When I wrote “The Top 10 Business Mistakes Search Marketing Firms Make“, I included a few of the items I commonly discover, when working with marketing firms, especially search marketers. The advice, if followed, would certainly help any marketing firm (not just search marketers), hoping to grow their business by avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls so common in the industry. However, while avoiding the common mistakes will help your business to avoid making expensive missteps, if you want to truly grow your marketing firm, you need to be more aggressive and proactive in your efforts.
One of the most common questions I am asked by marketing agencies seeking my advice–especially those that are newly-started or still relatively small–is “how do I attract new clients and grow my business?” While there are many ways to accomplish this task, depending on your resources and your target market, there are some proven strategies that any marketing firm can implement.
The five secret strategies listed in this guide are tried and trusted. I have used them to help grow one firm to $25+ million in annual revenues and another to an annual run rate of $2+ million in its first year. However, the strategies suggested below are not just confined to the companies I have worked with, they are evident in many successful agencies. Take a look at any successful marketing firm–whether it focuses on search, web design, email, viral or interactive–and you’ll likely see they’ve followed at least half the strategies I’ve listed.
I don’t want to sound like one of those overly-tanned, bright-smiled, “gurus” you see on infomercials late at night but, if you follow the strategies I’ve outlined, I’m convinced you can add at least $1 million in new revenue for your agency, over the next twelve months.
Strategy 1–Stand out from the crowd
Revenue Value = $100,000 in 2008
If you’re hoping to establish your marketing firm as a leader in its field, you’ll likely find lots of companies already established and better positioned to win clients. Simply launching a firm and blending-in with the rest of your peers is not the way to enter a market that is maturing or already saturated. Even the young search engine marketing (SEM) industry is filled with hundreds–if not thousands–of search marketing firms, all promising “top rankings”, “increased conversions” and “great customer service”. Too many SEM firms launch with the very same message and then languish in obscurity. If you want to avoid falling victim to this wasteland of mediocrity, you’ll have to be different.
Being different, doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, but does mean singing a tune that a prospective client has not heard a thousand times before. If you want to serenade a new customer, you need to catch their attention and convince them you are different from the umpteen other marketing firms, they have heard from, or used, in the past. At KeywordRanking.com, we were one of the first SEM firms to offer content creation with all our search engine optimization packages. At the time, very few prospective clients were hearing the message we were telling: “we have a team of search engine optimization (SEO) copywriters who will create enticing, search engine-friendly content for your site.” Likewise, when we launched Fortune Interactive, we explained how we had a proprietary technology, no long-term contracts, and performance-based pricing models. In each instance, we sang a very different tune, than the many other firms that had called on that company in the same week.
Being different, doesn’t mean being radical. What set’s your marketing firm apart could be as simple as offering a weekly webinar for your clients, or offering live online customer support. The key is to find a niche, something that helps your firm stand-out from the crowd.