You know your agency’s strengths – the things you’re great at, the things you love, the things you went into business to do. But while you’re busy making the magic happen, make sure you’re not missing a trick. Because there’s a whole range of simple ways you can boost your revenue stream and take better care of your customers, without much effort at all. Let’s take a look…
Designing and building websites might be the core thing you do, but scratch the surface and there are a whole load of supporting services you could offer, pretty easily. Services that go hand in hand with your creative work, that help your customers, that give you more control and (wait for it) that make you extra money, for minimal effort.
1. Reselling hosting
If you’re creating websites for your clients, chances are you’re already working with a hosting company regularly. Maybe you pay your clients’ hosting costs and add them to the bill for your creative work. If that’s the case, the good news is, you’re already reselling hosting. But here’s the thing – are you making enough from it?
Billing in this way means you’ve got the opportunity to choose how much you charge your clients for their hosting, making a markup on their monthly bill. Of course you want to offer them good value, but think about the time you spend talking to your hosting provider, managing your clients’ websites and troubleshooting problems. Make sure your markup realistically covers the work you do – after all, you’re saving your client the time and effort of doing that themselves.
On the other hand, if your client deals directly with a hosting provider and pays their own bill, you could suggest doing this for them. Be up front and say it’ll cost them a small amount more, but you’ll be saving them the trouble of handling their hosting – and creating a more joined-up, streamlined way you can all work together. They might just thank you for it.
Once you’ve started reselling hosting to your existing clients, you can feel more confident offering it as a service when you’re pitching for new work. It’s an extra reason for people to choose you over the competition – knowing you can handle everything to do with their website and take the pressure off their own team.
You can even extend your offer to include buying domain names, setting up email accounts and getting security certificates – setting your own pricing structure for each. They’re all things a good hosting provider should be able to support you with, so just like hosting, you’ll be making a markup without much extra effort.
2. Setting up a referral scheme
If you feel happier with a more hands-off approach, you could explore setting up a referral scheme with a hosting provider. So, when clients come to you with a web project, you could recommend a hosting company you know, trust and enjoy working with.
If your clients decide to use that company, you’ll have made a valuable referral and helped the hosting company build their business. So make it into a revenue stream. Offer to recommend them to more of your clients and negotiate a fee for doing it.
At Nimbus, when agencies refer more than 10 clients to us, we pay them a percentage of the income those clients bring in. Ask your hosting provider what they can offer in return for your recommendations and take things from there.
3. Offering website maintenance
Sometimes once you’ve got a website up and running, your work with that client is done and dusted. Other times you might get paid for your initial work but find you’re still asked to troubleshoot, give advice or make tweaks, months down the line. Both are missed opportunities.
By offering to look after your clients’ websites long term, for a monthly fee, you can kill a whole lot of birds with one stone. You’ll be staying involved with that client and in line for any new projects they might be planning. You’ll be making sure you get paid for all those odd jobs they call you about long after their bill’s been paid. And you’ll be creating a regular, ongoing revenue stream while giving your clients real peace of mind.
If you’re thinking of reselling hosting, like we saw above, you could wrap your website management fee in with a hosting fee, charging your customers a fixed amount per month for looking after the whole lot. For them, it’s an easy way to hand over some of the tech stuff they might not feel confident about, and find more time to focus on their day-to-day business.
4. Establishing agency retainers
If you’re working with a client regularly and having to allocate a fair amount of resource to their account, it might be worth talking to them about a retainer. It’s a good way to get a clear picture of your revenue stream for the months ahead and achieve the kind of certainty that can be pretty handy when you’re thinking about growing your team.
If it’s something you’d like to propose to a client, look at how many hours you’ve spent on their account over the last few months and how much they’ve been paying. If you’re seeing a pattern, that’s the best place to start putting together recommendations.
Remember, a retainer won’t just help you feel more confident about your earnings – it’ll give your client the confidence that your team’s willing, able and ready to roll, whenever they need some help. It’s a commitment on both sides, and it can bring big benefits for everyone.
5. Branching out into SEO, social media or PPC
When you’re website experts, you tend to get asked about all sorts of related things, like SEO, social media and PPC, or pay-per-click, ads. If they’re areas where your team’s got expertise, make sure you’re capitalising on them, making clients aware they’re something you can do, and charging them out as the valuable services they are. And they absolutely are.
Clients often lack confidence in these areas, or are short on the time it takes to be effective and do things like social media campaigns or SEO properly. By offering to help, you’ll not only be building a whole new revenue stream, but creating good will and loyalty along the way.
6. Running consultancy or workshop sessions
Finally, think about the value of your expertise, thought processes and creative approach. Are they things you could offer to clients to help them solve problems, shape strategy or be more creative in the way they work? Could you share your insights into the digital or marketing world in a way that would help clients understand their audience, or today’s tech, even better?
Some agencies offer clients workshops or consultancy sessions where they target a specific area, share knowledge or work through a particular challenge, getting fresh eyes on a problem. It’s worth considering what you could package in this way, promoting your agency as experts in a certain area and, once again, boosting your revenue.