Growing Your Digital Agency: Being Your Own Client

Growing Your Digital Agency: Being Your Own Client
September 14, 2016 Joe Vernon

As a creative agency, your work is the most important piece of your marketing. Each successful campaign, website, article, etc. is what you will use to earn your next client. When working in the creative industry it’s likely to come across a few NDA’s or unruly clients that don’t approve of you sharing your agency’s work. This leaves your website and content looking stale and outdated.

Does that matter? They are paying for your work and sustaining your agency. Surely though, sustaining an agency wasn’t your only goal. Where are the efforts you need to sustain the vision you had for your agency? The vision to growing your agency. This is why it is important to be your own client and focus on creating content for your agency, and here is how.

You don’t have the time, so make it.

I know, this doesn’t sound fun for most people. Making more time to work when you already have a full schedule partnering with your clients. More often than not, the reward is worth it and honestly, making time is pretty simple. Here is how:

Set Goals…And Deadlines.

Famed business leader and star of Shark Tank host Robert Herjavec said,

“A goal without a timeline is just a dream”

Schedule monthly check-ins and quarterly goals. Use the monthly check-ins to discuss progress (if you are still on the right path) and next steps. If you are still on the right path, don’t change your goal, leave that until the quarterly meetings. Most importantly, use the monthly check-ins to refresh or keep your team motivated on the work that they are doing and goal that they are trying to reach.

Block Out Time In Your Calendar

I’ve had many co-works at previous agencies open their Google Calendar and block out time for every task they were going to do this week though it wasn’t required of them. This did multiple things like:

  • Served as a checklist for tasks completed creating a sense of accomplishment with each task completed
  • Kept them focused on this week’s work and help avoid distractions
  • Prevented other people from scheduling unnecessary meetings with them

This is the same with blocking out time each week for your agency. The important part of this is to treat this schedule as you would with actual client work.

Publish your work…and share it with the world

Since your team is now making time to focus on the agency, publish the work that your team is creating. This might be the most creative work that your team has done in a while since you were the client and it is likely that you were willing to take a risk in creating something different. Publishing and sharing your work will allow your team to:

  • Experiment with new ways of sharing work (email, social, affiliate, or automation)
  • Experiment with A/B testing and optimizing (calls-to-action, design changes, voice and tone)
  • Show off a creative side (fewer chances of clients saying no)

Here are a few examples I’ve seen which appear to be internal, for fun, projects though I’m sure that they were aware of the benefit:

After publishing it, look at the results (or the cluster you created to measure it), see how it performed, then create a mini-case study about it to provide your team.

Share your results with your clients and potential clients

Chances are, your clients and potential clients have seen the past work completed by your agency, but they might not have seen the most recent internal project and more importantly,  the data behind it.

Share with them the amount of effort your team contributed, the results, and ultimately, let them see that the creative risk that your team took, was worth the reward.

Invest in your team…with ROI in mind

Investing in your team will benefit you. Sure, you run the risk of your team leaving the company and moving on. That is a risk that is always there. Investing in your team will benefit you in the long run and giving them the opportunity for creative freedom as described above is one way, but also investing in your teams technology and knowledge.

When you invest in their knowledge by sending them to events and training seminars, they feel valued by their employers and are less likely to be investing time in finding another job. Areas where you could invest:

  • Training & education – Working in the PDX area it is common for events or meet-ups happening every day. These events provide your teammates with a different perspective on the work that they are doing and can lead to taking your business to the next level. If you are uncomfortable with sending your team out there alone, go with them. #teambuilding
  • Networking and retreats – Spending money for traveling and stay so your team can attend a conference, learn a few things, and get free food and drinks? Yes. While it may feel like you are overindulging, these events will allow your team to network, potential meeting future clients, and can lead to sales covering the cost of the event itself.
  • Computers, monitors, and software…oh my – This seems obvious, but keeping your team’s computers, monitors, and software up-to-date. Providing the proper tools to complete the job will increase efficiency and save time. And we all know, time = money.

Be sure to check out the other articles we have published in our “Growing Your Digital Agency” series and if you have any questions or comments, reach out to us over Twitter – @unifusion.