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

Have you struggled to build relationships and connections for your agency? Are you looking for a way to increase your agency's authority and become a leader in your niche? A podcast is a great tool to get your agency voice out there and strike up meaningful and productive conversations.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 2 reasons your agency should start a podcast.
  • 2 mistakes to avoid when you start a podcast.
  • #1 Way to grow your agency.

Today I sat down with Jeremy Weisz, co-founder of Rise 25, a B2B podcast consulting agency. Jeremy is a strong believer podcasts are the number one thing you should do to grow your agency. In his role, he works with agencies to help them see a return on investment from their podcast. He's here to share a few tips on how to leverage your podcast to gain referrals and create greater connections in your marketing space.

2 Reasons Your Agency Should Start a Podcast

You've heard me say it over and over again — if you run an agency, you need to have a podcast. It's the number one thing I've done that has helped my business grow. Jeremy follows the same line of thought. He says there are a number of benefits to starting your own podcast:

  1. Greater authority. Creating a podcast gives you a platform. You have the opportunity to have thought leadership conversations and create your own message. When you bring on guests in your niche you build trust with your audience and increase your authority.
  2. A chance to build connections. Your podcast isn't just for your listeners, it can serve as a resource for you. When you invite guests on your show, you have the opportunity to share something valuable and exchange ideas. Worst case scenario, you've learned something new and have created engaging content. Best case scenario, you've built a relationship where this person may end up as a resource, or even a client, later down the road.

2 Mistakes to Avoid When You Start a Podcast

Jeremy's literally in the business of creating podcasts and making sure agencies get the best return on their investment. Because of this, he's got an inside look at some of the most common mistakes agencies make. Here are a few things Jeremy says you need to avoid:

  1. Vanity metrics. One of the first things people do when they start a podcast is focus on the numbers. How many downloads did I get? How can I get more subscribers? Don't. Quit focusing on things that don't matter. At the end of the day, it's about connecting with the right people. Instead, think about what you can give back to your guests and how you can give them a platform to talk about what they're doing.
  2. Wasting too much time. Are you trying to do everything? Are you creating the podcast, editing, and writing up the show notes? Don't try to take on all the pieces yourself. Your job is to focus on connecting to your best referral partners and clients. It's okay to bring in someone else to do the rest.

#1 Way to Grow Your Agency Right Now

As agency owners, it's all about the relationships we create. Without our clients, our partners, and our contacts, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. The number one thing you can do to help your agency grow is focus on your relationships. This means less automation and more personal connections.

Jeremy says he sets aside time every week to connect with his clients. It could be a 45-minute phone call or a quick text just checking in. Find out how your connections like to communicate. You can even create a quick video and send it through a message.

Want to do something right now and see an immediate return? Sit down and make a list of 10, 20, or 50 people who already like you or have already been referred to you. Now send them a note or give them a call. Take the time to show them you appreciate them. Jeremy says most times people will respond with a thank you, or better yet, a referral.

Creating a podcast is a fun, simple way to broaden your reach and increase your authority. Don't wait. It's okay to jump right in. I guarantee you'll get more out of it than you expect.

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_to_Build_Relationships_That_Become_Agency_Clients.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Is pride standing your way of growing your agency? It's easy to get in your own way sometimes as an entrepreneur. I had something in my personal life that made me step back and reflect on this lesson. In this video, I'll talk about progress vs. pride.

Sometimes pride holds us back. Whether it's our desire to be right or just a matter of principles, we lead with our pride and sometimes do things that prevent growth. As I think back over the 12 years I owned my agency, I remember many occasions where this was true (even though I didn't realize it at the time).

Choose progress over pride. It's easier said than done, right? But here's the secret and something I tell my agency-owner clients all the time... remove emotion from the decision. Don't lead with your feelings on a certain matter but instead eliminate those emotions and make a level-headed decision. When you take away the emotion you're left with facts and that will lead you to progress.

Is pride standing in your way? If not pride, what IS standing in your way of growing? Comment below and maybe I can help.

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Thanks for watching. I hope you keep up with the daily videos I post on my channel. Make sure you subscribe and share your learnings with others. Your comments are why I do this, so please take a second and say hello. 

JASON SWENK IS AN AGENCY ADVISOR THAT GUIDES MARKETING AGENCIES THROUGH A PROVEN FRAMEWORK FOR GROWING THEIR AGENCY FASTER & EASIER.

Fresh out of college Jason was off to work for Arthur Anderson, one of the big 5 consulting firms. He quickly realized that he could never work for anyone other than himself. He decided to change direction, launch a digital agency that quickly grew to a multi-million dollar operation working with brands such as AT&T, Hitachi and Lotus Cars. After 12 years of steady growth, the agency caught the attention of bigger agencies and Jason sold it in 2012.

Now, Jason leads http://JasonSwenk.com, a unique media company & consultancy helping marketing agencies grow & scale their agencies faster by applying the framework that he used to grow, scale and eventually sell his agency. Jason has helped over 10,000 agencies in 23 countries meet or exceed their business goals.

Jason currently hosts two shows that are available for download…

The Smart Agency Master Class Podcast, dedicated to providing tactics and strategies to agency owners and decision-makers that cut through the BS, focus on exactly what works and what doesn’t; and SwenkToday a vlog that documents the entrepreneur journey of building another multimillion-dollar business, where he shares the latest strategies, and answers the most burning questions entrepreneurs have. 

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TUES & THUR VLOG #SwenkToday

Q&A from my digital agency audience

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(Digital Agency Interviews)

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Direct download: AGENCY_OWNER_PROGRESS_OVER_PRIDE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm EST

Does your current agency business strategy support long term sustainability? Are you looking for some simple strategies to be a more effective leader? It probably comes as no surprise the two issues often go hand-in-hand.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 elements to any successful agency.
  • What is the key to agency client retention?
  • How to be a more effective agency leader.

Today I had an informative talk with Ryan Cote, digital services director at Ballentine, a direct mail and digital marketing agency founded by his great-uncle over 50 years ago. Ryan's here to share how his family's agency has sustained success for over five decades, and how he has become a better leader.

3 Elements to Any Successful Agency

If you want to know the secret to success, there's no better place to start than with an agency that's been around since the mid-1960s. During a time in which many agencies have started and failed, Ballentine has not only survived, they've thrived.

I asked Ryan why he thinks his family's agency has been so successful. His answer — it all begins with the basics:

  1. Always look for sales. As agency owners, we have a tendency to back off from bringing in new sales when business is good. But we often experience lulls where we have to catch up to find new clients and replace some that have left. Constantly sell and bring on new clients.
  2. Keep your current clients happy. Ryan says his team is always revising their onboarding strategy to make sure clients get the attention they need. In order to retain clients, make sure you're giving them the attention they deserve.
  3. Start with leadership. As your agency begins to grow, the way you treat your team can make a big difference. For some people, leadership comes naturally. For others, it doesn't. Take the time to make sure you have the right leaders in the right places.

What is the Key to Agency Client Retention?

Many agency owners make the mistake of thinking converting leads is the secret to rapid growth. The truth is, you have to focus on your current clients first. It's far easier and cheaper to retain existing clients than to keep finding new ones. The number one key to client retention is communication.

There's no quicker way to lose a client than to make them feel neglected. Make time to show your current clients you're still invested. For Ryan, this means bi-weekly phone calls and quarterly check-ins. For you, this could be something different. Establish a procedure that prioritizes communication and keeps the client involved every step of the way. Take nothing for granted.

Speaking of communication, make sure you communicate successes and what you're doing behind the scenes. As another podcast guest said, "If we didn't communicate it, it never got done." Give your clients a way to track metrics and provide benchmarks to show how far they've come.

How to be a More Effective Agency Leader

Ryan says having a team made him take a look at his own ability to be a leader. This, in turn, pushed him to focus on personal development. Despite what you're lead to believe, leadership doesn't come out of a book and it's not something that you really can teach. Successful leadership comes from within.

I end my day answering "What did I learn? What did I accomplish? Am I ready for tomorrow?" This simple ritual allows me to visualize the day ahead and get a good night's sleep. Ryan, on the other hand, focuses on a morning routine.  His regimen includes meditation, exercise, and morning journaling. Whatever you choose, take some time to focus on what went well and how you can improve. Being aware and continuous learning are two attributes of a good leader.

So much of your success as an agency will come down to your values. When you invest in your clients and your team, you're more likely to see your agency grow.

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_a_Three-Generation_Agency_Has_Grown_for_50_Years.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you struggling in a partnership that is no longer working? Are you anxious about sitting down and have that conversation? As agency owners, we often get into partnerships because we want someone to bounce ideas off of and take on some of the burden of leadership. But sometimes, a partnership is just not a good fit.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Is your partnership holding you back?
  • The #1 discussion any agency owner should have before bringing on a partner.
  • Why the important conversations should always include risk.

Today I sat down with David Valentine, CEO of Avadel, a Facebook advertising agency. In 2017, David made the difficult decision to step away from his partner and run the agency they had started together, on his own. He's here to discuss what brought him to this decision and what he would do differently if he could go back.

Is Your Partnership is Holding You Back?

As humans, we tend to avoid confrontation at all costs. Who wants to have a difficult conversation when we can just ignore it and hope it all goes away? David knew there were problems at his agency about a year and a half in. The main problem — David wanted to be more aggressive and go all in and his partner, well he wanted to go hiking. The two simply had different goals and ideas about the amount of work they wanted to put into the agency.

If you're working with a partner, you may have noticed things that could be red flags:

  • Do you have different ideas about how you measure success?
  • Do you have different thoughts about how you want to approach the big decisions?
  • Is one partner putting in a lot more work than the other?

In a partnership, you want someone who will complement your weaknesses, but in the end, your core values need to align. If things just aren't meshing, it may be time to have the difficult conversation.

The #1 Discussion Any Agency Owner Should Have Before Bringing on a Partner

David didn't expect his partnership to fail. After all, he had started his agency with his best friend. But looking back, there are a few things he would change. Whenever you are working with a partner or going in a new direction there is one important conversation you have to have.

Before you talk about revenue or staffing or any other major decisions, sit down and talk about your perfect day. What does your perfect workday look like at your agency? What about the perfect week? The perfect month? The perfect quarter. For me, I know I want to work 9-3, Monday through Thursday, with summers off. If I were to ever bring on a partner in the future, these values would have to align. When you think about time and what you're doing first, you'll never sacrifice revenue. When you prioritize revenue, you'll always sacrifice time.

Why the Important Conversations Should Always Include Risk

So you've sat down and decided to talk about what your ideal future looks like. Beyond your basic expectations, you can't forget to talk about risk. How much risk are you willing to take? This will play a big role in the direction of your agency and your overall investment.

David says he felt like he could not fulfill his potential in the early stages of his agency. If you are working with a partner, you have to make sure it is someone who has the same goals, not someone who will hold you back.

A partnership is a great way to bring in new ideas and bring on someone that will have your back. But the reality is, many partnerships don't work out. And that's okay. When you go in with a clear expectation of what you expect and are prepared to have those tough conversations, you're more likely to see success.

Ready to Outsource Your Content Creation?

Do you want to try out Verblio's services and learn how you can simplify your agency's content creation? Verblio has a team of over 3,000 writers plus an amazing staff that helps manage your writing projects and make it even easier to provide quality content for you and your clients.

Right now, Verblio is offering two free months of account management services to Smart Agency Masterclass listeners. This offer includes content creation, SEO optimization, and your own personal account manager. For more information, head over to Verblio.com/Easy to learn how your agency's content creation can be easier than ever.

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

Does it feel like no matter how hard you work, you just keep running around in circles? Are you ignoring all the signs that your agency's crying out for help? When you get to a point where it seems like your agency is out of your control, often, the best solution is a simple change of perspective.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 signs your agency needs more attention.
  • 2 steps get a stalled agency back on track.
  • Do you have your priorities all wrong?

Today I sat down for an engaging chat with Brad Martineau, repeat podcast guest and owner of Sixth Division, a digital marketing agency. Like so many of us, Brad saw success early on but quickly stalled out. He's here to talk about why he found himself in this position and how he scaled back to scale up.

3 Signs Your Agency Needs More Attention

As agency owners, we have a tendency to set our sights high. We go into the business with a lofty goal in mind and won't stop until we get there. When this happens, it's easy to gloss over (or even purposely ignore) signs you're in trouble. Brad says to ask yourself these 3 questions to find out when your agency needs your attention:

  1. Is your team excited? One of the first signs something is wrong is team morale. Brad says there's a difference between a disappointed employed and a disgruntled employee. If your team's unhappy or constantly overworked, it's time to slow down.
  2. Are your clients pumped? Your clients should be excited about your work and see the value your agency delivers. If your client response is lackluster or worse, you're losing clients, do something now.
  3. Is revenue shrinking? A sure-fire sign you need to make a change is less money coming in. If you're not as profitable as you once were, you're either spending too much or you're losing clients.

2 Steps to Get a Stalled Agency Back on Track

Brad says he spent 1.5 years ignoring all the signs something was wrong. If you're not careful, success will tell you you can do no wrong. But ignoring the problem can cause a lot of unnecessary pain and anxiety, as Brad will attest. So what can you do to get your agency back on track?

  1. Acknowledge the problem. This one's hard. As humans, we'd rather ignore a problem than confront it. Pay attention to the signs and get good at recognizing problems from the beginning. The longer you wait, the harder it is to fix.
  2. Set aside your ego. Brad says this meant coming to terms with the fact he might not be a $3 million agency. Put aside your preconceptions of how it should be and focus on the fix. For Brad, when he finally faced the issue head-on he was able to cut over $100,000 from his monthly budget.

Do You Have Your Priorities All Wrong?

How do you create goals for your agency? For most of us, it's easy to set monetary or other tangible goals. And for the longest time, I was just like everyone else. My goals were always revenue, projects, time, in that order. There's this bad mindset we get in where we tell ourselves, if I just make this amount of money, my family will be happy, and then I'll have everything I want. But in the end, that goal just keeps getting bigger and bigger and you never catch up.

If you really want to grow, you have to flip the switch. Brad says we need to get away from focusing on monetary profit and prioritize time and emotional profit. When you do this, you'll find you're happier and more fulfilled. And bonus, when you slow down, you free up your headspace to be more creative, which ironically may help increase profits after all.

Don't get too consumed with that bottom line that you forget to enjoy the ride. When you slow down and focus on what's important, then you'll truly be able to enjoy your 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: Does_Your_Agency_Need_to_Scale_Back_to_Scale_Up_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you starting an agency and debating whether you need a partner? Is your agency growing, but you're not sure where to go from here? It doesn't matter what kind of work you produce or how motivated you are if you don't have everything aligned behind the scenes.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why do so many agency partnerships fail?
  • 2 key stages of growing a successful agency.
  • Why your agency should always invest in culture first.

Today I had an engaging talk with Francisco Serrano, president and CEO of 121, a digital implementation agency. In the last 16 years, Francisco has grown his agency to a team of 90 employees and just recently hired a COO. He's here to talk about the stages his agency went through to get to where they're at and why you should always put your agency employees first.

Why Do So Many Agency Partnerships Fail?

I've talked to many agency owners over the years who have started with a partner and eventually dissolved the partnership. It isn't because either partner is bad or not putting enough work; most of the time, it's just not the right fit. And as the agency grows, it's perfectly natural to outgrow one of your partners.

Francisco joins a long list of owners who realized they were better off on their own (including myself). If you're thinking about taking on a partner or are currently working with someone, the question is, how can you determine whether a partnership is going to work? The answer comes down to open communication.

But before you say, "Great, we've already got that covered," understand there's a difference between being able to talk to your partner and really being honest about what you hope to get out of your agency. The number one reason most partnerships fail is because partners don't have the same vision for the direction of the agency.

Before you begin to talk about strategy or revenue or anything else, talk about your focus and your passion. If you don't agree on what you want to stand for, how much work you want to put in, and what you're willing to risk, it's probably not going to work.

2 Key Stages of Growing a Successful Agency

So you've begun to see some growth and are getting more clients — great! But if you stay with the same strategy and don't switch it up, eventually, you're bound to hit a plateau. Francisco says there are 2 main stages his agency went through in order to see continued growth:

  1. Team building. When you're building a team, usually you're the one that does all the hiring. After all, who better to find the right people for growing your team than you? But as you continue to grow, you'll realize you just don't have enough time to handpick every new member of your team. Francisco says the first big step was hiring an HR professional to recruit and hire new team members, as well as keep the existing ones happy.
  2. Execution. Francisco recently brought on a COO to take care of the day-to-day execution. With a team of 90, he wants to focus on building relationships and working on the business, which will ultimately help the agency grow.

Why Your Agency Should Always Invest in Culture First

When we're first starting out, many of us fail to recognize the importance of agency culture. Francisco makes an interesting analogy between running an agency and osteoporosis. He says, if you don't focus on what's on the inside and what holds everything together, the bones will crumble.

A lot of building a solid culture comes down to communicating with your team and understanding what motivates them (no it's not money). Figure out what they're good at, what they want to do, and what just doesn't make them happy. When you do this, you'll find your team is happier, more successful, and devoted to the agency as a whole.

You'll never find true success as an agency unless you master the fundamentals. If you have talent, culture, and you can execute, the rest is fun and games.

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: Does_Your_Agency_Have_Good_Bones_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you looking for a way to scale up without adding new employees? Do you want to get back to enjoying what you do? When you try providing everything to everyone, you're likely to get burnt out fast. But when you find what you're good at and focus just on that, you'll find freedom and enjoyment in owning your agency.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • #1 pitfall of full-service agencies.
  • 2 steps to grow your agency without bringing on excess staff.
  • The only 5 roles you should fill as an agency CEO.

Today I sat down with Chris Kneeland, CEO of Cult Ideas, a digital marketing agency. Just over 7 years ago, Chris made the jump from a large, publicly-traded US agency to a smaller firm based out of Canada. He's here to discuss what he's learned from the transition and how you can get to a point where you can do what you love.

#1 Pitfall of Full Service Agencies

It's no secret, I'm not a fan of full-service agencies. In fact, you'll find this to be a common feeling among many agency owners. Why? After working for a very large, publicly-traded agency, Chris says there is one thing that stood out. The agency was constantly over-leveraged with staff. It got to a point where Chris began to wonder, "When did my job become keeping our bloated staff billable?"

When you try to provide everything for everyone, you tend to hire a bunch of different people to fill all those roles. But if you're not getting the business to support your staff, you'll end up working just to pay your team.

2 Steps to Grow Your Agency Without Bringing on Excess Staff

"But Jason, don't I need to expand my team if I expect to grow?" Not at all. Chris uses a strategy that's similar to the one I would use if I could do things differently. He says there are two steps to growing your agency without bringing on a ton of new employees:

  1. Figure out what you're good at. Chris says, think of it this way: If you were called on to deliver a TED Talk tomorrow, what would you be able to talk about? Better yet, what would you want to talk about?  Only do that. Niche down and you're naturally able to reduce the number of people you need. Then you will be able to really leverage the people you choose to keep around.
  2. Only staff what you have work for. Having a larger team makes you feel like a big agency, but it eats into your profits when they aren't fully utilized. Focus on the essentials and outsource the rest. If I were to do it over, my key leadership, PM, and account managers would be the only full-time employees.

When you keep a full staff, you put yourself in a position where you have to focus on payroll. You'll end up taking on a bad client or billing out something your client doesn't actually need. This is not a fun way to work. When you focus on being properly sized, not only will you improve your finances, but you'll also see an improvement in your quality of life.

The Only 5 Roles You Should Fill as an Agency CEO

Think about why you originally started your agency. If you're like me, it wasn't to see how fast you could grow it was about having the freedom to do what you love. Unfortunately, far too often we manage to get lost somewhere along the way. If you want to get to a point where you love your job and enjoy what you do, there are only 5 roles you should be responsible for as an agency CEO:

  1. Set the vision and communicate it to the team.
  2. Be the face of the organization.
  3. Understand the financials.
  4. Coach and mentor the team.
  5. Assist with sales.

Don't worry, your agency and team still need you! When you focus on these 5 roles and let key leadership take care of the rest, your agency won't need you for what you used to do, they'll need you for what only you can do.

It's never a good idea to focus on growth over doing what you love. When you narrow in on what you want to do and surround yourself with people who support you, you'll begin to have the freedom to pick and choose what you love.

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_Grow_Your_Agency_Without_Hiring_More_Employees.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Are you looking for a way to connect with potential new agency clients? Do you want to quit selling and have clients come to you? Case studies are a great way to demonstrate value and put the client first.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 elements of a perfect case study.
  • How to use case studies like a launch.
  • #1 benefit of detailed case studies.

Today I had a chat with David Schloss, founder of Convert ROI, a digital marketing agency. About seven years into running his agency, David discovered the value of case studies and gave his agency new life. He's here to discuss what a great case study looks like and how one simple change will have clients reaching out to you.

3 Elements of a Perfect Case Study

When was the last time a case study stopped you in your tracks and made you think, "Wow, I need to work with that person"? The sad truth is, a good share of case studies we see on a regular basis are throwaways. They're no more than 300 words and are more of a brag, rather than educational information.

David's been doing case studies for over five years and getting major results (like 7 new leads in just one week). So what does he do differently?

  1. Go into detail. You can't really talk about what worked and what didn't in 300 words. If you want your case study to provide value, it needs to be more like 3,000 – 4,000 words. Don't be afraid to really dive into what you did to find success.
  2. Provide examples. What type of ads did you use? What did the tough conversations include? Potential clients want to hear what actually worked and how it applies to them.
  3. Make it client-focused. Do you want to know why the shorter case studies aren't successful? Because they have a tendency to read like an ad. Clients don't want to hear about you and your agency, they want to know what you can do for them.

How to Use Case Studies Like a Launch

David says he doesn't put out case studies regularly, it's more like once a year. But when he does release his past results, he puts out a lot at a time (like 10). In this way, he treats his client's case studies more like a launch. He says, if you release case studies too often, prospects will become blind to it.

If you've tried case studies in the past, try scaling back. Instead of providing one 300-word snippet once a week, try a larger project every six months. This way, your prospects will see your case studies as an educational opportunity rather than another sales gimmick.

Why Do Case Studies Matter?

The more detail you can add to a case study the better. David says he begins with where the client started and what they did to see results. This includes their target audience, what type of ads they used, and even offers and price points.

"But wait, if I give out all this information, what incentive does the prospect have to come to me?" This is a question I get all the time, but it really has no solid basis. Over the years, I've produced hundreds of videos and hundreds of podcasts and I have no problem finding clients.

When you put the information out there, you're providing tangible evidence of the value you provide. Sure someone can go and do the same thing themselves, but in most cases, they're going to come to you to have you replicate the results rather than figuring it out for themselves. The number one benefit of putting it all out there is when a lead comes to you, there's very little selling left to do.

Case studies are a great way to provide value and attract new clients. But you've got to put in the work. When you focus on the client instead of trying to sell your agency, you'll have an easier time seeing results.

Ready to Outsource Your Content Creation?

Do you want to try out Verblio's services and learn how you can simplify your agency's content creation? Verblio has a team of over 3,000 writers plus an amazing staff that helps manage your writing projects and make it even easier to provide quality content for you and your clients.

Right now, Verblio is offering two free months of account management services to Smart Agency Masterclass listeners. This offer includes content creation, SEO optimization, and your own personal account manager. For more information, head over to Verblio.com/Easy to learn how your agency's content creation can be easier than ever.

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

Apprehensive to declare a niche? Worried that being a niche agency will limit your growth? Do you own a full-service agency that's in need of restructuring? Declaring a niche is one of the best ways to set your agency apart, but is it possible to find success with multiple niches?

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • How to demonstrate expertise as a full-service agency.
  • 3 steps to help your agency team adjust to change.
  • Is success possible in more than one niche?

Today I sat down with Jeff Hahn, owner of Hahn Public, a public communications and marketing agency. After purchasing a full-service agency, Jeff made a creative decision to split the agency into four practice areas. He's here to discuss the steps he took to make this change, how it worked, and how he made sure his team was on board.

How to Demonstrate Expertise as a Full-service Agency

You've heard me discuss just how important it is to declare a niche. When a client is looking for an agency, 9 times out of 10 they reach out to someone who is an expert in their niche. If you run a full-service agency, it doesn't matter how good you are, the majority of clients will always see you as a generalist. While this might work for a while, eventually, this model will almost certainly limit your growth.

When Jeff purchased his agency, he knew it was important to establish expertise right off the bat. But rather than choose just one niche, he chose four. Jeff took the existing agency and split it up into four separate practice areas. As separate mini-agencies, each was able to focus on their vertical and target a specific audience. While the agency shared resources and was organized around one central team, the division allowed each practice area to gain and demonstrate expertise.

3 Steps to Help Your Agency Team Adjust to Change

Whether you're splitting up into four different practice areas or bringing in a new CEO, change can be hard. Your team is your most important asset so it's important to approach major transitions with the care they deserve. There are a few things you can do to help your team adjust to change:

  1. Ease into it. Changes are the hardest to accept when they are not communicated well. The best thing you can do for your team is to take it slow. Roll in changes gradually and keep your team informed every step of the way.
  2. Show them how. Part of the reason people don't like change is the fear of the unknown. After you've told your team what you want to do, show them how you plan to achieve it.
  3. Provide an opportunity to opt-in. Look around and see who's excited about the change. Those who aren't can quickly become a cancer to the rest of the team.  When someone's not on board or actively opposed to change, Jeff says he likes to hold a "graduation ceremony" to recognize their contribution and allow that person to move on.

Is Success Possible in More Than One Niche?

Jeff has proven it is possible to break an agency into smaller, more-focused areas and find success. And maybe this approach will work for you. But Jeff says if there is one thing he could do over it would be to commit to one direction or one idea. When you split an agency into separate practice areas, you still have to market, maintain, and build intellectual property for each one. In this way, it's akin to running four separate agencies at the same time. Sure, it may work out, but it's a lot of extra work. That is why I advise agencies to focus on one niche at a time.

Should you run a full-service agency? Should you declare a niche? Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But when you choose your passion and run with it, you'll find you're happier and more likely to find success.

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

Have you made a pivot in the past few months to adjust to changing times? Are you looking for a way to help your clients connect with their customers, even through this global pandemic? As today's guest says, "Content was king and then it got promoted." Strategic content marketing helps you stay connected and remain top of mind. If you don't have an effective content strategy, you need to create one, now.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • Why is content creation on the rise right now?
  • 2 reasons content is more important than ever. 
  • How you can get more out of your podcast. 

Today I sat down with my good friend and repeat podcast guest, Steve Pockross, CEO of Verblio, an online content creation agency. Over the past few months, Steve and his team have seen some interesting trends when it comes to how agencies are responding to the economic crisis. He's here to share some of his findings and shed some light on what agencies can expect in the future. 

Why is Content Creation on the Rise Right Now?

It's an interesting time to run a marketing agency. The world is experiencing an economic crisis like never before. As agency owners we've been in a similar position, but never to this extreme. When it comes to content, Steve says he's witnessed some noticeable changes over the past few months.

Not surprisingly, when the health crisis began, many agencies came to a screeching halt — nearly 20% of Verblio's clients went on pause. But then there was a shift. As agencies began to get their footing and adjust to the market they realized, "Hey, we need to reach out to people," Verblio saw a jump. By the beginning of May, business from larger and mid-size agency clients was up 26%.

With many of the agencies I've worked with, there's been a similar trend. People are home more. They're consuming content like never before. And to be honest, we're all getting a little stir-crazy. As businesses begin to reopen, consumers are searching for you or your clients. 

2 Reasons Content is More Important than Ever

I hear you, "I've tried content before and it just wasn't my thing." Trust me, content is more important than you think, especially now. Why?

  1. The competition has dropped, dramatically. Before the economic crisis, content had to battle with other forms of media for attention. Now that conferences and live events are no longer happening, it's content's time to shine.
  2. More people are paying attention. Think about it — how much time do you spend online? Chances are, it's a lot more than this time last year. People are home more, working, studying, and browsing the internet. If you have an online presence, you have a better chance of getting noticed. 

Tone is important, particularly in this climate. You get to choose how you come across to your audience. One of the best things about content is people can view it at their leisure. While this used to be the bane of marketing professionals in the past, you can now use this to your advantage.

How You Can Get More Out of Your Podcast

You've heard me say it before — podcasts are a great marketing tool for your digital agency. So where does content come in? When you create a blog post or show notes from your podcast, each episode serves a dual purpose. You get traffic from the actual show and the post.

I've used Verblio for my blog posts for several years now. I simply send over a recording of each show and one of their writers takes care of the rest (with some helpful input from my team). You'd be surprised how an external writer can take your podcast and turn it into a keyword-rich thought leadership post with very little work on your end. My audience can listen to the podcast, read the post, or, do both. All this equates to better SEO and higher traffic.

If you haven't invested in content, there's no better time than now. Whether you create it in-house or outsource to an agency like Verblio (I recommend the latter), it's only a matter of time before you see results. 

Ready to Outsource Your Content Creation?

Do you want to try out Verblio's services and learn how you can simplify your agency's content creation? Verblio has a team of over 3,000 writers plus an amazing staff that helps manage your writing projects and make it even easier to provide quality content for you and your clients. 

Right now, Verblio is offering two free months of account management services to Smart Agency Masterclass listeners. This offer includes content creation, SEO optimization, and your own personal account manager. For more information, head over to Verblio.com/Easy to learn how your agency's content creation can be easier than ever.

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

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