Posts Tagged ‘marketing tips’

It All Starts With The Target List: Steps To Efficient Proactive Prospecting

When embarking on a proactive prospecting program, there are some core steps that can’t be skipped over on the road to success. And the foundation is developing a solid, well researched target list.  Below are the steps we recommend to clients to set that foundation.

1. Focus On A Vertical

Catapult programs are designed around core verticals or segments. Most often we build out lists with our agency clients by selecting target verticals they are best suited for, where they have subject matter expertise and case studies to provide credibility to prospects. A narrow focus enables you to curate and create outbound messaging to all companies within each selected vertical with a high level of relevance, leading to stronger engagement faster than a general message across verticals typically does.

2. Identify Your Right-To-Win Brands

…and research them well. For each vertical selected, the company list can be narrowed by such criteria as revenue, media spend and location. By targeting the companies that you can build credibility with, you’re able to laser-focus sales efforts around their unique needs. Don’t just rely on lists pulled from your criteria. Review top business rankings lists within specific verticals we are targeting to ensure we have all relevant companies included on the lists for our agency clients.

When researching each company to determine if it fits note challenges the company and/or industry is facing. These insights are later converted into talking points for email and phone outreach. 

3. Uncover Key Decision Makers

When the list is narrowed down to the top companies in a vertical, find the key decision makers within each based on job function and rank. Who the right contacts are will vary depending on your agency’s services. For example, a social media agency surely will want to connect with a social media director. However a branding agency likely would not.

Focus on C-suite, VP and director-level marketing professionals; depending on your agency, you may also want to target manager-level contacts. What’s important is that you’re only targeting decision-makers or influencers. Pro Tip: try to find at least 5 – 7 contacts per company/brand. Experience tells us that there is rarely just one decision maker, and it’s not always the obvious one that will respond and champion engagement with your agency.

It’s also helpful to scour the web for financial statements, press releases and trade articles for mentions of other relevant contacts at the company.

And, once you’ve completed the list, make sure to import it to a CRM database so you can effectively track your outreach. A few that our clients have used Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Hubspot to name a few.

4. Dig Deeper for 1:one or 1:few personalization

Uncovering information on your contact list through LinkedIn helps confirm the employee is still with the company and remains in the appropriate role. LinkedIn is also useful for mining additional contacts in the company – you may find additional relevant prospects you have not found previously.

During this process make sure to take notes of mutual contacts, past employers, links to presentations, schools attended or other points of connection that you can use in your outreach to that contact. You will need the email address information for these contacts found outside of the database. Try looking at the email naming conventions of the other contacts in the company; 90 percent of the time the naming convention will hold for the missing emails. If all else fails, there are a number of online tools available to help find alternative email address suggestions like Clearbit,, or RocketReach.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how to do all this with the resources you have.

At Catapult, we’ve heard, and done, it all to try to crack the code on list building. Calling the company’s main line, filling out a web form, or hoping you have a mutual connection in your core network are not efficient or effective ways to connect with senior decision makers.

And getting the decision maker information is not an easy task. All too often, agencies rely on new business people or account people to track down prospect contact information on their own. If the contact data is even found, it’s often inaccurate and incomplete. This process eats up your team’s time and takes them away from more important business activities.  

To solve this dilemma, many agencies subscribe to database services that provide accurate, direct contact information on prospects. And they supplement this data with their own due diligence to gain information that is relevant, current and provides insights for smarter prospecting messages.

There are a number of database providers available online, such as Winmo, our sister company, which offers vetted and current prospect contact information for relevant to ad agencies, marketing firms and creative agencies. A sophisticated database and intelligence service provides much more than contact information. It also can offer company financial data, existing agency relationships and recent news articles to help you better identify your best prospects.

When selecting a database provider, look for one that employs teams of researchers to validate and refresh the data on a regular basis, at least every 3-6 months. It’s also important that company specializes in advertising and marketing contacts so the prospects align with your target audience. 


Your prospect data list is the most important part in agency new business outreach. If you don’t have a relevant and accurate list of prospects and an efficient way to get this data, even the best messaging will fall on deaf ears. Using the steps outlined above, supported by a database platform for efficiency and speed, makes this scalable so business development folks can spend more time on outreach, engagement and conversion to new business…and less time trying to track down contact information!

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Your Agency Website is a Revenue Tool, Not an Experiment for Creative

There’s a saying around our office that if you look at a company’s website, and you can’t tell what they do, they are probably an agency.  That ambiguity might be considered cheeky when the visitor knows who your agency is, but it spells certain doom for any agency looking to generate new business and leads through their website with prospects that are visiting them for the first time.  While your website can be a fun, creative playground for your team, we need to remember that the primary goal of any good website is to convert prospects into new revenue.

The fact is 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.  (Source: Adobe).  What does this mean for your design?  It means that we need to be conscious of where our visitors come from, what devices they are using to research you, and make sure that while your site is attractive, that attractiveness does not take away from the experience of finding out just what you do.  For creatives (non-sales people) I understand the push back here.  Nobody wants a plain or salesy feeling agency website, but we do want to be sure that it is a revenue generator, not a confusion generator.

The most successful agencies I’ve seen all have their past creative prioritized on their site, but it’s important to remember – it’s not the website itself that is the creative showcase.  This is an important distinction, because when a prospect is visiting your website, they want to know:

A) Can you solve my problem?  (clear and unique agency positioning on all pages)

In the case below, the positioning is very clearly and cuts directly to the problem they solve for their clients.  Within 3 seconds, we know exactly who they are and what they do that is unique. 

B) Have you done it previously? (clear view of past creative and case studies)

Love this use of Case Studies – short and clear problem, solution, results.  This is a great CTA target for any outgoing communication.

C) How do we get in contact? (contact page for key agency decision makers)

Multiple places to take action on this homepage, giving prospects a place to convert from anywhere on their site.  They do a nice job of consistent positioning as well, along with vocalizing that immediately.

If we can simplify this online journey for our prospects, then we can greatly increase our chance of converting them from an anonymous visitor to a lead conversation.  I would encourage you to sit down and go through this journey yourself with your current website.  If you can’t find a truly unique positioning statement on each page, we need to edit.  If you are not led quickly to outstanding results and work, then we need to edit.  If you have to click a few times to find someone to contact, we need to edit.

This isn’t meant to say that your site should be boring and plain, or that you should just have random “contact us” buttons on every page like you are pushing a free trial.  Be creative, show off your digital chops, but just be thoughtful in where and how you do that.  If they have to sit through a five minute video, or go through an interactive hide and seek on the home page to find your agency’s past work, they will probably run rather than seek.

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Waiting for Referrals Will Kill Your New Business Efforts

At some point, every new business person has been presented with this situation: A prospect comes to us that heard great things about what our agency does from a previous client and they think we are a great fit for them. Unfortunately, we don’t think it’s a great fit. They could be too small of a partner, in an industry we don’t want to work in, or located in an inconvenient region of the world. Whatever the reason is that they aren’t a perfect fit, we are left with the problem of needing new business, having an “easy” win standing in front of us, but possibly taking on another client that could be more pain than they are worth. What do you do?

Whether or not you choose to work with the referral above, there is an easy solution to the dilemma. Actively seek new referrals and STOP WAITING for them to come to you. If you are trying to truly grow your agency this year, sitting back and waiting for those referrals will not lead to double-digit growth. We need to proactively build a referral machine that will generate conversations between our networks with companies that we actually want to work with. So how do we go about doing this?

Creating a true referral machine has a ton of different pieces that incorporate almost every piece of your agency. Your marketing, sales, account management, executive team, and social presence all need to be aligned in order to really build a scenario where referrals produce themselves naturally in an organic way. If you want a great book on referrals, I would recommend “The Referral Engine” by John Jantsch. While he has gone through many of the points above, the one that I believe is most applicable for my new business directors and easiest to institute immediately is the idea that “the most easily referred companies are naturally social”.

So what is “naturally social”? In the new business world, to me it means that you are creating content that invites conversation, telling stories via blogs or video, working with partners to deliver content that is of value, and most importantly, actively having conversations within your immediate and extended networks. The last part is where we tend to see people who fall off the most, reaching that extended network. We all work to build these LinkedIn networks, and then we find ourselves only really “liking” content or posts that come from those that we know the closest. Well, those folks are already the most likely to send us a referral if they come across one, right? What I want to push my new business directors to do is find specific companies that they want to work with and then utilize those extended (and less used) network contacts to generate a conversation. There’s a really simple process that you can take advantage of tomorrow to do this:

  1. Build a list of prospect companies
  1. Search each company in LinkedIn and find their most applicable contact for prospecting that is also a 2nd-degree connection.
  1. Identify your shared connection with that prospect and request a referral directly to that prospect company from your shared connection.

Seems simple right? Here’s the key part – make the referral EASY for your shared connection. Too often we either a) simply don’t ask our shared connection for a referral or b) we put the onus completely on them in terms of coming up with the reason for the referral. The idea here is that we want the referral ask to be specific, time sensitive, and pre-written for our connection. This allows them to simply forward on a message with as little work as possible for them. And because your message is time sensitive in nature, we have a built-in urgency to the request for referral.

Here’s an example:

Hi (First),

I was hoping you could help me.

You’re connected to (John Smith) of (Company) and I have some (Valuable Marketing Intelligence) that I’d like to put into their hands, and it’s a bit time sensitive. 

Since you two are connected on LinkedIn, I hoped you’d be open to introducing me today with the message below?  Feel free to edit as you desire:


(First Name),

It’s been a while since we last connected – hope all is well! I thought you’d be interested in this introduction to Matt Chollet (cc’d) who has competitive market intelligence on (Company) that he wanted to ensure got into your hands today – it’s time sensitive and may impact your competitive media investments in Q3.

I’ll leave it with you both from here, hoping this is a valuable connection for you.


The essence of the above sample is the fact that all your referrer has to do is hopefully copy and paste two sentences, sign their name, and move on with their day. By making it simple like this, you take away the hurdle of creating a whole new message themselves.

By building a very simple, straightforward referral plan like this, with a straightforward referral request, we can begin to proactively create referrals around prospects that we actually want to work with.  Hopefully, this pushes us from a place of hoping and wish for referrals, to actively pursuing and engaging referrals on a daily basis that can convert the types of prospects we really want to work with.

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The Right Way to Expand and Segment Your Target Audience

Any successful new business strategy starts with knowing who your target audience is. As an agency you have likely already honed in on your unique value proposition and are ready to start engaging with prospective clients.

“A critical piece many agency new business professionals miss out on is making sure they have a broad enough target audience to sell and market to. We find that the key to fueling your marketing and sales efforts is an effective, targeted AND substantial audience.”

When working with our clients, we’re often asked, “How many prospect records do I need?” To get the most from your outreach, we recommend a minimum of 3,000 with the goal of having 5,000 that you can continuously engage with.

Those numbers might seem like a lot but keep in mind there are tools to help you build out your prospecting database. In fact, many of your agency peers are likely using one. According to the 2016 Mirren/RSW Mirren New Business Tools Report, 9% more agency executives are investing in list building tools (compared to 2014) to help grow their new business. Our clients typically use Winmo, however there are other resources like Hoovers, and LinkedIn to help you create hyper-targeted data sets.

The importance of audience segmentation.

As you continue to grow your prospecting audience, segmenting the data into relevant batches is very important as it keeps our content highly relevant, even when we begin to do outreach in groups of hundreds or thousands. We are not looking to spam the world with emails and phone calls, we are trying to deliver less often, but with more impact.

“By properly segmenting our audiences, we are able to ensure that the right content gets in the right hands at the right time.”

When I begin to look at a new agency list, I often segment prospects into these three groups to help us prioritize outreach and customize content:

1) Right to Win

Right to Win clients are those that are a perfect fit for our solutions. We set parameters for what a perfect client is for our agency: what issues they have, where they are and what they specialize in. If they fit those criteria, then they HAVE to be working with us and we need to talk to them in such a way that shows our perfect fit. This is likely to be a somewhat smaller group, as we are talking about perfect here. The goldilocks zone of prospects!

2) Great Fit

This will be your biggest group of prospects. They have a problem we can solve, but may fall just outside our parameters on a few criteria here or there. Maybe they are a bit outside of our typical geographic region, slightly bigger or smaller in revenue ranges, or they’re an industry adjacent to our sweet spot. If they fit 95% of our criteria and we can recognize and solve their problems, then I want to be sending them content. Too often I see agencies immediately give up on quality prospects because they put so many restrictions and criteria on who they can work with. If you want to grow, consider widening that net just a bit.

3) Stretch

This is may be the smallest group, as they are more of ‘passion projects’ from the team – or the ‘great white whales’ that would be incredible to land. They are probably not worth committing the majority of your 1 to 1 new business time to chasing, but landing one could make a huge difference in morale or revenue. Putting them in your drip content is a great way to keep them warm and fish a bit, without taking away from your time that you spend on those prospects that are going to be your stable base of revenue in the future.

Keep in mind this is just one way to segment your data. Every agency has a different strategy, and how you go about slicing your sales intelligence might be very different. Some find that the easiest way to group prospects is simply by industry vertical, while others choose to base their groupings off of job titles. Taking the time to think through who you want to be working with, and more importantly, what your prospects care about, will help you determine just how your agency should be dividing your prospect target list.

Lastly we need to remember, we are segmenting these groups because we want to get bespoke, quality content in front of the most appropriate people. Each new group you create is going to require their own set of targeted communication and targeted content, so do not break these into ten different target groups if you do not have the bandwidth to create ten different content tracks. We want to do everything we can to broaden our reach while staying highly targeted and focused in order to remain relevant. Taking the extra time to think through these audience segmentation lists and properly grouping them can save you an immense amount of time on the back-end.

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For Best Results, Make Email Part of Your New Business Strategy

We’ve seen more than a few agencies who aren’t seeing the results they were looking for with their current new business strategy. Many new business teams are stuck with an old mindset that proactive email marketing is just spam and not worth their time. When done right, email marketing can be a terrific way to maximize your ROI of time and money for new business growth.

So why is email such an important piece of your new business strategy? Email as an outreach approach has fewer barriers to implementation and is a relatively inexpensive process to begin. It’s also a great way to deliver the tangible results you’re looking for, because you can track everything and easily attribute leads to different campaigns. There is no mystery where leads come from.

The biggest obstacle to adopting a marketing automation strategy is “not having a strategy at all,” according to Marketing Automation Trends Survey.

Email marketing—specifically email automation campaigns—offers an inexpensive approach that will not only drive growth, but build your agency a sustainable prospect database from which you can always mine new opportunities. It’s the most effective way to grow your business, relative to the amount of money you spend. In fact, your ROI should skyrocket by implementing an email automation campaign. Consider these statistics:

  • B2B marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads compared to non-nurtured leads after deploying a lead nurturing program.
  • B2B marketers who install marketing automation increase their sales to pipeline contribution by 10%.
  • 54% of companies using marketing automation capture intelligence for the sales team. This compares to only 25% of companies without marketing automation.

It all boils down to one simple fact: Agencies that adopt an email marketing and marketing automation strategy outperform those companies that do not.

Resist the stories about emails and email marketing. Not all email is spam you need to filter. If used properly, email can be your least expensive means to grow organically and gain new business.

Agencies that focus on nurtured lead programs with great content via email, will find themselves starting any new relationship with a client at a much warmer spot. Rather than viewing each other as “seller vs buyer,” good email nurture programs allows for a “teacher and student” relationship. We trust our teachers while we don’t necessarily trust someone selling something.

Our most successful agencies keep this in mind. They build a marketing automation program, implement a CRM and combine it all with a business intelligence platform such as Winmo. As you build out your new business strategy, don’t discount email’s importance, just because it’s a discounted rate to get it started.

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How to Use Your Case Studies as CTAs

Over the years we have seen tons of case studies used as calls to action with varying levels of effectiveness. There are many different kinds of mistakes agencies make when creating these. The top mistakes we often see are simple:

  • The case study is too long
  • The study only focuses on the solution

Who hasn’t been sent a case study that is a 10-page PDF on all the intricate pieces of a campaign? Next question: Who actually reads all 10 pages? My guess? None of us. Not at first anyway. That level of detail is great, if you have really interested me in taking a deep dive into your agency. But most agencies don’t take the time to develop the problem and results to effectively use their case study as an effective call to action. A case study is not a good intro piece.

Our solution to help make your agency’s case studies more effective as lead magnets is to break it into two completely separate pieces: a teaser and a deep dive.

Teaser case studies are most likely a short landing page that quickly sells the idea and value of the case study. It’s going to concentrate on the three main components of a case study, while highlighting two of them more heavily: problem and results. This is done in small bursts, a paragraph for each at max.

  • Problem – Clients want to know that you understand their pain and what they’re going through. Be sure that the problem highlighted in your case study aligns carefully with that pain trigger in your marketing communications.
  • Solution – You need to be able to talk about your proprietary solution while staying at a high enough level that you don’t lose their interest. Remember, at this point they care more about their problems and the results we will give them more solutions later.
  • Results – You need your case study to show measurable results. Show the reader a shocking statistic. Something that shows what actually resulted from your project. Real numbers are more impactful than words.

The importance of this teaser is that your marketing CTA is driving people over to something that should be both compelling and quickly consumable. Most people are busy and cannot commit to 10 pages of a case study. But if we hit them with a teaser page that gives them compelling problems and results, we can then ask them to commit a larger amount of time to us and our solutions via a deep dive study at a later point.

Those that agree to commit time to your deep dive study are highly qualified, and more likely to engage in a real conversation following their online activities. That does not mean you don’t reach out to those that hit your teaser page. But you should focus on those deep dive prospects immediately.

Understand that case studies tend to be more focused on you and your agency. But our prospects are focused on themselves. Make your CTA all about your prospect, and the teaser study all about your prospect’s problems. Once they are truly engaged, we can tell them about us.

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How to Begin Your Agency Positioning Conversation

At the end of my last webinar, one of the overriding requests that I received from everyone was help around their positioning statement. Many times I see positioning statements on websites that are overly general, similar to their competitors, or just plain uninspiring. Our goal with any positioning is to achieve two things:

  • Be unique
  • Be a sales driver

I know, there’s that sales word that I like to throw around. The fact is that when someone first visits your site in their buying process, you want to make sure your positioning statements are always coming from a place that immediately lets them know what you all can do for them, in a very real way. “We produce results” is neither unique nor compelling, and it won’t help you make a sale.

Crafting something unique and compelling is a lot of work, but below are some questions to make your life a bit easier when you are first sitting down with a group (or by yourself) to craft that new positioning statement.

  • Why does your agency exist? (less about what and how)
  • What’s the one thing you do better than anyone else?
  • What are the benefits of working with you?
  • Let’s talk about what you don’t do
    • Consider us when…
    • Don’t consider us when…
  • Why do you win? Why do you lose?
  • Based on business challenges, where do you have the greatest opportunity?
  • Is every piece of content you are producing pushing your unique selling proposition to a specific prospect type?
  • Does your website properly convey exactly what you do better than any other agency?
  • Is it clear to anyone who sees our content exactly who your “Right to Win” clients are?

Once you have an initial framework for that positioning statement, take a few minutes and look at your closest competitors’ websites. How similar are you to them in your positioning? Are you creating space between yourself and them with this positioning statement? Do they do a better or worse job of highlighting their uniqueness? Once you feel confident you have differentiated, test it on some folks who do not know your agency as intimately as you do. Ask people outside your agency bubble what they think about your positioning versus your closest competitors’ and see what emotions get stirred up in them.

This process is not normally a short one, and definitely not something to be taken lightly. Take the time to think, test and retest, because the content you build in the future will all hinge off this positioning

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Using Social to Amplify Your New Business Outreach

In today’s marketplace, social media should be an integral part of growing your agency. Of course that’s not news to you, but in order to be successful with it you need to practice patience and stay consistent.

We’ve spoken to many agencies about how they’ve used social to push their new business efforts forward and have learned a few things along the way. When it comes to social, some platforms work much better than others, LinkedIn and Twitter being the main two that businesses use. Here are a few strategies about platforms we believe give you the most bang for your buck in your push to grow new business.

LinkedIn Referrals

AgencySquared recommends that agencies craft a LinkedIn referral engine. This process entails consistent outreach and the suspension of reluctance when it comes to leveraging LinkedIn connections. Even if you may not know them personally. We like to call them “unknowns.” Who do we mean by unknowns? If you have 1,000 connections, the number of real connections—connections that you personally know—are probably less than 20 percent of that number.But all those other connections hold tremendous value. Yes, those 80% of unknown connections can drive serious new business your way.

Don’t be shy in asking for referrals from those connections, just do all of the work for them. Here’s what I mean:

  • Ask specifically for the person you would like to be introduced to
  • Craft the intro/referral message for your contact to send
  • Ask for a specific date of referral
  • Have something timely to offer so that the date of referral is more important.

Most of those “unknown” connections that you have will have no problem forwarding your message along, because (for the most part) we’re all trying to grow our networks and increase our sphere of influence. I always try to be of help to others when/if I can, and I find most people fit into this category as well.

This referral process will help you not only learn more about your network, it will also increase your potential prospect list. More prospects, more leads, more sales.

Twitter Business Opportunities  

Twitter is another great way to grow business opportunities. While LinkedIn is about connections, Twitter is all about conversations. It’s a perfect vehicle for quick conversations you can engage in and strike up during any event. Be sure to follow people in your space (who doesn’t love being followed?) as these will be quality users whose interests align with yours.

You can search for people who tweeted about a topic of interest and follow them. I highly suggest that you do this; any conference that is of interest to you–whether you’re at the conference or not– find out the conference hashtag, and begin following every user that uses it. Most times you’ll get a follow back, and I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve had at conferences from following someone and then them finding me in the crowd later. “Hey aren’t you the guy that just followed me?!” Boom – conversation started.

Your goal should always be looking to develop a targeted audience. A larger number of random followers may give you social media cred, but it does nothing for your new business goal. A Twitter following with a small core of highly targeted follows is twice as valuable as a large audience of random followers.

Participating in Twitter chats related to your industry is another way to prospect. Joining an ongoing conversation is a great way to develop a rapport with like-minded individuals and it is much easier to join a twitter conversation that is currently happening than jumping in mid conversation in person.

Timelines in both LinkedIn and Twitter are changing every minute, so be sure to set time aside to review new developments. I personally block off specific time on my calendar every day for Social Media prospecting. This forces me to send out at least one referral request each day and find a new twitter conversation to take part in.

Leveraging the power of social media for your business marketing can take time and energy, but in the end your efforts will be rewarded if you stay consistent. Not every platform makes sense for everyone, so do your homework, experiment, and don’t be afraid to leverage those “unknowns!”

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Email Lists: Should You Buy or Build

You need email lists and you are not alone. Every day marketers struggle to figure out how to reach larger audiences for their content marketing campaigns. Without a robust database, your content marketing plans can take much longer to gather lead generating momentum. Since we all want more sales, that means generating more leads, let’s look at how successful agencies create larger databases.

There are a few ways marketers build databases:

  • Buying lists: You can buy names and email addresses based on certain demographic information.
  • Renting lists: You can identify a segment of prospects to email, but you don’t own the list. Without ownership, you’re unable to email them beyond the agreed upon rental period.
  • Opt-in List: You’re given an email address by the prospect themselves, giving you permission to continue to send emails. These people may pick and choose certain content they want to see.

There can be drawbacks to purchasing prospect lists if you do not research carefully. Find out who the company is that you are buying from and how they go about sourcing their information. Understand that since nobody can sell you an “opt-in list,” the prospects you are buying are cold. Those cold contacts can be gold for your sales team. Just make sure there are quality, up to date decision makers within those brands you are hunting.

Opting in is important, and we want people to do it as much as possible. As long as you abide by all Can-Spam laws, there’s no reason that you should not be able to reach out to contacts on a purchased list who have not opted in yet. The issue we see a typical agency run into when trying to build a list from only opt-ins is that time is their enemy. It takes a long time to build these from scratch. How much time? Let’s do the math.

Most small to medium agencies we speak with average 50 or less unique visitors a day. Most of them are probably only converting 1-2% of those contacts into opt-ins regularly. If we were able to increase that to 4% conversion, we would still only have 500 Opt-ins at the end of year 1.

For an effective content marketing campaign, we’re looking for a contact goal of 3,000-5,000. If you are generating 500 opt-ins a year, you would be looking at taking 6 years to generate just the minimum amount of contacts! Not a lot of New Business Directors have 6 years to wait for quality prospect lists to develop. Our goal is to always kick-start that process of building opt-ins, by buying targeted lists.

Quality content is huge in driving up your traffic and conversion rates. But while your team is building up that content, you need to be supplementing contacts from somewhere. At AgencySquared, we use a sophisticated platform called Winmo. Winmo helps salespeople generate targeted prospect lists instantly. It uses search filters for a wide range of areas like media spend and geography. This enables sales organizations to prospect on a much larger scale. They can build to that target number of 3-5,000 targeted prospects much faster.

Buying lists can be an indispensable part of your marketing strategy. Especially if you’re building to that large-scale prospecting list. Agencies should of course do their own math to figure out what will work best for them, but we recommend looking at the numbers above. We think that the winning equation is: Buying + Building lists = more leads, faster.

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How Much Content Should You Add to Your Site?

Your website is an organic creature. That means it’s a living, breathing entity that demands fuel to stay in tip-top form. Alex Chris from Digital Marketing Pro says that “Updating is the core action of content marketing.”  Without content you can’t do much online. With good content, an agency can find a way to FINALLY stand out in our overcrowded marketplace.

Content is any information that conveys a certain point to the reader. It is quite possibly the most important element of your website. Content takes various forms—not always consisting of long form blog posts. It can also be whitepapers, case studies, videos or status updates. Regardless of what kinds of content you have on your site, you always need to be continually adding more content to your site.

The tricky part is determining how much content is enough. Is there a prerequisite amount you should be creating and putting up on a daily basis? Is there an amount that is considered too much?

As a general rule, we look for our agencies to be adding around 3,500 words per month. If you run just one blog post each week of the month, that means you need to write five short blogs at 700 words a piece.

So why 3,500? A few different reasons:

  1. It’s an attainable number. Most of our agencies are busy producing for their clients. Internal marketing and blogging tends to get pushed to the side. Creating one post a week, at 700 words each, is something that can be spread across a team of people, and does not overextend one person. Having multiple writers keeps ideas fresh. It lessens the burden on individuals, and gives professional development opportunities to younger employees. Not every post has to be from the President!
  2. SEO Ranking. Google loves fresh content. Google indexes frequently, so a site that updates 2-3 times a week is part of the Google annexing. This is helpful if your aim is to improve your SEO rank. The addition of continuous content also means more keywords. This increases the chances for you to grow your web traffic, and most importantly leads!
  3. Consistent thought leadership content in the form of whitepapers or blogs gives your New Business Director built-in marketing materials to share with prospective clients before, during, or after phone calls. These pieces, while great for SEO, are fantastic calls to action for other marketing initiatives. That will drive new conversations for your New Business team.

With 3,500 being such an attainable number (5 blog posts a month), why do most fail to hit this? Why are there empty blogs across agencies all over the U.S.? Simple:  Most agencies lack a structured process around getting this content created. Our suggestion, create a small team to lead the initiative. This team can set non-negotiable due dates for when each blog is due. If everyone is clear on their responsibilities and the team’s goals, it becomes much more difficult to miss a due date. Nobody wants to be responsible for the team missing a goal.

Last note: All these words do not have to be in the form of short blog posts. Many agencies love creating whitepapers, which can be a fantastic lead generator on any website. My only word of caution – be careful of biting off more than you can chew. Remember the old adage: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Sometimes a whitepaper can be a big bite. It might choke your other content efforts if you do not have a consistent process in place before you start that project. The extra research, time and effort that goes into one can be worth it from a lead standpoint. It just needs to be carefully planned around other short form content as well.

The last thing any of our agencies want is to have an empty website. By adding 3,500 words each month, you are taking the time each month to sit down and educate your prospects on what your team believes. This will fundamentally change your conversations with prospects. You’ll go from you telling a prospect about your services, to having a conversation about their needs. But that is another blog post in and of itself (and I’m already over my 700 words)

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