Time is often your greatest enemy when it comes to consistently acquiring new business opportunities so knowing where to focus your time is critical for the best results.
I talk to people on a daily basis who don’t have enough time. Just this week, I was talking with two agency principals and a new business director that all basically said; “I’m out of time”. Each said they had no more time to give their schedules were overloaded. They were stressed and mentally and physically exhausted. To top it off, for most, all of this busyness isn’t effectively creating new business opportunities for the agency.
Does this sound familiar? Learning additional time management skills isn’t the answer if the activities where most of your time is spent is no longer effective.
The cure is in understanding:
- How new business has changed
- How social media makes new business easier
- How to use social media to be easily discovered
- How to re-prioritize and refocus your daily activities
1. How not to waste time – How new business has changed
You’ll never re-allocate the time and resources necessary for success until you better understand how new business has changed.
Social media, fueled by the Great Recession, created a significant paradigm shift in how new business is acquired. My epiphany of this change in new business 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. It’s become more important to be found by your prospective client audience than chasing new business through interruption type tactics such as cold calling.
Instead of chasing new business, it’s now more important to be found.
This is a permanent shift from chasing after business to earning the attention of prospects by creating positioning of expertise through an integration of social media, content and inbound marketing strategies. It’s a new way of thinking about new business.
2. A time saver – Social media makes new business easier
Social media is a savior not a nemesis, an asset not a liability, a time saver not a time killer for ad agency new business.
Business development is a tough business which requires a considerable amount of time and energy for success. It can grind you down, use you up and burn you out.
Here are some of the benefits for using social media that will make new business easier:
- Provides a better focus for new business
- 24/7 top-of-mind awareness without interruption tactics, such as cold calling
- Allows an agency to be more narrowly niched without the risk
- Pre-qualifies prospects
- Networking on steroids and increase in referrals
- Winning new business without having to pitch
- Eliminates the dating process with prospects
- Greatly enhances offline networking at seminars, conferences, trade shows and other events
- Consistent new business pipeline that is sustainable when the agency is at its busiest
- More qualified new business opportunities with less cost
- A greater market area, with the potential for national and international new business opportunities
- A positioning of expertise that allows charging higher premiums and working with fewer clients that are a better match
Even though I had effectively used cold calling in the past, since starting Fuel Lines Business Development back in 2007, I’ve never made a single cold call for any new business. Why? Social media is a more efficient use of my time that provides superior results than the interuptive tactics of the past.
3. How to spend your time – Social media allows you to be easily discovered
The old way was the agency new business hunter seeking out and intercepting prospective clients. Today, it is all about positioning your agency to be found by your prospective client community.
Instead of being the HUNTER, learn how to become the PREY.
Here are some ways to use social media to be found:
- 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 for your agency’s online footprint. The blog should be centered around a specific target audience.
- 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.
- Here are some good examples of agency blogs that are focused and personal:
- Asking Smarter Questions: Data driven marketing & business intelligence
- CPG Marketing Trends: Helping CPG industry marketers maximize brand and private label strategies
- Creative Triage: Market your community hospital efficiently
- Creativity Unbound: Ideas for navigating a consumer driven world
- Depth Finder: Navigating Manufacturer brands through the building supply channels
- Fifth Gear: Accelerating sales through analytical insights
- Fire Support: Marketing for defense contractors
- Park Howell Sustainable Storyteller
- QSR Insights: Bite-sized Insights for QSR and fast casual
- She-conomy: A guy’s guide to marketing to women
- shoppertunity: Resources for increasing traffice and slaes for shopping centre marketers
- Simplexity: Intelligent systems marketing made simple
- The Main Artery: Getting to the heart of cardiovascular marketing
- Tradesmen Insights: Marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets
- Turn Up Your Volume: Drive the right patient with the right payer to the right service line
- Create and build social media profiles that are reflective of your target audience, especially for Twitter, Facebook, Google + LinkedIn and Pinterest.
- 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 use key words in blog post titles. This also helps to identify relevant content that is shared through other social media outposts to your target audience.
- Repurpose older content in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +. There are a number of tools that will make this process simpler such as SocialOomph.
- Jump start your blog’s traffic by building a targeted Twitter following using ManageFlitter.
- Create an eNewsletter by repurposing your blog’s content in a template that is reflective of your blog and sending to your target audience.
- Integrate social media within your agency. Provide help with social media guidelines and training. Your staff can be your agency’s greatest ambassadors.
- 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.
Don’t neglect one of the most important platforms for agency new business, your agency’s 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.
4. Master your time – Re-prioritize and refocus your daily activities for new business
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 it is a tremendous time enhancement for new business. You will only understand social media’s potential value by actually participating in it. When you come to know its potential first hand you are more likely to commit time to it.
Here are some additional resources to help:
- 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