The term ‘futureproofing’ has been getting bounced around a lot lately. With social change and political unease on everyone’s mind, it’s no wonder that the idea of implementing steps now to help your business adapt in the future sounds so appealing.
But what does ‘futureproofing’ actually mean for your digital agency? As part of such a fast-paced industry, digital agencies are already well used to having to adapt to change and adopt new ways of working at short notice. This idea of having to be agile, while also having to be robust, is something that successful digital agencies are well-versed in.
For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, digital agencies were already ahead of the game in terms of ‘work from home’ culture, project cancellations, and budget changes. In creative industries, nothing is ever certain and that’s why digital agencies are some of the most flexible types of business out there.
That said, having a concrete plan for how to futureproof your digital agency is never a bad idea. Especially when it comes to growing your business, knowing what you can work on now to avoid disruption in the future is key. Digital agencies face several challenges, from increasing competition to talent shortages. With market instability also greatly affecting your clients — your agency could easily find itself in a vulnerable position.
So, what exactly can you be doing now to help your digital agency in the future, without big investment? Read on to find out!
1. Work on your company culture
One of the best ways to protect your business long-term is to ensure that the team around you is happy. No matter what’s to come, you should know that you can rely on your team and that they’re happy to stand by you should the going get tough.
For digital agencies of all sizes, it’s important to remember that your team members are what have moulded your agency into what it is. This is why consistently showing your team how much you value them is important.
As much as team building days and ‘company yoga’ before the work day starts might work for some digital agencies, the reality is that company culture goes so much deeper than this. To truly improve your company culture, it’s important to work on:
- Consistently recognising the achievements of your team
- Ensuring that everyone’s goals within the company are valued (and align as much as possible!)
- Allowing employees to have a better sense of work-life balance
- Personal development plans and open discussions with team members about where they’d like to see themselves in the future
Of course, team building days and leisure trips never hurt — but just don’t forget the truly impactful ways to make your team feel more appreciated.
2. Recognise which trends are here to stay
Remember when some people thought that sustainability would just be another passing trend? Well, those of us who knew better are the ones who had enough time to properly build a strategy, without having to invest in a panic.
While some big brands resorted to greenwashing in the hopes of environmentally-conscious buyers moving onto their next gimmick, others were able to leverage their fast-thinking and implement policies with a better sense of clarity.
For the brands who got ahead of environmentally friendly packaging and enacted policies to combat over-consumption, they have since become leaders in a movement that others are still trailing behind in.
As a digital agency, these types of trends are exactly what you need to be able to spot in order to keep you and your clients ahead of competitors.
Your future lies in the hands of companies who’ll ask “why didn’t we think of this?”, all because you didn’t commit to monitoring key trends in their industry.
3. Use targeted tools to improve your performance, but don’t become a slave to AI
There’s a fine line between utilising digital tools to improve your performance and becoming disconnected from the work you’re producing. For example, digital agencies that cover copywriting as a service could easily be enticed by the number of AI tools available to them on the market.
That said, talented copywriters will always ‘write first and AI-optimise later’. This ensures a better balance between expertly written copy and enhancements such as SEO-optimization that will get this copy seen.
For digital agencies who prioritise a use of AI tools over the talent of their team, there’s a risk that your work won’t connect properly with the right audiences.
The idea of “B2H” (Business to Human) is currently prevailing in the world of marketing. So, if your digital agency doesn’t recognise this already, it might be time. AI tools come and go, but a real human connection is what keeps people interested in your business long-term.
4. Ensure that your digital channels are consistently updated
There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a digital agency and then logging onto their website to find old content and no real vigour to how they present themselves.
Digital agencies are meant to represent a hub of talented marketers and technology whizzes — so why is it that some agency websites still don’t reflect this?
This truth is that digital agencies are often so focused on their clients, they forget to appraise their own branding in the way they do for their clients.
To ensure that you’re not falling behind, we recommend:
- Ensuring that all of your digital channels have updated content. If not, use a content calendar to help! (Tip: Hubspot offer some great free templates)
- Ask yourself if you’re *too close* to your own digital agency to be able to brand it properly. Outsourcing might be your best option!
- Does your website need a refresh? The answer is that almost all websites require a refresh every so often, but as an agency owner, are you overlooking this need? With a website refresh, you can reposition your website, without heavy investment.
Don’t forget: Your digital channels are an opportunity to showcase what you do. If you offer video services, make sure that your own video content is on point. If you offer web development, make sure your own website isn’t glitchy. Whatever you do, highlight your skills across all of your own platforms — it’s basically free advertising!
5. Be accessible to everyone, whilst still targeting your primary audience
So, you have an audience that you want to target and you don’t see this changing any time soon — great! Keep focusing on that audience and expand it as you see fit. However, as we all know, it’s easy to focus too deeply on just one target customer and miss out on opportunities that could have been.
For digital agencies in particular, you never know who your next customer might be (and that’s part of the fun!). Once these ‘curveball customers’ aren’t the type to drain your resources with little profit in return, you should remain open to taking on clients and projects that will help you grow as an agency.
To do this, we recommend:
- Keeping your messaging as inclusive as possible, while still highlighting the type of customers you want to work with
- Ensuring that the accessibility of your website is in line with industry standards (ask an expert or carry out an accessibility audit if you’re unsure!)
Occasionally, it’s also a good idea to change up your drive for new leads with something a little out of character (but still positive) for your digital agency. Just don’t go too far and completely change your brand’s voice. Test the waters and see what works!
6. Position yourself as an expert in your field
Following on from the previous point, changing up how you market yourself as an agency can be a worthwhile exercise. Have you ever thought about offering a lead magnet before? Or maybe you can add a blog or resource section to your website that allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field?
As a digital agency who wants to appear relevant and ahead of the game when it comes to the services you offer to your clients, you need to showcase that you know what you’re talking about.
- Writing blogs and long-form content that allows you to discuss important topics in your industry, now and for the future
- Creating content such as videos and podcasts that can be shared across your digital channels and on professional platforms such as LinkedIn
- Hosting online events and workshops that your current clients have the option of attending and then sharing information about on their own platforms
- Publishing reports that highlight your ability to research the exact needs of your clients
7. Create playbooks for future employees / strategic partners
In an industry that’s changing by the day, it’s important that you can keep up. With this in mind, being able to onboard new team members as quickly as possible is essential.
Across all sectors, companies are struggling to attract and retain high-quality talent for the roles they need to fill. This is why when a new employee or strategic partner is finally found, getting them set up as quickly as possible can make a huge difference to your workflow.
This is where playbooks come in. In short, a playbook is a document created by a company that offers instructions and guidance on how to complete certain tasks.
For onboarding any kind of new talent, playbooks are particularly useful because this document contains all the information they need to start working immediately.
If creating a playbook that is specific to new employees, it might include:
- The passwords and logins they need to carry out their tasks
- Guidance on your company’s branding and tone of voice
- A list of the tools available to staff within your company to optimise / enhance their performance
- Any in-house policies to be aware of
- A general guide on tasks that are specific to their role
More simplified versions of these playbooks can also be extremely beneficial for companies that you outsource work to. If you have a particular tone of voice or a specific agenda you want to stick to, this is a great way to get these other agencies up to speed!
Overall, think about how you can adapt your business, while still maintaining what you’re already good at!
One of the best ways to futureproof your digital agency, without needing to invest large amounts of money, is to examine how you can adjust your current operations to be more dynamic.
Your current clients want to visibly see that you’re a company they should continue to align themselves with, and future clients will want to see that you’re an agency who knows how to push themselves forward.
Nobody knows what the future holds, but what we do know is that only the most professional and agile agencies will be able to withstand significant pressure. To do this, why not consider outsourcing some new services to other professional agencies?
Uprise Digital — White label Web Design
At Uprise Digital, we provide white label web design services. This allows you to offer web design and web development to your clients as they need it, without having to adjust how you currently operate.
With our white label service, we can remain completely anonymous as your service provider. This means that your clients can avail of a new expert service, without anyone needing to know that you’re not providing this service yourself!
If you’d like to know more about our white label web design service, we’d love to chat! Contact us now.