Why Niching Down Equals Big Digital Agency Growth

By Jason Swenk on January 15, 2020

Are you worried your agency is too small to compete with the big dogs? Are you exhausted trying to provide everything for everyone? The marketing world has changed over the past few decades, but a lot of the concerns and approaches have remained the same. As an agency, knowing your strengths and marketing to your niche can be a huge advantage. The sooner you realize this, the better.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why agencies need to combine branding with direct marketing.
  • How segmentation can take your agency to the next level.
  • #1 reason to dominate your agency’s niche.

Today I got to talk with Grant Johnson, founder, and owner of Responsory. Responsory is a direct response digital marketing agency focused on measurable results. Grant started his agency in 1999 after leaving his job as VP of a marketing agency. Grant didn’t like the direction the agency was heading, so he started his own. Grant felt nobody was really doing measurable marketing the right way, so he took on the challenge on his own. 20 years later, Grant has grown Responsory into a multi-million dollar agency. Let’s dive in.

Why Agencies Need to Combine Branding with Direct Marketing

Many agencies put all their effort into building their brand but fail to focus on direct marketing. Or, they do the opposite, and put their efforts on direct marketing, with no real idea about their brand identity. But the truth is, you’ll get the best results when you combine the two.

That’s what Grant did when he started his agency in 1999. He says when he started his agency, you had brand marketing on the left and direct marketing on the right, and the two weren’t converging. Today, it’s all about ROI — what am I getting out of what I am putting in?

Grant believes when you combine branding with direct marketing, you have the ability to enhance and grow your brand in a measurable way. Direct marketing helps your agency grow faster, while branding helps you establish trust with your audience.

How Segmentation Can Take Your Agency to the Next Level

The bulk of the clients Grant works with don’t do segmentation. This has been a problem for as long as advertising has been in existence. Some agencies prefer to reach as many people as possible, instead of focusing on specific sectors. It’s important to realize your customers are going to have a variety of wants, needs, and ideals, even within the same niche. You can’t just send out a blanket marketing campaign and call it good. You have to understand the individual component. Today, SEO and paid digital make marketing to specific sectors and analyzing the results easier than ever. You have to remember to look at your audience as a whole vs. individuals.

#1 Reason To Dominate Your Agency’s Niche

When you’re starting an agency, the temptation is to provide everything to everyone. This is the quickest way to fail. For the bulk of agency prospects, they’re not looking for an agency who can do a lot of things okay, they want an agency who can do what they need really well. Know your niche and own it! Grant says he’s always upfront with his clients. When they come to him, he tells them what he is really good at and what he’s not.

In the same regard, if you’re a small agency, own it. There’s been a shift towards smaller agencies who know what they are doing vs large agencies who do it all. If you have a team of five, don’t hide the fact that you’re small, announce it to the world! It’s all about quality vs. quantity. Most importantly, you have to believe in your brand and believe you’re the best. Like Grant says, if you don’t think you have a niche, or a difference, or are the best at what you do, then why do it?

What’s that saying — the more things change, the more they stay the same?

A lot has changed in direct marketing and branding over the years, but many of the same basic principles remain the same. When you combine proven philosophies that work with today’s technology, you provide the catalyst to help your agency grow.

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