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How to Start a Digital Agency Using The Client’s Existing Customer Base

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How to Start a Digital Agency Using The Client’s Existing Customer Base

It’s clear that acquiring customers is not only top of mind to business owners but it’s one of the most expensive aspects of running a successful business. This is proven so true by the fact that companies will pay millions of dollars to run a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl! In the absence of a Super Bowl bankroll, keeping customers coming back can be as easy as sending three strategic emails. We’ve got your attention? Good! Sip that iced coffee and let’s discuss how to start a digital agency using the client’s existing customer base.

Small business owners, often situated in local communities, focus more on growing the client base than sustaining it. Through a simple shift in mindset to focusing on clients that already utilize services, repeat business will become their bread and butter.

There are 3 steps to jumpstarting your digital agency by helping local businesses, use a focused reactivation campaign to generate revenue:

  1. Pre-Qualify Potential Clients
  2. Pitch Reactivation Services to Potential Clients via Email 
  3. Craft Winning Email Campaigns for the Client's Customer Base

STEP 1: Pre-Qualify Potential Clients

A good key indicator of a company's potential willingness to launch a reactivation email campaign is their current marketing efforts. Luckily for you and me, a simple Google search will reveal how much they currently invest in spreading the word about their services. As you pre-qualify potential clients three good places to find the right clients include the local Chamber of Commerce, online reviews (either through Google or social media) and their social media presence and consistency.

Let’s break all of these indicators down so you can better identify the best clients to pitch your reactivation campaign to. Keep in mind that clients already utilizing a digital presence can most benefit from your services as you don’t have to establish a ton of groundwork. Looking into these factors will ensure their digital foundation is already present!

Chamber of Commerce Membership

The local Chamber of Commerce membership directory might as well be a GOLD MINE! Not only can you access it online, this is your best resource for companies invested in community involvement, growth and gaining referrals from other business owners. Chamber of Commerce members pay a membership fee, partake in social events and community projects.

Furthermore, if the business is focused on consistent attendance they probably gain referrals from other Chamber members on a regular basis. Businesses that understand the importance of a Chamber membership are your first indicator of potential clients. These businesses clearly focus on rooting themselves in a visible community group, focused on growing and sustaining the local members (a.k.a. businesses!).  

Good Online Reviews

Okay, now onto the user generated feedback for potential clients. If you’re trying to decide to order something online, dine out in a new town or travel to a specific city- do you check reviews of the store, restaurant and what to do while visiting a new city first? Here are Closer’s Cafe, we find ourselves reading reviews all. the. time.

It’s safe to assume that our potential clients have a number of reviews visible online making it easy to assess their commitment to customer service. Tap into these reviews to gage what customers, community members and more are saying about the company. Take each with a grain of salt, but use reviews to gather “intel” on your potential client before your reach out.

Established Social Media Presence/Consistency

We live in a day and age where social media is not optional. Some may look at social media as a necessary evil but when used in a positive way to effectively communicate with customers, there’s nothing evil about it. An ideal client will have profiles established on all major social media outlets which include base content and a stream of consistent posts. Keep in mind that this client perhaps doesn’t have someone dedicated to their social media presence full-time.

Therefore, if their profiles need a little love, but are present, take note and understand that you could be their new go-to social media guru. Remember you’re going to prove your digital marketing value first through the email reactivation campaign which will open doors to clients for your digital agency. Make sense? Stick with us and you’ll see how to capitalize on the clients you qualify.

All in all, determining the best potential clients include those businesses that are already spending money to get clients through the door (as indicated by one or all three factors above). Furthermore, look for clients that have a high lifetime value. What does that mean, you ask? It’s just a way of looking at how much the client makes per transaction and the higher the better.

Think about it like this- a chiropractor's lifetime value is much higher than a restaurant as proven by the cost for chiropractic services as opposed to a meal out. The chiropractor, dentist, and plumbers in your community include a few examples of companies with a high lifetime value. Now that we’ve determined WHO is a good potential client, let’s discuss getting in touch with who you want to work with.

STEP 2: How to Pitch Reactivation Services to Prospective Clients

Although the Closer’s Cafe crew prefers to make initial introductions through the Donut Bomb tactic (because who can say no to someone dropping off donuts? No one!), in this specific case an email or Facebook message will suffice. And all the introverts cheered! We totally identify with those who prefer to reach out via keystroke- we are digital minded people after all! There are two options to get clients to take the bait on your reactivation email campaign which include offering to perform the campaign for them or training someone on their staff to run the campaign.

You may be questioning the latter- don’t worry we explain. The point of this campaign is to provide a good service that proves value for future projects. Look at this reactivation campaign as a stepping stone to continued business as you become the go-to person for digital marketing. Let’s talk about the two methods first than we will get into crafting the email. Here we go!

Option 1: Run the Reactivation Email Campaign for the Company

You may be thinking this section of the post is obvious, “Of course I am going to run the campaign for them.” And yes, this thought is totally correct. But hear us out! The first option is to offer to set up, run and manage this three step reactivation email campaign for the client. In exchange for performing this extremely valuable resource, you will either charge a fee or require a testimonial for the time spent generating the campaign.

But keep in mind that the overarching goal of this campaign is to prove you’re a good guy/gal and that you’re on their team! You don’t just want to run this campaign for them once, you want to become their go-to digital marketing advocate. Which translates to that company hiring you for ALL their digital marketing needs! Now that sounds more like it! To get to that point, let’s explore the second option for how to set up and run this campaign- and that’s by essentially giving it to them.

Option 2: Offer to Train Their Staff to Run the Reactivation Campaigns

Email campaigns are fairly user friendly. The good news is that ANYONE can do it with a little training. With this in mind, it’s just as easy to hand over this campaign to an existing staff member at the business you’re trying to win over. Instant good guy/gal status achieved with this method! Think about it, someone comes to you with a valuable tool to get existing customers back through your door, you’re thinking great.

Then that same person offers to train someone to successfully run the campaign in exchange for a review, you’re thinking WHERE DO I SIGN UP?! This is exactly how you want your potential clients to feel about you. Provide value, prove value (by executing a successful campaign) and become the go-to person for all digital media for that company and many others. Where some may see a loss in profit, we here at Closer’s Cafe encourage you to look beyond this one campaign and instead focus on untapped potential that will come when they see an increase in business traffic thanks to your method.

Now that we’ve got the two methods laid out, let’s circle back to the initial email highlighting these two options for potential clients.

How to Email Pitch Potential Clients

In order to successfully pitch the potential clients you identified during step one, it’s important to craft an email introduction that makes them say YES. To do this, it’s important to be casual, conversational and approach them as a fellow business owner (because you are!). Remove any and all sales notions from this email and simply relate on a human level.

All you’re trying to do with this email is share about a method that has worked for other business owners. Make sure your initial email contains the following items to be successful:

  • Refer to a specific advertising or marketing effort that you saw during your research in in the SUBJECT LINE to catch their attention. An example of this could include “About your teeth whitening for brides advertisement on Facebook.” Refer to a specific ad and it’s placement to really capture attention.
  • Make sure to say hello and lay it out there that you’re not trying to sell them anything. You’re simply a fellow business owner trying to help another business owner.
  • Mention that you run a digital marketing agency, saw their ad, and specialize in helping business owners by running a simple reactivation email campaign that gets existing clients back through the door.
  • Tell them that if they have 10 minutes, you can show them how it works. Mention that if they like what they see, they can steal it and use it too! The email must include a note about how they can steal the method to gain credibility in the fact that you’re not trying to sell them something- in fact, you’re willing to give it up for free.
  • Include your contact information (because why shouldn't they contact you?!) and be personal in closing the email.

Relate and approach them as a friend helping a friend. With the key items listed above, personal touches (the use of emojis are okay to achieve the casual and friendly demeanor of this email) and a campaign that works- we KNOW you’ll get responses. Now, not everyone will be interested. But focus on those that are because they get it. And that’s really who you want to work with.

STEP 3: Craft Winning Reactivation Campaigns

Now that you’ve got potential clients, initial contact via email and two methods of delivering this campaign under your belt, it's time to learn how to create campaigns will bring in those long lost customers. The overall goal of these campaigns is to simply remind existing clients that the business is still there. A simple reminder is usually all a customer needs to pop back in and get their services. Think of this reactivation campaign as that simple reminder to the company’s existing client base that haven’t visited in a little while.

You can execute this reminder campaign through three strategic emails which we call:

  1. The “We’ve Missed You” email
  2. The “What are the Odds” email
  3. The “Threat of Disconnect” email

Each of these emails have a psychological impact on those that receive them. Let’s break down the messaging included in this reactivation campaign now.

“We’ve Missed You” Email

How many times have you scheduled an appointment months out only to have to change it. Before you know it, you totally spaced on scheduling it altogether. This reactivation email campaign is for all of us at some point in our lives. It’s the cue that you’re due for an appointment, service, or whatever the company provides that you craft it for.

The thought process behind the first email of the reactivation campaign should be a simple, “Hey, we miss you!” This prompts the customer that they’re due for something. It gives clients a little nudge to call the business and schedule their routine service or appointment. Easy as that!  

“What are the Odds” Email

If a work week (5 days) goes by without all the customers on the email list following up, it’s time for the second tier of the reactivation campaign. Within this email, the business will launch a small promotion to further incentivize the client to check in with the business. This email pairs a promotion in conjunction with an actual client need as noted in the initial email.

An example of this can include, “Get a free tire rotation when you bring your car in for its scheduled oil change.” This follow up email includes something they can take advantage of while remaining current on their essential service or appointment. Who can say no to a promotion on something they already need? We know we can’t here at Closer’s Cafe!

“Threat of Disconnect” Email

After two weeks (14 days), those clients that haven’t responded should received one final attempt to make contact. This third email will indicate that the client will be removed from “active status.” Immediately following this threat of inactivity, the email should include contact information to call if this a mistake.

At that point, the client should schedule their necessary service or appointment for fear of losing “active” status with the business. I think we can all relate to avoiding inactive status as this usually means there will be some sort of fee associated with starting up again. This motivation will hopefully propel those final few customers back through the businesses doors.

All three of these emails are personalized, show that the company cares about customer well-being, are educational and ultimately offer a resolution to a problem. A simple reactivation campaign, if executed properly, should re-introduce a number of existing clients to the business. With proper execution in mind, email list management is very much at play in this campaign.

If a customer calls after the first email is sent, they need to be removed from the email list for the second round of emails. This makes total sense, right? How annoyed would you be if you scheduled an appointment and then received an email saying, “just following up with you as you are overdue for your appointment.” Work cohesively with those in the office or on your own to ensure the removal of customer emails as they make contact with the business throughout the reactivation campaign.

Customer loyalty and business profits directly correlate. Capitalizing on the client’s existing customer base can be an easy and effective way to promote business growth. As Damon Richards said, “ Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” By executing a simple reactivation campaign for your clients, customers become more inept to understand that the business providing services actually cares about their wellbeing- and that is priceless!

Once you, as a digital agency owner, can translate this customer-services based relationship to existing customers on behalf of your clients- the full potential of your value to them will be realized. By becoming the go-to digital marketing contact, the door to pitch your additional services WILL present itself. Prove your value to the client first through this reactivation email series and you too will notice an increase in clients if accomplished strategically.

How to Unlock Recurring Revenue in Your Agency

If you’re ready to take your digital agency to the next level through reactivation campaigns, be sure to join us over at the Closer’s Cafe! You didn’t hear it from us but this course includes actual reactivation scripts and takes you through a number of examples depending on the niche of your potential clients. Join us for a virtual cup of coffee (and invaluable information) and we’ll see you there!


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