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How to market your agency on a budget

Learn savvy, money‑conscious techniques for getting your business the recognition it deserves.

If you’re a marketer working with limited resources, you may not feel you have the means to make a splash in the industry. Yet, this isn’t necessarily true. By supporting your clients with low-cost, high-impact marketing strategies, you can aim for quality results without stretching your finances. In this article, we’ll dig into why having a marketing budget for your agency can actually be incredibly useful. Along the way, marketers who know their way around all sizes of businesses share their tips on squeezing the most out of their resources.

Rock your marketing with less

Let’s dive into 5 approaches agencies can use to help maximize their marketing impact without overspending.

  1. Build your email list. Email marketing is your gateway to nurturing relationships with customers, and it all starts with growing your list. In addition to including an opt-in form on your website and social media ads, you can build your list by always including a strong call to action (CTA), personalizing wherever possible, using multiple social media platforms, and offering incentives—think discounts, free services, or loyalty program memberships.
  2. Rely on word of mouth. Lots of agencies get a free business boost from the friends, family, and colleagues of existing clients. Having a plan to maximize the impact of these coveted word-of-mouth referrals is key to success on a budget. Consider creating a referral program, incentivizing your existing clients to send people your way with discounts, swag, and other perks—and remember to keep the good word of mouth coming in by thanking everyone who supports your business.
  3. Craft a low-cost content strategy. A consistent, on-brand content strategy can help cultivate audiences and promote your business, and Mailchimp offers numerous tools for building yours. Mailchimp’s 300+ integrations include Canva and Photoshop, so you can create appealing visuals for your content. Not sure what type of content to create? Demonstrate your expertise through infographics, feature testimonials, showcase your recent work—whatever you feel will inspire and resonate with your ideal prospective client.
  4. Make it personal. Creating engaging content is one thing—getting it to the right inboxes is another. Mailchimp’s built-in tools can help you effectively personalize your email marketing, driving higher open rates and promoting your agency’s offerings at a low cost. Segmentation can help you more effectively personalize your audience list, A/B testing different subject lines can better familiarize you with those audiences, and advanced analytics can help you discover insights for reaching even more people.
  5. Time saved, money earned with automation. As a Mailchimp user, you’re likely utilizing our automation tools for your clients already, but what about using them to promote your agency?. Use automations to build custom marketing workflows, like welcome emails to new subscribers or surveys to learn more about your audience, without spending more. Bonus idea: create an exclusive piece of content like a zine or a guide and include it in a welcome series to new subscribers.

Business budgeting

Think of budgeting as a compass that guides your marketing through turbulent waters. A thorough budget can help ensure you don’t overspend, run out of resources, or find yourself adrift without a clear financial strategy.

While cost-effective marketing strategies can help you stem the tide of depleted funds, agency owners can also benefit from learning how to manage their existing finances so that they can stay afloat in a competitive landscape.

Respondents featured in the 2023 Mailchimp & Co Benchmark Report are keenly aware that allocating the entirety of their business budget to sales and marketing alone doesn’t promise success. 41% of agency respondents say they spend between 1%-5% on sales and marketing, while21% say they spend less than 1% on marketing their agency.

Clearly, a significant portion of agency respondents aren’t spending a sizable chunk of their business budget on marketing. So, how do agencies in 2023 turn minimal investments into maximal returns? We spoke with marketers who understand that creative, budget-conscious approaches have the potential to yield the best results.

Kim Darragon, Mailchimp partner and founder of Kim Does Marketing, shared her journey to success for less in this year’s report. She’s a shining example of how a cost-effective and strategic approach to marketing your agency can lead to desirable outcomes.

Kim emphasizes the effectiveness of one key tactic: networking.

“Networking has played a crucial role in growing my consultancy and bringing in leads. I always set aside a dedicated monthly budget to attend events, from conferences and panel discussions to cocktail parties, in order to meet fellow creatives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Creating genuine connections, sharing ideas, and introducing myself IRL have allowed me to gain client projects, business partnerships, and friendships, too. As a freelancer, networking is good for the mind and also my business!”

— Kim Darragon

Joining a community

Similar to Kim’s sentiments on promoting your business through human connection, embracing community can prove to be an invaluable resource when on a budget. At Mailchimp & Co, we serve a network of marketers who actively collaborate, exchange leads, and forge meaningful connections, all while minimizing financial strain.

The budgetary needs that communities can help satisfy—or, at the very least, help address collectively—aren’t merely about offloading certain responsibilities to others. Instead, marketers can engage with communities to find support, contribute to larger industry-specific conversations, and ultimately, connect with new leads.

Here’s what one of our partners had to say about the Mailchimp & Co community:

“My favorite part of Mailchimp & Co is the community. Learning from other partners and having the opportunity to grow my business through referrals is great. I also love the rewards.”

— Olivert Lara, Mailchimp pro partner and email and automations consultant at Seneca Marketing

In conclusion

Through harnessing the power of social media, email marketing, referrals, content marketing, and a supportive community, you can market your agency effectively without overspending. Whether you’re thinking about joining Mailchimp & Co, or you’re already part of the community, remember: we’re here to help boost your marketing impact without breaking the bank.

By signing up today, you’ll gain opportunities to earn financial rewards and increase your earnings—augmenting the work you’re already doing on behalf of your clients. Your agency’s success awaits—and it doesn’t have to come at a hefty price.

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