Keep reading to learn 12 simple steps you can take to grow your business by building brand recognition, attracting more customers, and retaining them.
Build Brand Recognition
One of the first things you need to consider when growing a business is: what does my brand say about me? Keep in mind branding isn't just a logo—it's how customers recognize your business. It encompasses the level and scope of customer service provided, the messaging used, the slogans, icons, and much more. Branding is how your business stands out from the competition. One of the easiest ways to do this is by telling a consistent story.
Keep it authentic
Stock images provide a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to add visuals to a website, but they can also lower conversion rates. Search engines (and customers) want fresh, authentic content, which is why Google avoids showing websites that use too many stock images. Stock images can be perceived as inauthentic, and contribute to a poor user experience for customers when they keep seeing the same images on multiple websites. An easy way to skirt this issue is by using original images. Upload a team photo—even if the whole team is one person. It will be more authentic than a stock image.
Create a personality
Whether your business consists of one person or one hundred, be honest and use it to your advantage. If you wear all the hats in your business, talk about that on the "About Us" page and upload a photo that showcases your personality. People like looking at other people, and they’ll spend 10 percent more eye time on the faces of individuals rather than text on the “About Us” page. If you have a large team, take a group photo or professional headshots for each individual. If your goal is to focus your branding on the founder/CEO alone, do so but keep it consistent. Upload the same profile image on
Posting on your own website and social media is great, but getting published on third-party websites will boost your visibility. Make the effort to get your blog posts published on other digital agency websites, participate in popular local podcasts, or try to get interviewed by your local news media. Seek opportunities where you can promote your brand on other platforms, and remember to always keep your image, story, and branding consistent.
Protect your brand
After working hard to create a consistent brand, it's important to maintain and protect it. Keep up with your social-media accounts and stay present online. Always respond to online reviews in a timely fashion, and be receptive to comments or criticisms you may receive. Even a negative review can be a learning opportunity and a chance to turn things around. Research shows that when a business owner responds to a negative review in a timely and positive manner, 33 percent of commenters who posted such reviews will turn around and write a positive review, while 34 percent of commenters will delete their original negative review.
Attract More Customers
When it comes to attracting more customers, you'll need to keep the customer journey in mind. If customer conversion is the destination, the website is the journey along the way. A website that's not mobile-friendly, a page that takes too long to load, text that is too difficult to read—all of these things can turn a customer away. An optimized website will help create a great user experience every step of the way.
Keep it optimized
More and more online traffic now comes from mobile devices rather than desktop computers. Google recently stated they use the mobile version of websites for ranking and indexing purposes, meaning a mobile-friendly website is a must. Google's goals are likely similar to yours. They want to promote fast, mobile-friendly websites, share useful and up-to-date content, and ensure a great user experience. If you keep these goals in mind as you continuously update your website, you'll see organic growth.
Highlight your strengths
Take what your agency does better than anyone else and capitalize on it. If social media is your strong suit, then highlight that strength on your website and look to establish your brand as that local social media expert. Perhaps you have several clients in the law or restaurant industry, so promote that experience and market your brand to that industry. Update your website copy and showcase this specialization on LinkedIn and all other social media channels. By focusing time and energy on what your business does best, you can attract new customers seeking a local expert in that specialty.
Lead by example
The key to gaining the trust of potential customers is to lead by example. An agency selling website products and services should itself have a great website. An agency selling social posting services should have a strong social media presence. When selling a product or service, strive to become your own best client. In becoming your own best client, you'll be actively promoting your business, showcasing your expertise, and learning more about your target audience in the process. Lead by example and showcase the quality of services you can offer clients. After all, if you don’t believe in your own products or services, you shouldn’t expect others to.
Create a powerful story
One of the most powerful tools of promotion is a case study or customer success story. People respond well to relatable stories, and a powerful case study will use self-identifying tactics. Use the case study to paint a picture of a relatable scenario, one that your potential clients can picture themselves in. You'll want the reader to think, "that sounds like me, what I'm going through." Help them to realize they may have a problem they are unaware of, but you have the right solution. As a digital agency owner, your primary goal might be to help clients grow their business, but if clients aren't convinced that lack of growth is a problem, then they won’t see the value in or urgency to change. Keep in mind different learning styles like auditory and visual. Turning a text-based case study into a video, a podcast, and an infographic, will appeal to a wider audience.
Retain Those Customers
Customer acquisition is one thing, but do you have a plan in place to retain them? Always consider the customer buying journey. If your primary specialization is the reason they signed on with you, is it enough for them to stay? Diversification through additional solutions and services gives you opportunities to grow your business and retain customers.
Establish your goals and performance metrics
Establishing goals and performance metrics is key to measuring growth and success. Whether your definition of success includes revenue generated, the number of clients served, or the level of client satisfaction, you'll want a quantitative way to measure it. Performance dashboards, like the one offered on the Vendasta platform, offer up-to-date data that can be used to track progress and measure success metrics.
Stay current and informed
It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry to understand what services and solutions are in demand. The digital agency world can be unforgiving to businesses stuck in the past. By keeping up with local demand, identifying areas of improvement, and offering a diverse range of services and products, you can create a sustainable business.
Build relationships and ask for referrals
According to a HubSpot survey, a large number of digital agencies rank referrals as their top lead source. Building strong relationships with your clients encourages them to refer you to an industry friend. Get to know their workflow, check in regularly, keep them updated on progress, and ask for feedback. By learning what does and doesn't work, you gather valuable information for future client onboards. Set clear expectations for yourself and clients, and be accountable for those expectations. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. When you take the time to provide great service and create a meaningful relationship, a referral from one client can go a long way.
Stop wearing so many hats
When building a business, it can be easy to take on the roles of CEO, CFO, HR manager, and more. As a founder, you should never make yourself indispensable. Recognize that your business must be able to function without you in order to be sustainable. Your time is what is indispensable, so focus that time on what provides the greatest value to your business, what you love, and what you do best, and delegate the rest. That might mean expanding your in-house team or outsourcing certain products and services. Delegating is essential in order to grow.