Would you like it if your potential clients reached out to you instead of you cold calling them?
Well, who wouldn’t!?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a consultant or run a full-blown agency, your situation is not ideal if all (or most of) your work comes through cold calling. Not only do cold pitches mean showing up uninvited, but they also rarely convert. With only cold calling and follow-ups, your potential clients could think of you as a pushy salesperson.
In fact, Duct Tape Marketing shares, “Cold calling results in about a 1-3% success rate for getting an initial appointment and it’s generally abusive to both parties.” Instead of sending cold pitches, find other ways to connect with the decision makers. Even better, try to get them to contact you and inquire about your services.
Well, your first step is to help them DISCOVER you with the below eight tactics. They will help new clients discover you and keep your pipeline brimming with projects all the time.
Write Detailed Teardowns
How do you prove to a potential client that you’re an expert in your niche and the best service provider out there? One really effective way is to give potential customers your expert take on how others in your field are doing a particular task. For example, if you sell web design services, look for a site that you love and explain all the things that stand out about its design. Also, if there’s a site that you think is poorly designed, dissect that as well and highlight the problems you see.
Remember: A teardown doesn’t mean that you just highlight someone’s mistakes to show how much you know. Rather, give a well-rounded opinion on why something impressed you and the things that you’d improve upon if you did the work.
A consultant who does this incredibly well is Samuel Hulick from UserOnboard. Hulick frequently tears down the onboarding experiences of popular products. Below is a screenshot from his teardown of Buffer, a social media sharing platform.
When you read his teardowns, you can tell that he knows what he’s talking about. By writing similar in-depth teardowns on your blog, you too can establish yourself as a go-to service provider in your niche and attract quality leads.
Ask For Referrals
Nielsen’s survey found that 84% of respondents believe word of mouth recommendations are the most trustworthy.
It makes sense: someone who learns about you from one of your happy customers is a lot more likely to convert than a cold lead. With that in mind, reach out to your most satisfied clients and ask them to introduce you to their friends who might be interested in your services. You could even offer a discount to your customers who bring their friends onboard. (Also, when you’re ready, you could take that discount to the next level and launch a full customer referral program for your agency.)
Start A Blog
More traffic translates to more leads – and sales! HubSpot also shares that 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer through their blog, which is a big deal if your average project budget is high. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you should check out this case study by Internet marketer Pauline Cabrera about how she made $21,000 from a single blog post. (Disclaimer: Pauline’s case study must be downloaded to be read.)
As Cabrera explains in her ebook, her blog is a constant source of leads:
“Most often, new clients would find my blog, hire me to design Twitter cover photos, but they would also hire me to do other things related to web design and Internet marketing as well.”
Imagine how nice it would be if you too could create an epic post on your blog and continue to use it as a lead magnet forever.
Run A PPC Campaign
PPC ads ensure your business is on Google’s first page of search results immediately – putting you directly in front of people who’re looking to buy your services. The search marketing company WordStream lists the following benefits of using PPC for lead generation:
Most keywords around agencies are competitive and can be expensive, but you should see if you can justify that with the average lifetime value of a customer. You could also consider running PPC campaigns on social media platforms too.
Get On All The Top Roundups!
Often when people hire agencies for the first time, it’s unlikely that they have a potential fit in mind. All such people start with simple searches.
For example, if you had to find the best SEO agency in your city, what would you do?
If you’re like most of us, you’d simply run a search for a phrase like “city + best SEO agency.” For example, if you were in NYC, you would write something like, “top seo agency new york” and search. I did a simple search, and here are the results:
Do you notice the roundups and directory listings compiling the top SEO agencies in the city?
For people who don’t have a particular service provider in mind, these roundups act as the first touchpoint for outsourcing their work. A lot of potential clients will choose candidates from these lists – and it’s your job is to get listed on them. If you’re not listed on these resources, you’re losing exposure (and thus business).
To get on the lists, write to the blogs that have published them. Keep your outreach email short and clearly state who you are (or introduce your agency), and why you deserve to be on the list. If you’ve received any awards, have popular clients, or have achieved dramatic results for your clients, mention them to add to your credibility.
Participate In Forums and LinkedIn Groups
Forums like Quora, Reddit, and even LinkedIn groups are always buzzing with leads. These are people who’re looking for answers to some of their most pressing questions. When these questions are related to any service that you offer, you should offer a meaningful response.
For example, if you run a web design agency, and someone asks a question about responsive design, you should offer up a helpful answer – without trying to sell your services. Your answer could reach thousands of viewers interested in that question. Your participation won’t just position you as an authority in your niche, but your intended audience will also start seeing you as someone who loves to help (as opposed to being seen as a pushy salesperson).
Look at the following Quora thread where someone asked for an alternative to BuzzSumo (a content marketing tool). Notice how BuzzSumo chief, James Blackwell, offered an answer that got viewed more than 12,000 times! This is the kind of exposure that a meaningful response can get you. A single answer can bring you before thousands of leads.
Publish Guest Posts
Guest posting on popular sites helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Also, guest posts let you hack into audiences you don’t normally have access to. However, the ROI from your guest post efforts depends on your choice of target blogs. If you choose the right target blogs, you can be assured of quality leads. Do your research and choose blogs in your niche that are influential and highly regarded.
Now while any great guest post will send you traffic and leads, to maximise your results, you must also craft a thoughtful author bio that highlights your expertise and services. Digital Marketer Neil Patel gives some brilliant tips to write a meaningful author bio in his post. I absolutely love this piece of advice:
“The best way to create a meaningful bio is to write it carefully and intentionally. Think about your readers, establish some credibility, and make it memorable.”
It doesn’t matter whether you run an online or an offline business: events get leads.
We mostly tend to associate events with physical services, but events are excellent lead generating opportunities for online services as well. Because events bring together a highly targeted group of people, they are marketing hotspots.
They are also great for striking partnerships. If you research the list of attendees in advance, you’ll be able to identify and talk to people who provide services complementary to yours. Partnering with such people could provide both of you better leads as a result – for example, a web design company partnering with a branding agency or web hosting company would be a great way to share customers and leads.
If you work with WordPress, then you’ve probably heard about WordCamps. Each WordCamp brings together hundreds of people working with WordPress – including us! Being a leading Managed WordPress hosting provider, we’re always looking to make friends with and network with people who build sites with WordPress. We also love interacting with WordPress developers. In fact, we’ve been proud sponsors of more than 7 WordCamps and just recently sponsored WordCamp Jacksonville!
Attending events is an excellent start, but if you want to do more, try arranging one. You could even consider running a webinar on a hot topic in your niche.
In the End … Cold Calling Shouldn’t Be Your Go-To
Having a consistent stream of quality leads is a must for running a successful consulting business. Relying on just cold pitches (or old contacts) will only take you so far. By following the above tips, you’ll generate more actionable leads and gain more clients!
Have you tried any of these tips? If so, what results did you get? And what are all the other things you’ve tried to land more clients and projects?