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How To Move Upmarket And Attract Larger Clients

By Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS President | On a mission to help as many entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses. Connect with him at

Everybody wants to go after the “big fish.” Sometimes that means getting past a gatekeeper, other times that means understanding which industries will pay the most.

When agency owners think of bigger clients, they might think of financial advisors, for example. It makes sense. These clients have $50,000 worth of investable assets and oftentimes even more. However, to earn the trust of a digital marketer, many financial advisors want to start out small. To understand the ballpark number, you’re looking at around $10k in digital advertising dollars.

Now, this is where it becomes key to understand your customers’ industry inside and out. Can your client grow via a monthly retainer or by helping their clients to receive a percentage of money earned?

These are all things to consider when going after clients that are willing to spend more money with you. But to get there you have to understand who is willing to spend the money and how you can get them to do it.

• Do your homework. First and foremost, know who you’re dealing with. You can’t afford to be sloppy (literally) when it comes to learning about the CEO and the company you are wanting to attract as a client. Set up Google Alerts to receive information and be ready to converse with your client on the latest. Reference what they’re already doing and how it might be expanded on to reach their objectives (often found on their website, annual reports or quoted in the press).

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• “Royal” packages. For clients willing to pay top dollar, you might want to consider having an inquire within, presented on your website. Typically, these contracts are very lengthy and thus the pricing and details are not in plain sight.

Better service. A bit of an obvious one, but still important to consider. Not only should you be ready to answer phone calls at any hour, but also if your client spending $20k a month asks for you to pick up the dry cleaning, get to the laundromat.

• Perfection. Okay, I admit that perfection can be impossible to obtain. But you have to expect to be pretty darn close. When clients are willing to spend big money, they are going to expect big results. That means the “Test and Alter” method will not cut it. By now, you should be an expert for your clients and their business should never be a “guinea pig” for your digital advertising services.

Instead, you should have a portfolio of successful clients and should be able to estimate results nearly flawlessly. For example, when a client spending $10k in the month of July could result in two to three new clients, it should happen.

It’s A Stairway

Remember that the big spenders are there for a reason. They are very smart and will be able to tell if you’re not being honest about past clients or your ability.

Instead, work your way up the ladder. Month after month, shoot for clients that have the financial leeway to spend top dollar, and don’t be above doing a little work for free if it means you can get your foot in the door. Sooner or later, you’ll have proved to be extremely valuable and the client will stick with you and then refer you to friends.

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