how to create longer term relationships with your clients

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Many marketing agencies suffer from the problem of having too many short-term projects. This forces them to constantly be looking for new clients, even while serving their existing ones. You may be familiar with the stress this causes, as there’s a constant threat of a drought of new customers, in which case your agency might go from profits to debt in surprisingly little time.

According to one recent study, over the past year, 46% of agency revenue came from ongoing retainers, whereas 56% was driven by one-off projects.

Longer-term relationships are far preferable, because of the security they offer. It makes it easier to forecast income and make informed decisions on the future of the agency. When you know you have guaranteed clients then you can scale the team accordingly to meet the anticipated demand.

You also have the leeway to take a more sustainable approach towards client services, mixing up quick wins with long-term investments, to keep them happier for longer. This is how an agency can be successful over the course of years, rather than a barely surviving project to project.

On the other hand, it isn’t always easy to convince your new prospective clients to sign on for a long-term commitment, especially if they have yet to see any results from your efforts. Feeling good about a partner relationship is, after all, one of the top criteria that business buyers consider when selecting their agency.

In this regard, it can be helpful to offer upsells that keep clients around for longer, as they enjoy the benefits of increasingly diverse types of value from your organization over time.

Here are three ways to upsell existing clients with valuable additional services that will help them to thrive and your agency alongside them.

Offer Software Solutions

As you might know from running your own agency, one of the toughest problems for small businesses just getting started is navigating the complex range of tech available. It can be difficult to choose which apps to work with as everyone claims to be the best. They need someone they trust to lead them down the right path.

Clients will value the expertise of your agency once you have successfully delivered a project for them. Rather than simply recommending third-party tools, you can offer your own solutions by partnering with vcita.

how to create longer term relationships with your clients

The app allows the client to manage their calendar, finances, and marketing easily all within one simple interface. You can place your logo prominently in the dashboard, so that the client thinks of the app as being as much yours as it is vcita’s, reminding them of your agency’s brand as they go about their business, nurturing and closing the leads that your team captures for them.

This will provide you with recurring subscription revenue, which gives your agency’s finances resilience. You’ll be able to forecast the lower bound of future income more accurately, which can empower you to invest further in your business. A second positive effect is that it gives you increased visibility into the health of your clients’ businesses, so you can adjust your services to provide the most value possible.

Widen Your Services

Choosing a niche and dominating it is generally accepted good business advice. Yet small businesses don’t want to need to deal with a hundred different agencies for different aspects of their marketing. with each focused on a narrow slice of the pie.

They generally prefer to work with a “one-stop shop” agency that can help them with all their needs in the interests of simplicity. If you are too narrowly focused, you leave the door open for a broader marketing agency to squeeze you out. As you can see in the below chart from SEMrush, different types of in-demand marketing services involve vastly different average revenues and profit margins, so it certainly makes good business sense to offer a bit of everything.

how to create longer term relationships with your clients

On the other hand, it’s not feasible for every agency to scale up and hire specialists in every different area, as it would add considerable fixed costs. However, your agency can make use of the huge number of freelancers looking for work. By having regular touchpoints with a client, your agency can preempt where they may need further work and what they would be willing to pay.

From here, the idea is to hire freelancers who could complete the work to a high standard but allow a profit margin for your agency. It’s quick and easy to find freelancers through marketplaces like Upwork. If someone does a good job, then they can be regularly contracted to help and be relied upon.

Double as an Influencer Agency

It’s no secret that influencer marketing has taken off in the last few years, and the industry is expected to reach $16.4 billion by the end of 2022. This is a huge opportunity for agencies to help small businesses and build long-term relationships.

For many agency clients, the prospect of finding a suitable influencer could be intimidating and something which they feel they do not have the time or expertise to do. It’s more logical for an agency to build influencer relationships instead because these relationships can be utilized with many different clients. The aim would be to have a roster of influencers of different sizes who serve different audiences that clients can tap into. The profit would be found in the gap between what the client pays versus what the influencer receives, as the agency effectively takes a finder’s fee.

how to create longer term relationships with your clients

Services such as GRIN make it possible to contact targeted micro-influencers who are looking for sponsors, so it should not be difficult for your agency to meet the demands of clients. As the agency builds up expertise, your team can even advise clients on their influencer strategy too. The more traction your clients gain, the more established an influencer they can target.

Final thoughts

Longer-term relationships with clients mean fewer nightmares and more sustainable income flows. The key is to look beyond the services your agency currently provides and see what other ways it can serve the client’s needs.

Here are three ways to get you started:

  • Offer software solutions – Partner with existing software solutions under your branding to provide clients with the tech they need.
  • Widen your services – Use a network of freelancers to help your agency to meet client demands beyond the services you offer.
  • Double as an influencer agency – Influencer marketing is growing fast but the average small business can’t handle everything alone. Build a roster of influencers whom you can recommend to clients.

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