Why Raising Digital Agency Prices Won’t Scare Away the Right Clients

By Jason Swenk on May 25, 2022

Would you like the confidence to raise prices and triple your agency’s growth? Are you ready to empower your team and transition to a true Agency CEO? That’s exactly what today’s guest has been able to do over the past couple of years. She is on the show talking about overcoming her two biggest challenges: removing herself from sales and the fear of raising prices. What she realizes now is that she was standing in her own way and letting go has actually led to amazing agency growth. Taking a leap of faith and reinventing her role was what her agency needed to reach its full potential.

Audra Brehm is the founder of Brehm Media, a social media agency that focuses on the fashion and beauty world. As she grew her agency, she doubted whether clients would see their value and agree to pay once she raised her prices. As CEO, she realizes the right client will see the agency’s value even when you don’t.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Raising prices to affirm your agency’s value.
  • Determining which clients are a good fit for your agency.
  • Empowering your agency team and removing yourself from agency sales.

Sponsors and Resources

E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.


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Why Raising Prices Affirms Your Agency’s Value

Audra was looking for a new job in Denver when an interviewer asked her why she hadn’t opened her own agency. She really couldn’t come up with a reason and thought “why not?”

That company ended up being her first client and, as she’s embarrassed to admit, she started charging $800 a month for social media and marketing services. She was just excited to be starting her own business. Entrepreneurs commonly become a “yes man” in their early stages and figure they’ll eventually get other clients and raise their prices.

Audra admits she hasn’t always had a good idea of her agency’s value, but listening to their clients talk about the agency was an excellent way to understand their worth. If the client could see her agency as its marketing arm and an extended family, then she knows they are positioning themselves as a valuable partner.

As someone who loves to learn, she strives to always be ahead of the curve. If they can do that as an agency, then she knows they are providing value. So then, why wouldn’t people pay what they charge?

The thought of raising her agency’s prices used to be terrifying. Every time they increased, Audra worried she would lose clients. If she could go back, she would tell herself not to be so afraid. It’s ok if clients decide to leave after you raise your prices. The ones who stay are the right clients.

In retrospect, Audra thought the agency would be ruined with a reputation of being too expensive. Now she realizes her agency’s value and knows the importance of raising prices. The reputation isn’t about being too expensive, it’s about being receiving the elite value Brehm Media provides.

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Transitioning Out of Agency Sales and Empowering the Team

As the agency has grown, Audra had a really hard time taking a step back from sales. She doesn’t like to feel out of control, however, empowering the sales team meant putting control in other people’s hands. Getting out of day-to-day operations was the first time that she actually questioned what she was doing in the agency.

In time, she found a new way to continue participating in the sales cycle by handling the final sales calls with new clients. She found that relationship-building before taking on a client is actually her favorite part of the sales process. So instead of taking herself completely out of sales, she gets to engage and learn more about clients while still letting go of some control and empowering her team. Plus, she feels clients appreciate the fact that the entire agency has their back, including the owner.

It can be hard for many digital agency owners to transition out of day-to-day operations, but finding ways to still be part of your agency will help you with that transition. Later on, you may even find that you don’t need that small role anymore.

Audra has embraced her role as CEO and realizes the team won’t need her as much. Now she can really live the work-life balance agency owners strive for. Last year was the first time she went on a family vacation and didn’t take any business calls or check emails for two weeks. She had confidence that her team could handle anything that came up.

Finding Ideal Clients That Are The Right Fit For The Agency

It’s good to be self-aware enough to recognize when your agency can’t deliver the results clients expect. For instance, if a client expects a 10x return in a month and you know you can’t deliver, then tell them. Are there agencies out there that could get them there? Yes, but it’s better not to promise a deliverable you know you probably can’t reach.

For Audra, this is the first step of avoiding the wrong clients that are not a good fit for her agency. Other common red flags a prospect won’t make a good client include asking to split monthly payments into multiple charges. This clearly shows they cannot afford you. They have a cash flow issue and are banking on your agency’s results in order to pay moving forward. Another issue is clients who think that they know more than the agency does. This fosters a very toxic environment where the client does not treat the agency as a partner but expects more of an order taker.

To qualify a prospect, Audra’s team asks what a prospect’s monthly revenue is just to be sure that they can afford her agency. They also want to see what else they’re spending on other marketing efforts. This helps the Brehm team learn whether the client is diversifying their marketing budget on other vehicles.

Audra says to run the other way if you encounter a company that cannot explain who they are and its future vision. If they can’t answer where they hope to be in 6 months, 1 year, and 10 years, it’s a massive warning sign.

Getting Through the Rough Patches in Your Agency Journey

Audra feels a lot of people don’t believe in what’s possible for themselves and only see the obstacles. You need to have clear goals for your business. That’s something you should look for in clients and that you should have for your agency.

Having an agency is a rollercoaster but the highs should outweigh the lows. And if they don’t, then maybe you should reconsider if this is what you want to be doing. In the end, you should be proud of what you built, the business, the lifestyle, and your team.

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Check out Audra’s previous interview:  https://jasonswenk.com/digital-agency-ceo/

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