Transformation Secrets of a Online Marketing Agency #MTW

Patrick Shea
Patrick Shea



lynton image resized 600 When Daniel Lynton founded his web design company, LyntonWeb , in 1999, his mission was simply to build websites for his clients. At that time, he was the owner and founder, head of business development, designer, developer, and account manager for all projects. With his attention being pulled in so many different directions, finding time to think strategically about how he could grow the business was hard to do, but needed. Ten years later, in 2009, he began to notice a shift in the way companies were spending their marketing dollars. He saw an opportunity to adapt to the future of online marketing and transform his business.

A Business Model Shift from Project to Retainer Selling

LyntonWeb was in the business of making websites better – both visually with design, and functionally with custom development. Everything was project-based, and business wasn’t always steady as projects came and went. In order to stabilize and grow the business, LyntonWeb had to find additional opportunities that could become sources of continuous revenue. Retainer based marketing services were just the solution.

The marketing dollars clients typically set aside for outbound tactics like mass mailings and cold calling were getting scrapped in favor of online activities. Companies were beginning to see that content marketing, social media outreach and online lead generation could yield a high ROI. Blogs, for instance, were now more than just a place to share company news. They were a content vehicle critical to improving search rankings, traffic and gaining inbound links. His clients had a need for these new services, and he saw blogging, along with other inbound marketing services (as they were becoming known), as tactics that required constant effort and a way to build a recurring revenue model on top of other web services.

Providing Ongoing Value and Services to Clients

The LyntonWeb team started practicing inbound marketing for their clients and saw the benefits and results first hand in a very short time period. Websites needed steady content creation, not just slick layouts, to truly be productive from a traffic and lead generation perspective. The design work was still was their sweet spot, but it now served as a springboard for monthly retainers built around measurable, results-driven inbound marketing services. Says Daniel, “We started designing landing pages and offering other discreet services, but now we’ve moved into managed services. Evolving the business from projects to retainers would not have been possible without the core services of inbound marketing.”

A Bright Future for Inbound Agencies

Since shifting his sales focus to inbound marketing, Daniel and his team have signed up over a hundred customers for web design, inbound marketing, and custom development services on the HubSpot platform. They have also benefited from recommendations within a strong HubSpot user community, gaining custom project requests ranging from content creation to custom coding. They have formed strategic partnerships with other marketing agencies and inbound marketing consultants delivering value-added services. They hit one million in sales in 2010 thanks in large part to their wide range of inbound marketing and web services. This year they expect to break new company records for sales and revenue.

Once just a virtual team of web professionals, LyntonWeb now occupies a spacious new office in downtown Houston. Daniel has grown a sales and account management team to support strong client relationships – a move that allowed him to focus on business development and growth strategy.  

As an agency or marketing services company, what value-add services do you provide to your clients on an on-going basis?  As a marketer, when you need content and online marketing support, how do you search for agency partners and by what criteria do you qualify them?

Key Business Takeaways:

1. Compliment your value prop's big picture. LyntonWeb started out building websites back when they were little more than onine business cards. As the concept of websites changed, so did their service offerings. They stayed true to their value proposition, while broadening the scope of what they do best.

2. Provide value early, so they’ll ask for it often. LyntonWeb has had tremendous luck turning projects into retainers, mainly because of the level of service and expertise they display in the initial engagement. Over-deliver when you can, and use the “capital” you earn to suggest a relationship that keeps you in the picture permanently long-term.

3. Educate your customers on where they need to go. LyntonWeb sensed a change in web marketing and made sure their customers sensed it too. Making education part of your process will help your customers know what they need, and have you in the earliest stages of their decision-making process.

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