In today’s competitive landscape, where entrepreneurs are more switched on than ever, running a digital agency can be tough.
Not only do you have to educate and persuade potential clients to part with their cash, but you have to be competitively priced and deliver excellent service.
Below, we’ve put together some tips for saving time and money whilst running a digital agency.
Outsource your marketing
If you run a marketing agency, the last thing you’ll want to do is outsource your client work to a third party, as you’ll lose out on revenue and have no control over the outcome of the project.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. If you find a company that offers outsourced marketing for agencies (hello!), you’ll be able to offload some of the tasks that are taking up too much time.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to hand over the responsibility of an SEO, social media or content marketing campaign to someone who knows what they’re talking about, ensuring you deliver only the very best to your end clients.
And the even better news is that many companies that offer outsourced marketing services offer it on a white-label basis, so nobody has to know.
Of course, before you start handing out your client projects willy-nilly, it’s important that you take the time to get to know the agency and ensure you can trust them.
Good communication and timekeeping skills are essential. If you’re working with a client on a time-sensitive project and the company you’re working with is slow, then it just won’t work.
We’ve put together a guide on how to outsource your clients’ work to other agencies here.
Cut software costs
If you work in design or marketing, then you’ll know just how expensive software can be. What’s worse, most software packages are now delivered as a service (SaaS), requiring a monthly fee.
Those fees can quickly add up and cut into your bottom line, so finding low-cost alternatives, or free versions of popular paid-for software should be a priority if you want to save money.
The good news is that there is so much competition in the design and marketing world, and as such, it’s pretty easy to find free versions of the most popular paid-for tools.
Social media tools
Social media tools, for example, can cost anywhere from $10 to $1,000 per month.
Buffer, HootSuite, AgoraPulse and MeetEdgar are some of the most popular subscription services, but you could look to scheduling content direct on Facebook Pages and using TweetDeck for posts on Twitter. Sure, it’ll take a little longer than using a social media scheduling tool, but it’ll be free.
SEO tools have never been cheap, with SEMRush costing at least $100 per month and rivals Ahrefs and BuzzSumo also charging similar amounts.
Again, you can find free versions of these tools online, and whilst they might not come with all of the bells and whistles that the premium services do, they do the job for basic SEO campaigns for your clients. CocoLyze is in public beta and, at the time of writing, is entirely free to use, whilst Small SEO Tools is also useful.
Graphic design tools
For graphic design, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are likely your top choices, but access to the Adobe Creative Cloud costs at least £30 per month. Downloadable alternatives like GIMP, Pixelmator, Pixlr and Corel Photo-Paint offer some basic photo editing functionalities, and online alternative Canva is great for graphics for blog posts, infographics and social media posts.
The truth is that some of the premium features you’re paying for can’t be found for free anywhere else, but by tweaking the way you work, you can make savings and cut costs when using marketing and design software.
And as the Pound continues to perform poorly against the dollar, the cost of these subscriptions will no doubt rise for British businesses, so being savvy with your money and looking for cheaper or free alternatives will keep your agency in profit.
Scale back on service offerings
Trying to be a one-size-fits-all agency is nigh on impossible in today’s world, as businesses are switched on enough to know whether or not you’re designing a website in-house or whether you’re having it made by a third-party company at a discount rate.
Be honest, understand your strengths as an agency, and scale back on your offerings to become a more focused business.
It’s better to excel at one or two services than offer everything and deliver mediocre results, so take a long hard think about what you’re currently offering your customers, see what’s selling and cut out some of the things that you know aren’t making you money.
It might be tough, and it might dent your ego, but in the long run you’ll be glad, as clients will know you’re the real deal.
Not only does cutting down on your services allow you to become streamlined and focused, but it means it easier for you to promote your products and services to clients, as you’ll have a clear understanding of who you are, what you’re doing and what problems you can solve.
Indeed, specialist agencies are growing in popularity, as businesses look to find the ‘experts’ in one aspect of marketing, whether that’s graphic design, pay-per-click management or content marketing, so hone in on your best attributes and promote yourself as the number one agency.
This will allow you to find better keywords for your SEO campaigns, reduce your spend on training and development, and cut down on the software packages you need in order to operate.
Although running a digital agency is significantly cheaper than running a bricks and mortar store, there are still some essential running costs that just cannot be cut.
However, the tips we have offered in this article will no doubt save you time and ensure you get the most out of your spend.
If you’re looking for help running a digital agency and want to offload some of your work, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts here at Muffin Marketing.
We specialise in outsourced marketing, designed to help take some of the pressure off of your shoulders, whilst ensuring you deliver the very best service to your clients.