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How to grow a digital marketing agency in 7 steps

Key takeaways

  • Generate new business by networking with potential clients and adding lead magnets to your website
  • Create long-term client relationships by improving your onboarding and customer appreciation tactics
  • Upsell or cross-sell your clients to increase their spending without raising your prices

When you’re running a digital agency, it’s easy to forget that marketing yourself is just as important as marketing your clients. Unprompted referrals and bare-bones SEO tactics can only sustain your growth for so long. To attract new clients (and increase profit from your existing ones), you should learn how to grow your digital marketing agency. Follow these seven steps to achieve successful agency growth.

How to grow a digital marketing agency: 7 tips

Learning how to grow a digital advertising agency is all about gaining new clients and leads, increasing your return on investment (ROI), and maintaining your current customer base. With these tips, you can achieve all of the above and make headway toward your agency goals.

1. Add case studies to your website

Showing proof that your agency knows what it’s doing can attract potential clients and kickstart your growth. When you add case studies of your past marketing campaigns to your agency website, anyone who’s considering your business can see the actual results that you’re capable of producing. This can inspire trust in your agency and encourage website visitors to become leads.

High-quality case studies should include client intros so your readers get context about the industries you’ve worked with, along with a clear statement that identifies the problem your client faced. Then, do a deep dive into the solution your client selected and the results of your work (including metrics). Include quotes or video testimonials from your client about how you helped their business.

2. Create lead magnets

Learning how to speed up your lead generation is key to understanding how to grow a digital marketing agency. The more prospective clients you’re reaching, the easier it is to gain new customers. With lead magnets—which are freebies given away in exchange for emails or phone numbers—you can give your website or landing page visitors a good reason to submit their contact information so you can follow up.

Lead magnets are often long-form resources like e-books or webinars, which you only need to create once to get leads for life. However, they can also be as simple as a search engine optimization (SEO) checklist or a free consultation offer. Consider what freebies would be most enticing to your target audience.

3. Network with potential clients

Networking is a tried and true marketing method for finding potential customers in the business-to-business (B2B) industry. When you build personal connections with other business owners, you increase your chances of becoming their preferred digital marketing agency

In fact, making requests in person is 34 times more effective than doing so over email. If you want a prospect to provide their contact information, add you on LinkedIn, or set up a consultation with your team members, a face-to-face networking event is the perfect time to make your request.

Of course, your networking conversation shouldn’t be an outright business pitch. To effectively build relationships, you need to listen to your prospects, get to know them, and ask questions. For instance, if they tell you their industry and it’s a match for your agency, you can further the conversation by asking what they love about their work or what problems they encounter. Give yourself a natural lead-in to speak about your agency instead of diving right into your pitch.

4. Streamline your onboarding process

Learning how to grow a digital marketing agency isn’t just about generating new leads. Improving the onboarding process for signed clients can also boost your growth by improving long-term client satisfaction. Great onboarding processes set client expectations from the start and help them understand how your agency works.

Implementing automation tools can help you develop a smoother onboarding process while freeing up team members for more profit-boosting tasks. For instance, you can use email marketing software like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign to create a series of welcome emails for every client, which can run through billing processes, how to use your project management software, and more.

Want to add a human touch while automating parts of your onboarding process? Add onboarding videos featuring your team members to your welcome emails to make them more engaging and personable.

5. Offer niche services

Growing a business that offers niche digital marketing services is often easier than finding success as a full-service agency. Having a specialty allows you to position yourself as the best agency for a specific need so you can stand out to your target audience. Specializing also allows you to form partnerships with other niche agencies—for instance, those focused on web design or content marketing if you’re focused on digital ads—so you can gain (and provide) quality referrals.

So what niche services should your agency specialize in? Focusing on cost-per-click (CPC) ads—sometimes known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads—allows you to partner directly with advertising platforms like Yelp. When you join the Yelp Partner Program, you can continue growing your agency with online training, inclusion on the Yelp Partner Directory, and other exclusive perks.

Content marketing and email marketing are other popular services that are viewed as high-ROI marketing strategies, much like paid ads.

You can also offer services to specific industries, like software as a service (SaaS) or ecommerce brands, or to companies at specific stages of business, like startups or enterprises.

Ready to become a Yelp Advertising Partner?

Contact us today to find out how Yelp advertising drives qualified leads for your clients.

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6. Upsell or cross-sell your services

No agency owner wants to raise their prices frequently. Doing so can turn clients away, which can hurt your business more than it helps. However, you can still increase your per-client revenue by upselling or cross-selling your services.

Upselling is the practice of encouraging clients to buy more expensive versions of a service or, in the case of marketing agencies, increase their budget for a specific service. Cross-selling, on the other hand, is the practice of getting clients to buy additional, related services. For instance, if they’re investing in social media ads, you can recommend your influencer marketing services as an add-on. Both can be effective ways to get clients to spend more.

Keep in mind that you should only use this agency growth tactic if you truly believe your clients can benefit from new or upgraded services. If clients don’t see significant results from their extra investment, their trust in your agency’s recommendations can diminish, which hurts your long-term client relationships.

7. Show customer appreciation

Building relationships is always a critical part of growing a small business, especially when you’re selling recurring marketing services. Loyal customers spend 31% more than new clients which can allow you to earn a reliable income without enormous marketing costs. To maintain your current client base, it’s important to regularly show your clients they’re valued by your agency.

Customer appreciation doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as sending a handwritten card and cupcakes on a client’s anniversary or treating clients to a nice holiday dinner. You can even highlight their milestones on your social media platforms, which can double as marketing for both you and your client. Brainstorm simple ways to make your customers feel like VIPs—even in your day-to-day interactions—and your client relationships can continue to flourish.

Achieve agency growth step by step

No matter how large or small your agency is, it’s crucial to prioritize your growth. Understanding how to grow a digital marketing agency requires you to know how to actively pursue leads and turn them into loyal, long-term clients. 

Through face-to-face networking, you can start client relationships on the right foot while increasing the effectiveness of your pitch. Once you gain clients, don’t forget to continue building your relationships through onboarding and customer appreciation. For more success tactics, check out these common client concerns and how other agencies have responded to them.

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