It’s not easy being in the advertising industry these days.
Clients have dealt with their own problems over the past few years including the pandemic, employee resignations, supply chain disruptions, and overall economic uncertainty. As an ad agency, your purpose is to alleviate your clients’ workloads and offer extensive services to help them successfully continue to navigate the future. This can be a challenge for an ad agency that’s in its startup phase and also overcoming market disruptions.
How can you support your clients while also scaling your business for growth? According to a 2020 study conducted by marketing research, over half of digital marketing agencies have 10 or less staff members on their roster which can equate to a big workload and high expectations. And yet agencies also reported a 54% increase in revenue despite market disruptions, as reported in 2022 Marketing Outlook. Being able to support your ad agency’s growth is key during these times and with adaptability, it can be done.
Let’s discuss four ways you can grow your ad agency in the short term and scale for years to come.
1) Invest in your people and they’ll invest in you
There are many factors as to why employees leave their jobs. Ad agency workers in particular are showing signs of burnout and feeling undervalued to the point where they pursue opportunities elsewhere. Some of the perks they are looking for in their next positions include the ability to work remotely, have flexible hours, and work for a company that shares their values in sustainability and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Lights On Creative’s Crystal Diaz told Databox their company wouldn’t be where it was without its people. “We allow for change and love when our employees can find/see a better way of doing things.” You don’t have to offer what’s out of your budget. But your responsibility should be to make your people feel valued, have a solid brand mission, make room for career growth, and offer more desirable perks. Let your employees know you’ve invested in them and show them why your agency’s mission rings true to your company culture and overall meets or exceeds industry standards.
2) Identify your target clients and funnel them into a referral program
Your agency can’t be everything to everybody, especially taking on big named clients when you’re not ready to support them with your startup resources. Start small and hone-in on your expertise. The more niche-specific your ad agency gets, the more likely you will attract new clients and retain those who will continue to do business with you for the long run. Mauricio Cardenal, founder of Roofing Marketing Pros told Databox that having a specialty in the advertising industry is a necessity. “There are 500,000 agencies worldwide and one of the best strategies in standing out is by focusing on serving a single niche.”
Word of mouth and client referrals also go far when it comes to the scalability of your business. Having loyal customers refer you to future opportunities is one of the best ways to gain new customers. You can set up your referral program in several ways, but Solomon Thimothy reported to Databox that ClickX uses a financial incentive strategy to benefit the agency’s growing client referral program. He believes by using service discounts for every referral the client brings to ClickX, the reward will be enough to spread the word and help convert new prospects into customers.
3) Use software that helps manage your most complex processes
For new and existing ad agencies, managing time, projects, collaboration, and finances need to be at the top of their priority list. This also adds to having a structured work environment which is not only pleasing to your client but also to your employees. Using a software solution for agency management to unify data can help ease the chaos of not having anything in place at all. Streamlining processes can help growing ad agencies enforce productivity, efficiencies, and planning all together.
According to a 2022 marketing study, agencies that didn’t meet their 2021 revenue goals were 27% less likely than average to have already implemented AI. The best software for ad agencies are those which include smart capabilities in an all-in-one solution. Ad agency software such as Kantata can offer a lot for a competitive cost. For just $19 a month for 5 users (perfect for growing agencies), you’ll have the opportunity to view all sources of data through a single dashboard for easy usage. Your team can expect robust features in Kantana such as online invoicing and payments, sharing of files, email integrations, maximizing branding efforts, and more.
4) Try new strategies to deliver client results
Keeping up with marketing trends is crucial for ad agency survival. Marketing report indicates 57% of agencies are shifting focus away from strategies like conversational marketing, expecting it to fade away in the next 5 years. Now, they’re amplifying their social media marketing and SEM/SEO paid advertisement offerings to their clients. Evolving with trends will not only help your agency stay relevant, but also deliver client results.
It’s one thing to get the job done and another in showing the job was effective. Marketing report found 38% of businesses want agencies to help them measure and track their leads. By tracking your client’s performance on paid social ads, campaigns, web traffic, and keyword relevancy, you can use data to prove to them your agency’s efforts are working. With new strategies and results set into place, they’ll be more likely to join your referral program and become a long-term client of yours.
Growing your ad agency can be difficult when unexpected events come into play. But with the right steps, your ad agency has the potential to soar to new heights. By keeping your client and people in top of mind, putting efficiencies into place, and trying new methods and measuring success, your clients will be thrilled they not only chose you, but also to have found a reputable agency to work with alongside their business for some time to come.