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It’s the million-dollar question.
We all know that the digital marketing industry is a competitive one. Agencies work hard to deliver results for their clients, but if they don’t put the same amount of effort into their own marketing strategy, then who are they to preach about marketing?
As with any brand or business, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors and show your potential clients that you’re the go-to expert within your field.
To do that, you need to raise your brand awareness and make your audience associate anything that has to do with digital marketing with your agency.
I’ve put together the most important points I think are essential in answering this question. I’ve also reached out to industry pros including our in-house expert CEO Matt Roche to verify my points.
What makes you special?
If you know what you’re good at and you have a lot of experience doing it, then focus on getting that message out there when trying to market yourself.
Our CEO Matt Roche has worked in the industry for over 10 years and he points out: “As an international specialist, ICS-digital have focused heavily on creating a website, presence and image of language diversity and skill. We always wanted to rank highly for international-related enquiries, and by building the website in a way where it provides useful information internally as a portal or hub, we’ve managed to achieve those rankings almost incidentally.”
Henry McIntosh, founder of Twenty One Twelve Marketing couldn’t agree more and highlights that agencies need to find their niche when marketing themselves. His agency specialises in luxury brands and many of his clients remain reliant on traditional marketing methods so they won’t always find their key demographic in the online setting. They employ traditional strategies such as attending plenty of luxury networking events and partnering up with key companies to reach potential clients.
Establish authority and credibility
If you regularly post relevant articles on authoritative websites or on your own company website and readers appreciates what you write, then you’ve earned a place in their minds.
Bethany Griffiths from Bowler Hat agrees that content marketing is essential in marketing your agency. She adds: “Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing quality, valuable and relevant content to attract new clients, raise brand awareness and inspire action.”
Alexander Grosu, a digital marketer from inSegment in Boston, acknowledges that while there is no “secret recipe” to marketing a digital agency, he likes to focus on the quality of content shared online: “The wiser and more knowledgeable you are about the content you share, the more likely people are to trust you and your ability to handle their own marketing efforts.”
Have a social media presence
For some businesses, social media might just be an add-on to their current marketing strategy or might not be prioritised at all.
We’ve all heard: “Yes, we’re on Facebook and Twitter, but we’re not sure what to do with it.” This should not be the case in 2016! Why? Well, according to Statista’s Global Social Media Rankings 2016, there are 1.71 billion monthly Facebook users, 500 billion monthly active Instagram users and 313 million monthly active Twitter users. That’s why!
But being present on social media is not enough anymore. You need to engage and captivate your followers and to do that you need to make sure your core message is aligned and integrated across all your social media channels.
Daniel Plotzker from Herald Strategies also stresses the importance of social media when marketing your digital agency. He mentions that through the use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can showcase the most attractive aspects of your business. “Keywords that exemplify strengths and that are easily found within social media can captivate the attention of potential customers.”
People buy people
Put yourself in a business decision maker’s shoes and imagine the following: you need assistance with your marketing strategy and implementation and you’re on the lookout for an agency that can do this for you. Do you go for the agency that has been cold calling and emailing all week or do you ring up the Head of Digital person you met at a business conference last week? You probably only spoke briefly, but the agency name stuck with you. Who will you ring? Probably the latter.
Henry at Twenty One Twelve finds himself attending a lot of networking events and he agrees that people buy people. He highlights that it’s important to get face to face with key stakeholders rather than spending all your time doing cold calls and emails. He adds: “If you can back up your real life charisma with an exceptional digital portfolio, people will take note!”
B2B decision makers are much more experienced these days when sourcing the best agency to do their marketing. They want to drill down into specifics of how an agency does what it does.
The dynamic nature of digital marketing industry means a continuous set of problem/solution exercises are required. Case studies present a picture of a company’s breadth and depth of ability to solve a range of issues.
Our CEO Matt recognises the importance of this and highlights that the strongest form of marketing is always going to be being able to prove what you say you can do for clients: “Where feasible, ICS-digital show prospective clients what we’ve achieved in the past and how much that ROI has exceeded the original spend. That’s where the simple mechanics of business become your most powerful marketing tool.”
Practice what you preach
If you market yourself as a social media specialist, is your social media footprint impressive? If you say you’re an SEO specialist, is your own company’s website ranking well on relevant search terms? If you claim that you’re a creative content expert, is the content on your company’s website any good?
You might promise the world in your marketing pitches, but the best way of showing that you not only can talk the talk, but can actually walk the walk is by demonstrating it through your own marketing efforts.
I spoke to Jordan Brannon, who heads the Digital Strategy team at Coalition Technologies and he thinks that every digital marketing agency should be able to competitively market themselves through the same services they’re offering to clients. He said: “Being able to demonstrate a successful marketing strategy of your own company goes a long way towards earning the trust of potential clients.”
So, how best to market a digital marketing agency?
There is no one right answer to this question. As you’ve read, there are many ways of marketing your digital marketing agency and I would say all of the above points are essential for adopting a well-versed strategy.