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Best Practices for growing your ad agency

To grow your ad agency, you not only need a solid vision, you need to implement failsafe strategies and practices to ensure that you accomplish your goal. The last 12 months are a reminder that we operate in a highly competitive industry and agencies need to be adaptable to cope with the rapidly changing landscape. 
So how do you grow your ad agency with the current landscape?  Well here are some best practices for growing and thriving in your ad agency.   

1. Become a marketing whiz.

It?s almost impossible to grow and maintain an ad agency if the money isn?t rolling in. In addition to pitching for new work, it?s critical that marketing remains a top priority for you. Your website should highlight your unique style and service offerings ? who are you and what distinct skills and attributes can you bring to the table? Highly specialised blog and video content on your website also provides an opportunity for you to show potential clients how well you understand the advertising world. Keep it relevant while showcasing your inimitable style. Client testimonials and case studies also add weight to your website by demonstrating that you can deliver on what you promise. 
Make sure that if you do social media, you do it well ? be consistent and pertinent to your industry while finding new ways to stand out from the crowd. Don?t miss any opportunity to enter your ad agency in industry awards to highlight your achievements across the advertising industry. Finally, invest time in forming innovative partnerships that can fill skill or service gaps so that you can offer more to your clients.

2. Happy clients are generally repeat clients.

Once you?ve done the hard yards and increased your client base, remember to take care of your clients. After all, repeat business is the easiest business there is. To keep your clients satisfied, you both have to be on the same page in terms of objectives and goals. Clear communications and delivering on what you promise (and if you can?t then come clean about it) will go along way in fortifying your relationship. Of course, don?t be afraid to cull any clients that expect too much for too little remuneration, because you can?t grow your ad agency investing in bad clients. It goes without saying that your fee structure should remunerate you for what you?re worth.

3. Don?t let the passion bubble burst.

When growing any business, it?s easy to focus entirely on the money that is or isn?t coming in. You have to eat and pay the bills, right? The truth is, though, your agency relies just as much on passion and dedication to steer it in the right direction. You started out in this business for a reason, so always remember why it is you do what you do ? and remind your staff too. Share milestones together, plan fun social events that your staff are actually interested in, invest in training, and reward and recognise your staff. Just as importantly, put your own unique spin on things and build an amazing work culture while you?re at it. 

4. Hire the right talent for your ad agency.

First up, identify the skill gaps in your ad agency so you know exactly what kind of talent you?re looking for. People can look good on paper, so when it comes to interviewing make sure you have a robust process in place. Are the questions tailored to your ad agency? More importantly, are the questions tailored to the unique environment that is your ad agency? Is it worth having someone from the team they?ll potentially be working with sit in on the interview for another POV? Mix up the interview space to suit your agency?s work culture ? get comfortable on a couch, go out to lunch at a great eatery, play games and get to know each other better. You?re only limited by your own imagination. Of course, you will have to accept that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you get it wrong so don?t be too upset if you have to part ways with someone who doesn?t gel with your agency. But once you do have the right talent, then provide the opportunities, training and work culture that will make them want to stay. 

5. Streamline your approval workflow.

If your staff are wasting valuable time on administrating creative projects, then this is eating into your bottom line. Eliminate repetitive tasks and non-billable hours by tightening up your approval workflow. Make sure artwork is revised by stakeholders in the right order and that feedback is batched and sent to designers in one hit. All files and communication should also be saved in a central location where stakeholders can find them with ease. 
Some brands are now stipulating that ad agencies manage their approval workflow with digital tools to offer greater transparency over their creative projects, reporting tools and accurate audit trails. Approval workflow software offers a summary of work in progress in a central hub that can be accessed by all approved stakeholders. The solution also eliminates repetitive tasks by automating much of the approval workflow process. It also provides greater quality assurance as well as marketing compliance which goes a long way in building a reliable reputation.