One of the biggest questions that came up on a recent livestream with Chris Do of The Futur, was ‘how do you create regular leads as a design or marketing agency?’
Certainly that’s one of the hardest parts about striking out on your own and then hiring people.
So I brainstormed and came up with a list of things that I did to create leads regularly.
If you didn’t get to see the livestream – check it out:
Here’s what I realized it wasn’t:
- It wasn’t just ONE medium – like ‘simply do SEO.’
- All of it took a hell of a lot of work.
- I spent 20 hours a week on the side of my full-time job, which so many people don’t want to do.
Here’s the 21 simplest steps I could come up with – for getting regular design + marketing agency leads:
(This is how we did it)
1. Wrote weekly and sometimes daily content that gave actionable tips.
2. Participated heavily on social media, following – liking and commenting.
3. Did work for cheap and for free to network, tried to at least spend 40+ hours weekly on design before I was even decently paid for it to get really good.
4. Went to events and networked with people (might have to wait on this one for now) We also exhibited at niche events and that has driven a few leads.
5. Told people on social media I was looking for new clients ever 3-6 months.
6. Wrote for other blogs with traffic and linked back to my website.
7. Created landing pages for each different service on my website, targeted meta titles for terms people were searching (using Ahrefs) and wrote 700+ words on each about that subject.
8. Found other ways to get high-authority links back to my website.
9. Each time I had a client, tried to go over and above to get their 5 star review and referral.
10. Patience, hard-work, and determination in the same direction for a long time.
11. Referred out business to other people when people needed something that wasn’t our specialty.
12. Created content together with other people who may refer us business.
13. (I took 15 people out to lunch my first month full time freelance)
14. Niched into an industry that was known for needing my type of services.
15. Continued to target new landing pages for new cities, niches, and improved the design of my website.
16. Made large guides, statistics posts, color + font guides and anything that would drive a lot of traffic through our website so it would be seen as an authority (will probably hit 1million users this year.)
17. Do outreach for guest posts, wrote them myself, collaborated with awesome people on videos like this one.
18. Continued to build social presence (way more heavy on Linkedin now.)
19. Creating regular video content on social with the intent to drive referrals.
20. Spending a couple thousand when you have it to put out ads, get your content in front of people and bid on key search terms (our biggest spend is on re-marketing to ‘show up everywhere’ when people land on specific terms like a roofing web design or roofing SEO page, they see our content and ads all over – FB, Linkedin, Instagram, Google ad network, and Youtube)
21. Continue to experiment, fail, etc.
Our spread has been about 62% referral driven leads. 25% SEO (Google search traffic leads) and 13% ads and social media. But I believe – nay, I know a lot of those referrals have been affected by our social media presence.
Basically I know this is a lot but all of it works together, and it has to – 80% of it was just MY TIME, and not my money. I often worked 20 extra hours a week when I was at the last agency – on content marketing, linking, and my website to try to get the systems in place to create new business in a regular, systematic way.
I’m skeptical Tim – what’s the real secret?
I literally am sharing as much as I possibly can about what I did. I’m not holding back…. Lol, what would the ‘secret’ be?
Organic content for us legitimately is it.
Did we spend an inordinate (almost comical amount of time) to achieve the result we did? Yes.
But it’s not impossible, and THAT and referrals is really what we did.
There are no secrets – only a lot of hard work, diligence and patience. Sorry!
Saw your livestream with Chris and was very much encouraged in a lot of ways. It got me to snooping out your site, and found this. Equally as helpful.
Keep up the good work! Very much following you and your work as I try to follow a similar path, albeit a few years behind you.
Thanks Zach! Really appreciate you taking the time to comment 🙂 Stay in touch