Creative Agency Scaling
Whether you run a branding, web development, digital, social, experiential, advertising, communications or PR agency, there are four core focus areas to scaling a creative agency: visibility, efficiency, income and profitability.
While they might seem entirely separate, ultimately they work together seamlessly to keep your agency firing on all cylinders. Let’s dive a little deeper into each so you can envision the interconnectedness and how it applies to your agency.
Despite what a select few in the digital marketing industry believe, SEO is not dead, people still click on links, and the cost of Google AdWords is not cost-prohibitive—when you implement a strategic plan to each.
I like to start with a technical and content audit of an agency’s website. Is your website both visible and compelling on Google?
Together, we can get the site optimized for targeted long-tail search terms—but focused on solving a prospect’s pain point right from the SERPs—loading faster, and free of errors that a visitor might otherwise encounter. In order to gain qualified traffic that converts to leads, every service-based site needs to elicit credibility and relevance from the very first touch point.
During our keyword research, we might discover some long-tail, niche terms that make sense for a targeted AdWords campaign. We’ll also identify specific web properties—including client and candidate review sites—that will add value as inbound links, and begin working on those relationships.
What would happen if you landed $2 million in new business tomorrow? Are your systems and processes streamlined to the point where the load would make your internal machine come to a grinding halt, or would you sail through with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, perfect communication, and tasks as automated as possible?
When an agency is running as efficiently as possible, people are happier and more productive, the work is just better, and client retention is higher. We can agree on that, right?
During a discovery phase, we’ll look at which software you’re using, where there may be duplication of effort or cost (or both), manual tasks that can be automated, technology integrations that can feed data from one system to another, and so on. This is a deep dive into everything from client relationship management, project management, team communication channels and reporting to time tracking, accounting and invoicing, and account/project profitability.
Think business development isn’t a creative skill set? Think again! In order to increase income consistently and exponentially at any type of creative agency, you need a proper mix of inbound, outbound and strategic partnerships. Now, one may eventually prove to be dominant depending on multiple variables, but you do need all three.
I work with agencies to assess, strategize and implement effective inbound marketing (SEO is an example of a crossover with visibility). Then, we focus on hyper-targeted outreach to ideal prospects. I develop for them—or help them develop—strategic partnerships that can increase new business overnight.
Some agencies choose to retain my services on an ongoing basis for proactive business development in order to augment their existing sales team. Why? Because I love helping them find, meet, pitch and close ideal clients.
Lastly, we focus on profitability—an obvious cross-over with efficiency. Growth is great, but increasing profitability is how to grow an agency exponentially.
After 15 years of owning, scaling and selling my own digital agency in New York, I love helping other agency CEOs and managing directors to do the same. I work with established creative agencies, typically with $2-20M in annual revenue, looking to scale by 2x, 3x or 5x+.