Probably every web designer who starts out as a freelancer has at least some hopes or aspirations towards creating his own marketing and web design agency and scaling it into a booming business successfully dealing with dozens of employees and customers on a regular basis.
However, rising from humble solo beginnings and fulfilling your dreams takes a lot of effort, time, skill, dedication and plain old luck.
In this article, we have collected a number of tips that can help you avoid common mistakes and hopefully make your way to the top a little bit less bumpy.
1. Choose a niche
Narrowing down your scope may sound like a counter-intuitive tactic for scaling your business, but it is often the right way to go – and the web design industry is no exception.
While you offer a little bit of everything without making distinctions, there is nothing to set you apart from dozens of agencies that do the same. Whether a potential client chooses you or your competitor becomes a matter of chance, not of the advantages you offer.
So instead, choose a narrower field you are really good at and start building up a reputation of a high-quality specialist in this sphere. Thus, you will have a better chance of attracting the attention of a client looking for this particular type of services.
2. Use the right platform
For about a decade now, WordPress has been a de facto industry standard – unless you had a very good reason to use something else, you defaulted to WordPress. This is no longer true. There are plenty of alternatives, and some of them stand head and shoulders above WordPress, especially when it comes to agency-friendliness.
Take a look at Olive Street Design, for example – after transitioning to Duda, a platform known for its collaboration and multi-site admin features, they managed to reduce their website building time by a whopping 75 percent.
The quality of output and increased efficiency now allows them to sell 4 times as many websites. It is hard to overestimate how big a difference that kind of efficiency and quality can make, especially for a new business that is trying to gain early traction.
3. Offer unforgettable customer support
Whether a client is going to use your services again and recommend you to other people depends not just on the quality of work you provide, but on the entire experience of dealing with your agency.
Make sure the entire process of interacting with you is smooth and pleasant: meet your deadlines, answer questions quickly and politely, resolve issues without delays, probably even send a thank-you card or a little gift to commemorate the ending of a project.
All these little things add up and create an impression that will have your clients come back to you again and again.
4. Keep your lead response time short
Whatever method of lead collection you use, make sure to respond to them as quickly as possible. Agencies that collect leads only to let them sit there for a couple of days before answering leave much money on the table, because clients usually don’t contact a single agency but shop around looking for a better offer.
While you make them wait, another company is going to be quicker on the uptake and steal a client from under your nose.
5. Avoid difficult clients
There is a difference between a difficult job and a difficult client. The former is challenging but rewarding. The latter is just awful. If after the initial interaction with a new client you feel that he or she is going to be difficult to work with, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Impressions concerning the difficulty of a client are usually right on the spot, and there are people who are just not worth working with. They will waste your time and resources, cause you and your employees no end of stress and often will still be dissatisfied with the results.
6. Use case studies
Case studies detailing the success stories of the customers you’ve worked with before are among the most effective promotional materials you can publish.
You can use them in a variety of ways: post them on your website, use them in email ad campaigns, instruct your sales team to employ them as a part of a deal closing strategy and so on. Don’t forget to mention specific methods you used to achieve success for each of your customers and create a number of case studies dedicated to several different types of problems you typically have to solve.
Start scaling up
Running a digital marketing strategy is tough, but scaling it is even tougher, because you will have to deal with new and unfamiliar tasks, change your business strategies and laugh in the face of risk and hard work. We hope that the tips we’ve enumerated here will make this task a little bit easier for you and your business.