How to Build and Grow an Agency

image(22)Paul Roetzer, owner of PR2020, has tried different business models to grow his agency.  This article is based upon an interview for a full hour on Bright Ideas where Paul recommends Inbound Marketing as the best way to generate leads.  He recommends following these activities:

  1. Figure out the best way to package and present your expertise, for example:
    1. Podcasts
    2. Blogging
    3. Webinars
    4. White papers
    5. E-books
  2. Create content that demonstrates your unique expertise and shows your personality.
  3. Establish a connection with your clients. You have to consider that your buyers or prospects are looking for information and should provide answers to their questions through your contents.
  4. Always remember that the more value you create and the more questions you answer through your contents, the more it will give you greater chances of getting your prospect clients into your marketing funnel.
  5. Once you get prospects, you need to nurture them until they are ready to buy.

Being an Integral firm / Recurring Revenue:

After trying different business models for his agency, Paul has changed to a model that works only with customers on a retainer.  This way, he can concentrate his efforts and available resources in serving his customers well instead of chasing for new ones.  This change of focus is what brings their firm bigger margins, more expertise, and more peace of mind (since every month, they will have revenue before the month starts).

Paul believes that at the present, agencies need to become an integrated firm because it is hard to build recurring revenue around single services. According to Paul, CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) are looking for agencies that can provide integrated services and can do everything.

For example, to do an effective online campaign, an agency needs to provide the following services:

    1. Create a landing page which would include graphics as well as very good copywriting to convert the maximum number of people that arrive to the landing page into a lead or to subscribe to the website.
    2. A/B test the landing page to understand what converts the best.
    3. Market the site or promote the content or landing page through social media and other channels to get people to the website.
    4. Once people have opted in, create an automated e-mail lead nurturing campaign.
    5. Segment the people that subscribe by their characteristics and behavior.
    6. Monitor what is going on. For example look at download rates as well as click-through rates on the follow-up e-mail nurturing campaigns.

When an agency supplies all these services for a customer, they can bring them real results, get a contract and charge based on retainer fees.

Important things to bear in mind when working with customers on retainer:

  1. Performance is the key. As long as your agency delivers valuable performance to your clients on a regular basis, you will be able to keep them.
  2. Be very transparent and let your customers know how you are doing.
  3. Develop scorecards for clients where you can easily monitor their lead conversion rate, volume, customer conversion, and return rates.
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