How to Scale a Marketing Agency

Let’s face it.

Managing a digital marketing agency is no a piece of cake.

You’ve got to find the best people for your agency, and figure out how to pay them. You’ll also need to strategically market your agency to your potential customers.

And a whole lot more.

No matter what though, running a digital marketing agency requires implementing a marketing strategy that fits the needs of your target audience. And that’s especially relevant now that the business climate has drastically changed because of COVID-19.

In recent years, online digital marketing has become the norm. Today’s businesses tend to prioritize digital campaigns so their brands standout online.

Strategic digital marketing campaigns help modern businesses gain more customers. But they can only achieve this with the help of a digital marketing agency.

So, how can you, marketing agency owner, help small business owners level up their marketing?

Potential new clients will look at your past campaigns and reviews as deciding factors to choosing to work with you.

One way to help you gain new customers and retain them too is through the process of upscaling.

In this piece, we’ll be throwing down several awesome, kickbooty strategies you can use to scale your digital marketing agency — even if your target markets are in competitive, demanding industries.

What Does It Mean to Scale Your Marketing?

If you swim in the deep blue, shark-infested seas that is the content marketing world, then you’ll have to deal with many different clients. Some large, some small.

So, as you provide services for each client, you gain more experience and knowledge about their businesses as well as their target audience. You can use your experience to create more engaging content. Or implement new strategies, leading to very happy clients.

If you’re already thinking of taking on more clients for your marketing agency, then congratulations. You’re already in the early stages of upscaling.

However, you should remember that upscaling, just like starting up, is no easy task.

Just like in the beginning, your team may have a trouble with certain business aspects, such as hiring and resource management. However, there are some tips and strategies you can implement that will make the upscaling phase much easier.

So, what exactly does it mean to scale your marketing?

Does it mean you’ll have to measure your strengths and weaknesses to know whether you can increase your clientele and add more value to your agency?

Or does it mean you have to evaluate and adjust your business models for improved client retention?

For scaling your marketing efforts, it’s both.

You implement strategies that allow you to focus on the customer experience, which will widen your client base. Additionally, you’ll fuel the growth of your marketing agency since you’ll be investing in where your target audience is — online.

So, you’ll have to implement different marketing strategies across your online channels, and possibly offline marketing channels, to create successful campaigns and reach the right people.

How to Take Your Marketing Agency to the Next Level

When it comes to digital and online marketing, it is important that your strategies and marketing efforts deliver results, whether it’s:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Converting site visitors into customers

And so one.

Below are some of the top strategies for scaling your digital marketing efforts for maximum results.

Find your target niche

Before you break a sweat on any marketing effort, first determine the niche you want to focus on. Deciding on a niche is essential when you’re trying to scale your digital marketing agency.

Niched-down focus will brand you as the expert in that specific industry. Finding your target niche can also help you create more successful and engaging campaigns, which will generate more opportunities for your agency.

But when we say, find your niche, we don’t necessarily mean picking an industry-specific one.

Remember, marketing has different strategies.

For example, you can venture into vertical marketing where you cater to clients with specialized needs. Or you can niche down into lead generation services for small and mid-sized businesses.

The most important takeaway for this strategy is that the niche you ultimately decide to focus on helps you stand out from your competitors.

Evaluate your current workflow process

During the business growth phase, it’s critical to evaluate if your marketing agency is truly ready and primed for upscaling.

Evaluating your current workflow process will help you identify signs of potential breakdowns or bottlenecks in your process.

When you scale your digital marketing agency, you’ll likely need to take on additional human resources.

Some tips to get you started:

Create a workflow for your HR teams that’s dedicated to the entire hiring process — from recruitment to interviews, and all the way to onboarding.

A great tool for streamlining the employment process is implementing customer relationship management software that tracks where a candidate is currently.

Scaling, however, isn’t only applicable to your HR team. Even your creative teams can implement workflows intended for streamlining their processes.

To get started, ask each team member about steps or ways that they think can optimize the whole process.

Are they utilizing project management software? If not, should they be?

In other words, collaborative effort will come in handy when it comes to scaling marketing agencies.

Build your agency’s brand

Digital marketing agencies have one primary role — to help their clients build their own brands. However, clients and new employees alike will tend to stay away from your agency if you don’t have a well-built brand.

Use these tips to establish strong branding as a digital marketing agency:

  • Review your current buyer personas — Recent events in the market may have caused your clients and their target audience to change priorities. You can also observe your existing clients for any new trends they might be interested in. Review your meeting notes or even recent campaign briefs to gain insight into how your clients’ businesses have shifted over the past years.
  • Identify opportunities — Investigate opportunities where you can offer your digital marketing services to niche-specific groups or industries. Who knows — maybe your gym is planning to take its business online!
  • Have a consistent online presence — This is a crucial part of engaging your audience and increasing brand awareness. It’s also why updating your website and social media pages with your successful campaigns is essential for building your brand. With a consistent online presence, existing customers, new clients, and potential candidates can easily find you and see what they can expect from your agency.

Another effective strategy for brand building is to publish testimonials, video case studies, and blogs regularly. Use your own agency and its materials to showcase your expertise and marketing knowledge.

Create a remote-friendly work culture

One sign that your agency is in need of scaling is when you start generating more employment and job openings.

However, when creating policies for your workspaces, it’s important to consider your employees’ needs, similar to how you already cater to your clients’ needs.

In recent years, our situations have made remote work the norm. As much as we didn’t expect it to, remote work has enabled us to collaborate faster and easier.

But despite its positive impact on productivity and efficiency, remote work still has its challenges. For best results, you’ll want to address these challenges when establishing your agency’s new, improved, and upscaled work culture.

Here are some tips on how you can foster a remote-friendly work culture in your marketing agency:

  • Encourage flexible work hours — Consider each employee’s productive work hours when assigning tasks. You can still set specific times for meetings. But be sure to allow employees to attend to their deliverables on their own time.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate — A secret to an effective remote work setup is effective communication. Make sure to facilitate team communication as easily and often as possible in every stage of the project.
  • Stay organized — Projects and tasks aren’t different all the time. Some become repetitive. To help your teams with repetitive tasks, we highly recommend using checklists and workflow guides. This way, your teams have guidance in every step of the project, even those who are new to your marketing team.

Nevertheless, fostering a remote-friendly work culture requires all members to trust each other.

Your team will appreciate it if you can trust them to be productive on their own — even without your supervision.

Offer tiered solutions

Offering tiered solutions is one way you can optimize and scale your agency. Tied solutions allow you to streamline your workflows, provide more value to your company, and keep your clients happy and satisfied.

When offering tiered solutions, start with your most basic offer, explaining how it can help with your client’s needs.

Then, you can add more tiered solutions which include more services, all at a competitive price.

Make sure each tiered solution is distinguishable from the others. Otherwise, you may cause some confusion.

If you’re persuading your existing clients to take on your tiered solutions, offer them a free trial to see how it can help their businesses.

Stay on top of team productivity

Despite your best efforts, having a remote-friendly work culture still poses some challenges. One of these is keeping team productivity in check.

One way you can ensure team productivity and efficiency is by using project management software to track your employees’ time use and productivity.

This way, you can identify bottlenecks in the project, and in your team’s general workflows.

There are readily available tracking templates online. Or you can create your own timesheets for your team to fill out.

Optimize your tool stack

As your agency grows, so do your needs. So, it’s important that you make any necessary changes to the tools that support your agency’s work whenever possible.

Here are some ways you can check whether your tools need to be optimized:

  • For user-dependent tools, check whether the tool can still support the growing number of team members using the account.
  • Ask your employees for tool recommendations they think will greatly support them when working.
  • Look into new and upgraded tools and determine whether the team would find them useful.

By optimizing your tool stack, not only will your work get easier, but you’ll also finish faster without sacrificing quality.

Also, an optimized and upgraded tool stack can help you stay competitive among other agencies.

Set boundaries with clients

Sometimes, having low-profit margins and client churn tempts you to agree with every client request. However, you should remember that this can have a negative impact on your marketing agency’s scaling in general.

It’s crucial that you stick to the niche that you’ve chosen beforehand. This way, you’ll find it easier to say no to clients who are making requests for services that are beyond your usual scope.

Focus on the areas you’re confident that you can excel and deliver in, instead of taking on every request that comes along.

Look at the big picture

When you see your agency scaling, it becomes harder to look at the bigger picture. You get busier as the days pass, and monitoring your’s and your team’s progress is time-consuming.

It’s all too easy to get lost in the details. But that’s not the way to do things if you want to stay afloat and keep growing.

Remember to take a step back and take a look at your agency’s progress from an outside’s point of view.

Who knows. You might gain new insight into how to fix bottlenecks and issues that are holding your team back from progressing.

Build excellent client relationships

Digital and online marketing is all about the client base.

What your clients say about you now will heavily impact your ability to get future projects. And if you can successfully retain clients.

So, for you to get more projects and clients, always work to build good relationships with them.

Here are some ways you can establish a great relationship with your clients:

  • Guide them through each stage of their campaign — This way, they’ll know you’re dedicated to providing the results they want for their business.
  • Give attention to their needs — This will help you deliver results. But also, staying attentive to your client’s needs will make them feel that they are an important part of the process.
  • Communicate regularly — Keep clients updated on their project’s progress.

Building client relationships is important for your agency’s growth. Deliver consistent customer service, and you will make more money and scale your agency successfully.

Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Agency

Scaling is all about timing.

We all know that many agencies face challenges every day which can make them fearful of scaling. Some agencies scale at the right time, while other agencies scale before they’re ready.

One thing is for sure — choosing not to scale at the right time has dire consequences:

  • Missed growth opportunities
  • Turning away potential clients
  • Failing to keep up with your current workload

And that’s just to name a few.

So, how do you know if your agency is ready for scaling?

Here are four signs it’s time to fuel growth and upscale.

  1. More clients than you can handle

Your agency’s campaigns have garnered the attention of more clients — those in specific niches and those who’re high-paying.

Of course, you want to accept their requests and make more money. We all do!

But with these new leads and requests, you may find that you are now struggling to keep up with the workload.

Ask these questions to determine whether you need to scale up.

If your answer to any of the questions is yes, then it’s time to grow, young grasshopper.

  • Is there currently a waiting list for clients?
  • Is your agency turning down potential clients?
  • Is there enough time or space to accept more work?

Choosing not to scale up despite the need to will only lead to employee burnout as there is more work and fewer people. You do not want to risk that.

  1. Steady income

Scaling your agency means new expenses coming your way, from the employment process to implementing your strategies that are aligned with your business growth.

As a result, you’ll also need to upgrade your tools to keep up with the industry. With such expenses, you can only scale your agency once you have a steady income from your current service offerings.

So, if you’re getting in a stable income from your existing clients, consider using some of that income as the budget for scaling upward.

  1. Desire for a bigger impact

Digital content marketers provide services so that their clients can leave an impact on the market. But you can’t go big when you stay small.

You may not be aware of it, but growth for your agency also means growth for your clients.

By upscaling, you can gather more resources to meet client demand. You can also boost your clients’ businesses alongside yours when you scale up.

  1. You want to seize a big opportunity

Businesses always start small, and digital marketing is no exception.

You might have started in a specific niche, with a few employees with relevant knowledge and expertise in that market.

However, once you’ve gained attention from more leads, you’ll get inquiries from new ones. And the momentum just builds from there.

As you get more inquiries, you’ll naturally require bringing on more employees knowledgeable in that field. After all, they can assist you in getting new opportunities for your agency.

So, be brave, and expand your horizons to meet growing demand for your services.

Conclusion

Just like any other business, digital marketing agencies aim for growth.

But there are times when agency owners are afraid to grab opportunities because they worry their efforts will fall flat and hurt their business.

Scaling your agency is beneficial in more ways than one, including generating increased employment.

Here are some key points to remember when you’re planning to scale your digital content agency:

  • Invest in where your target audience is online — Implement stages of the customer journey that will move leads through your marketing funnel, changing first-time visitors into new clients.
  • Finding your target niche goes a long way — Niching down makes your business growth efforts laser-focused on the right clients. Then, you’ll produce better results faster.
  • Set boundaries — Expanding your expertise is great. But still, learn when to say no to client requests, especially if they are beyond your usual scope.
  • Build relationships — Always build relationships with your clients as they can pave the way for more opportunities for your agency.
  • Read the writing on the wall — There are a few telltale signs that indicate it’s time to upscale your agency. Some of these signs are having more work than you can handle, consistently generating a steady income, wanting to provide a bigger impact, and seize a bigger opportunity in the market.

Knowing if you’re ready to scale isn’t as complex or opaque as discerning tea leaves. But it can still be a little confusing, especially if you’re new to the whole business growth thing.

So, if you’re still unsure, check out our ScaleMap Diagnostic. It’ll tell you if now is the right time to scale your agency!