Digital marketing is an incredibly competitive industry, especially for digital marketing agencies, as many brands tend to float between agencies when in search of someone to do their digital marketing for them.
This paired with the incredible amount of new digital marketing startup businesses joining the industry since the global pandemic results in a highly competitive tug of war for clients that often makes growing a digital marketing agency incredibly difficult.
While most digital marketing agencies will have an ideal projection of where they see their business growing over a certain number of years, there are many variables that can interrupt and delay this plan.
Some obstacles agencies may find halting their growth include:
- Lack of capital – here is an age-old saying that you need to spend money to make money. While this is not the rule of thumb in digital marketing, using some business funding to promote your agency to a larger audience can have a huge effect on attracting new customers.
- Lack of manpower – if finding new customers is not an issue for your agency, then it may be possible that you are limited in the number of hands you can have working with your clients. Ultimately, a lack of team members to split work amongst and a lack of time to spend on each client can severely limit the growth of a business.
- Limited service offerings – Offering digital marketing services for a few platforms can limit the number of clients you attract to your agency. If you are only offering digital marketing services for social media tools, it might be worth expanding your offering by also reporting on website analytics too as an example.
- Too broad/narrow niche – While expanding your service offerings in order to attract more clients to your agency can grow your business, a balance needs to be found between expanding and over-expansion in order to maintain a level of quality and not stray too far from the identity of your agency.
- Inefficient employees/processes – While having the right number of employees is incredibly important, what could perhaps be more important is having the right employees. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your budget, it is important to hire employees that give you the best performance for their salary and maintain efficient processes that allow for accurate results and quick turnaround times.
- Bad client management – sometimes just giving your clients adequate attention in order to hear their needs and concerns is all it takes to provide a client with satisfactory service. You’d be surprised how many agencies get this wrong! Take a look at our onboarding checklist blog to find out the steps you should take in managing and onboarding a new client.
How To Grow Your Agency
With the roadblocks to growth out of the way, lets take a look at how you can scale your agency for success!
Optimize your niche and focus on creating efficiency. Setting the groundwork with efficient processes and the right personnel to manage your clients and perform your digital marketing services, will allow you to meet your clients’ needs faster and while spending less of your capital on additional employees to pick up the slack.
Some things that most agencies should consider is automating their processes where possible, such as making use of a digital marketing reporting platform with an automation feature so that less time is spent on sending your clients monthly reports, and periodic training sessions with your employees to make sure that they are operating at optimum levels, up to date with the latest changes in the industry, and upskilled where necessary.
Something that many agencies seem to overlook is that they need to focus on a specific niche of clients that they want to work with, with the aim of providing their best possible service to the niche, instead of a service with lesser quality to a larger client base. Focussing on a well-defined niche will allow digital marketing agencies to hold onto their clients a lot easier, and provide them with a service that the client feels is top class and great value for money.
Take a look at our How To Develop A Client Persona blog to find out more.
2. Set Targets
Growth doesn’t mean much unless you have something to compare your growth to, and track your progress on. Therefore, it is crucial that you set goals that you would like your agency to reach along a certain time frame in order to keep your growth efforts focussed, ensuring that you reach your goals as quickly as possible with a minimum use of resources. Setting targets will also allow you to track your progress along the way to see if you are on track to meet your goals within the specified timeframe, or if there is some intervention needed to boost your growth efforts.
An example, growing from 20 clients to 60 clients within 3 years. A goal like this needs to be as specific as possible in order to maximize your chances of success, and it should ideally include some middle steps that will work as progress checkpoints along the way. Progress checkpoints in this example could be something like, increase the number of qualified leads by 20% within a year and double the number of paid ads to increase the number of potential leads reached.
3. Improve Service Offering
Word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing in most businesses, and the best way to use this form of advertising is by providing your existing clients with an excellent experience through the services and products you provide to them.
Improvements to service and/or product offerings will differ from agency to agency, however some of the things most agencies can improve in are the speed of delivery, client management and increased value for money. In digital marketing specifically, something, like giving your monthly reports a unique design with further insights in the form of videos and even giving your clients a little gift on their milestone birthdays with your agency, are great ways to keep your clients happy and make them feel like they are receiving a special experience that they would not receive anywhere else.
A client who feels special and like they are getting something way more valuable than what they are paying for will more than likely refer their friends and colleagues to you which makes growing your business a breeze!
It is crucial that you gauge whether you are doing enough to make your clients feel special though, and this can be done by asking your clients for feedback on your service offering by means of a short questionnaire or asking them to leave a review.
4. Expand Service Offering
Something that limits many digital marketing agencies is that the niche they focus on is far too narrow to be profitable. Expanded the service offering that you present to your clients not only allows you to attract a larger audience that may be interested in your digital marketing services, but also allows you to upsell to any existing client.
Most digital marketing agencies in 2021 are offering digital marketing services on a wide range of platforms including social media, to SEO, PPC and more in their standard offering. To expand on this further, many agencies will offer additional services such as website builder or content writing in order to provide a one-stop-shop for brands looking to outsource every area of their digital marketing.
With this in mind, it may be in the best interest as a digital marketing agency to be able to provide clients with a range of services instead of just a narrow and limiting offering such as Twitter advertising alone.
Once you have optimized the performance of your agency and improved on your services offered, it may be time to start building a larger list of potential clients and scale the traffic to your website with the aim of converting more leads into paying clients.
There are a number of ways that you can do this, but as mentioned before, word-of-mouth advertising can be one of the most effective forms of marketing because of the instant social proofing it gives the referred lead. An issue with word-of-mouth marketing however is that it often does not happen as quickly as you would like, or need in order to make significant strides to growing your business… at least not immediately.
In order to build on this limitation, it is a good idea for any digital marketing agency to advertise using organic means such as social media posts, backlinks, and even traditional marketing depending on your market.
If you feel like you need to reach more people immediately, paid marketing might be the best solution for you as boosting posts on social media or running pay-per-click ads on a platform like Google Ads can often generate an instant spike in traffic.
6. Additional Income Streams
A big issue for most small digital marketing agencies is that there is inconsistent income from month to month as clients can hop on and off digital marketing agencies easily. One way to combat this issue is to create an additional income stream that allows you to have another source to rely on other than digital marketing services for brands. This could be in the form of an e-book that could be sold online, or even paid webinars that could offer brands helpful training on setting up their business to benefit from digital marketing services.
Grow, Grow, Grow
The digital marketing craze brought on by the global pandemic is the perfect opportunity for you to grow your digital marketing agency, and we would love to hear what has worked for you and what hasn’t.