8 Strategies To Help Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency
A digital marketing agency is a team of experts using different strategies and tools to market products and services through digital channels. Companies and brands use digital marketing strategies for better discoverability and engagement on different platforms.
The largest chunk of marketing budgets in 2022, 56%, was allocated to digital marketing. This represents the growing importance of digital marketing and the high demand for digital marketing services from businesses looking to scale and grow.
Balancing new work and your team’s ability to churn out creative content for clients is the key to scaling a digital marketing agency. You’re on the right path as long as your team can deliver high-quality content and keep clients happy.
In this article, we’ll explore strategies you can use to scale up your marketing agency. Additionally, we’ll discuss some challenges during this process and how best to deal with them.
What are the signs an agency needs to scale?
How will you know when it’s time to scale up? Several telltale signs indicate when a digital marketing agency is ready to scale and grow, including:
- You’re profitable. If you have consistently high profit margins over a considerable period, you’ve fine-tuned your business for stability and profitability. In addition, if customers keep returning, you have a business ready to scale up.
- You have to turn down work. You’ll receive more inquiries, referrals, and work as your business becomes more successful. While you might be able to manage for a while, you may not be able to take on new clients at some point. In this case, it might be time to scale and grow.
- You have no trouble generating leads. With success in the field and a reputation of excellence, you probably don’t have any trouble generating new leads. Whether through social media or word-of-mouth recommendations, leads are likely coming your way through multiple sources. However, if converting these leads into paying customers may over-extend your team, you might need to scale.
- You have the infrastructure. You have room to grow if you have the physical infrastructure and team members who are skilled and professional. Employees confident in their core skills and ready to help take the company to the next level can be a huge asset through the scaling process.
- You have the funds to scale. Scaling isn’t cheap. You’ll need to hire new employees, invest more in software and hardware, and find new office space. If you have the funds to finance a growth spurt, you’re ideally placed to start scaling up.
The challenges of scaling a digital marketing agency
Unlike product-centric businesses, scaling up digital marketing agencies poses some unique hurdles. Let’s look at some of the biggest challenges you could face along with starting solutions:
- Selling a service. With a digital marketing agency, you aren’t selling a tangible product. So, you can’t kick-start growth and expansion by pushing your product out to more stores. Since a digital marketing agency deals with a unique set of services, the key to scaling up is maintaining consistency in quality and output volume.
- The need for customization. Marketing is done by customizing services based on the specific needs of clients. Scaling up often involves standardization. However, strict standardization is at odds with creating customized content for clients. A common solution is to hire enough employees to give each client the time and attention they deserve.
- Client and employee churn. A lack of employee or client retention can put your business in a tight spot. This is particularly true when you’re trying to scale. You don’t want to bring in new clients only to find you can’t meet deadlines or deliver high-quality work. Ensure team members feel valued and show clients the benefits of your services.
- Heavy competition. The digital marketing space is highly competitive and saturated, with the best agencies bringing a ton of experience and success stories to the table. It can be tough for a new digital agency to scale up and target high-value clients. Have a clearly defined Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and success stories to show potential clients.
8 top strategies to scale your digital marketing agency
Now that we know how to identify scalability, let’s jump into how you can scale your digital marketing agency. We’ll take you through eight key strategies and tips to help you get on the right track.
- Refine your target market
- Expand and strengthen your brand identity
- Optimize your sales and marketing funnel
- Expand your service offerings
- Develop your team members
- Focus on client retention
- Invest in technology
- Market case studies from successful client relationships
1. Refine your target market
Digital marketing is a constantly evolving field. Client priorities, industry trends, and market demands change over time. For instance, most restaurants shifted their digital marketing message to prioritize delivery options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a digital marketing agency, refine your target audience so you can serve their needs better. You can update your service offerings based on your target client’s needs.
Spend time creating and updating your ideal buyer persona based on data collected from existing clients and in-depth market research. Ask yourself questions like:
- Have our client’s needs changed?
- What are our client’s expectations of a digital marketing strategy?
- Has their marketing budget changed?
- How can we offer something new?
This effort can help you create better marketing campaigns for existing clients and identify areas where you can pitch new clients.
Researching competitors and trends within digital marketing can also help you define your brand’s place in the market. Discovering a potential service offering can set you apart from the competition.
2. Expand and strengthen your brand identity
As you help clients build their brands, don’t forget to define, expand, and promote your brand identity. In a sense, how strongly you present and pitch your brand identity across different channels can show potential clients how good you are at your job.
To maintain a solid brand identity, identify your core brand value, idea, or message. For example, Nike sells the concepts of inspiration and empowerment along with shoes and sports apparel. Developing your brand message and the language surrounding it can help you better communicate your values to clients.
Additionally, create a consistent and standard visual identity across different mediums, such as your website, social media pages, listing directories, newsletters, videos, and blogs. Focus on building a search engine-optimized, high-ranking website and active social media profiles that showcase your brand and all the quality services it offers.
3. Optimize your sales and marketing funnel
Customer interactions with a brand typically occur in five key stages. These are:
- Awareness. The customer becomes familiar with your brand through advertising and marketing channels.
- Consideration. The customer considers whether to buy your product or service at this stage.
- Purchase. The customer makes a purchase.
- Retention. The customer uses the product or service. At this stage, your brand might contact the customer to purchase from you again.
- Advocacy. The customer spreads the word about your product or service.
You can create tailored strategies for each stage of the customer’s journey by using data-driven insights. Use your business’s past work to see how you can optimize your company’s performance at each stage. You’ll need to do thorough research and develop case studies using data and analytics to track and improve your output.
For example, to improve your strategy at the awareness stage, you could conduct market research to find out which platforms your target audience typically goes to when looking for digital marketing agencies. If you find they largely visit LinkedIn and Google Business Profiles to shortlist agencies, you could set up and polish your profiles on these platforms.
Similarly, you could research what helps your target demographic choose agencies at the consideration stage. If you find pricing and social proof help clients make up their minds about marketing services, you could develop strategies to target those two areas.
4. Expand your service offerings
As you expand your team and hire new employees, you can offer clients a wider range of services based on your team’s expertise. This can be a great way to scale your agency. You can appeal to new clients with various service offerings and upsell new services to existing clients.
New services can include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing
- Content marketing
- Web design or redesign
- Voice search optimization
- Link building
Revising and updating service offerings can help your digital marketing agency stay relevant and in step with the latest industry trends. Spend time researching new trends and determine whether your agency has the talent and resources to offer new services.
5. Develop your team members
Hiring talented new employees is important if you want to scale your business. But it’s equally important to help your in-house and current employees upskill.
Give them ample opportunity and time to develop new knowledge and strategies. Investing time and money in your employees’ development can reward you in the long run when they can handle tasks you might have otherwise had to outsource.
As your employees grow, so does your business. Scaling up becomes much simpler when your team is better equipped to handle various tasks and challenges. You can organize specific training, workshops, webinars, and courses within your organization to enable employees to learn new digital marketing skills.
Courses can include:
- Udemy. The Complete Digital Marketing Course
- Coursera. Digital Marketing Specialization by the University of Illinois
- edX. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce by the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Find out about more useful digital marketing courses on Upwork.
6. Focus on client retention
Scaling a business will have no value if you don’t have a loyal client base. Whether old or new, your clients must be your No. 1 priority. Strong customer relationships lie at the heart of every successful business interaction.
Providing your customers excellent service and personalized attention goes a long way in nurturing long-term business relationships. Plus, happy clients are likely to refer friends to your agency and help you meet your goal to grow and generate more revenue.
A few tips that go a long way in maintaining good relationships with clients include:
- Get to know your clients
- Be attentive to their needs
- Simplify the client onboarding process
- Give them a personalized experience
- Always prioritize customer convenience
- Host events for your clients
- Keep them in the loop about deliverables
- Go above and beyond to meet client expectations
- Thank them for their loyalty
7. Invest in technology
Software-based tools can help simplify, automate, and streamline many areas of your digital marketing business. For example, you can help employees manage and organize their projects and workflows by using project management tools like Trello, Asana, and Wrike.
Artificial intelligence-based tools have similarly made many tasks easier. For example, AI-powered tools like Grammarly or Readable can help with content creation for marketing by checking the writing for grammatical mistakes and readability. Similarly, Semrush, HubSpot, and Ahrefs help marketers with link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, and rank tracking.
Using tech tools can make your team more productive and give them more time that they can put to use in other productive ways.
8. Market case studies from successful client relationships
Case studies are excellent tools to demonstrate value in the services you offer. Successful client relationships can be studied, turned into marketing material, and used to target potential clients.
Case studies or “success stories” can make for interesting email marketing content and social media, website, blog, podcast, and video content. You can find many case study templates and formats on the internet.
A great example of nurturing customer relationships to benefit the overall business is that of global coffee giant Starbucks. The brand executed a loyalty program for its customers, driving 40% of Starbucks’ total sales. The program kept customers engaged with the Starbucks app and pushed sales in unique ways.
Scale your digital marketing agency with help from Upwork
Have we succeeded in tempting you to grow your digital marketing agency? If the answer is yes, look no further in assembling the finest digital marketing team.
Upwork has many freelance professional digital marketers looking for their next big opportunity to help clients. You can browse their profiles and get in touch with those whose work appeals to you.
If you’re a digital marketer, create your profile on Upwork and browse through marketing jobs. If something catches your eye, get in touch with the client to discuss your previous work and digital marketing skills.
Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.