How To Build A Scalable Marketing Agency by Offering Ecommerce and Custom Development
Optimum7 has been in business for fourteen years. The managers know the pain points that are involved with growing your agency and scaling your agency. It doesn’t have to do with sales only, but rather specific checkpoints with your clients, your touchpoints, the results that you generate.
Obstacles With Running An Agency
What are the top three challenges in terms of scaling an agency?
1. Not having a strong inbound sales team in place.
As an agency, you might not have a sales team or inbound leads coming in for potential sales. Focus on building both. If you’re an SEO company, you need to be getting inbound leads for SEO. Alternatively, if you’re a PPC agency, you need to be getting inbound leads doing PPC. If you cannot do this for yourself, you will not be able to do it for others.
2. Not having the right personnel that can deliver high-quality results or services.
You cannot say you will generate leads for a client if you cannot do the same for yourself as a marketing agency. There are no excuses for this.
Many SEO companies and marketing agencies say that they do marketing. Then a customer goes to their site. They have a three page website, with no visibility whatsoever, backlinks, guest posts, content, or Facebook. They don’t have the retargeting pixel on their website. You can’t be a marketing agency without actually doing marketing.
3. Not having your service offering pinpointed down.
Know exactly what it is that you’re servicing and what your true value proposition is. Let’s say you’re an SEO agency, at Optimum7, we only do SEO for eCommerce, but let’s say you’re an SEO agency and you need to do SEO on a medium-sized account. Let’s say this is an account that gives you five, $10,000 per month. And you do content for them, and you’re trying to increase their rankings, increase their conversions, et cetera, et cetera. Now, we know that site speed is a big part of things. So do you have the team to actually be able to optimize for site speed? Because if you don’t have the team to be able to do that, then it will be difficult for you to provide full-on services for the specific client.
Options For Recurring Client Services
One of the best ways to scale your agency is to offer one-time projects that you can complete in 45 to 60 days. They also can’t be done for exposure; clients will pay you money.
Getting recurring customers is a constant problem and a higher potential for prosperity. Suppose you get a client at $5,000 a month. That adds up. It’s hard to get them and to keep them. So we found out about this the hard way, is you need to have one time projects. That could be audits, dev projects, web design builds, web builds, software migration, or eCommerce. As you are ramping up recurring services, you need to have one time projects.
Ninety percent of partner agencies don’t have these one-time products or development projects as an upsell. Why do you think that is?
They do not have the team in place to be able to take on those projects. Building that team takes a lot of time. You obviously want to hire quality talent, and that’s going to cost your business a lot of money.
In this case, what we recommend is partnering with another expert, another agency expert that has the track record, right? That’s easy to see. With hiring talent, you may not be able to see their full background portfolio, and they might not be able to practice what they preach. However, when working with an agency, you can see their portfolio, track record, the brands, the companies that they’ve worked with, and the results that they’ve been able to deliver.
Hiring an eCommerce Marketing & Development Agency vs Finding an Outsourcer: Price vs Value
Suppose you get a request from a client that says, “Hey, I need to build this website, build this platform. I need to migrate my eCommerce site from BigCommerce to Shopify or Shopify to Magento.” You have two options. Number one, you can go to Upwork and try to outsource it to a professional.
An Upwork outsourcing is a one-man operation for cheap. You are not going to have quality assurance, business sense that breaks down the project, or back-end and front-end engineers that are senior levels that are going to look at it from a business as well as a development standpoint.
The second option is to partner with a company like Optimum7, with a skilled team. Twenty-five people will take the project for you, building out that entire execution where you don’t have to be involved. At the end, you’re going to have a great product.
What about the price difference?
If you outsource it on Upwork or another freelancer site, of course it’s going to be cheap. But is cheap really better? Prospects come, multiple times, and try to outsource their work to a freelancer or somebody on Upwork. They weren’t able to do this because it was too complex of a project. If you have thousands and thousands of products and design and template structure and custom functionality, you cannot migrate from Shopify to Magento by yourself. An expert company needs to do that.
What does this have to do with scaling your agency?
If you choose the cheap option to provide services for your customers or clients, from the relationships that maybe you have built over the years, your agency is going to suffer. You’re not going to deliver a quality product. Offering a dev project is a solution.
Let’s talk about other revenues that you could increase if you offer dev to your clients.
Client retention is essential. If you have a one-off project that you upsell for dev, and you go the cheap route, then you risk hurting that relationship on that monthly recurring revenue that a regular client pays you for marketing.
At the end of the day, you would rather go with a better solution. Why? You might not have great margins on it thanks to the more expensive alternative. However, the quality is going to make your client now trust you and want to stay with you for that monthly residual income that you’re going to start to generate for now and more than then years.
The goal isn’t necessarily to try to make as much money as possible on that one upsell or dev project. Instead, deliver quality to your customers so they stay with you.
In addition to that, you could potentially upsell the one-time projects with site speed optimization, and conversion optimization. If you’re an eCommerce store, optimize the checkout, custom functionality to improve the traffic and conversions through marketing efforts. All of these are just little examples of small upsells that would make a huge difference to your marketing client.
Big marketing companies like VaynerMedia use outsource companies and agencies for this type of work. These services increase the value of your agency, revenue, and retention. Doing a good job means you are fulfilling the needs that clients might have. If you don’t provide this and a rival claims to do SEO, PPC and dev, you run the risk of losing that client.
Many agency owners don’t understand this. They just say, “Oh, we don’t do that. We specialize in ABCD.” Well, you might specialize in ABCD, but when your client comes to you, you don’t have the luxury of saying, “We don’t do that service. Figure it out.”
You have to be a team of consultants. When a client needs a specific service, you must respond with, “We don’t really do that, but here’s an agency, or a specialist that we trust who will deliver.” For example, Optimum7 has case studies, testimonials and custom-made software displayed on the main website. Like Optimum7, you need to practice what you preach.
If you have any questions about scaling your agency, or any other questions about development, please reach out. The team will be happy to take your calls or take your emails.