I know it's a very open ended question, but I thought some of you who have created businesses in the digital space that have hit this mark might be able to shed some light on what to focus on and what to avoid.
One approach to consider is seeing if you can find a specific project type that you can replicate with many like clients. It's harder to sell 'web design' than a very specific 'great website for homeowners wanting to sell for-sale-by-owner', for example.
One of the keys to profitable scale is to be able to get additional revenue at the same or increasing per-project profitability. If you're doing something different in each project, it takes longer to figure out how to make really good money at it.
You've got goals and that is the right first step. I have successfully run and now market and sell services in the digital marketing and web development industry. Our companies growth last year doubled the year previously and this year already is looking to do the same. So I've been where you are with a startup that's looking to hit it big in this niche.
There are a few things to consider when driving sales to a design/marketing agency:
#1 - Understand your universal metric. In most agencies it is billable hours. If this is the case know your costs (labor, overhead, fees, etc.) and understand your profit margin. Using a universal metric like billable hours helps you to easily and successfully make strong financial growth plans. Success and progress can be measured from this single metric.
#2 - Create a conversion funnel that helps you track your progress. If I knew that I needed 4,000 billable hours per year to hit my goal of $200k in revenue then I know that every month I need to complete 334 hours of billable work. That number not only helps me manage my sales but also my labor, resourcing, etc.
I would use the conversion funnel focused on the following stages: prospects > progressing > proposal delivered > closing. Then I would break down goals for each of these stages based on previous conversion rates (percentage of leads going from one stage to the next).
If I know I can land 50% of all of the proposals I deliver than I need to figure out how many progressing leads I need to get to that point. You essentially work backwards here.
#3 - You have your universal metric and you know your individual stage goals and conversion rates between stages (which you can work on improving). Now you need to find the top locations your prospective customers are congregating online and offline (don't forget this part). Then you use a targeted message to connect with your prospective client opportunities to help them understand how you solve their problems.
There are lots of ways to find, market and sell to clients in the web design and digital marketing niche. I've got lots of successful experience doing it.
Let's talk through how you can do this for your own business and dive into the specifics. Hope this helps!
It depends on how you are positioning yourself and what exactly your goals are for the company. There is no "one size fits all" answer for marketing. Like you said, it's an insanely open ended question and, if you REALLY want to grow your business, it will require lots of thought and discussion.
There is no way to effectively base a marketing plan on a one paragraph question, and you DEFINITELY shouldn't trust a marketing "plan" given to you as a result of a one paragraph question.
There are a variety of marketing experts, myself included, on Clarity and that is who you should be talking to. Not because "you get what you pay for" (which is true) but because you will never get a right answer this way and it will end up either destroying your goal of 200k... or, best case, will set up "limits" for your business down the line.
It would really suck to hit 200k and then realize you've back yourself into a corner and can never get to the 1m you deserve or could have made.
The quick answer is WORK BACKWARDS! So you want $200K, break that into 2 large contracts (worth $x) and several small contracts. Now what do you have to do to win the large contract -- how many phone calls/customer meetings will it take -- who should you target. Small contracts -- are you getting those thru inbound leads from social media -- do you need to run advertising to get leads? Promotions? How many leads convert to customers. You are definitely on the right track with a monetary end goal -- the next step will be to break that down to a split of your product offerings and from the product offers the effort to acquire the customers. I once helped a sales manager figure out that he needed to make 10 cold calls a day, to get three conversations a week, to get 5 customers a month to make $500K in a year. You just need to walk it thru step by step