Higher Logic Blog

3 Ways Marketing Agencies & Consultants Can Turn Overservicing Into Relationships and Revenue

Written by Julie Dietz | May 10, 2016 at 12:30 PM

As a professional agency or consultant, you provide high quality services and are paid accordingly, right? Think about it. Maybe this is true, but maybe it's not. According to a recent SoDA report, at least 49% of agencies have reported a profit loss due to overservicing, which means giving their clients too much high quality service and not being paid for it.

That's a big problem with a noble cause. Overservicing often results from positive goals like trying to show commitment or attempting to build strong relationships and encourage repeat business. It might start small, with a project that needs just a little bit extra in order succeed. That little bit extra can spiral, however, and projects can get out of control. Many agencies continue to overservice these projects in order to complete them, which, according to HubSpot, could devalue the agency in its client's eyes. After all, your time and services can't be that valuable if you're giving them away for free.

So by frequently overservicing your clients you're not only doing a lot of work for no pay, you're also sabotaging your relationship with clients. It's time to stop overservicing and instead highlight your commitment in a way that's healthy for your agency and your client relationship by adding value.

The easiest way to add value is to change your overservicing efforts into billable subscriptions. You can offer the subscription services to clients when you first start a project, or any time it becomes clear that a project needs additional support, whether that's technical support or help with strategic sales plans. By offering an ongoing service package that clients can purchase, you clearly explain the extra value you're providing by putting a price tag on your work. You also extend your relationship with clients, and generate recurring revenue for your agency.

What Types of Additional Services Can You Offer Your Clients?

If you're overservicing your clients, you already have the perfect base for additional, billable subscription services. Just look at the ways you're supporting projects with for free, and change them into additional set services.

Here are three subscriptions that can change overservicing problems into revenue.

Service #1) Customer Marketing

If you're a marketing agency or consultant, you are probably already an expert in customer marketing. You know how to deal with content, get your customers found, and convert leads into paying customers. You know all about different markets, customer bases, and getting people to convert on calls to action. You're excellent at research, marketing automation, personalization, copywriting, and pitch skills. You're a veritable marketing guru, and you deserve to be paid for it.

Offer customer marketing services in different package levels, starting from basic marketing strategies for social media, all the way up to detailed plans and their implementation. Each package will provide a different level of value for your clients, who will in turn pass value on to their customers or members.

To build your initial offers, start by identifying your client's problems. For instance, are they having trouble with upselling? Build on that by creating services that help your clients effectively market to current customers and target upsells and cross-sells. Create different subscription services for clients struggling with customer advocacy and retention.

Service #2) Customer Portal Maintenance and Design

If your clients have a central online community or portal where customers access documentation, support, and company news, then you're likely overservicing in this area. It's easy to do, especially when your projects need to be incorporated into the portal and kept up to date. You might be maintaining your customer's portal for them through updates or even redesigning sections to make them more effective for your project.

Time spent on portal maintenance and design adds up fast. It takes technology and marketing skills to design, keep up with content, and maintain customer communication through the portal platform. Ensuring that the entire system is easy for customers to use and accomplishes the company's goals requires comprehensive engagement analysis and consistent updates. It also brings tangible results, including increases in retention and advocacy.

With so many facets involved in portal projects, make sure you're not going above and beyond at your own expense. When you sell portal maintenance and design as an additional service then your clients become fully aware of the time and effort you're putting in. You're practically designing and maintaining a separate website and content plan for customers. It also gives them a chance to extend their contract with you and ensure that their entire portal is updated, not just the section for your project.

Service #3) Community Management

Similar to a customer portal, you're likely already involved in your clients' online communities. This makes community management an ideal add-on service.

A well-managed online customer community can benefit retention, upselling, and advocacy – three areas that agency clients almost always want to improve. Since you've been managing diverse customers and building your agency's networks from the very start, you have plenty of experience in this field. With that comes important technology, social media, and content knowledge that you can use to manage your customers' online communities.

When designing community management services, create different subscription tiers, with some including content creation and management, and others that generate online community engagement reports. Make this a longer-term subscription service, with contracts starting at 6 months or a year in order to bring in more steady revenue.

Subscription Services Takeaway

Any services that you're currently supplying for free are opportunities to formalize your value to clients and boost revenue. Each new subscription service you add clearly explains the time you're putting in, the value you're providing, and ultimately the fact that your agency is worth too much to continually give things away for free. The entire process will foster stronger relationships with your clients, and by focusing on subscription-based services, you'll also help extend that relationship.

Want an Easy Way to Provide These Three Services to Your Clients?

The Socious partner program offers a hassle-free way to generate reoccurring revenue and additional services contracts from your existing clients. In the program, Socious provides the online community and customer portal software for your clients, and you not only get a piece of the pie, but also the opportunity to offer the portal maintenance, management, and customer marketing services your clients need.