Running a digital marketing agency is nerve-wracking because you have to worry about everything from hiring to selling, and accounting to client account management.
Plus, you’re constantly under pressure to deliver, failing which a client may leave or worse, give you a bad online review. Here are 4 simple tips that can help you navigate the hiccups that occur while building a global digital marketing agency.
1. Design lead magnets targeting your global audience
Many digital marketing agencies lose out on global business by going narrow and focusing on attracting local clients. While local targeting is a great way to get started, you can scale your agency quickly by targeting global players. So, how do you target global players?
Regardless of how small your business, you can enable it to expand massively using the internet. With the right growth hacks and marketing strategies, you can sell products and services to clients sitting anywhere in the world. But before you begin, you’ll need to have the following tools:
i. A website
You can reach clients around the world through a website, which amplifies your exposure enormously. These days, there are tools such as SquareSpace and Wix on the internet that can be employed to get high-quality websites set-up at low costs. This can be done in-house by employing freelancers who are proficient using such websites. If you’re not sure how you can find such freelancers, consider using hiring platforms such as Upwork for the process.
ii. Social media pages
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn include millions of people from different parts of the world, making them critical in scaling your digital marketing agency globally. Through social media, you can update current and prospective clients about your services, achievements and plans.
iii. A business blog
A business blog can help you increase brand awareness globally. You can update fresh content on your blog regularly, keeping clients informed and attracting the attention of future clients who might be interested in what you have to say. An optimized business blog can act as a great lead magnet.
Digital marketing agency 360i’s blog is a great example, having a collection of the agency’s best work, updates and tips in its articles.
How to turn your website, social media pages, and blog into lead magnets
Most of the visitors to your agency website won’t end up converting into clients. This could be because they don’t trust your brand yet, they’re unsure of what services they need or they’re not ready to commit. That’s why it’s important to offer them something easier to buy that will push them on the path to becoming your client. Some examples of this are –
- Website tripwires - A $1 analysis of their marketing strategy, free analytics reports, $5 whiteboard explainer video, etc.
- Free content - subscription to your newsletter, free eBook, whitepaper or video focused on solving their pain-points and achieving their goals, etc.
Design conversion optimized forms or posts offering these on your website, blog and social media pages to turn them into lead magnets. Remember to be relevant to whichever audience you are targeting, globally.
2. Setup a reliable and automated system for queries, accounting, support and other basic infrastructure
Irrespective of whether or not website and CX design and SEO are a part of your services, your website should have a presentable design and pleasant experience. If your website design and performance seem outdated, your clients will not feel like trusting you with their brands.
Your website look and feel has a huge effect of how clients perceive you, especially when they don’t have any other form of contact with you. Here’s how you can create the best impression on clients and enable them to have a great experience with your agency.
i. Website design and navigation
Make your website customer-centric with ease of navigation and high performance. Ensure that your website visitors have all the information to answer common queries and can navigate through your website easily. Consider unlimited hosting to ensure that you website can handle the traffic that results from your efforts to scale.
ii. Automated customer support and accounting
When managing multiple clients from different parts of the world, you need to be able to provide support and keep up business formalities punctually. This can be tricky to manage across time zones and different cultures. Luckily, there are tools that you can use to customize and automate the effort.
For instance, you can use chat based assistance via tools such as Acquire or automated accounting and reporting via tools such as Zipbooks to save time without affecting your performance. Zipbooks also records your payments and reimbursements and suggests ways for you to cut costs. Support and accounting are two important milestones in the client conversion cycle. If you can ensure that these steps happen on time, you will prevent hangups and accelerate progress with all clients and prospects.
How to set up reliable and automated infrastructure to enable a seamless customer experience
- Chat based website support can be programmed to provide automated responses to common queries, so your current and prospective clients don’t have to wait to access important information.
- Automated accounting can help you send invoices and reminders on time, keep track of different clients and identify ways to cut costs. Some accounting software use expenses to analyze and suggest methods to increase savings.
- You can also use automated email for customer support through software such as Zendesk and Zoho, so your global clients never feel unattended to.
3. Collect success stories, case studies and testimonials from happy clients
Case-studies are super-effective because they are very specific. You’ll never see a case study that’s vague or unclear. A well-developed case-study usually highlights how a particular problem was solved successfully, and that story is great for business.
It’s great because it illustrates your capabilities and the effectiveness of your services. So do success stories and testimonials. Here’s how you can use each of these entities to attract attention and scale your digital marketing agency.
i. Success stories
Ogilvy has a webpage dedicated to videos displaying their best work.
People love stories because they evoke strong emotions rooted in childhood, during which they first encountered stories. The smartest way to use success stories is to cast your client as the hero who overcomes a formidable hurdle with you assistance. While data can help your case, photographs and videos can make your storytelling powerful.
Single Grain clearly describes the problem their client came to them with, how they approached it and what their results were, using numbers.
The more niche your case-study is, the more effective it is likely to be. Create case-studies demonstrating how your clients could achieve different goals with the help of your services. In case-studies, data matters. So present the value of your services clearly, in terms of ROI.
This digital marketing agency has a video to go with every testimonial. The video is great to build trust with new and future clients.
Testimonials are word of mouth assets that can be amplified for maximum exposure. You can use positive social media mentions, videos,
Contacting leads and offering case study pricing can also be a great way to acquire customers and grow your agency. Just look at how this marketing agency grew to $720,000/year with this strategy.
How to use happy stories, case-studies, and testimonials to attract the attention of prospective clientsgl
- Create a place for stories, case-studies, and testimonials on your website. Present them alongside your clients’ verifiable credentials so they appear trustworthy.
- Tailor case-studies and testimonials to target different audience personas. Going wide may be tempting, but it will depreciate the effectiveness of your content.
- Share your content across different channels. The people who follow you on one channel may not have followed you on another. Sharing across channels will maximize your visibility.
4. Build a network of on-demand freelancers to manage an overflow of projects
Most digital marketing agencies struggle with shrinking budgets and rising expectations. That’s why agencies sometimes hire freelancers to manage extra projects, which they don’t have the capacity to handle with full-timers. However, hiring freelancers without a strategy is inadvisable and could actually add to costs of completing the project, which is why you need a predefined strategy.
i. Choosing freelancers
Before you reach out to anybody, it’s important to have your target freelancer personas in mind. These personas can be built based on the nature of the projects that you usually handle.
Are the urgent? Do they demand versatility? Which areas do they require proficiency in? Once you have personas built on these requirements, you can easily locate the right freelancers using various platforms such as ContentMart or Fiverr.
ii. Building relationships
The idea is to keep freelancers engaged long-term, so you have known people to rely on when there’s an overflow of projects. That’s why you should focus on getting to know your freelancers and building a rapport with them. Follow them on social media, or add them to a chat group, so you can keep in touch even when they’re not working for you.
iii. Keeping freelancers engaged
How do you keep freelancers engaged and productive? The simplest way is to employ a platform through which you can communicate with them conveniently. You could create a Slack channel, add them to a Trello board or build your own freelancer portal for communication. Irrespective of what you choose, ensure that the platform has a way to automatically send out reminders for deadlines and keep freelancers on their toes.
How to scale your business with the help of freelance talent
- Ensure that you have a system in place to organize projects and engage freelancers. It’s probably best to allow freelancers to pick their work to some extent and only resort to allocating when you’re at the end of the list. Freelancers are likely to perform better when they have chosen their own work and deadlines.
- Set deadlines that include a sufficient buffer time for unforeseeable mishaps. It’s very hard to be in the loop when you’re working with freelancers remotely. That’s why it’s best to assume a delay even when you can’t see it.
- Keep hiring constantly. Freelancers are low-commitment employees who are likely to quit casually and without reason. That’s why it’s important to keep your hiring process open, so you can quickly replace a lost asset.
Many digital marketing agencies lose out on global business because they have their hands tied up with existing clients. However, with the right strategies and resources, you can scale your digital marketing agency globally and attract clients from different corners of the world. This post covers some of the most important ideas involved in creating such a reality.
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.