There are numerous choices involved in prioritising your service offerings. You could focus on services that offer higher profit margins, or services that are appear to have a sudden boom in popularity. Equally, you might want to focus on essential services like web design, email marketing or SEO, which are always in demand.
Lilach Bullock, of Comms Axis and a guest speaker in our ‘Growing your digital marketing agency: What services should you offer’ webinar, believes that, for smaller agencies and consultancies, it all comes down to your skill-set:
“I think when you are much smaller, you have to focus on your core skill-set. It’s all very well clients wanting lots of SEO. But if you can’t do it, then you have to focus on what you can offer.”
The majority of participants of this webinar were freelance consultants and they too echoed Lilach’s thoughts. A poll taken during the webinar revealed that ‘skills and experience’ are by far the most important factors to be considered when deciding which services to offer, ‘client requests’ took a distant second place.
But what other considerations are worth exploring when choosing what services to offer?
Services that are always in demand
The definition of ‘core’ service offerings often varies but SEO, PPC and web design are in constant demand. Search engines change their algorithms – requiring new SEO strategies – PPC adverts require constant testing and manipulation and within 2-3 years, website designs start to look out of date.
A steady flow of work can be achieved by focusing on these services and this strategy helps with ‘service layering’ (explored in more detail later), where one service rolls naturally into another. This can ensure you make the most from supporting your existing clients.
Services that are trending
It may sound to good too be true, but keeping up to date with the current trands in the digital marketing industry, such as the recent growth in social media marketing and the current explosion of content marketing, is guaranteed to bring you closer to your existing clients and position you in the sight of potentially new clients. By staying ‘current’ you can create your own brand equity around innovation and its impact on strategy.
There is the risk, though, that you end up ‘chasing butterflies’, forever devising schemes that employ relatively unproven technologies and offer no guarantee of success. While some trends persist, others wane or even become discredited, leading to a loss of credibility.
Tamsin Fox-Davies, Small Business Evangelist here at Constant Contact offered her perspective on keeping up to date with trends and following industry news during our webinar;
“If you’re a good professional and you keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends, then you will still get on OK. But you’ve got to know what works and be able to spot the profitable ones”.
Services with higher profit margins
Prioritising services based on how they impact your bottom line usually means focusing on services which are highly valued by clients, such as branding, web design and campaigns. Yet, this isn’t always true. In 2013, the Online Marketing Institute produced a report that suggested the most coveted digital marketing skills would soon be ‘mobile, analytics, and marketing automation’.
As a rule clients are prepared to pay more for services they know they need, but don’t have the internal skills to cover or the budget to hire in easily. If you’re able to offer these specialist technical services, it may be worth focusing on them.
Lilach Bullock admits that profit margin has direct impact on the services offered by her agency:
“We know what our most profitable services are and we focus as much as possible on those. We hardly promote the lower end ones”. She adds, though, that her approach isn’t necessarily followed by all agencies: “Smaller outfits market themselves very, very differently. It’s only when you want to grow and become a larger agency that you have to really focus your priorities”.
For an in-depth guide to this topic, you can download our latest white paper: Growing Your Digital Marketing Agency; What services should you offer, which features insights and advice from some of the UK’s top digital marketing experts.
Nice article, I only have one comment regarding smaller agencies. They can focus beyond their core skill-set, they can explore, learn, and adapt faster to market changes than the big agencies.