How to Stay Competitive in the Saturated Design Agency Market

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Web development services is a $26 billion industry. Agencies that want to get a bigger slice of that pie need to take steps to stay competitive.

Web agencies face stark competition. This market research report states that there are 226,850 web designers in the US. That number climbs higher when you look globally.

The good news? Web design services are in demand. The bad news? There are hundreds of thousands of other designers and agencies vying for your clients. So how do you stand apart in a growing sea of competition? We’ve outlined a few tips to keep you competitive, innovating, and profitable.

Tip #1: Know and State Your Value

Everyone knows you can make websites look pretty; that’s table stakes. Highlighting the value your design services will bring is what will really make you stand out. Demonstrating that you can redesign an elegant website is important, but also focus on showing clients how you’ll:

  • Solve known problems they’ve communicated
  • Meet business objectives
  • Improve the website’s credibility
  • Improve user experience
  • Increase web traffic and grow their audience
  • Maximize uptime and keep their site secure

Taking things a few steps beyond the design itself will prove to clients that you’re knowledgeable, reliable, and aligned with their goals and needs.

Tip #2: Implement a Referral Program

It’s apparent by now that word-of-mouth and referral marketing are incredibly lucrative. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of global consumers value and trust recommendations from friends and family over other types of advertising.

Leverage that trust by incentivizing current and former clients to tell people about you. A referral program simply offers the referrer a benefit for telling other people about your services when the outcome is a sale. You may offer a percentage fee or flat rate based on the amount of the total sale. Many agencies rely on referral partners for a large chunk of their growth.

Another option is to offer additional services at no cost to a referrer who passes along a lead that becomes a client. You may offer monthly website maintenance free of charge for a year or offer to complete additional design work at no charge. The incentive is completely up to you.

Tip #3: People Are Assets – Treat Them Accordingly

Having a reputation as a stellar design agency drives profitability. Building that reputation requires doing great work, and doing great work requires a team of outstanding people. A well-oiled design agency creates a cycle that feeds itself and drives revenue.

Whether you’re a large agency or just getting into the market, the principles remain the same. Define your values, quality of work, and best practices and stick to them. Then hire people who do the same. In this way, you can create a healthy culture that promotes great work – and great rapport within your team. Happy workers are productive workers. Productive workers do great work. Great works builds a solid reputation. Ah yes, the cycle.

Tip #4: Get Smart About Resources

People are assets, but they are not your only assets. Agencies should always be thinking of ways to cut costs and to maximize internal resources. One of the best ways to do this is to outsource tasks that fall outside of your agencies core competency.

The core competencies of design agencies have changed. Most clients no longer expect you to have a fully-staffed IT department. They simply expect their site to have maximum uptime, be secure from DDoS attacks, and to be optimized across all channels and devices.

Leveraging managed hosting is the closest thing to a silver bullet for agencies. It can cut costs and reclaim internal resources for core business tasks. Rather than distracting your team with IT issues, you can access dedicated support professionals to handle problems.

Security-wise, it removes the burden of cyber attacks from your agency and offloads that responsibility to a capable team of dedicated experts who can mitigate attacks. It also simplifies compliance.

Some other ways managed hosting can simplify things for your agency include:

  • Handling data repair & recovery
  • Managing hardware upgrades
  • Purchasing software & managing ongoing updates
  • Reducing power costs

Standing apart from the pack in a flooded web development/design market is a tall order. Implementing some of these tips can give you a head start on making 2018 your best year yet. For more information about scaling your digital agency, check out our latest ebook “Building Out Your Digital Agency With Managed Hosting.”

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