Having effectively run a young digital agency as well and growing revenue by over 400% within 6 months, I will share what worked for us.
Word of mouth remains your best customer acquisition channel. Referrals paved a way for us in an industry that was already overcrowded.
How did we achieve this?
We did three things.
1. Niche Marketing: We offered our services strictly to the growing startup community in our city. This tightly knit community who watched each other's moves closely began to notice our work on other startups and reached out to achieve same results. We spent $0 on marketing at this point just by doing this.
2. Free! Free! Free! - Give out free items but be strategic about it. A unique way we applied this was by finding influential business leaders within the startup community and offering them our service for free - A free explainer video.
Who says no to free stuff? Most of the CEOs and founders we reached out to were 'delighted by the honor'. In turn they became our brand advocates as they were very pleased to tell other people about us, most especially at speaking events.
This strategy alone accounted for 40% of our revenue.
3. Brand Positioning: This strategy is the most effective. It hinges on the idea that by making your agency an expert in a certain field, you make your agency a lead market.
People like to share their problems with experts who they believe know and understand the problems best.
You can easily do this through many ways, here are some unique ones:
1. Industry thought leadership Articles.
2. Gaining massive press exposure (Everybody wants to work with the popular brand)
3. Distributing Free guides on topics your target audience cares about.
I hope this helps.