How Your Creative Agency Can Get Referrals!

Irrespective of your how big your creative agency is, how many clients you have, or the number of open jobs you’ve got under your belt, there’s room for more. Bringing in new business and increasing your client base, is always a welcome thing. (Check out this blog for 3 honest ways of getting more clients for your creative business)

Instead of solely relying on your existing loyal clients, why not leverage those relationships and introduce a referral program that would see your client’s benefit, and you grow? Referral programs have been a proven client acquisition strategy in the past, and remain so. There are various referral programs, rewards and incentive schemes your marketing team can muster up, which your existing clients will deem as attractive enough, and refer your creative agency to a friend. 

Reward programs can often take the shape of gift cards, vouchers, complimentary or discounted services on joining or on the first job. When deciding what rewards would work best, it is important to ensure that they are relevant to your business and that they won’t substantially put you out of pocket. Also, the simpler the referral process, the better. Heavy wording, an elaborate process, and forms will potentially alienate your clients from taking out the time to make the effort and pass your details on. Using social media can streamline your referral process and increase visibility, resulting in more interest and new clients.

Often adding a line to your email signature will do the trick, without being overbearing. Online ads, in conjunction with social media, can be a potent combo in communicating your value proposition, promoting your services and current reward/referral program. Having your clients assist you by qualifying their contacts for you prior to referring them, will translate into a much better conversion rate.

Continuously look for ways to improve your program. You can do this by consulting your colleagues and partners on fine-tuning your strategy and approach. Measuring the success of your referral program is paramount, and will ensure that you don’t give too much or too little away. This will help you determine if your selected program has been a success or a failure, thus requiring additional innovative thinking.

Speaking of innovative, try to be original. Yes, it’s a hard thing to do these days, with an overly saturated landscape of creative agencies and reward programs, try to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Remember that your referees will only make an effort if there is REAL value for them at the end of the day. Of course, there are those sporting event tickets or infamous ad-hoc dinners with your clients that can often lead to being pointed in the right direction – as well as full bellies and hung over mornings.

Lastly, take a look around you. You are surrounded by talented colleagues and professionals, who may know someone and help point you in the right direction. You’ll be surprised what taking another look closer to home can deliver. It pays to ask your staff to make the extra effort and put the word out. Apart from financial incentives, offering things like movie tickets, extra days off and so on, often do the trick. It may be worthwhile to run small workshops that will allow your staff to network better, hunt for new business by thinking outside of the square, and become overall better communicators. This will only benefit the business, and possibly bring in new business from the least expected places.

Ultimately, it comes down to trust and your credibility. If your current clients like you, trust you, believe in you, your staff and your work, this will be echoed amongst their network of acquaintances. Most people are comfortable and like to do business with a trusted source. 

Keep in mind, its one thing to sustain your current customer base, and another to grow your business at the same time. It’s a balancing act, which through hard work and effort will give you proven results.

Learn more: How to improve your sales efforts in your creative agency

Daniel Pantic | Account Manager

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