To attract customers passively means that you do not have to go actively looking for them. They come to you. You do not have to make cold calls, attend networking events, etc. This does not mean that these customers come magically; you need to create the circumstances for them to find you and come to you.
Some ways how you can attract customers to your agency are:
A) Creating an advertising or public relations campaign that will put your agency in front of your potential customers who are looking for an agency like yours.
B) Recommendations from your customers.
C) Through inbound or content marketing, which is not the same.
I will focus the rest of this article on this last point, that is, how an agency can use inbound or content marketing to get clients. The steps that follow would be:
1. Prepare content which is very good and relevant to your potential customer, to attract them to your website. This content needs to address their major concerns or questions and should be related to the services you will be proposing afterwards.
2. Once you’ve created the content, you have to put it in front of your target audience and take them to your website. As a first step, you need to find out where the potential customers are. You could find them at:
a. LinkedIn groups where your customers gather.
b. Google+ communities
d. Share articles on other sites as a guest blogger.
e. Search engines by optimizing the content you write for search engines.
f. Other websites where this type of information is shared, for example, sites such as BizSugar.
g. Forums or other social media sites.
3. When your audience finds your content, if relevant, they will go to your website. Then you have to collect their contact details and give them something in return, for example a report, an e-book or a free course.
4. At this point the customer’s qualification process begins. Your objective is to determine if the new subscriber may be a good potential customer for your agency or not. You can get this information from the customer in different ways, for example, asking for a lot of information before the prospect downloads the free report. In this case, there will be fewer people who subscribe, but those who do, will be much more interested. At the other extreme, you could ask just for the email and wait to get more information about them later on. Some e-mail automation tools like InfusionSoft will let you do this very effectively. Another interesting option, which many people do with good success is to ask first for the e-mail address and once they give it, ask for some more information.
5. Once you have their details, you need to decide if you are going to pick up the phone and call them or not. If you decide to contact them, you could do this at the time they become subscribers or after they have received some content from you. In pure content marketing, subscribers would not be contacted unless they take the initiative. They would continue to receive content (via e-mail) until they either contact the agency interested in the services or unsubscribe.
If you decide to take the initiative and contact your subscribers, your best bet will usually be to contact them as soon as they subscribe and you receive their details. When that person has just downloaded this information, you know that he is at his computer, has the report on his mind and will be more willing to talk about it. So, if you decide to contact him, the sooner you do it (within 5 minutes of downloading the free report), the better.
6. When you talk with them, put them in a process to qualify them as a clients. In the first call, DO NOT try to sell them. Just let them know you are there, find out more about them, such as why that report is important, answer any questions they have and ask them some questions which will help you understand if this customer qualifies or not. This first call should be followed by more calls, later on in the process where you can help them realize how badly they need your services.
If you want to read an example of how this is done, you can find it here.
And what is better? is it better to contact the customer right away or to follow the full content marketing approach?
It depends on your capacity to attract people to your website and how well you have optimized your funnel to convert your subscribers into customers. If you do not have a solid experience with that type of customer, it would be highly beneficial to start the process by contacting these customers to understand what really interests them, and what their pain points are so you can prepare a much better funnel to automate the full process later on.