How to Avoid the Top 3 Struggles of Starting an Agency - Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

How to Avoid the Top 3 Struggles of Starting an Agency

By Jason Swenk on November 14, 2018

Are you ready to make the jump and start your own agency? Do you want to the top 3 struggles of starting an agency? Don’t let those startup agency jitters get you down! Get scrappy, and be picky! Also, learn about how Facebook Messenger Marketing and chatbots are going to change the future of agency lead generation.

  • Is it time to start your own agency?
  • The 3 biggest startup agency struggles.
  • #1 most important tip for Facebook marketing.
  • 3 reasons to implement Facebook Messenger Marketing.

Today, I talked with Molly Pittman who owns and runs Digital Strategy Boot Camps, co-hosts the Perpetual Traffic podcast, and was a former VP of Marketing for DigitalMarketer. Molly brings some incredible startup agency insights as she started Digital Strategy Boot Camps a little over a year ago. We get down to the bare bone fears of starting an agency and her best advice for avoiding and overcoming the top 3 struggles of a new agency.

Is it Time to Start Your Own Agency?

One of the most challenging aspects of starting your own agency is knowing when to actually start one. After all, that you’re probably really comfortable (but maybe unfulfilled) in your current gig. So is it time to start your own agency?

The answer isn’t really clear. According to Molly -and I agree – you just know when you know. It’s one of those internal things that drives you. We’re all creators, and when it comes time to set out and create your own thing, your gut will do the talking.

You know yourself best, so you’re going to be the one that decides when it’s time. Are there risks? Sure! Are there rewards? You better believe it.

3 Biggest Startup Agency Struggles

Molly talked about the 3 biggest struggles she faced when she went out on her own. Trust us when we say these struggles are universal. You will encounter these when you start an agency, but you can manage them if you’re aware in advance.

1. Project Management

When you first start your agency, you’re going to have to learn how to juggle multiple clients requests at the same time. The squeaky wheel method is probably going to take over, and you’ll either be servicing the loudest or the highest paying client first. That’s natural. Here’s a great tip from Molly. She has a notebook that she organizes everything she has to do for each client for the week (emails, meetings, work, etc.) This way she knows what she’s walking into, and she doesn’t leave clients in the dust.

2. Client Alignment

When you first open your agency’s doors, you want to take all-comers. It will give you some great experience and give you the foot-in-the-water that you’ll need at the beginning (oh, and the money!) Once you get to the point where you can pick-and-choose your clients, you can start making sure your client’s values align with yours. Molly’s big tip here is to work with clients that you get along with. Picture yourself in the airport next to them — would it be miserable or not?

3. Setting Expectations

Client-agency expectation misalignment is a run-of-the-mill problem. Your client wants more than you think they do, and you thought you agreed on terms they didn’t actually want. It’s crucial for you to sit down with your client and set expectations. Go over the metrics with them, and introduce specifics early on.

#1 Most Important Tip of Facebook Marketing

Since Molly works a ton on Facebook, I couldn’t help but ask her what she sees Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica stuff… Her biggest tip is to create content that’s more engaging. As Facebook returns to newsfeed values, it’s rewarding the ads that get the most engagement. Facebook wants to see users interacting with ads.

The best way to get engagement is to be authentic. The best ads are less salesy and offer more (free) value.

3 Reasons To Implement Facebook Messenger Marketing

Since Molly’s also a guru on Facebook marketing, we talked about the new landscape of the platform, as well as Messenger Marketing. When done right, Facebook Messenger and chatbots can drastically change your lead generation strategy. Here’s why:

  1. It’s where the people are! 1.3 billion people are using Messenger, and the number continues to grow. You could make a case that Facebook is dying down, but Messenger is just getting started.
  2. The metrics are crazy. People are seeing 80 – 90% open rates and +50% CTRs on Messenger. Compare that with email’s 25% open rate and a measly 4% CTR, and you’ll see why chatbots and Messenger Marketing is so valuable.
  3. You get engagement. Messenger is an engagement heavy platform and users who click want to engage. People want to talk to you. Just pop a bot in to automate the first part of the conversation and then pass it on over to someone real. Get quirky with it! Messenger is filled with an audience that’s ready-to-talk.

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