remarkable-ad-agencyAs an ad agency operating in this rough economy, it's not enough to be good — you have to be the best. However, there's no way to break ahead of the pack when you're using the same tried-and-true strategies as everyone else.

You need to think outside the box if you want to get noticed. The problem with being innovative or unique is that the risk of failure increases, and let's face it, no one wants to boost that risk in a volatile economy.

So what can you do to ensure your advertising agency is successful?

How to Be a Great Ad Agency

It doesn't matter what kind of business you run, customers are one of the most important ingredients of success. Agencies that ignore their audience — and yes you have an audience — will eventually drown in the tumultuous sea. To be a truly remarkable ad agency, you need to pay attention to what your clients want and what they expect.

To reel in new business, or keep what you already have, mind the following points.

1. Collect and Display References

No one will take you seriously unless you have a little proof to backup your claims. On your website, social media profiles, or in your email signature, you need to provide references. Don't just copy and paste quotes from clients; everyone does that. Promote video interviews, audio clips, or host user-curated reviews on your official site. Try to do something a little different while still offering new customers surefire proof you do good work.

2. Listen to Customer Demands and Get to Know Them

This has probably been on every "how-to" list in existence, but it is still valid. Instead of immediately throwing all your own strategies marketing your agency, first take time to get to know your prospects and what they want. Every brand is different, so why would you use the same marketing strategies across the board? The best ad agencies tailor their work to the client and can think quickly on their feet.

If you take a look at the Always #LikeaGirl campaign, you'll notice the strategy incorporates a blend of techniques, but what really stands out is the fact that the advertisers paid attention to the brand's goals and what it stands for. The Always brand wants to empower women, and its ad team took that idea and used it to blend together a healthy mix of old and new. It has a purpose.

3. Remain Accessible and Stay in Touch

Even today, it can be a real pain to get a hold of some people. Make it extremely easy for your customers to get in touch with you or representatives from your agency. You'd be surprised how many advertising agencies include a one-way contact form on their website and that's it. Include every piece of information you possess, so that your prospects and current clients can get in touch the way they prefer.

Make your business phone number, address, email — and anything else you think they might need — readily available. For example: This video about organic solutions to gardening is displayed on SaferBrand’s website, where they can clearly communicate all of their contact information and chat options. This piece of content marketing and its relation to easy-to-find contact information gives people the opportunity to call, chat, email, or even buy right then.

4. Display Your Most Creative Work

First and foremost, successful marketing is about being creative. It's about standing out in an endless swarm of clones. That's why it's not enough to just list your experience. There are thousands of advertising agencies out there, and you need to assure potential customers that you know what you're doing.

Prove to your clients that you know how to help them stand out by showcasing your most creative projects. Share past work, interesting strategies, ideas or even current work to buff up your portfolio.

Dove is running a very interesting and unique campaign that compares how women see themselves, and their real beauty. The related ads are fantastic, and they truly have a powerful impact on those who watch. Include your best work in a portfolio for potential clients.

5. Be Positive, Outgoing, and Friendly

After you enter an agreement with customers, it's easy to take them for granted. With any luck, you will be with them for a long time. You can cement your bond by being courteous, friendly, and positive during correspondence.

Never insult or treat customers like a child. That is, if they have ideas to share or want to provide input about marketing their brand, don't turn them away. It is their business, after all. If you don't agree with their suggestions. try to find a happy medium. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean you need to pander to them completely, as you will have to stand firm at times. It just means you should remain as cordial as possible at all times.

6. Don't Overburden Yourself or Your Employees

We all know that landing new accounts is exciting — and it's the best way to ensure a steady stream of revenue is coming in. That said, it's never a good idea to overload your team. Maintain a healthy number of clients so that you can invest the right amount of attention, time, and effort to each project.

You don't want to lose customers later on because they don't feel important enough. Every customer is vital, and it's essential you make them feel that way. Devoting the proper time and attention to each client is what creates a truly great agency.

Originally published Jul 17, 2014 8:00:02 AM, updated December 02 2014