Are you worried about account management, marketing, payroll, accounting, selling, hiring, etc.? Are you concerned about providing tangible results for your clients to avoid losing them?
If you are, you can reduce those worries considerably by marketing your agency the same way you market your clients’ businesses. A team that has the right skills in the right seats, and that collaborates with you, can help put your agency on the right track.
You may be wasting resources and time due to clumsy processes.
The truth is, you need to pay attention to details and have the right factors in place in order to grow your digital agency.
To get you started, here are 20 proven ways to grow your digital agency:
1 Carve out a niche for your digital agency
This recommendation was given by Glen (a.k.a Viperchill) who stated, “some of the most successful digital agencies in the world specialized in their niche by serving just a particular audience.”
Digital agencies should carve out a niche for themselves and leverage it to the hilt! The following agencies exemplify this:
Wonderist is a digital agency that specializes only in dental practices, while Net Profit Explosion provides digital services to personal trainers and gym owners. Attorney Rankings focuses on SEO for attorneys.
Carving out a niche for your agency enables you to brand yourself as an expert in a specific industry.
This also helps to separate you from the pack, and to grant you certain opportunities, such as speaking engagements at industry-specific conferences, or getting conference booths.
2. Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a relevant and irresistible incentive that offers a specific value to your prospective customers in exchange for their contact information (e.g., email address, phone number).
A single lead magnet (i.e., a Facebook Ad Library Template) once generated 35,859 leads in 60 days for Digital Marketer.
Most people will not convert on your sales pages. This could be because they are not yet ready to commit, they don’t trust your agency, or they are not yet sure what services they need.
Offering alternatives such as a free PPC analysis like PPC.me, or a website grader like Powered by Search, can help you to obtain their contact information and to nurture that initial relationship.
3. Be positive and network!
Growing your digital agency can be a long and difficult journey. It is definitely not a hit or miss affair. Building a successful agency is more about building and maintaining relationships than anything else. This is a valuable lesson that I have learned after working in this industry for more than 15 years.
“If you are having difficulty maintaining good relationships, you cannot be successful” — Melissa Reis.
Keep a positive attitude at all times! Ask the people you network with to recommend you as a marketer. Try to network with people in your field who are not competitors. Digital marketers can naturally team with public relations companies who outsource web marketing, or with web design companies that focus mainly on design.
Make a list of prospective contacts. Invite those contacts for coffee and start building relationships with them. Admittedly, all meetings will not yield business. But, as is the case with so many other things, it’s a numbers game.
4. Define your goals
According to Paul Arden, an advertising legend, “Without a goal, it’s hard to score.” In order to grow your digital agency, you’ve got to define your goals.
Data from Locke and Latham shows that defining a measurable figure to aim for makes your goal achievable.
Therefore, don’t say “I will grow my agency.” Say instead, “I will grow my agency by 25% in 90 days.” Now you have a goal that you can work towards. Sometimes, that makes all the difference.
5. Automate your digital reports
Do you spend too much time on reports each month? According to Agency Report, most digital agencies claim that reports alone take about a week of their employees’ time. Why not automate them?
Reports can be easily generated using systems like the Ignitur reporting platform , which can be used to create reports and automatically issue them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Think about other tasks you could automate, or processes you could improve. Since every business owner is different, and every business is different, you are the only one who can determine the best way to increase the efficiency of your business. Set aside about 15 to 20 minutes to consider how you could improve the different aspects of your business.
6. Systemize your contracts and proposals
It is possible that you already have proposal or contract templates in place for your digital agency. However, customizing each template can take hours. Another problem involves how to handle your signature process in the event your client asks for edits.
Software such as PandaDoc can systemize and speed up these processes for you.
7. Outsource as much as possible
Practically every aspect of running a digital agency can be outsourced — from market research, to content writing, to SEO. HubShout conducted a survey in 2015 which showed that approximately 58.6% of digital agencies are currently outsourcing SEO.
Your full-service digital agency can actually be run by a single freelancer if you know how to hire workers using websites such as Freelancer or Upwork.
Once you’ve hired the right people, you can get high-quality work in much less time, and at a relatively low cost, thus saving you a bundle!
8. Make use of internships
Like outsourcing, internships are very commonly used by digital agencies. A number of interns can be employed for a fraction of the cost of employing a full-time staff, and yet will produce high-quality work.
Most interns are very eager to prove themselves outside of school and will surprise you with their determination and talent.
Such high-performing interns can determine your core competencies and become the foundation of your digital agency.
9. Partner with other digital agencies
As discussed at the beginning of this article, the best thing for any agency is to carve out its own industrial niche. Consequently, pretty much all agencies are specialized.
Therefore, in order to offer a complete package to your clients, partnering with other specialized agencies can be very beneficial.
This will allow you to tap into other agencies’ portfolios and expertise without assuming added risk and cost. This differs from regular networking because you are essentially reaching out to competitors and offering yourself as a freelancer. This works very well when you can prove that you can deliver high-quality results at a lower cost than your competitor can.
10. Provide corporate training
According to research performed by the Society of Digital Agencies in 2015, it was found that the number of agencies that no longer work with outside agencies has increased from 13% in 2014 to 27%.
This does not mean that these agencies have given up on other parts of digital marketing. Rather, they have merely brought them in-house.
Many digital agencies now want to have total control over their own employees and data rather than handing them off to another agency. Thus, the agency can present itself as an individual who offers services remotely. (After all, you can only be at one location at a time). This is an effective way to acquire business while others are involved with sales and client relations.
11. Get referrals and testimonials
Get your best clients to sell your brand through referrals and testimonials. Remember that acquiring recommendations from friends is one of the most effective ways to win new prospects.
Make sure that each testimonial highlights a specific aspect of your products or services. You can also create a loyalty program for customers who refer new prospects to you.
12. Create great content
In the current marketing landscape, marketing channels such newspapers, TV, and radio ads have become diluted.
In order to attract attention to your brand, you must use social media outlets and blog posts to promote your brand and expertise.
Consequently, marketers are faced with the challenge of generating content that is both engaging and varied. Fifty-six percent of B2C marketers have problems with the former content characteristic, while 39% struggle with the latter. If marketers can generate content that is both engaging and varied, they will be able to drive qualified leads into their sales funnels and eventually win customers.
13. Do not imitate; rather innovate!
Rather than trying to blend in and mimic what other digital agencies are doing, look for ways to be innovative and to outshine your competition.
“An innovator is someone who saw the dots and connected them,” says David Brier in an article on FastCompany.
If you are wondering how an agency can be innovative, check out this resource—it is packed with insights and case studies.
14. Create a kick-ass portfolio for your agency
It is still true: “Actions speak louder than words.” This is why you need a strong, result-driven portfolio to grow your business.
If people see your work, and the results you delivered, for a brand they know and trust, they will be more likely to become your clients.
Build relationships with clients
Building relationships with clients will definitely help you to retain them. Building relationships with clients will also help you to communicate better with them. If they like you, they will be more likely to recommend you to others.
Sending letters and gifts are great ways of building relationships with clients. You might even want to try using “old-school” handwritten notes. The results will blow your mind
16. Be consistent with your recurring revenue campaigns
According to Robin Leonard, “Consistency is king”.
As a digital agency, you must be consistent with your set of services, for example “X- number of weekly published blogs” or “Y- number of daily Facebook posts,” etc., in order to generate recurring revenues in a retainer-style relationship.
17. Carry out NPS
For clarity, this is a survey sent out to your clients that requests them to rate your services on a scale of 1 to 10. Products like Wootric and Promoter.io can help you determine your NPS.
18. Cut down your lead response time
To grow your digital agency, you must reduce your lead response time. Once you have collected leads for your digital agency, it is important that you get back to them as soon as possible.
Do not let a day or two go by before getting back to them. A recent study by the Harvard Business Review showed that most agencies take too long to respond to leads. As a result, they lose them.
Remember, these prospective clients are looking around, and your digital agency will definitely not be the only one they have discovered.
If you don’t want to lose them, follow up with them quickly and consistently.
19. Build a presentable website
Regardless of whether or not you offer web design, it is crucial for your digital agency to have a clean and presentable website. Your website is your online presence.
A “presentable” website means that your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, well-designed, and high-converting.
If your website is reminiscent of 1999, expect your revenue to be at 1999 levels.
In the final analysis, your website determines the perception that people have about your agency
20. Be your own best client
Your success is not determined just by how you treat your clients. To grow your agency, you must also learn to treat yourself exactly as you would your best clients.
Do not be overly concerned about making money and how to get your clients to pay more. Instead, focus on bringing them even more value by answering their questions, and listening to them.
We have now discussed proven ways to grow your digital agency. It is now up to you to take advantage of them. As mentioned earlier, only you as the business owner can judge the most effective steps to take to increase the efficiency of your agency. The important thing for you to do now is to take those steps. Whether you operate an agency specializing in web design, social media, SEO, PR, or marketing content, the methods listed in this article can make a positive difference in your business. Although there will always be challenges, these methods can help you attain the success you are working for. Good luck to you as you take the best steps for your agency.