In the beginning, many digital agencies are able to grow with ease. Maybe you start with one client, then get a few referrals and leads, and before you know it you’ve got a steady stream of income. But at some point, this steady stream turns into a plateau and your agency stops growing.
There can be a number of different reasons why your digital agency growth has stagnated. Fortunately, once you identify the reasons for this, you can make a few changes and prevent your doors from closing.
Here are 8 reasons your digital agency has stopped growing and what you can do it fix it.
1. You Haven’t Found Your Niche
Is your digital agency “the best at everything?’ While this may seem appealing, in some cases, it could be doing your digital agency more harm than good.
In order to find true success, your digital agency should focus on your unique selling proposition. This is a statement of value to your audience that differentiates you from the competition. For example, perhaps you create killer content and social media strategies. Or, maybe you prefer to focus on PPC management for law firms and plastic surgeons.
Creating your niche, and marketing it effectively, will show people why they should chose you. Unfortunately, many digital agencies position themselves on one extreme or the other.
Finding a safe middle-ground for your value proposition is the secret sauce to growing your digital agency.
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2. You’re Undervaluing Yourself
Being extremely busy and overwhelmed could be an indicator of a more serious issue: you’re not charging enough. With more work on your team’s plate, and less money coming in, it’ll be difficult for your digital agency to find growth. According to HubSpot, most monthly retainers fall in the $2,500 to $5,000 range and some even exceed $20,000.
There are different ways to approach structuring your agency’s fees, so if you feel that you have been not charging enough, it may be time to look at some of your options. Hubspot has shared with their readers what has worked for them in the past and how they break up project-based fees and retainer based work.
You also want to be aware of scope creep. Sometimes, this can be the most difficult variable to control because it involves managing the client. Here are some ways to successfully manage the scope of your project:
– Understand your client’s vision and the project’s requirements
– Lay out a solid scope of work
– Use a project management tool to keep track of tasks
– Establish a change of scope procedure to handle change requests
Ensuring that you are minimizing scope creep and charging appropriately for your service, will help take your digital agency to the next level.
While focusing on the needs of your clients, it can be easy to put your own digital agency’s needs on the back burner. Unfortunately, this can cause your business to flat line.
In order to focus on your business’ growth, you’ll have to set clear marketing goals and strategies for your agency. If you are too involved in your clients at the moment, it may be time to delegate tasks and take a step back, so you can focus on your agency’s growth.
While it may seem like a great idea to hunt for an expert when looking to fill a new position or offer a new specialty, developing talent in your own team will take your agency to the next level. Investing in your staff will not only improve your team’s motivation and morale, but it will also help make your team’s skill set stronger.
You can invest in your staff in a number of different ways. Give your employees the opportunity to work on new projects and expand their skill set. Encourage your staff to take online courses and watch webinars to learn something new.
Giving your employees that extra boost is exactly what they want, too. In fact, 87% of millennials said that development and growth is important to them in a job.
If you want to find true growth for your digital agency, you’ll want to focus on mastering the art of upselling.
Current customers are usually your best customers, so upselling is a natural part of any business plan. Since you’ve already spent time building up trust with current clients, it may be a bit easier to add on a service or product or upgrade them to a more comprehensive option.
Keep in mind that when you upsell your clients, you want to make sure you’re truly providing added value to them. No one wants to feel like they are being cheated or paying more than they should be.
6. You’re Too Focused on Revenue
Let’s face it — revenue is important. It’s what helps you pay your bills, employees, and keep the lights on. However, focusing solely on revenue, and not profitability, can lead to some major issues.
For example, as you say “yes” to every project that comes your way, you’ll bring in more revenue, however, your team will be spread thin. Your clients might receive poor work, your staff will be overworked, and your agency will suffer from high employee turnover rates. This causes you to find more clients in order to bring in more money, and the cycle repeats itself.
Instead of repeating this cycle over and over, clarify what types of clients and work can provide revenue and profit. Then make sure your team is setup to handle the workload appropriately and put systems in place to streamline processes.
7. You’re a “Yes” Agency
Is your business development team a “yes” team? Are they responding to all inquiries? Unfortunately, this may be a waste of your team’s time and resources.
In order to experience agency growth, you’ll want to rethink your process for bringing on new clients. Not everyone is a good fit for your agency. Sit with your business development team and lay out a clear action plan for screening new clients.
If you find that client may not be a good fit, simply let them know you’re not the right agency for them. And even better, establish relationships with other agencies so you can point that client in the right direction by giving them a recommendation. This gives you the space to take on other clients that are a good fit.
8. You Haven’t Documented Your Processes
One reason that many digital agencies fail to grow is because they have not set up the proper processes.
Perhaps you don’t use a project management system or time tracking tool. If so, you’re not effectively tracking how long different campaigns and projects take to complete. Maybe you haven’t set up standard processes for onboarding a new client or beginning a new project. This can lead to inconsistent deliverables with inconsistent results and unhappy clients.
Or, maybe you think that you have these processes set up, however, they haven’t been documented. For a new employee starting out, it can be difficult to get acclimated if they don’t have any process documents to refer to. Not only can this lead to unhappy clients, but a stressed out agency team, too.
Choose a platform, like Basecamp, and start prioritizing your needs. Bring your team together to identify areas that need to be cleaned up. Start laying out the groundwork for these processes in a document that everyone has access to. This should clear up any confusion that your employees have, and save you time from answering the same questions!