April 24


Lead Generation Guide for Marketing & Creative Agencies

By Jason Khoo

April 24, 2023

Digital marketing agencies are entrusted with numerous responsibilities by their clients, none of them of greater importance than helping to attract and convert more business.

But while many may look at marketing agencies as a one-stop-shop for all their web and digital needs, the truth is that the ability to generate leads for a business has become an increasingly important and difficult skill to master.

And for digital marketing agencies tasked with multiple clients and various marketing campaigns to manage, generating leads for their own business can be a challenge. But without those leads and a steady stream of business, those agencies aren’t going far.

Agencies and the Cobbler's Children's Shoes

There's an old Spanish saying that translates as "The cobbler's children have no shoes." It's a phrase that paints the picture of a cobbler who works tirelessly to make shoes for his customers but fails to take time to make shoes for his family.

The same could be said for many digital marketing agencies. They often work hard to provide their clients with the latest techniques and strategies for lead generation, but most agencies know that they don't apply their own expertise to themselves.

When having a business model that focuses on providing services to other businesses, agencies often sacrifice their lead-generation efforts in favor of the work they do for their clients. Unfortunately, this often forces them to rely on singular efforts such as word-of-mouth marketing or other conventional means to gather leads for their business.

But this doesn't need to be the case.

How to Generate Leads for a Digital Marketing Agency

Generating leads for a digital marketing agency doesn't have to be an arduous task. There are numerous strategies agencies, and their teams can use to create more leads and, ultimately, more business. However, to do so, it's first imperative to thoroughly understand your target market.

Agencies need to take the time to research the demographics, interests, and needs of the businesses they want to target. This will help them stay focused on the type of leads that are relevant and valuable to their own business - not just their clients'. Once this is established and a target market is identified, agencies can move on to creating an effective lead-generation plan.

When generating leads for a digital marketing agency, it's essential to classify the type of lead you're looking for. There are both inbound and outbound lead sources that can be taken advantage of, and it's important to have a good understanding of the channels and the methods that will work best for both.

Below we'll take a look at some effective lead-generation tactics for digital marketing agencies:

Inbound Lead Generation


When people search for a product or service related to your agency on Google or other search engines, they are presented with a list of relevant websites. Those that rank higher are the most likely to attract visitors. 

This means that companies that invest in SEO are increasing their chances of attracting new customers and increasing brand awareness on autopilot. The more visibility your agency has on search engines, the more natural leads you generate.

SEO is also measurable. Digital marketing agencies can track their website rankings, traffic, and leads with various tools and analytics so that companies can see the ROI of their SEO efforts over time. 

This allows them to identify areas needing improvement and refine their content strategy to focus on keywords and phrases generating the most leads.

Reputation Management/Directories 

As a digital marketing agency, getting your business listed in relevant directories can be a great way to generate new leads. By creating a complete profile, including your services, location and business information, you can quickly grow your visibility on these directories, attracting potential customers searching for digital marketing services.

The key to success when using reputation management and directories as a source of inbound leads is ensuring your online presence is optimized for these platforms. This means responding to reviews and engaging with potential customers searching for companies in your niche.

Another benefit of using directories is that they target customers actively searching for businesses like yours. This means that the leads you generate through these platforms are often high-quality, with a greater likelihood of converting into paying customers. This is particularly important for digital marketing agencies specializing in specific niches or offering unique services.

Social Media

A critical first step in leveraging social media for inbound lead generation is creating a strong presence. This involves optimizing your social media profiles, including clear branding, engaging content, and calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage interaction and lead conversion.

Make sure to post regularly and monitor your social media accounts for engagement, responding to comments and direct messages as soon as possible. This will help you show confidence in your space and encourage customers to reach out for more information.

Another critical component of social media lead generation is building a robust content strategy. This involves identifying your target audience's pain points and interests and creating content that addresses them.

By creating valuable content, you can attract potential leads and position your agency as a thought leader in your industry. Share your content across your social media profiles and use relevant hashtags to increase visibility among your target audience.

Influencer Marketing

 Influencers are people with a large following on social media that have the power to influence their followers' decisions. When done correctly, these individuals and their clout can be used as an effective tool for inbound lead generation.

When looking for influencers to partner with, ensure they are a good fit for your brand in terms of their following and interests. Reach out to them directly or use an influencer platform like SocialBook to connect with the right people.

Once connected, you can collaborate with your influencers on content that promotes your digital marketing agency. This could include sponsored posts, reposts of your content, or even videos featuring the influencer promoting your services.

Influencer marketing is an effective way to reach new leads and increase brand visibility organically. It also allows you to reach a wide audience with minimal effort, making it a great way to generate inbound leads quickly.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is all about building relationships. When you focus on creating valuable relationships with your current clients, they become your best advocates. They'll be more likely to refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues. 

One of the biggest advantages of referral marketing is the low acquisition cost. Compared to other lead generation strategies, referral marketing is relatively inexpensive. After all, you're relying on existing relationships and word-of-mouth. 

This means you can focus more of your resources on providing excellent service to your current clients, which will further boost the likelihood of referrals in the future.

Referral marketing is also highly targeted. When your current clients refer you, they're doing so to people who already have a need for your services. This means you're more likely to get qualified leads who convert into paying customers. 

In fact, studies have shown that referred customers have a higher lifetime value and are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.

Online Groups and Forums 

Online groups and forums, either related to digital marketing or your industry niche, are a great way to generate inbound leads. Take the time to join these communities and actively participate in discussions by sharing your knowledge.

Make sure you're adding value to the conversation without being too promotional - many of these communities have strict rules against blatant self-promotion. Once you've established yourself as a knowledgeable member of the group, start introducing your services to those who may need them.

In addition to finding new leads, these communities are also a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. By showing off your expertise and answering questions from other members, you can position your agency as a go-to source for digital marketing solutions.

Memberships of Trade Groups

One overlooked channel for generating high-quality leads is tapping into trade group memberships. Trade or industry associations are made up of representatives from various businesses in a particular field.

Joining a trade group gives you another opportunity to connect with people who have similar interests and needs as yours.

By joining a trade group, you can get access to exclusive events, training sessions, networking opportunities, and specialized resources. You may even be able to find potential customers or partners who can help you grow your business.

Additionally, you can use trade group memberships to build trust in your brand. Having a trade organization affiliation shows that your company is well-respected within the industry and is committed to meeting the standards of the association. This can help you earn customers' trust faster and make them more likely to do business with you.

Industry Events and Trade Shows

When it comes to networking activities, industry events and trade shows can be an absolute gold mine for digital marketing agencies. Not only do they provide a great opportunity to meet potential clients and industry contacts, but they can also help create brand awareness.

By attending events and trade shows, your company will be able to gain valuable insights into the latest trends in digital marketing as well as make important connections that could lead to new business opportunities. The key is to ensure that you have a presence at the event and are prepared to engage in meaningful conversations with attendees.

If you have the opportunity to speak at the event, that can be a great way to get your company's message out there. You could also consider setting up an exhibit booth or offering complimentary services in exchange for contact information from attendees.


Apart from being an entertainment platform, podcasts can also be used as an effective lead-generation platform. By featuring your business on popular podcasts related to digital marketing, you can reach a broader audience and gain more exposure for your brand.

Podcasts provide an accessible way for agencies to connect with their target audiences, creating a channel for them to reach people they may not have been able to reach otherwise. By appearing as guests on other podcasts, agencies can extend their reach and attract new clients who are interested in their services.

By creating content that is both informative and entertaining, companies can build trust and establish a sense of rapport with their potential clients. This lays a strong foundation for the audience to convert into paying customers.

Outbound Lead Generation

Buying Leads 

As a digital marketing agency, you have probably tried various methods of lead generation, including content marketing, social media campaigns, and networking. However, buying leads can be an effective outbound lead source that can help you reach more potential customers and close more deals.

One of the most significant advantages of buying leads is that they come with a lot of data about the individuals or organizations they represent, such as their interests, professions, company size, and other helpful details.

With this data, digital marketing agencies can easily identify their ideal buyer persona by looking at commonalities between demographic and behavioral characteristics. This buyer persona can then be used to optimize ads and the whole marketing funnel, increasing the chance of attracting qualified leads.

Event Sponsorship

Event sponsorship is another great outbound marketing strategy that digital agencies can use to reach out to potential clients. By sponsoring events, such as industry conferences and expositions, digital marketing agencies can demonstrate their expertise in the field while networking with other businesses.

Also, attending these events gives them a chance to build relationships with potential leads and build their reputation as authoritative figures in the industry. This can attract more business in the future as the agency stays top of mind.

Cold Calling

Cold calling has been a technique used by businesses for decades to reach out to potential customers. And even though some may think that cold calling is outdated and ineffective, it still remains one of the most effective outbound lead generation strategies.

One way to make cold calling more effective is to use automation. Automation tools can help digital marketing agencies automate the process of finding leads and connecting with them, allowing them to scale their outreach efforts without investing too much time or resources.

Another way to make cold calling more effective is to use a multi-channel approach. By combining cold calling with other outbound marketing strategies, such as email and direct mail, agencies can increase their chances of success.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is a great way to reach out to potential leads with an engaging message and a clear call to action. This type of marketing strategy has proven to be extremely effective for digital marketing agencies because it can be less intrusive and more targeted than other methods.

By leveraging data and customer segmentation, digital marketing agencies can design powerful direct mail campaigns that are tailored to each potential lead's interests, making them more likely to convert. Also, direct mail has the advantage of being trackable so that agencies can measure how often their messages are opened and acted upon.

PPC and Paid Social

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and paid social advertisements are a common go-to for agencies seeking to generate leads. These methods involve paying for visibility on various platforms, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, to reach out to potential customers.

PPC and paid social are great strategies to quickly drive traffic to your website or landing page and generate qualified leads in a short time frame. However, it is important to take the time to optimize your ads and be aware of your budget to make sure that you are getting the best return on investment.

Finish the Job with Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are indispensable tools for digital marketing agencies that want to drive more high-quality leads. They are an irresistible offer that businesses can use for lead capture and are often the last stage of a digital marketing campaign.

To finish the job with lead magnets, it's important to focus on high-quality content that will attract your ideal customers. Your lead magnet should be something that they will find valuable, solving a specific problem or answering a burning question. It should be easily digestible, visually appealing, and clearly communicate the value that you offer.

One effective way to showcase your knowledge through content marketing is by offering a downloadable guide or e-book. This is particularly effective for B2B lead generation, as it allows your messaging to resonate with potential partners or customers.

Another strategy is to create a free tool or calculator that solves a specific problem for your audience. For example, if you are a digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC advertising, you could create a free tool that calculates the potential ROI of a PPC campaign. 

How to Create a Lead Generation Campaign for Your Agency

Creating a successful lead-generation campaign for your digital marketing agency requires planning, consistency, and commitment. Here are some tips to get you started:

Understand Your Audience

Before you start any campaign, it's important to understand who you're trying to target. Who is your ideal customer? What problems are they trying to solve? What are their pain points? Answering these questions will help guide your campaign and ensure that you're generating leads from the right channels.

Pick The Lowest Hanging Fruit First

There are many ways to generate leads, from email marketing to social media advertising to content marketing. But often, the easiest way to start is with the medium that you're most familiar with. If you enjoy writing, start with blogging. 

If you're comfortable on camera, start with video marketing. The key is to pick something that you're comfortable with so that you can execute it well.

Start Executing Your Plan

Once you've picked your ideal marketing path, it's time to start creating content. Don't worry about perfection here - the key is to start executing. Write your first blog post or film your first video. 

The more content you create, the more data you'll have to work with, which will make it easier to refine your strategy over time.

Go to Your First Event

One of the best ways to generate leads is through events. Whether it's a trade show or a networking event, events are a great way to get in front of your ideal customers. So, put on your networking hat and start attending events in your industry as soon as you're able.

Film Your First Video

Video is a powerful tool for marketing. It can help you build relationships with your target market and draw attention to your services. To get started, create a series of videos that showcase your knowledge and expertise in the digital marketing space. This will help people get to know you better, which will make them more likely to trust you and work with you down the road.

Get in Touch With a Lead Generation Agency

If you're struggling to generate leads on your own, consider getting in touch with a lead generation agency. They can help you refine your strategy and bring in leads more quickly. Just make sure to do your due diligence and choose an agency that has experience in your industry.

Improve Your Agencies Lead Generation Efforts

Generating leads is one of the most important tasks for any digital marketing agency. But improving your agency's lead generation efforts involves much more than just campaign execution. 

By refining your positioning, building valuable content, and experimenting with different mediums, you can attract the right audience and convert them into loyal clients.

For help building your agency's lead generation efforts, reach out to our team at Zupo

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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