I talk to a couple of agencies every week that tell me that they can’t seem to get their new business engine cranking. Unfortunately, the one thing that really gets them moving is when they lose an account. Well, guess what, its a bit late if you wait for fear to get motivated. This might help… ask yourself how many months you can run your agency on your credit line and the cash you currently have in the bank? If its less than six, get going.
The 8 Point Ad Agency New Business Check List
1. Determine what clients you want. Make a short, manageable list using a set of decision making criteria. The criteria could include client categories, size of account, geography, clients that have demonstrated a love for what you do (as in advertising or PR), clients that could use your speciality (assuming that you have a specialty as in mobile or millennial marketing or Instagram) and decide if the account is too much of a long-shot like Coke.
2. Build a detailed contact database of your Group A clients and then a Group B that includes all the others that you should stay in touch with via automated tactics like monthly emails. Use compiled databases like The List Inc. (well worth the $) and brute force using international workers from oDesk or a local intern to build and manage the list.
3. Have something valuable to say. No, this does not mean sending your latest work. This means sending things that might be of value to the client. OK, if you are targeting Intel in Hillsdale and your new CD worked for Intel in San Jose then send her related work and a case history. Or, if you are really bold… tell them you repositioned your agency to meet their needs like my friends at RedSquare. Click on this link before mid-September to see how they exploded their agency to become more competitive.
4. Get the word out at a scheduled pace. More personalized outreach to Group A and once every month or two to Group B. Be top of mind when the client wakes up and needs a new agency.
5. Make friends. Don’t be passive. Its OK to call up Group A for a chat and maybe invite then to a local gig or online seminar if they are far away. Here is my take on cold-calling, um, warm-calling.
6. Be social. Smart social media marketing will work to bring leads in. But, by smart I mean that you have to build an active social media plan based on meeting your target market’s needs. Do not write tons of content about what interests you or your staff party. Write about what interests the prospect and hit their pain points. Learn to really love LinkedIn and Twitter (use your prospect’s hashtags to subtly get noticed by them.) Facebook is for your employees, your future clients and you mom. And, I love the ease and Google friendliness of Pinterest — is your agency in my agency directory?
7. Be consistent. Have a master calendar and stick to it. The good news here is that the other agencies are not doing this with any consistency.
8. Be active. Passive does not work.
–> Oh, here is a bonus #9: If you really need a kick in the biz dev butt or hand-holding and/or the advice of someone who has been there and done it globally at Saatchi and locally for his very own agency… contact me.