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  • Writer's pictureKamila Stopka

Why Smaller Agencies Struggle with Their Marketing & How to Fix It

In today's highly competitive agency landscape, marketing plays a crucial role in the success of any company. However, smaller agencies often struggle to keep up with their marketing efforts on top of client work.

Our research of over 100 agencies confirms this. The worst performing 10% of agencies was made up almost exclusively of smaller agencies (under 15 employees) while the best performing 10% were primarily larger agencies (between 30-100+ employees).

Clearly, one of the key differences between large and small agencies is resource. Smaller agencies don’t have the budget to hire a dedicated marketing team or the time for other team members to commit to internal marketing. Additionally, they may not have access to the latest marketing technologies and tools, which can make it challenging to keep up with the competition.

But the lack of resources doesn’t mean smaller agencies don’t see the value of marketing. Many do, yet they struggle to implement it.

So how can small agencies turn this around and start making their marketing a priority?

1. Treat yourself like a client

Naturally, client work always comes before your agency’s own marketing. But if you want to keep that client work coming in you need to prioritise time for internal marketing. You can do this by carving out time across your team’s week, as well as investing your limited time in the most impactful activities for your business.

If you don’t have a dedicated marketing resource in your agency, make sure marketing and new business is everyone’s business. Set the whole team marketing goals linked to their appraisal and as an agency leader, set the example you expect from your team.

Our research report can help you identify where your focus should be. It breaks down where agencies are falling behind and advises where each type of agency should put their efforts to ensure they keep their competitive edge.

2. Make use of free tools

While you might not have the resource to invest in the most expensive tools, you should be leveraging all the amazing free tools already out there.

Low-cost digital marketing channels and tools, which smaller agencies should focus on include social media, email marketing, free resources like Google Analytics or SEO guides.

We have seen lots of agencies shifting to Sendinblue email software, the free version is powerful, integrating with most CRMs and project management tools while also scaling as you grow.

3. Build partnerships

Collaborate with other agencies to create content, downloadables and events. This will help you share the cost and workload while also increasing your audience. Not only that, but it will show your audience you are well connected and add clout to your content.

4. Set strong foundations

Inconsistency in your messaging leads to confusion. Whether that’s a lack of clarity to whom you’re servicing or what your service actually is!

Our research shows agencies with stronger propositions perform 38% better in their marketing overall.

Once you know what your proposition is, this can be the base for creating a clear content strategy that aligns with your business goals and target audience. This strategy should define key metrics and performance indicators, outline the tactics and channels that will be used, and provide a timeline and budget for executing the plan.

A clear proposition, combined with a solid content strategy will make the job of marketing a hundred times easier and quicker as you will already know what you’re underlying message is.

5. Ask for help

Marketing is a specialised skill that requires expertise and experience to execute effectively. Smaller agencies often lack the in-house marketing expertise which can lead to ineffective campaigns, inconsistency and missed opportunities.

By outsourcing your marketing to a specialist you can ensure a variety of expertise and guidance for your marketing activities that help you reach your goals.

You can start by tapping into the following marketing & agency communities for support:

  • The Marketing Meet Up

  • The Agency Collective

  • Agency Local

  • Agency Hackers

  • OMG Centre

  • Agencywise

Need help with your marketing?

At Chime, we support agencies of all sizes, and have successfully helped many smaller agencies reach their business goals through marketing. To find out how we could help you, contact us here.


Download our Practice What You Preach report

Agency marketing is hard. Our research with over 100 UK agencies proves it. Download the report to learn how to become your own best case study.


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