Meet Joe. Joe is developing a cool new product. Joe needs to work with a creative agency to perfect his product's branding and marketing.
Joe starts the hunt for an agency. What does he discover? Within his city alone there are hundreds of creative companies, each one with an impressive portfolio and a beautiful website and bubbly sales team. How does Joe choose which agency to use?
If you’re one of those agencies Joe is considering, how do you make your firm stand out from the pack? Here are some ideas:
1. Specialise in a niche or industry
One way to stand out from the crowd is to specialise in a specific industry or niche, instead of offering your services to a huge variety of companies. This means your firm targets a very small, very specific audience, and focuses on being the ideal agency with all the right contacts and niche skills.
If Joe found a niche agency specialising in his industry, that agency will probably shoot right to the top of his list, even if they were more expensive than his other options.
For example, if I was a catering company specialising in weddings, and I discovered on a hunt for my creative agency there was a firm who specialised in branding for wedding vendors, I’d be signing up. Sure, if I was a mechanic, I’d definitely look elsewhere, but the agency wouldn’t care, because they’d have lots of other wedding vendors beating down their doors.
Specialising also enables you to incorporate value pricing principles, which we’ll talk about below:
2. Price for value, instead of productivity
Often, in the world of creativity, it’s not the lowest price that wins the day. If the price is too low the client assumes they aren’t receiving the value they want, so they look elsewhere.
When presented with an hourly rate or a single cost for an entire project - even if the single cost is higher than the estimated number of hours - most prospects will opt for the fixed number, because it provides security. They know exactly what the project is going to cost, and just need to decide if that price is worth it for them.
Value pricing means naming a price for each project based not on the number of hours it takes to complete, but on the final value a company gets out of the job. If you charge $2500 for a website, and then your client goes on to bring in $500,000 from that website every year for the next 5 years, than that client has received a real bargain.
Value pricing recognises that a client receives an ongoing business benefit from the work you as an agency does, and works to reflect that. It’s also something clients look for subconsciously when they choose an agency - as the focus is on the client’s company and what the agency can achieve for them, rather than on how quickly the agency can work.
Want to learn more about value pricing and how it can help your agency? You're in luck! We're running a FREE webinar on value pricing for agencies on TuesWed Oct 28-29. Check it out!
3. Be the one people are talking about
If Joe is faced with the decision between two agencies, and he remembers seeing an article about Agency A’s successful campaigns in the paper the other week, he’s going to choose agency A over agency B, simply because he recognises their name.
Being visible in your local or industry business community goes a long way towards winning new clients. You can do this a number of ways:
- Get serious about PR and start pitching stories to local press about your agency and your clients.
- Maintain an active social media presence.
- Organise and manage local creative sector events and forums.
- Regularly attend networking breakfasts and meetings.
- Encourage your clients to refer their associates to you.
- Support local charity and community events.
4. Make your purpose clear
So many agencies focus on being a one-size-fits-all solution for every business that they don’t convey a solid message to prospective clients. Joe has a specific problem - he needs some product packaging and branding - and he wants to immediately grasp that your agency can help him achieve his desired result. He doesn’t want to wade through mountains of marketing material to figure out if you are a good fit.
In all your marketing material, make sure it’s immediately obvious what you actually do, and why it should matter to a business owner.
5. Develop strategic partnerships
Find other local companies who have services that complement yours (for example, a design agency might align with a printer or a packaging company). With strategic partners you can create joint package with special pricing, refer work between you, and offer new and innovative ways for your clients to reach their market.
Nurture these ongoing partnerships through driving traffic to their services from your website and social media, promoting them alongside your agency at events and actively working to bring them quality referrals.
6. Host an Event
Events can be a great way to bring potential clients and stakeholders together, and if you pull off a successful event, you’ll definitely stand out as an agency. They increase your local profile and ensure you’re the first name on any guest’s lips when they’re thinking about hiring an agency.
You could run:
- an industry mixer with funky cocktails and great food
- a workshop for business owners about branding or social media
- an “open-house” event with speakers and a tour of the office
- a charity auction or dinner.
The next time Joe comes knocking at your door with his product concept, are you ready for him? What can you do today to make your agency stand out from the crowd?
Picture of Joe comes from freedigitalphotos.net.