13 signs it’s time to [.eiko] refresh [.eiko]

your agency’s positioning and messaging

By Roland Gurney | Updated on: Jun 08, 2022

As your agency evolves over time, there are points when you need to step back and rethink. When you’re deep in the day-to-day delivery, it can be hard to see anything except a screen full of to-do lists. But when you can see the bigger picture, you might find it’s time for your positioning and messaging to keep pace with your agency’s ambition…

1. You’re not winning clients that light you up

Any work is good work… right? But when your clients don’t light you up, it’s time to refresh your messaging.

Boring messaging wins boring work. And boring work isn’t often a win. You didn’t pour your sweat and soul into your agency to create mediocre posters for podiatrists.

Quality over quantity applies to clients as well as copy. Because you don’t do your best work on beige brands.

To win more ideal clients, you need to know them and really speak to them.

2. You’re giving away strategy for free when you should be selling it

Strategy is the engine of any business… if it’s broke you’re going nowhere. Fixing a broken strategy is worth all the future revenue it generates. You’ve gotta be crazy to give that away for free!

Know your value. Be the expert and command the fees you deserve.

3. You’re thinking about niching but you’re not sure if it’s right

You’ve got two choices: be a specialist or be a generalist with something special.

Otherwise you end up with vague, meaningless copy. Weightless words with no impact. Don’t try to please everyone. You can’t.

Niching allows you to be specific. It’s your opportunity to say relevant stuff to the right people. People who will buy into your agency over all the others. Because you understand their industry, you know their pain points, and you’ve got the answers.  

4. You’ve relied on referrals but you want control over your new-business pipeline

Word-of-mouth referrals are great. They’re a sure sign that you’ve got something people want. A golden seal of approval for your work. The problem with word-of-mouth is it turns into Chinese Whispers. Each client gets a little further from what you're about. Before long, you’re resigned to bland no-goes instead of designing brand logos.

Your messaging is your chance to influence your pipeline. Reach out to the clients you want and get projects that get you out of bed in the morning.

5. You’d like to put out more content but you don’t know what to talk about

Create the kinda content that you’d devour. You wouldn’t invite friends over and serve them a TV dinner while you tuck into pan-fried sea bass. They’re not gonna stick around.

Learned lessons the hard way? Be humble and share your mistakes. Read an article that you thought was bullshit? That’s your starting point. Call it out.

Less is more. Don’t write fluff  or futile filler. Give people what you’d want. Useful content that solves real problems. Not banal updates on your office five-a-side.

6. You’re not 100% sure how to answer the question; Why should we choose you over the others?

Ah, that age-old interview question ‘tell me about yourself…’ Except it’s not really about you. It’s about the client.

They want to know why you’re the right agency for them. What are the benefits? What’s your USP? How are you different?

If you’re unsure, you need to do some digging to find your X factor. And ‘delivering outcomes’ or ‘putting clients first’ ain’t it. Go deeper.

7. You have a process, ethos and culture that isn’t being communicated

We get it – you wanna keep your cards close to your chest because you don’t want other agencies to come along and steal your process. But how will potential clients know if you’ve got a winning hand or if you’re bluffing? Show them your aces.

There’s no need to detail every step; an overview is enough. Tell the clients what they can expect at point X, Y and Z.

Crafting copy that conveys your culture is more complicated. Often, you’re too close to it. You’re living and breathing it 24/7. So, it’s difficult to take a step back to bring it into focus. Clarity is key.

8. You tell clients your website copy is a bit out of date, even though it’s not

Telling clients your copy is out of date, even though it’s not, is like the ‘it’s complicated’ Facebook relationship status. If you’re embarrassed by your copy, it’s time to show it the door. Your copy should ‘get’ you. You need to find the right words and commit.

9. Your agency’s story and personality aren’t shining through

Everything you write should reflect your personality. Let it shine. Remember you’re speaking to another human. If you’re edgy and controversial, be bold with your messaging. If you're fun and friendly, be chatty and light-hearted.

Keep it real. Don’t talk in B2B buzzwords or you’ll end up sounding like Train Guy after one too many campachoochoos. Be authentic.

Tell your story. Let people know who you are, how you got here and why you understand them. But be brief. Short and snappy not War and Peace.

10. You get enquiries from the wrong people who waste your time on pointless proposals

Tweaking your site weeds out weak leads. When your positioning and messaging are right, you will hear from people who are already invested in you. They like your style. They know what they’re getting. And, crucially, they understand what you do. Too many agency sites fail to spell out what they’re about. Digital marketing agency? Say so. Quit wasting everyone’s time. Yep, even your own.  

11. You rank highly but your website visitors never actually contact you

People land then leave, browse then bounce. You’ve wasted a shit-tonne of time and money on SEO to appear at the top of Google, but your copy isn’t hooking them in. Two main reasons:

When they get there, you don’t have what they want. No point claiming to be shoe emporium, if you only sell flip flops. Most people are gonna leave disappointed.

You don’t tell them what to do. Having a bunch of CTAs confuses clients. Phone, email, fill in the form, click here… stop. Keep it simple. Hick’s Law states the more choices there are to make, the longer it will take. Decision paralysis is real. Make it an easy choice. One thing.      

12. You feel like you’re saying the same things as everyone else

Most agency sites look similar, say similar things and do similar stuff. You need to stand out. When you sound like everyone else, you just become white noise. Your voice will be lost… And so will your potential clients. Your page is probably one of ten tabs open on their desktop. Tell them why you’re the smarter choice.  

13. You want to work on longer, deeper projects that make a difference

Small projects eat up your capacity and don’t give you time to explore, think and go deeper. Stronger positioning and messaging will land you bigger projects. The kind you can get excited about. When you’re known for being executional you get briefed on the Friday for delivery on the Monday, and your point of difference becomes either speed or price. But who wins? The client doesn’t get your best work, you get paid less, and the end results don’t make great case studies.

The blatant pitch at the end...

If you recognise and resonate with even one of these, you probably need to look at refreshing your strategy and/or messaging. Sure, it’s daunting, but it’s worth the effort. Wow new clients, win bigger projects and get a slicker site that converts. And if you can’t find the time, the words or the motivation to do yourself justice, well, you know where we are.

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