How to Market a Marketing Agency - My Top Ten Tips.
Nigel Rowlson, MD at The Dairy Creative Agency.
I started The Dairy in 2002 after working for agencies for the previous twenty-two years across the Midlands and London.
Throughout my forty-two years in the industry, I’ve always marketed the agency I’ve worked for to win new business. It’s a simple fact that any agency will lose clients over time - so you have to continue to onboard new clients to maintain growth. No matter how well you’re doing, complacency should never set in.
In my opinion, marketing an agency should combine a consistent strategy with carefully selected tactics - creating a powerful cumulative effort.
Thirty years ago, this would start by sending out an introductory letter with an agency brochure, followed by a phone call. Now, in the digital age, we have many more channels at our disposal. This is where the cumulative effort really pays dividends.
The objective, as with any brand, is for potential clients to see your brand and your solutions as many times as possible in a given time frame - creating numerous touchpoints to generate greater awareness.
Any successful strategy is planned in advance. This is the approach we recommend to our clients and we wouldn’t be very good at our job if we didn’t practice what we preached at The Dairy!
Our core marketing channels are social media, emails and PR - with the objective of driving people to our website. We have a healthy database of warm potential clients who we target with emails and we’re very active on social media - sharing a regular combination of business news, industry-specific updates and informal agency content. We also pride ourselves on being very active on LinkedIn and maintaining conversations with our networks over time. This tactic has seen us attract numerous business opportunities over recent years.
We still send personalised letters with a brochure to the right contacts, while continuing to network in our local area and remaining active on a number of boards and committees to support our community - in both a business and CSR capacity.
By employing an ongoing strategy and remaining consistent with our messaging, we’ve really reaped the rewards.
The awareness we’ve created for The Dairy over the past twenty years, and the benefit this has brought, has been incredible. In the early days, we were pushing against half-closed doors - but now we find that the people we approach have usually heard about us - making that first meeting much easier. I do appreciate, however, that this early recognition is not easy for ‘younger’ agencies.
We also find that nowadays, we’re seeing substantial regular inbound traffic to our website. Again, I see this as a result of our cumulative efforts over many years - alongside twenty years of being active in the local business community and establishing substantial domain authority within the digital space.
Everything has come together and works rather nicely for us these days.
So for any agency owners looking to maximise their brand, my top 10 tips would be:-
- Know what you want to say about yourselves and say it. Are you the serious agency, the hard-working team or the informal, friendly creative bunch?
- Create, maintain and stick to a marketing plan - in the same way, you do for your clients
- Identify your audiences through customer personas and target them through a maintained CRM system
- Create interesting and engaging content and share it with your network through digital channels
- Engage in conversations on social media and don’t let it become a one-way dialogue
- Aim to create numerous touchpoints to generate greater awareness through this mixed media approach so a cumulative effect builds up
- Use letters and brochures sparingly for the right recipient - maybe an older demographic who respond well to printed literature or someone at the top of the management tree
- Use LinkedIn to connect with potential clients, as well as contacts from networking events and keep the conversation going over time
- Continue to attend in-person networking events - we’re seeing that post-pandemic, there’s a real uplift in the amount of people who want to continue to chat face-to-face
- Review all of your channels regularly and analyse your results, before repeating the process
I’m afraid that nothing is easy and there is no silver bullet to make marketing your agency simple. But I firmly believe that a well-planned approach is half the battle. The other half is what I always talk about with our clients - consistency. We see so many companies and brands taking a woolly and inconsistent approach to their marketing and this only confuses the market. Set out your plan, implement it and stick to it!
Nigel Rowlson is Managing Director/Founder of The Dairy an award-winning, full-service, Nottingham-based agency that has continually delivered quality results for nearly two decades. The Dairy’s team of marketing and creative experts has in-depth knowledge across a range of marketing tactics and specialisms. A ‘people people’ agency, The Dairy is always welcoming, always open and always honest.