By Duran Inci, IT consultant with over 11 years of e-business experience in digital marketing, e-commerce and integrations. Co-founder and COO of Optimum7.
Growing a marketing agency requires careful planning while also keeping an eye on current trends. You also may need to have a strong team of developers, copywriters, marketers and managers who work together to track progress and acquire new clients. “Growth” can refer to the increased number of clients that you acquire and retain or the revenue that comes in for new projects.
Drawing on my experience as co-founder and COO of an e-commerce marketing agency, here’s my advice on how to grow an agency.
Treat Your Website As If It Belongs To A Client
A website is a digital storefront. Whether a potential customer is on a computer, tablet or mobile phone, the design has to be stellar, legible and concise.
Website content also requires search engine optimization. That way, content appears when potential customers search for particular keywords on Google. You want to leverage the Google algorithm without being flagged for spam. Google notes whether a website is using too many keywords or has terrible backlinks.
As an agency, you probably follow these practices for your clients, but they apply to your website too. Even if your salespeople are cold calling potential clients or sending postcards, your digital storefront needs to reflect the quality that you deliver to clients. There is an old saying: “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Make sure you can prove yourself to be better than the cobbler.
Have copywriters review website content and optimize it accordingly. Organize a blog and schedule regular posts based on topics relevant to your agency and to business in general. A social media tool can help you arrange tweets and posts ahead of time so that they reach the most people during the week.
Profile Your Ideal Type Of Client
Rather than trying to curate your content for every possible client — from brick-and-mortar stores to small universities — have your team profile the best client that suits your expertise. More often than not, prospects prefer an agency that specializes in particular marketing services rather than providing every possible skill set. Less can be more.
Size (i.e., annual revenue) is one way to differentiate the businesses that can serve as clients. A restaurant in need of promotion for its deals probably isn’t the same size as an industrial-scale retailer, as one example. They likely have different revenue levels.
Choose Specific Services To Specialize In
While you can offer clients several services, see whether there are two or three where you can excel. Then, you can become known for those specialties, which raises the potential for word-of-mouth. If your team can deliver well on Google ads, social media or content marketing, for example, then you can advertise those services to potential clients and demonstrate a strong portfolio.
Choosing a limited number of services as opposed to the full range of digital marketing has another benefit: You can center your business processes on those services rather than spreading them out among your agency’s team of marketers and developers.
Contribute Your Expertise To Business Websites And Professional Organizations
You’re in business due to a competitive advantage. That means that you have knowledge and experience that no other agency owner has. Sharing it with other business owners and legitimate websites can bring attention to your brand. It will help others see you as an authority figure and expert in the field. Subsequently, more people will likely seek your assistance, which can help increase your website conversions.
If possible, join professional organizations that are in line with your specialties. Publish articles on business-focused websites. Research statistics related to the topics at hand, and cite your sources. This adds to your credibility.
Apply for membership to your local chamber of commerce, and schedule a time to attend meetings. Generally, business owners and potential contacts will join the network and contribute more to their community. Participate during meetings and learn from other specialists. This will help show that you are well rounded and care about local businesses.
Delegate Tasks To Others
Successful agency owners know when not to take on certain tasks. They have project managers and office administrators to handle routine happenings and tasks. If you try to do everything, you will burn out instead of achieving agency growth. Too many agency owners get burned out from juggling tasks.
If you cannot afford to hire someone in-house, outsource to a virtual assistant. Talent outsourcing websites, such as Fiverr and Upwork, can reduce the time spent finding someone to help you.
Related to the business finding its specialty, focus on your strengths, and leverage them. If you are good at building relationships with clients and vendors, start cold calling and negotiating deals.
Your marketing agency will grow with the right strategies. Know how to play to your strengths and how to leverage them when making contacts or enacting marketing campaigns.