7 Tips for Setting Your Marketing Agency Up For Success in 2019 Katie Culp It’s a new year, ripe with possibilities for your growing marketing agency. For many, January is the time to kick off your detailed growth plan and put it into action – the plan you might have spent all of December fine-tuning. For the “winging it” types, the end of the year may mean deadlines and endless client work (i.e., business as usual). It doesn’t matter if you’re more of a year-end planner or procrastinator; here are some things we can all agree will help set your agency up for success in 2019. #1: Update your sales and marketing platform. If you don’t have a CRM or sales platform to manage leads and customers, you’ll need one in place before you can really commit to growing business. Even if you’re a boutique agency with only a handful of clients at a time, an all-in-one sales and marketing CRM will keep your industry contacts and leads organized while making it easy to provide top-notch customer service. Plus, having a complete CRM and campaign automation tool is an immense value-add in the eyes of your clients. It’s one less thing for them to manage, and your familiarity with one platform will make you that much better at drumming up killer email campaigns. #2: Organize and segment your industry contacts. If growth is on the top of your agency’s to-do list, you’ll have to organize your current contacts and establish a system for categorizing new ones. In your CRM, segment your contacts in the ways that make the most sense for your business. Use status, demographic data, your customers’ interests, or their behavior on your website to put them into meaningful groups. From there, you can hone your lead nurture campaigns to turn stale contacts into interested leads. #3: Audit your marketing channels. It’s time to get brutally honest. Which channels are working for you, and which aren’t? Is your blog bringing in new site traffic as you’d hoped, or falling flat? Are your daily Pinterest or Twitter posts resulting in more leads, or are they just another item on your to-do list? As a marketer, you know how important it is to be intentional with your inbound efforts – now, you need the objectivity to recognize what’s working, what needs improvement, and what you might be able to ditch altogether. #4: Revisit your pricing. Pricing is a tricky topic for any business, and some budding agencies avoid it altogether by creating custom plans or packages for every client. However, always doing custom work can become extremely time-consuming, and it tends to invite scope creep – which can cost you a lot in the long-run. Though it’s complicated, revisiting your pricing model annually (whether value-based, hourly, or project-based) helps ensure you’re getting the best possible profit margins as you take on new clients. It also helps ensure you’re charging enough for your services as you evolve and get better at what you do. #5: Don’t stop at employee reviews. While it’s a common practice for small and large organizations to conduct employee reviews at the end of the year, it’s wise to review your contractors, subcontractors, and vendor relationships as well. Who is helping your business run smoother, and who, if anyone, is a drain on your time and resources? Identify if there are any jobs being done that aren’t essential to the health of your business, or if there are subcontractors or employees you could hire that will relieve some of your burden. Even a very small marketing agency can benefit dramatically by grouping menial tasks and hiring them out to a virtual assistant. #6: Automate what you can. Automation isn’t just a buzzword: it’s a serious timesaver when implemented correctly. Identify any time-consuming tasks that you and your employees do manually, and investigate tools like Zapier to create workflows that will free up your team for tasks that only humans can do. #7: Celebrate what went well. Agency work can feel like a never-ending to-do list with constantly tight deadlines. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to stop and call attention to the successes of your business in previous months. Celebration serves the dual purpose of boosting morale and creating a much-needed sense of completion to your ongoing work. It’ll motivate your employees, strengthen bonds with contractors, and remind you that you’re not a hamster on a wheel – but a fantastic business that gets results for its clients.