It’s one thing to start your own digital marketing agency, but growing the business is an entirely different story.
In my years of working with digital marketers, I’ve seen agencies reach their all-time high by following their own mantra for success. It’s an inspiring endeavour and one born from hard work and smart decision-making. This is what I’ll be discussing – how to grow your agency and increase your profit.
- Build Your Network
If you can count the number of connections you have using only your hands, you better double your efforts in networking. To grow your agency, you need to put yourself out there and connect with people. Connections can provide you with a stream of referrals and serve as a handshake to your next clients.A couple of pointers when building your network:
- Start local: Being in the same area serves as your common ground with local businesses. This makes it easier to introduce your digital marketing agency to them.
- Focus on a specific niche: As tempting as it may be to win everyone, you need to focus on one niche first. The best approach to this is by targeting a niche that you’re an expert in.
- Develop Inbound and Outbound Marketing Strategies
One of the biggest mistakes digital marketing agencies make is forgetting to look after their own brand and market themselves. You can’t grow your business if potential clients don’t even know who you are. This is why you need to set aside budget and time for inbound and outbound marketing to generate leads for your digital marketing agency.
Inbound marketing – This involves activities that allow you to get leads passively, where potential clients reach out to you.
- SEO: Add unique, valuable content that will help your site become more visible. Use Google’s Search Console to determine queries you’re getting and build content that addresses these queries.
- Pay-Per-Click: Target a specific area for your ads. Use remarketing to get more opportunities for conversions.
- Social media: Join social media channels where most of your targeted leads are active. Look for groups and share content that will attract leads.
- Content marketing: Create specialized content and lead magnets that serve the needs of your target clients.
Outbound marketing – This involves activities that allow you to get leads actively, where you make the first move to reach out to potential clients.
- Cold emails: Automate email sequences with content that matches your lead’s stage in the buyer’s journey. Send cold emails at reasonable intervals to avoid spamming them.
- Cold calls: Initiate the first phone call after sending an email—this is the point where you’re creating a warmer relationship and securing an appointment with a potential client.
- Set the Right Pricing
When starting a digital marketing agency, a big factor in your growth is offering the right value for your services. Some agencies fail in their ventures because they are not charging enough, while some go over the top with their charges.The charge for digital marketing services may vary for every agency. One way to set the right pricing for your services is by looking at what main competitors are offering. Check their average price and determine if this can cover your expenses and provide you with a reasonable profit.Pro-tip: Don’t set your pricing too low just to please a few clients. Your pricing should justify the value that you’re giving.
- Develop a Repeatable, Scalable Process
There should be a process behind everything. One of the foundations of a successful agency is having specific policies and procedures. These serve as a framework on how to efficiently execute work and follow up on deliverables.
Automate the reporting process. Instead of writing proposals and contracts from scratch, use templates that you can simply fill and send to clients. Streamline appointment bookings with Calendly and similar scheduling tools. Provide specific guidelines for your in-house team so they can accomplish their work efficiently.
- Hire the Right People – Outsource vs In-house
One of the common pitfalls of digital marketing agencies – especially startups – is taking care of all the work. Sure it’s your job to deliver results that will make clients happy, but this doesn’t mean you have to carry the burden alone. How else are you going to grow your business if you’re too busy with fulfillment? This is where outsourcing comes in.What services can you outsource? Almost everything – from SEO to Social Media Management.Let others take over work that’s not in your area of expertise until you can do it yourself or you have enough scale to hire in-house talent for the job.
- Leverage partnerships with influencers
Remember what I discussed about building your network? It’s not only for finding potential clients, but also for reaching out to influencers who can partner with your agencies.How do you leverage partnerships with influencers?
- Host webinars or Facebook live sessions about topics of their expertise.
- Ask them if they’re open to being an affiliate partner for your agency.
- Write a guest post on their website—or ask if they can write one for your agency’s site.
Food for thought: Don’t hog all the benefits. When partnering with an influencer, it should be mutually beneficial.
- Streamline your onboarding process
Successful agencies often have a seamless onboarding strategy to ensure clients use their products and stay with them.Think of the onboarding process as your first step in client retention. Mess it up from the start, and you’ll soon find clients moving away from your agency.One of the easiest ways to streamline client onboarding is through email sequences. Each email should talk about the client and their needs, not about your agency.This should make it easy for clients to understand your service and how it can help them. Map the results for every client interaction to determine how the conversation might go. This will help you prepare the appropriate responses.
- Learn how to upsell to clients that have one-off projectsYes, it’s important to find and close new clients. But, it’s also equally important to upsell to clients who already purchased one-off projects from you. Upselling allows you to open new revenue streams while providing additional value to clients.Here are some tips on upselling:
- Complement one service with another service: If a client bought web design, why not offer them SEO? Give them an introductory rate for your SEO services. Show them how you can rank their new website; if they’re happy with the results, offer to put them on a new SEO campaign for the following month.
- Explain the value of using other solutions: Your clients need to understand what their dollar’s worth. Don’t just pitch a new solution—show them the value of using your service through milestones and potential returns to their business.
- Only upsell if the client needs it: Provide reasonable ground when upselling, which means you need to justify why clients need your services. Don’t push clients into a purchase they don’t need today.
- Don’t report – Analyze and Explain
Your clients care about one thing: Results. They don’t have the time to know about what Click Through Rate is, or how to disavow links. They want to know about how they benefit from what you’re doing. This is why you don’t just report vanity metrics; you also analyze and explain data.
Analyze: Identify what solutions delivered results and what didn’t to justify the effectiveness of your service. Use this opportunity to determine ways to improve a campaign and maximize ROI for your client.
Explain: Instead of showing clients a long report, turn data into a language that they will understand. Don’t say, “Here are the changes we made to your Metadata.” Instead say, “We wrote new copies to entice more visitors to click on your site and understand what you’re business is.”
- Always think about the post-sales process
Good agencies know how to find clients who will close; the great (and successful) ones know how to find, close, and keep clients. You don’t stop simulating the care after a client has purchased a solution from your agency—you work to retain the relationship even after the sale.How do you keep the relationship hot post-sale?Here are some pointers:
- Provide consistent value through educational content, such as how-to articles, white papers and case studies.
- If there are problems, act fast and communicate the issue—don’t wait for clients to find out about the bad news themselves.
- Show gratitude; never underestimate the power of saying “Thank you”.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to growing your digital marketing agency. The tips I shared above serve as a guide for your agency—how you reach that seven-digit revenue mark is entirely up to you.