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!

The Difference Between a Process, a Policy, and a Procedure

Process versus procedure

We’ve all had that one time we are confused as to why our employees have failed to understand the instructions, we gave them.

Yes, I have given them clear steps.

Yes, I have demonstrated how to do it.

Why are they finding it hard to comply?

Your team may be unable to keep up because they are finding it hard to tell the difference between the rules to follow and the actions, they need to take to perform a task well.

Although these are both important for your agency to successfully deliver the desired outcome, it is still necessary to differentiate three elements essential to your business: policy, process, and procedure.

Organizations often mistake these three terms as being one and the same, but in reality, they are different tools with different definitions, applications, and documentation. In this article, we will discuss the distinctions, which are important to understand when researching and developing documentation for your organization. After reading, you will understand the key differences between a policy, process, and procedure. Let’s dive into it.

Business process definition

Process versus procedure

What are business processes? A business process is not only a single task; it is a high-level view of interrelated tasks done to produce a product or a service. It gives a big picture of the duties and assignments with the departments doing them. It serves as a connector to assignments done within an agency arm or even across several divisions across an agency.

Here are some process qualities: processes define “what to do” to complete a service or create a product in an organization. Usually, processes cross departments. Diagrams are sometimes created through process maps, which describe the points when and where a person in authority performs or approves the task. Process diagrams are work flowcharts that are graphical representations of the entire process flow. Processes also have a process map that bridges point A to point B and the people who control the action.

If the agency implements a process of delivering a product out of a business concept, it shows you that point A is the business concept while point B is the end product or service. It follows a detailed procedure that maps out what are the sub-processes you must do and the people or groups of people who will be functioning at a certain point for you to get from one point to another. Sometimes, the total process crosses department lines; however, they will always contain specific instructions on following the company’s strategic direction to get to the desired destination.

The total process converts input to output, covering each process step underneath it so that an employee knows what to expect from start to finish after a function has been activated. That way, they know the task has started or been completed already!

Understanding what a policy is

Process versus procedure

Most companies have a particular set of work instructions. They are defined as policies. These policies are business rules that align with the agency’s objectives, goals, and management philosophies.

Setting an agency policy demonstrates an organization’s best practice; without policies, the other two elements – the processes and procedures – will be affected. This set of regulations helps establish the company culture that all employees from each division or department will follow, no matter their rank. They also help create control points with which you can monitor the extent to which policies and procedures are being adhered to.

Business policies can be regarded as laws inside the agency because they build the framework from which an organization helps its team quickly learn about the company. Tasks, especially repetitive ones, be implemented in a more standardized manner. Unnecessary errors can be avoided because there is already a policy put down, and people act following it to ensure that the agency operates smoothly.

A distinct quality of a policy is that it will always let an agency understand its destination clearly. However, it will not specify the direction to take or how to get there.

Policies address related subject matter

An excellent example of a policy would be a data privacy policy. This policy is often included in an agency’s rulebook. It assures its clients that their records and transactions are kept private. It is also a policy to protect your team members, ensuring that the employees’ information security is maintained and safely kept.

The data privacy policy can be seen as a reflection of how the company’s culture prioritizes the preservation of confidentiality within its organizational structure and externally among its clients. It aligns with a company’s goal of safeguarding its reputation and building trust. Still, it does not specify who is responsible for its implementation or how it is executed.

Other policies that can be established are vacation policy, social media policy, and recruitment policy.

Policy versus procedure

Process versus procedure

On the other hand, procedures refer to detailed instructions on how to do tasks or perform a sub-process action. Procedures should be aligned with all business rules contained in the company’s policy.

Special procedure manuals give specific instructions on how to go from point A to point B, how employees will go to the next phase, or how they will know if the process is complete.

Procedure qualities: procedures define the steps

Procedures identify which step-by-step instructions are needed to support team members in carrying out specific work. It is also a way to empower them to take control over work instruction. Business procedures help you manage tasks more efficiently by delegating assignments to make the most of your time as your agency learns to follow and document industry specifics.

A more detailed procedure can even be established by creating a desk top procedure for easy accessibility to the different department lines. This documentation presents procedure components, the detailed procedure, and business rules.

Developing documentation requires understanding the process tasks, how to properly structure the document, and any other related subject matter. The content contained in the procedures document should identify policy and graphically display system instructions.

How does a policy differ from a procedure?

The key difference between policies and procedures is that procedures are steps to achieve a particular outcome, which can be as little as a single task or as big as a full-blown company process. In contrast, policies address the reason behind constructing each procedure.

The policy is the “why”– the foundation and rationality – while the procedure is the “how”, the agency’s compliance to the why, and the manner or method by which you systematically achieve the goal.

There is no specific procedure for each policy, but each of your procedures should align with the organization’s business policy to keep it in check and operational.

What about a business process vs. procedure?

Business processes are useful information for customers and employees to learn the workflow outline and identify the responsible decision-making body. The procedure then elaborates on the series of steps required by the details of activity within the process.

The employee promotion process, for example, is composed of several points to rising from a certain rank to another. It involves several people who perform a specific service (role or responsibility) – the employee, the immediate supervisor, and the senior management. It can include a few sub-processes like evaluation, training, submission of requirements, and employee and colleague interviews, to name a few.

The procedure under each step discusses each detail from filling out the application form, giving X number of hours to perform promotion-related tasks, attending which seminars, and waiting X number of days for the approving body to decide.

What are the benefits of knowing the definition of each element?

We have now defined each key element together with its qualities and purpose. By knowing the differences and similarities of each, an agency can create its own structure of policies, processes, and procedures to improve its productivity and efficiency.

It is also useful information that can guide point persons in handling resources and can be vital to enhancing employee and client systems. It plays an important role in training new employees and tenured employees to observe compliance.

Organizations can also build on their internal and external connections by polishing up their policies, processes, and procedures. Marketing strategies can be easily executed by properly explaining guidelines to boost customer relationships. Departments implement these elements with reporting and proper documentation for future data baseline and evaluation.

Giving and receiving input on completed guidelines can serve as feedback for employees’ performance and foster communication in finding areas for improvement in your agency.

Process versus procedure

Key Takeaway

An agency’s process, procedure, and policy are essential because they go hand in hand to make a task more manageable and transparent. When properly structured, they help ensure consistency and set industry standards, ultimately creating work stability in the organization. While a process describes the outline to meet the end goal specified by the policy, the procedure details the minute actions taken to complete it. Assessing and revisiting these elements improves the organization’s work and eliminates, if not reduces, inaccuracy in performing work.

If you still have difficulty differentiating these three essential elements in your agency, keep in mind that policy-process-procedure are like peas in a pod:

  • Policies are business rules and regulations set by the company to achieve its goals
  • Processes give directions to point persons or the various department lines based on the policies
  • Procedures detail step-by-step guides on how to perform the processes

While policies and procedures help establish control points and ensure consistency, procedures explain the exact steps to follow policy and procedure requirements.

Following your organization’s policy, process, and procedure makes it easy to connect points and identify functional areas as everything is properly structured. Understanding the distinction keeps you and your team well-informed and aligned with your organization’s objectives from Day 1 until project completion.

With ScaleTime you can take a step back and let your agency grow. We give you guidelines on maintaining your team members’ accountability so they can work independently in their functional areas. We provide process improvement with our guidelines and templates, help you identify major functions, and properly structure your organization to attract new customers. Your policies, processes, and procedures will be taken care of to level up how you run your agency.

Take our FREE agency growth assessment quiz to see where things are falling short. We’ll send you a bundle of resources tailored to scaling your agency.

Hiring A Business Coach? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of hiring a business coach? Get started with our guide!

As a small business owner, you have no doubt heard the value of hiring a business coach. Whether you’re just starting out or ready to scale, these advisors will help you see the gaps in your plan that you haven’t seen and provide you with the guidance you need to stop your company from collapsing.

Some business owners look at their business coach as their savior, a knight in shining armor ready to win their battle against the business management monsters, with all their words written in the stars.

But is that the purpose of having a business coach? Is their presence vital to attaining business success? Read on to find out.

Why Business Owners Hire a Coach

A business owner can say that their business is already successful with the help of analytics: performance and satisfaction reports, profit margins, industry awards and recognition, and personal success. In the ideal world, a business owner ticks everything off their list, but in reality, there is always room for improvement.

This is where a business coach comes in. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional look from the outside in, acting as a sounding board and advising as they see fit from their perspective.

Companies and small business owners hire a business coach to gain leverage over their market and become recognized in their field. A business coach assists in professional career development to maximize your expertise in running an entire agency. With the help of a business coach, small business owners are empowered to design policies and action plans to grow their businesses and motivate their teams.

Hiring A Business Coach

Things to Consider When Hiring a Business Coach

Effective business coaches assist you in making accurate decisions, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, and improving overall agency performance. Sounds promising, eh? But just like any other coach who offers their services to you, immediately taking the bait without properly scrutinizing it may cause more negative impacts than positive ones in the long run.

Here are a few factors you can take into account first:

What stage is your business at?

Does your new business already exist? Is your business producing enough to make the cash flow stable? Although small business coaches specialize in start-ups and self-employed individuals, it is still important to note which stage your company is at to get a clearer picture of where to begin.

Is your mindset aligned with success?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “Success Mindset”. This isn’t just about being positive or having high hopes for your business; it requires visualizing success and what steps you’ll need to take to get there. It is a powerful tool, and a small business owner should spend some time checking in on your approaches to solutions, strategy, and collaboration, as all of these things are essential to success.

Some people find coaching helpful for improvement in this area, but keep in mind that even a great coach won’t be able to do this introspective work for you.

Is this really right for me?

Business coaching is a bit like having a life coach. Business owners can still live and function well without them. For some people, the opportunity to reflect with a coach is useful; for others, it feels uncomfortable and unproductive.

When Hiring a Business Coach Isn’t Worth It

If you are seriously considering hiring a business coach, but can’t put your finger on exactly why you should, then maybe you should also check why you shouldn’t.

You can’t afford it

Small business coaching services don’t come cheap. Their charges start at a thousand dollars a month or higher. Others charge $500 per hour, and other in-house coaching goes as high as $2,500 for one-on-one sessions. So if business owners don’t think they can spend more of their budget on additional business costs, hiring a business coach may not be the best solution.

You aren’t sure what you want to achieve

Everyone can say business growth is their plan six months from now, but how would an entrepreneur achieve this? When the answer is “I don’t know,” then a business coach may not be worth hiring. Their presence is to advise and observe the best way to fill in the gaps they see, but not spoon-feed the path itself. Business coaches give directions, but they’re not going to dictate where you take your business.

Your business is stable and predictable

Small business owners use business coaching services when their business plans fail. Likewise, many entrepreneurs take advice when they want to overcome obstacles like if they feel stuck, desire additional revenue, improve their sales and marketing skills, and so on. But if your business is stable, and you can foresee future growth despite the challenges, there may be no need to look for a business coach.

Why We Don’t Recommend a Business Coach

A great business coach is like a life coach for your organization. They collaborate with CEOs and owners to determine the best way to build businesses. However, having a business coach does not always turn out to be the best answer for all organizations. Here’s why we don’t recommend getting a business coach:

There is a misdirected focus in coaching sessions

Because business coaches want to figure out the optimum track to maximize your agency’s growth, it not only deals with the organization but with the top figures of the company as well. Unfortunately, coaching sessions today tend to focus more on talking about the entrepreneurs’ feelings and aspirations rather than developing KPIs and business strategies. Ultimately, they act as behavioral therapists who psychoanalyze instead of working alongside you.

They promise quick results

Business solutions take time before earning the fruits of their labor. Suppose it’s a whole system you aim to change, a structure for new ventures you want to create, or decades of embedded company culture that need modification. In these cases, successful business owners know there’s no shortcut to implementing an efficient development process.

They treat symptoms, not the cause

Business coaches tend to act on the immediate needs rather than the causes. Patching up the symptoms might help in the short run, but will only mean delaying if not foregoing long-term success. The underlying issues will still be around unless cured. As a result, business coaches’ approach can sometimes be limited, failing to address the root cause of problems that stop the entrepreneurs’ skills and organizations’ abilities from performing well.

Alternatives to Hiring Business Coaches

So, how does one succeed without the aid of business coaches?

Fret not! There’s still hope! There are other options to build businesses and increase ROI. Here are a few alternatives to check out if you’re still in doubt about getting a business coach:

Be conscious of your agency’s goals

What would you like your company to achieve? Split it down: What do you want to achieve by the end of the week? By the end of the year? Five years from now? Most business owners skip this part and take the plunge right away. Sit down with your team and confirm you’re all on the same page. Commit to making progress within the agency.

Establish and optimize your process

Set an effective business plan, find ways to measure development and monitor your progress. Metrics are not some scary nightmare of figures chasing you; they can be your best friend. Listen to them and honor their results. Be transparent and give feedback if needed.

Keeping track of your growth means evaluating what you already have and comparing it to what you want to achieve. A constant learning curve will help you become aware of areas for improvement and recognize your successes.

Make room for self-education

Education does not stop in college or senior high. Always say “yes” to improving yourself. Start by reading a few books that will help you discover and learn. Then, hire a pro to do a specified, detailed task so that you can take time to prioritize your physical and mental health. Finally, ask questions so that you can solve them yourself next time.

Lastly, become competent in using available online business tools like ScaleTime. They are there to help you time and again with running your organization with confidence and ease. Take the Sales Toolkit, for example, which will help you simplify and streamline your sales process and monitor the earnings you will be taking in.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, here’s our take on hiring a business coach for your agency:

  • Small business coaching is not necessarily a route to success.
  • They are there to help you improve your strategies and source of motivation, but they don’t guarantee you or your company’s growth.
  • Business coaching can be expensive, and it doesn’t do the work for you.
  • If business owners do not benefit from hiring one, they can focus on alternatives such as goal awareness, optimizing processes, and self-education.

Take our FREE agency growth assessment quiz to see where things are falling short. We’ll send you a bundle of resources tailored to scaling your agency.Hiring A Business Coach

How to Know if We Have More Strategic Implementation Issues Than We Think

Strategic implementation is key to business performance.

Business strategy is the backbone of your company. It’s the strategic plan directing your company to the pathway of success and achieving your goals.

Well, that certainly sounds simple, right?

Not.

Constructing an effective business strategy plan is one thing. Implementing it though? That’s an entirely different, major step.

You’ve got to execute the implementation well to ensure the company’s competitive status in the market, continue its ventures, satisfy your customers, and achieve your goals.

In this post, we’ll break it down so you can spot these top signs of wonky implementation and straighten them out:

  1. The company isn’t growing anymore.
  2. Your employees aren’t responding to directives.
  3. Customers and partners don’t want to work with you.
  4. Competitors are catching up.
  5. Qualified employees are scarce.
  6. Growth has stalled and there’s no progress in the recent reports.
  7. You’re having difficulty making decisions.

But first, coffee.

Fill up that mug. We’re gonna get into your strategic planning must-haves first.

Your strategic planning must-haves

We’ve got to make sure your have the necessary resources, manpower, and systems in place that will conform to the strategies set forth in your plan.

So why is this important?

Because this is the deal-breaker in business. These courses of action will tell if the business plan is effective or not, and by not, we mean the plan is failing.

Sound easy? Not gonna lie. It’s kind of hard.

But the things which are hard, are most worth doing.

Executing business strategies is another big challenge to conquer.

What makes the implementation so difficult? Where do problems come from? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs)? Is it the company’s method, manpower, or the systems?

Strategic issues are conflicts or problems without apparent solutions. Because if there is an obvious solution, the question is, why wasn’t it addressed in the first place?

Identifying all the issues with strategy execution in strategic management exposes the strategy’s cracks and helps you determine the next course of action.

So, let’s discuss the major signs pointing to any underlying cracks in your strategic implementation process.

1.  The company isn’t growing

A new business venture needs to meet the goals and objectives of its key stakeholders.

Growth is the most important factor to measure a business’s success. A growing company means it’s expanding in multiple ways.

Although there’s no single way to measure growth, we have different points where we can determine if the company is becoming stagnant or isn’t growing anymore.

  • Profits and losses reports are not changing.
  • Office tasks are repetitive.
  • You’re not getting new customers.

We may think that it’s easy to spot these signs. But finding out which parts of the strategic plans are the root causes of these issues is the real challenge.

Maybe, the strategic planning process is too slow responding to current changes in the marketplace. Technology, disasters, political conflicts, and pandemics are factors that may not be addressed in strategic implementation.

Still, as we see nowadays, these issues affect businesses in ways we haven’t witnessed before.

The bottom line is, you can’t just react. You have to anticipate. As such, a successful strategy implementation process must be action-oriented.

2.  Employees aren’t responding to directives

A plan is just a plan if the team responsible don't support successful implementation.

If the strategic plan is the backbone of the business, then, employees are the most critical resources. So, helping them engage in the company and reach their full potential can be rewarding for both the employer and the employee.

But at the same time, it can be disappointing if employees don’t carry out their given instructions or accomplish their specific tasks. This is a sign pointing to something wrong in the strategic implementation plan.

Top reasons why employees become unresponsive

The main reasons employees underperform and become unresponsive are:

  • They don’t know what is expected from them
  • The company’s environment doesn’t empower team effort
  • The tasks delegated to employees don’t align with their skills or level of capability
  • They don’t feel they are contributing to the company, so they don’t feel appreciated.

Solving this issue requires reviewing the key components in implementation planning and highlighting how employees can participate in the company as decision makers.

As a result, employees and team members involved will be empowered. They’ll understand how their efforts contribute directly to the company’s progress — while also allowing them to grow personally and financially.

3. Customers and partners don’t want to work with you

Strategic objectives are key to ensuring buy in from clients and other stakeholders.

Customers are the lifeblood of the business. They provide the cash that keeps the brand alive. So, their needs are the foundation of the product or service we offer and propel the company’s further development.

But how do you know if customers aren’t satisfied?

  • They rarely or never complain because they’re tired of doing so.
  • They don’t care about special offers.
  • They rely on the contract conditions because they don’t trust customer service anymore.

To ensure success, you have to understand your customers’ concerns and let them know you hear them and will respond. You’ve got to review your business plan and present an immediate solution to the customer’s complaints.

On the other hand, business partners might need to give you additional access to funding, resources, innovation, and knowledge to help you reach more customers successfully. But what if your business partners don’t want to work with you anymore?

That often indicates strategic plan issues.

Some telltale signs a business partnership is about to end:

  • Collapse in communication
  • Business partner is no longer contributing
  • Frequent conflicting business decisions
  • Changes in partner’s goals

You can’t ignore these warning signs. You must have an open discussion with your wavering partner and let them voice their concerns without judgment. It’s also a good idea to seek outside help or a third party to mediate and resolve the problems.

4.  Competitors are catching up or overtaking your brand in the market

Day-to-day performance management includes staying ahead of the competition.

Keeping your thumb on the pulse of your business competitors is a significant factor in your brand’s ultimate success.

Aside from the current competition you have, new contenders are constantly entering the market. And that’s why it’s important to know where you stand amongst the competition.

So, how do you know if your competitors are catching up or overtaking your brand?

While comparing revenue is the easiest way to know who’s leading the pack, there are other signs indicating if competitors are pulling in more marketshare. And by extension, your clientele:

  • Clients or customers are querying about new products
  • Customers’ feedback is changing
  • You’re missing opportunities for innovation
  • The availability of resources has changed

Good strategic planning with an emphasis on the key initiatives of the sales and marketing teams will prevent your business from drowning in the competition. Know your competitors, what they’re up to, and what they’re offering in the marketplace.

Competing is about retaining and attracting new customers. Knowing your target customers and how their expectations are changing will help you adjust the strategic plan so the product or service you offer remains appealing.

Check the latest craze in social media since it’s the easiest way to assess the market.

5.  You can’t find qualified employees

Adequate resources - both financial resources and human resources - are needed for project success.

Qualified employees are needed to execute the strategic plan successfully.

Although the unemployment rate has gone down, believe it or not, finding qualified employees is still one of the biggest struggles in the business industry.  The reasons are the demand for qualified employees surpasses the supply, salary, location of the company, changes in the needs of the employees, and a flawed hiring process.

How can we solve these problems and get all the necessary skills in the company from new hires? Consider an organizational change and review the business plan. Fix each of the issues mentioned above.

Here are some of the ways to overcome this particular business challenge:

  • Build the company’s reputation.
  • Don’t settle for less. Make use of the interview process to assess and screen the qualifications of each applicant.
  • Adapt to the needs of employees, and allow employees to work remotely if possible.
  • Add cool, unique perks and benefits.
  • Build a consistent and organized hiring process.

Button up your hiring process with our FREE Hiring Toolkit.

6.  Growth has stalled and there’s no clear way forward

A successfully implemented performance management system will be visible in the company's metrics.

Businesses, whether big or small, often experience rapid growth at first. But then growth significantly slows for some reason.

When we focus solely on selling products or services, we often forget the importance of strategy and innovation. As a result, the business growth plateaus.

So, what are the most common culprits behind business growth slowdown?

  • A weak or outdated strategic policy plan
  • Flawed pricing technique
  • Leadership has become too complacent
  • You’re playing it safe

Tossing money aggressively at the problems won’t solve them. It’s time to go back to the strategic plan and see what can be fixed.

Here are some ways to address this problem and give the business a new direction:

  • Re-evaluate the strategy plan and update it so it’s relevant to market changes.
  • Don’t focus on lowering the prices. Instead, try adding value to the product or service.
  • Don’t blend in. Stand out in a crowded market.
  • Bring back the enthusiasm, reignite the passion, and make tough organizational decisions.

As soon as the problems are resolved, start moving forward and shift direction to invigorate new life into the business.

7.  You’re struggling with decision making

Using a SWOT analysis can help identify the strategic initiatives needed from upper management.

An effective strategic implementation boils down to the ability of the team to make fast and precise decisions about which course of actions the organization should take.

But if the team struggles to make these critical decisions, it can impede the company’s growth and survival.

Why is making decisions quickly and precisely so difficult?

Fear.

The fear of making the wrong decision and suffering negative consequences stops the team from doing it in the first place. In some cases, the organization may not have the sufficient resources or the right tools to help the team comprehend and handle a significant problem. Also, the team making the big decisions may not know enough about the problem, and so, can’t come up with a good solution.

No matter how complicated or straightforward the decisions are, we can do something to outline the fundamentals for great-decision making practice.

Here are some:

  • Empower the team and encourage them to learn from failures.
  • Seek an outside expert’s help if necessary.
  • Be transparent with your team.

Honesty, and fostering a company culture of growth and learning prevents people from shying away from making the necessary, tough decisions.

Conclusion

When these not-so-obvious pitfalls in business are detected early, it’s much easier to solve them or avoid them altogether.

Strategic planning and successful implementation and execution aren’t a leap of faith. They’re an outcome of a thorough, critical study and implementation of sound, fundamental business practices.

So, your action steps:

  • Be brave enough to pivot and change direction
  • Keep an eye on your competitors and revamp your offerings to exceed consumer expectations
  • Seek outside, expert help if necessary
  • Button up your hiring processes
  • Foster a company culture of honesty, growth, and learning
  • Empower your team members to learn from their mistakes
  • Communicate effectively with customers and business partners

Feel like something is off with your business processes, but aren’t sure what it is? Take our FREE agency growth assessment quiz to see where things are falling short. We’ll send you a bundle of resources tailored to scaling your agency.

Let’s do it!

Digital Agency Process: 10 Workflow Tips to Scale Your Agency

digital agency process

When you browse your Facebook and Twitter accounts, you can’t help but check out the latest viral videos – oh, and guiltily go crazy over TikTok too! Promo flyers have been replaced with double clicks; print ads kicked out by digital billboards, and social media channels are the new TV when it comes to advertising. Influencers and even owners dance to a catchy tune trying to grab their potential customers’ attention as they view their ads over and over again.

With the rise of technological advancement and innovative ways to keep businesses in check, digital marketing agencies are also growing. The number of likes and shares now evaluates popularity as online businesses and virtual markets are born daily. Before you know it, demands for digital marketing are spiraling.

So how does your digital agency keep up with the pace? Are you ready to take your digital marketing team to new heights?

We are here to provide the ultimate guide to improving your digital agency workflow and give you tips on how to scale up amidst the competition. Let’s get crackin’!

 

The Role of a Digital Marketing Agency

Who says they still need a digital marketing agency? All the CEOs need is the Digital Marketing Agency book for Dummies together with Google and they’re good to go!

Nope. Your agency is more relevant now MORE THAN EVER.

A digital agency dedicated to marketing purposes is important because of the BIG FAT chunk it brings to the table: building customer relationships online translates into future sales and purchases. They are also responsible for purchases made across digital platforms because of their strategic thinking and inventive lead generation strategies.

So, do you think businesses can still get away without the help of a digital marketing agency?

Let them try handling marketing campaigns that are now shifting to the virtual world from the previous face-to-face. Give them the opportunity to manage everything from content production to website design, to a smooth-sailing online customer experience, all at the same time! These factors contribute to the increase of sales and whether you will raise loyal customers or become viral the wrong way.

Increasing online presence, getting sales leads, turning them into sales, and expanding the businesses’ reach are only some of the responsibilities having a digital marketing agency entails.

Best Workflow for Digital Marketing Agencies

digital agency process workflow

Keeping your sanity and improving your business’ performance every time you take on a new project equates to relying on a company workflow. It is having a process you can depend on with email marketing, social media and content creation, web design, sales analytics, and even hosting virtual events.

First things first, you need to create a comprehensive onboarding system for clients, clarifying the breadth of the project, and having a documented template that you can use to implement your processes. When everything’s a-okay, next is to assign clear duties to team members, review the project timeline, and regularly ask for feedback. As simple as that, your digital marketing agency can now implement a well-developed process workflow. YAY!

Just between us, what makes YOU a successful digital agency is your ability to execute a unique workflow that focuses on achieving your marketing goals and broadening your business services.

At ScaleTime, we check that your business has the best effective system that guides you in creating a blossoming digital marketing company. We offer project management for your digital agency as a way to create a systematized approach for meeting deadlines, knowing the team members participating in the project, and measuring and optimizing your business’s success.

We start by taking a look at what is happening and we note what tools and services you use, evaluate each team member’s role, the onboarding of each client, and the current project management method you are using in your company. This is the data we will use to create a baseline.

We then create a plan which involves reviewing the present effective procedures and removing the ineffective ones while working our way up!

Sooo, what’s next? We implement a procedure that works well with your system and give a boost to what you already have! We guide you all the way from measuring KPIs to appreciating the numbers on your company’s books.

Our proven process allows you to take a step back, supervise, and peacefully sip champagne at night. Wouldn’t it be fun to oversee your company’s development while sunbathing from your dream paradise? Now that’s life!

10 Tips to Scaling Your Digital Marketing Agency

1. Have a workflow that is proven effective

We know that you dread the daily grind, but you need to do it to enjoy everyday life. So what’s our solution? An efficient workflow is guaranteed to have you living the best days with your family and friends, and even your pets!

One of the cornerstones of successful agencies is refining an existing workflow or a total overhaul and setting down a new one. You may have the best team members, the most understanding clients, or the high-paying projects, but if you do not have a systematic way to handle all the tasks in your business, then everything, including your time and money, goes bye-bye.

Don’t let precious resources escape your grasp. Learn to control your nine-to-five with this proven-effective framework for your digital agency. We have the road map to optimizing your digital marketing processes right HERE.

2. Successful onboarding of new team members

digital agency sales process

Once you have a clear system in place, it’s now time to enhance your team.

Each team member must know exactly what is expected of them, to improve employee satisfaction, motivation, and retention. If you have trouble with annoyed or confused team members you often catch on long breaks and not on their desks, you might need to integrate your system into the team. Knowing what to do when and who will do it makes the difference.

One of the many ways is to make them carry out all the specified tasks constructively. Designate marketing managers to handle the creative assets and sales, project managers with the scope and ensuring deadlines are met, and relationship managers to deal face to face with clients. This brings us to the next tip –

3. Flawless client onboarding

digital agency client onboarding

Your team may know what to do when implementing a task in the project. But what about the clients? These are your customers, your lifeline, the mechanism that pumps blood in your business. Having a step-by-step guide to delivering projects must also include having an efficient client delivery process.

Grab a coffee with them and let them know the current project status and where your team is at with the timeline. Update them with their portfolio, let them know you’re on the same page, and make them feel they are involved and being taken care of.

This is a chance to help spread the word that your company is not just a fancy website with monthly vouchers. It is an opportunity to turn mouth advertising into potential customers and client recommendations.

4. Streamline the creative process

Too many post-its hanging by your workstation, but you’re still stuck with all the digital marketing dilemmas? Or maybe your team just throws in their ideas, and results are all far off from the final product?

Simplify the way you want a plan to be executed. Straightforward marketing goals and campaigns would allow more team members to understand the creative process, attract motivation and encourage feedback. It also fosters the development of analytical thinking and problem-solving skills within your team. You certainly don’t want to get stuck with uncolored drawings! Always remember that the virtual marketing journey is as important as the output.

5. Know how to set a fair price for services

digital agency price

Unlike products, digital marketing services are challenging to put a price tag on. Charging too high leads to overpricing and fewer clients, while charging too low will cut into your profit or, worse, leaves an impression that the services you offer are not as good as everything else in the market. Yikes!

Managing the budget by knowing how much your services really cost is a good place to start. Although there is no one-way route to finding a fair price, some things to consider are the type of service you offer, whether there are any marketing specialists providing the same service, and if yes, how much they are charging for their work.

This competitor analysis helps you have confidence in your real worth, so you can communicate this to your customers. Or else, they’ll believe you are not credible enough for your asking price!

If everything still seems blurry, we have prepared this article on specific guidelines and other tips for pricing your services HERE.

6. Up-to-date digital marketing data

digital marketing agency sales process

Not everyone can sell, and not everyone can do math. However, these are two essential pillars when it comes to digital marketing!

Before, studying your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses was enough to keep you ahead of the game. Now, the market analysis includes more detailed and comprehensive statistics on their market share, pricing, geographical location, customer reviews, online channel presence, and many other factors. It’s more than just raw data because these are numbers that need to be researched and examined to become the basis of your marketing techniques and strategy.

Once you’ve done your digital marketing campaign, reviewing its success and components is also essential to help gather more insights on your product, your approach, and your target audience.

7. Focus on the target audience

digital marketing agency target audience

Stories, captions, and social media posts should not only make clients happy. As creatives, digital marketing agencies should focus on creating precisely what the target audience needs by defining the real people who are most likely to purchase from your client and earn their trust and loyalty. Without them, your clients will not exist at all! The target audience may be based on several factors like age, location, income, interests, and so on.

After knowing your audience, it’s time to get some leads!

Whether it’s blog post creation or content creation for social media platforms, the final digital product is a huge part of ensuring your audience recognizes your presence. It may be that they don’t need the services now, but if you keep them interested, your services stay at the back of their minds. They may come back to use your products in the future, and some may even make referrals and recommendations when the need arises.

8. Choose the tools that work best

Digital agencies use all the tools at their fingertips to meet the creative brief and follow creative processes. Software is used for updating web pages and content production, but how do you know what works best for your digital agency?

One tip is to check out what other business owners use in your industry. These digital tools come with specific guidelines on installation and sometimes the extra budget needed for its premium users. So, if you find out it does not work with your system, you could end up wasting a week (or even a month, UGH!) trying to figure out how to use something that’s not really effective in making your work more manageable in the first place!

(Not to fret, some tools offer a free trial and 24/7 support, so you’re not left alone in this cold and brutal virtual jungle of paid software and applications!)

But wait, here’s the fun part! Once you’ve installed the app and get the hang of it, you may now integrate it into your effective workflow. Tasks that may seem complicated can now be done with just a click or two to achieve desired results and meet deadlines more effortlessly.

While you’re at it, you can even adjust the mood lights in your office to boost your team’s creativity or even plot the traffic system on your way to meet clients with a single tap while enjoying your morning coffee.

9. Set expectations of clients and team members

You have to accept that life does not always work according to your plan. This is why part of the workflow sets clients’ and team’s expectations.

Have a kickoff meeting with both parties to emphasize project objectives. Explain the project range and give the project summary towards the end. It balances the anticipation and relieves pressure.

Part of the timeline also sets the time for you to provide feedback to ensure no loose ends after the project has been implemented.

10. Step back as you grow

digital marketing

After all the hard work, it’s time to develop turnover and endorsement plans.

First, take time to assess if the current strategy works and update team members on their accomplishments and performance. Next, tweak your current digital marketing process according to the fast-paced and changing times.

Finally, as your agency grows, the last part of the framework (and probably the most rewarding one at that) is stepping back and giving yourself more time out of the office and more time to focus on achieving a work-life balance.

Exciting, isn’t it? Now’s the time to scale up your digital marketing agency! Set up a Discovery Session with us for FREE. Take control of the growth of your business, and let us help you. Talk to our Scale Strategists and optimize your company by clicking HERE.

 

7 tips to grow your marketing agency

 

how to scale a marketing agency

A marketing agency nowadays does not only refer to newspaper ads and large billboard posters. In today’s digital climate, a marketing agency is expected to tilt its focus to cyberspace – where all the thumbs up, sharers, supporters, and even haters reside – to make their services gain publicity.

Marketing agencies are now challenged to jump into the unknown age of information technology as they try to balance customer retention and acquisition. But how does a marketing agency take that giant leap? In this troubling time full of risks and closed doors, how does one choose the right time to do so?

worried on how to scale your marketing?

Scaling a marketing agency and making your way into the digital environment is often seen as a make-or-break decision that will either help you tap into potential clients or give you more headaches. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.

At ScaleTime, we are committed to helping you achieve your sales and marketing goals by giving you all the best how-tos and tips. This guide will show you how to grow your business into becoming a successful digital marketing agency. Keep reading to find out more!

The Boom of Digital Marketing Agencies

how to scale a social media marketing agency

Digital marketing agencies are agencies born from gaining customers through virtual channel platforms. Many agencies are shifting to become digital agencies in order to gain positive financial results, striving to gain more clients and new leads by embracing the call of the virtual world. A consistent and sought-after online presence gives you access to leads, pitch your service offerings, and opens the opportunity to scale your digital marketing agency.

There has been an exponential increase in online businesses and virtual markets that need help promoting their products and converting audiences to clients. Is your company the next digital agency to take the plunge?

The Right Time to Grow your Digital Marketing Agency

Clock

Now is not everybody’s time. Not everyone who climbs that mountain sees the peak. In order to successfully reach the top, you must know when is the right time to do it. Your business may be ready to go, but you’re not sure if scaling up is the right answer. We’re telling you now: look for the signals! Here are some of the signs you are ready to go:

You’re already gaining profit

scale a social media marketing agency to gain profits

When you are earning more than you are spending, it’s a sign that your business is not on the verge of shutting down anytime soon. Profit margins usually tell you how your company is doing financially. Net profit margins (the total sales minus the expenses, divided by total revenue) are the basis of the business’ total profitability, and having numbers between 10-20% is already a good figure in the digital marketing industry to indicate healthy cash flow.

Bear in mind that the profit margin for your industry cannot be compared to any other field. Other sectors have their own ideal profit margin and other businesses have higher or lower percentage requirements to show they are ranking ahead in the game.

Although it is tempting to expand once you’ve reached your goal the first year you’re in the business, be cautious and go slowly and surely. Steady earnings don’t happen overnight. Most businesses say they are ready for scaling up if these numbers are maintained or increased in two to three years’ time. With successive yields under your belt, you can then make a move and consider your business ready to scale up.

You have too many clients

Having to turn down people and companies seeking your services? Overflowing leads that you have no time to answer? Too many clients may seem ideal in the perfect setting, but it is no fun once you have to juggle around their requests altogether. This is one of the obvious signs that your marketing agency is ready to level up.

Many businesses see expansion as a hindrance to providing excellent services due to the administration’s divided attention. Correct management is the key here, and this will be discussed later in this article. We at ScaleTime help you implement a wider system to take in multiple clients and automate looking after your leads – all while remaining profitable and scaling up smoothly!

Your market is expanding

connecting dots for scale a marketing

As a marketing agency, you already have a target audience and a target market. But when you are slowly experiencing a spillover of enthusiasts from another market group or segment, this shows that the demand for your marketing services has grown. If your marketing agency can no longer provide for additional projects with the given conditions, then this is a sure sign that your client base is expanding and you may need to broaden your target market.

Take into account clients coming from outside your specific niche and try to expand from that. If you’re currently offering services to a certain location, you may want to look at other options when you are considering elevating your marketing agency.

You are comfortable with your team

scale your marketing with teamwork

When your team provides high-quality work for clients seamlessly, you may want to consider training new employees, as this is one of the ways to effectively scale up. Be on the lookout for team members who are not comfortable with this idea, however. There may be some who find teaching to be more of a challenge than their usual role.

Ask for your team’s opinion on your scaling up before making any drastic moves. If everything goes well, you will have put together a remarkable group of people who can work and grow as a team.

7 Tips on How to Scale a Marketing Agency

1. Review existing business model

good business model is required to scale marketing agency

Having a proven process will help you gauge if you’re really ready to scale or not. Leveling up your marketing agency does not mean a total overhaul of what you already have. You likely already have an existing marketing flow in place, so if you think your business model does not help you in managing your business, make some tweaks, see what works, and implement it strongly within your system. This lets everyone know what they are done with, what they are doing, and what are they going to do next.

By creating an effective digital marketing workflow, tasks will roll out more seamlessly than ever before, giving you freedom from daily 9-5 work. Here’s an ultimate guide to help you out. This includes creating and running marketing campaigns at your level, condensing the marketing process for your team, and having a successful business model becomes the basis of each workflow you execute within your digital marketing agency.

Building a great agency plan from scratch is tricky, but with the right items securing your business, you’ll be completely covered! A successful sales strategy allows changes in prospecting and qualifying leads, building rapport, assessing their needs, committing to deliver, and actually carrying out the projects. We help you understand different sales and marketing terms that will assist you in maximizing your revenues and optimizing your team.

For the best marketing flow for your business and other tips and tricks to get you ready to scale, click HERE. Watch as you grow and unfold into a beautiful digital marketing agency butterfly!

2. Implement an effective project management methodology

scale a marketing agency

The project methodology is the way your team approaches projects in order to meet the endpoint or the project goal. It is used by project managers to effectively use their team and other resources like budget, time, and supplies to produce the expected deliverables. Having a project management method in place means minimizing your risks, discovering new skills, and developing current ones while meeting deadlines and staying within the project time frame.

After carefully planning your project management approach, integrating with project management software could help you to save half the time spent in front of your desk and focus on more important duties and responsibilities. ScaleTime helps you to find the perfect project management methodology for your business and shows you some of the popular project management methodologies today. Find out how to embark on the journey from marketing agency business owner to project manager HERE.

3. Take care of new and existing clients

hand shake

You may have improved your business model and refurbished your project management plans, but if you have difficulty in holding on to your existing clients, you should check the quality of service you are offering your existing clients. A client churn may not be a result of your business and the service you provide, but it’s worth checking for the sake of your business’s reputation and income.

Build a structure that will help you analyze the satisfaction of your current client base, minimize client churn rate, and increase client retention. This will help you touch base with potential clients and help you gain new ones in the process. Easier client onboarding also helps to create excellent first impressions and smooth client experiences throughout the duration of the project, whether from direct or indirect interactions. Positive client experiences differentiate your marketing agency from the rest of the agencies in the market. It helps promote the good name of your brand, and in turn, grants access to more clients.

4. Empower your team

sea view

If you already have a group of outstanding individuals who are working well together and creating outstanding output, you can probably skip this one! This tip is for teams that have one or several rebels, black sheep, and floundering employees that you need to push harder than the others. Ask feedback from these underperforming employees; connect with them and make sure that communication is preserved and honored. You can’t say yes to something during a pep talk half-heartedly or leave them hanging confused, annoyed, and ready to hand in their resignation.

Another thing to consider when scaling up is the vacant positions to be filled by talented individuals who will become new team members. As early as the onboarding process, give new employees the information and the purpose to become motivated, creative, dedicated so that they can be on the right track from the get-go. Troubleshoot the hiring process of new employees for entry-level positions to develop young talents and harness new ideas that can help scale your marketing agency.

5. Boost your digital marketing tools

digital marketing tools

One of the most popular trends today is influencer marketing, where favored and well-liked people in the multimedia platforms like celebrities, organizations, and bloggers endorse products and services to attract new clients. Some business owners offer promos and discounts, while other agencies gift their loyal customers when they invite new clients. These are just some of the ways to boost your online and social media presence.

Digital marketing tools are used and maximized in order to gain attention from potential clients and target audiences. Driving website traffic with the right tools to improve web design is also essential to communicating properly with viewers and visitors. Delayed chatbots, faulty auto-replies, and underdeveloped newsletters are big no-nos in creating a great customer experience.

In the past, trial and error were used to test the effectiveness of current marketing campaigns. Now, there are software and programs like Google Analytics and Facebook ads that can help create and analyze the current techniques you are using. Social media marketing strategies are well within reach – it’s up to you to decide what course of action to take and put into effect in your agency.

Learn how to stretch the coverage of your digital marketing services! ScaleTime offers practical tools and solutions HERE to help you get your kick-ass marketing agency optimized.

6. Take advice from industry experts

meetings

As a business owner, you recognize your limitations and understand that every day is a learning curve. Let the experts do the talking! From creating marketing funnels to remaining profitable during agency growth, these specialists are knowledgeable on all important processes and will let you in on trade secrets for how to scale and adapt.

Build your core processes through industry geniuses and apply outside expertise to running and scaling up your business. Look for masters of the trade who will help you steer clear of vanity metrics and pay attention to actionable metrics which will aid you in weighing marketing strategies that work best for you.

7. Elevate business relationships

hand shake

A quality agency doesn’t just offer services – it also builds strong relationships with everyone involved, whether that be clients, employees, or others. As professionals, choose to create mutually beneficial partnerships that will establish the name of your agency in the world of digital marketing.

Projects may be fast-paced in the virtual environment, but relationships do not stop once the project has ended. Encourage feedback and check in on clients from time to time, as this will help them remember you when the need arises, either their own or referrals to other clients.

Successfully scaling your agency not only focuses on creating more money. Making clients happy, striving to help clients’ businesses grow, enabling new employees, and creating an awesome business model is exactly what it’s about. Ready to scale your digital marketing agency? Click here for a FREE Discovery Session.

5 Scheduling Tips For Better Calendar Management

scheduling tips - calendar on a tablet

Do you often feel unproductive despite coming to the office early, heading home late, and even working overtime on weekends? Every meeting, presentation, and deadline shows no progress? Catching yourself spending more time figuring out what your staff is doing, or when they’ll be free for a meeting, than you do getting the real work done?

If you relate to any of these, then it’s time to make a change! One of the most effective ways to level up your work life is to create a scheduling system or revamp your existing one. Free yourself from worries and allow your organization to run like a well-oiled machine! And that is our scheduling tips will help you achieve.

If you’re not sure what employee scheduling is, it is basically a process that allows you to plan your team’s workflow throughout the day each week, ultimately boosting you toward your career and project goals. At its most basic, you can think of scheduling as a list of the tasks to be done, along with the ‘where, when and by whom’. Sounds tedious, right? But modern employee scheduling software can make this scheduling process much more efficient, saving you time and headaches!

Ready to get started? Take a deep breath, prepare your calendar and clear your mind as we give you the best management tips for using scheduling to get lower labor costs and happier employees!

Why is Effective Scheduling Important?

small white clock

Effective scheduling is very important because it helps to maximize the most crucial unrenewable resource we are given – time. Some days we want to go home already, some days we wish for extra hours. But we are all given the same 24 hours – whether we like it or not. Our time each day is limited, but we cannot let it limit us.

If you’re already at your wits’ end handling your own calendar, there’s even more on your plate when you’re running a business. You need to schedule your staff’s tasks as well. Your staffing needs depend on the needs of your business at the time. The more employees you have, the more time you may end up coordinating everyone’s schedules!

But that’s exactly the opposite of what an effective schedule is supposed to do. Business scheduling doesn’t have to be a complicated and time-consuming process. By choosing the right scheduling tools, and applying them effectively, you can create a system where the to-do list gets done, and you can finally let go of the urge of burning down your entire office.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more ways that scheduling can help your business:

Increases productivity

Scheduling your time makes you more familiar with the task at hand, and strengthens your ‘why’ for doing it. It also helps you to understand each assignment 100%. This results in increased productivity because you are more focused, and gives you a better chance at getting your tasks done and done well.

In sales, for example, ScaleTime has developed an Effective Streamlined Sales Process that will assist you in closing more deals. Organize your proposals and sales leads, and reach new heights with this proven procedure.

Channels positive energy in the team

Is your team consistently burnt out? Are your members feeling lost or annoyed? If you have received a bunch of resignation letters lately, it may not be because of the work itself. You may want to check out the processes involved in doing it. So what’s the answer? Better scheduling, of course!

No solid scheduling equals confused team members which equates to a chaotic working environment. Everyone is asking one another what to do next and this creates an awkward, messy workplace. Learn what structured scheduling system motivates your team. Discover ways to make them happy to work WITH you, not FOR you.

video meeting on a laptob

With the pandemic giving way to a new work system, the flextime schedule is now the gold standard as compared to the previous nine-to-five workdays. An increased number of employees are now working from home, working from their own space while tending to their personal and family life. This non-traditional working schedule gives them more control, empowerment, and enjoyment, which brings positive vibes to the team.

Improves long-term process

Planning your time does not delay your future – it pushes you towards it. There are moments where taking time to plan and set up your system is not actually the most effective use of your time. Scheduling may seem like an added weight on your shoulders at the moment, but it’s an investment that will have whopping returns down the road.

Think about training new team leaders: It may seem unimportant right now, but once you have a team of capable staff to turn to, suddenly there is more time for you to focus on other important tasks. Tedious jobs are often the most worthwhile.

With time management, the key is to look at effective scheduling in the bigger picture. Try stepping back and ask yourself. What will be the result of this complex system we are putting in place? If this system is carried out, what will I get from it later? This way, managing time will be a mirror of the vision you are trying to achieve for the entire organization.

How Do You Schedule Time?

Know your available time and honor it

a man look at his watch behind a laptob

You are not available to work 24/7. You’re only human, and you can only be free for a certain number of hours per day. A smart schedule takes this into account. One of the first steps is to set up an allocated number of hours you’re able to work depending on the goals you wish to achieve.

If you have other things going on outside of work, for example, then normal working hours will be enough for you. If you are dreaming of a promotion, then you may want to put more time into your work as an investment. Be realistic: multitasking your work and personal life can send distracting signals to your brain, causing you to produce low-quality outputs.

Ensure you honor the available time you specified during the making of your schedule. Be early when possible. If your deadline is on the 10th, work as though it’s the 9th. If you are set for an appointment at 1 pm, be there at 12:50.

List priority and non-priority tasks

Once you have set your working hours, start filling up your schedule. Start with the activities on your high-priority list. These should be part of your main duties and responsibilities to complete before anything else. If you manage inventory, for example, then your priority tasks could include creating records of the supplies, updating stock, and ensuring you have enough reserve.

marking notes off in the diary

Now that you’ve listed the high-priorities, add in your back-burner tasks. One of the most important scheduling techniques is to put them on your list and schedule in advance. Back-burner tasks aren’t necessarily urgent, but if they’re not done, may affect your whole system. Paying your telephone bill or cleaning your car are low-priority tasks but should be done anyway. Even onboarding new clients, no matter how repetitive it is, is an essential task.

To manage time more efficiently, we created this Client Onboarding Process for you to give your clients a proper welcome, keep your communication up, and make them feel that they are taken care of. When you’re done with ‘organizational socialization,’ learn how to effectively manage your clients to avoid last-minute changes, miscommunication, and even project abandonment. Check it out HERE.

Block your buffer

Buffer time, or contingency time, is based on the anticipated pauses you may have on a regular workday. This gives you the wiggle room to deal with sudden events. Some jobs will have more ‘surprises’ than others. Allocate the appropriate amount of time according to the nature of your work.

Another important tip not only for managing your time but handling life as mature adults too: learning when to say no. Contingency time or not, having power over your schedule means working only within your given time frame. If you’ve already accepted a task but your workday is full, then it is important to get your time back rather than rushing through all the tasks to get everything completed.

Have small breaks throughout the day

Ahh, the best part of scheduling – breaks. No matter what anyone says, breaks are important to refocus and recharge. This cuts down stress and exhaustion, reduces early out from work, and restores the team’s overall game.

Small breaks are meant to refresh, not divert your attention from doing your job. Remove the temptation to procrastinate or browse social media. Encourage your team to use their breaks to move their bodies, reconnect with their colleagues, or clear their minds.

lady lays her head on the laptop

Note that most employees appreciate an official “wrap up” when a project is finished to talk about what worked and what could have been better. Consider a scheduled group celebration after the debriefing, a decision that can foster teamwork and let members relax and have fun at the same time.

Plan your week

Now that you have created your daily work schedule, turn it up a notch by scheduling other days into your calendar in advance. Weekly planning frees you from composing nightly to-do’s for the next day and will also help you meet deadlines thoroughly.

Looking at your energy levels is also an important part of weekly planning. If you’re more active at night, for example, you might need to factor that into your daily and weekly routines. This is a step closer to assuring you’re on track with what you are trying to achieve in the long term.

Another way to become an effective scheduler is to implement weekly staff meetings that go for 30 minutes to an hour tops. Scheduling meetings keep your team members’ attention, highlights key points, and gives way to doing the task itself.

Create a routine

Now that you have created a 7-day schedule, it’s time to fill up the rest of the month. But the planning doesn’t end there. Before you know it, you’ve successfully populated an entire schedule for the year! Scheduling your tasks annually gives you not only consistency but also insight into what you can realistically accomplish.

Scheduling is about keeping your word on things you must and must not do in a particular time frame. You have to be firm and stick to it. If you want more personal time, include that when creating your calendar of activities. Include your personal commitments in a personal calendar. This could include your morning and night regimen: yoga and eating breakfast to start your day; reading a book and preparing your clothes for the next day to end the night. This habit shapes who you are, and may also have a catching effect within your team.

As part of time management, you need to develop a workflow. Why base a routine on a wishy-washy structure when you can optimize your internal and external processes for your team’s growth? Project Management for Agencies is a proven process not just about making a strategy and gathering a group of people. It’s about creating an essential skill that will form your company’s competence, and taking that success into your everyday lives as a team.

More Employee Scheduling Techniques

Implement time blocks

Time blocks are parts of your available time that are segmented for a particular activity or event. It may be business phone calls, a field inspection, checking and replying to your emails, or even running errands like fetching your laundry from the dry cleaner. Time blocks break your schedule down into more practical chunks. If you work visually, then color-coding the blocks on your schedule can help you keep on track.

As a business owner, time blocking with your staff members helps you assess your employee availability and align team calendars for effortless coordinating meetings and projects.

Micro-scheduling tasks are not only limited to professional duties, but to personal life as well. It is an efficient way of segregating your calendar so that you make the most out of each time slot, which is usually one hour to three hours long. This helps you plan ahead and block time for top priority tasks before they are due.

writing on a paper planner

Working in batches is also another productive way to divide your schedule. It is a technique of doing tasks that are relevant to each other for a particular chunk of time. This way, you don’t constantly jump from one task to the other, increasing your productivity by preventing multitasking.

Say, for example, you work from home. You can lump together doing basic tasks like cooking and preparing meals into an hour or two every day. Another block of time then goes to feeding the dog and taking it for a walk outside. Have blocks of time set aside to focus on work, and you save time in the process.

Maximize use of calendar management tools and employee scheduling software

open book calendar

In this day and age, people are more dependent on technology than ever. There’s a good chance your paper planner has already been ditched for a Google Calendar. But today’s scheduling tools go beyond a simple calendar, to offer an excellent experience. You may have trouble selecting which option offers the best and most helpful features, however, as there are so many ones to choose from.

Most managers prefer smart calendars and other software tools that automatically schedule tasks for the week. Make sure you check out how the scheduling app is initially set up, as this will also take time off from your schedule.

Resources are not only comprised of technological advancement and innovative tools. Remember that having the right people is an asset, too! Know what tasks you can outsource and how best to handle employee schedules. Be sure to do so before you need them, and not during, to maintain your buffer and protect your schedule. You’ll want to do your best to schedule staff with different skills so that you always have a strong team of employees working. 

Employee scheduling software can also help you balance your full-time employees and part-time workers, so you don’t lose track of who’s doing what. Smart scheduling features can also handle multiple schedules and rearrange tasks automatically when your employee schedule changes. While not always a possibility, the best practice is to schedule employees for their preferred hours. 

If you need to balance your books, or you’re having difficulty communicating to 50 existing employees while closing deals with clients, you always have the option to outsource a bookkeeper or a marketing campaign manager. The key is to delegate when needed. Learn how to hire and onboard new employees without the fuss! We provide Hiring Hacks to help you build the perfect team. Click HERE for more details.

Respect your prompts

Often, we set reminders and alarms in order to help us track the time we are spending. A lot of us are guilty of pressing the stop or snooze button when the hour is up and carry on working. Sticky notes often flood our cork board, multicolored markers for whiteboards, and even highlighted notepads – but are they serving their purpose, or are they merely additional decor?

Use your reminders with precision to serve their intent. Use one-liners that will help you understand them in one look, without needing to run through your whole calendar again. Limit your words to a couple of phrases and put the rest of the activity details in a separate attachment to avoid filling up every space with post-its – they’ll only be a distraction!

sticker notes

Avoiding distractions means avoiding procrastination. Identify your biggest distractions and find a way to minimize, if not totally eliminate them. Although chores, TV, children, and neighbors can be a distraction to those working from home, having a workspace separate from all the commotion will be helpful to keep you focused. If all else fails, your friendly neighborhood coffee shop (and a good set of earplugs) might save your schedule from falling apart.

Step back and look at the big picture

light bulb with a hand underneath

At the end of the day, reviewing your schedule, and tasks to complete is helpful for understanding how heavy your commitments are and how much time each one requires. This is also useful to be able to assess your priorities and whether you are still in line with your goals. It could also be a wake-up call to your existing ineffective management process.

Sometimes, 24/7 is not enough for the list you have made, and that means your schedule probably isn’t working for you. Check which activities are really necessary and which can you drop. You don’t have to say yes to every social event or client that comes your way. Your work-life balance, mental health, and physical well-being are all essential to truly reaching your goals.

For small business owners, managing your own schedule and staff scheduling means learning how to take control. Use the scheduling techniques provided here, and be guided by our ScaleMap to know your organization’s status quo and develop your business’ strengths.

Track your schedule and focus on activities that will lead you to your goals by using the ScaleTime Framework and project strategies for agencies. Let us help you do this by setting a Free 20-minute Discovery Session HERE and start focusing on your business’ growth by taking the reins!

5 Digital Marketing Agency Tools to Simplify Collaboration & Communication

 

digital marketing agency tools

Digital marketing agencies take on a range of tasks, from planning and executing to tracking and data analytics of marketing campaigns and more. Multiply this across a portfolio of clients and projects and you’ll get quite a busy schedule which is normal across any marketing agency.

The advent of marketing agency tools has made it possible to streamline project management and carry out tasks efficiently, at the same time generating positive results. Digital marketing tools are made to help marketing agencies scale their businesses, carry out better project management and help themselves and their clients hit set KPIs and objectives.

Being a digital agency, it is a given that most of the activities are carried out digitally and online. New marketing technologies, such as marketing automation software, SEO tools, and social media management platforms, can help plan out more automated workflows so that agency professionals can concentrate more on strategies and client reporting instead of tedious administrative tasks. This level of project management is in many cases a differentiating factor for marketing agencies, giving them a competitive advantage and gaining new clients from referrals and case studies.

So what are the 5 MUST-HAVE digital marketing agency tools for agencies to simplify collaboration and communication?

Why do marketing agencies need tools in 2022?

Simply put, digital marketing agencies, or any organization for that matter, needs excellent project management and workflow automation system.

And no, these aren’t just fancy platforms that don’t generate any ROI for your company. You want the right tool that gets you positive results and addresses the specific challenges you face as a marketing agency.

That being said, the perfect tool has to be able to accommodate the relevant needs and perimeters of the tasks for all your clients across a few categories and different industries. Considering that you’re not just managing projects internally, your solutions have to cater to multiple clients at once.

As companies across the world go through rapid digital transformation, the demand for digital marketing services will continue to soar. As a marketing agency, this is where you can step in and bridge the gap by providing expertise and the right solutions. It is also crucial that you are prepared for upcoming challenges by keeping close to emerging trends and the marketing environment, instead of having to run up to speed only when opportunities present themselves.

With the right digital marketing agency tools, you will be able to address several challenges at once and gain a competitive advantage in a saturated market. Did you know that lead acquisition and client conversion remain the top challenges for digital marketing agencies in 2021?

By adapting and keeping up with technology, marketing professionals are using technology as the driving force of their digital marketing services plan. This will also help them to scale their operations and manage their teams better.

Without further ado, let’s check out the digital marketing agency tools your agency will need to go up to new heights this year.

Digital marketing agency tool #1: SEO tool (Ahrefs)

If you’re in the marketing industry, you’ve probably heard that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the way to reach your customers. And it’s true!

There is a common misconception that SEO requires finding keywords and then using them to improve a brand’s visibility. While this is technically correct, SEO is in fact a multifaceted marketing strategy that requires a bit more work. There are many elements that go into getting more online traffic for businesses through search engines. But when done right, this could bring in a lot of organic visitors and lead to higher conversions.

This is why you need the right SEO tool to manage a complex system.

As an SEO management tool, the platform that you choose should be able to perform SEO-related tasks efficiently and accurately. First and foremost, it is important to understand the crucial aspects of SEO. As mentioned, there are a few elements, such as:

  • Keyword research
  • Content optimization
  • Off-page SEO
  • Local SEO, or ‘near me’ searches
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) or Pay-per-Click (PPC)

As you can see, your digital marketing SEO tool isn’t one that just provides buzzwords and keywords and lets you do all the work. It has to have advanced features that can provide long-tail keywords and analyze content to see what can be done better.

Competitor research is yet another crucial element of SEO. You want to know what your client’s competitors are doing, what works, and what doesn’t. This will give you a benchmark on what are the best practices in the market and tactics that actually work. At the same time, it gives you alternatives to new and innovative solutions that can help give you and your clients an edge on the search engine results page (SERP).

Ultimately, you will want a one-stop platform that gives you an overview of multiple client accounts and manages your agency’s and their content without much clutter. This will allow you to increase brand visibility and traffic, and establish businesses as an authoritative and trustworthy platform to go to for information and knowledge.

It also helps your agency save time on tedious keyword research and analysis that can eat into precious time. Or, time that you could be used to cater to other aspects of your client’s business.

One of the most recommended SEO tools with great reviews is Ahrefs. This tool is widely used among businesses and marketing agencies as it has a robust website crawler and SEO audit platform.

Whether your team is just starting out or seasoned SEO experts, the Ahrefs platform is one of the most user-friendly interfaces we’ve seen in our SEO tool research. Besides keyword research, in which the platform lays out keywords and variations, alongside long-tail keywords and their scores, the platform also allows you to tap into their Site Audit feature. This allows you to see which areas of the website need improvement. For instance, if you’re missing alt-tags in the image code or have multiple broken links, this will be highlighted in the Site Audit.

Ahrefs also provides comprehensive competitor research that taps into your client’s competitor sites from the same niche to see what they’re doing in the SEO area. The software comes up with a score that you can compare against your own best-performing pages.

If you still need any more proof of how Ahrefs can help your marketing agency, they do set a pretty good example as one of the best SEO tools out there. Just search up any SEO-related articles and you’ll see that Ahrefs consistently appears in the top searches.

Digital marketing agency tool #2: Social media management tool (Buffer)

Okay, so you have a lot of clients, and they all need you to manage their social media platforms.

What do you do now?

When it comes to social media management, each business probably has more than one account. Now, take all your clients and their social media accounts, and you have a load of social media management to do.

More often than not, marketing agencies will have a social media team specially assigned to manage these activities. However, consider that they may not be as close to the account as the account managers, so it is important that the social media management tool you choose enables a steady knowledge flow among these teams.

Staying on top of tasks when it comes to social media management is one aspect that we constantly reinforce. This is because the world of social media is moving so rapidly, and there is always a constant flow of activity to help businesses stay relevant and up-to-date. With that in mind, your social media tool has to be able to keep up to speed and work almost in real-time when it comes to scheduling, managing and reporting.

So how do you pick the best social media tool for your agency?

It can be worth taking a step back to assess your own agency’s needs and culture, plotting this against your options to find which has the most synergy. Additionally, you’ll want a tool that enables real-time communication and collaboration between team members, while having the advanced features to boost productivity.

We find that Buffer is an extremely efficient social media tool that can help digital marketers manage their workflow across multiple accounts.

One great thing that this platform offers is a range of plans suited to every organization’s budget. It starts out with a free plan, followed by others at four different price points, and offers a suite of useful features with each plan. That being said, you don’t have to break the bank just to cater to your clients. It’s best to decide what budget works for you and how you can potentially use each feature for each client’s marketing campaign.

At first glance, the platform is largely intuitive and easy to grasp. This makes it easy for agency owners and team members to streamline their work and knowledge flow, especially for larger agencies where multiple people have access to the account.

This is especially useful in the growing age of the dispersed and distributed workforce. Now, you don’t need to host meetings every time you need to plan a social media calendar or review a client’s social media performance. All information is stored on the cloud, and it only takes working broadband access to tap into the plethora of useful information on one dashboard.

Buffer offers a multitude of features that help agencies and businesses publish, schedule, boost engagement, view data analytics, and promote team collaboration. Posts can be scheduled across different time zones and geographical locations. Marketers can also monitor engagement, reply to team members and provide custom reports.

Before we forget: the collaboration element. Buffer allows account managers to customize the level of access each team member gets. For instance, some team members will have to request for approval before posting while others get full posting access. Members can also assign tasks to each other and review activities across the dashboard.

Another aspect that Buffer users constantly rave about is their customer support responsiveness and useful content posted on their blog.

Digital marketing agency tool #3: Marketing Analytics (Google Analytics)

Marketing is all about understanding consumer needs, preferences, and desires and discovering hidden wants to effectively promote a brand’s product and services. Marketing analytics helps you understand your strategies and initiatives to validate activities and learn about opportunities and areas for improvement.

In a nutshell, marketing analytics is the act of measuring and analyzing marketing activities using data from various sources such as marketing channels. Think social media, SEM, email, and SMS campaigns. This will give you a better understanding of your client’s audience and the right ways to reach out to them.

The era of data-driven insights has enabled more informed business decisions to accelerate and optimize performance, and as an agency owner, it is crucial to place data at the forefront of your marketing initiatives to run better campaigns and create accurate client reports.

Data is used to learn what has happened, whether there are problem areas or missed opportunities that have been missed in the strategizing part. This will give you a holistic view of why things happened, explaining the results and occurrences.

For instance, if a campaign is underperforming and you want to understand why – both for future campaigns and to have a solid reasoning for the client – it can be helpful to refer to the campaign analysis.

Besides past campaign reports, having real-time status reporting can give team members an instant overview of their marketing efforts. This enables them to swoop in quickly and rectify any emergencies quickly.

All this data brought together will give you a substantial knowledge base on how to plan future campaigns, such as tactics that work well and those that have the potential to go wrong.

When it comes to having a marketing analytics tool for your digital marketing agency, it is important to have one that has predictive models that your agency can leverage to plan and strategize for the next campaign. Essentially, predictive algorithms plan for changes in the environment or consumer behavior so that marketers have a rough idea of how their efforts will pan out.

Having a data analytics tool is extremely useful for setting objectives, which is a crucial element for marketing success. With the right information, team members can plot their KPIs to be realistic and attainable, while still having a desirable result.

Google Analytics is one of the best tools for marketing analytics widely used by agencies, individuals, and businesses across the globe.

It can be overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to market research, or have been doing reports manually before this. That is also because the platform has so many aspects and metrics that are available for businesses to utilize that it can be tough to know where to start.

On the dashboard, you’ll find eight main sections: Dashboards, Shortcuts, Intelligence Events, Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions.

It might take some time to fully navigate these sections. Once you do, you’ll have an idea of where the relevant metrics are found and how to use them to your advantage.

Narrowing down on key metrics will give you an understanding on what pages to look at and help teams better navigate the platform. Some metrics that matter the most to marketers are:

  • Engagement (e.g. Click-through-Rate, User Flow)
  • Acquisition
  • Audience behavior
  • Conversion metrics

You don’t want to just measure anything and everything. It all begins with a solid marketing strategy. Here, agencies will set out a plan of action based on a set of objectives and goals.

For example, if the client’s campaign goal is to increase website and brand visibility through SEO, you will need to track metrics such as click-through rate or traffic flow.

Digital marketing agency tool #4: Marketing automation software (SharpSpring)

When clients are demanding to see results and you are managing your own business at the same time, things can get… messy.

Time is of the essence in digital marketing agencies, and the right management tool will not just help you bring in a harmonious workflow, it boosts sales revenue for you and your clients. And when clients are happy, it leads to better customer loyalty and new business.

So everyone wins. But how?

Using marketing automation in 2022 is not just something agencies can overlook anymore. As the demand for digital marketing services increases, you’ll find yourself juggling more and more clients, along with internal employees.

Marketing automation is a powerful tool in the current business landscape as it helps agencies build high-value relationships with their clients, helps them reach their optimal performance, and ensures recurring and new revenue streams.

In the age of customer relationships, it is crucial to building meaningful relationships to ensure client satisfaction and gain their loyalty. Marketing automation software can do just that, and more. With built-in CRM features, prospect tracking, and management, digital agencies are able to keep in touch with and personalize communication for their clients at all times.

When it comes to client reporting, one thing that clients constantly ask for is to see tangible results. After all, what good is an untracked campaign? Marketing automation software tracks the consumer journey from start to end, providing comprehensive coverage of what has happened from the lead stage to the revenue stage.

This way, you’re able to prove to your clients that your work for them has produced measurable and positive results, instead of frantically explaining to them in terms they don’t understand.

It is also worth considering that most of your clients come to you because they do not understand the digital realm as much as you, which is why they are engaging the expertise of a digital agency in the first place. Having a platform that eases the transition to technology and provides a user-friendly interface can help clients adapt quickly and understand the value of automation.

Of course, not all software is created the same. Finding the right marketing automation software can leave you spoilt for choice. Here’s what we think.

Our best bet for a robust marketing automation platform is SharpSpring. This is software designed and targeted at agencies, so you know you’re in good hands. They’re an all-in-one revenue growth platform aimed at fueling business and agency growth through a set of expansive features and an agency-suited pricing model.

Their business funnel consists of 6 main categories: Marketing automation, Email, CRM, Sales Engagement, Social Media, and Ads.

Essentially, you’re getting quite a full set of capabilities here that can help you expand your outreach and lead generation efforts and convert them to sales.

The great thing about SharpSpring is that the entire toolset is designed to help your business grow through targeted communication and lead cultivating.

With their Smart CRM and Email Marketing features, agencies are able to craft campaigns that will lead to better conversions through personalized communication based on user behavior. We’re talking birthday emails, cart reminders, and more.

SharpSpring’s email marketing platform also enables users to track leads after they have clicked on a certain link, keeping a close tab on how their email campaigns are performing.

This level of meticulousness is applied through all stages of the platform’s advanced features, such as their digital forms, VisitorID to track every lead, and built-in 3rd party CRM integrations.

Team members can track their opportunities by identifying their visitor demographics and behaviors. Businesses can then constantly optimize their websites to target their most profitable and valuable leads, thus maximizing their revenue potential.

Digital marketing agency tool #5: Project management platform (ScaleTime)

When you think about the biggest challenges your marketing agency faces, what comes first to mind?

Many agencies, large or small, struggle with common challenges such as time management, especially since this is such a fast-paced industry.

Every day, clients come up with new demands and requirements that teams have to respond to and find solutions for. Pair this with your own internal business objectives and you’ll find that there is a wide range of projects going on at once.

Project management is an entire project in itself that is always ongoing in any agency. When it comes to scaling up, one thing is for certain: you have to manage your project management.

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

Well, it shouldn’t be. Having an excellent project management tool will give you the boost your agency needs to effectively build and manage a wide range of projects to grow your company.

For starters, defining the KPIs for project management will give you an idea of where you’re headed, so you can set a plan in action and find the right tools to achieve that.

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are a set of measurable results that tell you whether or not your project has hit its target goals. Generally, KPIs have to follow the SMART framework, which is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

By defining the perimeters and keeping within them, team members can avoid being overwhelmed by unattainable and confusing KPIs for their tasks. This will help boost productivity and efficiency while cutting down on time and cost.

It is also worth noting that not all clients are the same. More often than not, you’ll face a client that gives you a completely new set of challenges that invite in a bit more work than your team is used to. This is just something that all agencies go through.

But, you can’t just ignore them.

Dealing with a difficult client is a skill that agency owners and teams should possess in order to effectively handle it and reap the profits of a sale.

What you need is an actionable workflow.

A project management tool like ScaleTime isn’t just for managing internal projects. With a plethora of useful resources and checklists and templates for crucial stages in the client journey, companies can fast-track their progress to get positive results.

ScaleTime helps businesses and agencies with their scope of work by providing a one-stop platform for all communication and workflow matters, thus doing away with the third party platforms where crucial information can be lost.

With its scheduling feature, agencies can decide when and how they want to communicate with their clients, schedule meetings ahead of time, and set goals for each meeting.

For agencies, you’re handling hundreds, maybe even thousands of files at once. Having a lack of organization in this area could lead to a significant regression and slow down processes.

Imagine the time it takes to find a lost file. Now, imagine this happens almost daily, without the right folder structure. In a year, you could be losing hours and hours of precious time!

ScaleTime enables better workplace organization by storing all clients’ vital information in their system, and having it ready at all times for easy access.

Gone are the days when client folders are messed up, causing frustration and tension internally and externally.

As more companies go through digital transformation, the demand for digital marketing services will undoubtedly soar. As your agency steps into this new paradigm, it is vital to adapt to new world practices to keep up the pace.

Having a robust project management tool will not only save time and cost for your business, but it can also lead to higher employee satisfaction and enable them to better serve your clients.

For more information about ScaleTime’s services, visit our website today.

How to protect your agency and manage a volatile crisis 💪

“Any tips for making sure we don’t derail during this time? I
already feel like we’re changing strategies by the second (internally and client-facing) and I want to make sure

1) messaging is consistent

2) the team doesn’t feel overwhelmed with this very quick change and need for action.


Does that make sense??” [sic] 
asks Kate, a project manager of my beloved client.

It does if:
Your facebook feed is filled with Corona memes to distract you.

Your news feed that is FUD-filled (fear, uncertainty, doubt – so you don’t have to urban dictionary) with echoes of the last recession.

Your WhatsApp is blown up by frantic friends and family.

You’re not sure which clients are sticking around, even if you feel like you have them under legal lock and key
And worse… you are in a confined space with those closest to you while trying not to kill each other. 🤬You wish you could SOS yourself out of a Vampirina tranz because kids are home all day. Oh and did I mention it’s happening to your employees and clients, too?

Now that I have made you feel super warm and fuzzy 😉 I promise there is hope!
In times of crisis, people look for leadership.

If you are reading this, you are a leader.

Step into it.

Own it.



 The best crisis management we can model is the Situation Room of the United States (setting aside your feelings about the current administration)

It’s an effective way of managing crisis because it swiftly and effectively deals with the volatility by managing:

· Information: parsing and prioritizing data that’s incoming from various sources

· Dissemination: to whom and how to share relevant and urgent communication

· Action: deploying and implementing tactics despite a barrage of new information coming at you (i.e revenue and resource changes)

· Support: making sure the nation (in your case – clients and team) feel supported throughout

Five simple things to implement your own “Situation Room”:

 

1. The Situation Room – needs to take place in real life (preferably with social distancing in this case). Whether that is a Slack channel, Zoom huddle or your team sneaks into a football field and then stands 6 feet apart (jk), you need a time and place to gather the info with the Gladiators you appoint.


2. Opening and closing debriefs – there is a phenomenal amount of info to digest between closing shop and opening … then it cycles throughout the day. This is crucial to pivot and/or course-correct quickly.


3. Create a change board in your project manager – this is a project or board where new ideas that flood from you and the team get placed to be approved, denied or delayed based on resources and urgency. This will help keep track of all competing projects and ideas.


4. Measure the capacity of both hours and emotional stress – this is a prime time for people to be on edge and overwhelmed. Track hours for the good of everyone’s sanity. Support your people by checking in. Are their families healthy? Will they have Wi-Fi outages (SE ASIA)? Do they need to make appointments to go to supermarkets(certain South American countries)? Stay informed… Any new data will: Affect workflow. Affect productivity. Affect your business.


5. Lastly, Lead; In your industry. In your business. In your home.

 

As a kid, my stepdad would constantly ask me “Are you a leader or a follower?” That is ingrained in my head. Be

the reliable, constant, future thinker your team and clients need you to be. If you need to silently scream into

pillow, reach out and I’ve got your back. Leadership is the manifestation of Expansion, Empathy, and

Empowerment.

 

Kick some ass and let me know if you have any questions.

Legit, send me an email – I read them all (I’m unfortunately addicted and stuck at home), I promise to respond.

Let’s grow together.

BLM What do systems have to do with race?

 

Juliana, you do systems – right? explain how racism is the system please.

Remember when your systems were a little screwy (no shame here – it happens to the best of us) and it made you feel suuuuper uncomfortable?

It didn’t let you fall asleep at night.

If you got another client, another request, or another “common sense” interruption, your system might break.
Or, you might kill someone (figuratively).

I often preach, “When you put off working on your systems to the back burner, that’s the stuff that will burn the house down!”

Our system is broken and these streets are on fire, literally

While sipping coffee in NY on a beautiful pandemic morning, I got a DM from a Jamaican friend, with this image, confused AF yet curious to know what systems had to do with race.

I responded:  
Our defaults, our patterns of behavior are systematic.
They are molded by our beliefs. 
The collection of habits and behaviors create our processes.
Those processes build the infrastructures that now become the system. 

beliefs 
➡ automated/systematic actions 
➡ systemic behaviors/processes 
➡ the infrastructure that is the system

Que Que? 
Okay, that was a mouthful. 
Let’s get a little less abstract. 

  • Jada Doe values keeping mother nature happy. (beliefs)
  • She creates personal habits that reflect this and ripples to all parts of her life. (systematic actions)
  • JD has a paperless business with all green practices based on her values and beliefs that hires and produces eco-friendly people and products. (systemic processes)
  • Eco-friendly sustainability becomes the default state of practices and outcomes based on the infrastructure Jada has created. (her system)

Jada has ensured that every input to every process of her operation is sustainable and therefore all outputs are designed to lower the carbon footprint.

This is why when building a system, I tell my clients to ALWAYS cross-reference your values and beliefs with your decisions, because:

Culture is created by design or by default
Either way, it will get created systematically 


Systemic Racism refers to HOW society operates:  the system disproportionately harms people of certain races regardless of whether there are racists in the system or not. 

When the default practices formed by conscious and unconscious racial bias create our social infrastructure, it allows for a system that  leads to: 

  • voter suppression
  • unequal school/ employment housing
  • lack of any true wealth creation practices
  • million-dollar blocks
  • school to prison pipelines that makes me want to cry
  • list goes on…& on…


That is our system 

When something is wrong with the output. 

Then something is wrong with the system. 

Then you know, 

IT’S TIME TO REDESIGN