How to Defend Challenges of Digital Marketing Agencies in crisis? Many digital agencies believe that onboarding new clients is the most important factor that’s decisive to their long-term success. But in reality being able to hold on to your existing customers is far more vital to your business. This became especially apparent with the onset of the pandemic, when many businesses began to cut marketing costs during the first months, which resulted in a massive loss of clients.

SE Ranking sat down for interviews with 8 digital marketing agency owners from all across the globe in the framework of our project to support small businesses during the pandemic. Many of them managed not only to survive, but to thrive during the crisis. You are welcome to read their full stories here.

In this post, I want to summarize their experiences and suggest 4 foundational principles that help digital agencies withstand any challenge.

Challenges of Digital Marketing Agencies

Maintain Strong Client Relationships

This probably won’t come as a big surprise but the agencies that managed to survive the pandemic were in fact ready to provide their clients with actual help.

For example, instead of just focusing on marketing efforts, agencies assisted their clients with going digital. Olivier from France helped brick-and-mortar businesses like yoga studios set up a presence via Zoom, and convinced lawyers to conduct their sessions online.

Some agencies like that of Spaniard Sergio’s managed to maintain their clients by providing them with free checklists that helped them develop anti-crisis marketing strategies. In turn, this allowed the client businesses to stay open and not be forced to terminate their relationships with their digital agencies.

Another widely-used solution employed by Francis from Spain was to give clients a grace period where they wouldn’t have to pay anything until they got back up on their feet. This went a long way with clients who were extremely grateful for the support provided by their digital agency and continued to do business with them once things sort of got back to normal.

At the end of the day, the impression your client has of your digital agency will be the determining factor that decides whether they stick by you or even refer you to other businesses.

Diversify Your Services to Deliver More Value

If clients aren’t ready to pay the full amount for your default services, you can offer cost-effective options as an alternative. For example, in lieu of your full-cost services, you can train your clients at a more pocket-friendly price.

A Russian-based healthcare marketing agency run by Lydia was faced with a situation where none of their clients were able to afford paying for the agency’s services. This brought the agency’s work to a complete hallt. As a result, Lydia came up with a solution that would be more affordable to its clients: they offered a training program for marketers working at medical centers.

This win-win solution meant that Lydia’s agency was once again able to see a small influx of money and stay open, and the medical centers would still be active in the marketing field. On top of that, the agency also introduced a personalized training program for doctors who wanted to build up their personal brand. All of these alternatives were priced at a fraction of the regular cost.

A Ukrainian agency headed by Taras also decided to expand their service range based on client needs. The agency that primarily focused on SEO and PPC services saw that their clients were struggling with social media marketing. They wasted no time, and as a result, compromised by allocating a specialist for SMM and website development. Turned out that other clients were also interested in getting SMM help and the agency even managed to grow its staff during the pandemic.

Digital agencies that were flexible and could think on their feet were able to find a way to help their clients for a symbolic fee and stay afloat as a result.

Create an Honest Corporate Culture

Taras’ agency also had problems keeping their company together and the only option was to be dead honest with the staff. He would call team meetings to admit that he didn’t know how seriously the crisis would affect them, and that everyone needed to compromise as well as think outside the box to put forward new ideas.

In order to keep team morale high, a lot of effort was put into communicating actions to the team. Given the fact that many agencies started working from home, Sean Si’s Philippines-based team started hosting a Discord channel for open communication with team meetings and game nights that would balance personal life and work.

Be Ready to Make Difficult Decisions

Of course, it wasn’t all positive and some agencies had to make extremely tough decisions to survive. This meant partially or completely cutting salaries for executives and senior management in order to pay workers’ wages, reorganizing staff responsibilities, and sometimes even letting entire teams go in an effort to avoid closing down the business.

Under the best circumstances, decision making is hard. But unprecedented crises call for unprecedented actions. It is believed that leaders are more likely to underreact in a time of crisis. The difference between staying open and shutting down lies in taking bold and rapid actions that would feel too risky in normal times.

With the digital landscape constantly transforming marketing, agencies and businesses alike also need to adjust their business targets and strategies. The truth is that businesses have become more performance-driven and their ROI expectations from digital have gone up over the past year. Agencies that fail to recognize this transformation are simply doomed.

Not everything will change in digital marketing, but there are certain changes that agencies need to make to meet the changing times. The main takeaway is that you need to understand your client and employee needs, keep an eye on the market to be able to develop a solid presence and navigate the crisis with a clearer understanding.

Final words

Hope now you know how to Defend Challenges of Digital Marketing Agencies in crisis. In conclusion, it is clear that digital marketing agencies need to be prepared to face challenges, both big and small. By maintaining strong client relationships, diversifying their services, and being honest with their employees, these agencies can weather any storm.

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