One of RightHello’s newsletter subscribers suggested that I write about finding new business for advertising agencies. So I did!
I started digging into the subject and it got really interesting – and broad! Hoping that I can tackle a problem that more people probably experience, I decided to write this article – as an introduction into the subject, tackling only a few important aspects first.
Here’s what came up as a result of previously acquired knowledge and about 8 hours of solid research.
Finding new business takes too much effort? Don’t convince – target properly
Some ad agencies have a hard time finding new business, because potential clients are too stubborn and close-minded. But someone you might know, Gary Vaynerchuk, offers a seemingly simple bit of advice in his latest AMA – ‘Don’t sell to the unsellable’:
The right method to find new business for your agency comes from ‘who’ your target clients are.
Targeting is the core of marketing and, by extension, of advertising and sales. Everything your company does is supposed to result in a better end-product for the clients that your business targets.
But you know well what I’m talking about – you also know you’re still not doing a great job at it.
Because it ain’t easy.
It’s not a thing that can be done in a week. This constantly needs attention if you want to keep the cash flowing. In case of any business, ad agencies included, it’s a long-term process of:
—>connecting with new business (early stage biz – exhaust your existing network first)
—>monitoring cooperation in all accounts acquired
—>defining clients behind most cooperative accounts (ie. those that pay most, argue the least, open-minded, understand your industry, etc.)
—>targeting and developing sources of similar clients
And this process eventually leads to you doing business only with the best clients. Those that pay well for good work, communicate openly and aren’t impossible to satisfy.
As well as keep coming back and referring you, allowing your agency to have big enough cash flow to sustain itself.
RFPs, inbound, outbound, referrals? Your source of new business
These days the ‘big’ sources of new business seem to be mainly inbound (website + SEO + content + social media), outbound (cold email + social media pitching) and referrals (the real fuel of business, generated by your entire business effort).
But apparently there are also RFP’s, which I wasn’t aware of before researching this topic. Investopedia provides a neat definition:
In other words – potential client writes a project description, determines the budget and asks for bids from several companies like yours.
Why would companies go through all the additional fuss? It would seem that hiring an agency is not about ‘who’ you are, ‘what’ you do or ‘how’ you do it. For business people that don’t know marketing, it’s all about ROI.
They always seem to be looking for the best promises of hard results, and usually most willing to pay the lowest price bidder. The curse of the low-cost mindset.
But RFPs are part of a system that is becoming more and more irrelevant and obsolete, it seems. And influencers like Avi Dan leave no mystery about it:
However, it seems that you still have to be prepared for them if you plan on working with enterprise clients.
Big companies even have procurement departments (*departments that are supposed to get the best supply/service vendors for the company).
In other words,your company will probably have to deal with RFP-like bidding procedures too.
You should know which ones to accept and which to discard forever – like the good folks at Gravity (and Happy Cog) do:
But you don’t have to figh this inefficient system.
You can just find new business your way. With tactics allowing you to target the exact type of clients you need.
Outbound cold emailing with RightHello is such a tactic (here’s a digital agency campaign case study presenting 4000% return from cold emailing). Or creating conversion-optimized landing pages and boosting their position in Search results with smooth SEO.
These are just 2 of hundreds of great, scalable tactics you can use to find new business easily and effectively.
Finding new business takes A LOT of work, AND time! Can you make it easier? Is there a way to become an advertising agency so great, that no-one needs to pull their hair out to maintain the agency deal flow?
The ultimate defining element of advertising agencies – personal chemistry
In one of his articles, Peter Levitan, who’s been involved in the marketing industry for over 25 years, mentions the most important element for clients that need to pick the right agency for themselves:
—>“Clients tell us all the time that personal chemistry is a critical element in choosing a marketing agency.”
I believe honesty is the key ingredient in creating that chemistry. When you’re honest then there’s no need to pretend anything. And, same as humans, companies that don’t pretend anything are always the ones we like the most. Especially in B2B!
Building a large network of people that love you seems to be the key to ultimate success in the advertising biz.
What if not all of us are like Jordan Belfort? What if we’re not all walking, talking sales machines (because in that case you could just walk around and acquire clients at networking events)? What if you’re not the wolf of sales?
There are other tools to create the right chemistry. Your website content and design, email copywriting and sending tactics, social media content and messages, online ad optimization – to name just a few!
You can create a great chemistry online, without any meeting-based networking. This way you can build a personal network quicker and at a much bigger scale.
Just the tip of the iceberg
Arguably, one could never cover the entirety of complex B2B sales in any industry in just one article. I wasn’t even trying to do that.
This is just the beginning of what could become a series of articles based on topics that I’ll gladly research and write about. So if you enjoyed reading this and think you know what the next topic should be – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I often send awesome GIFs as a ‘thank you’ for suggestions. Just saying. 🙂