8 Ways For Your Creative Agency To Be Profitable …
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And Have Your Customers Love You At The Same Time!
Talking about profit and having your customers love you in the same blog post may seem counter-intuitive, but really it’s not! Profitable companies are stable, and we all want to work with stable business partners, particularly if we’re looking at developing a long-term relationship.
Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re running a business and that your company needs to make a profit off your services … remember (unless you’re working for a non-profit) your customers are also in business to make money!
Following the 8 tips below will help you not only be seen as a viable business partner, but also be as profitable as possible and, yes, make your customers love you!
Customers will often question the value of your work and why you price things the way you do. Creating customer facing key performance indicators (KPIs) can often help quantify value for these customers and help keep you on track and profitable at the same time.
How accurate is your billing? Tracking time, staying on top of expenses and managing media buys effectively will ensure that your customers see you as organized and professional. Believe it or not (here’s my plug) you can actually use the fact that your agency has a solid workflow, financial and project management process in place by using a tool such as Function Point to manage your work!
Deadlines and response time
Provide your customers with a realistic schedule of your project milestones and keep them apprised of where things stand real-time. This should include both agency and customer deliverables and how one may effect the other (customers need to understand that if they don’t provide creative or copy approvals on time, for example, the project delivery date may be in jeopardy)!
Share your knowledge with prospects and customers. This may be directly with specific customers relating to work you’re doing with them or may be through blogs, eBooks and other publications that you share with the world. Ideally you want to do both – strive to be considered an expert by providing great content!
Anticipate customer needs
Understanding and anticipating customer goals, problems, weakness and strengths will increase the value of your customer/agency relationships. Providing unsolicited advice based on industry trends, paying attention to details and genuinely caring about your customers will keep you ahead of the competition and help keep your projects on track. Ideally you want to become the agency of record for at least some of your key customers, so the more you know about them and share your knowledge the more valuable your “brand” will become.
A successful integrated agency tends to have a smooth workflow where each department collaborates effectively and keeps focused on the final deliverable. Teamwork is also an indicator of how efficient and proactive the agency … not to mention it will be much more fun to work at and with your agency!
It is essential to be up-front and communicate with customers. This means not only developing relationships with key individuals and following up on project work, it also means pushing back when needed. Don’t be afraid to say no – customers will respect and come to rely on your honesty and expertise. Dates and fees are always negotiable, and the more transparent you are with your customers on how much time a job will take, the better off you will be in the long term.
Last but not least, you have to show that you are happy to serve your customers and show enthusiasm with your work. Share the creative process with your customers and have fun!
Share your thoughts and ideas with us. What does your agency do to keep your customers happy and be profitable while you do it?