Based on my industry experience, most do not. This means that agencies are not aiming and tailoring their primary sales messages to their target audiences.
This post offers 10 ways to advertise your advertising agency as well as the why you should to it, like, yesterday.
Caveat: You should seriously consider advertising your advertising agency. However, you should first run a smart, consistent account-based marketing program to directly drive agency awareness to your best prospects.
Advertising – A Definition
Just for the heck of it, and to get us all on the same page, here is a definition of advertising. I use ‘advertising’ as a universal term for marketing communications companies.
Advertising is a means of communication with the users (or, non-users) of a product or service. Advertisements are messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to inform or influence people who receive them, as defined by the Advertising Association of the UK.
Why An Advertising Agency Should Advertise
There are four reasons an agency should advertise.
- You want to be where prospective clients look for agencies.
- You want to put your agency right in front of the right prospects (and even busy agency search consultants like Laura Bajkowski) 24/7.
- You want to borrow the interest that on and offline publications can deliver.
- You want to prove that you believe in advertising and that you are super creative.
10 Advertising Platforms Your Agency Should Consider
WARNING: Most likely, your agency cannot create and run efforts on all of these platforms. Roll them out based on your marketing plan.
TEST: Test everything. Do more of what works and less of what does not. Yeah, I’m being very obvious. But, testing is the mantra. Your clients want ROI. You do too and running your own programs may make you a better judge of how to judge success across advertising channels.
In addition to listing the ad platforms, I am also giving some, not all, of the reasons that a local/regional agency and an expert agency (example, lead gen B2B agency) should choose the platform. This is meant as food for thought. There are too many types of agencies for me to give every iteration. But, you get it.
Update: It is five hours after I wrote this. I now have number 11. It’s at the bottom of the list.
1. Google AdWords.
Every client in need of a new agency searches on Google. If you are not on page one for the search, buy the position.
Do keyword research and buy the keywords that meet your reach objectives.
Local/regional agency. It would be insane to not try to be on Google’s page one for your location. Example: if you are based in Seattle, buy ‘Seattle advertising agency’ or ‘Seattle SEO agency.’
Expert. Buy ‘Lead generation agency’ or ‘high tech leads agency.’ Do you want Purina as a client? Think about what their marketing team searches on.
I have an agency client that produces an interview with marketing leaders every month. They blast them out in emails, on their blog and… yup, leverage the power of the number two search engine to aim their videos at their audience. The agency also retargets. Since there are fewer results on YouTube than on Google, the agency gets more attention (and, yup, these videos also turn high up in Google searches.)
It would real easy for a local agency, most are, to ‘own’ their town’s video world. How about a weekly where to eat in Kansas City series shot on an iPhone?
Need inspiration? Here is john st.’s rather viral video (as of writing it has 2,447,266 views) about the power of Catvertising. Frankly, has any other agency ever had over 2 million views?
3. Advertising Agency Directories.
This is a serious no-brainer that many agencies do not take advantage of. In many cases, an agency directory is on Google’s page one and lists your competitors.
Make sure you are every relevant agency directory and spend the cash if it nets you a higher position or allows you to deliver more information (i.e. your work) and, especially, a link back to your website.
A very obvious example is Agency Spotter. Frankly, how could you not be present on this directory and even consider the power of paying up for greater visibility and the opportunity to deliver more information?
Like stats? In 2017, Agency Spotter had 250,000 searches for agencies and to read its guides, reports, and tools.
EZ Stat: LinkedIn has 650 million business people and 40 million decision-makers – including your target accounts.
Go to Campaign Manager and DIY some ads.
Sponsor content on your corporate page. You are probably already amplifying your content across digital platforms, right, so why not actually aim your thought leadership at your LinkedIn audience. Share your LinkedIn posts with your audience to increase awareness, and get more Followers and clicks.
You can target geographies and categories. Go ahead, build your Kansas City CMO awareness.
I have mixed feelings about Facebook for many reasons. But, they are a gorilla and you should test there ad platform.
One of my most viewed blog posts was passed across the Saatchi network on Facebook. I was surprised at first. I saw the power of sharing on Facebook. Give people at your target companies something to share.
I am not a super Facebook marketer. However, Social Media Examiner is. Head over to 4 Ways To Improve Your B2B Facebook Ads and let them be your Sherpa.
If you are wondering if Instagram is only for USC honor students, note that Hubspot (with 167K followers), IBM, Intel, and Zendesk use Instagram’s B2B power. At present, Instagram is an underutilized advertising tool so you get a bit of exclusivity (most agencies just put up cute photos without a strategy) plus, Instagram is adding ad tools.
You advertise on Instagram using Facebook’s Ad Manager. Manager lists campaign objectives, audience options, types of placements and budgets and schedules. Since advertising on Instagram is relatively new, there is less clutter. Your choices include Video ads, stories, photo ads, and carousel ads. You can define your audience by location, demographics, and interests.
Twitter’s advertising tools help you to grow your followers and boost awareness.
Twitter also can act as a direct marketing tool. You can target the Twitter followers of specific accounts. Isn’t this an offer you cannot refuse – reach your competitor’s followers? There are a few tools that will help you build a list. Check out export tweet.
I’ll make two assumptions. 1) You produce PowerPoint-like decks and 2) white papers (or long blog posts). Why not help them reach more people by putting them up on LinkedIn’s SlideShare. Relevant keywords and phrases will help your ‘new’ clients find your content. I have a bunch of stuff up on SlideShare. Just one of my presentations, “The Agency Book. From Idea To Published In 6 Months’, a presentation about how easy it is for an agency to write a book that I made at a HubSpot conference, has over 2,250 views.
9. Conference Ads.
If your agency has a marketing conference strategy, you are already thinking about tactics related to reaching out to and convincing attendees that they should meet you. You might get a booth, speak at the conference, book a hotel suite for more intimate sales pitches. You could also advertise in the conference magazine. I’d approach this ad program using direct marketing basics. You want the reader to raise her hand. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
10. Industry News Websites.
Here is a weird one. In many cases, the only time I ever see an agency ad on Adweek or Ad Age is when the agency is patting itself on the back for winning an award (of course the other winning agencies are doing the same at the same time) or when the publication lauds one of their client CMOs.
Go ahead, test advertising on websites like Asia’s Branding in Asia. If you go here you can read my blog post about agency awards and actually see an ad. I’m laughing.
Guest post too. Get your thinking on ad, digital and client category websites. Everyone is hungry for content. Why not yours? Doing this third-party publishing delivers much higher reach than your website plus you should get the link back.
11. Podcast Advertising.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. From marketing to lifestyle to digital industry podcasts. Advertising seems to work on this platform. Many podcast ads are delivered by the host. Reminds me of the golden days of radio advertising. I think you should explore advertising on relevant podcasts. Even Ad Age has its Ad Lib podcast. Check out the Midroll podcast advertising network.
Does Advertising Work?
If you are a marketing communications company, you better think that it works. If it works, why not try it for your agency? Frankly, if I were a client checking you out, I would ask how you market your own agency. I suggest having a good answer.
Talk To Me.
This blog post, while being an inbound marketing tool for my consultancy, is also an ad. Which means… give me a shout if you want to grow your advertising agency much faster.