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The complete guide to growing your web development agency

By Jaimie McMahon · 17 Nov 2023
The complete guide to growing your web development agency

With 81% of consumers choosing to research online prior to making a purchase, business owners are investing more in their online presence. As a web development agency, you can assist these businesses by building, updating, or maintaining well-designed websites to help your clients attract new customers, increase sales, and improve overall brand awareness.

But with web development agencies popping up left, right, and center, and with so many different approaches to web development, how can your agency stand out from the crowd? This comprehensive guide will teach you how to grow your web development agency by attracting more clients, delivering more value, and ultimately increasing revenue.

Table of Contents

  1. Develop and implement a strong marketing strategy
  2. Increase your web development agency’s revenue
  3. Understand your clients’ needs
  4. Improve your agency’s client satisfaction
  5. Keep learning, keep growing

1. Develop and implement a strong marketing strategy

Even if your web development agency designs and delivers the best-performing websites, your agency won’t grow if you’re not attracting new clients. So how can you get your agency noticed by potential web development clients? With a new and improved marketing strategy, of course! Developing and implementing a strong marketing strategy is crucial for both client acquisition and overall agency growth. Let’s take a look at how to develop and improve your web development agency’s marketing strategy.

Niche down

As an established web development agency, you’re likely to have already defined your target market — the specific group of consumers that your web development services are aimed at. But as your agency grows, it pays to reconsider your target market by narrowing down your niche. This means getting even more specific about the types of clients and use cases your web development agency targets.

Start by identifying your agency’s most profitable and loyal clients or projects, and consider what sets them apart. Did these high-value clients have similarly sized businesses, or were they part of the same industry with similar project scopes or use cases? Consider less concrete client differentiators, like personality types and communication styles. You can also niche down by getting crystal clear about what constitutes a high-value client. Your agency should set some time aside to gather demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data about your ideal clients, including age, gender, interests, and purchase behaviors.

Next, it’s time for your web development agency to develop client personas based on your high-value target market. A target persona is a fictional profile of a person who represents one of your key target audience groups based on the characteristics of your clients. Use the information gathered about your high-value niche to create detailed fictional characters that represent your agency’s ideal clients. Make sure to consider what business problem(s) each persona experiences and get crystal clear about how your agency solves their specific problem(s), meets their needs and requirements, and ultimately delights each persona.

Example user persona

The final step here is to tailor your web development agency’s marketing efforts and messages to resonate with your client personas. Conduct research, or even schedule a team-wide brainstorming session, to discover where and how you can attract your client personas. Think about the medium and the message: where can you get in front of these potential clients, what will attract their attention, and what will inspire them to take action? Evaluate both traditional and digital channels and choose the channels that best suit your agency’s client personas. Ensure that your message clearly points to a solution to your potential clients’ problems to help guide them through their decision-making process.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing means pushing your web development agency’s marketing communications out to your target market. Think cold calls or cold emails, billboard ads, social media ads, display ads, sponsorships, etc. In short, your agency’s outbound marketing strategy aims to seek out potential web development clients both in person and online.

Begin developing your agency’s outbound marketing strategy by compiling a list of networking events where you can meet potential clients in person. Consider giving a talk at a conference or setting up a booth at a tradeshow within your target market’s industry. If your target market is location-based, you could even try distributing flyers or placing print advertisements in local publications that are popular with your client personas.

Next, consider your agency’s digital outbound marketing strategy by finding out where and how to reach your target audience online. Are there any online publications that your client personas love to read? What are the preferred social media platforms for your agency’s potential clients? Is there anywhere else they spend their time online? Place display ads on these websites and social networks to get your web development agency’s message seen by potential clients.

Remember that an effective display ad should feature eye-catching visuals and clear and concise messaging with a strong call to action. The design should reflect your agency and lead to a consistent landing page with clear directions for booking a consult or getting in touch. Your agency can start out with a modest initial display ad budget ($500–$1000/month) that can be adjusted as you measure results and optimize performance.

That's the real benefit of digital outbound marketing: it’s easy to track results. Make sure that your agency team learns to analyze data in Google Ads and Meta Business Suite to monitor outbound ad performance and adjust your outbound marketing strategy accordingly.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing means pulling in your target audience’s attention by creating useful content and experiences that resonate with them. Inbound marketing is a ‘slow-burn’ digital marketing strategy that aims to attract potential clients to your agency’s website. The needs of your target audience should inform the development of your inbound marketing strategy. What questions are potential clients asking online? What problems are they seeking to solve? This is why it’s so important to have well-defined client personas with clear pain points.

Your web development agency can use free keyword research tools, like Google Trends and Answer The Public, or paid search engine optimization (SEO) tooling, like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, to discover relevant keywords and phrases being searched for online. Compile a list of the top keywords and phrases for your web development agency to analyze based on search volume, search intent, and keyword competitiveness, and prioritize which keywords and phrases to target accordingly. If this sounds like a foreign language to you, you can learn more about keyword research, analysis, and targeting here.

Next, your web development agency can create paid search ads targeting your identified keywords and phrases to drive traffic from search engines directly to your agency’s website. It’s wise to start out with a modest budget for search ads and adjust your budget allocation based on results, in a similar fashion to display ads.

Now, it’s by no means essential to use paid ads to direct traffic from search engines to your agency’s site. You can attract website visitors organically by publishing expert content. Your agency can use the same keyword research to inform the development of a website content marketing strategy. Your content marketing strategy should outline blog topics and landing pages based on the keywords your agency is targeting. But keep in mind that overusing a keyword (keyword stuffing) will not push your content to the top of the search engine results page. Search engines evaluate and rank content based on quality, so focus on publishing helpful, reliable, people-first content to attract potential clients to your agency’s website by giving them something useful for free.

Be sure to set up your web development agency’s website on Google Analytics or another web analytics tool. This is essential for monitoring the traffic entering your site and tracking conversions like requesting a project quote or booking a consultation. Your agency team should fine-tune your inbound marketing strategy based on web analytic insights, like user demographics, traffic acquisition channels, and conversion rates. It helps to think of your agency’s marketing strategy as an iterative process, always evolving based on past results.

While these marketing strategies can be self-taught with the help of free online resources (see Keep learning, keep growing for a list of learning resources), your agency may grow to the point that you wish to outsource this work or hire an in-house marketing professional.

2. Increase your web development agency’s revenue

It is essential to increase revenue to grow your web development agency. Every agency must set incremental price increases in line with rising inflation rates and your improved services. But incremental price increases alone are not enough for continued growth. Your web development agency must strive to improve your pricing strategy to ensure sustainable business growth.

Negotiate a retainer

If your web development agency currently prices services by the hour, aim to move towards a retainer-based pricing strategy. Retainer-based pricing relies on retainer fees, an amount of money paid upfront to secure the services of your web development agency for an agreed-upon number of hours within an agreed-upon timeframe.

You can propose a retainer to your long-term clients or to your new clients that will require ongoing website maintenance or updates. Retainers are great for building trust and loyalty with your agency’s web development clients. Agreeing on a retainer also guarantees that your web development agency can rely on a steady and predictable income stream. This makes it easier to predict your agency’s future financial position and make smarter business decisions.

Focus on value

If your web development agency currently prices services based on project scopes and timelines, aim to move towards a value-based pricing strategy. Value-based pricing sets project prices based on the impact of your agency’s services on your clients’ businesses. This shifts focus from your agency’s work to the results afforded by your work. (Here are 22 ways your web development agency can deliver more value to clients and increase prices accordingly.)

It is essential that you clearly and confidently communicate the value of your agency’s web development work and provide hard data to support your assessment of its value to clients. You can measure the improvement of a website’s core web vitals, track site rankings on search engine results pages (SERP), monitor website traffic volume, session times, conversion rates, or many more web performance metrics. If you identify which metrics are most important to each of your agency’s client personas, you can design client communications to ensure that the value of your agency’s work is clear. This should extend beyond one-on-one communications to encompass your agency’s marketing communications to prospective clients. You can do this by displaying and explaining important metrics on your agency’s portfolio website, as well as collecting and displaying testimonials from your current clients.

3. Understand your clients’ needs

Strong sales and negotiation skills lead to better deals, stronger relationships, and increased business success for your web development agency. Both sales and negotiation effectiveness heavily rely on your soft skills. These are your personal attributes, or interpersonal and behavioral skills, that help you interact well with others. Soft skills are more difficult to learn compared to hard (technical) skills, but they have a greater impact on your agency’s success in sales, contract negotiation, and building trust and loyalty.

Five pillars of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence and empathy quotient

Emotional intelligence is composed of five factors: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Emotional intelligence helps you understand how your web development clients feel and how to manage your clients’ emotions towards you as well as your own emotions. You can evaluate your emotional intelligence to identify any blind spots in need of improvement. Working on understanding emotional intelligence can also be a fantastic team-building exercise to help your agency’s team members learn about themselves and their peers and understand how to work better together.

Empathy is a particularly important emotional intelligence factor for your agency to consider. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Developing you and your team’s empathy will help your web development agency implement client-centric sales and negotiation strategies by understanding how to personalize services for each individual client. This goes beyond customizing a website; the aim is to personalize the communication with each client to best meet their needs. Measure your empathy quotient (EQ) to learn how to improve you and your team’s interactions with clients.

Effective communication

Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for growing your web development agency. To communicate effectively, your potential clients’ needs must always be at the forefront of your mind. It is equally important to tailor your communications to each individual client based on their written, verbal, and non-verbal cues. A good rule of thumb is to actively watch and listen twice as much as you speak (some say this is why we have two ears but only one mouth).

Active listening means taking in what your client is communicating to better view things from their perspective, rather than mentally formulating your response while they speak. This will slow down the pace of your interactions, which will help you be calm, collected, and confident. There is always more to learn about effective communication, from using engaging language to confirming understanding.

It’s worth noting that effective communication and active listening skills are equally, if not more important, internally within your agency’s team. Consider running an agency-wide ‘effective communication workshop’ using psychology-backed communication games to improve workplace communication. This not only improves workplace satisfaction by helping employees feel understood, but it will also improve productivity by reducing the occurrence of misunderstandings.


You need to be a great storyteller to develop rapport with your potential web development clients. By understanding what resonates with your potential clients emotionally, you can craft a compelling story that demonstrates the value of your agency’s web development services. Your agency should aim to tell a story in marketing communications and direct communications with prospective web development clients. Learn about the art of storytelling to propel your web development agency to the next level.

graphical representation of a story

Emotional connection is the backbone of any successful sale, negotiation, or business relationship. At the end of the day, you are forming connections by offering your agency’s services to other people. And people are inherently drawn to stories with an emotional appeal.

You may have noticed by now that all of these soft skills focus on your clients’ emotions. This is because gaining new web development clients is less about persuasion and more about showing that you understand your clients’ needs. It is crucial to approach your sales calls and contract negotiations with the aim of helping your prospective clients. The benefits of establishing your web development agency as a hub for personable and genuine problem-solvers cannot be understated.

4. Improve your agency’s client satisfaction

Improving customer satisfaction is essential for the growth of your web development agency. Satisfied clients are more likely to become repeat customers and refer your agency to others. It is important to implement standardized procedures to enhance your agency’s clients’ satisfaction across the board. So how can you delight your web development clients again and again?

Setting expectations

Ensure that your clients have a clear understanding of what to expect in terms of web development project timelines, deliverables, and costs. Your agency must prioritize transparency in all client communications about pricing, project progress, and any challenges that may arise. Be sure to avoid overpromising, as failure to meet expectations can lead to dissatisfied clients.

Your web development agency can use project management tools to assess the quality of your agency’s projects and maintain timely project delivery and consistent communication with your clients. Consider allocating a project manager to oversee your agency’s larger web development projects and act as a single point of contact for these clients. And when projects are delayed despite your agency’s best efforts, communicate with your clients early to offer alternative solutions. Your web development agency’s service should meet or exceed your clients’ expectations.

Quality assurance

Your web development agency can deliver high-quality websites time and time again by conducting rigorous testing and quality assurance processes before launching each project. This means testing your clients’ websites functionality, performance, usability, security, and compatibility with different browsers and devices. Your web development agency must ensure that your clients’ websites meet all of the following criteria:

  • Functions reliably, without any errors or glitches
  • Easy to use, navigate, and understand by the end user
  • Secure, reliable, and performs as expected
  • Complies with industry accessibility standards and data privacy laws.

Your web development agency can ensure high standards by building a quality assurance workflow into each project you take on. This workflow should include requirement testing, design testing, functionality testing, security testing, and user testing. You can conduct your quality assurance tests either manually or with software automation. There are many great online resources to help your web development agency learn more about quality assurance testing.

Request feedback

Your agency should aim to involve your clients throughout the entire web development process. Seek your clients’ feedback and input at key decision points to ensure that their ideas are valued and integrated into their projects. Your web development agency can take this a step further by soliciting feedback from clients about their experience with your agency. You can use this feedback to make continuous improvements in your agency’s processes and services while showcasing positive feedback on your agency’s website and in marketing communications (with client permission, of course).

Offer support

You should always provide your clients with post-launch support and maintenance services to address any issues that may arise after their web development project goes live. Use project handoffs as an opportunity to teach your agency’s clients about their projects’ unique tech stacks and ongoing maintenance requirements. Offering continued education and support upon completing a project will demonstrate your web development agency’s commitment to long-term customer satisfaction, all while empowering your clients to make informed business decisions.

By focusing on improving client satisfaction through transparency, quality assurance, feedback, and ongoing support, your web development agency can deliver more positive client experiences, incentivizing repeat business and referrals.

5. Keep learning, keep growing

Prioritizing professional development within your web development agency is crucial for staying competitive in this ever-evolving industry. Let’s take a look at how you can keep learning and how your web development agency can keep growing.

Establish a culture of learning

Your agency must encourage a workplace culture that values learning and self-improvement. Make it clear that professional development is a priority for your web development agency by allocating time and resources to investing in your team’s professional development. Set aside regular hours for learning, provide your agency team members with access to learning materials, or offer team members financial support for specific courses and certifications. Luckily, there are countless excellent online learning resources for this purpose. Here are a few top recommendations:

  • Institute of Code: online and in-person web development, social media, and photography course provider
  • Frontend Masters: web development learning platform with comprehensive courses, quality content, and trusted instructors
  • HubSpot Academy: online training for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service professionals
  • Google Skillshop: free training platform that you can use to grow your skills on Google's tools and solutions
  • Meta Blueprint: online hub that offers learning courses, training programs, and certifications to increase your skills on Meta's platforms

Your web development agency should conduct regular assessments to identify the skill gaps. You can achieve this by holding regular performance reviews, including discussions about professional development. Aim to tailor professional development plans for each agency team member based on constructive feedback. The whole team must prioritize keeping up with the latest web development trends and technologies to maintain best practices in web development, sales, and marketing.

Grow together

Promote peer learning within your web development agency by encouraging sharing through presentations, knowledge-sharing sessions, or mentorship programs. Your web development agency can also encourage learning on the job by assigning team members to collaborative projects that challenge them to learn and apply new skills while working together. Always acknowledge and reward your team members for growing and sharing their skillsets to further incentivize collaborative learning in the workplace.

Your agency can also collaborate with compatible businesses within the world of web development to drive growth together. Does your web development agency work with clients in need of a full CMS solution featuring live visual editing? Join CloudCannon’s Partner Program to unlock exclusive benefits and savings for your agency and your clients with every new client your agency onboards.

By prioritizing professional development, your web development agency can remain skilled and competitive. This, in turn, will lead to better web development project outcomes, more satisfied clients, and overall agency growth.

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