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

Would you like your agency to be more profitable? Are you setting goals you just can't seem to achieve? Goal setting is an important part of becoming a successful agency. But if you are not creating the right goals and don't have the right tools, you're never going to get there.

In today's episode, we discuss:

  • How to set achievable goals for your agency.
  • 3 Ways to build a team to help achieve your goals.
  • Why solid leadership is critical to your agency's success.

Today I got to chat with Monica Louie, a Facebook and Instagram strategist who left the corporate world to have more flexibility and spend more time with her family. Since leaving her 9 to 5 job, Monica has blasted through some of the goals she set when she first began and developed a successful three-part business. Find out how Monica paid off over $120,000 of debt in just two years using clear goals and a lot of creativity.

How to Set Achievable Goals for Your Agency

We've talked about it several times, just how important it is to have a goal. Without a goal, it's hard to find your north star. But the type of goal you set is important. As are the tools you use to achieve it. So how can you make sure you don't fall short?

  • Be specific about your goal. For Monica, her goal was to pay off all of her debt, including her mortgage, in 8 years. You need to have a specific goal and you need to have a timeline. If Monica had just said "I want to pay off my debt soon," she probably wouldn't have met that goal because there was no specific timeline to hold her accountable.
  • Create a strategy. How are you going to get there? Monica and her husband had a garage sale and worked a lot of overtime to achieve paying off their debt. When you make a goal at your agency, it's important to have a strategy in mind to help you get there. It's okay to improvise and change things along the way, but you need to give yourself a plan and tools to make it to your goal.
  • What are you willing to sacrifice? In Monica's situation, they sold her husband's car and motorcycle and did a lot of scrimping. For you, sacrifice might mean cutting a service that's putting a financial strain on your budget or finding extra funds. If you have a goal and the motivation to achieve it, you will find the means.

3 Ways to Build a Team to Help Achieve Your Goals

It's futile to set a goal if you don't have a team that shares your vision. Your team will be one of the biggest components of your success. But the hiring process isn't always fun, nor is it easy. And job boards don't usually pan out. So what do you do?

  • Connect with like-minded people: A lot of Monica's first team members came from the personal finance world, a world she was comfortable with and had experience with. Look to people in your field who might be good for your team.
  • Reach out to your connections: There's a good chance you already know someone who would make a good team member, or you know someone who knows someone. Reach out to your connections and tell them you're hiring. For Monica, this meant telling her email list she had a few positions to fill.
  • Know your focus. Again it's all about your vision. If you don't have a clear vision, your team won't either. Communicate your vision and find people who have the same values you do in order to help you reach that vision.

Why Solid Leadership is Critical to Your Agency's Success

Great teams come from great leadership. We've all had that one boss that made going to work a miserable experience. Great leaders have teams who support them and want to work for them. What does this look like?

  • Invest in personal leadership skills. Some people are born a leader. Some are not. Take the time to invest in your leadership skills. Take classes, get feedback, and work on being a better leader.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen. The number one thing your team wants you to do is to listen to them. Listen to what they want, what they need, and give them the tools to do their job well. When you provide the resources and support they need, they're less likely to go somewhere else.

They say anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Make a goal, build a team, and take action to get where you want to go.

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 Gusto.com/agency for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.

 

Direct download: How_Setting_Goals_Will_Help_You_Grow_a_Successful_Agency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Have you thought about offering content creation as a service but not sure where to start or how to charge? Content is a huge part of almost everything we do for our clients, but often times its the client themselves that hold up projects by not providing good (or timely) content. When you take control of content creation, your agency can help you be more successful in achieving the clients' goals. It may seem daunting to add content creation as a service,  but it can also be very rewarding in the long run.

In today's episode, we discuss:

  • #1 benefit of offering content creation as a service.
  • How to charge for content.
  • What type of content are agencies creating?

Today I had the opportunity to sit down with my good friends at Verblio, Steve Pockross, CEO, and Paul Zalewski, Vice President of Marketing. Paul and Steve know a lot about content. After all, they run a content agency sourced with over 3,000 copywriters. Recently, Verblio sent out a survey to thousands of agencies to get a better idea of what agencies think about content creation, how they use it, and best practices surrounding content creation. Their findings may come as a surprise, but learning from them can help grow your agency and get better results for your clients.

#1 Benefit of Creating Content

Steve and Paul say that as agencies, we should not expect clients to have the ability to create their own content. Yes, they might be the expert in their industry but they are not always successful at writing about it. According to Verblio's survey, of the agencies who felt their content was successful less than 20% of them curated content from the client. What does that mean? Well, it means that although the client is the industry expert they suck at writing about it! :) Let's be honest, clients are busy and writing is hard. So even though they mean well, they put writing on the backburner because it's a difficult, time-consuming task.

The solution is for you, as an agency, is to take control over the content creation. By either writing in-house or outsourcing it, you can speed up your project cycle by half. For example, in most cases, a website build that would normally take 6 months, can be completed in 3-4 months when the agency is not waiting on the client to write and handover content.

How to Charge for Content Creation Service

Okay. You've decided you're going to start offering content — good! But how much do you charge? Well, according to to Verblio's survey 87% of agencies who felt they have a solid content creation service include the cost for it in their monthly retainer. And the vast majority of those agencies felt as though content was a major profit center for them. This is a key point because, as an agency, it might be easy to think content creation is an area where you can be competitive and price yourself lower than the competition. But when you spend the time and dollars it takes to do a great job you can make money on it. So, why race to the bottom?

Verblio's survey indicated that the average agency is marking up content 200%. Why walk away from that kind of margin but undercutting yourself on pricing?

There are 3 general options when it comes to charging for content:

  1. Build it into your retainer. I find this approach usually works the best. Figure out how much you are going to charge for content and make it part of your retainer agreement.
  2. Charge content as a separate line item. Here, you make content a monthly charge but are transparent about the fee.
  3. Charge a la carte. Charge on a per-piece basis. The downside is, this has a tendency of making content look like an extra instead of a necessity.

Typically, when you make content a part of your service offering and show the benefits of incorporating it, your client will be will see the value.

What Type of Content Are Agencies Creating?

When you offer content creation, you give your clients an unfair advantage by using content to set them apart. It gets you a seat at the table with clients you wouldn't otherwise be seated at the table with. If you use a resource like Verblio it allows you to white label a service to scale your agency because you are relieving a pain point for your clients (and yourself). Consistency is key - stick with it and give it time.

What type of content should you offer? The overwhelming majority of those surveyed said blog posts. So get over the idea that blogging is "So 2006." Blogging helps drive SEO and it still the #1 thing agencies are recommending in content strategies.

Out of blog ideas? Do an audit of existing blog posts. Look for opportunities for a mashup or a refresh of older, outdated posts. Your clients have great ideas for content -- sit down with the Head of Products or the Head of Customer Service. Those are the people with content ideas -- they know the FAQ's.

 

Want to provide input about what works and what doesn't? Got a minute to take Verblio's survey? Want to try Verblio for yourself?

Direct download: Should_Your_Agency_Add_Content_Creation_as_a_Service_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you looking for a new, creative way to generate leads? Have you thought about offering a course, but don't know where to start? An online course is a great way to attract new clients and create some extra revenue. 

In today's episode, we cover:

  • How an online course can help your agency grow. 
  • 3 Ways to keep your course from becoming a distraction. 
  • How to create a unique course different from everything else.  

Today I had the opportunity to talk to Chase Chappell, the owner of Chase Chappell Marketing. He began his career developing his own Facebook influencer page and quickly discovered he could do social media for other agencies. After going door-to-door to find leads, he leveraged the power of social media. After finding success Chase realized he could help more people by teaching his own processes in an online course. Find out how developing a course can attract more clients and help grow your agency. 

How an Online Course Can Help Your Agency Grow

Creating an online course is a lot of work. So why spend your time developing a new course when you can put your time and focus on other projects? What will you really get out of it? For Chase, the benefits were bigger than he initially realized.

  • Referrals. When Chase started his online course, he immediately discovered the course was generating a lot of referrals. When you provide value and have a genuine interest in helping others, they're likely to refer your agency to others.
  • Conversions. Chase started his course to teach agencies his process. But the agencies that took his course came back to him just a few months later asking him to do the work instead. 
  • Authenticity. Ads will only get you so far. When a client sees your ads and sees you have a course to back up what you are doing, you're more likely to develop trust. 

3 Ways to Keep Your Course from Becoming a Distraction  

Not every agency has what it takes to support a course. If that was the case everyone would create a course to attract new clients. When you choose to develop a course you want to make sure you have the resources to support it. The last thing you want to do is put all your focus on the course and neglect the agency. 

  1. Evaluate your team. When Chase developed his course, he already had an outside agency onboard to manage client relations. Because he knew he had a team that could focus on the agency work, he was able to devote some of his focus to the course. 
  2. Watch your client load.  If you're going to focus your attention on developing a course, it's probably not a good idea to bring on a bunch of new clients at the same time. Make sure you don't overextend your agency — work on growing one piece of business at a time.
  3. Have a process in place. Chase's course focuses on processes his agency uses every day as part of the agency's training program. When you develop a course around existing processes and procedures, it will be easier to put together and less likely to distract you from your agency work.

How to Create a Unique Course Different from Everything Else

If you're on Facebook, you know how saturated the digital course market is. It seems like everybody wants to teach you something about something. In many cases, these courses are simply marketing ploys or click-bait to get a prospect to sign-on with an agency. Online courses are a dime a dozen and most quickly fade into obscurity. So can you make sure your course stands out and continues to attract new clients?

  • Know your target audience. The reason so many courses (and agencies) fail is because they don't know their target audience. If you create a course for everyone, you're going to have a hard time attracting the right clients. Know your audience and market your course directly to them. 
  • Provide value: The number one way to stand out is finding a gap or need in the market. Be unique. If you just regurgitate what everyone else is saying, potential clients have no incentive to stick around. Chase's course shares the same strategies his agency uses on a day to day basis. This proprietary process has proven success stories to back it up. 

An online course is a great way to attract new clients and increase authority. But it's not for everyone. Do your research, evaluate your resources, and make sure you're prepared before you take the jump.

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 Gusto.com/agency for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.

Direct download: How_Offering_a_Course_Can_Help_Generate_New_Agency_Business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you often doing the same tasks over and over? Are you looking for a way to work smarter and be more efficient? Are you using automation to retain agency clients? Automation can eliminate some of the tedious tasks and help you focus on the things that really matter — your clients.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 Reasons why you need to start automating now.
  • 3 Areas where it just makes sense to automate.
  • How your agency can get the most out of automation.

Today I talked to Joe Shelerud, the co-founder and CEO of Ad Advance. Joe's agency works primarily with medium to large size Amazon shops, helping them use PPC to grow their sales and build a long term profitable business. After starting his agency, Joe quickly realized just how much automation could save time and eliminate some of the grunt work. Find out what areas Joe's team automates and how doing so has changed their agency for the better.

3 Reasons Why You Need to Start Automating — NOW

Have you automated the simple processes in your agency yet? If the answer is no, why not? Joe says automation has changed the way his agency does business and has led to greater client satisfaction. He says if there are tasks you are doing over and over again, every single day, you need to automate them. What can automation do for your agency?

  1. Save time. Think about how much time you spend on the little stuff. Stuff like paperwork and scheduling. How much time could you save if these processes were automated?
  2. Eliminate human error. How many times have you forgotten to send a follow-up email? Who hasn't attached the wrong document or misspelled a client name? Errors happen, but they can be costly. By automating the simple things, you streamline the process and reduce the chance of error in other areas.
  3. Increase client interaction. Every minute you spend on the little things is one less minute you have to focus on the things your agency does well. Why would you want to do the small stuff when you can be making your client happy?

3 Areas Where it Just Makes Sense to Automate

You don't want to automate everything. Not only does it put you out of a job, but it takes out the human element. That personal touch is often what sets your agency apart. But there are many areas most agencies can automate right now.

  1. Onboarding. The onboarding process can become pretty redundant. Inputting information, sending welcome emails, generating projects. These are all things a computer can take care of.
  2. Emails. You can't automate all emails, but you can automate a lot. Do you email reminders to your clients? Do you have monthly newsletters or information that needs to be sent to everyone? There are many programs that can generate and schedule emails so you're not creating one from scratch every time.
  3. Tracking requests. Joe says any time your client asks for something, your agency has failed. When you automate the request process, you can easily track requests and make the necessary changes so future clients won't have to make the same request.

How Your Agency Can Get the Most Out of Automation

When it comes down to it, you're not automating processes just to automate. Automation saves time. But this doesn't mean your team gets to go home early. This means you are able to spend more time on the areas that add value to your clients. Look at where you are wasting time and make a change. Then, use that time to really increase client satisfaction and focus on what sets your agency apart.

Automation can be a big time saver. When you have more time to focus on your clients, you have a better chance of pleasing and retaining those clients. Think of it this way, is it easier to find new clients or just keep the old ones happy?

Are You Looking for Outsourced Copywriting for Your Agency or Clients?

Verblio is a content creation solution designed specifically for agencies. Their writers can help with everything from blog posts to ebooks to video scripts and more.

Forget the hassle of finding and hiring your own writers. Verblio has a pool of more than 3,000 highly vetted writers who produce custom, SEO-rich content. You set the criteria for style and tone and they match you with writers that have expertise in your specific subject matter.

Verblio's platform is designed specifically for agencies -- and for a limited time, they are offering my audience 50% off your first month of content. My team is using Verblio and loving it, so make sure you check them out.

Direct download: How_Automation_Can_Help_Retain_Agency_Clients.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Trying to decide whether your agency really needs to declare a niche? Can a generalist approach equate to more clients? In the marketing agency space, it's all about standing out from the crowd. Whether you can find success as a generalist may depend more on your process than your expertise. 

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • #1 Thing to remember whether you're a generalist agency or declare a niche. 
  • 3 Ways to stand out as a generalist. 
  • 3 Reasons you're better off choosing a niche. 

Today I had the opportunity to talk to Ted Birkhahn, president and part-owner of Hot Paper Lantern. Hot Paper Lantern is an integrative marketing communication agency that focuses on analytics, redefining how clients are targeting their audiences, and improve experiences. With over 19 years in the agency, Ted was able to take an existing customer base and turn it into a successful generalist agency. Find out whether it's really possible to find success as an agency without choosing a niche. 

#1 Thing to Remember Whether You're a Generalist or a Niche Agency

If you have been in the agency world for any period of time, you know there's one thing that holds true — nothing lasts forever. Ted says this is the number one thing he learned over the course of his career. As such, you always need to have a plan for when times get rough. What does this look like?

  • Evaluate your client base. It's never a good idea to put all your focus in one area. As a generalist, don't invest too much in a specific industry. As a niche agency, never saturate too much of your interest in one client or one area. 
  • Grow in smart ways. As an agency owner, the goal is growth. But you have to do it right. If you grow too fast, you may have difficulty keeping up which can make you vulnerable in times of instability. 

3 Ways to Stand Out as a Generalist

You've decided to be a generalist — great. The good news is, this means you have a wider reach, you can relate to a larger range of customers. The bad news is, there's nothing to separate you from all the other "me too" agencies who don't have a specific niche. So how do you stand out without having a niche?

  1. Don't pretend to be all things to all people. Even as a generalist, there will be clients who just aren't the right fit. Clients who require a niche level of expertise or have specific needs may not be right for you. 
  2. Know what makes you different. For Hot Paper Lantern, they set themselves apart from the rest by bringing in specialists from different industries. By providing marketing and consulting services they provide value many similar agencies don't. Even if you don't have a specific area of expertise, you can still be unique.
  3. Leverage your experience. One thing Ted has that many agency owners don't is experience. Ted has two decades in the agency world and has surrounded himself with a team of similar expertise. Experience is an asset. OWN IT. 

3 Reasons You're Better Off Choosing a Niche 

It's important to find out what makes your agency stand out from the crowd. Some agencies are able to do this without choosing a niche. But for many agencies, defining a niche is how they stand out. So how do you know if you're better off choosing a niche?

  1. You don't have an established client base. Ted was lucky. He started his agency with several established clients. This isn't the case for most agency owners. If you don't have an established customer base, you're going to have to find a way to bring in clients. As a generalist, it's going to be hard to stand out. When you niche down, you are able to dedicate your marketing toward a specific client base.
  2. You don't have a lot of revenue. Even if you don't have an established customer base, you can still stand out by bringing in resources or hiring great talent. Without appropriate funds, this will be very hard to do. 
  3. You're just starting out. This one goes with the two points above. If you are just starting out, you likely don't have the client base or the revenue. Additionally, you haven't quite figured out what makes you unique. For smaller agencies, it's usually better to start out with a niche and expand later on if that's what you want.

It's hard to say you can't find success as a generalist because it has been done and it continues to be done. But it takes a certain level of experience and expertise. If you're going to be a generalist, it's important to understand the extra level of investment and risk it entails. By setting realistic expectations, you're more likely to make smart choices and find success. 

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 Gusto.com/agency for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.

Direct download: How_Important_is_it_to_Declare_a_Niche_for_your_Agency_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Do you want to grow faster while also staying nimble like a small agency? Growing your agency means growing your team. One agency actually did it by dedicating half of its team to sales. Sometimes it just takes a simple change of focus or a deeper look at the effectiveness of your processes to find meaningful success.

In today's episode we'll cover:

  • 3 keys to landing the right agency prospects.
  • Is it time to break apart your agency teams?
  • How to build on successful sales and continue to grow.

Today I talked to Michael Weinhouse, founder and co-CEO of Logical Position. Logical Position is a digital marketing agency based out of Portland, Oregon, who in just 10 years has grown to over 700 employees. Find out how a focus on sales led to tremendous agency growth.

3 Keys to Landing the Right Agency Prospects

In the beginning, clients don't just come to you. Gaining clients and growing your agency takes a lot of hard work. For Michael, he found the number one way to scale his agency fast was sales. This focus on sales led to partnerships with Google and Microsoft which contributed to the agency's rapid growth.

In the early years, this meant a lot of cold calling. For several years, the team was primarily composed of salespeople. Even after the agency began to see success, the number one focus was still sales, to the point that 50% of the employees were sales!

But if you are going to narrow-in on sales, you have to do it right. For Logical Position, it was all about making sure each call provided value. So how do you do this?

  1. Do your homework. You don't want to waste a potential client's time. Find out what your client wants and don't be afraid to give little nuggets of value or tips, even if the prospect doesn't sign on.
  2. Total transparency. Michael's agency uses a quality assurance team to make sure every client they sign-on is the right fit. By being transparent and letting a client know, "Hey, this isn't a good fit," they are able to truly help the clients they do sign on without setting unrealistic expectations.
  3. Not everything has to be perfect. Be open to feedback. Take the criticism you get and implement it into your processes.

Is It Time to Break Apart Your Agency Teams?

A lot of agencies divide work between several teams within the agency. While this approach may work for some agencies, it's not the way Logical Position does things. There are a couple of reasons for this. Michael says he always found sticking to one sector is a quick path to burnout — not good when you're trying to grow your team. When you allow your team to work with people in different verticals they can use conversations from one area to find best practices that work with another.

But while there are no teams, this certainly doesn't mean there is no structure. Logistical Position uses a tiered system to incentivize employees and keep things organized. Once you have mastered one skill set and met your goals, you have the opportunity to move further up in the agency. Michael says there is a natural level of competition among his sales team, which definitely helps convert leads.

How to Build on Successful Sales and Continue to Grow

You may be thinking: "You can't run an agency simply on sales," and you're right. Michael says the tipping point came about three years ago when the sales team had been so successful the operations team had to expand to keep up with the growth. Presently, the sales force makes up just over a quarter of the agency team, instead of the 50% share they had previously held.

As for acquisitions, Logical Position acquired its first agency at around the $20 or $30 million mark. They chose an agency they had previously worked with and whom they had built a lot of trust. They have since acquired yet a third agency. From here, Logical Position really began to grow. As a co-CEO, Michael has found his team was at the point where they could take the day-to-day stuff, allowing him to focus on employee and client retention.

Scaling an agency can be a challenge. It's important to find a focus and figure out what works for your team. A successful sales process is a great way to increase clients and motivate your team to continue to grow.

Are You Looking for Outsourced Copywriting for Your Agency or Clients?

Verblio is a content creation solution designed specifically for agencies. Their writers can help with everything from blog posts to ebook to video scripts and more.

Forget the hassle of finding and hiring your own writers. Verblio has a pool of more than 3,000 highly vetted writers who produce custom, SEO-rich content. You set the criteria for style and tone and they match you with writers that have expertise in your specific subject matter.

Verblio's platform is designed specifically for agencies -- and for a limited time, they are offering my audience 50% off your first month of content. My team is using Verblio and loving it, so make sure you check them out.

Direct download: Why_One_Digital_Agency_Started_With_50_of_the_Team_Dedicated_to_Sales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EST

Thinking about selling your agency -- someday? Is a merger or acquisition a good fit? Whether you are hoping to move on to a new adventure or stay on as an employee, it's always important to make sure your agency is in a position to maximize a merger or acquisition opportunity.

In today's episode we'll cover:

  • Why it's important to tell your agency's story.
  • #1 Way to get multiple buyers when selling your agency.
  • 2 Simple ways to know a merger is the right fit.

Today I talked to Todd Taskey, the CEO of Potomac Business Capital. Todd's agency does a lot of merger and acquisition work, dealing with sellers to maximize their profits and find a good fit. He shares what agencies need to do to get buyers interested and how to get the best offers.

Why It's Important to Tell Your Agency's Story

When buyers are looking to acquire or merge with your agency, they want to know where your agency is heading. This is a good way for buyers to determine your agency's value. But the biggest mistake most agency owners make is not thinking about where they are going. The best way to increase your agency's value is to tell a story. What does this mean?

  • How long have you had your clients? Buyers like to see longevity. If you have a bunch of new clients, a buyer will worry this revenue can easily slip away.
  • How much do your clients like you? Yes, this is important. Likeability and trust go a long way. If your clients don't feel a sense of loyalty, they're going to use this transition as a good opportunity to jump ship.
  • What is your recurring revenue? Those big projects are nice. But your potential acquirers want to see long term stability. Todd says he is able to get buyers to feel more comfortable with agencies that have long term retainer contracts.

#1 Way to Get Multiple Buyers for Your Agency

We all hope when we go to sell our agency there will be multiple buyers fighting over us. But many times you put feelers out there and then suddenly one of them sends you a letter of interest asking you to stop shopping your agency around. So how do you avoid this and get the best selling price? The simple answer is HARD WORK.

Todd says he puts together a list of about 100 prospects and then goes and talks to each one. He then finds the three most serious buyers and works from there.

When you find the right agency, it's all about negotiating. When a buyer thinks they are getting a great value they are more tolerant when bumps inevitability come up down the road. If you work the buyer in the beginning, it provides leverage when it comes to negotiating things like working power and non-solicitation agreements.

2 Simple Ways to Know a Merger is the Right Fit

When you sell your agency, you want to know it's the right deal. Everyone's a Monday morning quarterback and will always find something they could have done better. So how do you prevent that? How can you feel comfortable with the choice you make? Todd says it comes down to a couple of things.

  1. Is it a lot of money? Funny but true, right? You don't want to walk away feeling like you got the short end of the stick. If a buyer is offering you a lot of money, it's hard to feel bad about that. Have a dollar amount in mind before you entertain any negotiations and don't settle for less (as long as you're realistic).
  2. Does the buyer share or complement your vision? If you plan on staying on with the agency, your vision is important. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with where the agency is heading. If you don't see that with the seller, it might not be a good fit.

Selling your agency is a good way to make a change or take things to the next level. But you have to do it right. Take time to prepare your agency and don't settle until you find that right fit.

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 Gusto.com/agency for 3-months FREE once you run your first payroll with them.

Direct download: How_to_Get_the_Best_Deal_When_Selling_Your_Agency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you looking for a way to grow your agency but don't know where to start? Does it feel like your current marketing approach is failing to bring in enough referrals to help your agency grow? Referral programs and agency events are a great way to bring in new clients and engage with the ones you already have. The good news is, you don't have to be a big agency to see big growth.

In today's episode we'll cover:

  • 3 keys to rapid agency growth.
  • 3 keys to create a successful referral program.
  • Why even small agencies should host events.

Today I got to talk to Michael Mogill, a good friend and former client. Michael is the owner of Crisp Video, a digital agency who works exclusively with law firms to help them differentiate their firm and attract high-value clients. In just a few short years, Michael took a $500 investment and turned it into a $20 million agency. Discover how big risks, radical ideas, and hard work has paid off big for him.

3 Keys to Rapid Agency Growth

It's not often someone is able to create a multi-million dollar agency out of basically nothing in just a few short years. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Since founding Crisp Video in 2012, Michael has been able to double the agency's size and value every single year. So just how did he do it? Michael says there are three key things that led to his agency's rapid growth.

  1. Have a clear focus: We've heard it before — discovering your niche is one of the best ways to grow your agency. When you have a clear focus and can excel at what you do, clients will begin to see you as the go-to agency in the industry.
  2. Be prepared to place big bets: Taking chances is hard, especially when you're starting out and don't have a lot of funds. But the best way to see a big payoff is to make a big investment. Don't be afraid to take chances and invest in yourself. People are more prone to invest in high-risk assets like real estate and stocks but are more hesitant when it comes to investing in something they can actually control — themselves. So what's holding you back?
  3. Hard work pays off:  At the end of the day, you won't be able to grow your agency if you don't put in the work.

3 Keys to Create a Successful Referral Program

Michael earned a lot of attention when he announced Crisp Video would be giving away a Tesla as part of their referral program. Sure he could have given away an Amazon gift card, but that doesn't really get people's attention. It all comes back to being prepared to make big bets. With such a big promotion, Michael learned a few things along the way.

  1. Have one person dedicated to the promotion full-time. Referral programs take a lot of work. Clients won't usually just give up their time to send you referrals, they need a little guidance. For Crisp Video, this meant reaching out to clients, drafting referral emails, and developing a comprehensive campaign.
  2. Make sure you have a big enough client base. You need to consider your client value and how many potential participants you have. You won't see a return on investment if you offer a $77,000 Tesla to 20 clients. The first time around, Michael saw a one in three participation rate. Take big chances but make smart choices.
  3. There's more investment than just the grand prize. When you consider how much you are willing to spend on a referral program, you have to think about the actual cost. The cost of the Tesla was only $77,000, but with marketing and tiered prizes, Crisp Video spent about $100,000 on the promotion.

Why Even Small Agencies Should Host Events

When it comes down to it, you just have to get started. When Michael hosted his first agency event, he didn't know what he would say or what he would do. He set a date and sold tickets. The rest came later. It doesn't matter if you have 500 clients or 50. If you can't get on someone else's stage build your own. Soon, you'll discover, confidence grows. The more risks you are willing to take and the more you invest in yourself, the bigger the payoff.

Referral programs and agency events are a great way to meet new people and grow your agency. But if you want people to bet big on your agency, you have to be willing to bet on yourself.

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Direct download: How_an_8-Figure_Agency_Created_a_Successful_Referral_Program.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

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