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

Are you losing too many leads at the top of your funnel? Do you spend too much time qualifying prospects? Do you not qualify clients? While agency owners often focus on servicing the clients they land, it's important to invest in how you bring these clients in. 

In today's episode, we discuss:

  • How to wow potential clients, starting with the first call.
  • #1 Way to qualify leads faster.
  • How to nail the follow-up and land more clients.

In this episode, I interviewed Terry Jessup, President of Box CMO, a subsidiary of Black Bear Design. Prior to his role as president, Terry was the lead in business development. Over his 15 years in biz dev, he created processes that reduce variation, implemented processes to be more effective, and closed the communication gap between the agency side and the client side to ensure a positive experience. He's on the show to share how he hooks prospects from the very beginning and make sure those clients don't lose interest along the way. 

How to Wow Potential Clients, Starting with the First Call

The first call between your agency and a potential client is extremely important. It sets the first impression and helps you get a better understanding of what the client needs and where you fit in. So how do you wow a lead and make them excited to learn more?

  • Understand the client's needs. It sounds obvious, but understanding a client's needs is one thing many agencies take for granted. Terry says, often, what the client says they need and what they actually need are two different things. Take some time to digest what the prospect is saying and what they really want so you can properly set up the call.
  • Educate the client. Once you know more about a client you can begin telling them what you can provide and how much it will cost. Get them invested. Don't give away all the secrets, but make them feel like they are learning something. This will help establish trust which can help promote a relationship.
  • Build a strategy. Now that you know what the potential client needs and they know what you can provide, take a little time to discuss strategy. What direction do the two of you want to move in? How do you plan to get there? This will help create a solid basis to develop a proposal.

#1 Way to Qualify Leads Faster

You don't want to spend too much time qualifying a lead. You need to have a process in place to help determine whether your agency and your prospect will be a good fit. A good process will prevent you from wasting your time and the client's time. Terry says he is able to qualify a prospect within the first 3-4 minutes. But how?

It comes back to understanding your clients. When you know the basic logistics right off the bat you'll have an easier time figuring out how you may be able to help. Knowing the client's industry, size, and what they are looking for should be your first priority. Pay attention to any clues the client drops about the budget. This alone can tell you right away if there's even a possibility of working together in the future. And most importantly, remember, N.B.A.T. — need, budget, timing, authority.  

How to Nail Follow-Ups and Land More Clients

Nobody likes to put in a bunch of work only to have it all amount to nothing. To make sure your prospect doesn't go silent, it comes down to the follow-up. You have to keep the client engaged. 

Before you get off your initial call, set a plan moving forward. If your client understands everything in the initial call and you're both on the same page, it's generally a good idea to follow-up within a day or so. I always say you should set the next meeting while in the meeting. The longer you wait, the more distracted they become. Don't be afraid to plant a little seed on the initial call. Tell them how you can help them out or what you can do to make the proposal better. At the end of the follow-up, set a timeline moving forward. 

You can be the best agency in the world, but if you can't convert leads, there is no work for you to do. Evaluate your onboarding process. Talk to your team and find out what's working and what's not. When you have a process and reduce variation, you're more likely to see those leads turn into actual clients. 

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

How can agencies help clients who are shut down right now during coronavirus? How can agencies pivot to thrive during this downturn economy? This episode is a spotlight on Alyssa Ege, Sail Away Marketing - helping dental practices during the current shutdown.

Takeaways on what Alyssa and other thriving agencies are doing right:

1. Use digital to help prospects and clients make a quick pivot.

2. Help prospects and clients find creative ways to stay in business even when their physical doors are closed. How can digital agencies help clients who are shit down eight now during the coronavirus epidemic?

3. Educate prospects and clients on the possibilities. Many of them aren't tech-savvy or understand digital marketing enough to even know what's possible. Help them get educated.

Follow the lead by Alyssa at Sail Away Media who'd been doing an amazing job!

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

Does your agency business model lack predictability? Are you questioning what the future has in store for your agency 10, 15 years down the road? When you set a path for your agency and plan for more consistency, you're more likely to see your agency grow.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 Tips to allow your vision to grow with your agency.
  • #1 Way to build predictable and stable growth at your agency.
  • When should an agency owner consider their exit plan?

Today I sat down with Greg Henry, president and CEO of Push10, a branding and web design agency. Like many of us, Greg fell into the agency world and has worked his way to success. But believe it or not, Greg is already thinking about his exit plan. Find out how Greg has been able to build an agency that works with a predictable business model and how that strategy has allowed him the comfort to look ahead.

3Tips to Allow Your Vision to Grow With Your Agency

Take a minute to think about when you first started your agency. Did you think you would be where you are today? Now think about the next 5 years. How about 10? Where do you see yourself?

For many agency owners, there's a certain benchmark they have in mind when they create their agency. This number often revolves around revenue or number of employees. Like so many other agencies, Greg always envisioned himself with 10 employees. This nice round number was "manageable." For Greg, anything more just felt like too much.

Now, with 17 employees, 25 is the number that gives Greg apprehension. But rather than panic, he knows growth just means another opportunity to learn. There are three key ways you can get to the point where you embrace growth and feel comfortable where you are:

  1. Consider bringing on a partner or key leadership team member. For Greg, he says he finally felt comfortable when he brought on a partner. His partner focuses on the client-side and building relationships, while he works on the fun stuff like P&L's, revenue forecast, and HR. Now, the stress of managing such a big agency is not all on him.
  2. Make the transition from owner to CEO. In order to see the most growth, you're going to have to let go of some of the control. Build a team of employees who share the same values you do. When you find them, delegate goals (not tasks), and teach them to support your vision.
  3. Hire Slow, fire fast: One lesson Greg wishes he'd learned much earlier on was the benefit of letting go of toxic employees before they damage the morale of the rest of the team. As soon as you know an employee is a culture clash and is not teachable or coachable, go with your gut.

#1 Way to Build Predictable and Stable Growth to Your Agency

Uncertainty can be toxic to an agency. If you don't know how much revenue you are bringing in or how many clients you will have month to month, you're going to have a hard time managing your cash flow. In fact, this is a quick way to end up in the red. The number one way to build predictable and stable growth is to provide a great product.

No, it's not about selling. It's not about pricing. It's about showing your prospects and clients what you have to offer is worth it. If your client doesn't have a big budget, you have to do the best with what you have. While you don't want to rely on selling, you do want your clients to know you are there. Send regular emails letting your prospects and clients know what you are doing. Focus on your SEO so people know how to find you. When you rely on the quality of your goods rather than the quality of your selling, you're more likely to retain clients, and consequently, have a more predictable cash flow.

When Should an Agency Owner Consider Their Exit Plan?

As agency owners, we don't usually start an agency knowing where we will end up. That's something that goes along with falling into this business. But it can help you create a strategy and understand your vision if you take some time to look a few years (or a few decades) ahead. What do you want to happen to your agency? Do you want to sell and make a huge profit? Do you want to merge with another agency and stay on the board? How important is maintaining your vision?

Greg says the time to create your exit plan is not 15 years from now when you're ready to retire, it's now. This will allow you enough time to make sure your agency is set up in a way that will support your plan. It all comes back to predictability. If you're scrambling to make your plan happen at the 11th hour, you're probably not going to be happy.

Your agency doesn't have to be unpredictable. While there are things you may not be able to control, there is plenty you can do to create structure and control. Consider what your goals are for your agency and surround yourself with a team who wants the same thing.

Want to Help Your Team Be More Efficient and Scale Agency Faster?

If you want to help your team work smarter and scale your agency faster you need to check out the artificial intelligence software created by our friends at Morphio. It instantly alerts your team about digital marketing errors before they become problems, saving a huge amount of time. Their AI manages and analyzes data, so you can focus on growing your agency.

For a limited time, Morphio is offering Smart Agency podcast listeners a special deal to get you started. Sign up at Morphio.ai/Swenk and get 50 accounts for only $39 per month. That's a savings of over $500/month.

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

Does your agency serve an industry that has been shut down? Are your clients directly impacted by the economic downturn? Of course, many, many industries are feeling it but none more than travel and hospitality. Should you choose a new niche? Make a quick pivot? Weather the storm?

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Should agencies choose a new niche due to the economic recession?
  • How can you still serve clients impacted by shutdowns?
  • How to manage your agency team during challenging times.

On today’s special episode, I’m chatting with Ryan Clarke, Partner and VP Business Development at Wallop, a digital agency in Canada serving luxury hotel and travel brands since 2004. Ryan started his career as a management consultant but didn’t like what he was selling so moved onto something more creative at Wallop. Here’s here to share ways agencies and clients can move forward during the challenging times we’re in.

Should Agencies Choose a New Niche Due to Economic Recession?

Ryan says while many industries are feeling the strain, the travel industry has been the bleeding edge of the recession as a result of this pandemic. Since Wallop has been focused on this space for 13 years, they’re in it for the long haul. Fortunately, Wallop has a tangent niche in the real estate space for high-end residential developers. They’re finding the real estate space isn’t getting hit quite as hard as travel.

The biggest thing is to remember that everything is coming back.

The hardest-hit industries, like travel and restaurants, are just on pause right now. That’s why it’s important for agencies to continue to help them during this time by producing content and helping clients make a pivot so they can come back strong.

So, should you pick a new niche? Actually, no. If you can hang on and stick with your positioning you’ll be better off in the long run. It’s key to pivot real quick without abandoning what you’ve been doing that works. It’s perfectly fine to go into new industries even if you have no experience. You can find a tangent industry where your experience lends well. But don’t abandon what you’ve been doing because it will take a really long time to become an expert in a new industry. Stick it out and be patient.

How Can Agencies Still Serve Clients  Impacted by Shutdowns?

The team at Wallop is leading with empathy. Ryan says they’re constantly reminding themselves that clients are having a lot of bad days with some bright spots sprinkled in here or there. Their job as the agency is to look for ways to help.

For example, the digital strategy team is putting together data and research. They’ll aggregate this information of all the hotels and resorts to look for opportunities and track recovery of the industry.

On the development side, they’re turning around messaging quickly for clients and staying on top of requests as information changes quickly and without warning.

What can your agency do to find opportunities and assist these types of clients right now?

How to Manage Your Agency Team During Challenging Times

It’s hard to know just what to tell your agency team during uncertain times like these. Too much information can worry them, too little information can cause anxiety about their jobs and their future.

First and foremost, Ryan says Steve Saugestad Principal at Wallop is very zen and has remained calm and steady. This sets the tone for the team and goes a long way in crisis mode. Wallop has also communicated that the agency is in a good financial position to weather the storm; helping the team feel secure.

It’s also important to be realistic, though, and make sure it’s clear the agency will look different on the other side of this. But first and foremost keeping calm and giving a sense of security is key.

Is There a Silver Lining to These Challenging Times?

One benefit that Wallop, and many other agencies are seeing, is they were able to quickly and easily transition to a remote team. We are digital agencies -- if anyone can do this, it’s us! :)

In most cases, this has been smooth as the team very easily made the move. There seems to increased camaraderie as people adjust to working from home. Also, due to stay-at-home orders, people get excited to interact with others even if over a web conference.

A lot of good work gets done when people are left alone to work in their own space. On the flip side, there are definitely benefits to sharing office space which breeds collaboration and some spontaneity when collective minds work together in the same place.

As a result of these current working conditions, Ryan and I agree agencies are learning that finding good talent is not limited to geographic location.

I know it’s getting redundant but we are all in this together. No matter your location, no matter your industry - everything, everyone, everywhere is impacted. It’s not isolated to one city or one state -- it’s global and everyone is going through different degrees of the same challenges. Hang on and you’ll come out the other side better and stronger than before.

 

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

Have you considered making a move to a fully remote agency? Do you think your agency team could benefit from more creative freedom? As agency owners, we're always looking for ways to grow a successful team and build a successful brand. What if you found out you can do both, just by providing a rockstar culture?

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • How freedom and flexibility increase team productivity. 
  • Why agency culture is so important. 
  • How your agency can survive the battle of the bands.

Today I had the opportunity to sit down with Angel Gonzales, CMO, and co-founder of Snappy Kraken, an automated marketing platform exclusively for financial advisors. Angel's agency consists solely of remote team members and they've created a business model where they don't just survive, they thrive. Angel is on the show to share how and why his agency's virtual office is the key to their success.  

How Freedom and Flexibility Increases Team Productivity

Who doesn't want the option to work from home in their pajamas? Okay, maybe not some of you crazy extroverts. But for many of us in the agency space, one of the main reasons we do what we do is to have a level of freedom and flexibility. 

At Snappy Kraken, every single person who works for the agency does so remotely. There is no office or main hub. Team members are literally scattered throughout the U.S. So how did Angel know a virtual agency was the right choice for his agency? He says it all comes down to their key values, freedom, and flexibility. Angel says freedom is defined by the number of choices you have. It's simple, the number one way to give your agency more freedom is to provide more choices, such as where they work. 

Why Agency Culture is So Important

If you have a traditional office, you may be wondering how you keep everyone connected. Angel says it's quite simple, and it's a component I stress so much in any agency setting. When you build an agency, you have to focus on culture

Even in a virtual environment, a toxic person is like cancer. Culture is the glue that keeps you all together and allows you to stay focused on the same goals. Angel looks at culture as what you as an agency celebrate, and what you stigmatize. This goes beyond your team. Creating the right culture includes choosing the right clients that support your vision. When you all have a common goal, you'll have no problem staying connected. 

Bonus tip: If you find yourself doing a lot of communication through emails or other written applications, consider throwing in a few emojis to make sure your tone comes off the way you intended it. 

How Your Agency Can Beat the Competition

Did I forget to mention before starting his agency, Angel was in a band? Because of this, he says you need to approach projects like you're writing a pop song. What does this mean? Basically — leave your ego at the door.

Think of it as a "Battle of the Bands":  One band is a group of musicians, all trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. They don't work together but instead lead with ego and try to stand out on their own. Another band, however, balances each other out and works to make sure they're making good music together. In the "Battle of the Bands," band number two wins.

The lesson:  when you stop worrying about being the star and come together as a team, you'll win against your ego-focused competition.

Your success as an agency relies on a variety of factors. When you provide choices, create a rockstar culture, and focus on the team, you're bound to find a winning combination. 

Would You Like to Win More Clients Faster?

Our friends at My Web Audit offer a software tool that helps agencies generate leads, save time, and convert more prospects into clients by creating beautiful, actionable, and easy to understand website audits. Get your foot in the door with your ideal clients by starting with an audit first.

For a limited time, My Web Audit is offering our listeners a FREE 7-day trial and 50% off any plan for 3 months. Head to MyWebAudit.com/SmartAgency to get started.

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

Have you found your agency in a place where all you do is execute? Are you looking to change the way you do things and provide more value to your clients? With so many agencies out there, almost anyone can execute. When you put your agency in a position where clients come to you to create a strategy, you're more likely to see more stable growth.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • How to go from just execution to paid strategy.
  • 2 Ways to choose the right clients to work with.
  • Why you don't always have to declare a niche.

Today, I sat down with Kevin Kelly, president and founder of Big Buzz Marketing Group, a full-service, integrative digital agency based out of New York City. Kevin comes to us with a ton of marketing experience (his agency started before Google). Today he talks about how you can position your agency so clients come to you to create their strategy and when it's okay to be a full-service agency. 

How to Go From Just Execution to Paid Strategy

When it comes to digital agencies, there are a million and one agencies perfectly good at doing what their clients ask. Work on my SEO — sure, no problem. Create a website — done. But when you simply execute, clients view you as a commodity.  When it comes to separating yourself from the pack and putting your agency in a position to grow, it's a good idea to be able to offer clients a service that makes your agency different. 

What does this mean? It means looking at why your clients want something, rather than just doing. The ultimate goal is to have clients come to you with a problem you can solve, rather than a project you can do. So how do you make this transition?

  • Don't be afraid to fail. In the beginning, it might be hard to make the leap to focusing more on strategy. The best thing you can do is just try and keep learning. 
  • Consider expanding your services. One of the easiest ways for clients to see you as a strategist is if you look ahead to see what they need and offer to do it for them. For example, if your client wants you to build a webpage, consider discussing how you can market that website, even if that's a service you don't usually offer. 
  • Look for opportunities to grow. There's always some new technology or tool that can transform what you can provide to your clients. Be on the lookout for ways you can evolve and grow to expand your offerings. 

2 Ways to Choose the Right Client to Work With

Some clients aren't looking for a strategist. And some clients don't know they are looking for a strategist. So how do you find the clients that will help you grow in this new role?

  1. Change the way you approach things. While we'd all like to be the agency of record, the truth is many agencies are jockeying for the exact same position. Many clients work with multiple agencies that handle various aspects of the business. Take a look at what you offer and consider what you can do so your client doesn't need all these agencies. How can you position it so you're the lead agency?
  2. Foster your relationships. Kevin says many of his agency clients actually came out of failed pitches. While it may be instinct to lick your wounds and forget about the prospect who turned down your pitch, it's never a bad idea to build on that relationship. Chances are, you put a lot of time into developing that pitch. There is value in reaching back out to see if they're happy with the results or to pitch new ideas.

Why You Don't Always Have to Declare a Niche

This one may come as a bit of a surprise. You've heard me say so many times, you must declare a niche. But Kevin has found tremendous success as a full-service agency. So what's the secret to his success? It's all about choosing the right clients. If you're a smaller agency, you're not going to be able to compete with the larger agencies who do everything for anyone. So it doesn't make sense to copy their strategies. Know who your target is and what you can provide to them.

Big Buzz works with national and regional companies that have between $2 million and $10 million in revenue. They don't take on just any client. They only work with clients they can guarantee success.  While it's usually a good idea to pick your niche, if you know your target and implement steps to choose the right clients, you just might be able to pull it off. 

If you're running an agency, you should always be looking for opportunities to provide value that is unique to your agency. At the end of the day, it's going to be your point of view that sets you apart. When you can get to a point where clients come to you with problems, rather than a checklist, then you're in a position where your clients are more likely to see the value in your services. 

Want to Help Your Team Be More Efficient and Scale Agency Faster?

If you want to help your team work smarter and scale your agency faster you need to check out the artificial intelligence software created by our friends at Morphio. It instantly alerts your team about digital marketing errors before they become problems, saving a huge amount of time. Their AI manages and analyzes data, so you can focus on growing your agency.

For a limited time, Morphio is offering Smart Agency podcast listeners a special deal to get you started. Sign up at Morphio.ai/Swenk and get 50 accounts for only $39 per month. That's a savings of over $500/month.

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

Are you ready to scale up your agency, but don't know where to start? Are you face-to-face with that metaphorical brick wall, trying to figure out where you will get the funds to allow your agency to continue to grow? As owners, often, our goal is to grow our agency as big as we can. But how do you make sure you scale your agency in a way where you don't fall flat on your face?

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why you should always embrace your strengths.  
  • #1 Reason agencies need to ask more questions. 
  • Are you standing in your agency's way? 

Today I had the opportunity to sit down with Nathan McKelvey, founder of Army8, a digital growth consulting firm. Nathan is a former pilot and self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. After growing and selling a few agencies, Nathan now helps other agencies discover the tools they need to effectively scale their agency. Nathan is here to talk about what he has learned along the way. 

Why You Should Always Embrace Your Strengths

Nathan's story is different than many of ours. In the early 2000s, Nathan was the owner of jets.com, a private jet service. After he grew his company to $40 million in annual revenue, he was forced to sell it after the economic collapse in 2009.  A year later, Nathan started another company, and again, found immediate success. So what did he do and how can you replicate his success?

  • Reach out to your network. When Nathan started his company, he reached out to his professional and private network, you know, people he flew in his private planes. While we don't all have access to a bunch of people with deep pockets, chances are you have a network you can leverage. Talk to your friends, talk to your co-workers, reach out on LinkedIn. Use existing relationships as a foundation for building your agency.
  • Work to your strengths. Nathan didn't just bring in his background as a pilot, he also brought in a strong knowledge of SEO and SEM. He was able to use these skills to market his company and scale it at a rapid rate. Think of the unique skills you bring to the table and use them to scale up your agency. 

#1 Reason Agencies Need to Ask More Questions 

Do you ever stop to ask your clients why they are asking you to do a certain task? Most of the time, when a client is asking you to do something, there's a bigger reason behind the request.

Does your client want to have a bigger presence on Facebook? Why? Do they want you to set up a new campaign? What are they hoping to get out of this strategy? When you take the time to ask questions and understand what your client is hoping to get out of the process, rather than simply completing the task, you'll have a better understanding of the approach you should take to help your client meet their goals. 

Are You Standing in Your Agency's Way?

Agencies today have a big advantage that Nathan and I didn't when we started our agencies — technology. Tasks or projects that used to take months to put together, now come together in no time at all. 

One of the biggest problems more established agencies have when it comes to scaling is getting in their own way. I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "But, that's how I've always done it." The hard truth is,  if the competition is coming in and taking advantage of these newer and better tools, you're going to be left behind. There is so much opportunity waiting to be had. Don't be that person who refuses to embrace changing technology. 

Anyone can scale their agency if they take the time to do it right. And if you hit the brick wall, that doesn't mean you have to turn around, it just means you have to push harder. When you have the clarity of who you are going to serve, how you are going to serve them, and why they should care, then you have the right foundation to be able to scale your agency.

Would You Like to Win More Clients Faster?

Our friends at My Web Audit have created a software tool that helps agencies generate leads, save time, and convert more prospects into clients by creating beautiful, actionable, and easy to understand website audits. Get your foot in the door with your ideal clients by starting with an audit first. For a limited time, My Web Audit is offering our listeners a FREE 7-day trial and 50% off any plan for 3 months. Head to MyWebAudit.com/SmartAgency to get started."

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

Have current events left you in a panic, uncertain where your agency will end up? Are you looking for a way to make sure your agency stands out from the crowd? It's hard to plan for the next economic recession. At times where things seem like they're all up in the air, it's important to know what to do to make sure you survive.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 2 Tips to help your agency survive during uncertain times.
  • How can your agency grow despite an economic downturn?
  • 2 Ways to position your agency as an authority.

Today I had an awesome chat with Mike Gadsby, co-founder and chief innovation officer at O3 World, a digital product agency. With over 15 years of experience at O3 World, Mike and his teammates have survived a few economic recessions. Now, with the state of affairs as it is, Mike talks about how you can make sure your agency survives a turbulent economy, and perhaps, even thrives.

2 Tips To Help Your Agency Survive Uncertain Times.

As an agency owner, Mike has been through several changes in the economy. Having survived 9/11 and 2008, Mike's confident his agency can weather practically any storm. But he didn't get to this mindset overnight. It's been a process that has brought Mike to a point where he's comfortable with where he's at. In fact, during the early years, there were a lot of times where Mike will tell you, his agency fell flat on their face. So what has Mike learned along the way?

  1. Evolve, evolve, evolve. The market may be changing, but that doesn't have to mean you are out of a job. Figure out what challenges people are having and what your agency can do to fix those problems. How can your agency change or pivot to meet the changing market?
  2. Take a look at how you approach accounts. When the market is down, some clients may have a hard time signing up with a new agency. And those who do probably won't have a lot of capital to invest. Instead of trying to chase down a bunch of new accounts, look at the ones you already have. Think of creative ways to grow these accounts. If you're successful, you'll create partnerships, not projects.

How Can Your Agency Grow Despite an Economic Downturn?

I like to say when people are freaking out, that's your opportunity. The market has been strong for a long time now. Those agencies who were struggling during a good economy are going to have a really hard time in a bad economy. Now is a good time to focus on influence and authority. There's a good chance there will be fewer clients willing to invest in new services, so it's more important than ever that you establish your agency as the go-to source. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Work from a strategic point of view. Have the changing events increased demand in an area where there wasn't so much before? Anticipate what clients need and be ready to provide it.
  2. Play the long game. Choose clients who have the right mentality and are going to want to work with you, not against you. These are the ones who are going to see the value in your services and stick around.

2 Ways to Position Your Agency as an Authority

This one's important. When the competition is fierce and everyone is fighting for attention, clients want an agency that is an authority in the field. So how do you make sure your agency is that authority?

  1. Figure out how you're reinvesting in your agency. Those who are simply executing are the agencies that are most at risk. You have to constantly reinvest in your agency and make sure you have the resources that make you stand out. This means spending a little extra money on things that give you the competitive advantage.
  2. Embrace change and keep adapting. Change isn't always a bad thing. In fact, often it can make you take a closer look at how you are doing things and force you to implement more effective strategies. Be patient. Be optimistic. And don't obsess over the news.

An economic downturn can be a stressful situation. But it can also be an opportunity. Now's the time to be creative, be efficient, and focus on how you can provide value to your clients.

Want to Help Your Team Be More Efficient and Scale Agency Faster?

If you want to help your team work smarter and scale your agency faster you need to check out the artificial intelligence software created by our friends at Morphio. It instantly alerts your team about digital marketing errors before they become problems, saving a huge amount of time. Their AI manages and analyzes data, so you can focus on growing your agency.

For a limited time, Morphio is offering Smart Agency podcast listeners a special deal to get you started. Sign up at Morphio.ai/Swenk and get 50 accounts for only $39 per month. That's a savings of over $500/month."

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

How can your agency stop charging for hours and switch to value-based pricing? Have you ever thought about naming your services or productizing? Branding is important and it can be what sets you apart in a world full of "me too" agencies.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why naming is so important to your agency's brand.
  • How to match your agency's name with your agency's brand.
  • How to get agency clients more involved.

Today I sat down with Jeremy Miller, founder of Sticky Branding. Jeremy describes himself as an author, a speaker, and of course, an agency owner. While he never intended to enter the agency space, after completing a few branding projects for the family business, he quickly discovered he had found his niche. Jeremy talks about why names are so important to branding and how you can make your agency stand apart from the rest.

Why Naming is So Important to Your Agency's Brand

If you're like most agency owners, this one probably seems like a no-brainer. I can hear the chorus now, "Of course I know how important naming is. Do you know how much blood, sweat, and tears went into choosing my agency's name?" But when we talk about names, we're not just talking about what you name your agency, we're talking about the names of each individual service you provide.

Wait— what? Yes, the products you offer, the services you sell, they all need a name. Take my training program, for example. It's not just, "Here, come join my program. It's the best." What I offer is the agency playbook. The name of the program gives my clients an idea of what to expect as well as its value to them. The word "playbook" indicates a step-by-step guide to achieve your goals. See the difference?

If you simply charge by the hour,  rather than naming your service, what incentive do clients have to choose you over another cookie-cutter agency? When you create a brand you can begin to provide value-based services.

How to Match Your Agency's Name with Your Agency's Brand

It doesn't matter how great your name is or how many click-throughs you get if you have a subpar product. As Jeremy puts it, you can't just put lipstick on a pig. You want your name to align with what you are actually offering. This means you have to think about two things:

  1. Strategy: What you want to provide, how you are going to do it, and what sets you apart.
  2. Execution: Once you choose a niche and create a strategy, actually follow through and provide services that align with your brand.

Odds are, you won't be able to name your services from the outset. You have to have a solid understanding of what your product is and why your clients need it before you can create a brand people will trust. But don't wait too long. Jeremy says, one of the biggest mistakes agencies make when it comes to branding is failing to name their services, or just as bad, failing to name their clients' services.

How to Get Agency Clients More Involved

Jeremy believes many agencies need to get their clients to do more work. What does this mean? Your agency should not resemble an episode of Mad Men. In other words, while you are providing a service for your client, you shouldn't be doing all the work. Think about where you can get your clients more involved.

Does your client provide a service in need of serious branding? Challenge your client to tackle the problem. Create a process where they strategize branding and be there as an advisor. Instead of putting 100 hours of work into a project, you'll get away with far less. When you utilize your clients' team, you're able to take advantage of all your resources instead of increasing your headcount.

Great brands are built on substance. But when you have solid branding, that's when you'll stand out from the rest. Remember, when you can get to a place where you are choosing who you want to work with because clients request you by name, that's when you're going to thrive.

Would You Like to Win More Clients Faster?

Our friends at My Web Audit offer a software tool that helps agencies generate leads, save time, and convert more prospects into clients by creating beautiful, actionable, and easy to understand website audits. Get your foot in the door with your ideal clients by starting with an audit first.

For a limited time, My Web Audit is offering our listeners a FREE 7-day trial and 50% off any plan for 3 months. Head to MyWebAudit.com/SmartAgency to get started.

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

Is your agency wasting time and money on making mistakes? Are you trying to make sense of why your profit margins are so low? If so, it's time to take a hard look at how much money actually goes to covering the cost of internal errors.  Because for many agencies, this number is just too high.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Is your agency losing money on these common errors?
  • What are tiny mistakes actually costing your agency?
  • 3 reasons why it might be time to embrace AI.

Today, I sat down with Eric Vardon, CEO of Morphio. This is Eric's second time on the podcast, and this time he's talking about how artificial intelligence (AI) can reduce the number of costly mistakes your agency makes. Recently, Eric's agency conducted a survey to find out just how much agencies are, quite frankly, throwing away. Eric is here to discuss the results and talk about how Morphio can help.

Is Your Agency Losing Money on These Common Errors?

We've all been there — that bulk email with a glaring typo we notice moments after we hit send. Or, maybe you completely forgot to shut off a campaign and let it run for days (or weeks) longer than it should have. Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, as an agency, these mistakes can be costly.

Eric and his team recently conducted a survey of a variety of agencies. The premise was simple — what type of mistakes has your agency made and how much have these mistakes cost you? Do any of these sound familiar?

  • 60% of agencies said they make at least six digital marketing mistakes per week;
  • One-third of these agencies say just one mistake can cost them between $1,000 and $5,000;
  • 31% of agencies have inadvertently offended a client; and
  • 30% of agencies have published a dead, broken, or incorrect link.

What Are Tiny Mistakes Actually Costing Your Agency?

Ask any agency owner, and they're sure to tell you, "these mistakes don't happen at our agency." But if they were to take a closer look, they'd probably be shocked to see just how much profit is lost on revising and fixing mistakes. These same agency owners are also likely trying to figure out why their margins are so low.

As Eric points out, these mistakes don't just cost you money upfront. They can cost your reputation, major accounts, and even your business. As humans, we make mistakes. So the more you can automate and have an AI take care of certain issues, the less you have to worry about mistakes like these happening.

3 Reasons Why it Might Be Time to Embrace AI

If you're still hesitant to use AI, it's time to be okay with being uncomfortable. AI is here, and it likely won't be going anywhere for a very long time. Machine learning has the capability to take data, crunch it, and make decisions faster. So what does this mean for your agency?

  1. Better client relationships. Typos, broken links, these mistakes can be costly. Instead, you can use AI to run a quality check for you.
  2. Increased employee morale. Why do mistakes happen at such a high frequency? Often,  employees are juggling too many things or moving too swiftly to catch errors. If you can get a machine to ease your team's load a little bit, they'll likely be thankful for the breathing room.
  3. It can save your business. You can only make so many mistakes before they completely destroy your agency. Do a careful audit of your expenses and analyze just how much you are spending in this area.

Occasional mistakes are bound to happen. Humans are not infallible. But when these mistakes happen on a regular basis, your clients will lose faith in your capabilities. When you take the time to identify mistakes and implement tools to streamline your processes, you're more likely to find success.

For a limited time, Morphio is offering Smart Agency podcast listeners a special deal to get you started. Sign up at Morphio.ai/Swenk and get 50 accounts for only $39 per month. That's a savings of over $500/month.

Direct download: How_Much_Do_Internal_Errors_Really_Cost_Your_Agency_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

We are in uncertain times right now and so many agencies are facing challenges as a result of the global coronavirus crisis. Agencies are struggling with everything from cash flow and clients canceling to laying off employees. The silver lining is that no matter where your geographic location, we're all in this together. We are all up against the same issues. That's why I brought on a panel agency owners just like you to ask their questions and get real-time answers.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • How can you serve agency clients whose businesses are on temporary shut down due to the stay-at-home order?
  • How can you find short term opportunities while also focusing on longterm growth for your agency?
  • What to do if clients ask to cancel or pause their contract.
  • Is it OK to go after outbound sales during this time?
  • What are ways to provide goodwill right now without devaluing your agency's services when things turnaround?
  • How to find opportunities while so many businesses are cutting back and experiencing hardship.
  • Is it wrong to prepare clients for a return to normalcy when we have no idea how long that will take?
  • Should you pivot your agency's marketing if you're targeting people who are now forced to be at home?
  • Should you layoff your team or dip into a line of credit in order to make payroll awhile longer?
  • What should agencies not be doing right now?
  • Should you be running Google ad campaigns right now for your agency's services?
  • How do you respond to clients who want to pull back their marketing during the crisis?

 

Related:

https://jasonswenk.com/thrive-economic-recession/ ‎

 


Are you struggling to get your foot in the door with the right clients? Do you have plenty of leads, but just can't convert? Web audits can help you close more new business deals faster and convert prospects easier than ever.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why you should always lead with value.
  • How web audits can help your agency increase conversion rates.
  • What your agency can do to improve on converting leads.

Today I sat down with Clifford Almeida, owner of Hire a Wiz, the digital agency he started 8 years ago. After years of perfecting web audits as their foot-in-the-door strategy, Cliff soon developed a Saas tool for agencies called My Web Audit. Clifford has found a wait to optimize this process to help agency owners grow their agency and convert more leads. In this episode, Clifford shares how audits helped his agency increase its closing rate nearly 40%.

Why You Should Always Lead with Value

If you have listened to the podcast, you've heard me say it before — the number one way to close more deals is to lead with value. When you lead with value, clients are more likely to trust what you have to say and see you as an authority.

So how do you do this? Clifford says you need to show prospects how you can fix their problem. Anyone can talk all day long about how they will increase sales or convert more leads. But when you show a potential client how specific actions will affect their metrics, they'll have a better time visualizing the value of your services.

How Audits Can Help Your Agency Increase Conversion Rates

Early on, Cliff discovered a way to convert more prospects into clients. Instead of selling his core service right away, he presented a web audit with indicators showing the prospect areas of improvement on their site. By pointing out what can be done better and the potential results of making improvements, their prospects became more inclined to work with Cliff's agency. When you provide upfront value at a low cost, you can establish authority, gain trust, and convert more prospects into clients.

The key to a good audit is to make sure you focus on the client. Most audits are built for the agency, with little regard for the client experience. When you do an audit, you want to make sure you keep it short and sweet and address the client's specific pain points. You should be able to present your findings in about 30 minutes. There are a few ways to make sure the audit will be effective:

  • Start with generosity. Don't worry, you're not going to be giving away agency secrets.
  • Provide information, but make sure that information is valuable.
  • Show the client how your agency can solve their problem.

What Your Agency Can Do To Improve on Converting Leads.

Clifford says in the year 2020, there is no shortage of leads. Where the big problem comes is converting those leads into clients. So where do most agencies fail?

  • They pitch to anyone and everyone. You can attract prospects all day long, but unless you can present yourself as an expert or authority, there's nothing to stop a prospect from going somewhere else.
  • They lead with selling. Remember, the number one way to convert more leads is to lead with value. Provide examples, discuss specifics, and educate the client.

It's important to talk to prospects in a way they will understand. Most of the time you will be talking to marketing directors who are trying to show CEO's, Presidents, or Owners the value in their services. Make sure you present your audit in a way that matters to them and makes them look good.

Are you using audits to evaluate leads for your agency? If not, now's a good time to start. Clifford is offering a special deal just for Smart Agency Masterclass listeners. Check out My Web Audit for a FREE 7-day trial and 50% off any plan for 3 months.

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

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