In today’s world, you'll find that there are A LOT of conflicting information about starting a digital marketing agency. If you're just starting, it can be pretty overwhelming. So in this post, I'm going to share with you the exact eight steps I follow - from prospecting to retaining - to land and keep clients.
Start by doing research and to figure out who your potential clients are. This step is where you pre-qualify your leads and see if these are the business owners you can build successful partnerships with.
For my agency, I make sure that we work with clients that are already marketing. These business owners understand the value of marketing, have money allocated for it, and need it to bring in more clients. From experience, it's easier to convince them to reallocate their marketing funds to you rather than go back to the basics of educating them about why marketing is essential.
Then, choose what types of niches you want to work with.
There are a lot of systems you can use to do client outreach - we have cold emails, Instagram, LinkedIn, cold calling, meeting them at events, etc. What's important to remember is that there's no way of knowing what will work for you if you don't try it all first. Once you figure out a system that you're comfortable with, build a process around it.
This is going to be a numbers game. You have to know the numbers around your processes, so you don't quickly feel demotivated when you don't immediately get results. For my agency, I make sure to do 20 outreaches in a day. From that 20, I know I will get one response. And for every seven responses that I get, I always close one of them.
That's how it's been working for me. I keep doing 20 outreaches every day because I know that for every 'no' I get, I get so much closer to a 'yes.'
Next, conduct a discovery call. I usually do these calls at 15 to 20 minutes max to further qualify my prospects. Step 1 is just pre-qualifying them. The discovery call is an opportunity to completely qualify potential clients and see that they're going to be a good fit.
Honestly, if you have a gut feel at this point that they're going to be a bad client, run away. Remember that it's not always about the money. You have to be with people you enjoy working with. Trust me when I say that you won't want to deal with headache clients daily.
Again, spend 15 to 20 minutes max to ask them where they are right now, their current problems, where they want to be, and what their goals are. Pry out their pain points to position your service as the perfect solution that will take them from point A (current state) to point B (desired state).
Some people prefer to combine this call with step 3, but I prefer to do them separately. Because the more calls and meetings they spend with you, the more invested they'll be.
This step is to present your slides or give prospects a live demo to get them interested in your process. You have to get them to be emotionally invested in what you can do to help solve their problems.
To do this, come up with a visual-focused presentation. Don't be the boring salesperson that puts too many words in one slide and ends up reading them. Take a screenshot or image of something and then just keep talking and engaging your audience. Ask them questions, show them how your solution makes sense.
The demo call is the best time to showcase your specific solution from the problems they shared with you during the discovery call.
I like to do this step at the end of the demo or sales call. If they like what you presented, this is where you bring up the agreement and discuss the contracts. Often, this is also the part where you have to answer their questions and handle some objections.
After you've sealed the deal, it's time to ask your clients everything you need from them so you can get started. The requirements will depend on what your agency does. My agency does lead generation and ad campaigns. So we typically ask for assets such as images and videos and advertising access to their page.
Ask for any additional information you might need - office hours, contact number for inquiries from leads, etc. But remember to make this process as seamless as possible. The more friction you have, the more likely business owners will question you. Most of them are technical savvy, so be sure to build a system beforehand that will make the onboarding process fast and seamless.
Time to deliver what the business owners paid you to do. It can be Facebook or Instagram ads, creative designs, landing pages, SEO, etc. Whatever it is, make sure you fulfill whatever you promised with top-notch quality.
Not so many people talk about retention, but this step of the customer lifecycle is crucial.
Our industry has a high churn rate. This basically means that there's a high percentage of clients not renewing once the first contract is over. Churning happens because, unfortunately, most people in the agency world don't even speak to their clients again after getting paid.
This practice is entirely wrong and a massive waste of effort. Are you telling me you want to go through steps 1 to 7 again? You will save time and effort while continuing to earn if you also focus on customer retention.
So how can you effectively retain clients? Here are five tips:
So that's my process at Highstoke Media of figuring out who I want to work with to land a client and how I keep them. This simple 8-step process was what I followed to scale my agency past 7-figures in less than 18 months.
It can be overwhelming when you're just starting as an agency. But if you see the process from a bird's eye perspective, you get clarity on what needs to be done first and how to execute strategies to move your business forward.