Smart Agency Podcast: The #1 Digital Agency Podcast for Social Media, SEO, PPC & Creative Agencies

Agency Case Studies, Team Accountability & Avoiding Client Changes.

On this episode of #AskSwenk, we'll cover: How you can use case studies to attract agency new business, how to improve your team accountability, and what do you do to stop your client from requesting a zillion changes.

This Week's Questions:

{0:51} Christian asks: "How can I use a successful case study to attract more business within the same niche?"

{3:01} Eric asks: "What can I do to hold my team accountable to their goals? More importantly, if they don't hit them... what kind of repercussions should there be?"

{5:26} Steve asks: "How can I handle a client who wants a zillion rounds of changes? We are constantly making changes only to find out they want more changes on top of their changes. It's killing us in hours. Is there a more efficient and profitable way to handle it?"

Would You Like To Work With Me LIVE & In Person?

I'm doing a live workshop here in Atlanta, GA in July, and I wanted to see if you'd like to come. This is an exclusive opportunity to WORK DIRECTLY WITH ME, IN PERSON, and I'll teach you the agency strategies that have helped me build a very successful digital agency.

Discover the best Digital Agency Strategies today. Get Online Training to help you setup the right systems and strategies to help you grow faster.

What Are Your Agency Concerns?

So we’ve covered how you can improve your team accountability, use case studies for success for your agency and handling changes from clients but these might not be the only concerns you have for your business.

It doesn’t matter if you have been an agency owner for a while now or have just taken the leap and started a new agency, I have covered topics from the struggles you may face within your agency to leveraging Youtube in your marketing for your agency marketing strategy.

Learn more about me or you can check out all my tips, tricks and everything you need to know in my blogs. I have covered a wide variety of topics as well as answering your questions in more from my Ask Swenk series.

Are videos more your thing?  Don’t worry! You can check out my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel for advice from myself and other agency experts.


Struggle to find the work-life balance for you and your agency? As an agency owner, it's so easy to become a prisoner within your business as you strive to make it the best digital agency out there.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to build your agency around your life, to find a work-life balance instead of being a prisoner.
  • 3 ways to build your agency around your personality.
  • How to brand your agency and be the leader in your category.

Today’s podcast guest is Re Perez, founder of Branding For The People, a branding agency for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Re has worked for some pretty huge agencies working on some major Fortune 500 clients. He talks to us about leaving all that behind in order to build an agency around his personality and lifestyle finding the best work-life balance.

Re had a pretty interesting journey that led him to starting his agency.  His highly successful career took him from New York to Dubai and back to New York. Yet despite a successful career he wasn’t fulfilled with the work he was doing. He says that feeling coupled with a negative personal experience left him deeply questioning his next steps in life.

He took 6 months off to travel, meditate, practice yoga and figure out what was next… In his travels, he learned about a yoga studio called “Yoga For The People” and later a restaurant, “Food For The People”. Coincidence or fate?? :) Re took these signs, coupled with his gut instinct to become an entrepreneur, and started his agency Branding For The People - an agency that brings Fortune 500 branding solutions to small businesses.

Branding Your Agency

Re says logos and slogans do not make a brand. Those things support a brand but are only marketing tools for identifying a brand.

Branding is a desired perception. In order to create a desired perception you must first have a desirable perception of yourself.

As a small business, if you want to be perceived as the leader in your category you have to behave like the leader in your category by:

  • Practice what you preach. Agency owners are famous for giving great advice to clients and NOT following it themselves. Start taking your own best advice!
  • Be genuine. People can smell BS a mile away and they will call you out on it. Be who you are and be willing to let go of clients who aren’t OK with the real you.
  • Don’t “act” like the big agencies by copying their behavior. Find your own unique position, while still behaving like a big agency.
  • Don’t force a square peg in a round hole. Always align yourself with the projects and brands that excite you. Allow agency’s brand to be determined by your own core values.

Work-Life Balance: How To Build Your Agency Around Your Lifestyle

Re has one key motivator which determined how he would structure his business while staying true to himself:  He didn’t want a traditional office job. Meaning, he didn’t want to work for anyone else or spend a bunch of time in board rooms. He wants to travel and connect with people outside of the office walls. He is very clear on his goals and values. Are you?

3 Ways to Build Your Agency Around Your Personality

  1. Change the terminology. Re doesn’t refer to them as “clients” or “projects”, they are “relationships” or “engagements”. He’s a people person and treats each opportunity with care. A change in terminology also changes the perceived value of the experience. Check out my previous post about how changing terminology can even help you increase your prices! {BONUS!}
  2. Be self aware. Know how you are (and who you aren’t). You can’t get real clarity on leading your business until you know who you are... Ask yourself: “Is this agency fulfilling?” or “Does the work I’m doing really matter to me?” and “Does my agency support my desired lifestyle?” If not - you can take a sabbatical like Re, or find another way to quiet the noise and distractions that are standing in your way. Here are the 4 common things that could be standing in the way of your clarity.
  3. Don’t make decisions based on money. We all take on clients or projects because we need the money. And, you have to have some bad experiences so you know what you don’t want to do. But at some point you also have to realize though that not every person with a credit card was meant to be your client. Instead, think and act like a millionaire, even if you’re not… yet.

Best advice:  Be true to yourself and let the rest unfold.

What’s holding as a prisoner to your agency? Comment below and tell me your biggest challenges.

Discover the best Digital Agency Strategies today. Get Online Training to help you setup the right systems and strategies to help you grow faster.

Building Your Authority

Finding a work-life balance for you as an agency owner will not only benefit your agency but your team as you are establishing a healthy work relationship. But in order to build authority as a business owner and your digital agency, you need to be able to recognise other issues within your agency that needs your attention. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

There are many topics I can offer guidance from what the different phases of growth of your business will look like to how working with freelancers can benefit your team.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from knowing when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team, creating a process for performance based pricing which can be the best pricing strategy for your business and learning how to keep your big name clients happy.

Are you ready to create something cool and want more advice? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

Direct download: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Branding_for_the_people.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Do you find it hard to keep up with developments in technology and getting client contracts just right? In this episode of #AskSwenk, I answer your questions and cover these topics for you: What KPI's your agency should be measuring, how to keep up with all the latest technology and what key info you need to include in client contracts.

Agency KPI's, Technology, & Client Contracts

This Week's Questions:

{0:25} Susan asks: "What KPI's does a digital marketing agency need to measure?"
 
{2:10} Troy asks: "You are pretty much on every channel. I've listened to your podcast, seen you on Twitter, FB, Instagram and your blog, How do you keep up with it all?"
 
{4:28} Rory asks: "As I'm just starting out, and bringing on clients, are there any super critical "things" to include in contracts and should we worry about contracts?"

Are You Ready to Improve Your Agency?

After you have mastered these challenges, what's next on your list? If you want to take your agency to the next level, constantly finding ways to improve is key.

Want to know how to face failing economies and recessions or how a speaking opportunity can create business? Maybe you want to know the four phases of growth within your agency and want extra help in taking your agency to the next level and sell your agency for a larger profit? I have all the information you need to help you through it.

Learn more about my life and my experience as well as lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

If videos are more your thing, don’t worry, i’ve got you covered! You can check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.


If you are looking for technology secrets for your agency to impress your clients, then today's episode is just for you.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • 3 technology secrets that will WOW your clients.
  • A Facebook development that every business should be using.
  • The hottest trend in live streaming video.
  • The #1 easiest hack to boost your Google ranking.

On this episode of The Smart Agency Master Class, we’ll hear from Ryan Steinolfson with some advice that can boost your business and totally impress your clients when you bring these growth solutions to the table.

Ryan’s agency, Accelerate Marketing, specializes in social proof and live streaming video for it’s clients. He says live streaming is a lot more complex than it appears and his agency helps their clients with it in three ways:

  1. Live streaming on the client’s behalf.
  2. Teaching client teams to live stream, or with their course Live Stream Blueprint.
  3. Developing “Advocacy Days”, which are live stream events among multiple strategic partners that are connected using a common hashtag.

According to the 2016 Future Outlook of Digital Agencies, we know brands hire agencies to be their technology leaders. They expect their agency to bring them emerging trends that will build business. I’ve been saying it for months now, Live Streaming is H-O-T and your clients need strategies for using it to their benefit.

Here’s more about live streaming video from a previous podcast guest, Kim Garst, founder of Boom Social.

Here are 3 major technology secrets that will WOW your clients!

1. Facebook Live can now be used for any business page.

As of a few weeks ago (from original post date April 2016), Facebook Live can be used on any business or public profile page. They just flipped a switch and made it available - and this is HUGE NEWS!

Using Facebook Live, you can:

  • Stream live video using the Facebook app from your iPhone or Android device.
  • Add call to action text over your live stream
  • Boost your videos by add keywords optimization
  • Embed or repurpose your videos.
  • Have your followers subscribe to get notified when you’re broadcasting.
  • Allow your followers to comment in real-time, share and embed your video.

(Be sure to “like” my page and check out my Facebook Live videos now!)

And Ryan has learned that right now, Facebook is giving preferential treatment to people/businesses who are using the Facebook Live feature. So live streaming videos are jumping to the top of news feeds (for now)... that means more opportunities and more reach.

2. The next big thing in live streaming video is 360

After Meerkat and Periscope introduced this technology, we’ve seen both Facebook and YouTube jump on board. YouTube allows you to give access to others to live stream on your channel and drop a graphics card into your live video. Which is super cool.

But the next BIG thing in live streaming is 360° videos. Ryan says he’s got his eye on Livit - an app for live streaming in 360°. It integrates with 360° cams for one of the coolest end-user experiences he’s ever seen.

3. The BEST trick for moving up in Google rankings

We know social proof (or social influence) carries huge weight in purchase decisions. Did you know that you can help your clients generate leads and crush it just by getting more reviews?!

According to Ryan, 15% of your Google ranking is based on your social proof.  So more positive reviews, means a high ranking. His agency has even seen movement from a D-position to A-position just from getting 10 or 15 reviews. This is a powerful tool that you and your clients are probably not taking advantage of, but should be!

Direct download: 3_Technology_Secrets_You_and_Your_Clients_Need_to_Know.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 7:00am EST

What You Need to Know When Starting an Agency

When starting an agency, it can be intimidating from building the best team to creating your portfolio of clients to make your business profit. But as the agency grows, you may find yourself outgrowing clients that you had when you initially started and needing to consider growing your team or outsourcing content for different projects.

On this episode of #AskSwenk, we'll cover:  what to do when your agency has outgrown a client, all about starting an agency (like when and how), and whether you should outsource your content writing.

(0:21) Jojo asked: "My question is, how far do we need to go for these clients before it is time to think about politely passing them off to a more suitable freelancer or smaller agency? I appreciate that they were part of our business growth up to this point, but some of these clients are "loss-making" for us and get in the way of other work."

(2:46) Nancy asked: "What will I be ready to start an agency? Should I start one now and leave my job?"

(5:25)  Enoch asked: "Do you think outsourcing content makes you more productive?"

You can also find more of my Ask Swenk series as well as my other videos by checking out my Youtube channel!

Tired of Being Restricted in the Career Path You’re On?

Are you the owner of a small agency under $300,000? Or a freelancer, marketing professional or agency employee who thinks you can run your own agency better?

Jump Start My Agency is a program that covers everything you need to start a profitable agency and land high paying clients of over $20,000.

This 4 week course is designed to help you find the ideal clients, charge what you’re worth and learn how to build a team.

There are clients waiting to work with you! Let me help you by requesting an invitation to the program.


Are you considering hiring freelancers but don't know the best way to successfully manage remote teams for your digital agency?

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Creative ways to find top talent.
  • Freelancer onboarding… or not?
  • Managing freelance and remote teams.

Today’s guest is the co-founder of Hubstaff, a technology solution for managing a remote staff with everything from time tracking and progress monitoring to payables and financials. Dave Nevogt shares with us some great tips on sourcing, hiring and managing freelancers.

Out-of-the-box talent searching ideas:

Often times agency owners don’t know where to look for the right candidates. Most end up relying on referrals or freelance marketplaces. Very few agencies experiment with other sources, such as:

  • Check out LinkedIn or AngelList. Create a LinkedIn search filtered by your criteria. You never know who’s looking, who might be employed but unhappy. Reach out in a personalized private message and include a link to the job description. If they’re interested, they’ll reply.
  • Use your website to continuously recruit. You should always be scouting for good talent, whether your need extra help or not. Advertise “now hiring” on your website. This portray growth and attracts talent. Post job descriptions, too.
  • Run targeted Facebook ads to enlist talent from a specific source, such as a specific company, geographic location, etc.

How to handle freelancer onboarding

Hubstaff has a small team stretched around the globe. Here’s how Dave onboards (... or rather, how he doesn’t onboard) new team members:

  • Have a candid conversation about the position and the potential growth. You might see the potential for full-time but don’t start out that way. Get settled in first and see if the person is the right fit. (Note: the U.S. IRS frowns on full-time freelancers. Check out this interview “How to Avoid an Audit” with an agency-focused tax accountant.)
  • Don’t fully onboard immediately. Start slow and make sure it’s going to work on a surface level first before you using time and resources to train.
  • Spend the first 30-days testing the waters. Learn each other’s personalities traits and work ethic. Get a feel for the freelancer’s effort and response time.
  • Start slow with lots of involvement by the manager. But remember, there’s a fine line between “involved” and “micromanaging.”
  • Communicate a ton and understand their workload. Make sure requests are filtered through you for now.

Managing freelance and remote teams

How can you ever be totally sure a contractor is working on the project you’re paying for and not watching cat videos online? Truth is, you can’t. What you can do is have an upfront conversation about expectations and your vision for the position.

Tips for managing freelancers:

  • Use a collaboration software such as Trello or Slack. This gets everyone OUT of their INBOX. It also allows the manager to see what everyone is working on and upholds a culture built on transparency.
  • Hold live, weekly status meetings to see who’s working on what. Even with PM software, private messages and direct requests can hijack a freelancer’s time without your knowledge.
  • Communicate goals and priorities. Know what your team is working on and keep it minimal (like, 5 things instead of 25). Often, when someone is overwhelmed they’ll just shut down.
  • Use a tool like Hubstaff for tracking progress on projects, budgeting, time tracking and random screenshotting in real-time.

Working with freelancers or a remote team can be SUPER beneficial to both parties. It works for me, it’s working for Dave at Hubstaff and it’s been working for another agency owner I interviewed who has a $3 Million Agency With No Employees.

SYSTEMS to help your GROW & SCALE

My Agency Playbook contains the 12 Systems I used to grow and eventually sell a SUCCESSFUL multi-million dollar agency. It includes all the resources and tools as well as step-by-step strategies to save you tons of time. Everything you learn can be implemented immediately. Learn more by clicking here

Build Your Agency

Growing your agency team through freelancers and remote teams can provide many benefits and many businesses in the future will move toward remote working, especially in the digital field. Are there other areas of your business you want to improve? By evaluating other areas of weakness within your agency, you can create a better business and improve as an agency owner. And the best thing about it is, I can help you get through all of it.

I can give you support and advice on many topics from what to do when you want to speed up sales processes, ways to increase your business profit margins or how you can build an authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show you the different phases of growth you will experience, how placing a process for performance based pricing can be the best pricing strategy for your business and the three questions you need to ask yourself to sell more!

Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Find more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.

Direct download: Dave_with_Hubstaff.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 7:00am EST

On this episode of #AskSwenk, we'll cover:  How to handle clients who think you have a conflict of interest because you're specialized in a niche. Also, ways to get your foot in the door with new clients, plus getting better business leads for your sales team.

This Week's Questions:

Tackling Conflict of Interest

{0:29}  Giles asked: "We specialize in design and marketing for the bar and restaurant sector. We've recently had a couple of meetings with prospects who were concerned about a conflict of interest as we already do work for one of the largest players in this sector in the UK. How would you tackle their concerns?"

Getting Your Foot in the Door

{2:36} Bobby asked:  "What assessments would you use for getting a foot in the door with a client?"

Finding Better Business Leads

{5:16}  Phil asked:  "There's one thing I consistently hear from my sales team and that is 'it's just bad timing for the client right now.' Have you found a good way to overcome this objection? "

Related:  http://jasonswenk.com/askswenk50

Improve Your Agency

Now that you have strategies for getting your foot in the door and bringing in better business leads for your digital agency, what's next on your list? What other challenges and obstacles are you facing preventing you taking your business to the next level?

I have covered topics from how to handle a recession or how to increase your profits without losing customers for your agency. Or maybe you want to know the four phases of growth within your agency and want extra help in taking your agency to the next level and sell your agency for a larger profit? I have all the information you need to help you through it.

You can learn more about my life and my experience as well as lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading our blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

If videos are more your thing, don’t worry, i’ve got you covered! You can check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.


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