In some business contexts, good all fashioned human relationships are the only way to get new business. I would love to get my new clients from an AdWords campaign or Facebook Ads but our branding agency is not suitable for this type of “direct” outbound marketing. I cannot make a “killer deal” and try to sell Logos for $499 simply because we do that in a different mechanism.

It doesn’t mean that we don invest in AdWords or Facebook Ads for Brandacadabra but we don’t get immediate/ direct sales from that. We use these channels to support our education effort, our awareness development, and our expertise (case studies). There is no digital marketing formula for us. There is no “invest $5,000 in AdWords, get 3,000 visits, have 50 quote requests and 2 clients won from that investment”. I wish there was such algorithm for us but there isn’t.

Expensive type of services like consulting, architecture, capital investing, business angels, NEED an on-line presence (website, blog, social media) but cannot expect to “get clients” right from these. In this case, digital tools are supporting the sales and business development process. They are not leading it despite the abundance of hype around the digital universe.

Even more, if I get a quote request from our website contact form without any mention of a person which referred us, I immediately assume that is a Quote Fishing Scheme and nothing more (this is when some company clerk is gathering quotes just because… he needs to justify or peak brains). Basically, there is a small chance that I would work with somebody that found me on Google after searching for “branding agency Chicago”.

What is it then? What generates new business for these type of companies?

In this context, clients bring new clients. It’s almost a “chicken versus egg” dilemma but it’s a real one. You have to do whatever it takes to get real clients. Some suggestions:
  • beg strangers to take you into consideration – we do it, don’t worry – we call it begging branding; why not beg?
  • underprice yourself – get real projects even if it hurts your pocket – please don’t do it for free (you’ll die). Work for cheaper rates because you want to help. Don’t under price yourself to convince anyone to work for you. If a client can afford but he won’t because he wants to take advantage of you then don’t work with that guy. Work with those that don’t have too much money now, they have a cool project, they let you work and create, they listen, and they are good persons. They need to deserve your investment done by charging less.
  • ask all you friends to help – all of them, even if they are not industry related. Don’t be aggressive but let them now you need help and with what.