Here’s what you need to understand about branding—it’s more than just having a unique name and a logo.
If you’re serious about starting an agency, the first thing that you need to pay attention to is your brand identity. After deciding on a name, designing a logo, and creating a persona for your agency, what’s next?
Building your agency’s brand is all about identifying what compels your clients to choose you over other agencies out there, what makes you recognizable, and who you are as a business.
Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a process to it, and if you’ve been faithful to that process, it’s going to be easy for your agency to gain the trust of your clients. And that’s what you’ll be learning in this post: how to brand your digital marketing agency.
To start, you need to identify:
1. What Are Your Digital Assets?
To build your agency’s brand, you need to invest in digital assets. These are your main channels that will put your agency out there and allow you to reach clients. These can be:
- Your agency website
- A social media profile (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+)
- Forums or communities
- Mobile apps
The challenge is this: how do you sell yourself using these digital assets? If you don’t have these (or they don’t serve their purpose well), you’re undermining your agency’s branding efforts.
Align with your client’s intent.
Your digital assets should prompt clients to engage, respond, and convert. If your digital assets are unable to prompt these actions, this means your brand doesn’t resonate with your clients’ intent.
You don’t just create a website or a LinkedIn profile—you have to show that you’re not another run-of-the-mill agency. The most important thing you have to remember is that these digital assets fuel your client’s first impression about your agency. Develop your persona to reach potential clients and to make your agency stand out.
2. How Do You Position Your Agency?
Before you develop your brand, you have to discover your brand. One way to do this is through positioning. Positioning allows you to determine how your agency brand fits into the market, and answers the question, “How do your clients perceive your agency?”
Ideally, when you’ve segmented your audience and identified who will be the best clients to target, your next step is to determine how you’re going to align your brand in that market or niche. Here are key factors that will help you in positioning your agency:
Capability to Service Clients
You can’t always assume that clients will turn to your agency. You need to give them a reason to trust you; more importantly, you need to know if your agency has what they’re looking for. This is why you need to evaluate your agency’s capability to service clients. You can determine this by creating buyer personas.
Here is an example:
Creating a buyer persona enables you to understand and address the pain points of your clients, the specific requirements they’re looking for in an agency, and their business goals. This allows you to check if you’re focusing your agency’s brand on the appropriate segment.
Unique Value of Your Agency
In positioning, you determine the value you offer not by how it makes your agency the best choice among the rest, but by how your value proposition identifies with your clients. You have to narrow down what appeals to them, and from there, identify the role you want to play in growing their business.
Answer these questions to help you determine the unique brand value that you want to portray for your agency:
- What are the distinctive attributes of your agency?
- How do you meet the needs of your clients?
- How does your agency fit into your client’s buying rituals?
- Can you deliver a new benefit or a combination of benefits that will address a client need?
- What are the objections that prevent your clients from hiring your digital marketing agency?
Strength of Your Influence
Remember how we always say that you have to pick a target niche when starting your agency? That’s a key factor in positioning your brand. Pick a niche where you have influence because that defines the perception of your clients and gives them a reason to work with your agency.
3. What are Your Main Differentiators?
Now that you have an idea of how clients perceive your brand, the next is to check how your agency compares to the competition. In short, what makes you different from the other digital marketing agencies out there?
You can do this by:
Determining Your Expertise
What type of service do you offer? Startup agencies tend to offer everything just to gain the upperhand over competitors, which is a common mistake. Find an area of expertise and use that as an entry point to develop your agency’s brand.
Think of it this way: you won’t get repeat clients if you give them half-baked work because your capabilities are limited. Clients look for specialized agencies because they have the capability to deliver high-level work in one area of expertise.
Because you already have an established specialization, it will be easier to penetrate your market and reinforce your agency’s position. As you grow your agency and develop a more solid brand, you can then buff your offerings with other offerings and expand your area of expertise.
Leveraging What They Can’t Find from Other Agencies
The easiest way to find your differentiator is by looking at what’s missing in your competitors. Do you have the technological edge? Is your methodology more effective? Is your agency’s main selling point cost-effectiveness? Is innovation the core of your digital agency?
Showing that you can guarantee what’s lacking from other digital marketing providers is your foot in the door…
Showing that you can guarantee what’s lacking from other digital marketing providers is your foot in the door, because painting yourself as the only agency that can do a particular service is a strong brand proposition.
Pro-tip: Watch out for empty differentiators, or making empty promises. If you fail to meet the expectations of your clients, the identity you’ve built will lose its meaning over time—and you’ll find yourself losing clients to competitors.
If you don’t build your brand, how else are clients going to believe that you can build theirs? It’s simple. Practice what you preach. If you win at branding your agency, you win those clients.
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