I could easily start this article with advice about appreciating clients, keeping employees engaged, or revamping your business development approach for an increasingly digital world, but I just can’t do it. The year 2020 was an arduous journey for agencies, so I know that you feel completely overwhelmed. Now isn’t the time for more to-do list tasks — it’s time for some acknowledgment.
Over 65% of marketing agencies suffered a decrease in overall revenue, so you had to work tirelessly to keep your agency afloat. You found new clients to replace the revenue lost from paused ones, got your team settled into a work-from-home rhythm, and scrambled to apply for available government assistance. You hosted Zoom happy hours and learned how to navigate new technological systems. So, let’s start out with a round of applause: You made it to 2021, and your agency is still functioning.
That’s why I want to tell you it’s OK to take a break. Last year, you worked tirelessly on behalf of your company. Taking some time for yourself now can help you recover and clear your head. The economic outlook for 2021 is positive, so things should be easier this time around. Pat yourself on the back, breathe, and recharge. Once you’re ready, you can prepare to start 2021 off strong:
1. Pick a word that defines your overarching goal.
Some of the most important goals for agencies in 2021 will be attracting more right-fit prospects, generating more revenue, and increasing efficiency. Try to narrow down exactly what this means for your company. Which of those objectives is your top priority?
For example, if you’re focused on securing new clients and retaining old ones, your word could be “partnerships” or “connection.” By selecting one word, you can keep your team focused on the most important objective for the year. This will also help employees prioritize their work and collaborate effectively.
2. Commit to motion over emotion.
In 2020, you likely experienced a lot of emotions, including sadness, anger, and loneliness. These intense feelings might have weighed you down, but the pandemic forced you to keep going. You were in constant motion.
You have to maintain that momentum in 2021. There’s more work to be done, as 28% of agencies are seeing an increase in project workloads during COVID-19. Of course, a frantic pace isn’t sustainable, but you can’t let yourself get comfortable. If you take too long to make decisions, you’ll get left behind. Be confident that you can adapt and shift your strategy as you go.
3. Prioritize your social media services.
If you currently bundle social media in your creative capabilities, consider separating it. About 70% of agencies say social is a package essential, so you’ll be able to better meet client needs by letting them pick from your social media services a la carte. This approach promotes transparency, offers flexibility, and allows you to properly value your services.
Unbundling your social media services also presents an opportunity for education. Not all clients understand how social media impacts business metrics. If a client is hesitant to select it as a service, you can find out why: Do they think social media is a poor investment? Through what channels do they see the most success? Talking through questions like these will help you get on the same page.
The year 2020 was exhausting for everyone. Your agency faced many challenges, but your hard work helped you make it through to 2021. Now is the time to realize your accomplishments, take a rejuvenating break, and jump into the new, (hopefully) easier year.