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

Is your goal for your digital agency to increase your agency profit but are finding leaks within that are preventing you from achieving your goal?

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • Why scope creep happens and how to put a stop to it.
  • 5 ways to scale your agency and eliminate the leaks that drain agency profit.

Today’s guest on The Smart Agency Master Class is Charles Studt from Redbooth, which is a project management tool and so much more. Charles shares some amazing advice on ways to make your agency run more efficiently so you can maximize time and profit. He also talks about ways to eliminate the biggest profit drain of ‘em all... SCOPE CREEP.

Why Scope Creep Happens

Charles says most cases of scope creep is not due to an over zealous project team or a super demanding client. In most cases, it’s an agency’s lack of documented processes and lack of client education.

Without a clear definition of the project and deliverables, there’s too much gray area. So, when a client asks for a little something extra an agency instinctively says ‘yes’ without having a plan in place for tracking and billing for it… and the scope creep monster rears its ugly head.

That means you have to have a very specific client onboarding process which spells out what is (and is not) included in their new project.

Do you have a documented client onboarding process? Is it consistent and repeatable? Having a process in place is just one of the 5 Steps to Prevent Scope Creep. And, if you have a client onboarding process, it will be your point of differentiation and part of your value statement.

5 Ways to Scale & Grow Agency Profit

  1. Avoid scope creep and create upsell opportunities. Consider your core service and figure out what services you offer that compliment it. Make sure to spell out these “optional extras” to your client so that when they throw you a “special request” or “quick 5 minute change” you are prepared for handling it and charging for it.

  2. Become more efficient with your project documentation. Manage your client’s experience with technology so you can keep a project moving. There’s nothing worse than digging through old emails trying to find the one with client approval. Using a tool like Redbooth manages communications, status, revision cycles at a glance.

  3. Manage your team more effectively. Charles says that the average employee wants to spend 6 hours per week with their manager in order to feel effective. In a small agency, that level of personal attention can be difficult to achieve without adding to your team. A PM tool can be a great way for managers to be involved in the details of a project, while eliminating time consuming status meetings.

  4. Treat yourself like you treat your clients. Internal processes are just as important as client-facing ones. Using a tool like Redbooth can streamline routine HR functions like time-tracking, new hire onboarding, weekly team meetings, annual reviews, etc. In fact, Redbooth has customizable templates that help create and document processes so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time.

  5. Get projects completed (and therefore paid) on-time. Ever get tired of waiting for the client to provide feedback or approval? Charles says Redbooth has a feature that allow you to communicate with your client via automated emails, mobile push notifications and real time, in-app instant messaging. Deadlines and tasks can be flagged, users can be gently reminded and you will get more done.

I’ve checked out Redbooth and it’s a pretty fantastic tool for agencies. You can check it out for yourself FREE for 30 days by heading to www.Redbooth.com/Smart. Enroll in your trial PLUS get the agency templates such as: client intake, end of project, social media marketing, agency management, and more... all for FREE.

Creating a Better Agency

Creating a solid strategy to grow agency profit can open up many doors for you as an agency owner.  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: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Charles_Studt.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Do you want to learn more about the best way to build relationships, streamline your deliveries and the best way to critique proposals? In this episode of Ask Swenk, I answer these questions and share more insight into how you can improve your agency.

In this episode I discuss:

  • How to streamline processes without being too cookie cutter.
  • What to do when you're new in town and need to build relationships.
  • PLUS, watch my critique of another agency's actual proposal.

{1:52} Tara asked: "I feel like every time we get a new client we are on '50 First Dates.' How can we change this problem?"

{4:16} David asked: My biggest challenge is that I've moved from Atlanta from New York and I have to build my network from the ground up. I've been able to do this over the past year, however I still don't have enough relationships to bring on the net worth clients where I can build an agency."

{6:44} Aman asked: "Can you review my marketing proposal and tell me what I am doing right and wrong?"

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 Do You Need to Do When You Build Relationships?

Whether you need advice on starting an agency, how to plan who you hire for your agency or how to bring your agency to the next level, I can help. I hope you found this helpful and can put it into action to build relationships with clients, partners and your team.

Please find all my tips, tricks and insights in my blog that covers a wide variety of topics. Videos more your thing? You can check out the videos on my Youtube channel for advice from myself and other agency experts.


Have you ever considered direct mail marketing for your digital agency? Not even sure how to develop a strategy for it? I talk with Justin Christianson and he shares how his agency has gained huge success from using direct mail marketing strategies.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to define your target market.
  • 1 old-school outbound tactic that is getting massive 25% response.
  • 4 steps to successful direct mail.

Today’s guest is 14-year veteran entrepreneur, Justin Christianson. After selling his previous business to his partners he began consulting and eventually created Conversion Fanatics, an SEO agency.

Justin happens to also be a client of mine and is seeing some really great results with his outbound efforts. I invited him on the show to share his story, outbound strategy and the cool, old-school tactic that’s getting a up to a massive 25% response rate! Check it out…

Defining Your Market is Crucial

Justin says, at first they were completely non-selective about who they would work for - targeting just about anyone and everyone. But rule #1 when you work with me is to get super specific about who you target… Justin is glad he listened.

To define their target, Conversion Fanatics looked back at their success stories. They discovered patterns and consistencies among their best projects and used that information to create a customer avatar. They define their ideal client based on average spend and traffic type.

Now that they know who they are marketing to, they can really drill down and become a leader in a specific niche.

Justin says they did a ton of research to figure out how to get through to their ideal clients. They want to understand the issues, struggles and pain points of their prospects. They gathered this information in the form of formal surveys and data gathering, along with informal conversations, then use this in their marketing and when speaking to new leads.

Why Outbound is Essential

Cold traffic can be the hardest of the 3 Types of Traffic to go after, but for Conversion Fanatics it’s been critical to their success. In fact, 70% of their marketing is cold outreach. But they’re being smart about it by batching their efforts, and being very selective about who they target.

One Old-School Outbound Tactic

Most of their outbound campaigns are direct mail. YES postal mail - the kind the mailman delivers. They also weave-in custom emails and PURLs (personalized URLs) as well.

They do a ton of research first and get really specific about who they target. Their market is bigger companies with $30+million in revenue so they goal is to stay top of mind for when the time is right.

The direct mail marketing piece is letter from Justin personally. It has customized information about the prospect’s website, issues he sees and opportunities for improvement. It’s short and to the point. And most importantly - it’s not a form letter!

4 Steps to Successful Direct Mail Marketing

  1. Provide massive value. Establish credibility by being helpful. Don’t ask for a sale right away. Set-up yourself as the authority.
  2. Be specific. Use headlines that ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions that are very specific to a problem or issues they face.
  3. Don’t mass mail. Control the process by focusing your efforts on a small group of prospects. Send small batches.
  4. Have a contingency plan. Justin says his outbound strategy is a lot of work and takes 10-12 touches in order to be effective - but it’s worth every bit of the time and effort it takes. However, unresponsive prospects get a free copy of Justin’s published book. This is helpful, valuable and reinforces his credibility and authority in the industry.

Other tactics Justin is using: plain text emails and PURLs. Just like the hard copy direct mail, he keeps emails personal, short and sweet, with a writing style that is friendly and familiar (not all cheesy, sales-guy style).

And when you get cold traffic to the proposal stage, support our sponsor, Qwirl.

Head to Qwilr.com/welcome/smartagency for a FREE TRIAL and special savings just for Smart Agency Master Class listeners.

Become a Better Agency Owner

Direct mail marketing might be seen as a thing of the past but today's episode has shown there is potential for huge success for your agency. Becoming a better agency owner means understanding that in order to grow, you need to be able to recognise other issues within your agency that needs your attention.

Look for weak spots in your business and then think of how you can fix them. 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 the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

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: Disrupting_the_Noise_Without_Adding_to_It.mp3
Category:#PODCAST -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Do you need help in untangling the many pieces of information and advice on how to use social media to elevate your agency and bring in more clients?

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Advice for keeping up with new social media trends and platforms.
  • How to use social media for agency new business. 2 mistakes to avoid using social for your agency or your clients.
  • How to sell social media management.

If you’ve been wondering how to manage and optimize opportunities on all the various social networks – for you and for your clients – you must not miss this episode. Today’s guest is with Emeric Ernoult, founder and CEO at Agorapulse, a social media management tool. Pretty cool tool, and I recommend you check it out.

Emeric is a longtime entrepreneur who spent the first part of his career in business law before dabbling in SAAS startups. He says he landed in software and social media because it’s fast-paced and ever-changing, which keeps things fresh and challenging.

Emeric developed Agorapulse as an answer to managing multiple social media platforms, from messaging and notifications to scheduling posts and analytics/reporting. (Plus, there’s a filter for ignoring annoying automated direct messages that clog your inbox!)

Advice for keeping up with social

In short, you can’t. You’ll never keep up with the latest and greatest while also managing what’s current… Not to mention all the other responsibilities you have to your agency. Instead, Emeric says, delegate or outsource to a person or team dedicated to technology research and social management.

If you’re looking to learn a new social channel, Emeric advises us to start small. Learn one and master it, then move to another. All are similar but different, so finding the right platforms just depends on your business goals.

How to use different social channels for new agency business

Twitter is still #1. As a digital professional you should be a thought leader in this space, building your Klout score and positioning your agency in this ecosystem. Use social management tools, such as Agorapulse, to quiet the noise and eliminate the distractions on Twitter.

I believe Facebook is a powerful vehicle for targeting and retargeting. Not many B2B or service businesses are using it yet, most ads are consumer products. Here’s a great post I did on How to Scale Facebook Ads.

As for LinkedIn, you can use it create to create a great inbound strategy. There’s a new content publisher that seems to have fairly good reach. As a matter of fact, I interviewed an agency owner who lands a good majority of her business using LinkedIn. Here’s the post with tips for making your LinkedIn profile a lead generator.

2 mistakes to avoid using social for your agency or your clients

Your social presence can help you establish trust and authority in a low cost, highly effective way. Here are two things to avoid to ensure that happens….

  1. Social strategy - you need one! Post with intent and consistency. Know your audience and how to balance the promotional messaging with the helpful information. (If you want to see how it’s done, check out VaynerMedia and Gary Vee on any and every social channel!)
  2. Testing - lots of it! Start with a plan and implement it. Analyze results and then tweak. Analyze again. Don’t settle for what you think might be working… Experiment with variables until you hit the jackpot!

Selling social media management

Often clients can be leery of social management as a service because they have a hard time justifying the expense of it. Here are the two things you need to do to help them get on board:

  1. Ease their pain. Understand what frustrates them and where they are wasting time in their marketing efforts. Show how you can implement a social strategy with your streamlined processes and systems. (It helps if your social presences is also stellar.)
  2. Demonstrate value. Own the numbers. We learned in our 2016 Future Outlook of Digital Agencies, that brands want analytics. They want measurable proof, so use reporting tools and data to your advantage. Hard data is the best way to increase the client’s perceived value of this service.

Support our sponsor

Check out Qwilr.com/welcome/smartagency for a FREE TRIAL and special savings just for Smart Agency Master Class listeners.

How Can I Help?

You now know how social media can generate new business for your agency but you need to consider what will take your agency to the next level. You should take a step back and really look at areas you haven’t explored yet as well as struggles you need to focus on to improve your business and then check out how I have all you need to get through these obstacles.

I have advice to share with you from how to implement Facebook in your marketing strategy, ways of building authority to improve your agency or the best way to pitch to big brand clients. If growth is your focus, I’ve discussed the different phases of growth within your agency and how bad website issues could be holding your business back from reach your potential.

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

If videos are more your thing, did you know I have a Youtube channel?

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.

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

We chat about landing your first client as a creative agency, how you go from initial contact to a paid consult, […]

The post Landing 1st Client, Initial Contact to Paid Consult, & Charging to Restart a Project #AskSwenk ep 39 appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.


Profitable Brand Building While Ignoring BS "Best Practices”

Want to know the best ways for profitable brand building while ignoring all the BS best practices out there?

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • 2 ideas for profitable brand building to effortlessly generate more leads without BS best practices.
  • How to break the “me too” agency mold.
  • The #1 thing to grow your business.

Today’s guest is Matt Giovanisci and, I feel like he’s my brother from another mother… We have a similar quirky sense of humor, we’re both in the digital marketing space, we like to drop F-bombs in unlikely places, and to be honest, we both suck at writing! :)

Matt’s the founder of Money Lab, a business he founded with the sole purpose of making money online. His business model involves some fresh, unique, and humorous attention-getting marketing that ignores all the “rules” of marketing. He shares his story with us and the #1 key to standing out.

Matt got his start in the pool business. Yep, you read that right - pools and hot tubs. After job-hopping between pool companies, he eventually worked his way into digital marketing for them. From there, he gained agency experience and picked up coding, too. He founded and currently runs SwimUniversity.com where is clients learn to care for their pools and hot tubs. He also founded and operates Money Lab, which he calls his experiment for making a passive income online. In addition, Matt is a blogger, video/music producer and a former podcaster. Busy dude, right?

2 Effortless Ideas To Drive Traffic

Matt’s doing a ton of unique stuff to market his online businesses as well as some profitable brand building, but here are just a couple of examples:

1- Opt-in Landing Page

I first discovered Matt’s content when his “I want your email address” landing page went viral. It’s hysterical and you’ve got to check it out here. Basically, it’s an entire landing page he created to poke fun and shed light on the ridiculous marketing practice we’ve gotten into where we literally hit people over the head trying to capture their email address. Think of it like an interactive SNL skit for digital marketers :)

The goal for this page was pure entertainment… but the result was over 1,700 email addresses! The page was only promoted on Facebook, shared by DigitalMarketer.com and picked up by Reddit. Effortless leads.

2- Podcast Guest Interviews

Being a former podcaster, Matt knew the impact of being a podcast guest. He also knew what podcasters aren’t looking for from a potential guest. He decided once more to create a satirical page pitching himself as a podcast guest. It’s all about his qualifications as a guest, but is dripping with sarcasm and all the while making fun of the traditional promotional “one-sheet” most guests use. Matt booked 16 interviews in 24 hours with this tactic, and he’s still seeing results.

How to Break the ‘Me Too’ Agency Mold

I asked Matt how agencies could try to be different… and his perfect response was not to “try”.

That’s the thing that business owners are getting wrong. Everyone tries to be different, when really we are all intrinsically different to start with. So, be you and you will be different. Most people just copy what they see being done because of social acceptance.

Matt’s advice was to stop what you’re doing and talk to yourself:

  • Think about what bothers you - then fix it.
  • Think about what you find funny - then make fun of it.
  • Think about what you wish existed - then create it.

Be different without trying, by being yourself.

In case you missed it, that’s exactly what we did in our Agency Owner Pledge video. This is stuff that bothers agency owners, that they always say they will stop doing but never seem to be able to quit!

#1 Thing to Grow Your Business

Know what you hate doing, or what you suck at doing - and find a tool or outsource for it.

For example, Matt says he’s a terrible writer, and has always hated it. He found a solution for the problem when he discovered HemingwayApp. With the app, Matt writes as much as he wants and the app helps him trim down any unnecessary wordiness, grammatical errors, and typos.

He now approaches writing with intention and purpose. Matt says he likes reading simple text with short and punchy sentences. He has made that his signature writing style and has even incorporated this into Money Lab’s brand guidelines.

If you want to learn more, head over to MoneyLab.com/dingle. Yep, "DINGLE" ...and see more of Matt’s craziness for yourself.

 

Improve as an Agency Owner

I hope this puts a spotlight on how you can have profitable brand building for your agency without getting swept up in the fake best practices out there. Don't just stop there but take a step back and really look at struggles you need to focus on to improve your business. I have all you need to get through these obstacles.

I have advice on topics from gaining agency exposure in the news, how to build authority for your agency, or even ways to use Facebook marketing strategies to expand your brand awareness. If growth is your focus, I've discussed the four phases of growth within your agency and how website issues could be holding your business back from reaching your potential.

You can learn more about my life and my experience as well as lots of tips, tricks and insights by reading my 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.

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

How to close a pitch and how to accurately calculate profit. Plus, managing your team priorities when it comes to training and continuing ed within the industry.

Closing a Pitch

{0:38} Yasser asked:  Just a quick question... how do you end a pitch?

Calculating Agency Profits

{2:02} Myles asked: I was wondering what your thoughts are on trying to work out the profit we make on a deal? I feel it’s a bit of a guess at the moment, as I’m not sure exactly what we should factor in to the cost of sale? Same goes for the monthly retainers, I’m not sure how we try and work out what it’s costing our business in terms of supporting the client?

What are your team priorities?

{4:23} Phil asked: Say you found a fantastic video course that offers in-depth training on one of your core services. You get excited about it, and purchase it for your team to watch. You can't wait for your team to watch it, so you can start a conversation about the course... But 7 days later, you find that no one on the team has "had time" to watch the course. Do you scream, cry, force them or just give up?

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

Build Your Agency Authority

I hope this episode of Ask Swenk has given you an insight into the best way to close pitches, calculate revenue and recognise team priorities. Have you taken the time to see what other challenges you are facing within your agency? Now is also a great time to step back and look at other processes that need attention. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

There are many topics I can give advice on from what to do when you want to speed up sales processes to how you can build 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!

Want 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.

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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