Tactics of a successful agency

Beyond SEO strategies and marketing methods, what makes a great agency truly successful? Is it loyal clients with deep pockets, or a dedicated team of hard-working professionals? Truth be told, it’s a bit of both, but there are certainly a few tactics that successful agencies employ to make their company better than the rest.

In a rapidly changing industry with more demanding customers and numerous competitors, knowing how to succeed is the key to survival. There are four basic tactics that you can implement to improve your agency and its offerings.

Schedule everything

Being disciplined and well-organised is a major tool for success – we learned this at school and it still applies. Scheduling your time and work will ensure that you stay on top of it all and nothing will slip through the cracks.

Compile schedules for different time periods – annually, bi-annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly. Within these time frames, set goals and schedule meetings and workflows.

For example, do keyword and competitor analyses annually, perform a content analysis twice a year, review your links every three months, crawl your site once a month, check your rankings every week and plan your work for every hour of the day.

When conducting the analyses, keep a report and record of hours for each one. If you need to phone a client to consult on their report, keep a record of it. These serve as evidence of the time and effort you put in on behalf of the client. They also let you compile in-depth reports at the end of each month.

Raise your prices slightly

Before you judge this tactic too harshly, it makes sense for smaller agencies. The first rule of making a profit is raising your prices, and this doesn’t necessarily mean charging your customers more.

Existing customers who are loyal don’t want to be told that their monthly fees are increasing so offer them a “discount”; keep their fees the same and raise the prices for new customers. By discounting existing clients, you raise the perceived value of your services and they will know that they are getting a bargain. This instils more loyalty as they know that they are paying less for a more expensive service.

New clients, on the other hand, will associate slightly higher prices with a more professional service; they’ll know that you must have quality offerings because of your perceived value. Any new customer that signs a deal is obviously happy to pay the slightly higher price, which means more money for campaign budgets and, indeed, better quality services in return.

If you’re still unsure about raising your prices, ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?”. If a new client is hesitant but you really want them to sign on, offer them the discounted rate and they’re more likely to agree. New client, old prices, still good for your business.

An important result of raising your prices is the ability to offer your team promotions or raises. More money in the bank means more budget for training programmes, hiring new staff members, offering better incentives for their work and getting newer software.

Improve your resources

As a direct result of raising your prices, you can now improve your resources – the tools you use to create and run campaigns. Whether this is editing software, coding packages, SEO tools and online subscriptions – your business needs the latest tools if you want to provide the most professional service.

Newer tools can give your company better leads, reports, workflows and pricing advantages. Buying tools, such as tracking services and website auditing software, makes your offering more enticing as customers will have to pay way more on their own for the same tools.

Being able to list all of the great tools that your company uses will make your sales pitch better. In the long-run, you’ll be saving your clients money. Your services will be regarded as professional and you will be able to get work done more quickly with faster resources.

Don’t be afraid to say no

Sometimes these tactics are learned through trial and error, and learning how to say “no” to a customer is one of them. Don’t be obliged to pander to your customer’s every wish. If they ask for month-to-month contracts, say no.

They aren’t interested in investing in your services, they just want to see what you have to offer before bowing out after one or two months. This is simply a waste of time and effort on your part. While the client plays with your services for a couple of months, their competitors are investing full-time elsewhere and after a year, your client will be left in the dust.

Sit down with your potential clients and explain that web-based marketing strategies and SEO campaigns take time to see true results; they are long-term strategies that require dedication and patience.

If you’re hoping to get rid of a demanding client but don’t want to fire them, simply turn them to other start-ups in your industry, or tell about free web tools that they can use themselves. It’s more polite and better for your connections to advise them of cheaper services than to burn the bridge and dump them.

Another time to say no is when a customer asks you to provide a service that you don’t usually offer. For example, you may offer a content marketing service whereby you research and create content for websites. If you don’t offer social media management services, don’t agree to do it for one client.

Chances are, your service quality will be reduced and your customer may leave with a bad taste in their mouth, which can be devastating for your business. Rather refer them to companies that can offer the services that they are looking for. Rather be honest with potential clients and turn down offerings that you know you can’t provide.

To wrap up, the main tactics of a successful agency include being organised and scheduling work for different timeframes, increasing prices for new customers, improving your offerings with the new budget and learning how to say “no” at the right time.

Use these tactics to take your business to the next level, improving customer relations and your quality of work in the process.


Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.


Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.


Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.


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