Marketing Your Agency
At some point you decided to take the next big step forward and start your own agency. You came up with a name you liked, set up a workspace and landed some clients. You worked with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Clients provided positive feedback, advertising goals were met and things appeared to be right where they should be.
But are they? Something is nagging at you. Your instincts are nagging at you, trying to tell you something but you just can’t quite put your finger on it. You know you are working hard for your clients and trying to perform at your best.
You go about your day and the phone rings and your main client is downsizing and reducing their advertising budget by 60%. You open the mail and find that another client has bounced a check to you and another one is seriously past due.
Things just became quite serious. You realize that you need some new clients… but you have not been seeking new ones or marketing your agency at all. You are a little shocked as this reality sets in. How did you not do this for your own company? What do you do? Where do you begin? You now know what that nagging feeling was and start to panic.
The first thing to do is calm down and realize that you can do this. You are up for the challenge; you just need to plot a course to success for yourself, just like you do for clients. You need to audit your agency and answer some deep questions about it. This is the goal of this article.
Let’s begin a journey that I hope you will enjoy.
Defining Your Strengths… and Weaknesses
It is important to understand what you do well, what makes you happiest, and what makes you the most profit. Some projects are better left for someone else and you need to identify these as fast as possible. Far too many agencies are saying yes to everything; a sign that they are not optimizing their strengths. There is only so much time in the day, so target the best possible projects for you.
In order to present your agency to others, you need to define your brand identity. Your brand identity needs to clearly explain who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Connect your brand identity to your strengths so that you are marketing the best side of your agency.
It is highly important for you to be effective when communicating with others. You might have the best ideas, the best brand recognition, and the best solution for a prospective client, but if you cannot present yourself and your agency correctly, you will fall short. Be alert, genuine, concerned, professional and polite. Shake hands, make eye contact, pay attention and show care to everyone present.
If you do not think about networking everywhere you go, you have already lost clients.
Attend local community events. There are opportunities everywhere. Chamber of Commerce functions, business grand openings, charity events and fund raisers are some great places to be. You should attend a local event two or three times each month, if not more. You will grow your network greatly by doing this.
While attending, create a platform to present your agency by asking what someone does. Let them speak, don’t interrupt and be sincerely involved. When it is your time to speak, state your name, title, company, and a brief (rehearsed) sentence or two about your business solutions. You should practice saying this agency statement over and over to family & friends to get feedback about how it sounds. Speak clearly and directly with a smile. Show your passion and enthusiasm for your agency.
Hand out a business card and ask for one in return. Treat their business card with respect, do not fold it, bite it, or mistreat it. And be sure to keep it and use it for future business needs, not just for marketing your services to them. Businesses like to do business with people who spend money with them. It’s a win-win relationship for both companies.
Generate synergy for your brand by adding your name and logo to everything you do. One activity builds upon another and the cycle never stops.
Create a quality business card and use them. Do not skimp or use a free service that will slap their name on the back. Remember, your business card is a reflection of you. Make sure that it represents your company clearly and favorably.
Design a dynamic website that is mobile-responsive and present the web address on everything you do. Start small and expand the content as time rolls forward. Many agencies try to fill a ten-page website with low-quality or unclear content when a three-page website that presents the basic products and services would perform better.
Social profiles are great for connecting your brand to consumers in a more relaxed way. Tie your website to as many social platforms and local directories as possible. There are dozens of free places to do this. Once you create them, make small additions to them at a steady pace. Learn the ways of scheduling posts so you can make the most of your time. Be sure that the content is a good fit for each particular platform. To not overlook the importance of Google+.
A YouTube channel is quite effective for building your agency’s brand. I recommend creating a YouTube channel and putting a few videos up. These should present your brand with the personality you want for it. Consider posting a two-minute video, twice a week, saying hello and mentioning a different product, service or tip. A TrueView campaign is a cost-effective way to increase your audience on YouTube.
Finally, put your agency name and logo on your work shirts and wear them as often as possible. I have quality polos with embroidery and they are noticed and asked about often. They absolutely work.
If you are not involved in your community, your community cannot be easily involved in your business. Get out there, participate in events, shake hands and meet people. Sponsor quality events that are compatible with your brand and show your sincerity by caring for those who share your community. Remember that your community needs to be strong in order for your agency to be successful. You will also meet some of the best people, people who could become lifelong friends and clients, so get involved and have fun.
You can build a great portfolio with non-profits and help yourself while you are helping them. Remember that their board of directors are local business people and community leaders, so your brand is introduced to them, too.
Too many agencies simply focus on the here and now without thinking about where they are going or where they want to be in three years. You should set goals for each quarter, if not monthly. Your team will actually perform better with goals, and your clients will benefit from performance goals, too. You need to be proactive at building your agency through goals, which will make marketing your agency a part of your natural operations.
Keep Moving Forward
If you are not moving forward, you are losing ground. You do not have to make big strides to be moving your agency towards the completion of goals. Your agency needs your focused energy to thrive, so keep pressing forward no matter what. Be determined to reach your goals and you will.
It is very important to identify, refine, and eliminate any ineffective elements of your agency’s marketing plan. Many agencies try again and again to force something that is simply not working. Stop and reinvent yourself based on your strengths and never look back. Becoming a successful agency will likely call for many renditions of yourself as you develop professionally.
Now that we have covered many aspects of marketing your agency, we can discuss the final point of this article, why should someone hire you for the task at hand? This comes down to your unique selling proposition.
Unique Selling Proposition
All of this information should help you define who you are and why someone should hire you, which is your unique selling proposition (USP). What makes you special? What makes you best suited for the project? How will you benefit the business if they hire you? How are you different from other agencies? What are your strengths? What value do you bring? What is your passion? Why are you in business? Where can someone find you?
You need to have your USP in place and clearly understood by you and your entire team. And it needs to be presented to the world clearly.
If I can leave you with one more thought, it is to never stop learning, listening, and improving your skills. Running an agency is fun, engaging and absolutely challenging. Never stop marketing yourself and make it a priority for your agency, too. If you need an immediate boost, crank up some AdWords for your agency!
Best Wishes on Your Unique Journey,
J. Clemens, Panama City Beach, FL -- I am a Google AdWords, Analytics and Mobile Sites Certified Individual serving businesses throughout the United States. My agency, Mica Specialties, is a Google Partner and technology consultancy involved in all aspects of marketing, web development, computer design, and IT services. Mica Specialties was founded in 1992 with deep roots in product design. I am an avid fan of Alphabet (and their products) and enjoy learning while helping others.
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