5 Strategies to Make Your Agency More Profitable & Scalable

If you work at a digital marketing agency, you’re familiar with the fast-paced work environment—your staff needs to work quickly and accurately, while managing both internal and external expectations. It’s not an easy task.

image of people working

Why is it so challenging? The answer is probably obvious. In addition to competing with other agencies for business, you’re also up against companies bringing these services in-house. With the number of rivals growing in the industry, it’s important to look at all aspects of the business to ensure success. Your clients come first, but agencies that focus on increasing profitability and scalability, beyond just providing excellent client services, are the ones that find long-term success.

It’s a tough balancing act—understanding that you want to deliver the best results to your clients, but not at the expense of it costing your agency more time than anticipated—but it’s not impossible.

Accelo recently partnered with WordStream on a new integration that aims to make scaling your agency much easier. Today, let’s take a look at some strategic ways your agency can scale and remain profitable without sacrificing a vital part of your business—fostering and maintaining strong client relationships.

1. First, don’t stop prioritizing superior client service

While project manageability is a top concern, client service should not fall off your radar. As your business scales, it’s more important than ever to focus on fostering and maintaining client relationships. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly valuable when garnering new business, so making that a top priority sets up an agency for success.

agency growth vs client relationship graphic

Part of providing great client service is ensuring that you are properly staffed and that employees are making the most of their time spent at work. It costs so much more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one, so focusing on providing an impactful and seamless experience for your clients remains a top priority.

2. Stop sweating the small stuff

Agencies run into a lot of roadblocks when focusing on scalability and profitability. Around 43% of agencies do not have time to work on administrative tasks, which leads to longer days, inaccurate information, and decreasing productivity. Employees at all levels spend time and energy running campaigns, running reports, filling out timesheets, and other tasks that could easily be automated.

pie chart

Image via HubSpot

As your business grows, it’ll be more important than ever to ensure that employees are working on meaningful tasks and delivering great work. It all leads to great retention and drives more revenue.

We understand that this is all easier said than done. Often, a system overhaul sounds like a long and tedious process on top of your day-to-day work; however, investing the time to do it now saves time, frustration, and money down the line. Having the right system in place will allow your agency to scale no matter how much you grow.

3. Build out a paid search offering

Paid search campaigns can be seen as a hit or miss. Depending on the complexity of a client’s program, it can sometimes be met with fear since estimating the time to implement the campaigns can vary. However, when executed correctly, it’s an effective marketing offering to add to your agency—plus, it can deliver immediate results.

ppc ad example from Kayak

Setting up a path for success early on helps establish processes and provide direction that’s necessary for long-term success. This starts with performing account audits on your clients. Establishing performance grades can help you understand previous campaign performance and identify areas of opportunity for your client.

Now that you have gone through and audited campaign performance, benchmarked performances, reset expectations on budget, and conveyed the value of a PPC campaign, you’re in a great place to convert revenue. There are a couple of pricing models you can set to increase your chances of success, but there has been a great success with combining two methods: charging a flat monthly recurring fee plus a percentage of ad spend which provide a certain level of certainty. If the campaign structure is set up correctly, there isn’t too much additional work going into it. And if you have the tools in place to track that work (how much time is being invested into a task and how efficiently each project is being executed), then you’re in a strong place to see a great profit.

4. Focus on increasing productivity

Another issue agencies run into is a lack of established processes, which prevents them from meeting their planned growth trajectory. There’s so much time spent on just trying to keep the lights on and not enough time is focused on the agency’s larger goals, and how they’re going to scale and increase revenue.

Part of fixing this problem is to think through your staff’s workflows. Identify where they’re spending the most time. Are there any tasks that can be redistributed or automated? Is work being repeated unnecessarily? By identifying inefficiencies early on, you can address them before they turn into bigger problems down the line. An increase in productivity means an increase in profitability. From there, you can scale once the processes are in place.

5. Find the right system to manage profitable client work

Delivering better results goes a long way for an agency’s reputation. A lot goes into creating a successful agency, and happy clients are a huge part of that. One way to increase client happiness is to invest in a system that grants you more visibility. Having the most up-to-date information for each account in real time allows you to take a more proactive approach than a reactive one.

While it may seem daunting to take the time to research, vet, and try out different agency tools with a full client workload, it ultimately saves frustration and time in the long run. You’ll no longer need to stress when a colleague goes on vacation or dig through your inbox for that email thread from two months ago or create proposals from scratch for each new prospect.

Accelo’s new software integration with WordStream Advisor for Agencies is focused specifically on cutting down time spent on account management by connecting your projects, retainers, and time tracking tools from Accelo directly to your clients’ ad management tools in WordStream. If you’re already a WordStream customer, talk with your rep about how you can make the most of these new features. Or sign up for a free trial of WordStream Advisor for Agencies to learn more.

Set your agency up for growth

Here’s a quick review of the five strategies to maximize your agency’s profitability:

  1. Keep prioritizing superior customer service
  2. Stop sweating the small stuff
  3. Build out a paid search offering
  4. Empower staff productivity
  5. Find the right system to manage profitable client work

Avoid the mistakes most agencies make by taking the time to invest back into your own company. These strategies will help you maximize profitability and scalability, which leads to long-lasting growth.

About the author

Christa Balingit is a communications specialist at Accelo, a SaaS business automation tool for SMB professional services organizations.