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How to Grow Your Marketing Agency: Part 1 – Choose a Niche

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I want to do a series for all of us agency owners around how to grow an agency. And I’m going to walk you through a little bit my own journey, what I think is critically important. And there’s going to be a lot of different videos in this series. But this right here is video one. And the first thing you have to do if you want to grow your agency is choose a niche. I wish it wasn’t the case, but the truth is, is you won’t be able to organically allocate your capital. In other words, take the money you make from your customer engagements reinvest it into your business and get more customers. If you don’t have a clear point of view why your agency exists and who it exists for.

So in the history of Directive, we’ve gone through countless positioning pivots and every time it’s resulted in more growth. When we first started, we were a local SEO shop. We had one service line as SEO and we had one customer. Small, local companies. From there, we grew right. And every time I’ve left the niche, it’s when I got to the top of a niche and kind of evaluated its economic potential. So when we first started a local SEO, only a couple of years in, we actually landed the Allstate account. And we still to this day have Allstate Agency a record for all their SEO. But unfortunately, what we discovered is it was hard to grow within the insurance space because we had non-competes. Once I had all state, I couldn’t get State Farm, I couldn’t get Geico. And so I was a little stuck. And we found that the only great local accounts were multi-location. But the way multi-location companies wanted the packaging or pricing for each of their net new locations didn’t allow for any margin. In other words, you had to give a discount for every net new location you serviced, but you couldn’t necessarily make up for that by working less hours. So we found it hard to be very profitable in the local game.

So from there we went to B2B. And B2B was great, but we found that within B2B there was construction, there was B2B services, there’s also B2B software. And we found within B2B that our best clients, ones that payed us the most usually weren’t B2B products or e-commerce or services, but instead technology companies. So from there, we decided to become the largest B2B SaaS agency in the world, and I think we actually pulled it off. And now what we’re doing is we’re pivoting into tech because we see that there is a bridge between what B2B SAS has and what tech consumers need. And we are uniquely positioned and talented at lead generation. And so we’re going to move more into the technology space. We’re going to avoid some of the hardware stuff and the e-commerce stuff and really focus on lead generation. But every time we’ve done this and gotten our positioning, right, we’ve grown.

Now, the key to doing your positioning correctly is to make sure you have a viewpoint, a clear reality around why you are the best agency for this exact type of consumer, this persona, this this client, this customer that you want to attract. And so you always have to develop. Let’s say, not even this category, but like a positioning statement. So for Directive, if you want to go to our website, you can check out our customer generation page. This is our viewpoint on what tech companies need to acquire more customers. It’s how we think about the principles of how we view the world, the services we offer, the mentality we take, the approach we take, the way we use data, the way we don’t use data, and it formulates a viewpoint. And if you want to charge more money as an agency, if you want to attract more customers, you have to have a clear niche and then an even more clear viewpoint around how you exactly are different from other agencies that also serve that niche.

One of the things you got to remember about this game is many agencies are focused on trying to tell you why they’re better. But nobody pays more for better, because better is almost impossible to convince someone of. It’s borderline impossible to get someone to think you’re the best. But it’s exceptionally easy to get someone to believe that you’re different. And so if you focus on being different than your competitors and not better, you can sell apples while they’re selling oranges. And you’ll start to get price elasticity. That means you can charge more than they can. That means you can have different types of terms than they can in your contracts. It means that you can start to create advantageous elements in how you engage with customers to get greater margins as well as greater top line revenue. And you can always do that as long as you’re always helping clients get to their outcomes.

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I run an agency in the low-mid seven figures. But I work with Garrett in order to get to eight-figures. When you work with people who have done exactly what you want to do, you will get there faster.


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