How to Get Clients for Your Marketing Agency with Slam’s Full Guide [Tips + Strategies]

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Team Slam
Helping you win online

Every marketing agency is vastly different from the next, but at some point, each one asks the same question: How can I get new clients for my marketing agency?

In this article, we’ll be breaking down this complex question into actionable strategies and relevant advice for agencies of all shapes and sizes. 

As we discuss how to get clients for your marketing agency, we’ll share everything from identifying and reaching your target client to scaling and optimizing your sales processes. 

We’ll also distinguish how different types of agencies will benefit from different strategies, offering practical advice and examples to implement them. 

As an award-winning agency, Slam Media Lab (Slam) started during the pandemic and is now a $2M agency focused on Webflow, SEO, branding, and content marketing. 

Based in San Francisco, we’ve grown to serve over thirty clients around the world, from institutions like Northwestern University to companies like PeerHealth. In this article, we’re sharing the exact strategies we’ve used to do this. 

So, if you're ready to start expanding your client base, let’s dive in!

Identifying Your Marketing Agency’s Target Client

Before you can start reaching out to companies, identify your target client. By doing this, you can stand out as an expert in your niche, mitigating competition and boosting your authority.

Understanding your target client, as well as their challenges, needs, and goals, will also help you better resonate with them when employing the strategies shared later in this article.

To select your target industry, try to identify a crossroad between your network, knowledge, and interests. By selecting an industry that checks all of these boxes, you can hit the ground running with connections, expertise, and passion.

You have to make sure that you are identifying your target client before moving forward; otherwise, you might face issues like client miscommunication, lack of alignment in values and expertise, and general confusion on what you offer that is unique to your business. 

We know that finding that niche is not easy by any means. To help you find the most lucrative industry based on these components and more, our team at Slam has dedicated an entire module within our How to Start and Grow an Agency course. 

We've been floored by the excitement around the course! As a thank you and for a limited time, the first 10 people who sign up with this link will get 75% OFF with code AGENCY100!

How to Get Clients for a Digital Marketing Agency: The Basics

With your target client in mind, the next step is to reach them. Depending on your service and industry, figuring out how to get clients for a marketing agency can be complex. 

Fortunately, there are a few strategies that consistently convert across all industries. By employing these, you can start connecting with your target audience with ease and confidence:

  1. Build a strong first impression
  2. Establish trust and expertise online
  3. Share value within targeted groups 
  4. Expand your network and ask for referrals 

Build a Strong First Impression

Before you begin driving traffic, it’s important to establish a positive first impression. Great marketing is a multi-front strategy, meaning you’ll need to pay attention to all of the following:

  • Website
  • Business Profiles
  • Social Media
  • Job Boards

While websites and social media are pretty self-explanatory, business profiles and job boards are a lucrative, and often overlooked, component of a strong online presence.

Creating a Google Business Profile, and registering for review and directory platforms like Clutch.co, is a great way to get free and organic exposure for your brand.

Job boards, like Upwork, are also an incredibly effective way to establish yourself as an expert and network with companies. With thousands of job listings, from SEO to web design, this can also be an excellent source of qualified leads. 

At Slam, we’ve earned over six figures from Upwork alone, and in the “How to Get Your First Clients” module of our How to Start and Grow an Agency Masterclass, we explain exactly how you can do the same.

Image of our founder, Silvia's, Upwork profile. Using Upwork can be a great tool for you to find clients, and for clients to find you!

By establishing a compelling brand strategy and identity on these platforms, you can promote positive and memorable interactions from both warm and cold leads alike.

Establish Trust & Expertise Online

With your online presence in place, the next step is to provide relevant value. On your website, this might include branded freebies, insightful articles, or a valuable newsletter. 

When building and optimizing your website, it’s important to keep SEO in mind. Through a comprehensive SEO strategy, considering keyword density, domain authority, content quality, and more, you can ensure your website, and its value, are getting recognized on the web.

On social media, you should publish content that is both valuable and engaging, fostering clicks on the link in your bio.

At this stage, identifying your target client will prove invaluable. An HVAC company and an insurance agency will benefit from completely different types of content, and if you try to speak to both, you’ll resonate with none.

So, be sure to create content that speaks directly to the target client you’ve established.

Share Value within Targeted Groups

Beyond your typical social media posts, sharing value within groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and similar platforms, is a highly effective way to build authority. 

For this example, let’s say your target client is an audiologist.

By joining a group dedicated to audiology, and sharing practical strategies to help business owners expand their practice, you effectively establish yourself as an expert on the topic. 

When done correctly, you’ll become these audiologists’ first thought when they seek marketing services. 

These groups go both ways, meaning you can also use this group to reach out to brands. However, it’s important to provide value to the group to avoid coming across as spam.

Expand Your Network & Ask for Referrals

You’ve probably heard “your network is your net worth” at some point, and this is especially true when it comes to getting clients for a marketing agency.

To expand your network, start by simply taking a look around. Even if you aren’t friends with a business owner, there’s a good chance a friend of a friend just so happens to own a company.

By taking the time to connect with new people and ask for referrals from your current network, you can often find clients that have been right under your nose. 

In a study at the Wharton School of Business, experts revealed that leads from referrals are, on average, worth 25% more than other leads. Why? Because referrals are not only more likely to convert, but also more likely to stick with you long-term due to the personal connection. 

While the age-old strategies of in-person events and coffee chats are still highly effective, the internet continuously unveils new strategies to connect with business owners.

LinkedIn stands out as the go-to platform for this, and for good reason, allowing you to search for your exact target demographic, identify mutual connections, and reach out to clients, all within a few seconds.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg; check out Slam's How to Start an Agency course for a comprehensive overview of networking as a marketing agency.

How to Get Clients for a Marketing Agency with Content

What’s better than finding new clients? 

When new clients find you.

This is the reality with content marketing. If you’ve already identified your target audience and built out a great profile and website, the next step is to connect these components. 

To do this, start by asking yourself what relevant questions your target audience is asking. If you don’t know, leverage your network or check out Answer the Public. 

For example, if you are targeting sportswear companies as a social media agency, you might post “10 Social Media Strategies for Sportswear Companies” or “How to Find Influencers for a Sportswear Company”.

Once you’ve created the content, the next step is to rank for your designated search query. This requires careful attention to technical SEO issues, as well as employing proactive strategies to  build your domain authorities.

An image of organic traffic value on tools like Ahrefs. Being aware of technical SEO and using it in your client work can be crucial to gain clientele and be a trusted expert in the marketing industry.

By sharing this content and implementing SEO strategies, you can attract your ideal client, build trust and expertise, and become the go-to agency for your audience.

Crafting an effective SEO content strategy can be daunting, but with the right resources, it can become a simple and effective process. In Slam’s How to Start and Grow an Agency course, we break down our exact processes to design an effective content strategy for your marketing agency.

When it comes to social media content, the easiest platform to reach agency clients is LinkedIn, a platform primarily centered around B2B connections.

However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect other platforms. 

Establishing a presence across multiple platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, or X, allows you to maximize your reach and, consequently, your lead generation. For social media agencies, this is crucial to display your expertise to potential clients.

To maximize your reach, it’s important to employ a consistent and comprehensive strategy:

  1. Establish a memorable brand identity
  2. Research your target audience
  3. Identify your platforms
  4. Plan out a content calendar
  5. Create and schedule your content

With these steps, you can ensure your content calendar and marketing strategy reflect your brand and expertise and resonates with potential clients. 

Expanding Your Agency’s Reach with Advertising

Once you’ve established a positive and valuable online presence, you’ll begin to develop an audience. However, building a large following organically isn’t an overnight process. 

An effective content strategy requires time, consistency, and value. While the long-term benefits of building an audience will greatly outweigh this investment, the slow accumulation can be discouraging.

Fortunately, there is a way to expedite this process. Advertising allows you to pay platforms, whether it’s Meta, LinkedIn, or Google, to promote your brand. This is primarily done through one of two strategies: promoting existing content or creating new advertisements.

Promote Existing Content

The simplest way to advertise your brand is to promote your existing content. 

Whether it’s an Instagram reel or a blog post, you can run a campaign to generate more views on your existing content. 

This strategy is more cost effective as you aren’t typically competing with large agencies targeting your primary keyword. However, sending traffic to an informational post won’t yield as many conversions as the following strategy.

Create Advertisements

If you’re trying to figure out how to get clients for your marketing agency quickly, advertising is likely going to be the most effective method to get new clients for your marketing agency.

Just like with the previous method, you can run ad campaigns to expand your reach on nearly any platform your brand is present on. 

With marketing agencies, Google search advertisements are particularly beneficial, as they only appear when customers are searching for your brand. According to a study at Wordstream, the conversion rates of search ads are generally around 3.75%, which is almost four times that of display ads.

By creating ad copy and creatives specifically for your services, you can cut out the extra steps between your promotion and potential clients. This strategy allows you to engage more qualified leads and avoid wasting clicks on individuals who aren’t in the market.

When creating your ad, be sure to write and design it according to your target client and brand style established in prior sections.

For optimal results, consider split-testing both of these to determine which has a lower cost per acquisition.

Organizing Your Marketing Agency Sales Processes

With these strategies in place, you’ll likely begin to develop a pool of leads. However, without proper procedures, these leads are just names and numbers on a spreadsheet. 

Consistent sales processes allow you to easily identify what works and what doesn’t, simplifying your optimization process. To get started, open a spreadsheet or find a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that suits your needs. 

While spreadsheets often provide adequate resources for necessary information, CRMs can prove invaluable when it comes to analytics, outreach, and automation. 

Some great CRMs include HubSpot, SalesForce, and even Notion, which provides the most creative freedom out of the three.

Once you’ve selected your sales tool, you’ll need to prepare your environment. To do this, consider what data you’ll need to effectively contact your leads and monitor success. 

To contact leads: 

  • Name
  • Company
  • Website
  • Email
  • Phone

To monitor success:

  • Status
  • Source
  • Cost
  • Contacts

In Slam’s How to Start and Grow an Agency course, we walk you through how to organize your leads, step-by-step, to ensure your client acquisition processes are clear and effective.

After you’ve formatted your spreadsheet or CRM, you can start inputting leads. These could be warm leads, from the strategies above, or cold leads, from various resources. 

Most CRMs will also provide tools to automate the lead importing process from various sources, such as forms or existing lists. 

By investing your time and resources into organizing leads ahead of time, you’ll save yourself the trouble of navigating various resources during your sales process.

Turning Leads into Clients for a Marketing Agency

Once you’ve established a strong list, the next step is to turn your leads into clients. The optimal sales process will vary from agency to agency, but the general funnel remains the same throughout:

  • Engage
  • Qualify
  • Propose
  • Close

The first step in an effective sales funnel is to engage. Whether it’s through social media or cold calling, this step marks the client’s first interaction with your brand. Fortunately, with the marketing strategies above, this step will already be completed.

After this, you’ll want to get in touch with the client to determine their needs, goals, and budget, allowing you to provide a well-suited plan. This step can be completed via phone, email, or even a detailed form.

With this information, you can move onto the next step: propose. At this stage, you’ll use the information you’ve collected to share a quote for your marketing services. This process involves a wide range of considerations, which we’ve broken down in a module of our How to Start an Agency course.

Finally, the client will review the quote and enter the closing process, where you agree on the terms and pricing. Ideally, the client says, “Perfect!”, and you send out that invoice. If that’s the case, then you’ll move on to the onboarding process and begin your service. 

If not, you’ll enter another phase: negotiations.

Negotiating the Price with Potential Clients

Between the proposal and closure stages, you might encounter objections. Whether it’s a budget constraint or a value skepticism, these objections can often be overcome by identifying and providing the right solution.

If you encounter a negotiation, you’ll have three choices:

  1. Increase the value
  2. Offer a cheaper service 
  3. Provide an intro offer

If the client doesn’t think your service is worth that price, the easiest solution is to add more value. By increasing your value through additional services or products, you can often obtain your desired price with little additional cost.

If their budget is the objection, that doesn’t mean you have to take a price cut. You can simply offer a lower tier service or adjust your offering. For example, if you offer social media management, you could decrease the amount of content per month to achieve a better price.

Finally, you could always provide an intro discount. For example, you might give them 10% off for 6 months, so they can determine if your service is worth your desired value. If you provide quality service, they likely won’t have an issue paying you the full value going forward.

How to Get Agency Clients for Different Types of Services

While these principles of client acquisition remain relevant for all agencies, different types will benefit from emphasizing different strategies. In this section, we’ll explore unique strategies to implement depending on the service you offer:

  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Creatives
  • SEO

How to Get Clients for an Advertising Agency

Because advertising agencies work with a lot of data, they can particularly benefit from the use of case studies, even with a small client base.

So, if you’ve run an excellent campaign, share a case study and reference results in your marketing material to establish expertise right off the bat.

Advertising agencies can also benefit from unique pricing structures, allowing room for discounts, promotions, and guarantees.

In Slam’s How to Start an Agency course, we break down the most effective pricing structures, guiding you toward a price that satisfies both you and your clients.

How to Get Clients for a Social Media Agency

When clients are searching for a social media agency, they want to partner with someone who they know will get the job done.

So, if your agency isn’t performing well above average, consider promoting your content to build a more reputable social media presence. 

Beyond your social media presence, social media agencies also need a website and portfolio. 

Just like with advertising agencies, sharing analytics is key. If you’ve grown a social media page by 434% in 6 months, make sure potential clients know that when they see your site.

How to Get Clients for a Creative Agency

For creative agencies, a strong portfolio, hosted on a website that slams, is crucial. To get clients for a creative agency, focus on building a portfolio that displays versatile and high-quality creatives. 

Fortunately, you don’t even need past clients to start this; you can simply start creating mock-up content for companies in your target industry.

Ensure that your portfolio’s content aligns well with your target niche, allowing clients to visualize your content with their brand. For example, a travel agent won’t seek anywhere near the same type of content as a dentist, and vice versa.

For your online presence, prioritize visual-based platforms like Instagram, where you can get organic recognition for your portfolio.

How to Get Clients for an SEO Agency

SEO agencies are unique for a number of reasons, but my favorite is the opportunity for lead magnets. Within these industries, there are thousands of resources, from ebooks to free tools, yet there is still such high demand for these tools.

Many SEO agencies profit off of this by providing free resources to engage and qualify potential clients. These might include:

  • SEO audits
  • Keyword tools
  • Content templates
  • SEO checklists

Beyond the use of lead magnets, SEO agencies will also greatly benefit from a high-ranking online presence, which indicates to prospects that you know what you’re doing. A successful SEO strategy begins with the right keywords, which you can identify and organize with our keyword research template.

For example, our “Agency RFP” article ranks first on Google, which means we’re the first resource agencies find when searching for this topic. 

Image of Google search with the keyword "creative agency rfp." Slam Media Lab ranks #1 for the keyword, which is an example of how SEO can help you get clients for your marketing agency.

Because of this, we’ve generated loads of organic traffic, as well as qualified leads, all from simply publishing an article. And, with proper SEO practices, your agency can do the same.

Optimizing Your Agency’s Client Acquisition Process

If you’ve organized your CRM according to our strategies above, you’ll begin to accumulate data throughout your sales processes. 

By monitoring and analyzing this data frequently, you can continuously optimize your sales processes to do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t. 

This could include comparing your lead’s source and closure rate to determine the quality of leads, or analyzing a prospect’s cost per acquisition and average sale value to identify your advertising margins.

Optimizing your processes also ties back into your online presence. It’s important to keep your presence up-to-date, from your website to your Upwork profile, to show potential clients that your agency is active, optimizing your conversion rate.

How to Get Clients for Your Marketing Agency: Full Course

With a thorough understanding of your client, high-quality advertisements, organized sales processes, and a data-backed strategy, you’re well equipped to get clients for your marketing agency.

However, these are just a few components of a well-oiled marketing machine. Building a successful marketing agency with a sustainable client base requires a comprehensive understanding of the various processes involved.

In Slam’s How to Start an Agency Masterclass, you’ll find key insights into each step of the process, from legal considerations to onboarding operations, alongside over 20 agency tools, templates, and 10 hours of guides. 

Each module is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the critical steps in building a successful marketing agency:

  1. Blueprint to creating your agency
  2. My Journey (Slam’s Origin Story)
  3. The role of an agency CEO
  4. The company setup
  5. Finding your niche
  6. How to get your first clients
  7. Setting up services & pricing
  8. Crafting a winning proposal
  9. Legal & Operational Setup
  10. Operations, Processes, and Onboarding
  11. Tools & Software Recommendations
  12. Bonus: How to Use ChatGPT to Improve All Processes

By implementing the advice and resources within each module, along with the strategies in this article, you can scale your marketing agency and turn your hustle into a full-time business. 

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