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

Are you worried about your digital agency's competition? Don't be! Instead focus that energy on building your agency brand and improving your authority. Learn how to become a major influencer, so you can eliminate the competition and develop collaborative relationships with them instead.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover:

  • Which type of agency owner are you?
  • 4 benefits of building your agency’s authority.
  • 3 things you should be doing to increase your agency’s authority.
  • Why you need to stop competing and start collaborating.

Today I talked with Josh Elledge, consumer expert, speaker and Founder/CEO of his PR program Up My Influence. He understood the importance of the media and harnessed that to $6 million in revenue for his other startup venture, Savings Angel, while spending less than $500 in advertising. He talked with me about some tips and insight to upping your influencer game so your agency can build its brand and authority in the your niche.

Which Type of Agency Owner Are You?

  • Artists... These are the agency owners who love to solve problems and create solutions.
  • Leader/Manager... These are the agency owners who love the operations of business. They have an ability to lead people.
  • True Entrepreneur... These are the agency owners who love venture capital and money. They love the ups and downs of owning a business.

To find out what type of agency owner you are, Josh recommends this simple litmus test inspired by Tony Robbins:

Ask yourself, if you had all the money you needed and you had to pick something to do with your agency/business, what would your gravitate toward?

Nearly 80-85% of people will gravitate toward Artist, but it is good to have that Leader/Manager and Entrepreneurial characteristic within your agency.

4 Benefits of Increasing Your Agency’s Authority

  1. Improves your agency’s conversion rate.
  2. Decreases the amount of time your clients are in the sales pipeline.
  3. Attracts more people/clients to the top of the sales funnel.
  4. Builds trust quicker with clients.

3 Things You Should Be Doing To Increase Your Agency’s Authority

  1. Be helpful on the internet to up your searchability. Blog, do podcasts, have a social media presence, and get involved. Clients will search your agency to gauge its relevance and status in the industry.
  2. Get active on Twitter and LinkedIn. It is most important to build up your agency’s position in the industry. Do it organically (don’t buy followers). Having a limited social media footprint can affect your agency’s image in the the eyes of prospective clients. Vanity metrics are important, so you need followers as social proof.
  3. Build an impressive website. Make it look amazing - even though you're really busy with client work. It needs to be impactful in the first 3 seconds and indicates your agency is professional.

According to Josh, the most valuable currency for agency owners is authority. If you aren’t sure where your agency stands, Google yourself and gauge it.

Stop Competing and Start Collaborating

In the competition game, you’ll never win. Your agency can’t be all things to all clients and getting OK with that is healthy.

Focus on you. When you’re busy focusing on the competition, you’re not focused on your agency’s strength and growth. Concentrate on making your business, team and clients shine without giving a second thought to the competition.

You don’t need to add additional agency services to grow. Ask yourself: What’s the purpose of your services? Who is your agency trying to help? 

Then, once you know what your agency is all about and have become the authority in that niche you are in a great position to collaborate with agencies also in that space.

Partner with other agencies who are strong in areas your agency doesn’t cover, to make your services appear more valuable. Find collaborators who offer complimentary services and become strategic partners.

When you learn to collaborate, you stop the competition. As you work with agencies, ask if you can refer them. When you build up those contacts, you become very resourceful and clients love that!

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Related:  Using Influencer Marketing to Win New Agency Clients

Direct download: How_to_Up_Your_Influencer_Game_and_Grow_Your_Agency_Brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Is your employee training process non-existent or too cumbersome? Do you want your team, contractors and clients to understand the fundamentals of what makes your agency unique? Then don’t overlook the power of a solid training process! With these three easy steps you can start onboarding your digital agency’s new hires and provide them with a consistent set of experiences and expectations on how you want to work with them.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Helping your new hires with systemized onboarding.
  • 3 easy steps to build your agency’s training process.
  • Measuring the success of your agency’s training process.

Today I chatted with Tom Kulzer, CEO and founder of AWeber, the successful email marketing platform agency he started over 20 years ago. Tom has built his business to over 100 employees and has helped over 100,000 clients.He is a well-respect expert in building a strong business with core values that are ingrained in every employee. Today he shares three quick tips for building your agency’s employee training process so you can grow.

Helping Your New Hires By Onboarding

Making that first hire, or tenth hire, or beyond, can be scary but it’s totally doable!

Implementing a solid onboarding process is important to get your new hire(s) acclimated from day 1. This is a way to get everyone on the same page with the value your agency delivers to people.

And, since AWeber is an email platform guess what they use for onboarding new hires? That right - a sequence of welcome emails with bite-sized nuggets of information, placed in the right order and sent at the right time.

Tom also has all of his new hires participate in a two-week training program. The focus is mainly on customer service but it also allows new employees to understand the fundamentals of what makes AWeber unique. It’s similar to the training methods of who’s known and globally recognized for their company culture and core values.

3 Easy Steps to Build Your Agency’s Training Process

1. Identify your agency's biggest problem.

You need to figure out where your agency has hang-ups or issues most regularly. Think of a checklist, like airplane pilots have their preflight check. What would need to be on your agency checklist, so everything runs smoothly?

2. Come up with the training around the identified problem.

When you figure out your agency’s biggest trip-ups, start documenting a process on how to avoid tripping over them again. It can be as simple as a Word document, or whatever internal tool your agency uses. Your agency just needs to start somewhere. You can’t change anything if you don’t start somewhere. Then as you gain time and experience, layer on more expertise.

3. Create “bite size” content that is given slowly, over a period of time.

A new employee isn’t going to read a one hundred page manual, and even if they do, how much will they really retain? You want to break down processes into easily digestible nuggets of information. Then feed them this information over a period of time, be it 2 weeks or 6 months, just NOT all at once. This “small and slow” method is more likely to be read, retained, and allow your agency employees to grow from it.

Also, you can use this type of onboarding for your agency’s clients as well.

Is Your Training Process Successful?

Your agency will need to look at each job function separately. Different roles will have a different measurement for success.

Use internal metrics to develop a quality score. Then have your agency team leaders review calls, emails, conversions, quality assurance, etc. and actually assign a grade. As you track this information and see how the grades change over time. Wherever you see improvement needed, then you know where there may be holes in your training and you can adjust accordingly.

Assessment areas could include:

  • Customer Service - Consider product knowledge and customer interactions
  • Engineers - Escape defects found through quality assurance.
  • Marketing - Conversions, success of split-test launches, etc.

Remember, measuring the success of your agency’s training process is not a one-size fits all approach.

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Direct download: How_to_Build_Your_Agency_s_Employee_Training_Process.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Do you lack the knowledge on how to grow and scale your digital agency? Overwhelmed by not knowing what role to hire first? Afraid to niche down, and afraid what might happen if you don't? You're not alone! Learn how to tackle these very important tasks in order to grow and scale your digital agency.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Overcoming common challenges of starting an agency.
  • Hiring based on your agency’s needs.
  • Why and how to choose your agency’s niche.
  • Benefits of an agency mastermind.

On today’s show, I talked with Jeremiah Smith, President and CEO of Simple Tiger, a digital agency which focuses on SEO for SAAS clients. With over 12 years of SEO experience, Jeremiah has watched Simple Tiger go through many changes and has had to face the difficult decisions we all face with our agencies. He shares some of his big challenges and decisions with us and some guidance on how he knew, it was time to act. He is, admittedly, still working on some aspects, so don’t beat yourself up if your agency has some tough calls to make. Let’s just get your agency to a place, where you start making the right calls.

Overcoming Common Challenges Starting Your Own Agency

Jeremiah shared his two main challenges starting Simple Tiger and what you can do to overcome or avoid them...

1- Starting out as self-taught SEO consultant and then moving on to build an agency was difficult. It’s tough going from a “lone wolf” freelancer to building a team. It was a transition that took time and has grown the agency because of smart hiring choices.

2- It can be hard to separating your personal life from your business. When you work for yourself you can spend your money on what you want. When you start a business, this isn’t the case. It’s important to be careful and keep business income and expenses separate, particularly in regards to taxes. (You can even check out this podcast with Jason Blumer CPAs.)

Hiring Based On Your Agency’s Needs

Understanding what your agency’s needs are, will then point you in the direction of who your agency needs to hire and when.

In most cases, you will hear consultants recommend hiring a sales team first. (Although I tell my clients to hire a Project Manager first!)

However, Jeremiah’s main role is sales, and the sales role is his baby. He says SEO sales can get scammy and shady, so selling it in a truthful manner is the most important thing. He wants his agency to be seen with integrity and that starts with sales.

That’s why Jeremiah’s first hire was someone who could produce the work he was selling. Hiring the right people can be the difference between feeling like you’re a prisoner to your agency, or enjoying running your agency.

Why and How to Choose Your Agency’s Niche

There are many benefits of niching down. Jeremiah says he finally did it because:

  1. Your agency’s marketing gets easier.
  2. You will attract more of other types of businesses.

The beauty is you can still say ‘yes’ and service clients outside your niche if you choose. But, your marketing is targeted at just one specific audience. Instead of casting a wide net, you’re getting really specific.

Picking a horizontal niche should be based on your background and pretty easy. With Jeremiah, SEO was a no-brainer. Selecting a vertical niche can prove more difficult and can even be terrifying.

What got Jeremiah thinking was a client who couldn’t identify their target market and instead said “we service everyone.” It made him start looking inwardly at his own agency.

When you specialize in a particular niche, you become an authority in that segment of business. By becoming a member of my Agency University Jeremiah learned the value in declaring a niche.

He starting by asking himself these 3 questions:

  1. Who are my agency’s most profitable clients?
  2. Which clients were an easy sell, they just get you?
  3. Who do I love working with?

Benefits of an Agency Mastermind

Speaking of Agency University…. :) Jeremiah felt like he knew a lot about agencies and how they operate, so he was apprehensive to join Agency University. However, by participating in our mentorship program he realized he was making things harder and more complex than they needed to be. And, he realized he had a lack of focus.

He says he learned some real game changing strategies that helped his agency grow and scale. And hey, that’s why I do this - so it’s a win-win.

What’s Agency University All About?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Direct download: Smart_Agency_Master_Class_Podcast_-_Simple_Tiger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Want to build your agency’s authority in your niche? How about a content marketing strategy that delivers high return with little effort? Then adopting this combo blogging/podcasting strategy could be the shift to get quality clicks, organic backlinks and make your agency’s service offering more attractive to your ideal clients.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • 7 benefits of being a podcast guest.
  • The blogging strategy your agency needs to implement.
  • 7 easy steps to building a blog strategy calendar.
  • A bonus lead gen strategy.

Today I talked with Phil Singleton, founder and CEO at Kansas City Web Design & SEO and co-author of SEO for Growth. With over a decade of experience, Phil has a passion for SEO and has learned the need to include it into a holistic marketing plan to help his clients move the needle. Phil has implemented a really interesting strategy for personal branding and authority campaigns for his clients and today he shares how your agency can do it too, in order to build authority and attract the right clients.

7 Benefits of Being a Podcast Guest

  1. Get exposure and quality backlinks on someone else’s website in a niche.
  2. Be perceived as an expert in the niche because they have been contracted by someone else to speak on a particular topic.
  3. Get exposed to someone else’s trusted audience.
  4. Podcast show notes are all about your agency.
  5. Interviews build your agency’s brand (or the owner’s personal brand) and authority.
  6. Receive organically earned backlinks that Google loves.
  7. Do a 20-30 minute phone interview and the host does all the work.

The Blogging Strategy Your Agency Needs to Implement

If your agency doesn’t have a steady stream of content marketing, then it is time to start making some adjustments. Guest blogging is getting spammy and harder to do, with all the competition out there. It’s not bringing your agency the quality clicks you need.

That’s where Phil’s Personal Branding and Authority Campaigns Strategy comes into play.

Blogging is still a cornerstone of inbound marketing, it’s benefits are:

  • Growing out your agency’s website organically.
  • Targeting long tail keywords.
  • Feed your social media (with proper setup).

But blogging isn’t going to work if it’s one-off guest posts that stand alone. That’s why your agency needs to build a blogging strategy around a content calendar and set it up as steps. Ultimately, this should tie in with doing podcast interviews. With all moving parts working together your agency can truly reap all the benefits listed above.

7 Easy Steps to Building a Blog Strategy Calendar

  1. Create your agency blogs in a batch of 10-15.
  2. Create the blog posts so they can be stitched together into an ebook.
  3. Utilize the ebook as a call-to-action on your agency’s website.
  4. Spin the ebook to Kindle on Amazon.
  5. Having an Amazon presence gives the agency/owner the new title of "author."
  6. Utilize the author page on Amazon to feed your RSS, which will get your agency’s blog posted on the author page.
  7.  Use this author status to start a podcast guest campaign now that you’re viewed as an authority in your niche market.

You don’t want to use your ebook as a lead generation source. Instead, use it as a branding exercise and let it snowball from there.

Building a blog strategy calendar will help your agency avoid the dreaded “SEO fatigue.” You know it…. It’s that 3 to 6 month period where clients start to panic, because they aren’t seeing results fast enough.

Providing clients with a set strategy that can reach twelve months out, helps set the tone for allowing enough time for results to come. Your agency is also is providing the bonus of a nice, shiny author page which feeds into client egos and makes them happy.

A Bonus Lead Gen Strategy

Do you have multiple clients in a niche market? You can use those existing clients to pull in more clients, by teaming them up.

Phil says, approach your current clients about authoring a book on their specific niche market. Maybe each client would write a chapter to cover their specialty and they could invite others in the industry (your potential clients) to participate with their specialty and write additional chapters.

Then utilize a platform like Amazon and Createspace to publish a physical book for you and your clients to promote. Then, throw a launch party where your agency can work on relationships and building a referral channel for future projects. It’s a win for your existing clients, a win for your potential clients and a win for you!


Direct download: How_to_Build_Your_Agency_s_Authority_By_Going_Beyond_the_Blog.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT