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While agency leaders are experts at building strategic partnerships to help their clients’ businesses, that expertise is often underutilized within their own business. It’s a trend we’ve strived to reverse at my agency, AZDS, where partnerships play a pivotal role in expanding our resources to optimize internal workflow, maximize our capacity and improve the quality of our deliverables. After all, if you can delegate tasks to people and organizations that specialize in those particular tasks, it’s a win-win for you, your agency and, ultimately, your clients.

With that in mind, here are five ideas to inspire productive partnerships for your agency.

Partner With Freelance Editorial Writers

If content marketing is part of your agency’s service repertoire, copywriting likely falls into one of two buckets: branded content or editorial stories for blogs and publications. If your clients are anything like ours — travel brands where local, insider stories make all the difference — the editorial storytelling component is exponentially easier when you have local freelance writers who find and write those captivating stories for you. No matter how good your in-house copywriting team is, it simply can’t know other cities’ cultural scenes as well as an on-the-ground writer, whose job is to stay in the loop — be it of restaurant openings in Los Angeles or private concerts in Chicago.

The key is to partner with writers who regularly contribute to large-scale publications and have thousands of social media followers to help give your content automatic credibility and exposure. Let your internal copywriting team do what they do best — branded material that requires insider knowledge of the company — and leave the specialized editorial writing to strategic freelance partners.

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Contract With Freelance Development Teams

Let’s face it, finding a full team of talented and versatile, in-house developers is difficult, turnover-prone and, in today’s market, highly expensive. Instead of having a team on your payroll, let someone else maneuver those difficulties for you — namely, a freelance development company.

I highly recommend contracting out your development needs for several reasons: One, your chosen partner can provide you with credible full-stack developers who are fluent in multiple languages and can build a website from start to finish. Two, you only have to pay for the services you need, not a permanent salary. This means you can pay the equivalent of a full-time salary during busy development times and lower your overhead during less busy times. And three, if you need more resources during those busy times, your partner can provide you with additional developers to increase capacity. The bottom line is, you’re saving money and time while gaining cost-efficiency, resources and flexibility.

Develop Lasting Relationships With Social Influencers

Unlike the hotel owner who recently shamed a social influencer publicly on social media, innovative brands know the value of an influencer: digital exposure, social engagement and search engine optimization (SEO) enhancement. Smart agencies deliver on this value by establishing lasting relationships with worthwhile influencers and consistently partnering with them for a wide range of clients. If an influencer wants to share one client’s content about innovative wellness trends, chances are they’d be interested in sharing another client’s feature on DIY skin care ideas. Develop mutually beneficial relationships with a host of influencers and you’ll have a well of contacts to return to early and often, thus saving you time and resources internally, all while moving the needle externally. 

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Find A Media-Buying Team With Score-Powered Audiences

Finding a qualified vendor to handle your pay-per-click (PPC), retargeting and acquisition campaigns is critical not just for optimizing your agency’s workflow but delivering substantial returns for your clients. Do your research to find a partner who allocates your advertising budget to score-powered audiences who are more likely to convert. The future of advertising, in my opinion, score-powered audiences are rated based on relevance to a brand’s message, previous engagement with the brand and likelihood of conversion. Used correctly, they will substantially lower the cost per click and cost per conversion and, most importantly, deliver a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS) to your clients.

Invest In Technology Partnerships

From the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliances to data security to analytics solutions, online technology can be as convoluted as it is imperative. As an agency tasked with simplifying these things for clients, the best advice I can give is to leverage the expertise of specialized technology vendors that can help navigate the process and ensure seamless execution. The investment greatly benefits your client and also your agency, which can return to the same vendor consistently in the future or gain valuable insights to navigate the process internally going forward.

While many of the above solutions may sound simple, they can make a tremendous impact on both agencies and their clients. Agency leaders have to spend money to make money, and by investing in strategic partnerships, they’re drastically expanding their agency’s internal work capacity and increasing their ability to take on more projects, clients and, ultimately, revenue. Think of it as growing your workforce without committing to permanent salaries and overhead.

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