How to Grow Your Digital Marketing Agency ($0-$400k in 2 Years)

Seven years ago, I traded in my office attire for cozy slippers, my corporate cubicle for the familiar corners of our kitchen table, and the bustling morning commute for the delightful unpredictability of home life. With nothing more than my laptop, a tenacious spirit, and an ample supply of Nespresso to fuel my long nights, I took on an audacious project: building a digital marketing agency from ground zero.

There I was, a mother-turned-entrepreneur, balancing the demands of family life while setting the foundation of my soon-to-be digital empire. It was an intricate dance between wrangling kids, keeping a restless dog entertained, and tackling an ever-growing pile of laundry.

My strategy, while ambitious, was simple. Leverage my heavy-hitter clients I figured out how to get in year 1 (more on that hack I figured out later) and send out 500 emails each month to prospective clients.

You might raise an eyebrow at that number, and yes, it was quite the task, but I’ve always been someone who’s willing to push boundaries and work hard (ever dealt with a 3 am diaper change?). I had faith in the numbers, and I knew persistence would eventually yield results.

Fast forward to today, and the fruits of my labor are sweet indeed. I’ve built a digital marketing agency that now caters to Fortune 500 clients and took it from $0 to over $400k in a couple years.

This approach, which might have seemed ‘out-of-the-box’ at the outset, has proven to be a successful recipe. In fact, I’ve been able to replicate this six-figure success story not once, not twice, but three times over.

So, are you ready to fast-track your agency’s growth? If yes, stick with me because we’re about to dive deep into my tried-and-tested methodology. Spoiler alert: it involves less late-night work (and fewer coffee pods) than you’d imagine. So let’s get started on this exciting journey of transforming your marketing agency!

Grow a digital marketing agency

Digging for Diamonds: Landing Stellar Digital Marketing Testimonials

When you’re venturing into the digital marketing landscape, there’s no more effective strategy to build your brand credibility than by delivering exceptional, results-driven service that leaves new clients awestruck.

But there’s a classic chicken-and-egg problem: how can you attract high-value clients to your digital marketing agency when you’re yet to cement a solid reputation in the marketing space? Well, the answer lies in a simple and surprisingly effective strategy: offer to work pro bono.

Yes, you interpreted that right. But hold on, because this unconventional method has a sound logic behind it.

Picture this. You’ve identified a brand that perfectly fits your ideal client profile. They’ve got industry authority, their business philosophy aligns with your marketing ethics, and you’re confident that their testimonial would be a dazzling endorsement for your marketing skills.

So, you put together an irresistible proposal: you’ll offer them a complimentary trial of your marketing expertise in exchange for a testimonial. It’s a win-win deal. They get to experience your data-driven marketing solutions without any financial risk, and you get that shining testimonial to feature on your agency website and social media platforms.

When I was carving out my space in the online marketing world, this strategy proved to be a game changer. I approached high-potential brands, offering them a sneak peek into my innovative digital marketing strategies for free, asking for a testimonial as a return favor.

And guess what? My conversion rate was 80%. That’s right, 4 out of every 5 brands I reached out to accepted my proposition. So, by committing to some initial pro bono work, I procured an array of impactful testimonials from brands that resonated with my vision.

Essentially, providing a complimentary service in exchange for a testimonial is an investment in your agency’s future. The time and effort you commit can bear fruitful returns in the form of enhanced trust, strengthened online reputation, and, eventually, a robust clientele. So don’t hesitate to extend your online marketing services for free occasionally, because this strategy can pay off significantly in the long run.

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Harvesting Client Testimonials

As we delve into the journey of growing your digital marketing agency, let’s shine a spotlight on the pivotal role of client testimonials. Picture testimonials as those five-star reviews we so often rely on when choosing a new restaurant or selecting our next binge-worthy series.

They offer social proof that your services deliver results, boosting your brand’s credibility and instilling trust in your prospective clients. That trust is the cornerstone of fostering effective business relationships.

Precision Targeting: The Right Testimonials for Your Niche

The power of testimonials lies not only in their presence but in their relevance to your target audience. Much like using the right keywords for SEO optimization, curating testimonials that truly resonate with your niche clientele can dramatically amplify their impact.

To paint a clearer picture, let’s imagine your marketing expertise lies in elevating eco-conscious brands. A testimonial from a successful tech startup might seem impressive, but will it resonate with your ideal new clients? Perhaps not. On the other hand, a glowing review from a trailblazing sustainable fashion brand aligns perfectly with your niche, thereby resonating more deeply with your audience.

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A Strategic Trade: Free Work in Exchange for Testimonials

At this juncture, you might be pondering how to secure such bespoke, impactful testimonials, especially if you’re new to the online marketing game. Here’s a strategy I deployed in my formative years: offering my services for free in exchange for a testimonial.

Sure, it might initially seem counterproductive. You might be wondering, “Hang on, aren’t I trying to generate revenue here?” But let’s consider it from a different angle: you’re investing in the future credibility of your business.

This approach involves identifying the brands that you dream of working with—industry leaders, those sharing your values—and offering them an irresistible proposition: your premium services, free of charge, in return for a testimonial.

Yes, this approach demands patience and tenacity, but believe me, the pay-off is more than worth it. I saw an 80% success rate using this tactic. Just imagine the value that testimonials from admired brands would add to your portfolio!

And of course, don’t forget to tap into your existing clients for testimonials!

Remember, in the world of digital marketing, your reputation is your most valuable asset. Each testimonial you collect is like a badge of honor, an undeniable proof of the results you deliver. So, make the offer, deliver your top-notch services, and start collecting those valuable testimonials!

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Collaborate with Creative Brokers and Leverage Bigger Networks

Navigating the labyrinth of growing your digital marketing agency involves forming strategic alliances – and this is where creative brokers step in. They’re your key to unlock access to potential clients and diverse industry sectors.

The Essential Role of Creative Brokers in Digital Marketing

Creative brokers are the trailblazers in the realm of digital marketing strategy. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse of client needs, efficiently pairing these with the perfect digital solution providers. They act as the beacon, guiding a steady stream of potential clients towards your services.

In the social whirl of the digital landscape, creative brokers are the consummate networkers. They effortlessly connect your marketing solutions to those who need them most. This translates into a rich tapestry of potential clients, ripe for your unique marketing approach.

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Cultivating Relationships with Creative Brokers: Your Gateway to Bigger Clients

So, how do we get these influential connectors in our corner? It’s more than a quick introduction or fleeting networking event chat. Building relationships with creative brokers is akin to nurturing a mighty oak – it requires time, nourishment, and consistent care.

Here’s how to build these partnerships, peppered with a few keywords to boost your understanding:

1. Align with Their Needs: Understanding the broker’s needs can’t be emphasized enough. Grasp what they value in a digital agency. Is it innovation, SEO expertise, or a proven track record of successful lead generation? Tailoring your approach to resonate with their requirements can significantly bolster your relationship.

2. Stay Connected: Maintain a steady flow of communication. Check in regularly, update them on your agency’s evolution, any service enhancements, or achievements in conversion rates. This keeps your agency fresh in their minds, ready to be suggested when opportunities surface.

3. Showcase Results: Delivering on promises and showcasing tangible results speaks volumes. If you secure a chance to show your skills, make sure to hit it out of the park. Over-delivering ensures they’ll keep coming back for more and puts your agency on the fast-track for referrals.

4. Give and Take: Relationships are about reciprocity. If a broker sends a client your way, find ways to return the favor. This could be through referrals or by offering assistance in another form. This sense of balance is the cornerstone of any professional relationship.

Forming alliances with creative brokers can be a catalyst in your agency’s expansion, both in terms of reach and reputation. So, start building those bridges and enjoy the journey of mutual growth in the digital marketing world!

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The Art of Outbound Prospecting

Outbound prospecting, the tactic of proactively initiating contact with potential clients, could be the golden key to unlocking your digital agency growth. Rather than patiently waiting for potential leads to discover your creative agency, outbound prospecting allows you to take the reins, selecting who to engage with and when. It’s akin to scanning the horizon with a powerful telescope, pinpointing potential business opportunities, and then charting a direct course to them.

Reflect on the benefits of connecting with businesses in your target market, especially those that have recently experienced significant changes. These organizations are likely in the market for a fresh digital marketing strategy. By identifying them and presenting your services proactively, you’re addressing an immediate need. Research suggests that marketing agencies employing outbound tactics witness a 30-50% boost in sales productivity. That’s a substantial increase in potential revenue!

The Work Backwards Method

The “work backwards” method acts as a reliable compass on your voyage to business success. Begin by identifying your final destination: the exact number of new clients you wish to onboard. Next, using your established conversion rate, calculate the number of pitches you’ll need to deliver to achieve your goal.

Let’s consider an example. If your conversion rate sits at a healthy 5% and you’re aiming to secure 10 new clients, you’ll need to reach out to approximately 200 prospects. Understanding these figures enables you to set realistic targets and establish a consistent, effective outbound prospecting routine.

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Automation and Personalization

Imagine if you could replicate your unique sales charm, maintaining your personal touch but with the ability to engage with multiple leads simultaneously. That’s the reality when you blend automation with personalization in your marketing strategy.

Automation tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Seamless.AI help streamline repetitive tasks such as sending initial outreach emails. Meanwhile, personalization adds a unique touch that makes each recipient feel acknowledged and valued. A recent study demonstrated that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. However, a surprising 70% of brands fail to utilize them. Don’t miss out on this competitive advantage!

The Power of Follow-ups

In the sales world, follow-ups are akin to gentle reminders, nudging your prospects towards a decision. The data supports this approach too. It’s been shown that it takes an average of 5 follow-ups after the initial contact to close a deal.

However, here’s a surprising statistic: 44% of salespeople abandon the chase after just one follow-up. Let’s not fall into that trap. Remember, some of your most successful clients might be just a couple of follow-ups away. The magic truly happens when persistence meets opportunity!

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SEO and Digital Marketing Agencies Visibility

The Flashing Neon Sign of Your Digital Agency

Imagine you’re running an impressive digital marketing campaign, but it’s like an exceptional show tucked away in a corner, invisible without a signboard. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the flashing neon sign that guides traffic to your digital agency on the information superhighway.

The Compelling Argument for SEO

Why is SEO the talk of the town? Consider this: about 93% of online experiences spring from a search engine. If your digital agency isn’t making a mark in these searches, you’re losing out on significant leads.

SEO Keywords: The Golden Thread in Your Content Tapestry

At the heart of SEO is the smart use of keywords—those sought-after terms your potential clients enter in search engines. When you weave these keywords into your content, you make your site more alluring to search engines. It’s akin to sprinkling breadcrumbs that lead straight to your online abode.

The Power of Long-tail Keywords for Digital Agencies

A vital aspect of SEO is long-tail keywords. These are specific phrases with less competition and a higher conversion rate. Rather than targeting the competitive keyword “digital marketing,” you might focus on a niche like “digital marketing services for healthcare startups.”

SEO: A Tool for Enhanced User Experience

But SEO isn’t just about pleasing search engines. It’s also about offering an exemplary user experience. Websites that are user-friendly, mobile-optimized, and rich in valuable content are favored by search engines. Improving your SEO means you’re also amplifying your user experience—a two-for-one deal!

The Ultimate Benefit: Increased Visibility and Conversions

Effective SEO attracts more traffic, heightens your visibility, and ultimately drives conversions. It’s akin to owning a key to the bustling city of digital marketing, opening doors to a plethora of opportunities for your agency. Now, isn’t that a prospect worth pursuing?

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Niche-focused Content Marketing: Your Secret Sauce to Business Growth

The Power of Specialization in Content Marketing

It’s natural to want to cast a wide net in your content marketing strategy, but there’s enormous power in niche specialization. Imagine the delight when you find content that seems like it’s been custom-designed just for you.

It’s as gratifying as finding a cozy coffee shop that knows your preferred brew and pastry combo by heart. That’s the essence of niche-focused content marketing. It turbocharges your digital relevance, pumps up audience engagement, and fuels conversion rates.

Bullseye Marketing: Crafted Landing Pages for Each Niche

Here’s a proven tactic in your digital marketing arsenal: creating dedicated landing pages for each niche. Think of it like running a diverse boutique with separate sections for boho-chic, street style, and couture. Each style has its dedicated space, right?

Similarly, a unique landing page for each niche makes your website visitors feel instantly connected and understood. It resonates with their specific needs and desires, accelerating them down the sales funnel. Whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, booking a free consultation, or requesting a tailored quote, it’s like having a digital concierge catering to each visitor’s preferences.

Keyword-Optimized Blogs: Boosting Organic Traffic and Providing Value

With your niches identified and unique landing pages set up, it’s time to fuel your content machine with tailored blog posts. We’re talking about laser-focused, long-tail keyword, niche-specific blogs. These are comprehensive posts that delve deep into topics relevant to your niche, packed with SEO keywords your potential clients are actively searching for.

Like a magnet attracting the right prospects, these posts reel in qualified audience members, providing them with heaps of value. It’s akin to offering a masterclass in topics your audience genuinely cares about. This strategy bolsters your online authority, spotlights your expertise, and nurtures a deeper connection with your target market.

So, let’s embrace the power of niche-focused content marketing. By serving as the best answer to a specific question, your marketing agency is bound to experience exponential growth. Embrace the niche, and watch your business reach new heights.

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Building an Email List: Your Powerhouse for Lead Generation

When it comes to running successful digital marketing agencies, an email list isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s an absolute must-have. Think of it as your direct line to the inbox of your target audience. It’s a potent tool that can make or break your digital marketing strategy, enabling you to scale your agency, grow your clientele, and build strong relationships with your customers.

According to McKinsey & Company, email marketing is 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Talk about an impressive customer acquisition strategy digital agencies can harness!

From Potential Leads to Conversion: Growing Your Email List

Initiating the email list building process is all about gathering high-quality leads. It’s not just about collecting as many email addresses as possible; it’s about making a strong connection with those genuinely interested in your digital marketing services.

You might use enticing lead magnets like eBooks or webinars, or leverage your social media marketing channels to drive traffic to your agency website blog. The goal is to get your audience to willingly sign-up, enticed by your valuable, niche-specific content. In fact, a study from Campaign Monitor found that segmented campaigns led to a 760% increase in revenue for marketers. So remember, when it comes to email marketing strategy, targeted, valuable content is your golden ticket.

From Casual Subscribers to Loyal Customers: Nurturing Your Email List

After you’ve initiated your email list, nurturing your contacts is crucial. According to Marketing Sherpa, companies that use automated emails are 133% more likely to send messages that align with a customer’s purchasing cycle. This can drastically boost your customer retention rate.

Consider investing in email marketing tools such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit. These tools can streamline and automate your process while enabling personalized communication, creating a valuable brand experience for your subscribers.

Full-Fledged Community: Growing Your Email List

Building and growing your email list should be an ongoing mission, like climbing a mountain that doesn’t have a peak. An essential tip here is to ensure your email sign-up form is in a prominent location on your website and blog posts.

Furthermore, Barilliance found that personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. So, as your email list grows, segmenting your contacts into different categories will allow for more personalized and relevant communication.

In a nutshell, building an email list is a continuous, rewarding process for digital agencies. It’s about nurturing relationships and gradually converting interest into action. Always remember, in the world of digital marketing, your email list is a treasure trove. Guard it with your life!

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The “Give, Give, Give, Ask” Approach: Nurturing Your Digital Marketing Agency’s Audience

One of the most vital aspects in building a successful digital marketing agency, and really unlocking your growth potential, is fostering a robust audience. The nurturing process hinges on the approach you take, and there’s one strategy that’s proven to be golden – the “Give, Give, Give, Ask” approach.

The What and Why of “Give, Give, Give, Ask”

This strategy, like the best PPC campaign or SEO technique, is just as straightforward as it sounds. It’s about consistently providing value to your audience and then, only after you’ve given, do you make an ask. The principle behind this mirrors the inbound marketing ethos: users are much more likely to engage with your brand if they feel they’ve received something of tangible value first.

Giving can take the form of everything from informative blog posts and insightful webinars to actionable ebooks or even just rapid-fire, helpful social media tips. These are all valuable forms of content that can help your audience navigate the vast digital marketing landscape.

Research backs this approach, too. The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report highlighted that 83% of global respondents said they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. Therefore, if you focus on providing value and nurturing trust, your successful clients are more likely to become brand advocates, boosting your social proof and customer acquisition rates.

Implementing the “Give, Give, Give, Ask” Approach in Your Marketing Strategy

When it comes to implementing this approach, consistency is the magic keyword. Let’s take your agency’s blog, for example. You wouldn’t want to write a couple of helpful posts and then immediately follow them with a sales pitch. That’s more of a “give a little, ask” strategy, and it doesn’t have the conversion rate power you need.

Instead, strive to be a consistent source of beneficial content. If you’re offering an ebook, make sure it’s packed full of industry secrets and actionable insights. If it’s a webinar, ensure it’s engaging and so full of value that your audience feels compelled to share it across their social media platforms.

Then, once you’ve established a rhythm of giving, you’ve earned the right to ask. Perhaps you’re launching a new digital marketing service, or you have a product that can elevate your audience’s SEO game. This is your moment to make your move. By providing so much up-front, your audience is more likely to perceive your ask as another form of giving—a solution to their digital marketing needs.

The “Give, Give, Give, Ask” approach isn’t a shortcut—it’s a long-term strategy. Think of it like nurturing a thriving online community; you need to sow the seeds of value and care for them consistently before you can reap the benefits. This approach is about creating relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual value – and that’s the secret to a thriving digital marketing agency.

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Putting It All Together

And there you have it, folks! We’ve traversed the ins and outs of growing a digital marketing agency (no corporate marketing training needed!). From the power of testimonials and the cunning art of outbound marketing strategies, to the subtle beauty of automation and personalization, we’ve unpacked some real game-changing tactics.

We dove into the specifics of the “work backwards” method, talked about the potential of SEO, and explored the niche-focused content marketing world. The magic of building an effective email list, and the importance of the “give, give, give, ask” approach have not been left out either.

Let’s not forget the role of creative brokers, and the idea of separate landing pages for each niche. These are the elements that can bring about that competitive edge, boost your conversion rate, and set your agency apart in the vast digital marketing business landscape.

But here’s the thing, all this knowledge isn’t worth a dime if it’s not put into action. You’ve got the blueprint, now it’s time to roll up those sleeves and start building. Tailor these tactics to fit your agency, and you’ll be well on your way to writing your success story.

In the end, growing a digital marketing agency is about more than just the numbers. It’s about creating value, fostering relationships, and standing out in an ever-evolving industry. It’s about making a mark and being a brand that resonates with people. So here’s to you and your successful agency. Here’s to growth, success, and everything in between!

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