3 Key Strategies to Help You Acquire Tons New Agency Business
Are you struggling with client acquisition? Do you offer a ton of services but still can’t scale? Wonder what else you could be doing to get the attention of the right clients? In today’s episode, we’ll learn how an agency went from getting most of its business from cold emails to evolving its acquisition model. Our guest also shares the mistakes he made in his first two agencies which led to massive success the third time around and a merger deal which led to more growth.
Chase Dimond is a partner at Structured Agency, a highly-collaborative eCommerce marketing agency. With three agencies under his belt, Chase now reflects on past mistakes and shares how he grew this agency to a team of 100 people working from 6 countries working with brands doing 7-9 figures online.
In this interview, we’ll discuss:
- Mistakes and learning what not to do with your agency.
- 3 challenges of an agency merger.
- 3 ways to acquire new agency business.
- Tips for growing a following on Twitter.
Sponsors and Resources
Verblio: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Verblio. Check out Verblio.com/smartagency and get 50% off your first month of content creation. Our team loves using Verblio because of the ease in their process and their large pool of crowd-sourced writers.
Learning Hard Lessons on What Not to Do to Grow a Digital Agency
Chase formed his first agency as a side gig hustle from his full-time job out of college. As a kid who, he admits, thought he knew more than he actually did. He didn’t have case studies but he was lucky to purchase a dating website for Bernie Sanders supporters that ended up going viral. It was the best way to attract clients and he learned a lot from the experience. They quickly scaled that agency to $30K per month on the side of their full-time jobs, but offering 8 different services as a side gig wasn’t sustainable. The partners disbanded the agency and focused on their full-time jobs.
A couple of years later, he gave it another try at creating an agency with some friends. Admittedly the lessons learned the first time didn’t stick. This time, they got it to about $80K/month but went their separate ways after a falling out.
From that experience, he knew he wanted to start an agency with a singular focus. Email had been at the core of everything since Chase’s first business, so in 2018 he started an email marketing agency for eCommerce brands. They later merged with a paid social agency in 2020 servicing similar clients so now they can offer both customer retention and acquisition to their clients.
Looking back, he can see that in the first two agencies he made the mistake of trying to offer too many services right away. It was impossible to staff and predict demand for each offering. This time around he’s been successful because they focused on doing one service well and then merged with another agency offering a tangential service.
3 Challenges with a Digital Agency Merger
Recently, his agency merged with another agency that had been a close referral partner for many years. They actually helped his agency early on with getting their first clients. They were already familiar with each other and offer complimentary services which naturally went together. They realized with more agencies specializing, brands have 8-12 agencies. They decided it would be best to bring together two core services under one roof and one P&L to keep servicing the same clients.
There are still a few things lingering even though it’s been 2 years since the merger:
- Establishing a united brand. They haven’t figured out how to unite under one name. Clients know and refer to them by their separate names, making it difficult to establish a united identity. However, they might not have to. In Jason’s experience, he prefers keeping the agency’s name and identity so clients don’t get confused.
- Cross-selling services is harder than expected. They used to sell people on an email campaign, which is a very simple service to explain. But now they have to sell clients on paid ads as well, which is more complex and has a lot of moving parts. Figuring out how to cross-sell and educate clients is really important. Without it, the agency loses opportunities because your clients don’t know or understand the services.
- Realizing shared costs and infrastructure. They still have operations on each side and haven’t really crossed the chasm of understanding the other person’s business model, how to offer their services, and how they differ.
3 Strategies to Acquiring New Agency Business
1. Building the Founders’ Personal Brand
In 2018, a lot of their business came from cold emails. Now they have evolved into content marketing, strategic partners, and developing the founders’ personal brands. In this way they are focused on podcasts interviews, speaking at events, and creating out content to attract clients.
2. White Labeling
One of the things they did early on is become a white-label partner for big agencies. Big agencies not specialized in email marketing would bring them in as a partner agency. Many are not willing to be a white-label partner for other businesses, but it has been a really great way to build case studies.
3. Strategic Partnerships
Another big source of business are partnerships, which came in three shapes: tech partners, influencers, and other agencies. Tech partners, like Klaviyo, work best when partnering with a fast-growing tech brand. Another way to gain authority is by partnering with other personal brands or influencers within your client niche. Lastly, is other agencies. The easiest way to build your agency in the very beginning is to get in bed with other agencies and have them white label you. The key is finding the right partner who accepts your agency and its processes without .
Tips for Growing Your Following on Twitter
Chase now focuses on developing his brand on Twitter, LinkedIn, and short-form video. He has between 70K-80K followers on Twitter and is getting about 3 million impressions every single month on his content. For him, growing on Twitter is all about:
- Consistency: tweeting about four times a day.
- Threads: they take a lot of time to plan and you really have to know how to make them hook audiences and keep people interested. But they work wonderfully once you do.
- Distribution: getting the right people to comment, like, and retweet your content.
Once he had that in place, Chase also started to run ads targeted at his followers with relevant content he wanted them to see, like his threads. So he’ll use ads to retarget his own content to people. He’s also started to build a network of specific pages. For example, he has “email of the day” thread, where he shares screenshots of emails he likes.
Because Twitter is his biggest platform, any content that works there gets repurposed for other platforms. For example, if one of his tweets is a hit, it will go on his IG and LI. For the most shared tweets, he’ll do a video later on.
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