Guest post by Raul Harman.
Statistics show that digital marketing is one of the fastest growing industries.
However, its rapid evolution has created numerous challenges for smaller digital marketing agencies. Attracting and retaining new clients, hiring aspiring digital marketers, and maintaining a competitive edge in the overcrowded online landscape is more challenging than ever.
Here are four of the major problems digital marketing agencies face and how to overcome them.
Attracting New Clients
As the number of competitors (competent or fly by night) increases, getting in front of the right audiences and articulating competitive differentiation have become two of the greatest challenges for digital marketing agencies. That makes it crucial to brand your agency, focus, and position yourself as a leader in your niche.
Start with your website.
For any digital marketing agency, its website is basically the online portfolio. Branding efforts, rankings, and UX design are the major proof of knowledge and experience. They tell prospective clients whether you’re capable of handling their digital marketing efforts properly.
Your domain name should match your brand name.
It needs to be short, memorable, and easy to pronounce. By choosing the right domain name, you will boost your online visibility and make your website easily findable.
Invest in UX website design.
The design of your website is critically important for attracting new clients, as it impacts your user experience, search rankings, and brand image. Make sure your site architecture is simple and user-friendly, allowing your visitors to easily find the desired information. Your site should also be consistent, fast, easy to navigate through, and visually appealing.
Most importantly, remember that the majority of your visitors have orobably found your site via smartphones. To make mobile searchers happy and keep Google satisfied, keep testing and improving your website’s responsiveness, mobile page-load speed, and user-friendliness.
Create high-quality content.
Killer posts on your blog drive organic traffic to your site, boost user engagement, and position you as a highly relevant online resource. They prove that you’re good at your job and help your readers solve their major digital marketing problems faster.
Once they see how helpful your articles are, they will keep linking to them and sharing them on social networks, boosting your online exposure. And, as the positive word of mouth about you as a leading digital agency keeps spreading, your client base will also grow.
Therefore, each blog post you publish needs to be educational, interactive, and data-backed. Take advantage of storytelling to evoke emotions. Produce long-form, 2000+ word articles, as they perform better on Google.
Also, experiment with different types of content. For example, videos, podcasts, infographics, and charts are more linkable and shareable, as they are highly engaging and easier to follow.
Humanize your brand on social networks.
If you look at the biggest names in the digital marketing industry, like Neil Patel, Lee Odden, Brian Dean, or Gary Vaynerchuk, you’ll see that they’re investing a lot in their social media presence. A combination of channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube help boost brand awareness and connect with your target audience on a personal level.
Facebook is a great place to participate in real-time conversations with your target audience, share testimonials, and promote your content, while Twitter is perfect for sharing the hottest industry news.
By sharing the content that brings value, you will prove that you know what you’re talking about. Instagram should be the visual embodiment of your agency. Use it to share behind-the-scenes photos and post the photos of your staff to humanize your brand.
Managing Client Relationships
Even though growing your reach and attracting new customers is critical for your agency, that’s only half the job. The other half is, of course, retaining and growing your current clients. Recent research highlights that it is six times costlier to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Moreover, businesses lose about $75 billion yearly due to poor client experiences. Because of that, you need to build client relationships on trust and understanding from the very beginning.
Before you even start working with a client, you need to get to know them and understand their expectations and preferences. Schedule an in-person meeting with them to take their pulse. Every client is different. Some are new to digital marketing and will put their trust in you.
There are also businesses that have been learning about digital marketing and putting their knowledge into practice on their own. Of course, some have already worked with a digital marketing agency and have formed their expectations based on previous experiences.
Your goal as a marketer is to show a client what value you can bring and be honest with them. Hear them out and don’t be afraid to tell them if their expectations are not realistic. The worst thing you could do is encourage baseless optimism or approve every suggestion they make.
Remember that many of your clients don’t understand exactly how digital marketing really works. You should be their guru, their guiding light towards achieving better results.
Talk to your clients regularly to show you care about their satisfaction and opinions.
Now that you’ve signed a client, communicate with them regularly. They will want to know how well the tactics they’re paying for actually work. If possible, get on the phone with each client once per month or (at most) per quarter to collect their feedback directly and understand how they feel about your services.
Video conferencing tools are also helpful. Additionally, if you want to make changes in your strategy, you should make your activities fully transparent and ask them for opinions.
Send feedback to make your cooperation transparent.
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. As one obvious example, SEO best practices continually evolve based on Google’s modifications of the SERPs, algorithm updates, your competitors, your backlink profile, and a plethora of other factors.
What would you do, for example, if your clients’ rankings dropped overnight? You need to explain to them that this is likely a transitory problem that has nothing to do with your activities. This is where client reporting shines.
By creating comprehensive SEO reports for each client every week or month, you will be able to prove how effective your tactics are. Instead of using client reporting to manipulate your data, make sure each report is honest and easy to understand. They should contain all important KPIs, graphs, and statistics, letting a client compare their performance over time.
Additionally, brand your reports by adding a client logo (it’s important that they know that the report is made for them solely), as well as visually appealing. Since creating customized reports eats up lots of your time, use automated SEO reporting tools to reduce the manual effort required.
Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
To provide your clients with exceptional services, you need to surround yourself with the right people. However, the competitive online landscape may be making it difficult for you to attract new employees. This is why you need to build your hiring strategy wisely and promote your job openings on sites your candidates actually use.
Use social networks to find the right candidates.
Social networks are a hugely popular employee acquisition channel, used by more than 70% of recruiters. When creating your job ads for social networks, make sure they’re brief, specific, informative, and that they contain a photo (preferably of your staff). Avoid using complex industry terms that may discourage prospective employees and make them think they’re not qualified for the job.
Apart from Facebook or Twitter ads that will boost the visibility of your job posting, LinkedIn is a great place for connecting with the right people organically. This social network identifies candidates whose resumes match your job description and informs them about your job position. Social networks are also helpful when it comes to learning more about a candidate before hiring them.
Keep your employees happy to retain them.
Working at a digital marketing agency is stressful and you should be aware of that. Apart from working with multiple clients and doing their best to keep them happy, your employees also need to adapt themselves to the ever-changing digital marketing trends, learn continuously, use numerous tools simultaneously, and meet tight deadlines.
These are just some of factors creating tension in your employees’ working environment. To counteract this, you need to constantly boost their morale. Organize different team-building activities, throw awesome office parties, and use casual Fridays to help them relax.
You should also give them different career advancement opportunities, as well as incentivizing them for excellent performance. No matter how tedious or expensive this may seem to you right now, retaining your employees is undeniably cheaper than talent turnover.
As noted above. digital marketing is constantly and rapidly changing. Every month, new tools appear and new rules of the game are set. This is what happened with GDPR— just one of many examples of how and why you need to keep pace with the industry changes in order to stay relevant. You need to constantly improve your team’s knowledge, equip them with the top-notch tools, and make sure they stay up to date with the latest trends.
Additionally, keep in mind that it’s even more challenging to stay ahead of the game if you cast your net wide. Digital marketing is a broad concept; to stay on the cutting edge, you need to specialize in certain aspects of it.
Instead of jumping from one job to another and compromising the quality of your service, you will be able to focus on specific aspects of digital marketing, set clearer goals, and adapt to the changes in your niche faster. Most importantly, you will refine your audience targeting, improve your client base, and build firmer relationships with them.
Over to You
Running a digital marketing agency comes with numerous challenges. Don’t get discouraged—these are just common challenges almost every smaller digital agency faces. You need to build a solid business plan to back you up, keep pace with the latest trends in the industry, and work diligently on overcoming these obstacles.