Agency Management

4 Creative Agency New Business Strategies You Haven't Tried—Yet

by David Arnold, March 20, 2017

We’re already several months into the new year, and the goals you’ve set for your team are starting to feel real. If you’re like most business owners, you’ve spent a lot of time focusing on how to improve strategies that worked the previous year. Maybe it’s refining which social channels you distribute content to or deciding to scale up your sales team. While exercises like these reflect a healthy “finger on the pulse” approach to opening yourself up to increased revenue, they won’t necessarily open the door to new types of revenue opportunities. Because a creative agency always should be looking for new business, we’ve pulled together four agency new business strategies we imagine you haven’t tried yet.

1. Launch a Creative Side Project

Nelson Cash, a Chicago-based design agency, is best in show of this category. Last year, it launched two side projects that quickly went viral. Both MyLaCroix and Make It Stranger tapped into the zeitgeist while demonstrating the creativity and technical acumen of the Nelson Cash team. Odds are, if you’re in a creative space, you saw one of these apps pop up on your social media feeds.

Discover How to Demonstrate ROI from Creative Teams

What are some out-there ideas your team has been kicking around by the water cooler? Is it worth investing a little money to turn those ideas into reality? One might be the idea that brings your next 10 clients knocking at your (virtual) door.

2. Teach an Online Course  

Another great way to demonstrate your expertise is by teaching an online course. When you’re working with a client, a lot of the conversation is educational. Every client comes to a project with a different background and varying degrees of creative acumen. The customer experience not only depends on your ability to deliver an awesome project but how the client feels about its relationship with you.

An online course can attract people who are feeling the kind of business pain your firm is particularly adept at solving. It also gives potential clients insight into what working with your team might be like. As any good creative knows, humans make decisions with their hearts more often than with their minds. If some potential client finds your content valuable and your delivery affable, you could find yourself working with that client in no time.

3. Host a Local Experts Group

As more works go remote, professional communities have been transitioning to an online-only format through apps and digital communities. While this is a great approach for the evolving workforce, another approach that might work for your area is an in-person experts group for nearby professionals interested in expanding expertise in line with your own. Put out some feelers to your local client base or colleagues in the area. Identify some speakers who would be able to provide value to this community-to-be (including your own team, if it makes sense) and reach out.

Local groups are a great networking community that many professionals will welcome. One thing that hasn’t changed is the desire to self-improve. Especially in the creative space. Technology and aesthetics change rapidly, so it’s important to step outside of any self-imposed silos. People will see your business as the center of the conversation, as you took the initiative to create the group. This will amplify your expertise and open up all sorts of business opportunities.   

4. Give Yourself Space to Think

This is an important tactic that most companies in the digital age rarely employ. Give yourself some space to think. While it’s useful to hop online and look up tips, you know your business better than anyone else. You’ve personally worked with your clients, mentored your team, and balanced the books. The DNA of your company is a reflection of your own DNA.

If you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, try setting aside a few hours each week to just think. Try meditation apps like Headspace or Calm to add some structure to this time. If meditation isn’t your thing, maybe free-association journaling is a technique that could help draw out some ideas from your subconscious.

Maybe you’ll come up with the million-dollar agency new business strategy we write about next year!

About The Author

David studied at the Northern AZ University & spent years working with agencies like J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson and Fortune 100 companies in Tokyo.

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