3 Growth Hacks for SEO Agencies That Help Increase the Client List

Don’t you just hate that feeling?

The one you have when you read a press release from a rival agency announcing winning a new account.

Or when you see them putting up another job ad on inbound.

Damn!

They’re growing.

And you?

You just feel stuck, struggling to push your agency forward.

Sure, you’ve got clients. But you want more. You just don’t know how to win them over.

Luckily, that’s what I’m going to help you in this post. I’ll show you three growth hacks you could use to increase your client list.

Intrigued? Then let’s begin…

Growth Hacking – Not Just a Thing for Startups

I agree:

Growth hacking gets quite a buzz these days in the startup community.

Everywhere you turn, you hear stories of successful growth hacks.

Twitter, Linkedin, or Quora have used various growth hacking strategies in their early days.

AirBnB practically spammed Craiglist to earn thousands of first users.

Dropbox grew exponentially after implementing the "Refer a Friend” scheme.

And Mailbox got people to sign up for a waiting list and pump them up by showing when they were in the queue…

But let’s make do with the myth that surrounds growth hacking:

No, it’s not just for startups!

Sure, growth hacking strategies startups use probably wouldn’t work for your agency.

You couldn't spam Craiglist to double the client list, for instance.

The same goes for offering incentives for referrals. Today’s B2B customers don’t fall for this stuff anymore.

But you can still growth hack your SEO agency.

And here are three growth hacks that could help you increase your client list.

Growth Hack #1. Narrow Down Your Category Experience

Startups love the term product/market fit, don’t they?

Countless books, courses, and other resources offer advice for SaaS companies to achieve it.

But you know what:

The product/market fit makes sense in the services industry too. It’s just we refer to it as category experience.

Category experience helps you differentiate the agency on the market and attract the right clients.

In fact, many of them see the “full-service” as a detractor. As Will Travis, the CEO of SidLee USA puts it:

“Agencies need to know what they can deliver on as clients have already defined what they need before they go out to seek agency services.” (source)

But chances are you haven’t reached that level yet.

Perhaps you’re offering too many services, making you one of the many other, similar agencies.

Or you’re trying to win clients that don’t need the very particular service you’re trying to provide.

Focusing on a single service helped Steve Webb, the owner of Web Gnomes SEO Agency to turn a struggling company into a growing agency. He recalls:

Initially, Web Gnomes had a bit of an identity crisis because we were trying to be everything to everyone.  We offered every service you can imagine (e.g., copywriting, link building, technical SEO, etc.), and we were trying to cater to SMBs as well as large enterprises.  This is obviously a terrible approach, but internal philosophical differences were pulling the agency in different directions.

We struggled with this flawed business model for about a year, and then, we finally streamlined our service offerings and our target market.  Now, we focus almost exclusively on SEO audits and consulting, and almost all of our clients are medium to large companies.  Once we eliminated the company's identity crisis, our internal marketing efforts became more targeted, and our entire operation became more efficient.  As a result, the company almost immediately became more successful.

Growth Hack #2. Offer a Free Report or Analysis

Yeah, I know, offering a free consultation no longer has the same effect on your audience.

Only a couple of years ago, it would serve as a risk-free way for prospects to sample an agency’s expertise.

But who the hell has the time today to sit through consultation sessions with all the agencies they’re trying to evaluate?

The free consultation hack is gone.

But the premise behind it still works.

To win more clients, you need to let them sample your expertise.

It’s just now; you need to use a method that matches their busy lifestyle.

Enter Free Report or Analysis

Inbound Law Marketing offers what they call a 360 Digital Marketing Blueprint – a personalized analysis of the company’s entire digital strategy.

It’s free. Comprehensive. Includes initial suggestions. And offers so much value before the person even connects with the company that it leaves them no choice but to hire the agency.

So, try offering a free report or any other analysis that:

  1. Touches upon the problem you’re solving for clients
  2. Doesn’t require huge amount of time or other resources to complete
  3. Provides practical value that will convince a prospect to your agency’s worth

Growth Hack #3. Use Video Testimonials to Strengthen Your Social Proof

Have you ever wondered how a new potential client landing on your site must feel?

Excited to have found an agency that might help them solve their problem?

Perhaps…

But I’d bet my money on the fact that first and foremost, they’re scared.

Just think about it:

They’ve never heard of you before.

They can’t tell whether they can trust your claims or not (and hey, the web’s full of examples of people caught overstating who they really were, right?)

As a result, they’re reluctant to talk to you, email you, or grab a phone…

…unless you overcome their fears.

Enter Social Proof

You know:

We humans are pack animals.

We exhibit what Friedrich Nietzsche called the Herd Mentality – “lacking any individual will and living by group instincts” (source).

As I wrote in my ultimate guide to social proof:

We assume that if many people are doing something, have done something or believe in something, there must be a good reason why.”

And we always act on it!

There’s plenty of research to prove it.

For example, according to research conducted at the Duke University, just marking a particular dish on the menu as the most popular have increased its sales by up to 20%.

And here’s what Baazar Voice discovered after analyzing the effect of increasing the number of reviews on ecommerce orders in various industries.

The result?

Therefore, displaying social proof gives you a chance to convince first-time visitors and prospects evaluating your agency to your worth.

But for that to happen, you need more than just a testimonial, or a bunch of client logos slapped on a page.

You need an incontestable proof.

You need your clients to vouch for you.

You need video.

WebpageFX features clips from clients sharing their experiences with the company right on the home page.

But why video testimonials?

First, seeing an actual person, someone who has hired your agency before and achieved success as a result of your work, talking about your business builds an emotional connection.

Plus, the video makes the testimonial so much more trustworthy. After all, here’s a person vouching for you. It’s not just a name underneath some text but an actual client. You can see them. You can see their emotional reactions as they speak. Watch their body language.

Darn, it’s hard to deny it the authenticity, right?

So, if you don’t have them yet, invest in producing some video testimonials.

Ask your best clients if they’d agree to share their thoughts on working with you in front of a camera.

When done, display them on your home page and a dedicated testimonials page.

And watch clients roll in.

What do you think?

Would you see yourself using these hacks to grow your agency?