I know, most people aren’t building digital agencies. That doesn’t mean everyone can’t benefit from learning more about how they work (and fail). As the fastest growing Digital Agency in Central Kentucky, I get a lot of questions about what we are doing to succeed. One of the greatest benefits of being a growing agency is that you get to see all types of businesses in all types of industries. This allows us to see and learn a lot about how business works in general and what commonalities exist. In turn, this will allow you as a business owner to be more knowledgeable about what growing agencies look like and what to ask. Here are 3 reasons why your marketing agency isn’t growing.
1. The staff isn’t all passionate about what they are doing.
All of us can remember seeing an employee who just clocks in, does their work and has no ambition to do more. In some businesses this is unavoidable, especially for large organizations. Imagine though, that you were able to build a company where every person is passionate about their work and it’s proven before they are hired. Groups of people who have this synergy and drive will always outperform any company that don’t have this structure. This is the fundamental basis of AD-IOS; a group of people with very high levels of ambition and desire to learn constantly. Instead of leading with an attitude of arrogance, agencies who are growing and thriving will express humility in each client relationship. This is impossible unless each person on staff understands that they are there to help and have to be ready to accept the fact that no customer is the same and each campaign involves new variables. Meeting with your potential agency for the first time should make you excited about what is happening. Not excited because of crazy promises, but because you can genuinely believe that the agency will become your experienced digital advocate. Much of marketing involves momentum generation. It’s hard to produce that when no one is energized and excited.
2. The agency doesn’t have relevant certifications.
Once again, here’s this can of worms. All certifications are not equal. Still, there are a few that anyone who is spending your money on marketing should have. All digital agencies need to be Google Certified. Further than that, there are actually many types of Google Certifications (currently 9). It’s not out of place for you to ask what your agency is certified in, who is certified and when they received the qualification. Agencies with real certifications will be able to explain why they have those, what they learned from them and why they continue to renew them. This doesn’t mean that someone can’t have a good understanding or even be decent at a concept (like SEO for example) but more difficult and highly regarded certifications give you some peace that your money will be spent with strong strategy based on experience and knowledge. One practice that is NOT OK, is that many agencies will have 1 or 2 people on staff with a certification but they are not the ones doing the majority of the work. Ask if the specific talent that will be creating and running your campaigns are also certified.
3. No one is networking and cold calling.
One of the best ways to grow is to be willing to do things that other agencies feel nervous doing. If you are not actively making new connections daily, then you will never grow. Many new businesses find a surge of growth right in the beginning as they have referral traffic from family and friends. Sometimes this initial boom can cause business owners to decide that they don’t really need to worry about marketing. It’s only when all this early business dries up that there’s suddenly a panic and marketing begins. Marketing strategies built in a panic almost never produce as strong of a result as those planned in anticipation instead of reaction. Part of building an agency is knowing that technology will change. The sources of revenue and your current clients may not always be around. Inherently it makes sense, but good marketing agencies also know how to market themselves bad ones never grow. Good agencies also don’t mind cold calling because they believe in their products and services. It’s easy to sell to someone when what you offer aids them in success.
The Small Business Administration of the US puts out a yearly report with all kinds of good information. In their most recent FAQ they give % of small businesses relative to the whole of all business in the US. 99.9% of all firms are small businesses. They also create over 60% of the new job market each year. This means that everyday there are new clients to be reached, new clients to help reach their ROI and operation goals. Wouldn’t you rather have an agency who can run themselves well handling the marking for your business?
*Also as a bonus reason, ask your agency what they do and see if they can do it in one sentence. Most will give you a lot of sentences.