What should agency owners prioritize? Want to know where you should focus to grow your business this year?

Every agency owners have different priorities but those who are successful tend to focus on the same thing — those that contribute to their growth and success. Here are the 9 top priorities for every successful agency owners.

1. Specialization

It’s tempting to offer everything that your potential clients need, however, it’s more helpful to them, as well as to you, if you specialize.

“Our natural urge for specialization is also one of the main reasons why professional services exist. Society and businesses cannot know everything and therefore need specialists with practical experience to help and guide us,” says Rufus Franck, founder of Consultants 500.

Specialization increases competition and rapid evolution. It also offers a number of benefits including better value proposition, smaller learning curve, higher perception authority, higher conversions and better networking.

“By specializing, you become an expert in a specific field,” digital strategist Paul Boag says. “Ths narrows down how many other companies can compete with you for that specialist work. Furthermore, you are able to offer services that are not replicated by automated tools or that justify being a permanent part of an in-house team.”

Successful agencies almost always focused on a particular field. Check these examples:

  • KlientBoost focuses on PPC
  • Web Profits focuses on content marketing
  • MidadMedia focuses on PPC
  • Blue Stout Media focuses on eCommerce clients

Tip: Consider the thing that you regularly do and you are good at as something that can be your specialization.

2. Brand

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room,” says Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com.

Focus on building a brand because this increases awareness. Businesses that are well-branded usually stand out and customers tend to remember them easily.

In addition, branding gives you the opportunity to show how professional you are through your content and how accessible you are through your marketing which generates trust.

Branding is also a good way to communicate your values and build an emotional connection with your target market. Consumers are attracted to brands that share their beliefs, so this will help you gain loyal customers.

The good thing with branding is that, if you do this good, people will start to notice you and opportunities will start coming.

Tip: Create a brand logo and tagline that is easy to remember and establish a brand mission statement. Curate your marketing contents and be consistent with your brand message.

3. Innovation

“Innovation is a differentiator,” Gordon Tredgold, Founder and CEO of Leadership Principles writes.

Innovation is very important for growth. In fact, businesses that innovate scale up and add more employees. This is necessary because the customers’ needs are constantly changing. You can’t meet their demands unless you innovate.

Eighty four percent of customers say that it’s very important for a company that they buy to be innovative, so you should keep this in your priority list.

Tip: You can innovate new ideas by asking your customers’ feedback, observing their behavior and by using their complaints in giving a better product or service.

4. Find strategic partners

The marketing world is not easy that’s why a number focuses on finding strategic partners to help them with the journey and you can do the same. When you have a partner, you share opportunities and responsibilities.

Finding a partner can also help you progress with your business immediately and not start from scratch. Sujan Patel used this approach for his business.

Web Profits was already an established agency in Australia but had no established presence in the U.S. Instead of starting from scratch, Sujan Patel, decided to partner with Web Profits to bring them to the U.S.

“So instead of starting a business from scratch, and building – hiring a team…I partnered with Web Profits to form a US entity, where we take their name, and we use existing staff to grow,” Sujan said.

A strategic partnership doesn’t need to involve established businesses or coming into new territory, you can start by becoming a Google Partner  like what KlientBoost did.

Tip: Look for a partner with larger or similar-sized players related to your niche. When collaborating make sure that it benefits you and your partner.

5. Hiring the right people

Hiring the wrong people can cost you big. Eighty percent of employee turnover is due to bad hires and its average cost is 2-3 times the person’s salary.

Hiring is expensive because it includes recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, training and more. If you hire the wrong one, the process can be time-consuming, stressful and costly, so make sure that you hire the right person.

Determine what you should look for in all of your applicants. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, knew what they wanted.

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality,” Branson said.

Tip: Exercise diligence by doing a background check and verifying references. In addition, create a detailed job description, prepare a well-structured interview and test the applicant.

6. Selective Clients

While it’s tempting to say “yes” to any potential client or opportunities, it’s wiser if you only select and work with the right ones. Yes, you’ve got to select your clients, too!

Eleven percent of clients fired their agencies because they are not happy with its strategy, 8% are not satisfied with project management and another 6.5 percent are not happy with creative.

If you feel that the project is beyond your scope or something that you an’t deliver don’t be afraid to say “no” because your reputation will be at stake.

“If I have to pick one thing, it is our candid no bullshit approach taken with each project. We aren’t afraid to pass up money if the idea isn’t a good one or able to prove to be a positive result for the client,” Martin Sawinski said about the success of 3Five.

Ed Leake of Midas Media is also selective when it comes to the clients they work with.

“We’re very selective about who we work with. We’re a PPC specialist because that’s what we really, really deliver,” Leake said.

Tip: When selecting the right client consider professional risks, financial suitability, strategic alignment with your firm’s long-term market strategy and expertise

7. Profitability and Sales

Most, if not all, start a business for profit. Profit is the corporation’s only capital for those who do not have investors or financing. It is important that you don’t lose sight of your business’ profitability because a company without enough profit cannot survive for a significant amount of time.

This is also the reasons why you have to keep track of your sales. Your profit is the amount of money left after deducting your expenses from your sales. If you keep your expenses to a minimum and you grow your sales, your profit will also increase.

You should include sales management meetings in your weekly appointments. You do not need to do sales daily, but make sure that you give this regular attention.

To keep your sales and profit high, focus on the quality of your product and service. Make sure that you are delivering what your clients exactly need because sales are not just about selling it is also about building a relationship. When you make your client happy, they will come back to you and might refer you to others.

Tip: Aim to always deliver a quality product or service. Use CRM to track your profits and sales.

8. Marketing Strategy

“Marketing is enthusiasm transferred to the customer,” Gregory Cioth says.

Marketing is actively promoting your product and services which is a push tactic. The good thing with marketing is that when you are good with this, selling becomes easy. You don’t need to persuade your customers to purchase your product or service, it will be easy for them to say “yes.”

There are a number of ways to market your agency. You can use the internet, social media, paid advertising or word of mouth. Seventy-four of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, 92% of consumers confessed that they believe the suggestions from their friends and family compared to advertising.

Agency owners especially those who do marketing have to focus on this because according to Jonathan Dane, marketing agencies are not good in marketing themselves.

“The truth is, most marketing agencies suck at marketing themselves. It’s easy to improve performance for clients when things are already set up, but if the UX and branding are crap on where you hope to convert visitors, you’ll have a hard time,” Dane said.

Tip: Before plotting your marketing strategy you have to define your target population and determine the demographics, as well as the target customers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.

9. Build a relationship with your customers

Being in business is more than just selling and earning, it’s actually about building relationships that last. When you have a good connection with your partners or clients, your business is likely to prosper. This also helps you expand your business circle because happy customers can result in referrals which can help with your sales big time.

Referred customers can bring you a 25% higher profit margin. Customer acquisitions through referrals spend 200% more than the average customer.

In addition, referred customers are also four times more likely to refer more customers to your brand. They are also 18% more loyal than a customer acquired by other means.

These two things should be enough to aim for a goodrelationship with your customers:

  1. Maintaining your current customers
  2. Referrals.

Tip: Focus on the quality of your service and product because this is what makes your customers keep on coming back to you.

That’s it! These are the priorities of every agency owner that help them grow their business. Always remember to build your brand, market your business and build your relationship with your customers. Also, specialize and choose the people you will work with carefully.