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

Are you looking to get your agency revenue to the $1 million mark? Already at $1 million and struggle to get beyond it? What got you where you are now, isn't what's going to get your agency to the next level. Have you lost focus or just don't know where to look? Then it's time your agency explored the power of content and started making investments into it's future.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Growing your agency from the first million to the next million.
  • One growth strategy often forgotten.
  • 5 simple tips to help scale your agency.
  • #1 Technology your agency should be using.
  • How to find your agency's focus.
  • Know yourself and build a solid team.

Today I got to talk to John Hall, CEO and co-founder of the content marketing agency, Influence & Co. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the best-selling business book, Top of Mind. Considered a content marketing guru, John shares with us tips and tricks he has learned along the way, as he grew his company from just 2 people in 2007 up to 130 employees in 2018. Implementing John's strategies will help scale your agency and position you as a thought leader and influencer in your agency's niche.

Growing Your Agency from the First Million to the Next Million

The biggest challenge your agency will face when scaling is taking on clients and employees you shouldn't.

To avoid this classic pitfall, use these two tips in your agency process:

  1. Take time to hire the right person. Having the right people in the right seats will make all the difference.
  2. Really look at potential clients and ask "why?". Make sure you are only taking on the right clients for the right reasons.

Having processes in place is important when scaling.

One Growth Strategy Often Forgotten

Simply put -- CONTENT

Content is more than a  lead generator or marketing vehicle, content is the core of the company. Content allows your agency to share it's culture, industry trends, leadership, vision, and more.

Your agency wants to generate content in "themes" to outline the environment and to attract people, whether it's employees or clients. You can't just say the words in an interview or pitch, you need to be continually communicating it as a company. This allows potential clients or employees to see what your agency is all about and makes them want to work with you.

Define your agency's core values and live them out.

5 Simple Tips To Help Scale Your Agency

  1. Amplify your agency's services on your website with an excellent user experience.
  2. Make an investment in what your agency does.
  3. Utilize technology that can help your agency scale by saving you time.
  4. Create efficient practice that will lead to higher margins.
  5. Leverage content across the company by multi-purposing it.

Differentiation can be hard, but it is important. Don't be like the competition - stand apart from them!

#1 Technology Your Agency Should Be Using

Technology needs depend on the agency, but to have the absolute best tech for your agency's needs, you need to create it. Creating your own technology allows customization towards your agency's needs. If there is a problem you're experiencing, and you can create a tech tool as the solution, that's the ultimate benefit.

How To Find Your Agency's Focus

Where is the biggest opportunity for your agency?

It's not about what is most exciting, it's about what is going to drive longterm success. What are the things that your agency can say no to and what are those things that your agency needs to say yes to?

Owners typically jump quickly and this can lead to a loss of respect from your team, as well as opportunity costs. Don't put your agency in a position where it is no longer doing productive work, because you're too busy "chasing butterflies."

Know Yourself And Build A Solid Team

Who you get into business with and how you treat the people around you is key! Your agency needs trust at the core. John and his two partners are in sync with another and he attributes it to total transparency. Although I usually say: "you either know the bad partner or you are the bad partner,"  I've seen some really successful agency partnerships too. However, having an out clause and operating agreement in place can keep things from getting messy if someone wants out.

And most importantly, your personal brand is important. You are a vehicle to create opportunities for your agency and you need to invest in it and in yourself.

Looking for a Payroll and HR Solution for your Agency?

Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you're a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits and HR easy for small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits and great service to take care of your team.

For a limited time, Gusto is offering a deal to Smart Agency Master Class listeners. Check out for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.

Direct download: How_Do_You_Build_a_Digital_Agency_to_1_Million_Level_and_Beyond_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Thinking of vlogging but doesn't know where to start? Don't think you're any good on camera? Afraid you don't have the right equipment? With these simple tips and tricks you'll be able to  get started right away. You will become an authority in the marketplace and build trust with your ideal clients so you can win more new agency business.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • #1 reason your agency should be vlogging.
  • More benefits of vlogging.
  • Why video views and subscriber numbers don't matter.
  • How to get started and what equipment you need.

Today I got to talk with Cody Wanner, daily vlogger and co-founder of the video production company CAP Collective. After watching and being inspired by another vlogger, Cody thought about creating his own daily video series. Over a year of thinking about it, he finally decided to just do it and it's been a major game-changer for his video agency. With Cody's simple tips and easy style, he shares how your agency can start vlogging immediately.

#1 Reason Your Agency Should Be Vlogging

It Builds Trust!

Just getting a face in front of people, in front of possible clients and talking to them is building trust. Consistent face time will build trust between your agency and your audience and trust is everything. People buy from people they trust. And, with that trust comes authority.

Trust + authority = more new agency business

More Benefits Of Vlogging

Sharing content via a vlog will help position your agency as an expert in the marketplace. Your audience will look to your agency for answers. There's a serious ROI when you vlog on a consistent basis.

For Cody, his vlog has also become a constant follow-up tool to help keep his agency top of mind. His consistent (daily) video content serves as a reminder to his prospects, and works SO MUCH BETTER than a "checking in" phone call.

Why Video Views And Subscriber Numbers Don't Matter

Cody has a cool movement he's pushing right now, which he's calling No Small Creator  #nosmallcreator... he says there is no such thing as a small creator or small subscriber.

He believes anyone who's creating content is a big deal. There's no such thing as insignificant content because you never know who is going to be inspired by something you say or create... your content could be influencing the next Oprah. You never know who your viewers are, who they're sharing with or who they're affecting on a daily basis. Influence them to be great and let the domino affect happen.

How To Get Started and What Equipment You Need

Your agency needs to commit to uploading content every day - even if it's not great. Even if it's downright bad. Once you commit to that, you can trust the process and yourself.

Once you start vlogging, it is in your entrepreneurial nature to make things better. If your agency just starts uploading content, the process will take you to reviewing, analyzing and improving on it because that is what you do.

Perfection is the enemy of good. Your agency's vlogging is probably not going to be perfect at first but upload it anyway. As my friend Ian Garlic says,

What Type Of Equipment Your Agency Needs To Start Vlogging

Check your pocket.

The best equipment is the equipment you already have... meaning, don't let equipment be an excuse that keeps you from vlogging!

If all the video equipment you have is a smart phone - use it. Vlogging on a smart phone can be just as successful as with expensive equipment. As you get more experience and more comfortable you may want to buy other equipment, but it's not a necessity.

And if you really want to know more about equipment, here's a video about what I use now. Just note - I started by using my iPhone and iPad! :)

Vlogging is not about the technical quality of the footage, it's about the story you tell. The way you document growth or change and how your agency is helping others. You can check out my evolution as a vlogger... and seriously, it was pretty rough when I first started. This was my first vlog episode and it's pretty terrible!

Cody and I agree; just start by documenting what your agency is doing and get it out there. Find a main focus and go do it. And be sure to make it your own - modeling other vloggers is ok as long as your end product is genuine to who you are.


Looking for a Payroll and HR Solution for your Agency?

Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you're a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits and HR easy for small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits and great service to take care of your team.

For a limited time, Gusto is offering a deal to Smart Agency Master Class listeners. Check out for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.


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

Are you great at creating but seem to fail with execution? Do you have a hard time delegating tasks and get lost in the day-to-day of working in your agency instead of on it? Then it's time your agency makes a marketing plan for your agency! When you get your team on board and delegate to a lead in charge of the execution, you are freed up to create the longterm vision. Learn how to step away from being the Agency Owner and become the Agency CEO.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Simple lessons to grow and scale a business.
  • 3 easy mindset shifts to grow your agency.
  • How to stay consistent and treat your agency like a client.
  • 3 buckets to have in your agency's marketing plan.
  • The importance of implementing your agency's core values.

Today I got to chat with Derek Champagne, founder and CEO of the full-service marketing agency, The Artist Evolution and author of Don't Buy A Duck: Stop Wasting Money & Only Do Marketing That Works!. With a mantra of "without fail," a vision and some failures in his pocket, Derek built his current agency to a 30+ employee business. Today he shares with us the importance of having a vision and marketing plan for your agency. In order to grow and scale you need to make sure you're treating your agency with the same consistency and level of attention you give your clients.

Simple Lessons to Grow & Scale a Business

Derek says some of his failures have taught him some great (yet, simple) lessons about business growth and scaling. These are key to transitioning from Agency Owner to Agency CEO:

  1. You need to have the right people around you to grow effectively and get the advice you need.
  2. You don't need to hold your cards so close. Collaborating with other agencies can bring great success.
  3. You need to have a longterm focus and vision for your agency.

3 Easy Mindset Shifts To Grow Your Agency

  1. Have a vision and set goals to achieve it. Don't get lost in the weeds of the day-to-day grind.
  2. Let your agency team understand your clear vision:
    • How can a team get behind you if they don't know the plan or where the agency is going?
    • Communicate your agency marketing plan and vision.
    • Empower your agency employees to make decisions that help achieve your vision.
  3. Know what you're good at and where/when you need to delegate.
    • Get out of your own way and don't be the smartest person in the room.

How To Stay Consistent & Treat Your Agency Like a Client

Much like your clients, your agency's growth is also dependent upon having a marketing plan. If you haven't niched down yet, it's time to do that. Know who you are, who you target and what you're best at - then go after it.

If your marketing isn't going according to plan... maybe you don't really have a "plan" after all?!

Having a marketing plan is crucial. Map it out. Not just you, bring in your agency team. Whiteboard it out. Hold a strategy session and answer "what does our marketing plan look like and why." The "why" is important - your team needs to know and understand why you're doing what you're doing. Don't just do it because you think you should, knowing the why makes it much more effective.

3 Buckets To Have In Your Agency's Marketing Plan

A marketing plan isn't just for clients.... it is critical to have an agency marketing plan, too.

  1. Customer Acquisition
    • How is your agency gaining new clients?
    • How are marketing dollars spent?
  2. Client Retention
    • What is your agency doing to retain existing customers?
    • What are you doing to cross-pollinate services and build partnerships?
  3. Agency Reputation
    • What is your agency doing to stay top of mind and tip of tongue?
    • How are you present and interacting with those in your community and client base?

Also... assign, don't assume! Along with a marketing plan your agency needs to also know who is doing what. Be sure that every marketing plan has a point person who is responsible for the execution and results.

Being able to present a solid marketing plan to your agency clients will help build trust.

Creativity and strategy are great, however they sit on the cutting room floor if you don't have implementation and execution figured out!

Implementing Your Core Values

Go back and take a look at your agency's core values. Are you implementing them consistently?

If you're doing core values right, you should be able to focus on building the team, holding the vision and gaining resources towards that vision. When you make this things a priority for your agency, then the client-side will come together. Your focus should be on finding and keeping a solid team. You can always get more clients, but it will cost you more to rebuild a quality team.

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