How to grow your advertising agency? We’ve gotten insights from all over the world

Running an advertising agency is like riding a bike: except the bike is on fire, you are on fire and everything else is on fire too. Being responsible for constant growth and landing even more clients is fairly difficult, especially when the competition is more fierce than ever before.

What can you do to be successful and to make your agency blossom with clients and projects?
We have asked a few experts, and you can read their insights below.

Employee advocacy for the win

Happy employees = happy clients. Perks, management who takes initiative to care about the individual, anonymous employee feedback, and remote work options, taking care of your employees pays dividends.

Sara Davis, VP of Growth at Canirank


Advertise yourself!

Advertising agencies are notoriously poor at advertising themselves. It's easier to hire Suits to do proactive selling and track their results - whereas marketing at the Awareness/Consideration stage is much harder.

The best tip for growing an advertising agency is simple - once every month, publish some good work or fresh content. There are so many channels available - LinkedIn, Quora, blog - that even the weakest efforts to publish/promote may yield results.

As an additional benefit, it's a way to celebrate talent and inculcate pride in the agency's work - which may be a keystone habit to generating more good creative work from the team.

Darren Foong, Marketing at CandyBar

Make the most of social media

Utilize social media, always. Brands are using their social platforms like crazy nowadays, whether they're high-end or not. You should be there and you should be using those as well.

Secondly, make sure to share all availability, ideas and great projects on social media. Are you offering a new type of service? Let your prospects know. Are you featured in a podcast or a new campaign? Give them a heads up.

Thirdly, be flexible when it comes to pricing. It's a shame to lose a prospect that can actually help you grow, because they went little over-budget with their requirements. Not only that, but also, a flexible pricing model will make you look transparent, seeing as this will mean that you can give an actual price for what a prospect is asking for, straight away. 

Téa Liarokapi, Content Writer at Moosend

Focus as much on your branding as you do on client acquisition

Let’s face it. You’re competing against thousands of agencies that are offering similar services; so, standing out from the crowd can be a daunting task and that’s why it’s crazy important to build an agency personality.

One way to accomplish this is to develop your brand around one of the founders—this individual will be the ‘face’ of your agency—think hosting webinars, guest posts, interviews, and even appearing on podcasts. Want a pro tip? Consistency is critical to the branding process so make sure to use the same profile image everywhere.

The underlying to truth is that most marketing agencies seriously fail at publicizing themselves because they don’t understand its true value. Think about it this way; when you cultivate a memorable brand identity, you eliminate many low-cost, anonymous competitors.

Vincent Bucciachio, Founder at SociallyInfused

Get into paid social

Facebook is the network, an advertising agency should move their messaging into to grow their services in 2020. Branded Facebook pages only reach about 2% of fans with organic posts. So advertisements are only the area a brand/service needs to invest to grow their reach and engagement. 

Manvi Agarval, Marketing Manager at Social Pilot

Take lead generation seriously

Achieving growth as an advertising agency is a lot like solving a problem that involves a lot of creative thinking. Therefore hiring creative problem solvers should go without saying. But growth is about the business you are able to successfully acquire.

So a big piece of the puzzle is creating a powerful lead generation strategy. 

It's important to explore different ways of generating leads, including referrals (word-of-mouth marketing) or conferences. 

One tip is to have some of your expert employees speak at events to show off your expertise.

Another is to always ask for testimonials from your clients. Nothing works better than a solid social proof that what you are doing works. Get your clients to leave you a review and highlight it on your landing page.

Pawel Lawrowski, Head of Growth at Tidio

Take care of reporting

Depending on the size of your marketing agency, you may need to start employing new marketing reporting tools to expedite growth. As client lists growth, complexity of reporting will grow along with it. Among the many interesting tools for agencies, there are tools that help marketing agencies create visual reports by integrating with some of the top digital marketing tools on the market. If you combine it with other tools, you can quickly notice that this leads to effective report organisation and presentation.

Mindaugas Skurvydas, SEO manager at Whatagraph

Establish a client referral program

With a client referral program, prospective clients get your contact information from a trusted colleague, friend or family member. Their positive experience is the best advertising there is.

Here are the four simple steps to instituting your program:

Step 1 – Set Realistic Goals
More than half of all consumers rate trust as the main reason they choose a brand (source: Trust may be even more important for agencies. The goal of a referral program should be to build trust. Making contact is what matters. 

Step 2 – Identify Your Incentives
What are you offering your existing clients for a referral? Is it a discount on services or perhaps a gift card? Make the incentive contingent upon a new client signing with your agency, not just contact.

Step 3 – Reach Out
Inform your current clients about your upcoming program. Try out competing incentives and see what piques interest. Start with you oldest clients, and work your way toward newer ones.

Step 4 – Institute Tracking
You will need a way of tracking new prospects and who referred them. Keep it simple and foolproof, but also impervious to scamming.

Will Cannon, Founder and CEO at UpLead

Combine influencer marketing with WOMM

In the world of advertising, nothing works better than a word-of-mouth. Of course, doing a solid job for your clients goes without saying, and it’s crucial for your future customers to know about the quality of work you can deliver. Gather testimonials and social proofs.

Another good tip is to set up a referral program for your existing customers and encourage them to advertise your services.

Lastly, consider doing some free projects for the influencers in your niche. It can yield awesome results and bring in tons of new clients if they advertise your services to their network. 

Kas Szatylowicz, Content Manager at Digital Olympus

Believe in marketing automation

Growing your advertising agency without tools is like planting amazing flowers but not watering them. Agencies often struggle with combining all of their processes, tedious tasks and sparks of creativity, which does not come as a surprise. 

You can either give up and try to accomplish tasks manually or discuss with your team whether they need help and if so, in what areas. It is not about spending a small fortune on a marketing suite with hundreds of tools. It is about choosing some strategic software that can buy you precious time and help you grow. 

Marketing automation plays a key role in the process of growing your advertising agency. Stop being stubborn and at least try a few tools that your competitors are likely to use (to better you). You may very soon spot the difference.

Kasia Majewska, Content Manager at NapoleonCat

Determine what your niche is

Instead of running another advertising agency that handles every type of campaign in the world and manages accounts for all industries, just nail your niche. Find out what you are good at and build a team around it. If you already have a team, discover what it is that you really sparkle with. 

Try focusing on one or two things like running effective paid social campaigns, for example. It might turn out that your agency will be more successful and profitable than when you were trying to do everything, just for the sake of calling your business an “advertising agency”.

Tom Mortimer, Content Manager at Adzooma

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