Any digital agency that tells you they win every RFP, every pitch for new business, and renews every clients is probably lying to you. Scratch that, they’re not probably’ lying , they are lying. The hard truth is in some cases you will do everything right and still lose business. You will hit spells where new business seems to dry up. It’s unrealistic to think you won’t hit speed bumps, when in fact you will run into them quite a bit.
In this blog we’re going to share with you not only what our biggest speed bumps have been, but how to get over them and go full steam ahead.
Some of the common challenges we’ll cover are:
- Balancing current client workload with new client acquisition
- Acquiring new clients in a very competitive and saturated digital landscape
- Retaining current clients during renewal period
- Staying ahead of tech updates/changes
Balancing current client workload with new client acquisition
The most important thing you can do as an agency is maintain excellent client relationships. Even as new business opportunities line up and your schedule begins to fill, ensure that your current customer needs are being satisfied. The simplest way to increase your bottom line is expanding on a project’s current scope. If you bring success to your clients they will not only want to do more, they will have the fiscal flexibility to do more. If you begin losing focus on current customer needs, you’re sacrificing missing out on a renewal and a potential future referral. Bringing success to your clients is beneficial to both parties , your client will have the fiscal flexibility to do more work with you.
How do you balance client work with new business?
- Have patience when you’re looking to grow. If you’re seeing an influx of opportunities, hire new employees. If hiring new employees isn’t on the horizon, decide whether or not the new business would strain your schedule or be feasible with your current workload.
- Look at automated PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization) tools that can help manage your accounts. Tools like wordstream or kenshoo are great for shortening your workload while making the daily adjustments to your client accounts such as bid management, keyword research, audience targeting, etc.
- Utilize freelancers. Now while I’ll admit, it’s not something we do at AdToro, it is an option for managing workload. There are a lot of talented freelance digital marketers out there. However, treat the onboarding process of a freelancer no different than hiring a new employee. Be rigorous, because at the end of the day the performance of that freelancer reflects on your agency.
Acquiring New Clients in a Competitive and Saturated Digital Landscape
Everyday you see a new Google Search ad for a new digital agency, offering the same core services as every other agency: PPC management, SEO, Paid Social, Email Marketing, Web Design, etc. With so many sharks in the water, what are the best ways to acquire new clients?
- Expanding the Scope of Current Clients
- PPC and Paid Social
- Content Marketing
Touching back on maintaining excellent relationships with your clients, Over 50% of new business for digital agencies came from referrals in 2019. Referrals only happen if you’re succeeding for the client. This takes us into point two , expanding the scope of current clients.
Clients are willing to increase their ad spend when you’re bringing in a positive ROI. As their digital budget grows, as should their channel offering. If you started off running Search Ads only, offer display, shopping, or video. For clients who start with running ads on Facebook, expand scope to include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google, Microsoft Advertising, etc. Client succeeds, you succeed. When you succeed, you have more revenue to use for your own digital advertising plan.
If you’re going to offer PPC or Paid Social to a client, you should have no problem offering it to your own agency. While it takes all of 2 seconds to do keyword research on Google’s Keyword Planner to realize that CPC’s are high relating to PPC management keywords, there are other options. Use display and Facebook to target business owners in whatever industry you’ve found the most success, whether it’s e-commerce, b2b, home improvement, law, etc. Use the keyword research you did to further narrow your audience on your Google display ads. You can also use that keyword research to build your content marketing plan.
The blog that you’re currently reading is part of the AdToro content marketing plan. After doing keyword research on industry topics, we know that certain topics are engaging and will lead to a spike in organic traffic. This added traffic gives us the ability to not only capture leads directly on our site, but also puts us in consideration for RFP’s.
RFP’s are a great way to get your proposal in front of a prospective client, however it should be noted that they are extremely competitive. To increase your chances of winning the work, make sure your proposal meets all the deadlines, answers everything that is being asked, and illustrates how your agency makes more sense than all the other submissions.
Retaining Clients During the Renewal Period
Retaining clients comes down to performance, price, and luck. The performance and price piece are pretty simple. Meet the performance goals or KPI’s that you proposed, show growth, and your agency will be in a good position to renew. If you’ve exceeded performance and are looking to increase price, understand your client’s budgets and weigh whether increasing the price is worth losing the renewal. This is where things get difficult, luck.
No matter how well you do, renewals always come down to a little bit of luck. What I mean by this is that certain factors are out of your control such as staff turnover, budget constraints, bringing digital marketing in-house, or deciding to go with a different agency. Typically when there is staff turnover at the CXO or upper management level, the new staff likes to bring in agencies they’ve had success with in the past. This is out of your control, but by performing well you might be able to mitigate this. Another possibility is that the company decided to bring digital marketing in-house. In this situation, maintain a good customer relationship in the event that the in-house experiment fails and they want to come back.
Staying Ahead of Tech Updates
The digital landscape is constantly changing. It seems like every day Google is updating their technology or removing a feature that you’ve used for years (looking at you accelerated budgets). As an agency, clients are relying on your team to stay ahead of these changes. If you’re not, your accounts will experience drop offs. The easiest way to stay ahead on the latest search industry tech, is by following these blogs:
Hopefully this blog has eased your concerns about speed bumps and offered some new ideas on how to get over them!