Sortlist can be an incredible growth leverage for your agency.
You can use it to:
Receive qualified opportunities and turn them into long term clients.
Position yourself on specialized directories and generate visits of potential customers on your profile each month.
Increase your online reputation by gathering reviews & showcase your works from past clients.
Take it from this agency, who won more than 60 projects:
And received 1.500 visits on its Sortlist profile during the last 6 months:
However, in order to be successful on the platform and have a good return on investment, there is one key principle to keep in mind: go niche and position your agency very clearly.
In this article, we’ll see why this principle matters so much and how you can follow it by optimizing your profile to get the results you want.
Let’s dive in.
Why going niche on Sortlist matters
But in order to make the most of your monthly budget, you need to carefully choose:
The kind of directories you want your agency to appear on.
The kind of opportunities you want to be selected for.
Here’s what’s going to happen if you don’t make that careful selection and don’t position your agency clearly on the platform.
First, you will appear on directories where you are not truly relevant. You will pay clicks made by people visiting your agency’s profile, because they saw it on those directories. This will make you lose money, and burn your budget, because those people are not looking for the kind of services you provide. You will get traffic, but coming from irrelevant clients. Exactly like if you were using Google Ads and targeting wrong keywords.
Second, the platform will select you for opportunities and send them on your dashboard, even though they don’t truly match your services or the industries you’re targeting. This will make you lose time, because you’ll have to double check each opportunity you receive. If you decide to apply, you might also lose money because another agency applied and won the project thanks to a better positioning.
In other words, if you don’t go niche and don’t position yourself clearly, your return on investment will be bad and you won’t leverage Sortlist properly.
To avoid that situation, you need to only position yourself where you’re good at. You need to go niche and stand out for the ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) you’re targeting. It’s the best way to close clients on Sortlist but also to access multiple benefits.
What are the benefits of going niche?
When you decide to go niche, you automatically stand out from the crowd. You become the reference of a specific expertise for a specific type of client.
To use a metaphor, you’re a big fish in a small pond, which you can dominate.
Not only do you have less competitors, but you can also attract qualified opportunities more easily. Let’s take a couple of examples:
A social media marketing agency for B2C outdoor companies,
A website creation and digital strategy agency for B2B construction companies,
A photography and content creation agency for B2C e-commerce brands,
A full-service digital marketing agency for cosmetics and fashion B2C companies.
In each one of those cases, you could market your agency to become the number one reference of your expertise and industry. That would lead customers to automatically think about your agency when they’d need the kind of services you provide.
As a result, you’re closing clients more easily and your conversion rate gets higher, because prospects know what they can contact you for.
However, this requires to position yourself very clearly and to market your agency for it to be known for the services you provide.
Let’s see how you can do it on Sortlist, step by step.
How to go niche and position your agency
Going niche and positioning your agency in order to get better results will require you to configure your Sortlist profile properly.
To do so, you’ll have to combine three crucial elements:
Your target markets,
Your qualification criteria,
Your Sortlist public profile.
Combining those three elements will allow you to clearly communicate what you do (i.e. your target markets) for who you do it (i.e. your qualification criteria), and how well you do it (i.e. your Sortlist public profile).
As a result, you’ll only appear on relevant directories, you’ll generate more trust among potential clients visiting your profile, and the platform will send you way more qualified opportunities (i.e. both matching at least one of your target markets and all of your qualification criteria).
Of course, if you’re already positioning your agency outside of Sortlist, we recommend you to follow the same strategy on the platform.
Configuring your target markets
On Sortlist, a target market is defined by two ingredients:
The services you offer,
The areas in which you offer them.
In order to configure your target markets properly, you need to define those two ingredients.
To get started, head over to your Sortlist dashboard and select the “Profile > Services” tab.
That’s where you can select the services your agency offers. Be careful to only select the ones where you truly are an expert.
We understand that it might be tempting to select as many services as possible, to receive as many opportunities as possible. But that’s not going to work. Instead, you will appear on irrelevant directories, you will receive irrelevant opportunities for your agency, and you will just lose time and money.
The idea here, if you want the best results, is to optimize your profile for high conversion rates by only selecting the services where you’re the expert.
To add a service, just click on the “+ Add service” button. You’ll then have the possibility to choose which one you want to add:
You can choose between 41 services, split in 4 families:
Creative & Visual,
Advertising and Marketing,
Development & Product,
Once you’ve chosen a service, you can complete it with relevant skills, either by choosing the ones suggested or by directly searching for the ones you want to add:
Again, just like for the services, only select the ones that are truly relevant.
Furthermore, you can also add a description and the starting price you ask your clients for the chosen service:
If you want to add another service, just repeat this operation. Let’s take an example and imagine what a Video & Audio Production agency would do:
Once you’ve configured your services, the next step is to configure your prospecting areas.
To do so, click on "Opportunities" and select the "Preferences" tab:
You'll then have the option to add all of your prospecting areas, by clicking on the "+ Add prospect area" button.
And that's it! Once you've added all of your prospecting areas, your target markets will be fully configured.
You can now move on to the second step.
Configuring your qualification criteria
While your target markets let us know what you do (your services) and where you do it (your prospecting areas), your qualification criteria let us know who you want to do it for.
It's thanks to both of them (target markets + qualification criteria) that we can determine precisely which opportunities to send to you. Hence why it's important to take the time needed to configure them.
To do so, click on "Opportunities" and select the "Preferences" tab:
Scroll down until you reach the "Qualification criteria" section:
That's where you'll be able to configure all of the criteria you want your clients to meet, whether it is:
The client's budget,
The project's maturity,
The audiences types,
The geographical scopes,
The business type,
The company size,
The client’s annual turnover,
And the project holder’s decision making power.
Once you've configured all your criteria, we'll know which opportunities to send you.
Again, the more niche you are, the better. This will allow the platform to know what kind of projects you want to be selected for. As a result, you might receive less opportunities, but you’ll have more chances to convert them. Making you gain time and have a better return on investment.
If an opportunity matches at least one of your target markets and all of your qualification criteria, it will be considered as qualified. You'll find those qualified opportunities in the "Qualified" tab:
However, we’ll also suggest you other opportunities, that might not be a perfect match but that we’d still advise you to consider. You’ll find those opportunities in the “Suggested” tab. Those opportunities won't match all of your qualification criteria, but we still estimate they're worth taking a look at.
Once you’ve defined both your target markets and your qualification criteria, it’s time to build your public profile to make it convincing.
Configuring your Sortlist Public Profile
To do so, select the “Profile” tab:
We will then focus on three sections: About, Reviews, and Works.
It’s those three sections that you need to leverage in order to show your expertise and convince potential clients who will visit your Sortlist public profile.
In the About section, focus on your tagline, your description and your cover picture.
They should clearly convey what you do and who you do it for. If your ICP were to visit your profile, he must directly understand that you can provide what he’s looking for. There must be no doubt in his head.
To back it up, make sure to add client reviews to your profile:
When it comes to marketing yourself as an agency, a good referral is worth gold. The idea is to build up trust by adding positive reviews coming from your past clients. You have two possibilities to add reviews:
Add an existing review.
Invite to review.
The first one will allow you to add a review a client already wrote and shared somewhere else:
The second one will allow you to invite your client to write a new review:
In both cases, the review will be added to your public profile and will build up your credibility. If you can, make sure that your clients mention the kind of services you’ve provided for them. That way, anyone who views your profile can get an idea of what it’s like to work with you. This will reassure your prospects that you’re the right agency to accompany them on their projects.
Beside clients reviews, you can also add works on your profile:
Works are a way to show to your prospects what you’ve already accomplished for past clients.
This is not to be neglected. The more works you add on your profile, the more experienced you will be considered, and the more relevant opportunities you will receive. You will also be more visible on directories related to the services you provide.
To complete your portfolio, click on the "+ Add work" button. You will then have the possibility to add your work and to fully customize it with the following information:
Period of collaboration,
We know that sometimes, it can be hard to put your work into words. That’s why you can let your work speak for itself by including images and videos on your page for prospects to see.
Adding media to your works helps potential clients get an understanding of your experience and the type of work you can do. We’ve made it easy to link to material, so potential clients can learn more about your agency.
To be successful on Sortlist, having a profile correctly set up is key. The best way to do so is to go niche and to carefully:
Define your target markets (services + prospecting areas),
Define your qualification criteria,
Customize your profile description, reviews, and works.
Instead of aiming for volume, aim for high conversion rates. This will boost your return on investment and you won’t lose time nor money.