From the customers perspective there is a huge difference between being part of a target list of prospective customers and part of a community. Guess which approach is the most effective when it comes to ad agency new business development?
Advertising, whether it be delivered through traditional media, direct marketing or even online channels, relies on predetermined messages pushed out to those individuals who we believe could be likely customer prospects. On the other hand, online communities are based around members who choose to be part of that community and have a reason to engage and participate. A very simple analogy can be taken from the world of sport. One is a spectator and the other a participant sport.
The same principals apply to ad agency new business development. You can choose to continue doing what you have always done or, you can seek out new ways to develop deeper opportunities and involvement with your key prospects. I am not suggesting that you abandon all of the traditional tried and tested new business methods. They should all be considered as components of your new business development program. However when you do all the talking, you miss out on what a community has to offer.
Your goal should be to genuinely involve your audience, get them engaged and allow them to contribute. Encourage them not only to help you generate the optimum content, but create it too. The result will ultimately be a prospect that has a higher predisposition to buy from you versus having to be sold.
Before you go off and rush into creating your social media following, please consider this. There is a fine balance between trying to drive customers to the social media environments and messages that you have created, versus becoming a meaningful part of their social media environments.
Here are a few quick ideas about how to go about building your community through social media:
- Look beyond your specific services and expertise and identify what your agency is about and demonstrate your passion. All agencies claim to have the same services and capabilities. “We are a full service agency”. What does that mean? You will find it more effective to have them rally around you and your passion, versus your products and services.
- Avoid the monologue and promote dialog and engagement. You cannot allow your voice/message to dominate the conversation. Provide a forum for your customers to contribute and encourage them to do so.
- Be cogniscent of the need for balance. It is more important for you to insert your message into the conversation where the customer is already participating, as it is to create your own forums and channels and invite them in.