How One Agency Grew to $15 Million in Under 10 Years

By Jason Swenk on March 30, 2020

Do you have the right systems but still struggle to grow? Do you look at the big agencies and wonder how they got to 7- or 8-figures? It’s all about having the ability to select clients who can afford to pay what you’re worth.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to turn more prospects into clients.
  • 2 Key factors to establish effective pricing.
  • How to get to the point where your agency can select clients.

Today I sat down with Eric Vardon, co-founder, and president of Arcane, a Canadian-based digital marketing agency. Eric started his agency in 2011 with a keen focus on analytics and a clear understanding of his business. He’s on the show today to talk about how you can get your agency to a point where you’re able to pick and choose which clients you want to work with.

How to Turn More Prospects Into Clients

As a digital marketing agency, it’s your job to get clients to see the value of your services. Clients aren’t eager to hand over money for a strategy that might work. This is why so many agencies have difficulty finding success — they don’t know how to convince clients to take the risk.

So how do you get a client to see the value in what your agency offers? Make the pitch less subjective. Show potential clients actual figures to show you’ve run the numbers and care about their bottom line.

Arcane does their homework and researches the client. Within the first couple of meetings with a potential client, Eric’s team is able to understand the business’ revenue goals and profitability. Using this information, they build a spreadsheet and proposal outlining the specific metrics needed to achieve results. When your clients can actually see the numbers and ROI, they are more likely to take the leap.

2 Key Factors to Establish Effective Pricing

Pricing is a big part of your agency’s growth and success. Set the price too high and you’ll have difficulty finding clients. Set it too low and the good clients won’t take you seriously.  At the end of the day, your goal is to be profitable.  How much do you need to charge in order to achieve this goal?

  1. Track and monitor everything. Remember those spreadsheets? Eric says there isn’t a process or analytic where they don’t have some sort of spreadsheet. Take a close look at your transactions. What are your hourly rates? What are your account costs? And what are your expenses?
  2. Look at the big picture. Sometimes you have to look at what you are going to get out of a client in the long run and determine the lifetime value of this client. You may need to do additional work upfront because you know you’ll make the margin back over time.

How Your Agency Can Select Clients

In the beginning, most agencies are stuck working with any and every client. However, eventually, we all want to get to the point where we can be more selective about which clients we do and don’t want to work with. One of the best ways to do this is to bring on solid leadership and surround them with a good team.

While Eric is the co-founder and president of Arcane, he brought on a CEO and a COO to focus on the day-to-day tasks. His COO comes from the public accounting industry and has been a critical part of developing the agency’s financial strategy. The agency’s CEO is a former HR professional. She knows the human side and is able to use her experience to work with clients and foster a successful team. Together, they create a perfect balance.

Arcane’s rapid success comes down to partnership, clarity, and accountability. Eric and his team frequently come together to discuss what they want, what makes them happy, and where they want to go. It’s about understanding your agency’s vision and communicating it to the team.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring the most success. When you understand what it takes to make your agency profitable and create a plan to get there, the rest is yours to pick and choose.

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