Starting your own digital marketing agency? This guide to getting an online marketing business off the ground will help. But what if you’re an established digital marketing business and you’re wondering why you’re struggling to grow your client base and your profits? There might be something (or more likely, several things) you’re missing. Even if you have a team stocked with talent, a flashy website and an ample social media presence, you might be overlooking some key ways to speed up your agency’s growth.
Clearly, it’s a competitive market. More than half of advertising is now digital (that percentage is only likely to increase in the coming years), with more and more businesses turning to digital marketing agencies to help them drive online traffic, boost brand recognition and increase consumer engagement.
With an increasing number of agencies sparring for business (from ambitious startups to established industry names), how can your agency gain a competitive edge and step on the gas when it comes to growth?
According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking to be vital to their career success. For a digital marketing agency, too, the ability to network effectively is equally important when it comes to growth. You can’t just expect clients to come to you; no, you need to be prospecting, connecting with potential customers and selling them on your services in order to rapidly grow your client base.
Of course, getting involved in any number of marketing events (conferences, seminars, training sessions etc.) will help to boost your profile and expand your reach (particularly if you’re afforded the opportunity to speak or exhibit at one of these), but networking isn’t solely a physical endeavor: there are many virtual events to look out for, too, while social media remains an incredibly important networking tool.
When you’re juggling multiple clients and an ever-increasing number of projects, it’s about working smarter (not necessarily harder) and finding ways to do more with less; persisting with clunky, inefficient processes will be a serious obstacle to growth. Fortunately, several project management tools exist that make it easier to streamline workflows and stay on top of expanding to-do lists (Basecamp is a great option, especially for agencies who operate remotely).
You can also free up time by stripping out non-essential tasks and automating as many processes as possible. For example, if you’re managing multiple client websites, you don’t want to be bogged down by hosting hassles or cybersecurity concerns. Using a cloud-based web hosting solution like Cloudways will allow you to install and manage an unlimited number of client sites without worrying about server-related complexities.
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Many digital agencies will specialize in one very niche area, while others will offer a more varied suite of marketing services. Your agency may already fall into the latter category, but nonetheless, there’s nearly always an opportunity to fuel growth by expanding the areas you cover and the services you offer to your existing (and prospective) clients.
Agencies that offer a comprehensive ‘all-in-one’ digital marketing solution may be more attractive to prospective clients looking to keep things simple and relatively inexpensive. Remember, though, that you don’t want to be known as the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’-type, so focus on those areas where you know you can add value, and ensure you have the necessary expertise in your ranks before branching out to areas new.
An agency is only as good as the people who work there, so naturally growth is only possible through recruiting, retaining and developing the right talent. As you grow, you’ll need to invest in new hires to complement and augment your existing workforce, but it’s equally important to recognize the value in supporting the growth and development of your current employees.
Giving your team the opportunity to expand their knowledge and evolve their skill sets will only benefit your agency (and your clients) in the long run; not only will it keep them engaged, but you’ll ultimately have a more adept, more productive workforce. To that end, L&D solutions like Learn Amp empower teams to upskill and accelerate their own career development.
As an agency, it’s important to have your own house in order before reaching out to potential clients. What that means is, the promises you make to your prospects have to be reflected in your own digital marketing endeavors (from your website content to your social media output) in order to mark your agency out as a true expert in its field. Allowing your own standards to slip is one of the fastest ways to lose a potential lead.
If you’re a web design agency that promises cutting-edge site designs and a seamless UX, for example, prospective clients aren’t likely to place their trust in you if your own site is clunky, unresponsive or visually unengaging. After all, would you trust a hairdresser with a shabby hair-do, or a dentist with a mouth full of wonky, discolored teeth? Your instincts would likely tell you to steer clear.
Often, the agencies that get ahead are those that are most able to adapt. Depending on your niche, it’s likely that you’ll have a varied roster of clients in a range of different industries. Each client’s needs will be unique, so you’ll need a custom-fit approach to the way you communicate and work with each of them. Being able to quickly shift approach from client-to-client will ensure they’re getting a more bespoke, more efficient service.
A one-size-fits-all approach might work for you, but it’s likely to leave at least some of your clients feeling underserved or that they’re needs haven’t been fully understood. Adaptability is vital when it comes to attracting and onboarding new clients, too; showing that you can be flexible and accommodating to new prospects (regardless of their industry or their requirements) will lead to an acceleration in growth.
If you’re running a digital marketing agency and you’re wondering why it’s not growing as rapidly as you’d like, it might be because you haven’t considered some of these essential growth tactics. Focus on these 6 fundamental areas and you’re likely to see your agency’s growth accelerate.