marketing agency strategy

Must-have Digital Tools for Your Marketing Agency Strategy

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Developing your marketing agency strategy is essential to the growth of your firm. As such, you’ll want to create and initiate your growth strategy at the launch of your agency, then revise it on an annual basis.

digital marketing agency

  • Learn how to create your ideal marketing persona and who you should (and shouldn’t) work with
  • Grab the must-have tools to invoice, present to, and collaborate with clients while staying on-task and under budget
  • Learn the in-house lead management tools you need to run your agency’s marketing like a client campaign

According to IBISWorld, there were 87,712 advertising agencies in the U.S. in 2022, nearly a 5% increase from 2021. Creating a strategic plan allows your agency to thrive and stand out against the competition. Gain insights into the tools, platforms, and marketing strategies to hit your year-end goals.

1. Approach your strategy just as you would for a client

Treat your own digital strategy just as you would on behalf of a potential client. To improve your chances of gaining new business, set aside time to determine the following.

  • Your target audience: Create a marketing persona for your ideal client. What is their annual revenue, size of the organization, specific goals, respective goals, and rough budget?
  • Your specific service offering: Offering too many marketing services can drain internal resources and confuse new clients. Create a list of specific services you wish to offer, whether it be for influencer marketing, PR, digital advertising, web development, or search engine optimization (SEO) content.
  • Your pricing structure: Whether you’re a one-person graphic design firm or a startup ad agency, you need to determine your pricing structure. Will you set up new customer relationships based on work by the hour, by the project, by the deliverable, or by a monthly retainer?
  • Your competitive edge: Explain what you offer that no one else can and why clients prefer to work with you. Conduct an in-depth competitive analysis and write a list of differentiators that help you stand out.
  • Your annual business goals: Map out the next 12 months for your agency. Write the amount of revenue that you want to hit by year-end, then work backward. Based on your goal number, determine how many new projects you need to land per month at what average price.
  • Your “no” list: Knowing who you won’t work with and which projects you don’t want to take on can help prevent burnout, preserve company resources, and reinforce your niche. Create a “no” list to build firm boundaries about potential client work.

2. Harness digital tools to create a smooth client experience

creating content

Creating a polished client experience goes beyond producing innovative, on-brand deliverables. Providing superior client service includes on-time delivery, collaborative project management, and flawless campaign presentation. To achieve this, consider subscribing to the following tools.

  • Adobe: As an advertising agency, your creative team would benefit from the entire Adobe suite, which offers a Creative Cloud All Apps plan for creative teams.
  • Adobe Stock: It’s unrealistic to expect every client to have their own image library. To prevent running into compliance issues (or passing that risk to your clients), your best bet is to subscribe to Adobe Stock versus a “free” stock imagery website.
  • Figma: Whether you’re launching a website redesign project or creating posts for a client’s social media calendar, Figma can increase team collaboration and shorten project deadlines. Figma allows multiple team members to collaborate on a single deliverable simultaneously, show clients potential edits in real time, and ease the hassle of sharing creative assets.
  • Project management software: To prevent deadlines from being derailed, you should have a project management system that allows you to set deadlines, assign subtasks, and collect client feedback. Asana, Trello, Monday, and ClickUp are all viable options for agencies and offer free plans to get started.
  • Video software: Video software helps streamline revisions. Use Loom videos when sending initial deliverables to explain the vision behind the campaign, and review with the client over Zoom so you can screen share.
  • Zapier: Running a digital marketing agency can be a high-stress, high-stakes environment. Using tools in silos is one of the easiest ways that deliverables fall through the cracks. Zapier allows you to sync thousands of different apps without a line of code, thereby ramping up client delivery—for example, you can automatically send an email to your creative team when the client checks off edits in your project management software, like Asana or Jira.
  • Invoicing: You need a simple, hassle-free way to invoice clients that allows them to pay on their terms. Consider accounting software like Quickbooks or Freshbooks to stay on top of bookkeeping.

3. Activate multiple promotional channels for your agency

Running a marketing agency isn’t just about launching creative campaigns for clients. To build a sustainable business, you need to market your own business—not just those of your clients.

Fortunately, self-promotion poses a win-win scenario for your agency and your clients. You can test-run several tactics in-house before launching strategies with your client list. With that in mind, these platforms are well worth the investment (and many offer free pricing options).

  • CRM: It’s difficult to have a solid sales strategy without a CRM platform. Using CRM (customer relationship management) software like Salesforce, Insightly, or Zoho can help you track leads, set reminders to follow up with prospects, and even send proposals to clients for approval.
  • Email marketing automation: Email automation is one of the most lucrative channels at your disposal, earning $45 for every $1 spent. There are plenty of affordable, intuitive platforms that offer drag-and-drop builders, templates, and automated workflows, like Drip, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp.
  • Social media management: Social media marketing requires continual and consistent posting. Planners like Planoly, Hootsuite, and Buffer can help you plan your social calendar in advance so you never forget to post.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: Transform happy, loyal customers into brand advocates for your agency through word-of-mouth marketing. Claim or add your Yelp Business Page to help build brand awareness and manage your online reputation.
  • Referral campaigns: If you launched your agency recently, you’d need to build up your portfolio. Consider offering a discounted rate to happy clients if they refer your services to another business.
  • Web design: As a creative agency, the quality of your in-house design signifies the quality you’ll bring to client projects. Launch on Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, or Webflow to build a functional and pleasing site without using a line of code.
  • Public relations: As a business owner, you need to be your own biggest champion. Consider joining email lists like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or Qwoted to be considered as a subject matter expert in mainstream media. Or consider subscribing to Pitch Slapped, a bi-weekly Substack newsletter that helps you find relevant podcasts to pitch.

Launch a marketing agency strategy that keeps clients coming back

marketing agency strategy

Strategic planning sets business objectives, determine your target market, and sets you apart from the competition. At launch and every year thereafter, set aside time to determine the personnel, programs, and resources you need to hit your objectives. Many of the tactics and corresponding tools needed to launch your own marketing efforts will also aid in client campaigns. Exceptional client service leads to repeat business for your agency.

Learn more tactics for growing your digital marketing agency with these seven steps.

Drew Canniff is VP of partner, brand, and agency sales at Yelp.

Drew Canniff is Vice President of Agency & Partner Sales at Yelp. Read more about the Yelp Advertising Partner Program.