When it comes to growing a digital marketing agency, especially one focused on social media marketing (SMM), the common narrative is often centered around customer acquisition. While acquiring new clients is undoubtedly important, it’s only half of the equation. The other half, often overlooked but equally crucial, is customer retention. In this blog post, we will delve into the strategies and tactics that can help you not only acquire but also retain clients for the long term.
The Misconception: It’s All About Customer Acquisition
Many agency owners and marketers are inundated with content about how to sell and close deals. YouTube videos, webinars, and articles abound on this topic. However, there’s a glaring gap in the conversation: how to keep those hard-won clients. The reality is, stacking clients on top of each other is what will truly drive your agency’s growth and profitability.
The Onboarding Fallacy
A common mistake agencies make is assuming that onboarding is a fully automated process. The thought process often goes like this: “The client will sign up, go through the checklist, complete the course, and follow the guides because they are motivated by the end result we promise.” This line of thinking can lead to high churn rates and an unsuccessful agency business.
The First 90 Days: A Critical Period
The first 90 days of your relationship with a new client are crucial for setting the stage for long-term retention. During this period, your primary objectives should be:
- Technical Setup: This should be quick and efficient, ideally automated and completed within the first few minutes of the onboarding call.
- Setting New Expectations: Many clients may have had previous experiences with other agencies. It’s essential to reframe their expectations and make them see your agency as a unique entity that offers something different.
- Achieving a Clear Outcome: Focus on helping the client achieve one clear, tangible outcome within this period. This will help them see the value you bring and set the stage for a longer-term relationship.
Avoiding Feature Creep
Feature creep is a real issue, not just for software businesses but for agencies as well. While it’s great that your agency can offer multiple services, trying to implement all of them within the first 90 days can overwhelm the client and dilute the perceived value of your services. Stick to one clear objective during the initial period.
Proactive Customer Support and Monitoring
During the first 90 days, offer a higher level of customer support. Make it clear that clients can reach out for in-person help whenever they need it. Also, set up automations to monitor performance and implementation proactively. For instance, if you’re running a lead generation campaign for a client, reach out as soon as they get their first lead to offer further assistance.
Transitioning from Selling to Advising
Once you’ve successfully navigated the first 90 days and won the client’s trust, you transition from a seller to an advisor. Now you can start cross-selling or upselling other services within your wheelhouse. At this point, you’re not just selling; you’re offering valuable advice based on a proven track record.
Growing an agency is not just about customer acquisition; it’s equally about customer retention. By focusing on a robust onboarding process, avoiding feature creep, offering proactive customer support, and transitioning from selling to advising, you can build a sustainable and profitable agency. If you’re interested in learning more about running a successful agency, consider joining communities that focus on these topics. The key takeaway is clear: to grow your agency, you need to think beyond acquisition and focus on retention.