Skip to main content

[Webinar] Integrating ClickUp and HubSpot to Improve Client Services. Save Your Seat.

ZenPilot Blog » Latest Articles

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs For Agencies

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

To chat with Gray and have ZenPilot lead your team through the last project management implementation you'll ever need, schedule a quick call here.

Figuring out how to acquire the right clients for your agency without spending a fortune is a question as old as time… or at least as old as the internet.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but the five strategies we’re going to explore today could certainly help your acquisition efforts.

Let’s get right into it!

1) Find Your Agency Niche

While limiting your SAM (service addressable market) may seem like it would make your customer acquisition efforts more expensive, niching down actually has the opposite effect. First off, it makes lead generation easier since you’ll have an edge over your competitors: expertise.

Put yourself in the client’s shoes: would you rather hire a generalist or someone that specializes in your specific industry? As you establish yourself as an expert in the space, you’ll get a steady flow of inbound leads that generate new business without driving your acquisition costs up.

If you run paid advertising to bring new clients into your agency, you’ll be able to get a higher ROAS (return on ad spend) while spending less if you niche down. The more specific you are with your paid ad campaigns, the less money you’ll need to spend to reach X amount of leads.

Once you’ve chosen your niche, the next step is to narrow down your ICP or ideal customer profile even further. At a minimum, you should have all the following details clearly defined to get the most out of every dollar spent on customer acquisition:

  • Geography
  • Industry
  • # of Employees
  • Revenue
  • Goals
  • Keywords they use to describe their company
  • Which platforms they use, blogs they read, podcasts they listen to, etc.

As an example, here’s what a thorough ICP could look like:

  • Based in Germany
  • Tech industry
  • 10-99 employees
  • €1M to €5M in annual revenue
  • Generating demand with product launch marketing
  • SaaS company, software developer, hardware manufacturer, R&D firm
  • LinkedIn, Crunchbase, SmartKarrot, SaaStr

Read more on how to niche down and position your agency.

2) Double Down on Your Most Effective Channels

But what if you’re already niched down but still struggle to get a good return on your customer acquisition expenditure? In these cases, it’s possible that you’ve over-diversified your campaign to the point where you’re wasting resources on underperforming channels.

This “diworsification” takes money away from channels that are actually driving results. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) dictates that 80% of your clients will come from 20% of your acquisition efforts.

That’s why it’s so important to determine what’s working and what isn’t so you can cut off campaigns with marginal results and divert those resources towards marketing strategies that will give you a better ROI.

While it might be tempting to rely solely on your “traffic by channel” tab in Google Analytics, raw lead flow isn’t the metric you should use to determine which efforts to cut. After all, organic social media might be bringing in twice as much traffic but have half the conversion rate of PPC.

Beyond traffic and conversion rate, you should also look at the costs of each channel to see if your money is being put to good use. If a channel is bringing in plenty of leads but costs a lot more than other marketing methods, it’s time to look at how you can reduce the per-lead cost.

All that being said, there are a few things you shouldn’t do when selecting channels:

  • Don’t rush the process. Some channels take longer to prove themselves than others.
  • Don’t cheap out on marketing. It’s okay to invest in expensive channels if it has a worthwhile ROI.
  • Don’t become complacent. Doubling down on your best-performing channels doesn’t mean you should stop experimenting or trying new approaches.

At the heart of it, finding the right marketing channel is really just a cost-benefit analysis. What’s important is that you don’t fall into the any-benefit mindset when it comes to choosing where to spend your money. Marginal results aren’t always worth your time.

3) Optimize Your Value Proposition

Even if you identify the right lead generation channel and invest more money in it, that won’t do you much good unless the offer is good enough to seal the deal. Having the right value proposition can mark the difference between getting a healthy ROI or seeing your effort wasted.

Before a prospect even has to scroll down on your homepage, they should already know:

  • What you do (and why you do it)
  • The problems you can solve for them (loss aversion, a cognitive bias, suggests clients will be more inclined to solve a problem than reap a benefit)
  • Show examples of your work and proof of results (more about this in the next section)

After you get the above-the-fold checklist ticked, you need to ensure you have all the details they’d need to convert into a client once they scroll down. Having a contact form or hotline is essential, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to converting your traffic.

A key (and often overlooked) part of turning leads into sales is the way you present your agency’s pricing. Operating on a per-quote basis is not at all uncommon for agencies but there are certain cases where it might fall short.

  1. You’re a specialty agency with higher prices than most competitors.
  2. You’re a budget agency for SMBs.
  3. You operate on a single, fixed-price offer.

In the first case, failing to state your pricing outright could lead to a flood of prospects who can’t afford your service reaching out. Not only will this waste your time but it could also drive costs up since you’ll need a bigger sales team to sort through the noise.

(We’ll dive deeper into qualifying leads in the final section of this article.)

Specialty agencies with transparent pricing will not only eliminate the flow of leads who can’t afford them, but they’ll also benefit from the credibility of charging more — something that would appeal to their higher-end target market.

In the second scenario, giving potential clients an idea of your price range could bring in more leads who are looking for a good deal. When affordability is your differentiator, you should make it as visible as possible to take market share from competitors.

Finally, agencies that only offer one service and do so at a fixed price have no reason to keep their pricing a secret. Listing it on your homepage will make ideal clients more likely to reach out without hesitation while those who aren’t a fit for your specific offer won’t bother emailing you.

4) Build Trust With Social Proof

A survey of more than 1,200 online shoppers by Bizrate Insights showed that 91% of respondents read at least one review before they purchase a product or service. The same holds true for agencies.

Having social proof on your agency website and other platforms will make prospects more likely to trust (and therefore buy from) you. There are a few approaches to social proof that an agency can take, with varying degrees of credibility.

Website Quotes

The easiest approach is to add quotes from clients on your website. Unfortunately, this is also the least credible approach since site visitors won’t know if these are real views from actual customers or the work of a freelance writer from Upwork.

Testimonial Videos

Testimonial videos are slightly more credible since the prospect will be able to see actual people talking about your offer. There’s still the question of whether these clients were incentivized to do so, or if they could be paid actors.

Case Studies

The third and most credible form of social proof is case studies. These take the most work to produce since you’ll need to compile months of analytics and client feedback into a single piece of content.

However, all that effort is well worth it since the numbers will speak for themselves. Information on what the client’s business does, how your service impacted their business, and the data charts/screenshots to back your claim will make you an extremely authoritative choice.

5) Qualify Your Leads

If a large part of your customer acquisition costs comes from sales overhead and the constant need to hire more representatives, it may be time to start qualifying your leads before you engage with them.

Niching down and offering transparent pricing can be helpful in filtering out unsuitable prospects, but they won’t always be enough. Before you start qualifying leads, it’s important that we revisit the four phases of prospecting from visitor to sales-qualified lead:

  • Visitor. Anyone who visits your website.
  • Lead. Anyone who engages with your website.
  • MQL. Someone who showed interest in the product or service you provide.
  • SQL. A lead qualified by a sales representative.

Remember, you want to remove unfit prospects before they take time away from your sales team.

There are a few ways to approach this:

  1. First of all, the best way to ensure that the right people are visiting your website is to put out content that’s tightly focused on your niche.
  2. The more you broaden out your agency blogger, the greater the number of unqualified leads.
  3. Utilizing the first two strategies we went over in this article — niching down and choosing your channels wisely — will also increase the percentage of leads who are a match for your agency and offer.
  4. Finally, offer referral incentives so your existing client base has a reason to send qualified leads your way. Direct referrals to your agency will often have the highest conversion rate and the lowest chance of wasting your time.

Start Getting More Clients For Less Money

As you can see, cost-effective customer acquisition doesn’t need to be rocket science. If you stick to the right niche, invest in your best-performing channels, refine your offer, and leverage the power of social proof then you’ll get more high-quality clients in no time!

Once you get a new batch of ideal customers through the door, you’ll need to deliver on that service to ensure that you retain them.

If you want to streamline your operations to ensure you never drop the ball with a new client, schedule a call with us here.

Explore Topics

About ZenPilot

Our proven framework helps agencies streamline their operations in ClickUp and build healthy teams, boost profits, and double productivity. Get our proven framework →
New call-to-action

Related Articles

Subscribe to First Class Operations

And get instant access to the ClickUp for Agencies Guide. Join 8,000+ agencies that stay ahead of the curve on agency news, resources, tools, and insights with our newsletter.
#1 Rated ClickUp for Agencies Training
ClickUp for Agencies Playbook

Get the highest-rated ClickUp training program for agencies (with 140+ process templates)