There is no doubt that client acquisition is vital for your business! However, is it enough? Let us assume your agency gets a few dozen or even hundreds of new clients tomorrow. That is great news, but is your agency ready to handle it?
Whether you are a start-up or a veteran in the education and migration industry, having a client acquisition strategy is essential. Important as it is to get clients, it’s even more so to retain and handle them well.
Show up early, stay late, do your best, always say thank you, give people more than they expect, and follow up – Shep Hyken
As a start-up agency, you may have limited financial resources and contacts, but there are other things you can do to boost your business. Here are seven powerful and effective ways to develop your client acquisition strategy:
Start client acquisition with your existing network
When looking for those initial clients, don’t look too far away. Your first step should be to talk to the people you already know. They could be your friends, family members, and professional connections:
- Introduce them to your agency’s services.
- Ask them for introductions to people in their network.
- Get on the social media bandwagon and create your business profile on sites like LinkedIn. This is a more professional way to get introduced to prospective clients.
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Create a regular blog
Blogging these days is much more than simply generating content. It is a way to discover and develop relationships within your market. Hence, it must be a part of your agency client acquisition strategy. You can pitch solutions, receive instant feedback, and establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry:
- Even if you don’t have your own website, you can still start a blog, as there are plenty of such free blog sites.
- If you have a website, make sure it contains the key website elements and add a section for blog on it, and share its link on social media.
- The blog must be related to your line of work. Think about the topics you would like to cover in the blog.
- Be honest and share your experiences in the blog. It must be unique and something that will help the readers with issues related to education and migration.
Use cold calls and emails
If you can get your first 100 clients from within your existing network, it’s great, but sooner or later you will need to approach strangers. However, it should be well-targeted and subtle:
Reach out to as many qualified prospects as you can and pitch your service. If they’re interested, close the deal right then and there. If they aren’t, find out why. – Steli Efti.
- Conduct thorough research on who you intend to call or email.
- Only target those people who you think may be interested in your services. Calling or emailing those who are uninterested will irritate them and hamper your agency reputation.
- Once you have a target market, draft a script for the calls and write a sample email. Keep the tone light and conversational, without sounding forceful.
Engage with online communities and forums
Search for online communities and forums that are relevant to your product. You may have already found some, while doing research for your agency business. They are great for sharing information, ideas, and building a network for client acquisition:
- Look for forums where people are either specifically looking for a product similar to yours or they are asking questions about issues your product can provide solutions for.
- There are plenty of them – LinkedIn groups, Reddit, Quora, and many more!
- Start lively and informative discussions about your industry on these forums.
Again, use social media wisely!
Over the years, social media sites have built extensive databases on their users. Most young people, who also happen to be your target market, use social media extensively. Here are some marketing statistics to look out for:
- 75 percent of male internet users are on Facebook as well as 83 percent of female internet users.
- 32 percent of teenagers consider Instagram to be the most important social network.
- Female internet users are more likely to use Instagram than men, at 38 percent vs. 26 percent.
- 29 percent of internet users with college degrees use Twitter, compared to 20 percent with high school degrees or less.
- 81 percent of millennials check Twitter at least once per day.
- Most Instagram users are between 18-29 years old, about six-in-ten online adults.
- 22 percent of the world’s total population uses Facebook.
Build good relations with reporters and journalists
SaaS founder, Dmitry Dragilev, used this tactic to successfully to receive media attention for his own startup even before his product was officially launched. He credits media relationships as a key part of his success. This is how you can do it too:
- The first thing is to understand that building relations takes time.
- Whenever you can, attend industry seminars and workshops, where you will meet plenty of journalists and media personalities.
- Invite them to your product launch or even office opening ceremonies.
- Keep them informed about the new happenings at your agency.
- These days, a new way to gain media attention and build relationships is to sign up with sites like HARO. It sends out emails several times a day to journalists looking for reliable information on their upcoming articles.
- Simply look out for a query that is relevant to your product and you can contact the journalist directly through sites like HARO.
Get into influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the marketing world and a very effective way to get your initial clients. It refers to an influencer writing about your agency startup on their blog or posting about your product on social media:
- Identify potential influencers in the education and migration industry. They are generally those who have a lot of experience or exposure, and can influence people with their comments or suggestions.
- Tools like BuzzSumo can help identify influencers in your industry and those relevant to your product. You can garner attention by commenting thoughtfully on their blogs, engaging on social media, and linking their content to your own blog or website.
- Remember to build relationships gradually, rather than using the platform as a one-off effort.
There are many different ways to acquire clients, but they all have one thing in common and that is the notion of building long-term client relationships. While it is fairly easy to get clients quickly, you must always be prepared to strategize how it can be made more sustainable!