We have all seen how marketing agencies worldwide have evolved. So much has changed from the demanding Mad Men era to the digital revolution of hashtags and the social media era today.
The world is changing and developing faster than ever. There are constant breakthroughs, non-stop discoveries, and continuous inventions. And in marketing, the saying adapt or die rings true. As a business, you either have to ensure you are constantly and consistently developing, or you’re out for the count.
After an unfathomable two-year streak of the pandemic, the marketing sphere is faced with a more disruptive, forced change. Whether this change is constructive or destructive rests on the shoulders of the businesses taking part in the industry.
Now, more than ever, agencies need to look for intelligent ways to build strategies into their business models to retain clients rather than churn. Brand loyalty is definitely a factor that has been neglected recently.
One of the reasons is partly due to the availability of choice. Customers are spoiled by choice.
So, how do you keep them loyal?
How do you keep them returning to your business using effective marketing techniques?
Agencies who realised the potential of offering exceptional work are already reaping the benefits of what generalised marketing can’t uphold in this consumer-driven time. If you’re the owner of an agency, ensure your team understands what quality work means for your customer retention, lead generation, marketing ROI, and overall customer lifetime value.
This article explores the reason for agency churn and how to fix it to skyrocket your marketing company’s growth. Let’s get started.
What Is Churn and Why Does It Matter?
First, we need to look at churn. What is churn, and what does this mean for the traditional agency?
Agency churn, also known as attrition rate, is the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company. It is when a client chooses not to renew the contract, and the marketing agency loses the retainer.
So, why don’t you want a high churn rate? Well, that’s simple.
If your client turnover rate is high, that means that instead of putting time and energy into your existing clients, the agency has to spend time trying to find new clients to make up for the loss.
But, most importantly, if you have a high churn rate, it means your offering is not meeting the expectations of your clients. You’re not keeping your clients happy, meaning there could be a serious problem to address.
Why Does Agency Churn Happen? Let’s Take a Look
There are multiple reasons why agency churn is a reality, and it is easy to fix the outcomes (which we will focus on soon). If an agency does not take care of its long-term relationships and the growth thereof, something negative is bound to happen.
Up-keeping existing customers means that you do not have to worry about pitching, onboarding, and whatever other marketing efforts it takes within customer acquisition. You don’t have to spend time adjusting to a new company’s voice and branding style. Instead, you can focus on developing and nurturing existing clients to help them reach their goals.
Focusing on existing clients means that you won’t have to spend energy trying to pitch to new clients. Not only is it bad customer service, but pitching on jobs can cost up to four times more than maintaining existing relationships.
The most frustrating and heartbreaking part of this process is that these pitches may not be successful. The agency, therefore, has to spend valuable resources on a pitch that is not even guaranteed to succeed.
The Negatives of Agency Churn
Some churn is natural. Clients change priorities and reallocate budgets from time to time. But, a high churn rate can mean there is something seriously wrong with your offering. Here is a list of four of the harmful effects of client churn:
- Loss of Income and Additional Resources
Building valued customer relationships have a beneficial impact on your long-term profit margin. Customers who have been with marketing agencies for years spend more money on additional products and services than new customers. This is because there is a relationship of trust that has been built. The agency trusts the company and vice versa. This trust fundamentally influences how far companies are willing to go with agencies.
Once a client decides to move on to new endeavours, you have to downsize your company to a reasonable size to meet the demand. Not only do you lose clients, but you also lose time having to build relationships from scratch. It takes time to build trust, and time is money.
- Filling the Gaps With New Clients
Acquisition costs can go through the roof. Approaching prospective customers and pitching work takes time and resources – the resources that, after losing an existing client, you do not necessarily have. You spend a lot of money that you have no surety of receiving back. This kind of uncertainty can be challenging for many businesses and agencies and often results in a loss.
- Missing the Opportunity of Valuable Referrals
The ability to retain clients will have a rollover effect on your other projects as satisfied clients spread the word to potential customers and bring you new business. 80% of your profits will come from as little as 20% of your current customers. Ensuring that your agency invests enough time in existing clients means that even if you have to pitch to new clients, the likelihood of success increases monumentally. New is not always better. Creating brand loyalty and ensuring your existing clients are happy and satisfied with the work will ultimately translate to more leads and higher profit margins.
- Charging More than the Market Price
The sales process is a tricky one already. You have to convince existing and potential clients that the money they are paying is worth spending. You also have to work within consumer budgets who often have no idea how expensive agency work can be. The costs often don’t translate for companies, and it can be a challenge to convince them that these costs are reasonable.
When you have a high churn rate, you may see a client turn their back on you and have to charge more for the services than you usually do. Charging more than the market price not only impacts the agency but can also negatively influence the perception of the business, which in turn affects the profit margin and success of the agency.
How to Fix Agency Churn
Agency churn can cause panic, and there is a list of articles and strategies to hopefully fix what you have been missing. You have to look at the fundamental issues causing this agency churn and address them effectively and urgently. If these issues are not addressed, your business may face dire consequences.
Reducing churn has become a high priority for traditional marketing business models, which is no surprise. For an agency, curbing churn means that you need to dedicate your time to your value proposition to keep clients satisfied with your offering. You need to communicate effectively, stay updated with new trends and technologies, and spend time catering to your existing clients.
Here are some effective ways to reduce agency churn:
Having improved communication with clients means working with them to identify their exact goals and milestones.
A grave mistake most agencies fall into is thinking that traffic is an indicator of success. Traffic is an important fact, sure, but having the wrong traffic gets you nowhere.
So, instead of pushing consumers to convert, try to first communicate with them clearly to understand what they’re after. If they say they want to improve their website’s traffic, help them to reach their goal. By doing so, you avoid having to work on an impossible task while, at the same time, you offer better results.
In other words, beginning a relationship with a customer on the right foot is crucial. And proper communication goes a long way when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Improve Onboarding Strategies
Onboarding is vital because it helps customers acclimate to how your company operates and what it has to offer. Proper onboarding engages customers and brings them into a closer relationship with employees who are committed to their success. Additionally, it makes customers feel they’re part of the team and makes the whole process and buying experience clear and straightforward.
This way, clients get the most of your products or services, which makes their lives easier. Plus, onboarding builds solid relationships, too. And as a result, customers remain loyal and a fan of your brand, bringing you more business.
Introduce Regular Reporting to Showcase Value
Introducing regular reports helps you showcase your value to customers. In fact, regular reporting is an effective method of highlighting how your business benefits customers.
Also, having solid proof of the results you can achieve helps land new leads.
These reports summarise the work you’ve done so far on a project or generally with other customers. Include updates, search engine rankings you’ve achieved for clients, performance scores, etc. Regular reports are also a super-effective way of communication and help you showcase a large amount of information in an easy-to-digest manner.
Regular reporting offers the opportunity to check in with clients regularly. Then, the date you deliver can be seen as a touchpoint to discuss with your clients and see whether your work is enough or you have to provide extra services. This facilitates ongoing communication and builds trust and brand loyalty.
Request Client Feedback
Even if you don’t use the net promoter score (NPS) model, you should still ask your consumers for feedback. In fact, asking for client feedback can help you adjust your services to meet their unique needs and requirements.
Think of it like this: If a customer leaves, then there must have been some red flags you failed to notice. So, if you ask for feedback regularly, you can monitor customer satisfaction and find out what they like and don’t like in your services. Then, focus on the things they like.
Create an Emotional Tie
Building an emotional connection with your customers can make the difference between succeeding and failing as a brand. To be the brand customers can’t live without, you have to create such an emotional connection.
To do this, begin by focusing on the micro-moments. Even if your desired results are achieved, that doesn’t mean customers are 100% satisfied. A digital marketing agency may have succeeded in SEO optimising a client’s website but, at the same time, failed in writing quality content. Sure, the order is complete, but is it good enough to guarantee customer loyalty?
By investing in micro-moments, like emails, customer calls, and customer support, and by showing empathy, patience, and understanding, your customers feel safe working with you because they know you’ll be there for them at all times. So, making your customers feel something about your brand creates an emotional connection. Besides, one of the most critical elements regarding where customers choose to buy from is how a brand makes them feel.
And if you’re bold enough, you can even try the FORD (family, cooperation, recreation, and dreams) mantra, according to which approaching customers in a more personalised way helps them become more loyal.
Build Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is when customers see your brand or products positively. This is indicated by repeated purchases even when the competitors try to lure them away. Customers who express brand loyalty are more likely to convert and keep purchasing since they’re devoted to a product or service.
Investing in increasing the quality of your customer service and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts can create brand loyalty for your established products. For example, Mercedes and BMW are still considered the top luxury car brands, even though other companies, like Toyota, have released luxury car models, too. This is because these automobile brands have built a solid reputation as luxury car companies.
To create brand loyalty, you need to build trust and relationships with your customers through active customer service. A marketing campaign would certainly help in your efforts to acquire new clients and keep existing ones loyal and satisfied. To understand whether your customer service meets the demands of your customers, you need to collect and analyse data regarding customer spending habits to understand how to market your products better.
Reducing agency churn skyrockets your business. By offering exceptional products or services, improving the quality of your customer service, developing an emotional connection with customers, and introducing regularly reporting, you ensure brand loyalty and business success.
To keep customers loyal and decrease churn, you have to offer value every single time and even invest in micro-moments to increase client experience.
So, stop wasting time!
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