Are you looking for more influence when it comes to attracting new clients?
I don’t blame you; it’s important.
Clients who’re looking for a marketing agency need to be convinced that the agencies they’re looking to hire are trustworthy, and will deliver a return on their investment.
...Especially when contracts are often long, and there’s a lot on the line. Sensitive company information, passwords, and their entire reputation is at risk--but if you’re able to prove that you’re trustworthy, there’s no reason why potential clients won’t consider hiring you.
Luckily, there’s one thing that can help skyrocket a prospective clients trust in you: A strong portfolio.
Proving you’ve done similar work in the past (and got fantastic results from it) is a great way to build relationships and good faith with potential clients.
Combine that with the fact that most clients look at marketing portfolios before they enquire, and you’ll understand why making yours powerful gives your agency the chance to land on their shortlist.
But what should your marketing portfolio include? And what are you competing with?
In this guide, we’re sharing how you can create a winning portfolio for your marketing agency, and encourage dream clients who are visiting your website to hit the “contact” button.
A 5-step checklist for every new addition to your portfolio
The most important thing about your marketing portfolio is the content you’re putting into it.
The entire point of your portfolio is to communicate how awesome you are at the work you’re doing, which is why you should only feature your best, most recent work.
Failing to do so, and including old projects, could make it look like your agency isn’t active anymore. It could also make potential clients believe you’re unable to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing marketing industry - which isn’t a good sign if that’s what they’re hiring you for.
Including sub-par work could be just as detrimental, because your portfolio won’t have the wow-factor your clients are looking for.
...Which is the aim, right?
So, spend a few minutes thinking about the most impressive marketing campaigns you’ve ran.
It could be one that generated 200 new customers from a single blog post, or a social media strategy that increased website traffic by 3,000%. But whatever it is, it needs to be impressive.
Gather the details about each campaign you’ve chosen to include.
Each entry in your portfolio needs to have:
- The client name (or industry, if you’ve signed an NDA)
- The service you offered
- The results you saw
- Any assets you created, such as a video or series of tweets
- A testimonial from your happy client
...for maximum impact, and to really communicate the value you’d bring to their company by hiring your agency.
Take a look at how SOZO do this with each entry in their marketing portfolio:
Notice how they’ve gone into detail about the service they provided - and more importantly, how their approach was tailored to their client?
That’s what your potential clients want to see!
Should I include non-client work?
If you’re a new agency, you might not have a wealth of incredible client projects to add to your marketing portfolio.
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t create one, at all.
Chances are, you’ve helped someone with their marketing strategy without considering them to be a “client”.
These one-off jobs, passion projects, or work you’ve completed for free, should form the basis of your agency’s portfolio if you’re limited with the paid jobs you’ve done.
Why? Because 100% of the work in your portfolio doesn’t need to be from a client who’s paid for it. Work you’re including can be anything you’ve done, made or created - which is bound to show you’re passionate about what you do!
5 tips to design your online portfolio
Design is a huge part of any marketing portfolio.
Clients will expect web design and creative agencies to have matching portfolios, but regardless of the services you’re offering to potential clients, you need to make your portfolio look impressive and inviting.
Here are some of the best marketing portfolio examples from agencies, and the design tips you can take away.
1. Make it easy to find and navigate
If someone looking for the services you offer lands on your website, there’s a strong chance they’ll head to your portfolio before deciding whether to contact you.
It makes sense; they don’t want to waste their time enquiring about an agency they’re not confident will deliver a good job, right?
(I’d bet you’d feel the same!)
That’s why you should always sense-check whether your portfolio is easily accessible.
Make it easy for potential clients to find your marketing portfolio by adding links from key pages on your website that map a usual customer journey, such as:
Just take Silver Agency’s portfolio, for example.
Their portfolio is easy to find, thanks to the link in their navigation bar:
But they take it a step further by showing website visitors they can click each entry to find out more:
Take a leaf from Silver Agency’s book (and make sure the portfolio you’re building isn’t a waste of time) by making it easy to find.
I’ll be the first to say you’ll be rewarded for it - likely in the form of a bunch of new enquiries!
2. Consider dividing projects by category
Do you offer a range of different marketing services, from social media through to website design?
Following the same concept of making your portfolio easy for your clients to find, consider giving them the option to filter it by category.
That way, if they’re only looking for assistance with one service, they don’t have to invest time into digging around your portfolio to find relevant work you’ve done already.
(And we all know how timing is of the essence.)
Splitpixel do this with their marketing portfolio:
You’ve got the option to view their full agency portfolio, or split their projects up and view by the type of work they’ve done.
Why wouldn’t potential clients be impressed by it?
3. Add interactive content
Think about the aim of your agency’s portfolio.
It’s likely your answer is “because I want to win new clients!”, but let’s dive deeper and understand how a portfolio can do that.
The simplest answer? Because a stellar marketing portfolio sets you apart from your competition. You’re telling potential clients that you’re able to deliver better quality work - and showing them the proof!
But it’s tricky to set your agency apart from bigger agencies, especially if you’re made up of a smaller team or don’t have much experience.
Luckily, interactive content can help - especially when 88% of marketers say creating it differentiates them from their competitors.
Digital agency IAcquire uses a timeline on their portfolio page:
However, you could also use:
...to show off your skills, encourage potential clients to engage with your website, and help your agency stand out from the crowd.
4. Include a call-to-action
When potential clients have viewed your marketing agency’s portfolio (and the awesome case studies you’ve shared), make it easy for them to get in touch.
You can do this by adding a call-to-action towards the end of your page.
Whether it’s a button that says “enquire now” or simply an embedded contact form that’ll send their message directly to you, you want to encourage them to reach out when they’re already impressed with the work you’re doing.
Calls-to-action eliminate the waiting games.
Making it difficult for potential clients to find a contact email, or assuming they’ve got the time to dig around your site, is a roadblock you can prevent - like Core Creative do with their portfolio page:
The words “send us your brief” are direct, to-the-point, and stand out on their main portfolio page.
...Three things you want to replicate!
5. Remember your agency’s branding
If you’re showcasing the work you’ve done for your clients, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using their branding across your case study page.
But you need to remember: The portfolio is on your agency’s website.
That means each new addition to your marketing portfolio should have your agency’s branding - right the way through from using your brand colors to your website’s font.
Take a look at how Mightybytes’ portfolio uses their brand colors and text:
Not only does this show their potential clients that they’re good at adapting to different brand styles, but it’s instantly recognizable.
Remember what we said about making your agency stand out?
Where should my agency’s portfolio be?
Your portfolio is created and you’re ready to tell the world (and your potential clients) about the incredible work your agency team have done.
...But where should you put it?
It’s a valid question, especially when websites often have hundreds of pages, and some clients still expect content formatted in a PDF so they can easily print and share with their in-house decision makers.
There’s no clear-cut answer because every client has different preferences.
However, it might be easier to host an entire marketing portfolio on a separate URL on your website (such as /portfolio), and pick individual case studies to include elsewhere.
Most often, that’s:
A blog post or guest post you’re writing
A PDF linked from service pages on your website
The bottom line is this: So long as each case study tells your potential clients they can find a full portfolio of work on your website, it’s a simple way to cater to several different content format preferences - without turning away dream clients.
Now you’ve put together an agency portfolio, you’ve got an incredible tool that’s bound to win more clients - and subconsciously push them towards making an enquiry.
There’s one final step in your portfolio process: To always keep it updated.
Every time you wrap-up a new project (whether it’s a “passion project”, work you’ve done for a non-profit, or a successful campaign you’ve ran for a client), ask for permission to write a case study and add it to your website.
It’s the simplest way to always show your best, most-recent work - not to mention, impress your potential clients and convince them to hire you!