Like the cobbler’s children with no shoes or the photographer without family pictures, it’s easy for digital agency owners to overlook their own promotion. Agency owners are experts at elevating their customers’ brands, products, and services and designing growth strategies to propel them to new heights. But often they could use help knowing how to promote a digital marketing agency. Read on for practical tips to grow your business in 2022.
First Things First
Once you introduce your agency to the marketplace, the tough work begins. Our data shows that growth-related challenges were a top concern for digital ad agencies in 2021. The digital marketing landscape looks just as crowded and competitive in 2022. So knowing how to attract a steady pipeline of clients is essential.
Laying the foundation before recruiting clients includes:
- Solid Operations. Documented and deployed processes and procedures are essential to capitalizing on leads. You staff should be trained on repeatable steps to immediately engage potential clients and move them efficiently through your pipeline.
- Excess Capacity. Before you close a bunch of new business, you need to make sure you have the capacity to handle the additional work. There’s a sweet spot for how busy your team members should be: 70-90% for production level staff and 60-80% for account management.
- Well-Researched Positioning. Know what you do best. This knowledge requires market analysis and research. Once you solidify your niche, clearly show others why you are the best option to solve those specific problems.
- Proper Pricing. Overpricing leads clients to choose a better bargain. But underpricing can make potential customers wonder why your services are worth less than others. Hitting the sweet spot in your market can attract those who are looking for the best service or product at the most reasonable price — which is nearly everyone.
- Vision. To get where your going, it’s important to first know where you want to end up. Spending quality time vision setting gives your team clear parameters and allows you to efficiently allocate resources.
How to Promote a Digital Marketing Agency
Growth requires sales and marketing to work together elegantly. It’s what keeps your books in the black and gives you the resources needed to attract new talent, appropriately scale your business, and achieve your strategic goals.
Meet Your Customer Where They Are
After doing your positioning work, you should have a great sense of who you’re selling to, their key pain points, and where they hang out. Industry or trade groups are an excellent first step to meeting potential customers. But don’t just sign up as a sponsor and call it a day. That’s what lazy firms do. Instead, try some content marketing that establishes your firm as a credible source for solving some of their key pain points.
Is manufacturing a target industry? Uncover a pain point (probably direct-to-consumer enablement or something similar), build some content around it (a webinar or e-book… something with some meat to it), find an industry group, and ask to share the content plus some Q&A via a webinar for their members.
Use Your Super Powers
Just like you do for clients, set up hyper-targeted campaigns to reach new prospects. Then it’s the “simple” act of building a lead magnet they’re interested in, promoting them via those campaigns, and dropping the leads into your lead nurturing program.
One way to stay on top of industry trends and uncover pain points is regular contact with your clients at the strategic level. This regular contact means having meetings with decision-makers about the future of their industry. What are they excited about? What worries them? What are their competitors doing? Having these kinds of conversations also sets your agency up as more of a strategic partner instead of just another vendor.
The key here is to use what you know and to treat yourself as a client. We’ve seen agencies have a lot of success by creating internal codes in their time tracking and project management systems for internal projects. This gives you decent visibility into just how much you’re investing in growing the business.
Creative ways to attract clients include:
- Know Your Niche. Most agencies don’t aspire to be everything to everyone. By unabashedly focusing on what sets you apart and your core competencies, you offer exceptional service and invaluable insights to your clients. If you specialize in a service or industry, you can uniquely solve challenges and create content to earn market share. You do you, and clients will follow.
- Establish Authority. Establishing authority is an incredibly effective strategy for newer technology companies or something novel. If you can become the go-to digital expert in a largely unexplored space, for example, AI copywriting, you can earn varied business.
- Add Value First. People trust agencies that offer initial evaluations that demonstrate their abilities and expertise. Relevant case studies and successful data trends also capture potential clients’ attention. You can share that information through personal conversations, presentations, and social media. This information lets clients know you are worth your fees before your work begins.
- Be Consistent. The most successful agencies establish repeatable, scalable processes for their primary operations. They document the procedures. And they track and trend results to ensure appropriate progress toward strategic objectives.
- Utilize Your Team. Getting the right people in front of the right clients is essential. Usually, you need a sales-oriented team member and a service or product expert at minimum to close a deal.
- Engage Current Clients. Promote your services to clients even after they are with you. Master the upsell of service menu items that have good profit margins. You can also ask clients to give positive, shareable recommendations.
- Promote to Recruit. To expand your client roster, you need excellent talent. But why would the best in the business want to work with you? The same reasons your clients do! Articulate your passion for your work and the opportunities to excel at their craft to prospective employees.
Identifying and securing new clients can be a daunting task, but you are experts at getting the message out to the correct target audience. So implement your best practices to expand your reach.
Marketers are busy. They are busy making sure their clients’ needs are met. They partner with them to formulate, execute, measure, and track appropriate growth strategies. They create content and graphics and boost online presence – oftentimes for everyone but themselves. In order to grow, digital agencies must focus on their own strategies. Successful, sustainable organizations will emulate what they do for others in order to better serve current clients, attract new business, and hire the best talent.
Traps to avoid when creating your growth strategy include:
- Underinvesting. Our research shows most agencies underinvest in their sales and marketing efforts. The average is around 7% of revenue for sales and marketing activities. Time and time again we see agencies with funnel issues because they don’t invest enough in top-of-funnel and mid-funnel promotion. For aggressive growth, use your profit margin and target ~10% of revenue for your marketing efforts and another ~10% for sales.
- The Techy in You. So, you love tech. But have you communicated to clients how the tech you offer helps them? Don’t get so excited about selling the features or services of technology that you forget to pitch the benefits. Clients commit to agencies based on business decisions.
- Confusing Branding. Your website and messaging should be hyperfocused on what you can do for clients. Clearly articulate how you solve common market problems. And repeatedly reinforce your value in obvious and subtle ways. Curated copy above the fold on your About Us page is great, but authentic testimonials and well-packaged results reiterate the high quality services and intangibles you provide.
Looking to Grow? Promethean Research Can Help.
Sometimes an unbiased, outside perspective can identify new ways to unlock sustainable growth. Find out how Promethean Research can partner with you to reach your strategic goals.