How I Marketed My Agency so Well I Turn Clients Away Daily (and You Can Too)

November 1, 2014

Six months ago I was in the same position as many freelancers and agency owners. My professional life was a roller coaster of worrying if I could bill enough this month and then worrying about delivering on time the next. The worst part was that I, like many of you, had accepted my situation as the nature of the business.

Today things are quite a bit different. I get 3–6 new, qualified leads every day, on top of selling consistently to existing (and happier than ever) clients. And the best part is it happens almost entirely without me.

Let’s pull back the curtain and walk through how this happened.

A client first has to hear about me or Ethercycle and the services we offer. I’ve cast a wide net to make that possible.

Help A Reporter Out

For months, I scoured HARO for opportunities to being quoted by blogger and journalists. This doesn’t bring clients directly, but it does raise my status as an expert. As a result, if you Google me, you’ll find me being quoted as an expert. People using HARO for research are lazy, so if you give them an easy quote that can just copy & paste while supporting the point the article is trying to make, they’ll just do it and thank you for it. No fact checking or follow-ups. This is an easy win. Most of the time I did this in ten minutes lying in bed. Trust Me I’m Lying is a great resource on this.

So while HARO gave me vanity points because I can say I’ve been quoted by or featured in MSNBC, FOX News, NBC, and others, it didn’t directly get me the wallet-out ready to buy traffic that I was hoping for.

Drip

The next and pivotal thing I did was to sign up for Drip email marketing software. I highly recommend it because it is incredibly easy to use and deceptively powerful. In Drip, I repurposed some old blog posts in to a 5 day email course. I later went on to add an entire year’s worth of content in the form of follow-ups and repurposed content to the campaign to keep in touch with potential leads on a weekly basis.

The magic of email marketing automation is that it doesn’t involve me after it’s been setup. In the past, I’d get busy delivering projects to clients and my marketing would naturally move to the bottom of my to-do list. But If I’m not working on my business, no one else is either. With Drip, my marketing efforts continue relentlessly.

Essentially the Drip campaign does my pre-selling through education. By the time someone gets in touch with me, they’ve been receiving days, weeks, or months of valuable automated correspondence from me. Once a conversation starts with a prospect, they already know what to expect. Plus there’s never a hard sell. I’ve put the prospective client in control of when they choose to get in touch with me (if ever) assuring I don’t hear from them until they’re in a stage of the buying cycle where it’s not just appropriate to talk numbers, they want to talk budgets.

Podcastin’

Creating the campaign was only half the battle to get the leads. I still had to get people to sign up for it. Content marketing is the best way to do that, but that’s a broad category. Sure, we write blogs, guest blogs, post in discussions, and engage in some lazy social media marketing using Edgar, but none of those things create a huge impact and they’re hard to scale. Fortunately, there is another option: podcasts.

The highest impact form of content marketing by far is podcasts. Specifically, being a guest on other people’s podcasts. I’ve been on a dozen podcasts in the last two months and it has massively raised my authority as an expert and generated traffic and interest for me.

What’s your reaction to someone who appears as a guest on a podcast? You probably think they’re an expert in their field and they were invited on for their great expertise. And you’d probably be wrong.

I got on my first podcast by asking my friend for an introduction to a podcast he had just been on, then asking the host of that podcast for an introduction to someone else. And then I never stopped with that chain. Heck, now people invite me on as a guest. And I never say no.

Okay, so maybe you don’t know anyone who knows a podcast host. That’s okay, I have a hack for that.

Running a podcast is hugely time-consuming and booking quality guests is one of the toughest parts. If you can email ten podcasts in your niche and say, “Hey, I can speak to X topic that your audience of Y will find valuable for about 30 minutes next week. If that works for you, I’d love to send over a few questions you can ask,” then you’ve just done all of the work for them and they’ll say yes. Once you’ve gotten on one podcast (and it went well) then ask the host if they can introduce you to another podcast host. If you do that every time you wrap up a podcast, you’ll quickly make your way up the ladder with very little effort.

The traffic generated by these podcasts is tremendous. Not because of its volume which is decent, but because listeners of the podcast are highly engaged. They’re the most likely of any traffic by far to subscribe to my drip campaign and often contact straight away just to introduce themselves and express gratitude for the value i provided in the podcast. In those situations, even if they don’t become clients, my self-esteem appreciates it and I’m glad to have helped someone.

Retargeting

But what about the traffic that doesn’t convert. I have a safety net for them too. I use Perfect Audience to retarget visitors to my websites and landing pages. For $25/week, I can have my ads follow my most engaged but bounced traffic around the web like a lost puppy. Definitely worth setting up to keep your brand top of mind.

Marketing Automation as Customer Service

My marketing automation efforts don’t stop once someone becomes a client. I’ve also put together a campaign in Drip for existing clients. When someone signs up, I ask that they voluntarily sign up on the onboarding page. Even if they don’t, they’ll be automatically added if they make a payment via PayPal or Stripe using some magical integrations. (I told you Drip was powerful, right?)

After that, they’ll get one email from me every fourteen days for the next 18 months given the number of emails I have scheduled.

The library of content I use is split into three equal parts:

  1. Customer service consisting of follow-ups and check-ins
  2. Valuable info (to keep building trust and authority)
  3. Up-sells and info about other services and packages

The common thread behind all of my marketing efforts is Value. So long as I’m constantly delivering value in the form of either literal return on investment for clients or actionable advice for growing a business to prospects, I know I’ll keep succeeding. My favorite aphorism being “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

And hey, if you want to see what that Drip campaign looks like, I wouldn’t mind adding you as a subscriber. You can sign up at kurtelster.com and see what the fuss is about.