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- Maintaining Client-Agency Relationships When You're Over-Bandwidth
Many agencies frequently encounter scenarios where the demand from clients exceeds their available resources. Being over-bandwidth presents a significant challenge: ensuring client satisfaction without stretching the team too thin. Identifying signs of resource strain early is critical. Symptoms like missing deadlines, communication gaps, and a decrease in team morale are clear indicators. Addressing these issues promptly is essential to prevent any negative impact on service quality and client relationships. Achieving scalability at your agency is a two-sided coin. On one side, developing new business consistently contributes to your growth and profitability. At the same time, this cannot be done sustainably unless you’re able to successfully retain the clients you already have. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re adding more clients at the expense of serving your current clients, this is where client retention is threatened. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the impact on your current clients while you’re landing new ones. Are you struggling with maintaining a healthy client-agency relationship when you’re over bandwidth? If so, this guide is for you. Today, we’re going to talk about just that. First, let’s start with something you can immediately control - prioritization and delegation of tasks. Effective Prioritization and Delegation The cornerstone of managing an over-bandwidth situation is prioritization. It’s vital to assess the urgency and importance of tasks and distribute them accordingly. This prioritization ensures that the most critical tasks are addressed first, safeguarding client satisfaction and project timelines. Equally important is delegation. Utilizing the strengths of each team member optimizes efficiency. It’s not just about completing tasks, but also about ensuring they are handled by the most capable hands. This not only maximizes productivity but also prevents team burnout by evenly distributing the workload. To effectively prioritize tasks, agency leaders should implement a system that categorizes tasks based on urgency and impact. One method is the Eisenhower Matrix, which divides tasks into four quadrants. This system helps in quickly identifying which tasks require immediate attention and which can be scheduled for later. The quadrants include: Urgent and important: These tasks are vital to your agency. If ignored, they could result in negative consequences that are immediately felt. Important but not urgent: These are tasks that can perhaps be postponed by a week or two, but eventually, they may become more urgent if left until the last minute. Urgent but not important Neither urgent nor important In terms of delegation, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of each team member’s skills and strengths. Regular skill assessments and open communication about team members’ interests and career goals can provide insight into who is best suited for various tasks. Additionally, implementing a project management tool can aid in visually assigning and tracking tasks, ensuring that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and deadlines. For effective delegation, leaders should also provide the necessary resources and support for team members to complete their tasks. This includes clear instructions, access to required tools, and an open-door policy for any questions or concerns. Regular check-ins can help track progress and provide support wherever it’s needed. Enhancing Efficiency through Technology Technology can be a powerful ally in managing workloads. Automation tools and project management software streamline tasks, reducing manual effort and freeing up time for high-priority work. These tools also enhance accuracy and consistency in deliverables, a key factor in maintaining client trust and satisfaction. However, when tasks are left in the hands of automation software and artificial intelligence models, having quality assurance process in place is critical. Quality can vary, and if you are in a cycle of cutting and pasting this work into client deliverables without checks and balances, this could potentially leave your agency open to client dissatisfaction. Learn More: How to Integrate AI Marketing Tools Into Agency Services Transparent and Consistent Communication Open communication channels with clients are vital. Setting realistic expectations is a must, as is keeping clients regularly updated on project progress. Regular client interactions, even for small updates, assure clients of your agency’s commitment to their project. This proactive communication approach can preempt concerns and build a stronger client-agency relationship. Strategic Collaboration with External Partners As your bandwidth increases, you may decide that you need to expand your in-house team through new hires. Depending on the geographic area and the talent pool of your local market, finding the right candidate may seem near-impossible. That, or you may find that having to recruit and train someone from the ground-up will take too much time and bandwidth in and of itself. In these situations, a solution beyond your agency’s walls might be the answer. Sometimes, the optimal solution to bandwidth constraints is external collaboration. Forming partnerships with partners like white label digital agencies can bring in additional expertise and resources without you having to furnish additional overhead. This strategy allows agencies to handle complex projects without diluting the quality of their services. Selecting the right partners is crucial. They should share your agency's commitment to quality and seamless integration into existing workflows. This synergy ensures consistency in client servicing and maintains the standard of output. Building a Scalable Team Building a team that can adapt to varying workloads is essential for long-term sustainability. This involves not just hiring additional staff or forming external partnerships but also developing the skills and versatility of existing team members. Training and professional development are key to creating a team that can handle a diverse range of client needs. Scalability also means being selective about client projects. Assessing a project’s fit with the agency’s capabilities and bandwidth is as important as its revenue potential. This strategic client selection prevents overextension and ensures a focus on quality service. Get a Handle on Bandwidth with a White Label Agency Partnership Managing client satisfaction when over-bandwidth is a complex challenge that requires a balanced approach. The ability to adapt and maintain high standards of client service, even under strain, is what sets a successful agency apart. Remember, it's about finding the right balance between accepting new opportunities and delivering exceptional service to existing clients. If you are ready to get a handle on your agency’s bandwidth, achieve profitable scalability, and accomplish this without sacrificing the quality your clients expect, let’s talk. At Conduit Digital, we outfit your agency with 18 different channels, all expertly managed in the U.S., with one single point of contact. To learn more, schedule a quick call with us today.
- 7 Reasons Most Digital Agencies Lose a Client After the First Year
...and what to do about it! The first year of any agency-client relationship is pivotal. During this period, digital agencies must prove their value and solidify trust. However, a significant number of agencies fail to maintain their client roster after the first year. Recognizing why this happens and how to prevent it is crucial for agency owners committed to long-term scalability and profitable business development. Today, we’re going to cover some of the most common reasons that agencies can lose clients after the first year of the account relationship. Let’s start with one that we see all too often: misaligned expectations. 1: Misaligned Expectations Misaligned expectations can sour relationships quickly. Agencies sometimes overpromise to secure a contract, leading to client disappointment when reality doesn't match the hype. Other times, agencies may not communicate clearly, leaving clients confused about what they’re actually getting. To prevent unclear expectations from causing friction, begin every new account relationship with a comprehensive discussion about goals, metrics, and timelines. Ensure you're not just on the same page but in the same line of the same paragraph. Agencies should also consider conducting monthly reviews with clients to align on progress and adjust expectations as needed. Regularly checking in keeps both parties in lockstep on the client’s business goals and creates opportunities to expand accounts or pivot strategically whenever necessary. 2: Lack of Proven Results At the end of the day, clients are after one thing: results. They are investing in your agency, and they want to see the returns. When an agency cannot show a positive impact within the first year, clients may walk away. Often, the issue isn’t a lack of results but a lack of demonstrated and communicated results. This can also tie back into misaligned expectations. For example, an SEO campaign could take months to start showing measurable results, while Google Search campaigns are intended to drive them instantly. The solution: Implement a thorough reporting system that translates data into the language of value. Instead of overwhelming clients with metrics, focus on the key performance indicators that resonate with their objectives. If proving ROI is a challenge, consider refining your measurement tools or strategies to better capture the value being delivered. If you are working with an external partner, such as a white label agency, be sure to also vet their reporting processes. If they do not have any reporting process, you may want to start also searching for a new partner. For any external reporting, be sure to check for clear, transparent, and insightful information that you can use to empower your discussions with your clients. You should not be left in the dark, but instead given the resources to be the authority that your client relies on you to be. 3: Inadequate Communication When clients feel out of the loop or sense that their agency isn’t responsive, frustration builds. Inadequate communication can give the impression of indifference, making clients feel as though their business doesn’t matter. Agencies should establish a clear communication plan that includes regular updates and check-ins. This doesn't necessarily mean daily calls or emails but finding a rhythm that keeps clients informed and engaged without overwhelming them. This should also trickle down to any partners that you also have served your client’s campaigns alongside your team. Be sure they have a reasonable turnaround time for messages and calls so that you can give your clients an expected response time for their questions, comments, or concerns about their marketing campaigns. 4: Lack of Quality Control In the pursuit of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, agencies often use multiple individual vendors, leverage artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, or offshoring work. While these practices can be beneficial, they also introduce risks concerning quality control. When deliverables aren't consistently vetted, clients may receive work that doesn't meet their standards, leading to a rapid erosion of confidence.Oftentimes, this can be chalked up to: Not proofreading or vetting a vendor’s work before it goes to a client (cutting and pasting) Over-relying on AI without any human checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy, originality, and overall quality Offshoring work to large, low-cost providers that do not treat your client’s marketing operations with the same care and consideration that you do. It’s essential to establish rigorous quality control processes for any external deliverables to ensure that every piece of work, irrespective of its origin, meets a high standard. Regular audits of work done by AI marketing tools, vendors, and offshore partners are essential. To avoid some of these common issues with outside providers, consider collaborating with a white label agency that maintains a reputation for high-quality deliverables to manage overflow work and maintain standards. Ask them about their own quality assurance processes to see if they give you the necessary confidence to rely on them to work for your client, both independently and in collaboration with your in-house team. 5: Limited Scope of Services Digital marketing is an expansive field, and clients' needs are diverse and evolving. When an agency's offerings are too narrow, they risk losing clients to full-service competitors that can provide a more comprehensive suite of services. To put it simply, the scope of marketing is vast, and only having a piece of the pie can put you at a competitive disadvantage against an agency with a full digital bakery at its disposal. Agencies should evaluate their service offerings regularly and consider strategic expansion to meet market demands. Collaborating with a white label agency partner can be a smart way to extend your services without overextending your resources. This can allow you to offer new services under your brand, satisfying your clients' needs and keeping the business in-house. 6: The Client Was Too Big Landing a white whale-sized client can seem like a big win for any agency, but if your infrastructure isn't prepared to handle their volume or complexity, it can backfire. Pursuing these types of clients without the capability to deliver on their expectations can damage your agency’s reputation and lead to a loss of trust. Before pursuing or agreeing to work with a large client, assess your agency’s capacity and have a concrete plan for scaling operations quickly and efficiently. If necessary, establish a partnership with a white label agency that can help shoulder the load, providing the additional resources and expertise needed to satisfy a major client's demands without compromising quality. 7: Overlooking the Personal Touch Clients often choose agencies for their personalized service. When agencies grow and start to standardize their processes, this personalized approach can get lost. Even as your agency scales, strive to maintain a level of personalization in your interactions. Get to know your clients’ businesses intimately, and let that knowledge inform your strategies and communication. Get the Client Retention Support Your Agency Needs The first year with a client is both an opportunity and a test. Agencies must consistently demonstrate their value through clear communication, robust results, responsive customer service, and personalized attention. By actively managing client expectations and being willing to adapt, agencies can avoid the common pitfalls that lead to client turnover. Building a solid foundation in the first year can set the stage for a lasting and fruitful relationship. If you are looking to boost your agency’s client retention efforts, consider partnering with a white label agency like our team at Conduit Digital. We proudly serve established agencies in North America as an elite ad operations partner - providing 18 expert-managed channels that are fully U.S.-based along with the communication and reporting infrastructure to support even the most complex campaigns. It’s time to upgrade the way you deliver for your clients rather than just outsourcing. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about an agency partnership.
- Is Your White Label Provider Right for Your Agency?
Many agencies turn to white label providers to expand their service offerings, streamline operations, and foster growth without the immediate need for in-house expertise. A white label digital marketing partner works behind the scenes, providing services that agencies can then offer under their brand. While this collaboration can be the spark needed to ignite scalability, it's vital to ensure that your white label provider aligns with your agency's goals, quality standards, and ethos. However, not all white label partnerships are created equal. Sometimes, despite best intentions, an agency might find that their chosen white label provider isn't quite the right fit. Recognizing the signs early can help agencies recalibrate and find a partner that truly complements their operations. In this guide, we will explore the key signs that might indicate your white label digital marketing partner may not be the ideal match for your agency. Signs Your White Label Provider Isn’t the Right Fit 1: You’re Unhappy with Their Performance Your satisfaction with the performance of a white label provider is a direct reflection of their ability to meet the agreed-upon standards and deliverables. If you find that the quality of work is inconsistent or they often miss deadlines, it's a clear indication that they may not be the right fit for your agency. A reliable provider should consistently deliver high-quality work on time and meet the expectations set at the outset of the partnership. If it feels like they are trying to coast by just checking boxes on a to-do list, you could be making a wise decision by pivoting and seeking another solution. 2: There’s a Lack of Communication Communication is the foundation of any successful partnership. If your white label provider is hard to reach, doesn't respond in a timely manner, or often leaves you without updates about the progress of projects, it may be time to reassess the relationship. Regular and open communication is essential to ensure that both parties are aligned, that projects are on track, and that any potential issues are addressed promptly. When you’re evaluating their communication practices, ask yourself these questions: Am I always the one initiating conversations, or are they proactive? Do I always know who I can reach at the agency, or does it seem to be a revolving door of contacts? Does it take a long time to respond to my emails, calls, or messages? Do they regularly schedule check-in meetings with me, or does it feel like they want to be left alone? How do they react to feedback, especially if it may be perceived as negative? 3: They Have Limited Service Offerings In an industry where trends shift and new strategies emerge rapidly, having a wide array of services is essential. If your white label provider is constrained to a limited selection of offerings, this can significantly hinder your agency's capacity to address the multifaceted requirements of your clients. To remain at the forefront and ensure competitiveness, agencies must not only keep up with these changes but also have the capability to offer services that align with them. A white label provider that can't adapt or expand its offerings in line with industry advancements can become a bottleneck for your agency's potential growth and innovation. Given these factors, if you find your current provider lagging in diversifying their services or not being agile enough to accommodate new digital marketing avenues, it might be a clear indication that you need to look for a partner with broader expertise and a more adaptable approach. 4: Lack of Transparency Transparency in a white label partnership means clear reporting, easy access to analytics, and an open line of communication about campaign outcomes. If your provider doesn't offer clear insights into their work or fails to share essential data, it can be challenging for your agency to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and justify costs to your clients. A trustworthy partner will ensure you're fully informed about all aspects of the projects they handle for you. From reports to sharing account access and not trying to distort the data, you can trust that they are working with your clients’ best interests in mind as a true partner. 5: Negative Impact on Client Retention One of the most telling signs of a misaligned white label partnership is its impact on your client retention rates. If your clients are frequently expressing dissatisfaction with the results or raising concerns about the services being delivered by the white label provider, it directly affects your agency's reputation, scalability, and bottom line. Your agency's partnership with a white label provider should enhance client satisfaction, not hinder it. Your white label team should give you the confidence that they will treat your client as if it was their own. 6: Limited Scalability Scalability is about more than just handling larger workloads. It’s about building a repeatable, predictable, and profitable business model that is not constrained by the typical growing pains of startup agency life. If your white label provider struggles to handle increased demands, or isn't flexible in adapting to new requirements, it can impede your agency's growth trajectory. As your agency expands, you need partners who can seamlessly scale their offerings to support your growth. 7: Ethical Concerns Integrity and ethics should be at the forefront of any business relationship. If you have reservations about your white label provider's practices or if they employ tactics that don't adhere to industry standards, it's a serious concern. Ensuring that your provider operates within ethical boundaries not only protects your agency's reputation but also ensures the longevity and sustainability of your client relationships. For example, look for a white label SEO agency that does not use outdated black-hat tactics. Another example could be a piece of content for a healthcare client making medical claims or giving advice without citing credible sources. Another Key Indicator - Offshoring and Outsourcing Your Work You trust a white label provider as your go-to outsource solution with the goal of achieving scalability in mind. However, what if that same white label provider then flipped your client’s work to another outsource service provider? These types of chains are strongest when they only have two links. Links three onward start to weaken the chain more and more. Is your white label provider possibly outsourcing and offshoring your work? If you’re not able to tell right away, there are some signs to look for such, as: Time Zone Discrepancies: Are certain client deliverables being completed at odd hours, or are you always receiving messages outside of business hours? Fluctuating Quality: Inconsistent quality could mean that your white label provider is sending your client’s work around to different teams or single-channel vendors on a frequent basis. Avoiding Direct Communication: If the provider is hesitant about setting up direct meetings, video calls, or avoids showing their working environment, they might be trying to hide the fact that the work is being done elsewhere. Generic or Ambiguous Reporting: Reports that lack specific details or seem generic might be an indication that the provider is not closely involved with the day-to-day handling of tasks. Lack of Direct Control or Access: An inability to directly access or communicate with the team members working on your projects can be a red flag. Vocabulary: An outsource used by your white label provider may use a different vocabulary or grammar convention. For example, if your white label provider is based in the U.S. but a blog post they delivered for your client uses spellings like “colour” instead of “color,” “recognise” instead of “recognize,” or “theatre” instead of “theater,” this could indicate that the provider is having the work completed elsewhere. Before we continue, we should acknowledge that there is nothing wrong with working alongside a team of skilled marketers from outside of the United States. That is not the issue. When you should be concerned about a white label provider’s potential outsourcing or offshoring is when performance quality fluctuates, your access to your client’s work is limited, and the white label partner was not transparent with you about how your client’s work would be fulfilled. Stop Singing the White Label Blues at Your Agency At Conduit Digital, we strive to challenge what white label digital marketing means for agencies. Too often, the term “white label” is perceived as cheap, low quality, and with varying results. Our goal is to change that for your agency. With a Conduit Partnership, your agency receives instant access to expert-managed digital channels along with a single point of contact, all in one partnership. All campaigns that we oversee for your client are 100% white-labeled to your agency and directly managed by hands on keyboards at our office in New Jersey. And the best part? All of the performance is 100% transparent. We even built a proprietary reporting system designed specifically for agencies that leverage us as their white label partner. To start redefining what white label partnership means for your agency, schedule a call with us today.
- 5 Client Retention Best Practices That Often Go Ignored
Client retention stands as the backbone of success for any digital agency. While agency leaders relentlessly chase new business development opportunities, there's an undercurrent of understanding that the real strength lies in keeping the clients you already have long-term. The stability, profitability, and organic growth fueled by client retention are undeniable, yet strategies to ensure it often slips into the background in strategy meetings and budget planning. Without caring for the account portfolio you have, tending to it like a fragile garden in the middle of a desert, you can risk chipping away at the foundation you’ve already built to support future success and scalability. However, with this in mind, the familiar tactics of excellent service, competitive pricing, and occasional check-ins don't cut it anymore on their own. In an industry swamped with similar promises, agency leaders must adopt an innovative approach, diving deeper and thinking differently. To help you boost your own agency client retention efforts, we’re going to cover some overlooked yet critical strategies for client retention. Let’s push beyond the standard practices and look deeper at the crucial measures that leading digital agencies must take to secure and grow their client base. Why Client Retention Matters: A Quick Refresher Agencies thrive on the currency of creativity and innovation, not just in their client work, but in how they handle their client relationships. It's not about reinventing the wheel; it's about adding spokes that strengthen its structure and drive. Oftentimes, agency leaders are laser-focused on new client acquisition. However, the hidden costs, effort, and uncertainty make it a gamble, especially when compared to the potential profitability of existing relationships. Retaining clients stabilizes your agency's cash flow and creates a predictable business environment where you can plan and scale operations effectively. It's not just about maintaining a revenue stream; it's about fostering partnerships that will advocate for your brand. Beyond establishing a revenue stream, retention also creates a wealth of business development opportunities from your existing account portfolio. Oftentimes, it can be easier to upsell someone who has already bought into your agency’s services rather than convincing a new business to place their trust in your own. This stems from the trust that you’ve worked hard to establish at your agency with your clients. Long-term clients become collaborative partners in strategic thinking, creating a synergy that new client engagements often lack. This depth and understanding of a client's business not only streamline the project cycles but often lead to referral opportunities that no amount of cold calling can match. Furthermore, a focus on client retention signals a mature business approach. It demonstrates an understanding that success isn't about the number of clients served, but the quality and longevity of those relationships. It's this distinction that sets apart truly successful agencies in a saturated market. The 5 Often-Ignored Client Retention Best Practices 1: Proactive Communication As we know, the agency environment is fast-paced, with teams hustling to meet deadlines, but communication with clients shouldn't fall to the wayside. All too often, when we’re trying to manage bandwidth, client communications can become almost solely reactive - only waiting to respond when prompted to. Proactive communication is a strategic asset. Instead of waiting for clients to reach out with questions or concerns, leading agencies take charge, offering updates, insights, and news before clients feel the need to ask. It's this kind of foresight that positions an agency as a strategic partner and an authority in the industry rather than a vendor. Implementing proactive communication requires a cultural shift within an agency. It involves regular scheduled updates, spontaneous calls or messages acknowledging project milestones, and the agility to provide immediate responses. This strategy is not about inundating clients with information but offering relevant, timely, and valuable insights. Moreover, proactive communication involves listening, not just speaking. It’s about anticipating client needs, understanding their pressures, and being ready with solutions before problems escalate. This foresight builds a sense of reliability and commitment that clients cherish. 2: Upskilling and Adapting to Industry Changes The agency space is a shifting landscape of trends, technologies, and tactics. Clients worry about keeping up, and they rely on their agencies to navigate these changes confidently. By continuously upskilling your team and staying abreast of industry shifts, your agency demonstrates a commitment not just to its own growth, but to the client's market position as well as changing client needs. Regular training sessions, pursuing new certifications, and attending industry events are investments, not expenses. They equip your team with fresh insights and renewed enthusiasm, which is reflected in the quality of work and the innovative strategies presented to the client. This dynamic growth reassures clients that they are with an agency that’s on the cutting edge. However, it's not enough to hoard knowledge. Client-retaining agencies turn insights into strategies, showing clients how these new skills directly benefit their projects. It's this proactive application that strengthens the client-agency relationship, positioning your team as thought leaders rather than followers. 3: Personalized Touch in Client Interactions Relationships are the lifeblood of any agency, and they go beyond contracts and project scopes. Adding a personalized touch to client interactions can significantly influence client retention. Remembering details, acknowledging client milestones, and even notes of appreciation can turn a strictly professional relationship into a more personal, loyal partnership. Celebrating successes, both big and small, particularly those that the client values, shows that you see beyond the billables to what’s truly important to their business. It’s about recognizing the human aspect behind the corporate façade, crafting messages that resonate on a more personal level while maintaining professional boundaries. This strategy requires a genuine interest in the client's world. It's not about grand gestures but consistent, sincere acknowledgments that you value this relationship. It's these subtle nuances that clients remember when deciding whether to continue on with your agency. 4: Providing Added Value Without Being Asked Clients appreciate when agencies go the extra mile. It demonstrates initiative and a deeper understanding of their business. By offering insights, extending additional services, or proposing innovative strategies beyond the agreed scope, your agency illustrates its commitment to the client’s success, not just to the invoice. This approach requires a strategic eye, looking for opportunities to offer more value. It involves keeping the client's best interests at heart and recommending strategies or platforms that could benefit their business. It's about being a consultant and a confidant, not just a service provider. However, agencies must walk this line carefully. Adding value is not about upselling under the guise of initiative. It’s a genuine effort to enhance the client’s product or service offering, showcasing your commitment to their business growth and success. A simple way to do this is to reallocate any excess bandwidth near the end of the month to overserve the clients you already have. If you can add some additional value without it competing against the other accounts in your portfolio, that is a win for your agency and its ability to best serve your clients. 5: Regular Feedback Mechanisms and Swift Issue Resolution Even the most successful partnerships face challenges. However, the way an agency handles these situations can make or break the client relationship. Establishing regular feedback mechanisms, such as surveys or review meetings, creates a structured environment where clients can express concerns, knowing they will be addressed promptly. These feedback loops are invaluable; they provide real-time insights into client satisfaction. However, gathering feedback is only half the battle. Agencies need to act on this feedback constructively, making necessary changes and communicating these adaptations back to the client. Additionally, assigning a dedicated account manager or client liaison who knows the ins and outs of the client's account ensures that issues are not just resolved but anticipated. This proactive problem-solving cements a client's trust in the agency, proving that they’re seen, heard, and valued. Common Client Retention Pitfalls to Avoid While there are client retention strategies that we’ve outlined above, there are also plenty of pitfalls to avoid. Some of the most notable ones include: Overpromising and Underdelivering: Agencies that often promise too much in an attempt to impress, which can lead to disappointment when they can’t deliver. It’s better to be upfront about capabilities and timelines with honesty and clear communication. Taking Long-Term Clients for Granted: Just because a client has been loyal in the past does not mean that they will stay now. Keep clients engaged, remain attentive, and communicate proactively. Neglecting Team Growth and Satisfaction: An unhappy agency team can lead to subpar work or low employee engagement, while a motivated team will always deliver their best. Prioritize team satisfaction, training, and growth to make sure they are always at their best to perform for your clients. Lack of Adaptability: Stay updated with the latest industry trends and tools, ensuring services remain relevant and cutting-edge. Inadequate Communication: Occasional updates aren't enough. Clients need regular communication to feel involved and valued. Establish regular check-ins, provide clear project updates, and always be accessible to address any concerns or queries. Limited Suite of Services: Whenever a client asks for a new service that goes beyond what your agency has traditionally provided, this can often motivate them to look for a new agency that can and will meet their needs. Invest in continuously expanding and refining your services, or consider an external partnership with a provider that can. Agency client retention is not only about taking the steps necessary to boost retention but also being mindful of the pitfalls that could place your account portfolio at risk. How a White Label Partner Can Boost Agency Client Retention After considering all of the client retention best practices above, there’s one element that underpins everything: infrastructure. Specifically, agencies that have both the communication and performance infrastructure in place to allow for excellent delivery of services and account relationship management are in a far better position to continue retaining their existing clients while landing new business. This does not all have to be done in isolation, though. One of the most effective ways to enhance performance and implement more efficient and effective communication is to leverage a white label digital marketing partnership. A white label partner extends your agency’s in-house team with their own team of account managers and digital channel analysts. You can instantly extend your suite of services and offload many of the communication tasks involved with campaigns while you focus more on sales, account relationships, and your digital core competencies. If this sounds like something that could benefit your agency, perhaps our team at Conduit Digital is the right partner for you. At Conduit, we power successful ad agencies in North America with 18 digital channels through one single partnership, all backed by expert-level performance, proactive communication, and the industry’s most powerful proprietary reporting system. To learn more about how we can help you scale, schedule a call with us today.
- How to Adapt to Changing Client Needs without Upheaving Your Agency
As the business landscape shifts and morphs, so do the needs and demands of your clients. While these changes can often be unsettling, especially for a marketing agency that thrives on predictability, they also present opportunities for growth and development. But how does one navigate this constantly evolving terrain without completely overhauling their agency’s foundations? Let’s dive deep into strategies that can help your marketing agency adapt to changing client needs efficiently and effectively. Cultivate an Anticipatory Environment You've been in the game long enough to know that waiting around isn't an option. But it’s not merely about being proactive anymore; it’s about creating an anticipatory environment. We're talking about dissecting industry reports, identifying emerging platforms, and having your finger on the industry pulse before the majority even gets a whiff of it. By making anticipation a part of your agency’s DNA, not only do you get a head start, but it allows for smoother internal transitions, making your agency more resilient to external shifts. What feels like an innovation that turns the industry upside-down becomes just business as usual for you and your team. Start by carving out a few hours each week to read the latest from credible industry publications and major platforms like Google and Meta. Encourage your team to do the same, as long as it does not compete against serving your clients. Decentralize Decision-Making Hierarchies have their place, but let’s be real: They can be barriers in an agency environment where decisions need to be made quickly and often with little time to prepare. Decentralizing decision-making doesn’t mean chaos. It means empowering those on the front lines, those interacting with clients daily, to make judgment calls. The rationale is straightforward: those closest to the information are often best positioned to make rapid decisions. This lean approach enhances adaptability and can be the difference between capitalizing on an opportunity and missing the boat. This may require some initial training, and brand-new hires might not be ready to jump right in. However, creating a process that establishes a pipeline from handholding to decision-making independence is something that you should consider, especially if it allows your clients to communicate better with your agency. Foster Authentic Client Partnerships There are industry changes that affect both your agency and your clients. There are also new laws and regulations that might impact specific industries that you serve. These outside factors cannot always be accounted for or easily controlled. With these in mind, one that you can control is your relationship with your clients. These professional bonds should extend past deliverables and quarterly reviews. Think partnerships. The more you're seen as a trusted confidant, the earlier you’ll be looped into their strategic shifts and internal changes. Authenticity in these partnerships comes from understanding their industry almost as well as they do. It's about challenging them when necessary and offering insights they hadn’t thought of, backed by years of expertise. Don’t be the agency that yesses their client to the point of costing campaign performance. Be the challenger, and sometimes driver, that they need to succeed with your team. Implement Adaptive Resource Allocation Static resource allocation is a relic of the past. We need to dynamically shift teams and budgets based on real-time needs. This requires a combination of high-level oversight and granular operational data. It's about being nimble without being reckless. Gone are the days of waiting for quarterly reviews to pivot. Weekly, if not daily, allocation reviews are essential. Yes, it requires effort, but in the end, it's about delivering unparalleled value to clients and maintaining agency profitability. Start by meeting with your finance team to identify your current monthly budget. Are you underspending in an area where demand is growing? Are you overspending somewhere that does not justify the returns you receive? For instance, if a particular client campaign requires more hands on deck due to its growing complexity, can you reallocate team members from a less demanding project for the time being? On the budget front, if a specific marketing channel is underperforming consistently, can those funds be better utilized elsewhere? These are decisions that will vary based on your agency’s specific business needs. When you are able to implement these budget shifts, though, you will be able to continuously invest in moving your agency forward in the avenues that are bringing it the most business development and revenue-earning opportunities. Deep Dive into Tech Evolution It's not about hopping onto every tech bandwagon. It’s about understanding the implications of emerging tech on client industries. Whether it’s the nuances of blockchain's impact on supply chains or AI's role in customer service, this isn’t just tech talk. It’s about strategic implications. By diving deep into technological evolutions and their industry implications, you position your agency as an indispensable strategic partner. It's no longer about executing marketing strategies; it's about shaping business strategies. Reframe Challenges as Opportunities Facing challenges is part and parcel of our industry. Every seasoned agency leader knows this. But here's the deal: every challenge that comes your way is a potential differentiator for your agency. If one client is facing an issue, chances are others are too (or will be soon). By developing solutions for these challenges, not only do you provide immense value to your existing clients, but you also develop new service lines that can be pitched to prospects. This mindset shift turns disruptions into business opportunities. Create an internal Q&A resource library for your team so that they can reference how to properly answer these types of questions for your clients and frame them as confidence-instilling opportunities. Be sure to keep it updated as much as possible so that you are always supplying leads and current accounts with accurate information. Leverage White Label as a Path to Business Model Specialization Not all agencies can be experts on everything. Those who recognize this are better equipped to do something about it than those who try to take on every single challenge in-house. For example, if your agency sells SEO, that does not mean that your team has to be the one fulfilling the campaign deliverables. If your agency excels at sales, strategy, and account management, you can entrust your SEO work to another agency that has the expertise in the hands-on implementation aspects of the campaign. This is what we call business model specialization. Your agency can occupy the links in the value chain where you add the most impact and leave the other links to a trusted partner to drive optimal results for your clients. The most effective way to achieve this level of business model specialization is through a white label agency partner. Unlike a vendor or software platform, a partner is a full agency that acts as an extension of your own - outfitting your team with the means to offer your clients a full suite of expert-managed digital services without the in-house overhead or the operational headaches of wrangling multiple vendors together. The “white label” aspect adds the most value when your agency wants to pivot to greater specialization. Any deliverables offered by the white label agency can be rebranded to match your agency or your client’s branding, allowing you to maintain ultimate control and confidentiality in the account relationship. If white label digital marketing services sound like the right move for your agency, remember to not just dive into a partnership with the first provider you see. Do your research, review their rate cards, book plenty of demos, and go with the one that you feel gives you the best opportunity to specialize your business model. At Conduit Digital, maybe we’re that agency partner for you. Our team at Conduit provides successful agencies in North America with 18 digital channels through one single partnership, all expertly managed 100% in the U.S. from a team of platform-certified analysts. Built on communication and performance, we enable your agency to pursue better opportunities with the confidence you have the infrastructure in place to do so. If you’re ready to scale your agency, schedule a call today to learn more.
- Why Limited Scope is the Greatest Threat to Agency Client Retention
Limiting your agency’s services might seem like a way to hone expertise, but it can severely impact client retention. While many agencies believe specialization is their strength, and it very well could be, it can also push some clients away. If you’re leading an agency and find your client list thinning or stagnating, it's time to reassess. A restricted scope can be a major weakness. Today, we’ll be diving into how a limited scope of solutions could be impacting client retention and what you can do about it. Clients Want Adaptability Clients’ needs change. Whether this can be chalked up to seasonal variations, industry shifts, or personal preference, any digital strategy can become “here today, gone tomorrow” in an instant. Let’s use marketing in the cannabis industry as an example. As cannabis becomes more widely legalized in the United States at the medical and recreational levels, more digital platforms are altering their policies. This enables more businesses operating in the cannabis industry to invest their marketing budget in different avenues. If a new opportunity in the industry reveals itself and all of your cannabis client’s competitors are flocking to it, but you don’t have the means to deliver in-house, what do you do? If you say “No, we do not offer services on that platform,” do you run the risk of losing their business with your agency? Clients that stay with an agency long-term do so because there is a great deal of trust established. Within that trust, from the client's perspective, comes a confidence that the agency they work with can evolve and adapt to address their needs and introduce innovative ideas that drive performance. Your Competitors Are Broadening Their Scope Every agency has another agency they compete with to some degree. Oftentimes, this boils down to two or more agencies that operate in the same geographic area or industry niche where a client pool is limited to an extent. If your agency concentrates primarily on serving regional clients and there’s another agency on the other side of the county doing the same, that would be your direct competitor. Are your competitors broadening their scope of services while you continue to double down on what you are most comfortable with? There’s nothing wrong with emphasizing your core competencies, but at the end of the day, clients want what they want. At Conduit Digital, we’ve said this more than once in the past. If your client asks for a specific service that you cannot or will not provide, there’s a good chance that they could start seeking out another agency that can and will do what they ask. You’ve Lost Opportunities to Upsell Your Clients Ultimately, a broader scope of solutions gives you the ability to upsell clients on an ongoing basis. As you’re upselling, this naturally lengthens the timeline of the account relationship, and you become the go-to resource for your clients when they want to broaden their marketing and advertising investments. This not only benefits your clients’ ability to better market themselves, but it also grants your agency the opportunity to maximize your revenue-earning potential per account. To put it simply, if you are earning a few hundred or a few thousand more dollars per client each month, that starts to add up. That becomes operating capital that you can invest in scaling your agency on an ongoing basis while you’re also boosting your reputation and credibility with both current and potential clients. How Can You Broaden Your Agency’s Scope? Unfortunately, no legitimate or sustainable method for hacking your way to a broader scope exists. If it did, you should be wary of what it promises and ultimately delivers. Rather than broadening your scope quickly, we suggest doing so purposefully, strategically, and deliberately. In other words, doing it in a way that leads to sustainable scalability for your agency. Here are some potential ways to do so: Hiring New In-House Talent The first option that most will consider is hiring new talent in-house. While this method grants you ultimate control, it can take a bit of time and result in additional financial overhead. You have to first find the right person, which could take multiple rounds of interviews with a long list of candidates. Then, you have to onboard them to your agency’s processes and infrastructure. Lastly, you have to spend additional dollars on benefits, payroll, equipment, and other costs that may be associated with bringing in someone in-house. We’re not saying that you should never hire an in-house team member again. What we are saying, though, is that if you do want to wait to onboard someone or the financial overhead doesn’t make sense for you right now, those are factors to consider. Building a Vendor Network It’s not uncommon for an agency to seek out vendors that can help them quickly and efficiently provide services for their clients in a fee-for-service model. While vendors have their usefulness in a pinch, they can be limited in their scope, their prices can vary wildly, and their quality can be difficult to gauge. For most, as long as the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed on their work agreements, they will not provide services beyond what they’re explicitly contracted for. Beyond this, vendor pricing can spike at any moment. If a freelancer that you work with starts building a reputation and generating more business for themselves outside of your agency, their time then becomes more valuable. They may unpredictably increase their rates beyond what you can afford, and you risk losing access to them. These are just some of the headaches that come with managing multiple vendors in a siloed environment where communication and collaboration becomes more difficult. While they may be helpful to start, growing a vendor network in the 2020s may prove more difficult than beneficial. Using New Marketing Tools Have you thought about filling gaps in your scope of services through different software platforms? Sure, there are many out there pitching agencies at any given opportunity. They promise that you can fulfill an entire channel’s worth of services by using their tools. In most cases, that sounds too good to be true. Platform expenses can add up, and if you do not already have someone in-house with a degree of expertise in the digital channel the software is designed to serve, you may not be maximizing its value or performance potential. Or course, we’d be leaving a giant elephant in the room unaddressed if we didn’t mention artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and Google Performance Max. While AI can help cut down some of the labor-intensive tasks, these are not all-in-one solutions that remove the need for human expertise. AI needs to be used responsibly through the filter of a skilled marketer. The Best Solution: White Label Agency Partnership A white label agency partnership is when one agency provides services or products that another agency can rebrand and sell as their own. Rather than expanding your team in-house, you’re extending it with another team of channel experts that can help you fulfill evolving client needs so that you can retain them for longer. For example, if your agency specializes in SEO and Google Ads, but you are noticing clients asking more for TikTok advertising, you do not have to spend hours crash-coursing on TikTok advertising. Instead, you can use your partner’s white label TikTok ads to meet your client’s needs, rebrand them as your own service, and make a predictable profit on top of the platform and service fees. However, not all white label partners are the same, and you should not just go with the first one you find online. With this in mind, there are a few objective questions you should consider when you’re reviewing your options: Where is the white label partner based? Are they based in an area where there is a wealth of marketing talent available (i.e., major cities). Does the white label partner offshore or outsource their work? Or, do they do it all in-house? Does the white label partner have a comprehensive suite of service? The white label partner should be able to meet your needs now and have the infrastructure in place to support future requirements for your campaigns. How does the white label partner communicate? Are they easy to get along with, and do they provide you with the digital tools you need to reach them effectively? Do they offer reports, and what do they look like? Ask to see a sample report from a potential partner to see if they provide the data and insights you need to prove performance to your clients. Does their pricing feel more like an expense or an investment? If you can afford the pricing of your white label partner, it will feel more like a wise investment rather than an ongoing expense. Be sure to ask them for their rate card! Work with North America’s Elite White Label Partner At Conduit Digital, we openly admit that we are not the perfect fit or everyone, such as startup agencies that are still building their businesses. Like your agency, we value retention, and we’d rather the partnership be the right one and one that’s built for long-term scalability. With 18 different channels, fully managed in the U.S. by channel-specific teams of expert analysts, we give your agency the means to say “yes” to better opportunities as well as expand and strengthen your current accounts. If you own or lead an established, performance-minded agency and also value client retention, schedule a call with us today.
- Creating a Predictable Pricing Model with White Label Digital Marketing
As an agency leader, you’re likely always considering new ways to expand your offerings to your clients, enhance campaign performance, and continue striving to be better today than you were the day before. We’ve been there, and we respect the mindset. If your search for the next mode of leveling up your agency has led you to consider a white label partnership with an agency like ours at Conduit Digital, you’re likely (and understandably) wondering if you can create a pricing model that works for your business goals. Of course, when you entrust some or all of a client’s work to a partner, cost does come into play. White label pricing is designed for scalability. Instead of managing multiple vendors with their own price points or hiring and training in-house team members that also require additional overhead, white label digital marketing agencies give you a single payment channel to expand your in-house capabilities so that you can stabilize costs, bandwidth, and capacity to focus more on what you love about running your agency. If you’re wondering how to create a predictable pricing model to integrate white label services into your agency’s day-to-day operations, this guide is for you. Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure that your pricing remains predictable and scalable when you join forces with the right white label solution. First Steps: White Label Digital Marketing Pricing Models White label digital marketing refers to services where a company provides digital marketing solutions (like Conduit) that another business (like your agency) can brand and sell as their own. In turn, this allows your agency to keep greater control over brand continuity and the information that you present to your client. Essentially, think of it like hiring another agency to support your own. Each white label provider will price their services differently, but they generally fall into five distinct categories that include: Monthly Retainer: This is usually used to maintain constant access to the white label agency for reporting, dashboards, communication channels, and all of the other infrastructure that underlies the rest of the partnership. Typically, most agencies will pay this out of pocket as part of theirregular monthly expenses. Management Fees: These are most common for campaigns like white label Facebook ads, TikTok, or Google Search. The white label charges a sliding-scale fee that can be marked up or down from the client’s budget. Wholesale CPM: Wholesale cost-per-mile (CPM) pricing is the cost that the agency pays for every one thousand impressions or views in a programmatic advertising campaign. Your agency then marks up above the wholesale price. Custom-Scope: Custom-scoped campaigns are most commonly used for organic campaigns like white label SEO or social content management. The pricing is determined through an audit process and leaves room for your agency to determine the right markup when billing your clients. A La Carte: These are typically one-off deliverables that an agency can purchase for a fixed price. They can range from items like sales support documents to one-off pieces of creative work like a landing page design or blog post. Unlike the others above, this type of payment is not intended to be ongoing. As an example, for a management fee-based service, let’s use a white label Google Search campaign. Your client wants to invest $10,000 on a paid search campaign, and your agency charges a 20% management fee. You then create a revenue share model where you pay your white label partner $1,299 for elite-level media buying, and your agency would make $701, typically used for front-end monthly client services. Most of these pricing models can vary based on overall budget size and volume. Be sure to use your white label partner’s rate card as a financial lifeline when pricing new campaigns for your client. Can You Afford the Pricing? The next step beyond understanding the pricing models is to see how they’ll translate to your agency’s actual finances. If you are interested in a specific white label agency, ask them to provide you with their rate card if they do not already have it on their website. The rate card provides a complete picture of the pricing and what it will look like for your campaign. From there, you can run the numbers yourself or consult with your financial department to determine the costs of launching a campaign across any channel that your partner offers. It also never hurts to communicate your desired spend per campaign with your white label agency ahead of submitting an insertion order. They have priced out countless campaigns and can help you determine what it would look like for your agency to markup their services to your clients. For instance, at Conduit, we perform an Agency Alignment Assessment to make sure a potential partnership can work financially. This also enables us to create transparency and guidance for how you can create a predictable pricing model using a white label partner. Making a Predictable Pricing Model Start by Finding the Right White Label Partner Before you can build a pricing model around white label digital marketing services, you need to find the right white label partner that truly enables your agency to scale. As you’re considering your options, keep the following traits in mind: Transparency - How transparent is the white label agency about their services, deliverables, pricing, and personnel before you book a discovery call with them? In-House Performance - Look for a white label that does not further offshore or outsource the work that you have outsourced to them. Proof of Performance - Does the white label team have any case studies or success stories they can share with your agency to show how they’ve performed on campaigns in the past? Geographic Similarity - Look for a team that shares relative geographic similarity to your own. For example, if you’re in North America, select one also based in North America. Scope of Solutions - Does the white label partner have the digital channels you need right now, as well as ones that you could expand into as you scale? Agency Deliverables - Does the white label partner provide you with deliverables that make managing your accounts easier, like in-depth reports or sales support materials? Communication Style - Do you communicate well with the white label partner’s team? As you’re narrowing your list of potential partners, keep the above in mind. Not every white label is the right fit for every agency, and vice-versa. As our CEO, Tim Burke, says, “Finding the right white label partner isn’t speed-dating.” Determine the Channels You Want to White Label Some agencies prefer to white label one or two channels while others might outsource a significant amount of digital campaign work to their partner. In turn, this will also affect the types of pricing models that you will be working within. From there, gather the rate information by referencing your white label agency’s rate card for each channel that you are going to utilize their team for. You can start to piece together a foundational framework for how you onboard new campaigns for your white label team. Create Standardized Client-Facing Pricing Models Creating client-facing pricing can be a delicate task that requires transparency, clarity, and the ability to convey the value of your services. Here are some tips for effectively presenting pricing to clients: Clearly Define Services: Provide a clear breakdown of the services included in each pricing tier. Clients should have a precise understanding of what they are paying for. Highlight Value: Emphasize the value your services provide. Explain how your solutions can solve their problems, meet their goals, or improve their business. Help clients see the possible return on investment (ROI) they can expect. Use Simple Language: Avoid technical jargon or complex terminology. Explain pricing in simple, plain language that clients can easily understand. Offer Multiple Options: Present clients with different pricing options or packages. This allows them to choose a plan that best suits their needs and budget. Anchor Pricing: Use anchor pricing to influence perception. Present a higher-priced option first, followed by the option you want clients to choose. This can make the latter seem like a better deal. Tiered Pricing: Consider tiered pricing with clear differentiators between tiers. Clients can then choose the level of service that aligns with their requirements. But Also Prepare for Clients that Don’t Fit the Mold While many clients will certainly appreciate the predictability of your own tiered pricing structure, there will be others who have larger and/more more complex needs that cannot fit within the models you create. For example, you may land a whale of a new client with a budget that far exceeds the majority of your entire client roster. In these cases, use your white label agency’s rate card to create custom-priced campaigns that will be designed to deliver maximum performance for the client’s investment. Build Better White Label Pricing with a Conduit Partnership If you’re looking to make your costs more predictable at your agency, and avoid financial surprises, let’s talk. At Conduit, we partner with North America’s most established and successful local agencies to deliver elite performance and operational excellence through a single partnership that grants your agency access to 17 channels managed by elite U.S.-based analysts. Schedule your call with us today to learn more about how Conduit can help your agency scale!
- What to Expect from White Label SEO Reports
- Future-Proofing Your Agency: How Predictability is Your Secret Weapon
As the leader of a digital marketing agency, doesn’t it feel like most aspects of your profession never stay the same for very long? This isn’t exclusive to digital marketing, but it sure hits home for us. When unexpected innovations such as AI content generation turn our industry upside down, how can you better prepare for these changes instead of reacting to them? Disruptive industry innovations is just one aspect of unpredictability, though. There are many other factors that hit much closer to home. For example, you cannot anticipate if a valued member of your team asks for a raise that is more than you budgeted for, another one leaves to pursue another career path, or a client decides to cancel their account with you early. All three scenarios are not something you can easily prepare for, and all three impact your bottom line directly. We can’t control everything at an agency, but if we make what we can control more predictable, we can better position ourselves to scale higher and more efficiently. That brings us to today’s topic. In this guide, we’re going to explore how predictability can be a secret weapon for future-proofing business aspects of your digital marketing or advertising agency and how you can establish it in your everyday operations. First, let’s define what future-proofing your business could look like. What Future-Proofing Looks Like for Agencies Future-proofing, in the context of a digital marketing agency, refers to the implementation of strategies and measures that ensure your agency remains relevant and competitive in the face of evolving industry trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors. It can also refer to preparing to weather external conditions that could impact your agency outside of your exact sphere of influence. As an example, ChatGPT changed content marketing forever. Now, AI content generation is a standard practice at many agencies, when just a year ago, large content teams were needed to manage high-volume deliverable portfolios. Other factors like general economic conditions also need to be considered when putting a plan to future-proof your agency together. For example, the inflation the United States in 2022 and 2023 drastically increased the cost of living for many Americans. In turn, this can affect an agency’s ability to predict costs associated with hiring new talent, procuring office equipment, finding affordable commercial real estate, and other similar needs. Business Model Specialization: The New Frontier for Future Proofing As our friend Marcel Petipas, CEO of Parakeeto, has said: the next frontier of specialization is going to be business model specialization. Specifically, this involves a business (in our case, agencies) doubling down on what they are best at and forming strategic partnerships to manage the rest. Ultimately, doing so saves time, effort, and money for your agency and results in a better end product for your clients. For example, an agency that primarily provides social media advertising services to its clients can say that they also offer SEO. However, they don’t have to do the SEO work in-house. They can entrust it to their SEO fulfillment partner, manage the account, and oversee the strategic direction while a white label SEO team executes the hands-on performance. The social media agency then marks up the white label service to their clients and generates a stable, predictable profit. In a nutshell, business model specialization is all about doubling down on what your agency is best at, identifying what you’re not, and structuring your business to form the right partnerships to enable you to do what you do best while the rest is entrusted to equally capable hands. Other Practical Tips for Future-Proofing Your Agency Diversify Your Revenue Streams With the sheer number of services that a digital agency can offer its clients, the range of potential revenue streams is already plentiful in our industry. For example, expanding into more channels can expand your revenue-earning potential by drawing interest from new clients who are looking for these specific solutions. When you want to expand your in-house suite, this can be done most effectively through two approaches: hiring internally or outsourcing. While hiring internally allows for more direct control, it also involves more financial overhead and time commitments. The right outsource solution, such as a white label partnership, can help stabilize costs and enable quicker strategic deployment, but you will need to vet the right one and place a notable level of trust in their own team. Invest in Marketing Your Own Business As part of future-proofing your business, treat your agency like its own premier client. Put strategies in place that consistently position your brand in front of the ideal clients that you want to work with. These types of clients could be based on factors like specific industries or niches, budget sizes, geographic locations, and company sizes. What does marketing your agency look like, though? Here are 5 quick tips: Create your own dedicated, repeatable marketing budget that you can invest each month. Consistently produce quality content that speaks directly to the types of clients that you want to reach and empathizes with their pain points. Create a library of case studies and success stories that demonstrates your expertise in running campaigns that drive results for your current or past clients. Be active on social media, both paid and organic. Offer an incentive to generate leads, such as an eBook or free/discounted audit. Continuously Feed Your Brain with New Information The more knowledge you equip yourself with, the less unpredictable the digital landscape appears. Engage frequently with online industry publications that are both broad in scope and narrowly focused on specific channels to feed your brain. Dedicate an hour or two each week to knowledge expansion, and encourage your team to do the same. The more you learn about what is developing in the industry, the less surprised and better prepared you will be when these new innovations become standard procedure rather than a shiny new marketing toy. Beyond reading about any new innovations, take the time to test them, too. For platform innovations that you’re interested in, sign up for free trials or take advantage of demos so that you can gain hands-on familiarity. If you decide to roll out these solutions at your agency, you will be able to do so more quickly and effectively. Structure Your Finances for Long-Term Scalability If you are concerned about economic unpredictability in the future, make sure that your finances are structured to weather these periods of uncertainty as much as you possibly can. Put measures in place such as: Set a clear financial forecast and budget to anticipate revenues, costs, and investments. Standardize pricing for all client-facing services as well as internal hard costs. Tie them to predictable turnaround times so that you always know how much something can cost and at what point you’re making money, breaking even, or losing money. Reinvest a portion of profits into the business, focusing on technology, training, and infrastructure. Keep a substantial emergency fund in case of economic shifts. Regularly review your financial performance with your finance team. As your agency scales, your financial operations will become more complex. By being proactive and strategic in financial planning, you'll better position your agency for steady, long-term success. Focus on Providing an Impeccable Client Experience Clients may not remember every single piece of data that you provide them in a report. However, they will remember that you made them feel heard, understood, and confident that their marketing needs were in capable hands. Providing an excellent experience for your clients requires three simple ingredients: Communication, performance, and reporting. Let’s break each of these down. Communication: Reply to clients within the same day, if possible. If not, respond to them the next business day. Performance: Justify the investment the client is making in your agency’s services. Market their business as if it were your own, and deliver strategic and tactical excellence that drives tangible results. Reporting: Reporting justifies the performance that you’ve provided for your clients. This provides regular updates on their campaign progress, and opportunities for improvement while also establishing transparency and trust. You Don’t Need to Future-Proof Your Business Alone We covered a ton of information above, and it’s perfectly understandable if it feels overwhelming when thinking of ways to future-proof your agency. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. Many agencies fail in isolation, with leadership feeling like everything needs to be done in-house or not at all. Looking beyond your office walls, joining forces with a trusted partner can enable you to scale predictably, profitably, and with the uncertainty of the future in mind. It’s nice to have something you can count on in any circumstance. When running your agency, the right white label partner can make a true difference. At Conduit Digital, maybe we’re that partner for you. At Conduit, we serve as the elite white label digital marketing partner for established agencies in North America that are looking to scale. With 17 different channels under a single partnership backed with an industry-leading communication, performance, and reporting infrastructure, we give your agency the means to say “yes” to any new opportunity and maintain profitability. To learn more about what it’s like working with Conduit, check out our Are We a Fit? page or schedule a call with us today.
- Your Agency Landed the White Whale Client - Now What?
When you hear the term “white whale client,” you can probably picture one that your agency has wanted to land for some time now, has had the opportunity to pitch, or you’ve recently won their business, and now they’re investing in your digital marketing services. Each agency will have its own definition of a white whale client, but there’s one universal truth: they require elite performance to retain them. What does a white whale client look like at your agency? It could be one or any combination of the following: A notable business in your local market A business that spends over a certain (high) dollar amount in marketing A major regional, national, or global corporate entity A specific, notable brand in an industry that you serve A company that you’ve admired for some time that you’ve always wanted to work with A nonprofit or government organization that shares values you’re strongly aligned with There are also many other parameters that you could use to define what a white whale client is. For many agency leaders, when you have the opportunity to pitch the whale, you remain laser-focused on landing the account and may have to “figure out the rest later” once the work agreements are signed. This is a common reason why agencies like yours talk to us at Conduit Digital on a regular basis. They’ve landed one of, if not the biggest client in their agency’s history, and now they need to deliver on what they pitched. If you’re in that situation and you’re looking for what to do next, this guide is for you. Today, we’ll be going over everything that you need to know about what to do once you’ve landed the white whale client. Start By Considering How the Whale Impacts Other Clients The first step when you’ve landed the whale is to consider how it impacts other clients. If you’re a mid-sized agency with 10-20 clients, having one big white whale client can be great from a revenue perspective, but something that needs to be considered is the workflow and resources this account requires. Consider whether or not you have the capacity to devote the same amount of attention to your other clients as you do with the white whale. If not, you may want to consider outsourcing some tasks or hiring new employees in order to make sure all of your clients’ needs are taken care of properly. Next, Consider Your Team's Skillset and Expertise Another important step is to consider your team’s skill set and expertise when it comes to the white whale client. If you don’t have the right people in place, then this can be a major roadblock to success. Take some time to think about who on your team has the right background and skillset to handle the work that will come with having a white whale client. Do you need to hire additional employees with specific skill sets? Do you need to join forces with an external partner to fulfill any aspects of your ad operations needs for the campaign? Leverage Technology For Efficiency and Scalability Leveraging technology is also key when it comes to managing a white whale client. Technology can help streamline processes, increase efficiency, and ensure scalability as the scope and needs of the account increases. Look for software or platforms that can automate various tasks associated with managing the white whale client, such as optimizing campaigns, tracking performance metrics, setting alerts, etc. These types of solutions will not only save you time and money but also help you be more efficient when it comes to managing and servicing the white whale client’s needs. Get Help From a White Label Partner Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you find that managing a white whale client is becoming too much of a challenge. There are plenty of digital marketing agencies and white label partners who specialize in taking on the responsibility of managing complex campaigns with high-profile clients. They may also offer expert-managed services that you do not currently offer in-house, saving you the headache of crash-coursing new digital disciplines that you may not realistically have time to learn. By partnering up with an experienced agency or white label partner, you’ll be able to free up more time and resources for other important tasks related to servicing the white whale client. Plus, you can rest assured knowing that the client is in good hands. When searching for the right white label partner, look for one that not only claims to offer elite performance but also has the means to back up these claims. Also, consider how they communicate with your agency, how their processes integrate (or don’t) with your own, and whether or not they can truly scale with you. If you’ve recently landed a white whale account, let’s talk. At Conduit Digital, we partner with established and successful North American advertising and marketing agencies to deliver elite performance, backed by proactive communication and comprehensive reporting, for your clients. To learn more about how you can unlock the power of 17 digital channels through one single partnership, connect with Conduit today.
- How Third Party Vendor Management Can Affect Agency Scalability
Sept 1, 2023 Let’s be real for a second: Agency life can go from calm and peaceful one week to absolute chaos the next. When the time comes to scale up, one of the first solutions that agencies look toward is vendors. If you’re running an agency that outsources aspects of your operations to one or more freelancers or subcontractors, you’re working with multiple vendors. The intended goal is to leverage their expertise and fill skill gaps that might exist in-house. This raises a question though: Is managing a network of siloed vendors the most effective way to drive results for your clients and scale your agency? While this may initially seem like a proactive strategy, it can inadvertently hinder your agency's ability to scale efficiently and achieve long-term success. Today, we're going to talk about how managing multiple vendors can prevent you from achieving the goals you've set for your agency, and what you can do about it. Vendor Management: A Double-Edged Sword On the surface, having multiple vendors seems to offer several advantages, including specialization, competitive pricing, and reduced risk. You can tap into the best of each vendor’s capabilities, and rely on their deliverables to enhance your service offerings. However, managing multiple vendors can quickly become a resource-draining endeavor and can actually pose a risk to the quality of work that you provide for your clients. Here are some reasons why: Complexity in Coordination As you bring more vendors on board, you introduce additional layers of complexity to your operation. Your team finds themselves managing various pricing models, process structures, contracts, and invoicing systems. Each vendor may also demand their own set of meetings, status updates, and review sessions. This consumes valuable time and mental resources that could otherwise be devoted to strategic planning and core in-house priorities. Eroding Profit Margins While it may appear that you are receiving the most favorable terms from each vendor, this fragmented approach can gradually diminish your profit margins. Why is this? When you're paying for multiple vendors, you're also paying varying rates that may change at any given time, preventing your financial situation from becoming predictable. A vendor could increase their prices over time, which then means you also either have to raise your own rates to compensate or take less revenue for your agency. While vendors do not require the overhead of in-house hires like benefits and PTO, they may not always prove the best use of resources, especially if they start to nickel-and-dime each aspect of their relationship with your agency. Again, this further removes financial predictability from the picture. Administrative Burden When you have multiple vendors, the administrative overhead can become overwhelming. Contract negotiation, payment processing, and quality assurance are all necessary parts of vendor management. These tasks multiply with each additional vendor, becoming a significant drain on resources. Don't underestimate the time and labor costs associated with vendor-related administration; they can add up, affecting your bottom line. Your team should be using vendors to save time (and ultimately money) for your agency, but if they are bogged down with quality assurance from their vended deliverables, efficiency diminishes. Inconsistent Branding and Quality One of the hallmarks of a successful digital marketing campaign is a coherent and impactful brand message. Managing multiple vendors makes it challenging to ensure consistency across all deliverables. Different vendors have different styles, interpretations, and quality standards. The resulting mismatch can dilute the brand message, ultimately impacting campaign effectiveness and client satisfaction. Because most vendors will operate on a fee-for-service model, they are not beholden to fulfilling any aspect of their role with your agency that is not explicitly detailed in their contracts. If they decide to start phoning in their work, but their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed, there's very little your agency can do to resolve dissatisfaction with quality. Lack of Unified Strategy Clients hire advertising agencies for their expertise in providing a unified and strategic approach to marketing. When an agency relies on multiple vendors, it risks diluting this unified strategy. The more vendors involved, the harder it is to control and implement a cohesive plan. Clients may begin to question your agency's ability to manage their brand effectively, which could lead to lost contracts and a tarnished reputation. Slower Turnaround Times Let's face it, time is money. Clients often work on tight deadlines, expecting their agencies to deliver high-quality work quickly. Juggling multiple vendors can result in slower project turnaround times, as it's not just your internal team that you have to coordinate but an entire ecosystem of external suppliers. Delays can erode client trust and make your agency less competitive in a fast-paced market. Is There a Better Alternative to Working with Multiple Vendors? Instead of building and managing networks of siloed vendors, there are other alternatives you can consider. Chief among them is joining forces with a white label digital marketing partner. What does a white label partner provide for your agency that a vendor can't? Here are a few advantages that you can gain through partnership that are not available in most vendor arrangements. Unified Strategy: A white label partner provides a holistic approach to marketing strategies, ensuring brand consistency across all channels. This is often harder to achieve when dealing with multiple vendors. Faster Turnaround: White label partners have comprehensive in-house teams that can efficiently execute campaigns across various digital platforms, reducing the time spent coordinating with multiple vendors. Quality Control: With a white label partner, quality control becomes much more manageable, as they are responsible for delivering on all fronts, minimizing the risk of dilution in quality. Cost-Effective: Partnering with a white label service can be more cost-effective than hiring multiple vendors, as it eliminates the need to negotiate and manage numerous contracts. Scalability: White label partners can easily scale their services according to business needs, providing the flexibility that might not be feasible with multiple vendors. Expertise: White label partners specialize in providing comprehensive marketing solutions, offering expertise and insights across all aspects of digital marketing that multiple vendors may lack. Holistic Service Offering: A white label partner offers a full suite of digital marketing services, ranging from SEO, content marketing, and social media management, to more specialized services like PPC advertising and programmatic advertising. This prevents the fragmentation that may occur when working with different vendors for each service, ensuring a streamlined, cohesive digital strategy. Single Point of Contact Communication: Working with a white label partner simplifies communication as it provides a single point of contact for all your digital marketing requirements. This eliminates the confusion and time spent juggling between multiple vendors, ensuring more effective and efficient communication. Is your agency ready for a partnership with a white label ad operations team? Check out our post on 5 Signs Your Agency is Ready for Partnership. Work with North America's Elite White Label Partner At Conduit Digital, we strive to redefine what it means to be a white label solution for North American advertising, creative, digital, and public relations agencies. Offering 17 channels through a single partnership, fully fulfilled in the U.S., we give your agency the communication and performance infrastructure that you need to say "yes" to the opportunities you actually want to pursue. If you're ready to learn more about what it's like to partner with Conduit, let's talk!
- Overcoming Advertising Agency Turnover and Hiring Challenges
Aug 24, 2023 The world of advertising is constantly changing and becoming more competitive. Advertising agencies need to stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and techniques. However, this is often easier said than done. Many ad agency leaders face challenges such as turnover and hiring difficulties that often hinder their capacity for growth. When there are not enough people to work on new campaigns, client services and overall business operations can suffer. This is not an unusual challenge for agency leaders. In fact, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) estimated that the advertising agency turnover rate is over 25%. Doing some quick math, for every four people you hire, slightly more than one will leave. Obviously, this cuts against an agency’s ability to scale. How can you keep growing your agency when you’re worrying about losing members of your team? While keeping 3 out of every 4 you hire is a promising statistic, you could one day lose the only specialist you have serving a specific channel. After that, you might face the very real decision over whether to discontinue a service or outsource it to a platform or vendor that you’re not 100% confident in from a quality standpoint. It doesn’t have to go that route, though. Today, we’re going to cover some tips for what you can do at your agency to navigate through staffing obstacles and continue to scale when the opportunities arise. 1: Take a Proactive Approach to Recruitment Agency leaders must be proactive when it comes to recruitment. This means anticipating future hiring needs and starting the recruitment process before there is an urgent need. This approach allows for a longer lead time to identify suitable candidates and accommodate the often lengthy hiring process. Additionally, agencies can astutely preview the candidates' experience, skills, core values, and teams, ensuring a long-term fit. Finding the right candidate who is less likely to turnover at your agency can be a challenge. However, there are specific qualities you should look for when hiring, such as: Individuals who express genuine interest in your agency's mission, culture, and values. These individuals are more likely to stick around for the long haul because they believe in the company's vision. Candidates with a history of loyalty in their past roles. Someone who has stayed with previous employers for an extended period of time is more likely to do the same with your agency. Individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow with the agency. Those who are hungry for knowledge and progression are less likely to get bored and move on. By keeping these qualities in mind, you can hire the right candidate who will be loyal and committed to the success of your agency. Looking for these types of individuals will help you find the right fit for your agency. If you serve a specific industry or a small handful, you may also want to consider what industries a candidate has worked in in the past. They may feel more at-home serving a niche that’s the same or similar to ones that they have done so previously. 2: Encourage Employee Retention Employee retention is as essential as recruitment. Once the agency has hired the right person, it is vital to retain them. Attracting and keeping the ideal people is key to a successful and stable workplace. Encourage employee retention by investing in your employee's development needs, treating them equitably, valuing their contributions, and providing them with a positive work-life balance. When someone enjoys where they work, they are far less likely to search for another professional home in the future. 3: Elevate Internal Culture & Communication Internal culture and communication are key factors in employee motivation and engagement across your agency. As a leader, it is your responsibility to foster an environment where teams collaborate, promote diversity and inclusion, manage difficult conversations, and establish trust. Communicate frequently and transparently across all channels to ensure that employees are aware of the agency's direction and objectives. You could also hold weekly company-wide meetings where everyone can feel informed, contribute to discussions, and receive clarification from you on certain aspects of agency life that they are interested in learning more about. 4: Take Stock of Current In-House Utilization Utilization issues can be costly and can also make or break operations at an agency. If a member of your in-house team is underutilized, are they costing too much to retain? If they don’t have enough hours to spend on client service in their usual role, can their role be expanded to drive additional value? If someone on the team is underutilized, consider some options to boost their utilization such as: Having them focus on internal marketing to promote your agency to your ideal clients Having them learn a new digital specialty so that they can contribute to your team in new ways Cross-train to assist other team members that may be at full capacity or approaching over-capacity Similarly, overutilization does not help with hiring and retaining an in-house team. Employees that are burnt out, stressed, and spread thin cannot perform at the highest levels for your clients. This can lead to errors, miscommunications, and potentially damage the relationships that you build with your clients that trust you to deliver results for them. Beyond hiring, here are some other ways that you can solve the challenge of overutilization: Prioritize daily, weekly, or monthly tasks in order of most important to least important so that the person fulfilling them knows where they need to concentrate most of their attention. Reassess client expectations if the client is expecting too much for what was promised to them in their agreement with your agency. Ask your team if there are certain specific tools or types of tools that they can use to streamline some of their more time-consuming tasks that they perform on a regular basis. Encourage senior members of the team to delegate tasks more efficiently so that they can take more work off of their plate and allocate toward someone who might be underutilized. Establish clear communication so that the people struggling with capacity know that they can come to you as the agency leader to figure out a potential solution or more efficient path forward. 5: Look Beyond Your Local Market As much as most agencies prefer to keep their talent geographically close, it may make sense to consider hiring someone remotely if you are struggling to find the right expertise in your market. Look for remote workers who possess the skills that you need and have a track record of reliability in similar long-distance work environments. Remote workers may also help you save on staffing costs. You may find someone who asks for less money than your local market commands if they are based in an area with a lower cost of living and will not have to spend money on commuting-related expenses such as fuel, tolls, and vehicle maintenance. However, while fully remote workers may sound like a solid solution, finding the right ones should be approached with caution. According to the chief economist of ZipRecruiter, high turnover should be expected as a permanent fixture in remote working. 6: Activate a White Label Digital Marketing Partnership When you need a reliable team that can consistently deliver for your clients, where should you turn? While you can and should take steps to enhance the employee experience at your agency, there may simply be periods where the right people are not available to help you in your efforts to scale. That’s where a white label digital marketing partnership comes in. A white label ad operations team provides ad agencies with access to an extensive range of digital marketing services, allowing them to expand their suite of services without the need to recruit highly specialized and/or costly development teams. These partnerships also provide your agency with the ability to deliver better performance through a single partnership with access to experienced professionals with hands-on experience in diverse digital marketing fields. Beyond solving staffing issues, white labeling also enables you to expand the scope of services you offer in-house. For example, if you’ve never offered OTT advertising to your clients before, you now can offer white label OTT advertising through your partnership with the confidence that a certified expert is handling each aspect of the campaign. Overall, partnership is a win-win for your agency and clients. Better yet? White label deliverables can be rebranded to your agency or client’s branding to help you maintain more continuity and control over the materials that you provide to your clients. Solve Advertising Agency Turnover with a White Label Partnership Scaling an agency requires overcoming the hiring and turnover challenges that many ad agency leaders face today. Taking a proactive approach to recruitment, employee retention culture and communication, and leveraging contractors/freelancers are all wise steps to overcoming outside forces that impact hiring and retention. When you need to solve your capacity, bandwidth, and skill-gap issues, there’s a solution forward: white label partnership. At Conduit Digital, we partner with successful ad agencies in North America as their trusted white label adoperations team to help them scale higher than previously possible. With a single partnership, you can access 17 expertly managed digital channels all overseen and implemented directly from our team at our New Jersey headquarters. If you’re ready to solve your hiring and turnover challenges through the power of partnership, let’s talk.