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The Best Digital Marketing Agency’s Hidden Strategy You won’t learn about sales in marketing class. Design experience does not teach you anything about management. Before you start running a business, you need to understand the ins and outs of it. Creating can be challenging.

Rintika designed the Conklin Media logo.

That was, at least, my experience when I started my first business. I needed outside investors or consultants; I only had a $5,000 credit card and some sales experience from a previous job. Yet, I was selected for the second consecutive year to be included on the Inc 500’s list of fastest-growing companies due to precisely that all-encompassing perspective on business.

With Conklin Media, my new digital agency, I’m ready to start over. We have already achieved similar heights by assisting our clients in generating tens of thousands of leads and millions of dollars in revenue. But, this time, I could breathe much easier because I was aware that an agency’s success does not depend on the resources it has at its disposal; rather, it depends on making better decisions and following the best practices. I also want to impart that wisdom to you today.

The three essential pointers I used to start, run, and ultimately succeed in my digital marketing agency are listed below. Use these methods to gain experience even if you’re beginning because they aren’t taught in schools.

1. Create a lead generation engine: Business required a little more effort in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At the time, I worked for a real estate company, so I spent a lot of time cold calling and driving around looking for properties. Since I couldn’t get a phone number online then, I had to look through my phone book to find all the people in a neighbourhood who might be interested.

Not only was the task time-consuming, but it was also discouraged. I called people all day who weren’t interested; I felt like I had repeatedly slammed my head against a wall after hearing “no” for hours. However, that was the job, and as a matter of routine, after every 200 disappointments, someone would eventually respond, “Yeah, I’d be interested in selling my property.”

A Cido-designed real estate lawn sign is available for purchase.

While cold calling was effective at generating business, it posed an additional issue. We needed more time to look for new customers when selling homes. Our company was stuck in an up-and-down, on-and-off workflow that prevented us from working on existing leads while simultaneously searching for new ones.

That is not a real estate-specific issue. Choosing between acquiring new clients and satisfying existing ones is common to all agencies. As a result, I began looking for new, more straightforward approaches to lead generation from that point forward.

I first became interested in digital marketing that way. I utilized early Google Adwords before it was even known as such because the web was still in its infancy, and I could incorporate SEO strategies before our rivals.

We quickly received hundreds of thousands of leads from all over the country. Our business grew and prospered over time. We were looking for more effective ways to generate leads, and it was a fantastic ride.

Five methods for generating leads One of my keys to success is emphasizing lead generation, mainly because many other digital marketers need to devote more resources. Even though SEO and Adwords have become more complicated since my humble beginnings, there are still numerous underutilized methods for keeping your business thriving:

Determine who you want to sell to. Knowing who or what businesses make up your best leads is the first step in generating leads. Who are your ideal customers? Which income levels do they fall into? Which online destinations do they frequent? How can you best reach them? It would help if you narrowed your range to use any lead generation strategy. As a point of reference, Conklin Media focuses primarily on B2B businesses with 21 million annual revenue.

Services for alerts: Anytime someone purchases a new domain name, you can set up special notifications. This means that your sales team can get in touch with your target customers directly if you concentrate on domain names that are relevant to them.

Marketing via affiliates Sites like CJ Affiliate and ShareASale can point you in the direction of the most effective partner websites for reaching your intended customers, regardless of their identity.

Make cold calling service. You can now outsource your cold calling needs to businesses specifically focused on doing so. I don’t recommend cold calling yourself because you have better things to do as a manager and potential business owner. However, cold calling is still a slow but steady way to get leads even today if you can afford to outsource the work.

Fantastic website. Your website is your most crucial business tool. You should ensure that your website features a call to action, statistics demonstrating your effectiveness, a slogan, your clients (for social proof), and your unique value proposition. I recommend using StoryBrand to figure out where your website could use some work.

2. Hire freelancers to increase your workforce — trippy 1970s space rock illustration. Rather than imitating a style, hiring an artist who specializes in the manner you require is preferable. Like BATHI previously.

Running a digital agency requires you to finance a highly efficient workforce with low overhead to survive. Utilizing freelancers is the most effective strategy for achieving both goals. In addition, they provide the advantage of hiring additional workers without the associated costs.

As I mentioned in my previous article on scaling an agency, freelancers enable you to accommodate periods of additional work without overpaying during dry spells. In addition, hiring freelancers lets you expand your service or style offerings without taking any risks; You can hire the correct freelancer if your client wants a weird sci-fi style. It is much preferable to reject them because your in-house designers must be more capable of doing so. Additionally, keep in mind the apparent advantage of freelancers’ lower costs.

Contests for design In all creative fields, including design, freelancers provide you and your customers with a broader and more varied selection. Clients for design work enjoy looking through samples and selecting the one that best fits their needs. They value having a more significant say in the process. The costs are the issue; There is an additional fee for each new designer from whom you order a sample.

Design competitions are the more cost-effective option for both clients and agencies. For instance, 99designs offers one design for the price of dozens through crowdsourcing. In addition, everyone benefits because only designers with the time or confidence apply.

It operates as follows:

You submit your concept’s criteria.

Designers view the contest and submit (around 30 submissions typically).

You or your customers choose the best submission.

The designs are finalized together with the winner by you.

Three design contest samples created under the client’s requirements are below to demonstrate what I’m talking about. Which would you have selected?

Crawl and then Run is the Purpleri logo.

Crawl and then Run the device logo.

Angela Cuellar designed the logo for Crawl and Ran 3.

In my personal experience, it dramatically aids client recruitment, particularly with on-the-fence prospects. When you already have a concept that people like, they are more likely to sign up with you. With 99designs’ contests, you can give them multiple options.

You should still employ employees internally. I use a compromise at my agency: Every department is overseen by in-house experts, but teams of freelancers work under them. As a result, I can branch out whenever the job requires it while maintaining a long-term relationship with my department heads.

How to Find the Best Freelancers Hiring freelancers is always a good idea, but you should be careful. The challenge lies in distinguishing between the best and those who only pretend to be the best. Not to scare you, but independent contractors can be awful; I once interviewed a designer who had mistakenly included one of our projects in his portfolio as his own. He used my work to try to impress me!

I suggest two methods to avoid dishonest freelancers:

Could you give them a project to try out? Pay them for their efforts and set your criteria to ensure they are not copying work.

Ask them to describe their procedure. Then, ask them to show you how they made a particular project from their portfolio. That is an excellent method for determining their involvement in its creation. When there is no time for fabrication, this works best over the phone or in person.

Be bold and ask a friend for help with specialized projects outside your expertise. For example, I recently needed to hire a videographer, but I asked a friend to join me for the interview because I needed to learn more about the video. As a result, he could evaluate the applicant’s skill more accurately than I could.

One final point: Always set your project prices so you can hire independent contractors if necessary. When I needed an additional pair of hands but couldn’t afford one, I was stuck in the middle of projects. A little foresight can ultimately save a project in this regard.

3. Be aware of the interconnectedness of business: If you think a degree in marketing is all you need to run a company, you are in for a rude awakening. There are dozens of fields within the multifaceted business area, not the least of which is sales. As a result, we end up with many marketing graduates who need to be made aware of one of the fundamentals of business, which is odd given that sales are not covered in marketing classes.

How sales can either make or break an agency. Salespeople were the first employees I hired at Conklin Media. Give that a moment to sink in. Despite our claim to be a digital marketing and design agency, they weren’t marketers or designers. Because sales are the foundation of all business, I first hired salespeople.

Illustration of a businessman created by Z for a business profile.

Most people who aren’t willing to take risks are afraid to do that. They believe they do not want to employ a sales team before they can sell anything. However, in reality, they only harm themselves; These organizations frequently struggle to establish themselves due to a lack of sufficient business.

Beyond marketing, a successful business requires a great deal more. When partners discuss lifetime customer value, returns on investment, or how changing the colour of your call-to-action button can increase conversions, your eyes will glaze over if you only specialize in one area.

Beyond just sales, I’ve always found that having a bottom-line mindset helped me run my agency. The bottom line is the bottom line. You should pay close attention to every decision you make, no matter how insignificant, because every action you take will make the bottom line better or worse. Understanding business means knowing how the numbers in your financial reports are calculated by adding up all the little details in each department.

I recall when we were dealing with a website that featured a picture of a group of people. This serves as a quick illustration of how even the smallest decisions can have a significant impact. Images on websites can be challenging due to the complexities of web design and photography and how they change when combined. Regardless, we attempted to alter the perspective of the people depicted in the image, a minor adjustment to those with a bit of design background. The site’s conversion rate rose by 5% due to that little adjustment.

While a carefully selected freelancer team will cover all your bases, I expect an agency manager to know only some of the field. Therefore, it’s just good business to surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people in their areas.

Takeaway: Starting your agency: One of the most significant advantages of starting your marketing agency is that it is yours. You are in charge, make the decisions, and work hard. You get the benefits, but you also bear the responsibility. It is your child, brought up by employees’ families.

You’ll notice that I should have gone over each step I took to build a successful agency in the tips above. This is because what I did might not work for you. I wanted to keep my suggestions flexible so that you could use them however you saw fit. Sales should come first, but how you do that is up to you. I recommend making the most of freelancers, but who you hire is up to you. Using my advice as a framework, you can tailor your business strategy to suit your needs. Put another way, feel free to treat your agency as your own.

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