How to grow a digital marketing agency (step-by-step guide)

by Andy Nguyen
How to Grow a Digital Marketing Agency

It’s not easy to grow a digital marketing agency, right?

Look, I get it.

Scaling a digital marketing business is a major challenge for most agency owners.

However, with the right strategy and tools, you can grow your marketing agency a lot faster!

To help you out, we’ll cover everything you need to know to boost your agency growth in this article.

The article contains:

(click on the links below to jump to a specific section)

How To Grow A Digital Marketing Agency In 5 Steps

Let’s get started.

How to grow a digital marketing agency in 5 easy steps

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you grow your digital marketing agency:

Step 1: Build your client network

The first step towards agency growth is to build your client network.

If prospects don’t know about your agency, they can’t hire you, right?

But how do you get started?

Here’s how:

A. Look at your existing network

If you want to grow your agency, you need to get out there and connect with people!

An easy way to do this is to think about people you already know, such as:

Past clients

Your best prospects are clients you’ve worked with before, such as one from a past project or perhaps even the first company you worked at. Try to upsell additional services to them. They may also keep you on a retainer since you’ve already worked together!

People you meet at networking events

Offline networking events like meetings and conferences are great spaces for building relationships with potential clients. You could interact with like-minded people to grow your network and even land new clients for your agency.

Friendly industry peers

Maintain healthy relationships with your industry peers like other full-service marketing and advertising agencies.This way, they can refer you to clients they can’t attend to (such as companies that don’t have the budget to hire them) or provide testimonials to boost your credibility.Additionally, you might be able to provide complementary services that they don’t offer.

B. Ask for referrals

Referrals are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to get new clients.

But how do you ask for referrals?

Here are a few pointers to help you out:

Focus on your best clients.

Chances are, you have a good rapport with your best clients.

So why not make the most of it?

Just ask them for a referral!

As they already like your work, they may be more than willing to recommend you to someone in their network.

Make it easy

You must make it easy for your clients to refer you to their network, right?

And the quickest way to do that?

Just ensure that they have your contact info — phone number, email and even your LinkedIn and Twitter handle.

Just ask

You don’t have to be pushy to ask your clients for referrals.

Before their project is over, just ask them to keep you in mind if they know someone with similar needs. You can also add a line at the end of your invoice or in your email signature to get the message across!

C. Look at online marketplaces

Online marketplaces like LinkedIn, AngelList and help you find people who need the services of a digital agency. Just respond to the job postings on these websites to find potential clients!

However, as these prospects don’t know you, remember to highlight how successful your services have been in the past. For example, if you run social media ads, you could highlight a successful Facebook Ads campaign that you ran and the results you delivered.

Step 2: Develop inbound and outbound marketing strategies

marketing strategies

You can’t grow a marketing agency without a proper marketing plan, right?

Inbound marketing strategies like content marketing and SEO focus on prospects who actively search for online marketing solutions. However, you also need outbound marketing solutions like ads and emails to attract an audience.

So what kind of strategies should you focus on?

Here are some of the best ones to look at:

A. Content and SEO

One of the most popular content marketing strategies is to create online content for SEO (search engine optimization).

This can help you out in two ways:

  • You can create content to answer your target audience’s queries and offer your service as a smart solution to their problems.
  • It helps your website gain more visibility in Google.

So how do you optimize content for SEO to help your digital marketing agency?

Use a keyword research tool to find keywords closely related to your niche and analyze them.
See who ranks for these keywords and look at the content they’re writing about.

Ask yourself a few questions like:

  • Who shows up in the search results?
  • Are they your competitors?
  • What can you give your audience that your competitors can’t?

Create a blog and optimize your articles to answer these questions in the best way possible!

You don’t need to be a content or SEO expert to write and optimize a page or a blog post. Instead, you can take inspiration from some useful and interesting digital marketing blogs that are trustworthy and content-rich.

Just create valuable content and use the right keywords to boost your search engine rankings!

B. Pay-Per-Click Ads

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads like Facebook Ads and Google Ads are an incredibly effective way to boost your outreach.

With PPC ads, you can target a specific audience whose online activity and data reflect your services. Plus, with PPC, you only have to pay for actual clicks on your advertisement!

So how do you use PPC ads?

  • Make sure you’re targeting a specific niche, such as e-commerce or real estate.
  • Use retargeting techniques to increase your chances of conversions.

For example, if your niche is franchise marketing, your ads can target small businesses that search for franchise marketing or Facebook groups containing franchise owners.

Tip: Tools like WordStream and Google AdWords Editor can help you out with PPC ads.

C. Social media

With everyone, including your target audience, on social media, it’s vital to use it to your advantage!

Here’re a few ways you can establish your brand on social media platforms:

  • Find channels where your customers are most active and join it.
  • Make sure your social media links are easy to find and click.
  • Look for relevant groups and share content to attract leads.

How does this help?

If you’re active on these platforms, you could establish authority as an influencer in these niches. As your agency name will pop up on their newsfeeds, they’ll become familiar with what you do — making it easier to approach them.

D. Case studies

Your successful clients are your best selling points, so why not show them off?

Client case studies are incredibly useful for your agency website.


Case studies prove that you can deliver results. They highlight your achievements to increase a prospect’s confidence in your marketing services!

Maintain a dedicated page for your successes on your website to make it easy to find. However, if you don’t have case studies to highlight, you could create webinars or eBooks that highlight authority and function as lead magnets instead.

E. Cold emailing

Cold emailing is still an effective strategy to reach out to your prospects.

You can create email sequences with content that match your prospect’s needs and concerns.

What’s the best way to get started with cold emailing?

Go for a powerful cold emailing software!

Several email marketing tools such as GMass help you automate email sequences and marketing campaigns to boost your email outreach. These SaaS tools also track metrics that’ll help improve your future campaigns.

However, you shouldn’t spam your prospects with tons of emails!

Instead, send emails intermittently to provide as much value as possible.

Step 3: Hire and train the right people

hire and train people

As employees are an important asset to your business, you need to hire and train the best ones to grow effectively.

Hire high-quality candidates to fit your agency’s needs, such as those with varying skill sets. You can even outsource small tasks to virtual assistants while assigning important projects to your in-house team.

But how do you make sure you’re hiring the right people?

Here’s how:

Go beyond the resume

As the digital marketing space keeps changing, resumes aren’t your best measurements of success.

Find people willing to learn, adapt and keep up with digital marketing rather than someone with an impressive CV! The former will pay off more in the long run, especially when growing a new business.

Think about your team

It’s essential to make sure your team can work well together.

When interviewing someone, think about whether your team would be able to collaborate and communicate efficiently with them. If the answer is no, move on to the next candidate.

Favor creativity

Digital marketers wear multiple hats — the most important one being the creative hat!

But how do you know if a candidate is creative?

Figure out how well the candidate can get things done with limited resources. Give them a creative assignment and pick the ones who can think out of the box!

Tip: As your team grows, you can use time tracking and project management tools to keep track of your employees’ productivity.

Step 4: Streamline the client onboarding process

To have a successful agency, you’ll need to quickly onboard new clients, right?

That’s why their client onboarding experience should be as simple and streamlined as possible!

How do you do that?

Start with a friendly meeting

Your initial meeting should give the prospect a good first impression.

Listen to the client, make sure you understand their needs and outline how your services can help them.

Make your clients feel comfortable

Make sure you put them at ease during the onboarding process. Always explain your services in a simple manner, avoiding any complex terms or jargon. And if you’re using a tool for the onboarding process, ensure that it’s user-friendly.

Send a satisfaction survey

Use satisfaction surveys for feedback on your onboarding process to show that you care about the client’s experience. It’ll also help you improve interactions with future prospects too!

Step 5: Upsell to your clients

upsell to clients

Upselling to your existing clients is a great way to improve agency growth, especially if it’s a full-service agency.

But when you’re asking clients to buy more services, you can’t come off as pushy, right?

Instead, you have to upsell naturally, making sure they see how your services provide value.

Here’s how to do it:

A. Sell complementary services

If your clients buy an online ad package from you, why not offer them web design services too?

Show them the value of an attractive landing page and how it can increase their revenue exponentially!

If they’re happy with the result, you could offer them copywriting services the next month to further boost their conversion rate! Since you have already proven your value, they’re more likely to take the deal.

Remember, the more you seem to know about your own business domain, the more your clients will trust you.

B. Show the value of using your solutions

Have your services helped your client?

Make sure your clients understand how their investment in you paid off. Instead of pitching a new solution, you need to show them how your services have improved their returns.

Use milestones and charts to explain how you can replicate those successes for them in future projects. This way, they’ll give you more work in the future!

C. Only upsell to your clients when they need it

Remember, the goal is to attract clients and not drive them away by pushing unnecessary services!

You should only upsell when you can provide actual value to your client.

Explain how your services can benefit your client’s business and what kind of results they can expect. This makes them more likely to buy additional services from you.


Growing your digital marketing agency can be hard for people who don’t know what they’re doing.

However, with the right team, the right clients and the right strategy built on a foundation of the best digital marketing ideas, it can be easy.

Use the steps and tips we covered here to grow your digital marketing agency in no time!

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