The problem with every digital agency that needs to stay competitive is the lack of a growing client base that will help the company to keep floating on the choppy waters of the battle for market share. Whether you provide web design, mobile app design, UX/UI design, or digital marketing services, you need to consistently keep your agency ahead of the competition.
Most agencies lack enough resources to remain competitive. The usual culprits are lack of enough cash or people, or lack of a growth strategy. Or maybe you lack other resources needed to deliver exemplary work for clients so that you keep them delighted and make them come back for more.
It’s a problem for every business, not just agencies. However, you can still provide high-quality services, even without as many people, cash, or other resources as you think you might need.
How you ask? How do you deliver excellent client project and keep your agency ahead of the competition?
Letting software, systems, and workflows — along with a few select smart people who work for your agency — take up the bulk of the work leaving you to focus on real engagement with your customers.
Using specific systems, processes, and technology you can make your service workflow a lot more efficient, semi-automated (or maybe even automated), and spend all the time you free up by engaging directly with customers instead of digging your head into the sand just to deliver services.
Here’s how you can provide at least services (delivered as standalone services or in combination with other services or maybe just as value-added services, for no extra cost) depending on your strategic direction:
Websites are irrelevant. Build sales machines instead.
There are several thousands of agencies and freelancers that provide website design services.
But as marketers, we know this: No one really cares about a website, at least not as much as “designers” and “developers” tend to think.
All that importance attributed to a website is ridiculous.
Don’t mistake us, you do need websites for:
- To help your business maintain a branded presence on the web.
- Providing an easy way for your potential visitors to find you (it helps if you are visible on search with adequate search optimization and on social).
- Help them find their way around your website to find the information they need or to learn more about your products and services. (It helps if your website is designed well and loads fast for a better experience)
- A way for your potential customers to interact with your business, reach out to you with questions, ask for help, sign up as a lead, or to buy your products and services.
That’s all what a website does.
As a business, you do need all that. But even more importantly, you need leads and sales. Instead of focusing on “websites” alone, focus on delivering what really matters to your clients:
- Various ways to get traffic to websites (organic marketing and paid advertising).
- Generate leads from the visiting pool of customers (opt-in forms, slide-ins, welcome mats, contact forms, chatbots, etc.).
- Collect leads to a central system such as a CRM or an email marketing system and then help clients nurture leads at the top of the funnel to help make sales (at the bottom of the funnel).
Stop creating websites and letting clients figure things out for themselves. Find a way to connect the dots and deliver complete result-driven services instead.
No one wants a website that just exists; your clients really need lead generating sales machines.
Analytics is underrated. Provide insights.
Do you know where analytics stands in the order of importance for most agencies, freelancers, and even clients (businesses of all kinds, bloggers, and anyone with a website)?
Most people think that analytics is something where we should connect Google Analytics or other Analytics tools with our website and see how many visitors the website(s) get. Or maybe we go as far as just connecting websites to analytics software and leave it at that.
One of the major gifts of digital marketing is the fact that you can use analytics to stay on top of your numbers, analyze your traffic sources, determine which of those traffic sources get you maximum ROI, and weed out digital marketing channels that aren’t working for you.
Paying close attention to analytics helps you identify money-making opportunities, content that works for you (and content that doesn’t), and so much more.
If you aren’t giving analytics the importance it deserves as an agency (while knowing all about it), you can only imagine the state of your client who never even connected his or her website to an analytics suite in the first place.
Providing regular analytics reports to your clients, based off of the work you do for them goes a long way to show them how your digital marketing efforts are contributing to their business bottom line.
Play the end-to-end game
Most agencies pick one thing they are good at and focus on it. So, you have SEO agencies, pay per click agencies (Google Ads or Facebook ads), social media agencies, and agencies that only specialize in email marketing. Then, there are agencies that create sales funnels or only landing pages.
In each of these cases, clients are only getting value for a part of the complex equation that digital marketing really is.
Say your potential clients figure out that you are known for doing Facebook ads well. So, they hire you. We know that you’ll happily take up the project and work for those to make their Facebook ad campaigns work.
In reality, there’s no guarantee that Facebook ads will work for that client or maybe the CPC (cost per click) of their campaigns is rising through the roof. Then what? Clients withdraw their campaigns and you are out looking for your next clients.
If you play the end-to-end digital marketing game, things would be different. For example, if Facebook ads aren’t working for your clients, you could try Google Ads, Quora Ads, Twitter Ads, or LinkedIn ads. If pay per click — as in online advertising — isn’t working for the client, you’d suggest the organic marketing approach.
Why? Because clients need that kind of help and you can deliver those as an agency.
Deliver complete services
Let’s say, for whatever reason, that you don’t want to play the “get everything under one roof” game. If you don’t choose to take the “end-to-end agency” route, that’s alright too. It’s just a matter of strategic positioning.
If and when you choose to focus on providing a single service and be really good at it, you can’t hope to deliver half of what the clients need.
So, designers “design” websites but they don’t add copy or content to websites. Clients have to hire copywriters for that.
There are agencies that specialize in Google ads and Facebook ads but they don’t create landing pages or sales funnels for their clients. This way, it’s not a complete, result-oriented service that these agencies deliver.
Then, there are agencies that claim that they do “SEO” — but leave out critical aspects of SEO such as blogging regularly, content curation, repurposing content, link building efforts with guest posting, or creating awesome content that naturally gets links from other websites.
All that SEO agencies do is fire up a Keyword research tool, do some keyword research, sprinkle keywords on web pages, and call it a day.
The agency business is hard already. You can’t hope to survive as an agency delivering basic work.
If you need help with creating an agency competitive advantage, we provide complete agency solutions to streamline your operations, get and keep happy clients and deliver outstanding work.