If all you ever do is chase, you’ll run out steam and collapse. Any business that is reliant on cold outreach isn’t one that’ll last long.
Why? Because you’ll always have to hunt for new clients. And if you want that client roster to grow (or need to replace clients that you fired), your outreach machine must be humming 24/7.
It can be done, sure. But wouldn’t it be nice to turn clients away instead of chasing them down?
Cold Calling Is No Picnic
No agency looks forward to sending cold emails or dialing that dreaded phone. Is it effective sometimes? Sure. Is it also infuriating? It can be.
Cold calling (or emailing) is tough to do well. You have to have a high volume of outreach for minimal return.
Calls get forwarded to voicemail, then blocked.
Emails are unopened and then deleted. And you can forget about being hired when your email is clearly a template and not at all personalized.
You’ll find dozens of posts in marketing agency groups looking to hire cold callers because:
It’s hard to make money cold calling if you’re paid 100% in commission (aka: people quit)
The ones doing the calling can get burnt out quickly
It’s not a career with much opportunity to move up in an agency
These posts run rampant, each offering the next big thing.
But cold calling and emailing is Agency 101, right? What else can you do to bring clients in your door?
5 Value-First Agency Lead Generation Ideas to Bring in More Quality Prospects
Compared to cold emailing someone you’ve never met or spoken with, warm lead generation is always more effective. It’s easy to understand. Someone who signs up and says, “Yes! Email me things!” will be more receptive to opening emails designed to encourage them to schedule a call with your team.
But that requires prospects to take the initiative and sign up for your list. And they’re not going to do so without a good reason. The better reason you give them, the warmer the lead they’ll be. And providing value is just about the best reason you can give.
Here are 5 ways to create value, attract the right kinds of prospects, and grow your inbound marketing list.
1. Business Audit Giveaway
Whether you run a social media marketing agency, design agency, or ad agency, one of the biggest reasons people will come to you for help is that they simply don’t know what they’re doing. Many businesses are putting work out there without much understanding of if or why it’s working.
Providing prospects with a business audit is a fantastic way to collect leads, provide value, and start building your brand reputation. The best part is, anyone who signs up for this service is clearly looking for help. They literally said, “I need you to tell me what to do.”
How do you go about offering these audits?
Create a landing page for the audit.
Be clear about what you’ll be auditing. Which platforms, funnels, or webpages? What will you be looking at specifically?
Have prospects submit emails and select 3-5 “winners” to start. More than 1 winner makes people believe there’s a higher chance of being selected, which means more people may opt in.
Use a software to collect name, email address, and any other information (social links, website links, business information).
Use a giveaway generator to select the winner.
Send all the people who didn’t win into a follow-up workflow to schedule a call with your team (You can use the angle that they can still get tailored advice this way).
The best part about this is that you can record all your audits via screen sharing apps and post them online as a lead magnet or free content. Bonus points for splicing up the advice and creating a library of video content to grow on TikTok.
Any content that will teach someone else the craft of what your agency does can be used as a lead magnet. Package your knowledge in things like checklists or guides, put an email sign up form, and create workflows designed to get people to call your agency to learn how to do these things for their business.
There are dozens of types of content you can use to generate leads for agency, such as:
Find the format(s) that seem to perform well for your audience and get building.
3. Services Giveaway
There’s no better way to attract qualified prospects than running a giveaway of the services you sell. Sure, the entrants are looking for free work, so they might not all be financially qualified. But it’s certainly a better list than a cold one you scrape from the internet.
The setup for this is pretty easy, and similar to the audit giveaway. Except in this case, you’re actually going to create social posts, design a web page, or perform whatever other service your agency provides to the winner(s).
The key is to make the work great, even though you’re not getting paid. Because great work gets shared and promoted (by you and the winner), helping grow your brand and your inbound leads post-promotion.
4. Classes or Training
Why should you give away what you know for free? Won’t that reduce the amount of people who will pay you for your services?
No. Because these trainings do a few things:
Showcase your authority on the topic
Provide a lot of good will for those who choose to implement your training on their own
Show how much work it is to do what you do well
The last point is what will bring in revenue. When prospects realize there’s much more to the process than they imagined, they’ll be more willing to see the value of outsourcing these activities. And when that happens, your agency will be in line to be paid.
5. Case Studies
Case studies will be your most valuable asset if you do them well. Take an existing or previous client, and (with their permission) tell the story of your role in their success. Package this story in a PDF or other easily-consumable medium to share.
Make sure to include details that highlight the breadth of what you can offer. How you went through the process of identifying their core customer. How the creative came together. The granular details and KPIs. Make your client the hero and build a tale around them.
Good case studies are a great way to showcase your skills. It helps prospects visualize the better future you can create for their business. And when they start seeing that future, it’s likely they’ll want your agency to be in it.
Lead generation works for agencies. It has the ability to work better than cold calling in the long run. But you have to start delivering value first.
Because providing value is the ultimate first impression.