5 Steps to Growing a Seven-Figure Marketing Agency: Advice from the Experts

Ian Leadbetter
20th June 2017

Growing your agency to and above £1 million annual profits may sound like a lofty goal, but it’s been done many times before.

We’ve reviewed many different pieces of advice from a variety of successful seven-figure marketing agency owners and operators, discovered the consistencies, and combined them into this five-step process for achieving significant agency growth.

If you’re looking to grow and expand your agency in the coming years, consider this seven-figure agency blueprint to learn how to do it in the most effective and profitable way.

  1. 1. Focus Your Efforts

When you’re just starting a marketing agency, you may be compelled to be everything to everyone.

Why focus on a specific service when you could be full-service?

Why focus on a niche when your target market can be every business, everywhere?

While it may seem limiting to restrict services or focus on a specific industry or location, it’s crucial to agency growth.

By focusing on everything, you’ll never become excellent at anything.

Instead, you’ll have to hire people that are excellent in your areas of weakness, which can overtax new agency funding.

When David Gilroy and his partners founded Conscious Solutions, they started with a specific service.

They focused on web development, specifically designed for the legal sector.

5 Steps to Growing a Seven Figure Marketing Agency - www.ruleranalytics.com1

Conscious Solutions: brand design & marketing for law firms.

This decision enabled Conscious to scale their growth, become subject-matter experts in the legal sector, and establish a unique value proposition for prospective clients: while others do everything, they only do legal.

Over time, they expanded their service offering, and are now a full-service marketing agency.

However, they still only provide services in the legal sector.

Even with a focus on a niche, the agency turns over seven figures annually.

Start with a focus, master that focus, and expand over time.

2. Hire the Right People

For Ralph Burns, managing partner and Agency CEO at Dominate Web Media, hiring an all-star team is key to growing a highly profitable agency.

5 Steps to Growing a Seven Figure Marketing Agency Advice from the Experts - www.ruleranalytics.com4

Keith Krance, Founder and CEO and Ralph Burns, Managing Partner with Dominate Web Media team.

One of the keys to hiring an all-star team is again focus.

When growing the agency, Burns was initially inclined to hire people who exhibited similar strengths and traits as himself, but he quickly realised that was faulty logic.

What he needed was people who were better than him, people who were experts at what they do.

Over time, Dominate Web Media grew its business by adding focused experts to its team. Including, account managers, designers, programmers, copywriters, and data scientists.

The collaborative efforts of these experts was a significant driver of the agency’s success.

When Burns is hiring new employees, he looks for people who are hungry, humble, and able to demonstrate their abilities.

Hungry means they’re naturally inclined to seek knowledge and improvement.

Humbleness is required because he needs his people to be excellent, but not full of themselves.

As far as demonstrating their work, Burns substitutes the traditional interview process with an audition.

He gives the candidate access to company information and has them perform a task.

This lets him see the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses much more effectively than simply reading a resume or having an awkward interview conversation.

By hiring the right people, Dominate Web Media has been able to grow its business without having to sacrifice quality along the way.

3. Create and Streamline Procedures

Beyond hiring the right people, you must give those people the tools they need to succeed.

That happens thorough documenting processes.

According to Richard Lorenzen, the founder and CEO of public relations agency Fifth Avenue Brands:

“An agency can’t scale without systems and procedures in place for every aspect of operation. It is not enough to hire talented people and expect them to just know what to do with minimal guidance. You need specific policies and procedures in place for them to follow on a daily basis.”

Procedural documentation provides new employees with a blueprint for success, and it also provides a framework for process improvement.

By documenting processes, employees can make suggestions for how processes can be streamlined and improved to increase productivity, effectiveness, and revenue.

Quality can suffer when everyone just works using their own processes.

It creates inconsistencies for clients when working with different agency employees, and can lead to variable costs for identical tasks, which could result in poor client retention.

4. Build Authority

Dominate Web Media’s founder Keith Krance believes that the number one growth hack for agencies is building authority.

5 Steps to Growing a Seven Figure Marketing Agency Advice from the Experts - www.ruleranalytics.com

Kevin Krance, Founder and CEO of Dominate Web Media.

The foundation of his agency’s success came after landing an important client who perceived him as an authority, because of a book he had self-published through Amazon.

That client referred him to additional clients, and the agency was born.

There are many ways that agencies can build their authority to grow their business:

Educate – One of Krance’s areas of responsibility is managing the company’s education portal: Facebook Ads University. It’s a paid membership site that teaches subscribers how to succeed with advertising on Facebook. Any potential clients who subscribe to take courses in Facebook Ads University see obvious proof that Dominate Web Media knows its business.

Publish – Krance started by writing and self-publishing a book, but there are many other ways to share knowledge and build authority. Neil Patel—one of the biggest names in marketing—has built his authority to guru status by regularly publishing high-quality and comprehensive blog posts on his web properties.

Speak – Patel also recommends speaking at conferences as a means of building authority and finding new clients. When Patel speaks, he offers tactical advice that companies can use. He also backs up those recommendations with evidence, providing examples companies of who’ve achieved success using the recommended tactics. His speaking engagements have led to seven-figure contracts.

Authority comes with many benefits.

It makes it easier to convince clients that the cost of hiring your agency is worth it because you’re considered an expert in the field.

It also leads to better brand recognition—which can lead to passive client acquisition and more inbound links. Which can improve organic search visibility.

5. Show Proof of Results

In the end, no number of growth hacks will help build a seven-figure agency if you’re incapable of satisfying your clients.

Satisfying clients requires attention to many different things, providing effective customer service, getting results, and producing quality work.

Although Mike Ramsey, President at Nifty Ventures, argues that those things aren’t enough:

“I remember becoming a good SEO. I also remember getting amazing results for clients and still getting complaints from them. I thought they were the problem. Then I realised I was… I knew I had done a great job gaining more traffic, but the clients had no idea what was being done. They didn’t understand what they were paying for and subsequently thought that I was unnecessary.”

To overcome this issue, Ramsey started providing clients with detailed reports and visuals showing what work had been done and what the results were. His customer complaints ceased.

5 Steps to Growing a Seven-Figure Marketing Agency - www.ruleranalytics.com

President, Mike Ramsay and the team at NiftyMarketing.

Hiring an agency is expensive. Clients want to know exactly what they’re paying for, and exactly what they’re getting as a result.

To provide this information, agencies must adopt modern analytics tools.

With call tracking, goal tracking and marketing attribution, agencies can populate detailed reports for clients that show exactly how many leads and how much revenue their work is generating.

The bottom line:

Agency growth begins with client satisfaction, and when it comes to client satisfaction, the proof is in the pudding.

Building a Seven-Figure Agency

While it takes time to reach seven-figure profits, it’s not unachievable.

Marketing agencies that are seeking to grow this year and in years to come should take time to make sure they have the right people, documented processes, a dedicated focus, expert authority, and the right tools for proving the value of their services to clients.

Follow this blueprint, and watch profits soar.