Tips for Growing Your Agency or Freelance Business in 2021

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped entire industries. As businesses look to streamline costs while remaining competitive, it is likely they will look to outsource marketing – especially technical aspects of marketing such as website development, SEO, PPC advertising, and public relations – to agencies and freelancers.

Whether own an agency or you’re an independent marketing contractor, growth is something that you’ll need to prioritize in 2021. Not quite sure how to begin? Let’s explore everything you should keep in mind when it comes to growing your marketing business.

Automate Everything You Can

In order to grow your business as fast as possible, you’ll need to ramp up your productivity as time goes on. Unfortunately, attempting to handle all of your business obligations manually will become difficult or even impossible as your company scales.

Depending on the current size of your business, foregoing automation may not even be a viable option now. So, you’ll need to step back and take a look at the processes that you can automate.

For example, many components of your digital marketing strategy can be handled by automation software. This is particularly true for email marketing, which you can enhance by using automated triggers to send customers emails at specific times.

In order to get the most out of this process, though, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of your audience so that you can accurately predict their behavior. This means that you will need to thoroughly research as much as you can about your target demographic before you can get the utility you need out of using automation.

Cultivate Your Online Presence

There’s an old saying: “Physician, heal thyself.”

Establishing a strong online presence is one of the most important endeavors that you should pursue. It’s what most agencies and freelancers tell their clients; but at the end of the day, it’s often something they overlook themselves.

To start, it’s highly recommended to make your website on your managed WordPress hosting platform as informative and intuitive as possible. Your audience should be able to easily find anything that they’re looking for, including your contact info, examples of your past projects, etc.

In terms of user experience, it’s essential to keep in mind that things like formatting and page load speed play a large role. Of course, your freelance business also needs to heavily prioritize search engine optimization to maximize the amount of engagement that you receive online.

Additionally, don’t overlook the importance of blogging and keeping your social media pages up to date. Blogging displays thought leadership and showcases company culture – two things people look for when deciding whether or not to invest in having you handle something as important as marketing for their business. Similarly, your social media presence gives potential clients a good idea of exactly who they will be working with. This is especially true if you have case studies and great testimonials that highlight your strengths and successes.

Double Down on Your Niche

A common mistake that freelancers and agencies alike fall victim to is attempting to spread themselves too thin when it comes to their niche. For instance, it’s not practical for a small freelance business to offer full-service advertising circumstances.

The amount of work that goes into an advertising campaign, such as copywriting, graphic design, account management, etc. is most efficiently handled when they’re all sourced to different parties. So, if your freelance business excels at graphic design in this scenario, it would make more sense to focus on this niche entirely.

Otherwise, it’s highly likely that you will struggle to meet deadlines or adhere to the standards that your clients expect.

Considering your most prominent areas of expertise and coming up with ways that you can capitalize on them will serve to help you stand out from your competition. Put simply, the more services that you can offer your clients without straining your company’s team or infrastructure, the more likely you’ll reach the level of success that you desire.

Offer Additional Services as You Grow

Although it’s not recommended to focus on a handful of niches, you should consider expanding the number of services that you offer as your freelance business grows.

Using the aforementioned graphic design example, your business could offer filming, photography, and video editing services when it becomes practical to do so. This will create far more ‘depth’ for your business in your field and allow you to tap into a far larger overall audience.

For instance, you can easily exponentially grow your overall revenue if you focus on three additional demographics (filming, photography, editing) as opposed to only one (graphic design).

Of course, the services that you provide should be complementary in the sense that they can be fulfilled with existing equipment or skill sets. Otherwise, you run the risk of investing a large amount of time, effort, capital into your company only to get it an insufficient return.

Prioritize Customer Satisfaction

Think about the last time you made a purchase online— there’s a strong chance that you browsed through online reviews before you made your decision. No matter how you look at it, your audience is going to want to affirm that it is worth it for them to hire your freelance business.

This means that they will be looking for a large handful of positive customer reviews to help them make up their mind. Unfortunately, this can lead to smaller businesses having a difficult time securing new clients.

Regardless of the size of your business, however, it’s imperative that you prioritize customer satisfaction in general. Not only will this lead to a higher number of positive views, but it also facilitates your company’s ability to acquire additional work in the future.

For instance, it’s not uncommon at all for a client who has a great experience with your grant to tell others about it. In some scenarios, this could result in a vast amount of exposure, such as if they have a large number of followers on social media.

Prioritize Proper Branding

You won’t be able to properly resonate with your audience if you don’t brand your company appropriately. Additionally, you’ll have a much harder time standing out from your competitors in your industry.

For example, consider the first brand that comes to mind when you think of sports apparel— chances are that it’s Nike. If not, it’s likely one of the other ‘heavy hitters’ of the industry, such as Adidas, Puma, or Under Armour.

Although there are hundreds of companies that can offer the same level of quality to their audience, strong branding is what helps a select few separate themselves from the rest. Unless you already have a comprehensive branding strategy that has been proven to be successful for your company, there are likely areas in which you can improve.

One of the most straightforward is how your brand communicates with its audience. To elaborate, if you brand your business as a company that is unique and whimsical, using humor and having a casual demeanor is most likely appropriate when you interact with your target audience.

For other brands, a more serious tone might be more effective. This should also be consistent through any form of communication you have with your audience, ranging from social media to your marketing efforts.

Constantly Search for New Clients

Part of working as a freelancer is acquiring new clients in order to maintain a steady level of work. Even after you acquire a sufficient number of clients, however, you should still seek to acquire more.

This is due to the fact that many businesses and individuals that you work with will have undulating needs. Some clients may return to you multiple times throughout the year to enlist your services, while others may hire you only once.

Your aim should be to ensure that the low periods your company experiences are still sufficient enough for you to grow your business. During times of particular high volume, you could outsource to other parties to help you with your project completion, expand your team, etc.

Having a large number of clients will also drastically increase the number of positive reviews that your brand receives, which can help secure a new business in the future. Although not applicable to every industry, it’s worth noting that establishing a referral program is a great way to increase your total number of clients.

In general, this typically allows first-time clients to receive a discount on services if they are referred by a previous client. Or, the previous client may receive some sort of benefit due to referring another party to your agency.

Take Your IT Infrastructure Seriously

We previously went over the importance of having a strong online presence. But, it’s also imperative that you have a strong IT infrastructure along with it. For example, working with a managed service provider comes with a large amount of utility that you won’t be able to find on your own.

This includes access to 24/7support, premier software that can drastically increase how efficiently you engage with your customers, etc.

Pressable offers a managed WordPress hosting platform that allows users to easily migrate all of their website data and content from the previous platform. We also offer our clients unrivaled security, access to an industry-leading content delivery network, and a team of support experts who are ready to tackle any issue that arises.

While it’s possible to succeed without investing in your company’s IT, you’ll be at a strong disadvantage compared to your competitors who choose to do so. Additionally, you run the risk of countering crippling issues like prolonged downtime that could adversely affect how well your company performs.

If a scenario like this occurs during a period of high volume work, you can find yourself with a large amount of negative feedback from your clients.

Consider Hiring a Consultant

In some cases, you won’t be able to hit the numbers that you desire you want to no matter what you do. While this is occasionally due to factors outside of your control, they are often areas that you could focus on to increase your performance.

But, not every entrepreneur knows how to recognize their shortcomings. So, it’s often worth considering hiring a consultant to help you grow your company.

This type of professional has extensive experience in working with businesses similar to yours, so they’ve likely helped other entrepreneurs overcome the same issues that you are currently experiencing. In fact, it’s not uncommon for their professional advice to resolve seemingly large problems relatively quickly.

When looking for a consultant to work with, you should consider their level of experience, how often you’re able to communicate with them, and whether or not they’ve worked with a business like it was before.

To elaborate on this last part, it wouldn’t make sense to hire a consultant who typically works with large companies that have access to a significant amount of capital ff your freelance agency only has a few employees. When utilized correctly, a consultant could be one of the most profitable investments that your company makes.

Growing Your Freelance Business Can Seem Complicated

But the above information will make the process far smoother. From here, you’ll be able to take your freelance business to new heights and his metrics that you never thought were possible this coming year.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.

Amanda Tsourakis

Amanda serves as the Head of Sales and Enablement for Pressable. She's worked in the tech space for well over a decade and has spent the majority of that time building/training/leading teams. She loves travel and adventure and when she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, lounging pool/beach-side, playing tennis, working out, and meeting people/making friends all along the way!

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