Content Marketing is the process of creating valuable, informative, and engaging content to attract and retain a target audience.
As a design agency, you can leverage content marketing to showcase your services and demonstrate your capabilities. By creating blog posts, case studies, design tutorials, and other informative content, you can establish yourself as an expert in your niche and attract potential clients.
Building links is also a great way to increase the visibility of your website and drive more traffic. Link building involves creating relationships with other websites, blogs, or businesses in order to get them to link back to your site.
This is an effective way to improve your website's ranking as well as give it more credibility among potential customers.
Building Your Social Presence
As a design agency, taking as many opportunities to showcase your creativity online is really important. Social media is a great way to bring awareness to your work, connect with potential clients, and build long-lasting relationships.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are great platforms to showcase your creative work to a larger audience. By posting high-quality images of your past projects, potential clients can easily get a sense of your design aesthetic and style. This will give them the confidence they need to hire your services.
Apart from showcasing your work, social media also provides a platform to engage with your audience. By using social media as a tool to start conversations, ask questions, share insights, and participate in industry-related discussions, you can have a direct dialogue with your current or potential clients.
By building a relationship with your audience, you are more likely to gain their loyalty, trust, and even referrals.
Social media platforms are a great way to build a brand reputation, which can help to organically improve your lead-generation efforts. By sharing positive customer reviews, engaging with customers, and creating a recognizable visual brand, you can build a positive reputation for your design agency.
This will help you to stand out among other design agencies and establish yourself as a credible resource in the industry.
While word-of-mouth and referrals are great, they're not always enough to keep your pipeline consistently full. That's where paid advertising comes in. Although it's an investment of your resources, the return you can get on that investment may be well worth it.
One of the challenges of traditional advertising methods like billboards or print ads is that it's hard to measure their effectiveness. With paid advertising, however, you can track every click, conversion, and sale.
This data allows you to optimize your campaigns to ensure you're getting the most out of your advertising budget. You can adjust your ad copy, images, targeting, and ad placement to improve your results over time.
When you run paid advertising campaigns, you're also increasing the exposure of your brand to potential customers. Even if someone doesn't click on your ad or make a purchase, they're more likely to remember your company name and recognize your brand in the future.
This is particularly useful if you're a new design agency trying to establish yourself in a crowded market or if you offer services that are not as well-known.
One of the things that may be intimidating about paid advertising is that it can be expensive to manage. However, when managed properly, it can be much more cost effective than traditional advertising methods.
By targeting your audience with high-quality ads, you can reduce the cost of acquisition by converting more leads into customers. When you have access to measurable data, you can optimize your campaigns to generate a higher ROI, making the cost of paid advertising worth the investment in the long run.
Build Your Thought Leadership
Establishing yourself as a thought leader within your industry can draw in potential clients attracted to your authority and expertise.
One way to establish yourself as a thought leader and attract more clients is by creating relevant content. This content can take the form of blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, and other digital content mediums.
By offering insights and solutions to design-related problems, you can showcase your expertise and position yourself as an organization that is knowledgeable and capable of helping businesses solve their design challenges.
Social media is another powerful tool for building your thought leadership. By sharing content and engaging with others across different platforms, you can establish your expertise while broadening your network.
LinkedIn, for instance, is a popular platform for design professionals, and you can join relevant groups, participate in discussions, and share your content with a wider audience interested in your particular services.
Podcasts are another great platform to establish your thought leadership and expand your reach. Sharing your expertise and insights on relevant design topics, either on your own podcast or as a guest on others, can help build credibility and attract potential clients who are interested in your niche.
Collaborating with other industry experts is also a great way to build your thought leadership and reach more people. For example, you can collaborate on content, host joint webinars or podcasts, and engage in consultations that will help you increase your exposure.
Another benefit of collaboration is that it can open up opportunities to form strategic partnerships, which can help you expand the services you offer.
Directories and Aggregator Sites
Directories and aggregator sites are two potential resources that can help design agencies expand their client base.
By listing your agency in these directories, you can more easily showcase your portfolio and demonstrate your design services. This exposure can lead to more clients, as people will be able to easily find and view your work. Aggregator sites, such as freelance marketplaces and job boards, can also be used to find clients. On these platforms, you can easily search for potential leads based on categories such as location, budget and skillset.
Directories and aggregator sites are designed to connect designers with potential clients from their targeted audience. For example, an aggregator site focused on web design would likely have a focused audience of people interested in purchasing services such as website development, graphic design and logo creation.
By listing your agency on these types of directories and aggregator sites, you can connect with potential clients who are looking for the exact services that you offer. This connection with a potentially more qualified and targeted audience can result in better leads for your agency.
Directories and aggregator sites also provide customer reviews and feedback, which can greatly benefit your business. When you use these sites, potential clients can see the reviews of other clients who have used your services, providing a level of trust and credibility for your agency.
Reviews and feedback also allow your agency to identify areas where you can improve your services, leading to increased client satisfaction and, ultimately, more business.
Subscribing and contributing to online communities is a great way to build long-lasting relationships with your potential clientele.
By engaging in discussions and providing valuable insights and feedback in design-related forums or groups, you can establish connections and foster relationships with other design businesses that can potentially lead to referrals or collaborations on design projects.
When you're part of an online community, be sure to follow the rules and guidelines set by that community so you don't run into any issues. Additionally, try not to be overly sales-oriented in your posts. Instead, focus on building relationships with potential customers by offering meaningful advice or feedback related to design.
A common form of online community engagement is hosting or joining webinars and virtual events. Webinars, live streams, and conferences are excellent opportunities to share your knowledge, network with other professionals in the design industry, and build relationships with potential clients.
Online communities also provide a platform for soliciting feedback and insights from potential and existing clients. By seeking feedback and engaging in discussions about your design projects, you can gain valuable insights into your clients' preferences, which can help you tailor your services to meet their specific needs.
You can also use feedback to improve your services and increase customer satisfaction, which leads to more referrals and repeat business.
One of the oldest methods of lead generation, and still one of the most effective, is cold outreach. This involves sending out emails, making phone calls, and even sending physical mail to potential prospects that you think could be interested in your product or service but that you have no prior relationship with.
When you are sending a message, you have a chance to introduce yourself and your work to the person. Whether via email or social media, cold outreach allows you to initiate a personal connection right from the start. You can ask questions, get to know their pain points and deliver a solution they might have been searching for.
If you run a design agency, you could reach out to companies that do not have a good web presence or are lacking marketing material. Cold outreach helps introduce them to your agency and helps them understand how your design solutions can help generate more revenue for their business.
Cold outreach also helps you learn more about your competition. When you reach out to a potential client, they may tell you about previous agencies they've worked with, what they liked and didn't like about them, and what they are looking for in a design agency. Use this information to learn about your competitors and adjust your strategies accordingly.
One of the biggest advantages of cold outreach is that it helps establish a long-lasting impression. When you reach out to a potential client, you can demonstrate your knowledge about their industry and show them how to improve their business.
If done correctly, it could earn you a valuable reputation, and potential clients will remember your words and recommendations moving forward.
Although there are a number of marketing methods to promote your services, nothing beats the power of referrals. Referrals not only help in building a strong client base but also help in establishing credibility and trust with your clients.
When someone refers your agency to their friends, family, or colleagues, they are putting their personal reputation on the line because they trust your work. Potential clients are more likely to trust your agency when they are referred by someone they trust.
Referrals can help establish a positive reputation for your agency and increase the chances of getting potential clients.
Marketing is an essential part of any business, especially for design agencies. But, it can be expensive and does not always guarantee leads or sales. Referral marketing, on the other hand, is less costly and can be more effective.
Referral marketing is a win-win situation for both the referrer and the receiver, as the referrer gets incentives or rewards for referring your agency while your agency gets potential clients.
Word-of-mouth marketing is still the most powerful marketing method out there. Referrals do just that. They give social proof that your agency provides high-quality services that can meet the client's requirements. Social proof is highly effective in building trust in potential clients and can be a catalyst to generate more leads and sales for your agency.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that has become a go-to platform for professionals and businesses to showcase their skills, knowledge, and services.
The first step to using LinkedIn to get more clients is to build a strong profile. Your profile should include a professional profile picture, a concise and informative headline, and a summary that highlights your skills, experience, and services. Make sure that your profile is up-to-date and that you include any relevant work samples or portfolio pieces.
LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with potential clients by allowing you to search for people with similar interests and skills. You can search for people using relevant keywords, filters, and groups. When sending a connection request, make sure that you personalize your message, and explain why you are interested in connecting with them.
LinkedIn Ads are another tool that can help you reach out to a targeted audience. You can create sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and display ads to promote your services and attract new clients. These advertising levers allow you to target your ads based on job title, industry, location, and other criteria to ensure that your ads reach the right audience.
One of the best free ways to attract new clients on LinkedIn is to share valuable content. You can create blog posts and articles while sharing informative videos that are both relevant but also show your knowledge and expertise in the industry. This will help potential clients understand the value that you can bring to their projects.
Like with any social media platform, engaging with your network is an essential part of building strong relationships on LinkedIn. You can participate in groups, comment on posts, and share updates about your services. This will help you stay top-of-mind with your network and increase your chances of getting referrals.
Hosting or Attending Events
Events offer a platform for agencies to network, learn more from other industry professionals, and promote their services. Depending on the type of event, it can also be an opportunity to generate leads and build relationships with potential clients.
For agencies looking to host an event, they should consider how they will market the event, what topics or speakers they want to include, and whom they'd like to have in attendance. Once these elements are determined, they can start reaching out to potential sponsors, speakers, and attendees.
Attending events can also be beneficial for agencies. You can use the event as an opportunity to learn more about industry trends, meet potential clients and collaborators, and build relationships with other professionals in your field.
Regardless of whether you are hosting or attending an event, you should make sure that they are fully prepared and taking advantage of all the opportunities presented.
Get More Agency Clients Today
In conclusion, when it comes to getting more agency clients, there are many strategies and tactics you can use. From leveraging referrals from existing customers to creating content and attending events, there are plenty of ways to get more clients for your agency.
However, don't let perfection get in the way of execution. Focus on experimentation with different methods until you find what works best for your business model. By taking the time to research and implement these strategies, you can start attracting more clients for your agency today.