8 Costly Mistakes That Will Cause Your Digital Agency to FailMarch 23, 2017 - 14 minutes read - Mod Agency, Mod Agency Insiders
Whether your digital agency is new or established, scaling your business accordingly can present many different challenges. Finding new talent, clients, and revenue are usually some of the obstacles that digital agencies face. Not to mention managing the team’s culture, researching new tools and software systems, and maintaining a high quality of work.
While owning and scaling a digital agency can be a bit overwhelming, it does offer many rewards. As you embark on the journey of growth, here are eight costly mistakes to avoid.
1. Hiring the Wrong People
Another challenge of growing and scaling a business is hiring and retaining the right talent, especially if you are a new company.
Hiring employees can be extremely time consuming, so when you are looking for new talent, it’s important to keep that in mind. Plus, once you hire the right employees or freelancers, you need to spend time onboarding them. This process may seem a bit daunting, but it’s worthwhile to invest in the resources needed to get your new employees up to speed to ensure they get off to a great start with your agency.
Take a strategic approach to hiring. Think about your long-term vision to determine the various roles you need within your organization. Look for individuals that aren’t afraid to work outside of their comfort zone and take on new challenges so they can learn and grow with your agency.
Remember: at a digital agency, talented people are your product. Spend time and energy on building your dream team, instead of finding mediocre hires to fill seats. This will set you up for long-term success.
Watch the video below to discover how to build your dream marketing team.
Grab your free copy of “The Agency’s Guide to Creating a Modern Marketing Dream Team” today!
2. Depending Too Heavily on Outsourcing with Little Oversight
Outsourcing is an important part of owning and managing a digital agency. The great thing about outsourcing is that you can offload work and take some of the load off your plate without hiring a full time employee.
Where some digital agencies go wrong is that once they pass off a project, they take a hands off approach. Creating a successful outsourced marketing partnership involves setting clear responsibilities and realistic expectations, and then following through until the project is complete. This may add a bit of work to your plate, however, if you want to ensure that the work is done to your standards, you’ll need to stay hands on and focused, especially during the beginning of the relationship.
Following the completion of the project, it’s important to assess the work that has been delivered and evaluate your marketing partners’ performance. Be sure to provide feedback accordingly to help them improve the work that they deliver.
3. Not Investing in Systems and Resources
Having a strong, dedicated workforce is imperative for creating a thriving digital agency. You want to ensure that your employees are not overworked or spread too thin.
A lack of resources and employee burnout not only impacts the employee’s performance, but can impact the entire team. It can lower productivity, decrease job satisfaction, lead to turnover, and contribute to personal conflict with colleagues.
So, what can you do to prevent employee burnout and increase your resources? These tips may help:
- Automate Your Processes: Find more ways to automate your processes. This will save your team time spent on repetitive, menial tasks when they could be productively working on items to effectively grow your business.
- Keep Reasonable Work Hours: Ensure your employees aren’t burnt out by offering sick days, PTO, and vacation days.
- Define Roles: Make sure that each team member has a specific job description and understands their role. Reduce the number of parallel tasks that an individual or team is working on to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed with their task-list.
- Outsource When Necessary: If you have an influx of projects, outsourcing may be necessary to avoid overloading your employees. Just remember to have someone oversee the entire process.
4. Difficulty Balancing Marketing Yourself vs. Marketing Your Clients
Unfortunately, many digital agencies are so invested in their client’s branding and marketing strategies, that they fail to market themselves.
In order to be a successful digital agency, it’s important to walk the walk. This includes setting up a kick-ass website with strong SEO and a social media plan. Creating a killer inbound marketing strategy will help you develop a strong online presence, which will drive more leads and help you retain clients.
To help get you started, Mod Girl Marketing has a host of resources available that will help you attract, convert and keep more customers.
5. Not Having an Effective, Repeatable Process
Process is the foundation of any successful business development strategy. For digital marketing agencies, it ensures that you are delivering the same quality of work to your clients.
Documenting and implementing processes are essential for making your agency more efficient. This will reduce the amount of time you spend on non-billable work. Some of your agency’s processes can be automated, making them even less time consuming. Here are some project related processes you should standardize in order to make your agency run like a well oiled machine.
- Client Meetings: You’ve done a million them, but have you ever took the time to document the process? This would help new account managers find the ebb and flow of your client meeting process.
- Scope of Work: Make sure that you have a template picked out that clearly lays out the scope of work for each project. In fact, you should have templates for every type of proposal and agreement you use for your clients. That way you have something to work off of and easily fill out for new projects.
- Client Onboarding: When you take on a new client, there may be a lot of set-up involved. From the welcome email to setting them up with accounts, it’s important to have everything laid out and well-documented so nothing goes overlooked.
- Project Sign-Off: Define the review and approval process that your project needs to go through before you get sign-off on the project. This should route through your internal team first before submitting it to your client for final sign off.
6. Failing to Keep Up with Technology
The digital landscape is far from stagnant. It’s constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes we are so focused on delivering the best possible outcomes to our clients, that we forget to do our research on the latest and greatest technology and trends.
This can pose a serious issue. If you’re not staying current on the latest digital marketing trends, your clients may leave for someone that is.
Continuing your education, and encouraging your employees to do the same, is imperative. Look for certified courses, training and dedicated digital marketing publications like Marketing Week and Brand Republic. You can also search digital marketing blogs (like Mod Girl Marketing!) and social media to stay up on the latest trends.
Being in the digital marketing landscape, you’ll have to be flexible and open to new technology. Adapting to new technology and new systems is imperative for making your business run more efficiently. However, before adopting new marketing technology, ask yourself these very important questions.
7. Not Having the Right Tools at Your Fingertips
Many marketing agencies fail to invest in the right tools that will help them manage their growing business.
For example, as your business grows, you may want to invest in effective in-house communication and project management tools, like Slack and Basecamp. Or, perhaps you need more digital marketing tools to automate some of your processes and make you and your team more effective in your roles.
Another key area that requires the right tools is analytics. Not only will analytics help your clients reach their goals more effectively, but it will help you prove your worth to your clients. Clients often look to their agency to provide expertise and insight that they don’t have. In fact, a 2016 research study said that 85% of brands select agencies based on their ability to report and react to analytics.
If you truly want to grow your digital agency effectively, you may want to consider investing in a top-notch analytics tool. Reporting builds trust with your clients, which is imperative for a long-lasting client-agency relationship.
If you’re not sure where to start, Mod Girl Marketing offers web analytics consulting, which can help you make sense of Google Analytics or other analytic tools.
8. Allowing Scope Creep & Not Pricing Projects Correctly
In project management, scope creep refers to the changes or uncontrolled growth of a project’s scope at any point after the project begins. Usually, this happens when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. The problem lies when your price remains the same as the project grows larger.
In some cases, the client may seem to think that the extra work is within the scope of the original agreement. Or, they simply don’t realize that they are asking for more than was originally agreed upon. Either way, you could find yourself doing more than you agreed to and losing out on money.
Scope creep can be difficult to manage. If you start accepting scope creep from one client, it opens the gate to allowing it from others. In order to combat scope creep, keep these things in mind:
- Understand the Goal: You’re far less likely to fall victim to scope creep if you have a solid understanding of what the client’s goals and expectations are.
- Clearly Define Scope of Work: Lay it all out for your client. Your agreement should include a clearly defined scope of work that is understood and agreed upon by both parties before work is begun.
- Price Right: In order to price your project correctly, break it into smaller parts to ensure everything is accounted for.
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