Tips for creating a larger online presence to be found by your agency’s best prospects.
Almost five years ago I had an epiphany for new business. It came from a CMO Study, released in early 2008, where 85% of decision makers said they found their vendors not the other way around. I realized there was a paradigm shift taking place for new business brought on by the great recession and social media’s evolution as another communication channel. It became more important to be found by your prospective client audience rather than chasing new business through interruption type tactics such as cold calling.
For your agency to be easily discoverable, it is important to be in a lot of places online. I’ve taken the time to jot down some ways to help get you started.
25 ways to enlarge your agency’s online footprint:
- Focus your online efforts to a specific target group. The tighter the target, the faster you will build awareness, prospective client traffic and engagement.
- Create a written social media plan to expand your agency’s online presence and define your goals and objectives. You will also want to create benchmarks and measurements to gauge your progress and easily make adjustments to your online strategies and tactics.
- I advocate a blog as the central hub of your agency’s online footprint. The blog should be centered around a specific target audience. Here’s an example: CPG Marketing Trends, Helping CPG industry marketers bran and private label strategies. The blog is authored by Brad Hannah, SVP, at Barkley, an integrated advertising agency in Kansas City. A blog will also provide the best return on your time investment for social media.
- Your agency’s online presence needs to be personal. People want to work with other people that they know, trust and like. Here are some other examples of how agencies are becoming more personal through their blogs by leading with their CEO, partners, creative directors, division directors, etc.: She-conomy, Remarketing Marketing, Creative Triage, Creativity Unbound, QSR Insights and Momentum
- Use KnowEm. KnowEm allows you to check the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 575 popular and emerging social media websites.
- Create and build social media profiles, especially for Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn as well as other social media sites such as YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, Picasa, Instagram, StumbleUpon, etc.
- Be sure to add share buttons for your blog content to allow your posts to be more viral and be sure to share your new content through your social networks immediately when they are published. There are a number of tools and plugins to help automate this.
- Create an SEO strategy for your blog content to help propel your content rankings in organic search. Consistently using key words in blog post titles also helps to identify relevant content that is shared through other social media outposts.
- Repurpose older blog content in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There are a number of tools that will make this process simpler such as SocialOomph.
- Connect with groups on LinkedIn.
- Build a targeted Twitter following using TweetAdder to build a database of prospects that you can auto-follow over time within the acceptable ratios mandated by Twitter.
- Claim your Google Places Page on Google+ Local
- Claim your agency’s location on Foursquare, Twitter, Yelp and Facebook.
- Integrate social media within your agency. Provide help with social media guidelines and training. Your staff can be your agency’s greatest ambassadors.
- Educate and train your clients in social media. This is an often overlooked pool of agency brand ambassadors.
- Don’t jump from one NEW social media platform or tool to the next. It will drive you nuts and consume valuable time and energy. Stay focused. You can’t develop a system or train anyone else if your constantly expending time and attention for the NEWEST shiny object.
- Create a Facebook Brand Page for your agency.
- Integrate email with your social media marketing. Create an eNewsletter made up of your blog content. Here are some agency newsletter examples: BigFuel, ABZ Design Group, SONNHALTER and Holland + Holland
- One of the most important platforms for agency new business is your website. Most agencies are in a perpetual state of redesigning their website. Allow your website to be your online brochure. It is the place for credentials, capabilities and case studies. It is the preferred platform for prospects to “look under the hood” and verify your positioning of expertise. Also, don’t expect the website to be your primary generator of online traffic. A blog is a much better platform to enlist daily engagement. People aren’t going to be re-reading your online brochure as often.
- Be an active participant in social media. It should be part of your daily routine. Remember that it is networking on steroids. It it not a time killer, but a tremendous time enhancement for new business. You will only understand social media’s potential value by actually participating, then it is much easier to commit the time.
- Take the time to Alt Tag images and photos used in your post.
- Promote and participate in offline events online. For example, I wasn’t able to physically attend the Ad Age small agency conference when it was held in New Orleans, but I was able to participate by doing it online. Here are a couple of articles that will be of help: 50 of the Best Insights from Ad Age’s First Ever Small Agency Conference and The Future of Ad Agency Promotion at Events Through Social Media.
- Just as I have been doing in this post, be sure and link to any relevant content. If you do the work on behalf of your readers, it will make their experience more pleasurable and give them a reason to remain on your site longer.
- Create a sign-up in Feedburner for your blog’s RSS feeds so readers can automatically receive your newest post articles as soon as they are published.
- Write guest posts. I’ve been invited to provide articles for a number of high traffic sites, such as Hubspot, that provide exposure and traffic back to my own blog.
What are additional ways to be found online? Please feel free to share your additions to this list in the comment section below.
Additional articles that you may find helpful:
- Nobody Reads Ad Agency Blogs
- How to launch a blog for ad agency for new business — fast!
- A 70 Point Checklist for Jump-Starting or Tuning-Up Your Blog for New Business
- Study: 69% of Businesses Increased New Business Leads Through Blogging
- 50 Blog Post Ideas to Fuel Your Ad Agency’s Blog
- Ten Toughest Content Marketing Challenges for Ad Agency New Business
- 10 Ways to Create An Ad Agency Blog That is Reader-Centric
- 20 Top Inbound Marketing Resources for the Paradigm Shift in Ad Agency New Business