It’s easy for your marketing department to accumulate costs quickly. Various tools and services you believe are necessary to overall function can quickly add up. Ever forget what you even signed up for in the first place? We know the feeling!
As you purchase this tool and that service, you may notice your budget starts shrinking. Now the seemingly unlimited funds you once had are forcing you to cut costs. But with every tool and service now essential to your agency, where do you even start?
Depending on how you look at it, cutting costs in your digital agency may or may not be an enjoyable process. It may prove easy to cut some services but not so easy to cut others.
However, knowing where to save money for your agency will serve you in positive ways if you do it correctly. Let’s get into some of the ways you can start cutting costs and saving more in 2022.
1. Conduct a Company-Wide Expenses Audit
At first, this will feel like a lot of heavy lifting, but a deep company audit could serve your agency well if it means cutting unnecessary costs.
You can almost always find 15% to 20% of spending that hasn’t been managed closely.
To start, spend a week, or several, examining the past three years of your agency’s expenses to evaluate just how much you’re spending. Invest genuine time in order to make a proper assessment, then answer these three questions:
- What have you noticed?
- How many services, tools, supplies, or programs did you purchase but not fully utilize?
- Are there any you can stop using tomorrow?
This simple audit helps rid your agency of unnecessary monthly services you’ve accumulated reactively.
Pro Tip: While conducting your audit, look at only the cost of the services and tools your company is using before looking at the costs of “fun” company-wide inclusions (e.g., benefits, holiday parties, company events, employee perks, and incentives). Consider keeping these agency expenses that improve employee wellness and engagement to show that you value your employees and their hard work.
2. Survey Your Employees
Ask your employees what tools or services are currently most beneficial to them.
See if they have discovered an alternative that is less expensive, more productivity-inducing, or shows promise in consolidating multiple tools into one.
Surveying your employees about their current product use can serve two purposes: They feel heard and valued for their opinions, and you discover which tools positively or negatively impact their productivity.
Through this survey, you may find that some of the products you believed were working well for your employees weren’t working well at all.
3. Revisit Past Considerations for Improvements
In the past, your marketing team may have come up with solutions to department strains that weren’t feasible at the time. They were likely too expensive or would have taken far too long to implement. Consider implementing these suggestions now if you currently have the time, funds, and capacity to do so.
Some of these ideas could include:
- Streamlining the campaign creation process by giving your team more time to work on projects
- Creating new boundaries with clients or other departments that make your team feel rushed or overwhelmed
See if you can revisit these ideas and make them work if now is the right time.
4. Audit Your Team’s Productivity
Employees who are spread too thin won’t produce quality work or have a strong work ethic. And if you are looking to cut costs, you can likely do so just by changing how your team works each day.
Here are some suggestions for making these changes:
- Change how you report
- Cut down your meeting time
- Investigate how projects are managed (i.e., hot projects pushing other items to the back burner because of poor planning)
- Instill tools and processes to manage time better
- Focus more on quality over quantity
- Have employees track time, so you know what they are focusing on most
Auditing your employees’ productivity may cause them stress, but it may also help provide them with better ways to manage their time. It can also help build a good rapport and help understand the team’s strengths and weaknesses. And worst case, you may discover your employees aren’t as productive as you expected them to be.
5. Proactive Problem Solving
Acquiring services and tools to help your agency work more efficiently may not always be proactive. In many cases, this action can be seen as reactive 𑁋 usually in an attempt to solve a temporary or urgent problem quickly.
It’s easy to panic when something pressing comes down the pipeline, and you’re not equipped with a solution. An agency has many working parts, so it’s easy to forget the bandaid you put on that wound. It doesn’t take long before you’ve paid hundreds or thousands on a service you don’t need anymore without realizing it.
What’s the remedy for avoiding reactive decision-making? Be more proactive with how you solve your agency’s productivity problems.
How do you do this?
First, ask yourself: Is there something you are currently putting off because it’s either expensive (even though it’s necessary) or will solve major issues within your agency but takes time to incorporate into your routine?
If you answered yes, work toward making those necessary changes knowing the cost might be hefty upfront but will yield positive benefits in the future.
6. Cancel or Sell Anything You’re Not Currently Using
Not only will this help you make the most of your space, selling anything you are not currently using can add some extra funds to your budget. You can make use of those funds in other corners of your departments.
Some items you can cancel or sell include:
- Old or underused furniture
- Outdated or broken computer equipment
- Company vehicles
- Monthly subscriptions to tools or services you’re not using
Ways you might be able to use the extra funds:
- Purchasing new or updated equipment for your team
- Adding something fun to your department that would boost morale (e.g., pingpong table, massage chair, or sending out a holiday gift card)
- Investing in employee trainings to advance their skills
Purging items and services you don’t need can give you a fresh start in both your physical workspace and financially.
7. Collect on Accounts Receivable
Typically, when working with clients, you have an honors system that doesn’t require them to pay for your products or services right away. Try not to delay this process too long.
If you have any outstanding payments your clients or other departments owe you for the valuable work you’ve done, now would be the best time to collect on them. Be sure to collect what they owe as soon as possible.
Frankly, we know asking clients to pay their dues is not everyone’s favorite task. However, collecting on accounts receivable can help you get back to or maintain a healthy budget.
Some customers may also default on their payments. If you haven’t received payment for long periods, know when to cease work with them. This will also allow you and your team to focus your time and efforts on other loyal and paying clients.
If collecting payments from clients is a difficult feat, consider invoice factoring, which allows you to sell your invoices at a discount to a third party. Through this process, the factoring company pays you the invoiced amount owed by the client and proceeds to collect the payment from the client so you don’t have to.
8. Consider Remote Work
Moving your department from the office to remote work is a huge change that can seem intimidating to companies. Even though virtual technology costs will rise, the amount saved by switching to remote work increases significantly.
According to Forbes, “Yes, you may be spending more on cloud, but you’re saving money elsewhere. Before the pandemic, employers saved an average of $11,000 per half-time remote employee. Extrapolate that to a full year, and every remote worker is reducing company costs by $22,000.”
Not only will companies be saving money, but employees will also be saving too. In this same article, Forbes says that employees can save an estimated $4,000 a year by working from home. Doing so means they spend less on gas, coffee, lunches, and work-appropriate attire.
Not everyone will enjoy working remotely. If that is the case, consider a hybrid model in which employees who need a physical workspace to feel productive can work partially remotely. Companies adopting this model can still save money.
Working remotely also benefits companies in various other ways they might not consider, including:
- Access to a bigger pool of talent
- Employee retention
- More autonomy for employees
- More comfortable and productive work environments
- Improved work-life balance
Before you risk working remotely, conduct an employee survey to see who is fond of the idea and who isn’t. From there, you can better calculate what you have to gain in the process.
9. The Best Tools for Productivity
If you’re looking to improve on how your team works, here are some valuable tools to increase productivity and improve overall project management.
We all know that managing projects can be one of the most time-consuming aspects for any agency. If your projects feel all over the place, chances are you are wasting precious time trying to track them down or assess their current progress.
This is why project management software like Monday, Asana, or ClickUp can improve your team’s productivity. Project management software also gives a grand view of who is working on what, how long projects take to complete, and the status of the project.
Feel like you’re spending too much time in meetings or wasting time on impromptu visits to your colleagues’ desks to ask a simple question?
Whether you’re in an office setting or working remotely, having chat communications software like Slack or Discord can save time for the whole team. They also organize conversations more effectively, allowing you to refer to information discussed in the past and manage tasks and requests from your coworkers.
Asset management software like Google Drive or Basecamp can help keep all projects, designs, and other digital assets more organized. Having this software can cut down the time it takes locating assets to repurpose and reuse, and it aids in organizing all files used for marketing campaigns.
Marketing and Data Management
An all-in-one marketing and data management software like Semrush is a powerful web-based toolkit with dozens of marketing and agency management tools that ensure a client’s success. Some of the tools you’ll use most include a CRM, client portal, agency reporting, keyword research, data collection, and analytics.
Utilizing just one or a few of these together has the potential to empower your team to work better, thus saving you time and costs in the end.
Conclusion: Value Should Exceed Cost
As our last bit of advice for agencies looking to cut costs in 2022, the Harvard Business Review says it best:
You should strive to eliminate any work for which the cost exceeds the value (keeping in mind that it surely has some value and that cutting it will cause a certain amount of discomfort).
Whether it’s selling old furniture, tracking down clients who haven’t paid dues, doing a simple audit, or finding a new tool that improves team function, these methods of saving money are sure to help you in 2022.
Learn more about the cost-effective marketing tool we can’t help but be proud of! Semrush is home to over 50 tools that assist agencies with streamlining their marketing strategy, reducing costs, and reporting and managing data better.