Lead Generation Strategy in Seven Steps for Creative, Marketing, and Communication Agencies

One of the leading ways creative, marketing and communication agencies generate leads is through referrals, with a recent report suggesting 9 in 10 leads are obtained in this way.


While referrals can be an encouraging sign that your business is delivering a great product, leads generated through referrals can be far from optimal. Nobody knows your ideal client better than you do, but with referrals a third party is getting involved in the sales pipeline which might result in new business that’s an awkward fit – too small, too big, small budget?  It’s also an inconsistent way to gain new clients, as the passive nature of the referral approach means that larger agencies with greater presence naturally dominate.


You need a more intelligent strategy; one that generates leads that translate to meaningful, valuable and lasting partnerships. This starts by utilising all the marketing levers at your disposal, including social media, blogging, email and paid marketing. Evidence suggests that almost 9 in 10 agencies say they’re now making use of these avenues, a vast improvement from just one in 10 in 2011.


However, in order to yield maximum reward from your marketing campaign you need a strategy that leverages these tools to full effect, defines your offering in the most appealing way and presents it to the potential clients best-suited to your agency. Here’s how to create an impactful lead generation campaign for your creative, marketing or communication agency in 7 easy steps.


1)    Define your target customers


Before you set out on your prospecting journey it’s important to define what your target customer looks like. That way you’ll avoid developing a sales pipeline that’s clogged with contacts who are unlikely to ever evolve into potential customers.


Start by considering your existing clients and talk to those you’ve had the most success with. Why did they decide to outsource their marketing/advertising/communications? What did they hope to gain from doing so? You may even want to ask them how they went about selecting an agency to work with and how they conducted their search.


Interview a number of your clients in this way and take a note of common answers and themes. For example, did they outsource their marketing to reduce costs or to avoid the hassle of recruiting?  Were they seeking a new perspective or fresh ideas? This dialogue can be used to guide your messaging and direct your marketing campaign toward the channels your potential clients are most likely to engage with.


2)    Set Goals


To determine the success of a marketing campaign you have to measure certain metrics and set goals. Obviously, you want to generate as many leads as possible, but these won’t impact your bottom line if they aren’t developing into customers.


Start by working out the average value of a single lead to your agency. To do this, multiply your average client value by the typical conversion rate of one of your marketing channels.


Average Lead Value = Average client value X Conversion rate (%)


Once you know how much an average lead is worth you can work backwards from your sales targets to determine the minimum number of leads you want your campaign to generate.


Similarly, because a high conversion rate translates to higher average lead value, you should also set a target for your campaign’s conversion rate. This will help focus your mind on creating engaging and persuasive content that compels visitors to delve deeper into your offering.


3)    Create an offer that will entice your ideal client


Today’s B2B customers are discerning when it comes to the content they engage with. They can smell cookie-cutter content a mile off, and are instead looking for insightful, engaging material that speaks to them and seeks to address the challenges they face.


Good content educates, inspires, intrigues and ultimately motivates potential clients to take that next step. However, it’s important to consider exactly what you want your content to achieve and the types of leads you want to attract. Studies suggest for example that snappy, short-form social media posts are best for generating awareness, while white papers and detailed reports appeal to prospects at a more advanced stage of the purchase cycle.


Informative content inspires confidence and presents your agency as an expert at what you do, but there are other options for generating web traffic and raising the profile of your business. Free, easy-to-use web tools can be a great way to enticing visitors to your site and no-obligation consultations can be useful for attracting wavering prospects.


4)    Create a high-conversion post-click landing page


In order to create a high-yield, impactful marketing campaign, you have to ensure that advertisements and posts direct prospects to persuasive, dedicated landing pages.


Research shows that dedicated, standalone landing pages are far more effective at achieving lead conversion than linking to a website homepage or ‘contact us’ page. This is because they focus more acutely on the offer that prompted the potential customer to click through in the first place, with single-click elements that cut out the noise associated with a homepage, and ‘lead forms’ succinctly capture contact info from prospective clients.


Your landing page should feature a bold, compelling headline that stresses the benefits of your offer, and text should be kept jargon-lite and skimmable so as not to deter busy business customers. The use of video content can also improve lead conversion rate, and is particularly useful for explaining concepts that are easier to represent visually.


5)    Create a ‘Thank You’ page


Rather than a device for drawing an engagement to an amicable conclusion, a thank you page is in fact an opportunity to continue the conversation.


Its initial purpose should be to guide the prospect on the next step in relation to the offer they’ve just engaged with. If the offer is a free white paper, is this a direct download or will it be sent to their email?  If they’ve signed up for a free consultation, let them know you’ll be in touch shortly.


This page also presents an opportunity to direct prospects to other content -such as your blog – or similar offers that might be of interest.


6)    Position your offer on channels that get conversions


Use the intel you’ve derived from previous/existing clients to determine the best and most cost-effective places to position your offer. Balance the cost of placing an ad with how well that channel has served you in the past: cheap, consumer-focussed social media sites might be great for generating clicks, but if these aren’t converting to qualified leads you might want to explore other avenues.


Pay-per-click advertisements are often said to offer high return on investment, but if your ad is placed in sites your target customers don’t frequent, you’re unlikely to receive much reward for your efforts.


7)    Use analytics to take control of your lead generation campaign


Marketing analytics tools offer real-time insights into the success of campaigns, with the ability to review touchpoint data, web visits, purchase data and much more. There are countless platforms to choose from, from free solutions like Google Analytics to feature-rich paid options from the likes of Salesforce.


The insightful data provided by these tools will allow you to steer your campaign towards the best possible outcome. Ads not generating traffic on Facebook?  Perhaps it’s time to switch to LinkedIn. Site visitors not leaving their contact details?  It might be time to revise your landing page and include a bold, snappy call to action.


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