Agency marketing is just for new business, right?
Sure, your marketing efforts need to generate new leads and convert prospects. But it should also develop your current client business and make loyal advocates from them.
We all know it costs more to convert a new client than retain a current one. So, it's important agencies unlock the full value of current clients to boost your pipeline.
Not only can you grow each individual client account, but your current clients should be a source of referrals for net new business too.
It’s therefore important for you to nurture those relationships through your marketing and thought leadership, not just from an account management and client servicing point of view. But, for your clients to become raving ambassadors, they need to feel part of your inner circle, special. They, therefore, need a tailored approach that sits outside of your strategy to reach new prospects.
Here are some practical hacks to make your marketing work hard as a client development tool…
1. Be proactive and add value
Clients want agencies to be proactive. Don’t wait for them to come to you, take the initiative and go to them. Use your marketing to add value to your clients for a softer upsell opportunity. By going to your current client base with first-class thinking you can highlight issues they are currently facing and unlock more possibilities in a natural way.
But the key here is to deliver a value add. This could be in the form of high-level strategic thinking, practical guides for their teams or simply a series of lunch and learns with your team and partners.
2. Use LinkedIn as a client servicing tool
Of course, LinkedIn is an important channel to meet new prospects and publish your agency’s thought leadership, but have you ever considered involving your account teams in your LinkedIn strategy?
Most of your clients will be trying to build their own personal brands on LinkedIn. Make sure you elevate their content by engaging with it regularly - whether it is to do with the work you produce for them or not. Source content that will be relevant to their current challenges, tag them in posts and introduce them to other people on LinkedIn who can either make their life easier or give them more of a platform.
3. Elevate opportunities for your clients within your own content
Whether you’re producing blogs and thought leadership or running events and webinars make sure your find opportunities for your current clients to have a voice (beyond the testimonial they give you for the latest case study). This isn’t about them doing you a favour. This is about you elevating your clients as thought leaders and respecting their opinions on industry trends.
Here you get a double bubble: the power of association with the client for a wider audience, making your client feel valued and the added bonus of reaching your client’s network when they share your content too.
4. The power of newsletters
Regular newsletters work much better for current clients and known entities than they do for cold prospects. They are a great way of pooling your best content and agency news in one place along with insights and trends. Getting into a rhythm of producing these that work for your audience is also great discipline to ensure you continue to produce content consistently. But be warned, newsletters with the sole goal of converting new prospects will be a very slow burn.
5. Arm your account managers
Your client services team are your feet on the ground. Utilise them as a channel to get your thought leadership out to your clients. They will be best placed to make your thinking and collateral relevant to your current client's challenges by framing it with context. But you can also work with your account managers to understand what is going on, right now. If they identify challenges your current clients are experiencing, the likelihood is your prospects will feel these too, so solve these within your marketing content.
6. Tailored messaging for current clients
Your current clients already know you, have a relationship and understand your ways of working. You have a shortcut with your current clients. Don’t just bulk your current clients in with your prospects when you share your thought leadership. Show your clients you value and understand them by taking the time to tailor the messaging around your content, be that an invitation to an event, asking them to take part in some research or simply sending them your latest blog.
Be mindful that your thought leadership is designed to add value to your client base. This is not the time for a hard sell. They don’t want to feel like you are always out to upsell, but they do need to know that you offer additional services and have a strong handle on their challenges and industry.
7. Give them the inside scoop
Your clients are the lifeblood of your agency. Make them feel special by giving them the inside scoop on your thought leadership before you go to the wider market. If your clients think you only invest in prospects they can feel duped. By launching your content to clients first you also have the opportunity to ask a trusted few for their feedback to enhance it further and sense check your thinking.
Always consider how you can use your thought leadership and marketing materials to make your current clients feel valued, help them understand the additional services you offer in a soft way and fuel meaningful conversations with your account managers. But, whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking marketing is only for your prospects.
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