How to Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency [Without Ads]
In a world where marketing and advertising are mainly digital where you can reach millions of people, honestly, it doesn’t make any sense for your agency to be plateauing.
So if you feel you already hit the proverbial ceiling (ouch), understand the opportunity for growing your digital marketing agency is actually HUGE.
All you need is reliable knowledge and expertise to effectively keep scaling.
You see, when I started my first business, I made the mistake of thinking my product was so amazing it would sell itself.
But reality hit me right in my face and I quickly learned a secret…
The most successful products and services weren’t the best in terms of value. They were the best because they were marketed the best way.
And this let me grow my conversion-focused web design agency back in 2010 to generate over $19 million for clients.
So if you’re looking to expand the reach of your digital marketing agency, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, I’m going to reveal…
- The 9 proven ways to scale your digital marketing agency and how you can make a bigger name for yourself in the digital marketing game.
- Why scaling too fast is actually not good for your agency growth—and what happens when you make that mistake.
- Why it’s better to say no to having too many clients and what happens when you say yes to them all.
You may already be doing a few of these things BUT I guarantee that you’ll find at least a few gold nuggets that will help you take your agency to the next level.
Alright. Without any further ado, this quick guide starts with this…
#1 Way to Scale Your Agency: Hire the Right Team Members to Help You Handle All Your Clients’ Work
As your digital marketing agency grows, the work for your clients increases and so does your business’ needs.
And while 15% of digital marketing agencies feel that hiring and training new employees is the biggest challenge they’ve been facing this year…
…you need to hire the right team members to keep up with all the clients’ work.
These are fundamental because they should be part of your core team.
- Project Manager
- Digital Marketing Strategist
- Ads Manager
- Quality Assurance Specialist
- Administrative Specialist
- Web Developer
- VP of Operations
No matter what your goal is, these team members will be the ones in charge of scaling your agency.
Because you, as the owner, simply cannot be wearing all of these hats.
And the efficiency of your digital marketing agency will depend on the quality of the team members you bring on board.
For instance, if you see no good candidates moving through your hiring funnel, then don’t bring them into your team and review each stage of your funnel.
Agencies (and companies in general) that track or monitor each step of their hiring process are the ones that fill open positions with the right people quickly.
#2 Way to Scale Your Agency: Document All Your Processes & Systems to Train New Hires
Lack of documented processes and systems results in myriad costs that you, the agency owner, will have to pay out of pocket.
Because if you bring in a new hire to your agency and there’s no documentation to help them train, then you’ll probably have to incur in costs to have someone train the new person.
But with proper documentation and having all your processes systematized, these basically do the job of training new hires.
So having your team documenting processes and systems lets them register in a very detailed way every step of a specific process and how it’s supposed to be executed by new team members.
And then, your new team members will be basically trained through those documentations and processes.
This could be mapped out in the form of a flowchart, video, guide—anything.
#3 Way to Scale Your Agency: Get Qualified Leads & Filter the Ones Who Aren’t a Fit
Getting qualified clients for your digital marketing agency is a real problem.
In fact, according to Wordstream, 37.3% of agencies say the single biggest challenge for them is to acquire new clients. And 8.7% say retaining clients is their biggest challenge.
Getting new clients (and retaining them) is a real struggle for you.
But the same way you must qualify leads before getting on a call, you must better qualify potential clients to weed out the ones who aren’t a fit for your service.
This, in turn, will help you reduce churn rates.
Because to stay profitable, you need to compensate your team and cover all your expenses without running out of cash.
And to not run out of cash, you need a steady stream of clients to remain profitable.
This is especially true for smaller agencies, which actually make up the bulk of all agencies.
In fact, according to Promethean research, over 70% of the agency marketplace is made up of clients that generate less than $1.5M per year.
Getting qualified leads to your digital marketing agency simply improves your ROI (return on investment) over an extended period of time according to Marketing Insider Group.
So in order to scale your agency and better qualify clients, find out:
- How big or small their businesses are (can they afford your service or will they cancel in the short term?)
- What products or services they sell (are they physical products, high-ticket products or services?)
- The industries and markets they’re in (is it in your scope of work?)
- Their company’s cultural philosophy
- The personality of the individual you’ll work with most closely (is the client someone enjoyable to work with or will he/she make the relationship difficult?)
- The challenges they face
- And why they’re looking to hire you in the first place (what are their goals?)
This point is really important because, in my experience, the clients who have stayed the longest in AutoGrow’s monthly-based service have been the clients who were better qualified during the initial sales calls.
That’s why it’s so important having a Digital Marketing Strategist or someone in charge of leading the calls with prospective clients.
So they can better qualify them, see if they’ll be a good fit for your agency or not and answer all of their questions.
So the bottom line is look to work with clients that have the budget to work with you, that are committed to a long-term relationship, and that really need and understand your business model.
And that last point is especially true when you hear clients saying “I want to cancel, I didn’t know I was going to be charged for the second month.”
Didn’t they know your agency is a monthly-based service? Come on!
So educate them on the qualification process so they can remove themselves from the process.
#4 Way to Scale Your Agency: Deliver the Work in Reasonable Time Frames—Don’t Let Your Clients Wait
“I need to get this work done in less than 2 hours.”
That’s one of your many clients asking you to speed up the work.
Most of the time they just want things to be done yesterday.
But the question is, are you able to deliver the work in reasonable time frames?
If the answer is no, you should consider this point.
Because most clients need (or want—whatever) the work done soon. And delivering the work late could actually make your clients want to end the relationship.
Well, if you deliver the work late to clients, they’ll be dissatisfied because you didn’t respect the agreed upon timelines.
And if they’re dissatisfied, they’ll probably want to cancel the service.
And if they cancel the service, that means you get one unhappy client (and a possible negative review) and your churn rates will go up.
So be realistic with your timelines and work hard on trying to get all the work delivered on time.
#5 Way to Scale Your Agency: Focus on (You Guessed) Profitability—Not Revenue
Let me show you a little bit where agencies are at nowadays.
Total U.S. revenue for the more than 400 agencies and agency networks tracked last year amounted to $55.2 billion.
And revenue for U.S. ad agencies increased by 1.2% according to Ad Age.
And despite 2019 being the weakest growth since the Great Recession, the industry is actually growing.
As I said at the beginning of this article, the opportunities for growth for your agency are huge!
In fact, U.S. ad agencies are expected to generate over 45 billion dollars in revenue in 2020 according to Statista.
And according to HubSpot, most marketing agencies generate between 300 and 800 sales opportunities per month.
Those numbers are very appealing.
But hey, focusing on revenue without knowing if your agency is actually profitable pulls you in a bad direction.
You can’t say yes to all clients who want to work with you and take as many new accounts as possible.
Because more clients doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue.
Here’s what I mean. If your team is not capable of taking on a given number of clients, then 2 things could happen:
1) Your team could be overloaded and won’t be able to submit the work on time, and if they do submit it, they could be of low quality and clients won’t be happy.
2) Your clients will not be satisfied with your service and therefore they’ll cancel your service.
And that’s where you start seeing the churn rates go up.
So focus on profitability instead of revenue.
And you’ll see that while handling increased revenue seems like a good problem to have, the sign of a healthy business lies not necessarily in its bottom line but in its margins.
#6 Way to Scale Your Agency: Don’t Obsess With Growing Too Fast Too Soon
If you’re wondering how to scale your digital marketing agency, you’re probably thinking that growing fast is the solution.
But you can only grow as long as you’re prepared for it and as long as you’re capable of doing so.
You see, you can’t grow at the expense of your foundation falling apart.
According to research by Promethean, there’ll be an unquestionable growth in digital marketing services through 2021.
And in fact, excessive growth in your business could outpace your capacity to account for the changes that come with more clients.
So if your agency is small, sure, you may have more control over the numbers and finances in general.
But once your digital marketing agency starts scaling and you start seeing millions of dollars coming in, it could be harder to keep track of it.
So make sure you grow as your agency, team, and finances let you do so.
#7 Way to Scale Your Agency: Deliver High-Quality Work for Your Clients—Good Is Not Enough & Here’s Why…
High-quality work is critical to satisfying your clients. It’s also a fundamental part of building loyalty so they continue to buy from you in the future.
Quality work makes a significant contribution to long-term revenue and profitability for your agency. And it also lets you charge higher prices.
Because if you provide impeccable deliverables to your clients, it would be really hard for clients to complain about the work.
And if they have no complaints about the work your agency delivers, then they’ll want to stick with your service.
And this will actually let you increase your pricing because you know that your loyal clients will prefer your services because of your high quality and regardless of your prices.
#8 Way to Scale Your Agency: Always, Always Provide Top-Notch Customer Service
Customer service is important to your agency because it helps you retain customers.
In fact, according to research by HubSpot, 55% of growing companies state it’s “very important” to invest in customer service programs. Compared to 29% of companies with stagnant or declining revenue.
And I’m not that surprised that companies focused on their customers and clients’ success are increasing their revenue because of increased customer satisfaction.
That’s why we always always provide excellent customer support to all of our clients in our service.
And it’s what made us earn a fistful of testimonials like this one…
So by providing top-notch customer service, you’re nurturing the relationship with existing clients and gaining potential new customers.
Because someone who’s happy with your service will spread the word. They’ll recommend you to friends or other clients. And they will post a positive review or leave a testimonial at the very least.
You see, according to Bain & Company, 67% of repeat customers or clients are more likely to invest more money in your agency.
Because they’re happy with the service you’re providing!
And a simple increase in customer retention of 5% can translate into a 25% increase in profits.
So no matter what, keep your clients happy by offering the 5-star customer service they deserve.
#9 Way to Scale Your Agency: Stand Out From Other Agencies So Potential Clients See You As Their Best Option
Your potential clients may be considering other options to partner with.
So in order for them to choose you, you must stand out.
But how do you do this?
- By being clear with your unique selling proposition.
- By strengthening your branding and your messaging.
- By targeting your right audience and industry and going niche.
- By offering the highest quality work for your clients.
- By offering price anchoring.
- By offering value to your clients.
- By saving time for your clients.
Think of it as a competition.
You’re competing with other agencies without even knowing them.
You want to focus all your efforts on getting clients to choose you and not anyone else.
And If You Can’t Handle All of Your Clients’ Work, Here’s What to Do….
All right, now that you’ve read all of these tips you should have a pretty good idea of what to do and not do to scale your agency.
And if for some reason you think you can’t handle all of your clients’ work, meet deadlines, or you simply don’t want to do it, I’ve got the solution for you.
How does this exactly work?
Well, we can actually handle all of your clients’ requests for you. You only have to tell us what your clients need and we can do it all for you.
It’s better than outsourcing because when you delegate the work to us, you have the authority and power to tell us exactly what you need and want.
And when you outsource, you’re simply distributing the work.
Imagine a car and you being the driver.
Well, we’re the car taking you wherever you want to go and you’re there defining the path for us.
Anything you need to work on for your clients, we’re there to do all the work.
From strategy to implementation and optimization, we go from making your idea, task, or project—a reality for you and your clients.
See how easy it is?
You no longer have to wonder how to scale your digital marketing agency.
With the gold nuggets you extracted from this article, you’ll be more than ready to take your business in the direction you want it to go.
And once your agency is successfully scaling, then you’ll be ready to remove yourself from the front lines!
Here’s a quick review of what you should do to scale your digital marketing agency:
- Don’t accept too many clients if you can’t fulfill the demand of what that work requires.
- Focus on being profitable rather than just taking on too many clients because more clients don’t necessarily mean more revenue.
- Excessive growth in your business could outpace your capacity to account for the changes that come with more clients.
- Qualify, inform, and educate your leads before they sign up for your service to avoid high churn rates.
- Always provide excellent customer service, high-quality work, and deliver the work on time.
And if you’re still curious about how to grow your business in general, in our marketplace we have some great resources that can help you do just that.
Now tell me something, which gold nuggets did you extract from this resource?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.