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

Are you having trouble filling roles in your agency with the right people? Is your team having trouble building relationships with the client and each other? Building the right team isn't easy! Don't let your agency business suffer because of making the wrong hiring choices. Building a successful agency team might be easier than you might think.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • 4 ways to empower your team.
  • #1 best candidate to hire for growing your agency.
  • Why you need to always be hiring

Today, I talked with Brett Sirianni — surfer, agency owner, graphic design enthusiast, and relationship builder extraordinaire. Brett and his partner own Social Supply Co. What originally started as a means to hit the beach when the surf was just right, developed into an agency that specializes in content, SEO, social and high-fives (+193,000.) Brett has built his successful agency team on the basis of effective communication, and he's here to share some insight so you can do the same.

4 Ways to Empower Your Team

Want to know how to create a team that develops robust client relationships? We all want to keep clients around longer and the best way is with solid communication. That's what builds relationships! People do business with people - so empower your team to be great communicators and you'll retain clients longer.

  1. Hire the right staff. I know you know, but it's worth repeating. Get the right people in the right seats first. If you want to find staff that understands how to build solid relationships, bake relationship-building into your hiring process - it's a skill that you need to assess very early on.
  2. Build a personable team. Make sure your staff has the natural abilities to handle clients. That means hiring people who handle stress well, have a little charm, and have the right amount of extroversion. You can teach skills, but a great personality cannot be learned.
  3. Create a culture of employee success. Want your team to care about the agency's success? Care about theirs! If your employees feel like your agency is "just another stepping stone in their career" they aren't going to care about the business's success. They will make decisions based on what's best for them. But by breeding a culture of success everyone wins.
  4. Get involved in the introduction. When you first introduce new team members to clients, do it right. Give your team the ability to own the room. Position them as a rockstar. Make them the experts very early and give them the freedom to really dominate the relationship.
  5. Emphasize person-to-person communication. Give your team the freedom to know clients on a personal basis. Encourage genuine and honest relationships. Let them be personable and real - clients want to do business with people, not businesses.

#1 Best Candidate to Hire for Growing Your Agency

Who works for free, wants to prove themselves, and tries extra hard to succeed? Interns!

Here's a tip for hiring interns, though. Don't think of them as "free work." Instead, think of them as try-before-you-buy team members. You can see whether or not they have what it takes up close and personal.

If you're looking to start an intern program, try local college campuses which are filled with quality candidates. These students are eager to learn and hungry for real-world experience. Talk to a department chair or administrator and let them know you want to help them with their programs. Then, follow through and actually provide a meaningful experience for the student while also making the relationship beneficial for you, too.

Take it from me - intern programs can produce some of the savviest, hardest-working team members. Plus, you don't have to deal with team management logistics with interns :)

Why You Need to Always Be Hiring

Here's a question. Are you hiring? Better yet, does your website say your hiring? Tons of agencies think they actually need to be hiring before they add it to their homepage. You don't! Putting up a "we're hiring" banner on your website (next to your logo works best) does two things...

  1. Helps attract great talent. Sure, you may not need them right away. But, when it does come time to hire, you're going to have a list of candidates right at your fingertips.
  2. Helps attract and reassure clients. If your prospects think you're hiring, it helps them think you're in high demand and very busy. It also gives your existing clients a sense of security and adds some peace of mind that you probably didn't even know they needed.
Direct download: The_Secret_to_Growing_a_Successful_Agency_Team.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Do you wish you could future-proof your agency? Want to land more agency clients and retain them longer? The agency industry is ever-changing but you can create an evergreen marketing agency by going back to the basics. Some of the best practices from the Mad Men era still apply today! Check out these strategies from an agency founder who's been in the business since the 1980's.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why you should focus on the client's internal storytelling.
  • 2 ways to land big accounts and retain them longer.
  • The best way to future-proof your marketing agency.

Today, I talked with Peter Cimoroni — Founder and CEO of Razor Marketing with 3 offices across the country. Peter has been in the agency space for over 4 decades! It was a completely different world back then. So, how did Peter keep growing and scaling year-after-year? How does an old-school marketer survive the digital age? With strategy and persistence, of course...

Why You Should Focus on the Client's Internal Storytelling

As an agency, you're a storyteller. We do that for our clients' brands all the time. Whether you do video, paid ads, or SEO or whatever the case may be; you're trying to tell the story of the brand. But, what about the client's internal story? All of those ads and SEO tricks help tell prospects a brand's story. But, who is telling their employees the story?

Peter believes that not only does adding internal storytelling boost your deliverables, but it can be a huge boost for businesses.

How can you package those video services to make them valuable internally? Sure, you shoot paid ad videos, but what about shooting internal team-building videos for your clients? If you can find a way to offer brands internal and external storytelling, you'll be able to service two of their needs and boost your bottom-line. That's a win-win!

2 Ways to Land Big Accounts and Retain Them Longer

Peter's agency has 8 full time people and they don't hustle looking for new clients all the time. How? They have landed and retained some big clients that provide consistent revenue. Here are Peter's two biggest tips to score big clients and keep them:

  1. Have processes. The best way to keep cash flowing and retain big clients is to develop killer processes. Developing strategies can help you automate some of your client acquisition. If you have step-by-step methods for dealing with certain deliverables, you don't have to waste brain space on each client. Make it a no-brainer when it comes to deliverables so your team can focus on the areas they really need to -- such as retaining those big clients. Plus, with automations and systems you'll be able to offer predictability and consistency.

  2. Help other entrepreneurs. As strange as it sounds, being helpful to other entrepreneurs can pay off. Not only does it build long-lasting relationships that could potentially flourish into partnerships, but it gives you a sense of self-worth or fulfillment you can't get elsewhere. Here's the best thing, helping entrepreneurs can build relationships and open doorways that may not be open otherwise.

The Best Way to Future-Proof Your Agency

Peter and I started our agencies in different eras of marketing but we both found ways to future-proof the business. So, how do you keep an agency growing strong for ten or event twenty years in the future? Persistence! I know, it sounds a little corny but, there are tons of strategies out there helping you become forward-thinking.

The truth is, you don't know what's around the corner. You have to be willing to fail and keep going.

Peter said he has learned more from his 6 startup failures than his 3 successes. The only real way to WIN is to keep at it. Sure, there may be times where throwing in the towel makes sense. But, if you can be persistent, you'll win eventually.

Additionally, Peter says to re-evaluate your processes on an annual basis. Don't settle for the "this is the way we've always done it" mantra. Instead, check-on and improve upon your systems and processes every year. Chances are, as technology and team members change your processes will need updated as well. There's always a better, faster, easier way of doing things -- and that itself is a great way to future-proof your agency.

Want to know where the agency industry is head? Check out our Future Outlook of Marketing Agencies in 2019

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

FreshBooks is the solution with their ridiculously easy­-to-­use cloud accounting software for agencies.

Freshbooks helps you work smarter and become more organized. Most importantly, it gets you paid quicker. Check out and enter SMARTAGENCY in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section for a FREE 30-day, unrestricted trial.

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

Are you struggling to compete with other agencies in your niche? Are you tired of losing new business to your competition? You can stand out if you learn how to disrupt status quo. You just need to get a little scrappy and start thinking outside-of-the-box.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why your agency needs to think differently.
  • #1 way to achieve agency growth fast!
  • How data can close more agency new business.

Today, I talked with Jay Samit — serial entrepreneur, former VP of Sony, Vice Chairman of Deloitte, and best selling author. Oh! And he grew an agency from 0 in revenue to $200 million is 18 months. He's basically a superstar. And Jay's new book "Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation" is all about how you can create agency growth by being a little different.

Why Your Agency Needs to Think Differently

Jay talked about his experience coming into a marketing agency that had $0 in revenue and transforming it into a $200 million opportunity. How? He pivoted. The agency had a great idea, but they didn't know how to execute it properly. They had the framework of value exchange merchandising but didn't know what to do with it.

Jay's idea was to offering value exchange merchandise for brands around the world. So for example, instead of paying for your in-game app currency, you could just watch an ad instead. Here's the crazy part. Within one year, the agency was charging advertisers $1,000 CPM!

Maybe your agency has a great idea. And, maybe you're awesome at what you do. But, if you're not succeeding, it may be time to pivot. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Think about how you can apply those same services and skills to a broader or more nuanced user base.

How can you utilize what you already have in a different way?

No way to do things differently? Try adding some unique services that set you apart!

The Best Way to Achieve Agency Growth Fast!

I've talked about niching in the past, but what about niching into an unknown space? If you can find a way to be the only agency offering services to a particular group of people, you're in the golden zone. Jay told a story about an agency owner going from homeless to $70k in his first month — and $1 million by the end of his first year.

How did he do it? He found a market no one else was serving. Sure, niching can be a great way to get hyper-specialized. But, if you can offer services to a market no one is paying attention to, you'll have a huge advantage.

Here's a tip... Research a couple niches you're passionate about and see if anyone else is serving them. Start searching for those unexplored opportunities. You never know what you might find.

How Data Can Close More New Business

Are you having trouble pitching? Can you get your foot-in-the-door, but you seem to have issues closing? Try putting data to work. You can tell a prospect anything. But, if you can show them substance, they're going to be interested.

You may have a killer strategy and a great idea that will help that prospect rake in customers. But if you can back it up with solid data, you're more likely to win the pitch.

Data doesn't lie. Think you can triple their ROI on Facebook? I believe you, but your prospects need more than just your word on it. Explain the plan, then show them how you can do it by sharing a case story and reporting data that backs up your claim.

The better the data, the better your chances.

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

FreshBooks is the solution with their ridiculously easy­-to-­use cloud accounting software for agencies.

Freshbooks helps you work smarter and become more organized. Most importantly, it gets you paid quicker. Check out and enter SMARTAGENCY in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section for a FREE 30-day, unrestricted trial.


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

Are you putting out tons of material but your conversion rates are poor? Do you wish that you could stay a step ahead of the competition? How do you even begin competing in a saturated market like SEO? Don't worry! These questions are normal! Are you putting out tons of material but your conversion rates are poor? Do you wish that you could stay a step ahead of the competition? How do you even begin competing in a saturated market like SEO? Don't worry! These questions are normal!

In this episode, we'll cover:
* How to dominate by niching.

* 3 of the best conversion tools.

* #1 way to boost your agency's profile.

Today, I talked with Chris Ching CEO and Founder of ElectricEnjin — an eCommerce website design and SEO agency. Chris is a long-time fan of the podcast, and he's here to share some tips on how he catapulted his agency into adulthood. I love hearing from fans of the show, especially when they come on and share some killer strategies with me. Chris is insanely talented, and he has a few tips that will definitely help new and old agencies alike.

Chris is definitely a hustling agency owner. He went through 3 iterations of his business before he found a winner. We've all pivoted before. But, his best tip on staying competitive in a dense market is this — niche down. I've talked about niching plenty on this podcast. But, this is a reminder — niching brings success ( .

There are a plethora of agencies that are going to be competing with you. You need to find what makes you different. Figure out what you're really just good at and use it. Don't focus on your weaknesses! Focus on your strengths! You cannot be the best at everything. So pick one and dominate it. Plus, when you're great in one industry or one skillset, you're more likely to get hired for your expertise.
Think about it. Would you want to hire an agency that's good at digital marketing or amazing at SEO? It's a no-brainer.

One of the toughest parts of starting an agency is figuring out what kind of content converts. Do you start throwing up LinkedIn ads? Should you put out white papers? According to Chris, these are three of the best conversion tools in today's atmosphere.
* #1 Lead Magnets: Chris's agency offers a free site audit as their lead magnet and they're totally crushing it with converting those free audits into paid clients. * # 2 Chatbots: I'm a big believer in chatbots ( . In fact, I have one! Chatbots are 24/7 sales machines that grab leads, convert, and engage with minimal investment. It's silly not to have one at this point. * # 3 Personalized videos: I send personalized videos to ALL of my clients. They form a connection quick. Chris started using personalized videos on his free website audits. He said they made a huge difference. In fact, he says his audit conversion rate is 50%!

If your agency website is not converting the way you'd like, you can change that by making sure your content is ranking for the people who're searching for it. Run a content audit on your own website. Develop a customer avatar (or several of them) and make sure your content is directed to those avatars. Take a hard look at the value you're providing compared to your competitors. Write the content your prospects are actually looking for and maybe even delete old stuff that's cluttering up your site ( .

Chris and I talked about one of the most common problem areas for agencies — not branding an experience well. It's not enough to tell people you do x,y, and z. You have to form an emotional connection with your clients. Chris gave a great example. Clif Bars logo has the guy hiking up a mountain with a nature backdrop. They're chunky, unique, and rugged. PowerBars tell you what's in them. It's entirely functional.

Sure, PowerBars still sell. But, Clif bars were able to jump into a market and beat out the Goliaths by transforming themselves into more than the product. They're an experience.
Same thing with Apple and Microsoft. Both of them have done tons of branding. But, one offers an experience, the other offers function. Both can succeed. The difference is this — Apple was able to outsell Microsoft and enter a saturated market. How? They branded an experience. 

Direct download: The_3_Best_Conversion_Tools_for_Digital_Agencies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT