Sign Your FIRST Digital Marketing Agency Client in 2023

Feb 02, 2023

Signing your first few clients as a freelancer or new digital agency is always the hardest and most challenging. 

And the reason for this is obvious in that you don’t have any testimonials or reputation. So the client is left with the choice of signing an experienced professional or taking a risk on you. 

Even if you are only charging a very low rate of only $10 an hour or even lower at $5 an hour it only takes 1 quick look at a site like Upwork to see that clients have endless options to choose from including people at a very low cost and amazing reviews. 

So, I am going to take you through the exact process of how you can sign your first client in 2023. 

Now I will very much be focusing on signing your first Google Ads client but this process can be used for any digital marketing or web design service that you would like to offer.

The first thing that you need to understand and accept is that signing clients is a numbers game and at the start, the numbers are very much stacked against you. For me, over the past 12 months, I have converted just over 85% of all my presentations for new clients but I am very well aware that this is because of the experience and reputation that I built over the past 12 years in Google Ads. 

However, I deeply remember when I started that I was lucky to sign 1-2 new clients a month, with a conversion rate of around 2%.

So before I show you any further steps I need you to understand that you need to be prepared for rejection and for countless people to say NO or even worse just not respond. 

Getting used to this is hard until you accept that you will hear no far more times than you hear yes you will not be able to achieve success.

So let's now move into the process I recommend and I would use if I started again today.

Apart from reaching out to any referrals, friends or family that I knew I would focus on getting my first few clients from freelancer sites, personally, I found more success with Upwork.

The reason why I recommend starting with a site like Upwork rather than using cold outreach tactics like cold calling, cold emailing and reaching out on social media platforms.

Is because with Upwork you will have a higher chance of success because:

  • 1: You know that the person is actually looking for your service as they have posted an ad
  • 2: The client knows you are a real person and have less chance of fraud due to Upwork payment terms and insurance options. 

Once you have successfully signed some clients on Upwork and got positive reviews you can then focus on other avenues. 

Even though with Upwork you will be dealing with people you are already looking for Google Ads management, it is still a numbers game so when I was using clients I put a rule on myself that before I did anything else in the day that I would send out 10 proposals meaning that I would send out:

  • 50 proposals a week
  • & over 100 proposals a month

To speed up this process, I had my CV & Cover Letter ready to go that I would copy into the application meaning that I then had to only answer any specific questions that the client required. 

The next 2 steps are the most important and they will increase your chances for success and these are: 
Wherever possible provide extra information to show that you are prepared to go above and beyond. This could include: 

    1. Adding a screen share review of their website or landing page giving 2-3 clear ways that you could increase their business
    2. Or describing how you clearly understand the challenges that is faced in their industry or niche.

These above 2 options do take time BUT that is the harsh reality of signing your first clients and if you are not prepared to take these steps - this is probably not the industry for you. 

  1. You need to “de-risk” the transaction for them. Remember you are going up against other freelancers and agencies that have hundreds of positive testimonials and because you don’t have these yet you need to remove any risk from the client.

The easiest way to do this is to make it clear that you are happy for payment to be made after the first 60 days or after a performance goal is reached. 

A simple performance goal could be:

  • After the first 10 conversions
  • Or a ROAS of over 300% is maintained for 1 or 2 weeks 

Important note: to safeguard yourself and to make sure that you are not stuck on a low rate forever while the client is getting amazing results MAKE SURE that you always structure your contracts to be reviewed every 90 days. 

This will allow you to then propose a new quarterly strategy including new hourly or monthly management fees or bonuses. 

Finally, once you have signed your first client to make sure that you can get your client great results you need to have a clear plan and schedule for how to optimise your new clients' accounts every 72 hours, every week, every month & every 90 days. 

So make sure you follow the links below to get free access to my Google Ads Optimisation checklist for Search Campaigns and my Google Ads eCommerce optimisation checklist which is specifically designed for Performance Max & Shopping Campaigns.