A boutique advertising agency is small but nimble, offering a variety of services to an array of clients, each of whom wants something different. To become a successful service provider, working out of a spare room over the garage, takes hard work, innovative, on-going promotion and quality word of mouth (WOM).
So, if you’re thinking of building a boutique agency, here are some tips to get you off on the right foot. (Oh, and these service providers earn a nice living. At least the good ones do.)
1. Think locally. Act Globally. Farm the local business community first for clients. Every small business has a web site. Every one of them advertises somehow.
But don't limit yourself to the locals. Build an attractive website that will be seen by the world. You’ll be amazed that folks from
Sure, why not?
2. Track local media. I don’t want to get hung up on localization, but a boutique ad agency has a built-in trust factor with local businesses so that neighborly trust enables you to skip the trust-building phase and get down to business because both you and the client know “ol’ Sam.”
3. Optimize your web site for both global and local search. Add your town, state and zip code to “advertising agency Trotwood
4. Provide a menu of service offerings. Most clients don’t want to go from here to there. They want a project manager who can take care of the editorial development, the graphic design, the upcoming company picnic. The more services you provide, the more services you sell.
Consider the following:
- search engine optimization
- content development including blogging and optimized site text
- site design
- print ad design
- graphic arts
- multi-media including DVD products
- event planning
- on- and off-site marketing
You get the idea. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it doesn’t cost a dime to call the local Ramada to get a conference room rate for your event planning file or a rate card from the local press. Valuable information that you can collect during “down” time.
5. Join the Chamber of Commerce. Total no-brainer. Once a month the CoC gets together for a networking lunch. Bring business cards and strike up friendships. Don’t sell. That happens organically as more and more members know who you are and what you do.
6. Join the Better Business Bureau. A trust builder. And it goes without saying, keep your record spotless. People do check with the local BBB and if you have a couple of outstanding complaints, you ain't gonna land the gig.
7. Advertise your own services, as in. follow your own advice. You should have a small print ad running daily or weekly in the local newspaper. First, you want that name recognition and second, buying ad space in bulk saves you beaucoups bucks.
8. Plan meetings to take place in public places. The last thing you want is your deep-pockets client tripping over a sippy cup on the way to your spare room office. Talk about amateur night, even if you are the best there ever was.
Find the right location for client meetings (their offices) or a local eatery and always pick up the tab.
9. Build authority and expertise. Enter industry competitions and tout your wins and quietly forget your failures. “Gold Medal Winner, National Design Show” listed on the stationery builds credibility. And of course, such an award is worthy of a press release to the local paper. Get that free ink.
10. Perception is reality. High-end stationery, a professionally designed web site, a pricy suit – all say success and that you “get it.” Create a professional persona and you are a professional.