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3 strategies for winning new business (for agencies and freelancers)

A few insights from our 2022 Mailchimp & Co Benchmark Report designed to help you raise your chances of winning new business.

Whether you’re an established agency veteran or a fledgling freelancer, if you’re a marketing pro, you’re likely always on the hunt for new ways to win new clients. That’s why we’re sharing some top industry insights from our 2022 Mailchimp & Co Benchmark Report, an invaluable resource that captures what over 2,000 surveyed agencies and freelancers from 63 countries think about the current state of the industry.

Here are a few tips to help you learn how to refine your craft and raise your chances of landing your next big project.

Barriers to business success

Before we dive into strategies for winning new business, it’s helpful to examine a few hurdles that marketing pros identified in their responses to our survey. When we asked respondents what was preventing them from bringing on new clients, their answers largely identified two key challenges: time and money. More specifically, 40% of respondents said they spent too little time on new business development, while nearly half said that client budgets weren’t big enough to warrant pursuing.

Here are a few recommended actions plucked from this year’s Benchmark Report to help you overcome those business obstacles.

The budget crunch

  • Don’t think about your budget as a money problem. Think about it as an affordability or value problem instead.

  • Your client might be unable to afford you. You might want to reconsider your pricing or possibly your clients.

  • Take a hard look at your value proposition, and revise or reiterate as necessary. You want to make sure that prospects understand why they should retain you and how.

The time crunch

If time is your only limiting factor, celebrate! It may be time to grow your business or bring in outside help. Here are a few ways to help free yourself up to go after new business:

  • Hire a new you (or two), so you can devote yourself to bringing in new clients.

  • Hire a vetted expert to work in your business while you work on it.

  • Hire a new-business specialist to spearhead your pitch process.

The bottleneck

Decision-making bottlenecks on the clients’ part can slow everything down before you even get going. Here’s how to speed things up:

  • Get familiar with the buyer journey. Maybe you can help get past your potential clients’ procurement hurdles if you know what they are.

  • Get proactive. Don’t wait for the client to step up. Identify pain points and remove those roadblocks yourself.

  • Get creative. Take on the role of teacher and educate the client, always keeping the lesson plan focused on their needs, not your services.

3 P’s to winning new business

As we’ve mentioned, a big part of winning over new clients means convincing them of your value—and we’re confident our community members have what it takes. Here are 3 ways that can help you turn 2022 into the year you supercharge your business, whether by landing more one-off projects or lining up retainers for steady work.

Pitch-perfect strategies

Like many agencies and freelancers, you’ve probably used an elevator pitch on would-be clients—a brief and convincing message about your company that you can relay in the time it takes for an elevator ride. But what happens after the proverbial sliding doors open and your potential client wants to take things to the next level?

The answer is a pitch deck. Your pitch deck should resemble a more polished sales pitch designed for potential clients to get a taste of your business. Pitching is full of pitfalls, though, and consistently keeping your pipeline full is an art. Still, by preparing and delivering a compelling pitch, you can help maximize your chances of winning your next big project—and growing your business network.

Here are the 2 kinds of pitch decks marketing pros use:

  • Digital pitch:

    In a time-strapped world, some prospective clients may ask to look at your digital pitch deck before scheduling a full-fledged meeting with you. Make sure your slides cover your services and how you execute them, what sets you apart from your competitors, and why working with you is worth their time and money. We recommend using fewer than 20 slides.

  • In-person pitch:

    Delivering your pitch in-person gives you an opportunity to go deeper than a digital pitch alone; just make sure it’s visually appealing. Steer clear of cluttering your slides with giant text blocks—provide enough details so that potential clients will want to know more about your business but won’t be bogged down. And always leave time at the end of your pitch for questions.

Peer-to-peer referrals

Even in our sometimes noisy digital spaces, you can bank on peer-to-peer referrals as one of the best ways to reach new clients. According to this year’s report, 48% of surveyed freelancers said that one of the most effective ways to drum up new business were referrals from existing clients.

Wondering how to ask for client referrals? If you’re planning on requesting one from a client you’ve worked with recently, it could be as simple as a quick call or email. If you haven’t spoken to them recently, asking them to recommend you to others may feel forced. For that reason, it’s a good idea to stay in contact with your clients even after the project is complete. That way, when you reach out to ask them for a referral, it’ll feel natural, not opportunistic (or pushy). A simple strategy to keep clients within reach? Connect with them on your social media channels.

We also recommend using a referral guideline (or two) that has the power to help you streamline your messaging—and land your next lead. Luckily for you, we’ve created a handy referral template that you can access from our resources center after signing up for our community.

Professional networks

While respondents told us that client referrals generate the most leads, getting out there and making connections with others in your field can also play a massive role in growing your prospect pool. Consider hosting a networking event—it can be a cost-effective way to market yourself. Plus, it could help you make a significant impact without breaking the bank.

Mailchimp partners can increase their chances of winning new business by exploring networking channels like our partner Slack—an exclusive workspace for agencies and freelancers to gather, exchange leads, and collaborate on projects with other Mailchimp members.

Join Mailchimp & Co and level up to partner status to get plugged into our partner Slack channel. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to attend exclusive Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions led by Mailchimp leaders throughout the company. Get answers to your top questions on new product features and topics such as winning new business and more.

Your launchpad for winning new business

For a deeper dive into the freelance and agency landscape, download this year’s Mailchimp & Co Benchmark Report to discover more insights that can help you grow your business. And don’t forget to join Mailchimp & Co. Once you sign up, you can make lasting business connections with industry pros from around the world and unlock exclusive tools and resources that can help you learn how to rack up referrals, perfect your sales pitch, and more.

Oh, and did we mention it's free?

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