In these competitive times, almost every industry eventually gets saturated. Instead of looking for an unsaturated market, entrepreneurs embrace competition and make it their goal to be ahead of their competitors by constantly innovating.
Is it easy? No!
But that’s why I’m here — to guide you with the knowledge and experience that I’ve gathered through my struggle in the marketing world. Keep on reading to learn all the traits and steps to start successful marketing agencies!
Six Essential Traits All Integrated Marketing Agencies Need to Strategize
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting into saturated markets if you are willing to constantly innovate and take a path less traveled when searching for solutions to your client’s issues.
An integrated marketing agency is an agency that specializes in various marketing services and produces results using a holistic strategy. The following traits distinguish great marketing agencies from all the others:
We live in a fast-paced environment; thus, it is exceptionally essential to be up-to-date and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to social media platforms.
When it comes to social media, as a marketing agency, you do not only need to know established social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter.
New social media platforms pop up every few months. A lot of them fail, but some of them end up making a dent in the social verse. Thus, as a marketing agency, don’t be afraid to try new things.
Being an early adopter of new technologies will allow you to build your place in the market before other people even realize that there is an opportunity.
There is nothing worse than working with marketing agencies that are not fluent in the digital space. As a marketing agency, you need to master the A-to-Z of social media; this includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Conversion Optimization
- Email Marketing
- Paid Marketing
Doing what others are doing in the market will provide you with the same results that everyone is getting. Everyone is aware of this fact; however, not everyone realizes that the key to growth is innovation.
Often, this is as simple as taking risks – taking a step away from safety and creating a campaign that wows the audience. However, the campaign needs to be well-thought-out; otherwise, it will meet the same faith as Pepsi’s commercial featuring Kendall Jenner.
Storytelling has always, in one form or another, been a primary source of influencing opinions.
Storytelling is crucial in business marketing as it helps to break the clutter on the internet. If we remove this factor, everything that you come across on social media will look alike. For example, if you are selling a hand wash, without a good story behind it, the basic messaging will be “liquid that removes germs from hands.” Understand what I’m implying?
One of the objectives of a marketing agency should be to create empathetic and customer-centric content that
- converts &
- retains customers
With skilled storytelling, you can talk about hand wash more engagingly. You can show new ways of washing hands and talk about the history of handwashing – all in an exciting manner!
The digital world is forever changing. The fact that you need to be always learning is important because digital platforms take up a major portion of marketing these days. Those who aren’t keeping up and evolving are left behind.
Thus, it is critical to consume information regularly and be up-to-date with the latest trends and developments to stay on top.
I have heard many people working for marketing agencies say that they feel as if they are creating content that no one ever reads. What this implies is that they did not track the behavioral data of their customers.
Data-driven marketing is essential to get results. This data can help marketers curate customer profiles for tailored marketing solutions. Despite this, according to Lyfe Marketing, 70% of marketers are still not utilizing such data!
In fact, according to Business 2 Community, only 11% of marketing decisions are made as a result of data analysis. However, the number is growing as more corporations are turning to algorithms.
Analytics, data, and measurements are integral to the success of marketing agencies. How would you know if your campaign is successful if you do not track the results? How would you know what content you need to create if you don’t even know what the audience is searching for?
It is crazy how many brands still don’t have Google Analytics installed on their websites and yet are trying to target a specific market niche. Without analytics, it is all just a guessing game. If there is no data, how would you know the characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes of your website visitors?
Five Crucial Steps That Successful Marketing Agencies Navigate
1.Develop the Required Skills
The role of marketing agencies is to showcase a brand’s products or services to their target audience. Only agencies with well-trained and experienced individuals can fulfill the expectations of their clients.
Being a part of a marketing agency is more than just being intelligent and creative. You also need to be prepared to deal with the many nuances of client relationships.
Before you master your digital marketing skills, you need to experience what it is like to work in the same environment as your clients. Work environments not only teach us about the actual work but also teach us verbal and nonverbal communication and the politics associated with the workplace.
It may take some people years to build the necessary skills, and it may take others less. Regardless, before starting your own marketing agency, you need to hold down an actual job for some time. This will provide you with the skills that you need and turn you into a well-rounded professional. Thus, in the future, when your clients are freaking out and projecting that stress and anger on you, you will likely not take it personally.
That being said, soft skills such as communication, attitude, time management, critical thinking, creative abilities, and other personality traits are only 50% of the final product, which is you. You also need to be good at the professional services you will be offering.
As a marketing agency, you have to be able to drive results. Instead of starting your career managing large businesses, we encourage you to begin working as a marketing agency for small businesses to learn the channels and necessary skills.
As a new marketing agency professional, you need to develop several skills to get even the most superficial campaigns off the ground:
- Building landing pages
- Designing advertisements
- Email and SMS marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Social media marketing
- Digital branding
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Influencer marketing
- Photography and videography
One of the most significant benefits of managing clients is that many of the aspects mentioned above are taken care of before they get to you. However, having relevant experience and the required skills will allow you to further add value to the work and provide quality results to your client.
2.Develop A Business Model
According to CBInsights, 17% of small businesses fail because they do not have a business model. After all, it is practically impossible to start a successful business without a well-thought-out business plan.
Having a business idea is simply not enough; the objectives need to be well-defined and you need to predict your income stream if you want to make it in the competitive industry.
There are many ways to set up a marketing agency. The services you provide and how you bill your clients are a crucial part of how efficiently you run your business.
Marketing agencies’ charges are based on a variety of factors such as the scope of work, time frame to complete the task, the complexities, and the type of service. Every marketing agency has its own package as well as the pricing details as per the services provided by them.
Some of the common ways to bill a client are as follows:
a) Hourly Basis
Many marketing agencies charge their clients by the hour. In this form of billing, the agency charges a fixed hourly rate and keeps track of the number of hours required to complete a certain project. The client is usually charged for the service after the work has been completed.
This form of billing can be quite complex, and a number of factors can come into play. For example, it becomes difficult for the agency to say that they spent XYZ hours on a project this week. Charging by the hour can also make the client question the charges.
Thus, unless you offer one-on-one consulting sessions, we suggest you stay away from billing your client by the hour.
The fixed-fee pricing model is perhaps the simplest of all the pricing models. Here an agency calculates the cost by estimating the number of hours and work required for a specific client, and both parties agree on a fixed monthly rate.
Aside from that, the client knows exactly how much he or she has to pay, and if the client’s expectations are met, he or she will have no problem paying the amount.
With the fixed-fee billing model, we recommend having an agreement in your contract that guarantees the price for a period (e.g., on a quarterly basis); after the period is up, the fee can be renegotiated according to the business’s growth.
c) Percentage of the Spend
One of the most popular pricing models among marketing agencies is the percentage of the spending model as it factors in clients’ growth potential.
If you’re just starting your agency, this may not be the ideal option for you, but over time you will realize that having bigger clients is more beneficial for your agency for a variety of reasons.
One of the downsides of this pricing model is that many internal factors within businesses will dictate the budget. Some of these factors will be within your control, but many of the elements will be out of your control, e.g., seasonality and other costs.
In this pricing model, the agency only gets paid when its client makes money off a sale.
One of the advantages of this pricing model is that it helps you build trust with a client, which is absolutely essential for a new marketing agency. Individuals who have had bad experiences with marketing agencies often say that they felt like their money was wasted as there were no results or an increase in the ROI. This type of pricing model can entice a client who has had a previous bad experience.
One of the disadvantages of commission-based pricing is that it heavily relies on the sale of the product. If there is a significant profit margin, then this pricing model makes sense. Otherwise, it can prove to be an unnecessary headache.
3.Pick a Niche
Take your time figuring out:
- What your expertise is and
- Who would find this expertise valuable?
Ideally, you should know your niche before launching your agency. If you don’t, conduct your research and be brutally honest about the talents and skills that you and your team bring to the table. The sooner you define your niche, the sooner you gain traction in that industry.
After that, you can begin to offer expertise in that niche, provide knowledgeable advice and services, produce results, and charge more.
Other than that, conduct in-depth market research. Once you have completed your research or proven your value within certain types of projects in specific industries, pick the most suitable one. Defining your niche will make you more appealing to clients you actually want to work with.
David Baker, an agency consultant, once said that the number one thing clients look for in an agency is vertical specialization. All of the other stuff regarding core values and customer service is why they decide to stay, not why they sign.
As a new marketing agency, the thought of turning a client down may cause a fair amount of cognitive dissonance. However, remember that there are several marketing agencies in the market; some of them specialize in a particular niche, but many of them don’t.
Thus, to make your place in the market, you have to stand out and create a unique selling point when approaching potential clients.
Other than the added value, there are various advantages of focusing on a niche; some of those advantages are mentioned below:
a. It Makes Market Domination Easy
By focusing on a niche market, you will be able to dominate the market without having to compete with the big players in the market. Ensure that you create your own blue ocean instead of jumping into a red ocean niche market without having any differentiation points.
b. It Makes Onboarding Easier
When you have defined your niche and know your ideal customer, the process and decision of taking a prospect on board become easier as you already know what information you need from the prospect and the type of questions you need to ask.
c. It Strengthens your Skillset
If you are skilled in a specific marketing service, for example, paid digital marketing, you can run ads for most businesses. However, you need to learn about the target audience and how to formulate effective messaging.
For example, if you are a marketing agency for small businesses but one of your clients is a multinational company, it can be difficult to process everything since the company you are working with is unfamiliar to what you are used to working with.
If you have already defined the ideal client, you can build a plethora of experiences to build muscle memory and intuition. This can come in handy when you need to make decisions; because of this experience, you will know quickly what decisions you need to make and when to make them.
It will also help you work more efficiently as you probably have seen this issue before and you know how to handle it.
d. It Provides You With A Competitive Edge
With so many low-quality marketing agencies in the market, it provides the prospects peace of mind when they know that your company only caters to those who are like them.
Choosing a defined niche will provide you with an added layer of reliability and trust. This marketing approach will provide your potential clients with services they want, need, and desire.
With a defined niche, you will have a leg up on the competition because the services in a niche market are difficult to find. It will take your services to clients who have an interest in receiving them.
Choosing a niche will help you spend more time and resources improving your core services and providing a better customer experience.
4.Know How You Want to Scale
If you tell someone that you are starting your own marketing agency, it carves into their mind that you will rent out an office with several tables and chairs and hire several employees. More often than not, that is one of the worst decisions you will ever make.
If you are like 99% of the population, the chances are that you have bills you need to pay. Thus, if you want your business to start and grow, ensure that you can survive first.
Convincing someone to work for you can be an issue if your marketing agency is entirely digital. Employees work for a company because they want security. So unless your marketing agency can pay the individuals well and offer them benefits, they will not be interested in taking on your project.
The cost-effective antidote for this problem is easy: just find contractors. There are hundreds of skillful people out there who will be willing to help you out on a contractual basis. You don’t have to provide these individuals with benefits.
Running a marketing agency digitally will also allow you to easily end the business in case things go south because you will have no office to sublet and no layoffs.
In the end, growing your business should be seen as both a process and a goal that you need to strive hard and pay close attention to to achieve. A growing business is not just the result but also everything that you have been doing right. This is something that a lot of struggling entrepreneurs and business owners fail to understand. Whatever you do or do not do ultimately impacts your business in some way.
5.Get the Clients On Board
Just like sharks need to keep swimming to survive, marketing agencies need to find new clients in order to thrive. If you stop swimming sooner rather than later, you will be out of business.
Happy clients will provide you with a chance of upselling them. These individuals are also easier to approach for feedback and reviews, which can help you get more clients on board. According to Hydrate Marketing, 85% of prospects trust reviews written by other individuals.
These delighted prospects can also help your business thrive by recommending your marketing agency directly to their friends, families, and co-workers.
This is the same as when my friends ask me where I buy my t-shirts online. I always direct them to my favorite online clothing store because their t-shirts are not just comfortable, affordable, and good quality, but the online store also provides stellar customer service.
According to research, the primary way marketing agencies get clients is through referrals. If you get a project through mutual connections, former coworkers, or by networking yourself, ensure that you keep in touch with them and build and maintain those professional relationships.
Another approach marketing agencies use to get clients is by actively looking for companies or entrepreneurs that require marketing services. Most of the time, marketing agencies encounter two types of clients when seeking out new clients in this way.
On the one hand, some individuals and businesses need marketing services but lack the know-how of the technicalities involved. In this case, the marketing agency must identify these individuals or companies and help them comprehend the solution to their marketing problems.
On the other hand, some potential clients are already tech-savvy. In this case, the marketing agency’s responsibility is to respect the client’s knowledge and offer solutions that provide them the transparency and oversight of their campaigns while still providing propositions for extra growth and success.
If you start your marketing agency, chances are that you will face several ups and downs. What you need is the determination to conduct thorough research, good decision-making skills, and commitment.
The good news is, there is always a place in the market for another marketing agency. One of the beauties of belonging to the marketing industry is the opportunity to walk into a crowded space and achieve the results you require by taking a creative approach to solving issues.