6 Ways to Land Clients Using Online Networking

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We all know that online networking is an essential tool for creating brand awareness and in essence landing new clients. In fact, research tells that:

  • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. 
  • Agencies that automate online lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts

The potential of winning online clients is huge, but how exactly are you (a web agency online marketer or agency owner who runs marketing) supposed to convert random internet users into actual clients? Let us explore 6 tricks you can use to land new clients from online networking.

1. Twitter & LinkedIn NOT Facebook
Implementing a digital strategy is hard work and takes more time than you can even imagine. Most agencies get fed up for it “not working,” but digital takes the patience of a Buddhist monk. I only recommend this if you have an in-house marketer doing the execution because doing this on your own is just too many hours logged. You can, instead, use your personal social media accounts with the same sort of strategy.

So..

If you have a marketing team, develop those business pages on social, but actually do it right. This is an area we have noticed most web agency marketers are making mistakes: A huge number of business pages are generally poorly designed brochure sites…Stop that! Engage, ask questions, mention companies who are likely to share, and post things your clients actually want to see, read, or use, with a digital strategy ALWAYS comes a content marketing strategy (think Slideshares with awesome content and SEO). Produce great things, and nurture your prospective leads with great things. The two top social accounts for agencies is, Twitter and LinkedIn, the organic-ness of these two tools is w

Why not Facebook?

With the recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm, web agencies without a budget will certainly not gain a lot from it – at least not like it was in the past. The new trick is to use Facebook pay per click to target individuals in particular niches and industries. Please note the date of this article because the Facebook algorithm always changes. Always. As of right now, organic posts are nearly impossible to get in your clients eyes. Ads for the most part in my experience still work and still have great target marketing target CEOs, CTOs, Product Managers, and application driven people.

I think the tweet below nicely explains it: 

2. Online Networking

Friend, follow, or connect with online individuals with profiles that match your current customers. How do you do this? Simply flip through LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and tech Reddit forums. This is where your personal social media accounts work best. Alternatively, utilize tools such as Socialmention.com or Followerwonk.com to find the right audience and individuals who are talking about your brand or related keywords. Be nice and shoot them a RT, comment on their post, answer their question or share something with them. By contributing in their conversations, you add value to their network and establish a relationship with them. Then, it becomes natural for you to follow them and for them to follow you back. 

After connecting with potential clients on social media, do not directly bombard them with sales pitches. There are times to be aggressive in life, this is not one of them. Instead, go through their profile, understand them and identify their needs. Sometimes it even pays to plan and approach a potential lead in private. For instance, a pre-scheduled call is a great tool, but also a private e-mail or message where you reference the need of that client that you identified through your interaction (on social media), and how you web agency can remedy the gap is a nice step. This way you do not feel like a hard-selling salesperson but rather an online friend with a specific solution.

3. Get listed on Portfolio/Freelance Sites: Odesk, Behance, Dribbble, Folyo, etc

If you have some time on your hands, make use of it and put some listings up.  Even if you’re “technically” not a freelancer, this still gets your name out there. The best thing about this is you can easily set up a referral system by getting profile reviews, increase your SEO by being present on different mediums with more of your keywords, and well, you’re basically targeting your EXACT market: People looking for web/mobile development services and/or design.

Here’s a few links you’ll want to be present on.

4. Build Strategic Alliances 

Let’s be honest, in most cases referrals are your BEST bet. In fact I bet most of your clients came from a referral, right?

Establish strategic alliances with peers in your industry. Search for web agencies that serve in your target market, but do not offer the same services you provide. After connecting with them, build a relationship to generate referrals for each of you. Offer referral discounts internally. The 3rd party credibility associated with such referrals will greatly reduce the sales cycle not to mentions win you more referrals. 

5. Spy.. but really, do it.
TowerData is just one of the leaders in the emerging discipline of social anthropology. You give them a list of email addresses, and they tell you who among your prospects are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other niche networks. What they do on those networks, what their likes are and other vital details. With this, you are then able to target and market to them appropriately.

Some other spy tools to use?

6. Use Cold Emailing Techniques
Using cold emails to search for clients online looks attractive, but it’s also SUPER tricky to master. You do not want to annoy people… but you also don’t want to loose your agency as top of mind. The good news? There is a clear difference between cold emailing and spamming; observe the following rules if at all you wish to use cold emails to land clients from online networking;• Research to ensure your cold emails are personalized

  • Use your client names in the subject lines where appropriate
  • Make the subject line as specific as possible. The more definite it is, the higher the open rate
  • Always deliver in your email body, what you promised in the subject line. 

We suggest you use the following two resources to learn more on how to do correct email outbound lead generation:

  1. Damian Thompson (LinchPin)
  2. Kelly Azevedo (She’s Got Systems)

What online networking techniques do you use to get more clients? Are we missing any portfolios you should be present on? Tweet at us or shoot me an email at contact@dashable.com!

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Author: @keswanberg