Differentiation as a competitive strategy

Too many agencies are looking to be everything for everyone. They try to present themselves as full-service marketing agencies in an effort to get as many contracts as possible.

However, this strategy usually results in the agency developing a reputation of being mediocre – decent at everything, but not an expert in any particular area. This makes it hard for agencies to generate referrals and acquire clients through word of mouth.

Be transparent

Lack of transparency is a frequent issue for today’s agencies. They provide restricted account access, fake testimonials or guarantees and establish bad relationships with their clients.

To differentiate yourself from these types of agencies, you should strive for maximum transparency in everything you do. If you focus on being transparent, you’ll have a much easier time developing high quality and sustainable relationships with all your clients.

Be honest about your experience and abilities

Many agencies will try to get client contracts by trying to appear as if they have experience or knowledge when it comes to providing certain services, while in reality, they don’t.

For example, have you ever had a potential client request social media marketing services for their business while you only offer SEO services? What would you do in this case? Would you
create a proposal for both services even though you currently don’t offer social media marketing, thinking that you’ll learn to do it on the fly?

Or would you be honest with your client and explain that you only offer SEO services and provide them with a recommendation for someone who is more experienced with social media marketing?

To develop a solid reputation as an agency, you should try to be completely honest about what you can and cannot do.

Show clients what you are doing

Do you provide your clients with access and insights into all the accounts you manage for them? Don’t try to hide things from your clients. Show them how you approach managing their accounts and give them access to all the accounts you manage for them.

Try to keep your clients in the loop about everything you are doing for them.

Present all the data in complete detail

Do you provide clients with comprehensive data on everything that you’re doing for them or are you only showing them the positive effects that you’re generating and trying to paint a false picture of their progress?

You should show clients all the data you have on their project and be completely honest and transparent with them about how things are going. This will allow you to gain their respect more easily.

Change your pitch

Most agencies have a habit of sending generic proposals to all their prospects and clients. To stand out, you need to change your pitch by using data, personalizing your pitch for each client, performing extensive market research, and planning for the long-term.

Back up your claims with data

One of the biggest mistakes agencies make when creating a pitch is that they don’t show how exactly they are going to back up their claims. You need to provide concrete data, both from results of working with your previous clients as well as predictions on how your strategy is going to perform for the prospect.

Prepare a unique pitch for each client

Sending generic pitches to all your prospective clients will yield poor results in most cases. You should prepare a unique pitch for each of your clients. Take the time to find or prepare case studies or examples of your work with previous clients that are related to your prospective client’s industry.

Show them how your experience and expertise can specifically help their business.

Do extensive market research

Make sure to research the client’s competition and market extensively. This will allow you to show your client that you understand their specific market and needs as well as that you’re willing to go the extra mile for them and do extensive research even before signing a contract.

Plan with the long-term in mind

You should try to approach each project and client as the beginning of a long-term relationship. By taking this attitude, you will be able to perform in a way that will show your clients that you are interested in their long-term success, instead of just trying to make a quick buck.

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Consider specializing

Brands are starting to look for specialized agencies, with 40% of in-house marketers maintaining a roster of niche digital agencies. It’s clear that you should focus on being an expert on a few areas of marketing or advertising rather than trying to be good at everything.

Which specific area you’re going to focus on will depend on your experience as well as market demand.

Focus on a single industry

Perhaps the easiest way for your agency to stand out is to focus on a specific industry. Clients are looking to work with agencies that understand the unique challenges of their business and their industry. If you don’t understand the client’s industry and can’t speak their language, it’ll be hard for you to convince them to sign a contract.

When you focus on a single industry, you’ll be able to:

Get more referrals – Focusing on a specific industry will allow your agency to get more referrals. If you provide a quality service to a client, they’ll be happy to recommend you to other businesses within their industry.

Acquire clients more easily – If you’re focusing on a specific industry, this will allow you to build a targeted list of prospects more easily, helping you acquire clients quicker and with a smaller financial investment.

Develop industry knowledge – If you only work with clients in a specific industry, this will allow you to gain more knowledge about that specific industry faster than other agencies.

Develop replicable solutions – You will be dealing with the same problems all the time. The solutions that you develop for one client will often be applicable to other clients as well, saving you time when it comes to research and implementation.

Become an authority

Becoming an authority can be an excellent way to differentiate your agency. Has your agency won any awards? Do websites or magazines in your industry recognize you as an expert?

All of these things can help to differentiate your agency. You can show authority by winning industry awards, working in the industry for a significant number of years, working with prestigious clients, and gaining public recognition from industry publications.

Differentiate through thought leadership

Another way to stand out as a digital agency is to produce in-depth, highly valuable thought leadership content. Apart from helping you differentiate from other agencies, creating thought leadership content will also allow you to attract more traffic and leads for your agency.

Different types of thought leadership content that you can produce include:

1) Long-form blog posts – Writing in-depth, long-form blog posts on topics relevant to your clients will help you develop thought leadership and generate leads.

2) Studies and reports – You can produce various research and case studies, as well as industry reports to establish thought leadership.

3) Visual content – Producing stunning visual content such as videos or infographics on topics that interest your clients can also help you develop thought leadership.

4) Tools – You can create tools that are helpful to clients and prospects, including calculators, generators, templates, resource lists, and cheat sheets.

Offer a different pricing model

As much as 38% of in-house marketers claim that they would like their agencies to offer a different pricing model.

Brands are looking for transparent pricing. Display your packages on your website and show what the client gets with each specific package. Being transparent when it comes to pricing will help brands decide on hiring your agency. It will also help to differentiate yourself from competitors that try to obscure their pricing.

You might also want to consider offering performance-based pricing.

Provide detailed analytics

It’s crucial that your agency can provide proof of how you’ve helped previous clients and how you’re helping your current clients. This makes analytics an essential component of running a marketing agency.

You need to be able to report everything about what you’re doing for your clients, how you’re spending their money and how much money you’re actually making for them.

Provide a unique service

You can differentiate your agency by providing a unique service that is rarely offered by agencies. An example of such a service is cold email lead generation. You could offer to generate leads for your clients for a fixed fee or on a per-lead basis.

A lead generation service can be very attractive to prospects and current clients because it provides quick, tangible results. You can use Wavo to generate leads for your clients and provide them with a beautiful white label dashboard where they can see all the results that you’re generating for them.

Differentiate your digital agency from the competition

You need to do everything you can to differentiate your agency in today’s crowded market. We’ve prepared a checklist that will help you understand if you’re doing enough to make your agency stand out from the competition.

Download your checklist and find out what you should be doing to differentiate your agency and generate more leads and clients!