Tried and True Lead Gen Strategies Agencies Use to Get Clients

What lead gen strategies do you use to get your ideal clients to do a triple back flip into your funnel with full confidence that you’re gonna catch them like a thousand fit firefighters pulling on a life net? 

What does this image of a client jumping into a massive funnel where firefighters are ready to catch them have to do with lead gen strategies? The client got so much value and trust built by content and social proof that they feel enough confidence to jump in their funnel.

After scouring the internet, listened to conversations with marketing agency owners and adding our findings and experience testing out marketing and branding principles, we’ve discovered this:

The methods marketing agencies are using have some elements in common but it depends on how you position your company against the competition, and if you’re just starting out, what is the one thing you do well?  

The best part is you can find success when you double down on what makes you unique in your niche which can help you decide what ways are best to find your best customers.  

Here are some strategies from successful agency owners to help you win more clients for your agency. 

Lead Gen Strategies to Getting Your First Client

  1. Start Small  
    Reach out to local businesses or businesses you believe in, and offer your services at a reduced rate initially for a single project or service. Propose a testimonial as part of the payment to help build social proof. 
  1. Have a Great Offer  
    Craft an offer people can’t walk away from with clear deliverables, timelines, and terms. Highlight the specific results or value you can provide to pique interest. Don’t forget to add bonuses to make a real package that feels more valuable with less overall work, and fix all objections and perceived risks as they come.

    Example: If you’re selling a social media content package, add an account analysis to the offer and if they don’t think that’s worth their money (objection) then help them see how account analyses, or better, Fedica’s competitor analysis will guide their company’s strategy and be an asset to their bosses.
  1. Cold Calling and Emailing  
    Identify your target prospects and reach out through cold calls or cold emails. Personalize your outreach, research their pain points, and position your offer as a solution. 
  1. Build Content  
    Consistently create valuable content (blog posts, videos, guides) that addresses your target audience’s needs and establishes your expertise. Optimize for relevant keywords to improve organic search visibility. Social SEO is powerful. Make stuff that people are looking for, then do a whole bunch more of that!
  1. Leverage Your Network  
    Tap into your existing professional connections and ask for referrals or introductions to potential clients who could benefit from your services. Executive Consultant Marcin Sarnecki runs his whole business using only this one strategy.

    He asks: “Do you have 1-3 friends who could benefit from the value I provide?” so those must be some awesome conversations for him to get continuous work by having coffee chats.
  1. Running Ads  
    Once you have a proven offer and sales process, consider running targeted ads on platforms like Facebook/Instagram or Google Search to reach a wider audience actively seeking your services. Make sure your offer covers the cost of acquiring clients this way.

    Example: This could be a yearly retainer deal with limited spots.

How Agencies Turn Leads into Clients 

  1. Cold Calling  
    While challenging, cold calling can still be effective when done right. Craft a compelling script that highlights the value you offer, and consider a two-tier package to cater to different client budgets. 
  1. Understanding Your Niche Positioning  
    If targeting a niche unfamiliar with your services, educate prospects on the value you provide. Offer free guides, eBooks, or webinars specific to their industry pain points, and set up nurture campaigns like Drip Marketing. 

What is Drip Marketing?
A drip marketing campaign is a marketing strategy that involves sending out a series of pre-written, automated messages to potential customers or leads over a period of time; hence, the “drip” – like a faucet releasing information gradually depending on who does what differently. Steps include grouping leads, creating content, scheduling automated messages, personalizing them, warming leads, and monitoring performance for optimization.

  1. Hire Specialists  
    Consider hiring experienced freelancers or agencies on online platforms to help establish best practices for your sales and marketing processes as you start out. 
  1. Inbound Marketing  
    Consistently create value-adding content and grow your social media presence to generate inbound leads over time. Engage with your audience, share insights, and showcase your expertise. 
  1. Use Lead Generation Tools  
    Leverage tools that compile prospect data like social profiles from Fedica’s Search & Explore for targeted outreach within your niche.
  1. Leverage Review Platforms  
    Scan review sites like Yelp and Google for businesses running ads, indicating marketing budget. Identify prospects and tailor your pitch to their specific needs. 
  1. Add Value  
    Instead of directly pitching services, offer free advice, website or social media audits, or resources that demonstrate your expertise and the potential value you can deliver. 
  1. Create Video Audits  
    Record video audits analyzing a prospect’s current marketing efforts and recommending improvements. This showcases your knowledge while providing an upfront taste of your services. 
  1. Use LinkedIn  
    Optimize your LinkedIn profile and actively engage within relevant groups and communities. Provide insights, answer questions, and identify prospects to nurture relationships. 

How Agencies Win Even Better Clients 

  1. Invest in SEO
    Optimize your website and consistently create high-quality, keyword-targeted content (blogs, guides, videos) to improve search rankings for relevant terms. This establishes your agency as a thought leader and attracts clients actively researching solutions. 

    If you provide real solutions for lower market clients who can’t afford you, you become the best expert option with lowest risk in the eyes of higher paying clients.
  1. Positioning  
    Conduct quarterly market research to understand your ideal client’s needs, pain points, and how your services uniquely address them. Clearly articulate your value proposition and differentiators on your website and marketing materials. 
  1. Search or Social Media Ads  
    Identify high-value keyword phrases relevant to your services and run targeted Ad campaigns. Create compelling ad copy and landing pages to capture interested prospects with budget. 

    To save even more money, use custom X (Twitter) ad targeting to build your own targeted audience with a few clicks so each person who sees your ad are already filtered by your ideal traits like profession and location demographics which is a unique selling point marketing or lead gen agencies focusing on Twitter love!

How Agencies Recommend Finding More Clients 

  1. Referrals  
    Incentivize referrals by offering a recurring fee or commission to people likely to encounter your ideal clients, like contractors in non-competing fields recommending you to better serve their clients and vice versa, or business owners nearing retirement. Nurture these referral partnerships by providing excellent service. 
  1. Local Networking  
    Join local business groups and their online communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Actively participate by answering marketing/advertising questions and offering free advice to showcase your expertise. Focus on pure help that has no selling, no strings attached.
  1. Cold Emailing  
    Research your target prospects and craft personalized, value-focused cold emails that speak directly to their pain points and how your services can help. Include success stories/case studies to build credibility. 
  1. Build Your Online Presence  
    Consistently create and share valuable content (blog posts, videos, social media updates) that educates your audience. Engage with followers, join relevant discussions, and cross-promote across platforms to extend your reach using a content calendar with analytics built for saving time and automating, like Fedica.
  1. Value Posts and Partnerships  
    Identify relevant online groups/communities and add value through insightful posts, answers and advice. Explore co-marketing opportunities with complementary businesses to expand your reach to new audiences. 

Building Your Funnel Like Pro Marketing Agencies 

Here’s all the touch points that were recommended by marketing agencies, from cold to warm leads.  

Reminder: Cold leads don’t know you and don’t trust you. Don’t try selling them too hard, and use lots of social proof and give lots of value. Warm leads already trust you more and would be interested in hearing an offer without getting COLD FEET! Ha!

Top of Funnel (Cold Leads): 

  1. Advertising
    Leverage various advertising channels like search engine marketing (SEM), social media ads, display ads, and traditional media (TV, radio, print) to drive brand awareness and website traffic.
  2. SEO
    Optimize website content, structure, and technical elements for search engines. Conduct keyword research, create high-quality content, and follow SEO best practices to improve organic visibility and attract relevant traffic.
  3. Content Marketing
    Develop and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience. This includes tactics like blogging, infographics, videos, whitepapers, and social media content.
  4. Social Media
    Build and engage with your target audience on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Share industry insights, company updates, and lead-generating content.
  5. Public Relations
    Build brand awareness and credibility through PR efforts like publishing industry reports, securing media mentions, guest posting, and influencer collaborations.

Middle of Funnel (Warm Leads):

  1. Lead Magnets
    Offer gated resources like reports, guides, webinars, or tools in exchange for lead information (e.g., email addresses) to capture and nurture interested prospects.
  2. Thought Leadership
    Position your brand as an authority in your industry by hosting or participating in webinars, speaking engagements, podcasts, and online events to share expertise.
  3. Retargeting
    Use retargeting ads to re-engage website visitors who haven’t converted, nurturing them with relevant messaging and offers.
  4. Email Marketing
    Develop and implement email marketing campaigns to nurture leads, share valuable content, and drive them further down the funnel.
  5. Lead Scoring
    Implement a lead scoring system to prioritize and focus efforts on the most qualified and sales-ready leads.
  6. Testimonials and Case Studies
    Leverage client testimonials, success stories, and case studies across your website, marketing collateral, and social media to build trust and credibility.
  7. Industry Listings and Awards
    Get listed in respected industry directories and enter relevant awards to boost credibility and social proof.

Bottom of Funnel (Hot Leads):

  1. Personalized Outreach
    Reach out directly to companies and decision-makers you want to work with via personalized calls, emails, and direct mail campaigns.
  2. Referral Programs
    Leverage your team’s networks, implement a referral program, and partner with complementary services to generate high-quality referrals.
  3. Remarketing
    Use remarketing tactics like targeted ads and email campaigns to re-engage past clients or lost opportunities for potential new business.
  4. Lead Nurturing
    Implement lead nurturing campaigns with tailored content and messaging to move leads through the funnel and address their specific pain points and objections.

    For example, our friend Tyllah (@MarketingBully_), helps creators with their email marketing for lead nurturing. Her unique twist is that she ‘bullies’ you with encouragement to keep you accountable which is just one of her ways to provide value to her community.

  5. Free Audits and Consultations
    Offer free audits, consultations, or resources that demonstrate the value you can provide to prospects, building trust and showcasing expertise.
  6. Sales Enablement
    Equip your sales team with the necessary tools, resources, and training to effectively engage and convert hot leads.
  7. Closed-Loop Reporting
    Implement closed-loop reporting to track leads throughout the funnel, measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts, and optimize strategies based on performance data.
  8. Alignment and Integration
    Ensure that all marketing tactics are aligned with your overall business objectives and integrated with your sales processes for a seamless and cohesive lead generation and conversion strategy.

Key Takeaways: Overcoming Barriers 

  • Define Your Services 
    Success depends on how you position your company against the competition and what unique aspect you double down on in your niche. Clearly defining your services and specialties can attract the appropriate audience and save time spent on discussions with unqualified leads. 
  • Getting First Clients 
    Start small, craft a great offer, use cold calling and emailing, build content, leverage your network, and consider running ads. 
  • Turning Leads into Clients 
    Use cold calling, understand your niche positioning, hire specialists, use inbound marketing, leverage lead generation tools and platforms, add value, create video audits, and use LinkedIn. 
  • Winning Better Clients 
    Invest in SEO for top of funnel, or target specific advice that could warm leads to hot leads, position your agency effectively, use Google Ads, network, and use cold calling. 
  • Finding More Clients 
    Use referrals, local networking, cold emailing, build your online presence, create value posts and partnerships. 
  • Building Your Funnel 
    The blog recommends various strategies for dealing with cold leads (like advertising, SEO, website optimization, social media, PR), warm leads (like using testimonials, awards/listings, webinars/speaking, downloadables, networking, podcasting, teaching), and hot leads (like personalized outreach, referrals, re-engaging past clients, proprietary work, freebies, newsletters).