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

Want to work with big brands? Curious how other agencies get massive opportunities? Wonder how you can find top talent to take your agency to the next level? Amazing opportunities might be right in front of you and you don’t even know it.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • How to get opportunities to work with big brands.
  • 3 Strategies to help you win more agency business.
  • 2 Tips for hiring agency team members to help scale.

 

In this episode, I had the opportunity to chat with Colin Moffat, co-founder of Artemis Ward the branding agency he started with a former colleague. The two met while working for a big agency. However, six years ago, they decided to start their own agency after seeing a lot of cool work going to agencies smaller than theirs. Colin is on the show to talk about strategies that have gotten Artemis Ward opportunities to work with big brands

How to Get Opportunities With Big Brands

Colin says great business development effort comes down to relationships. Strong relationships are the key to success, so don’t take any of your relationships for granted. Always be cultivating and maintaining relationships.

What kind of relationships can help grow your agency? All of them! Current clients, former colleagues; remember no one stays where they are forever. Keep up with people and be cool to them. Getting a foot in the door with big brands is about having the right relationship and doing good work every single time.

Don’t Keep Your Head Down Too Long

As a small and new agency, Colin says they were dedicated to the work but kept their heads down and grinded away at it. Most people do this thinking the hustle will eventually pay off. But Colin says it wasn’t until they lifted their heads that ideal clients started to really take notice.

People may know you and like you but they aren’t thinking of you every day. Sometimes you have to pick up your head and make sure you’re getting noticed. People may think you’re great but you’re not going to be top of mind all the time.

Artemis Ward engaged prospects with an email newsletter, social media and putting efforts into their own marketing. While there isn’t an immediate payoff this creates opportunities down the road. Colin’s advice: showcase the work, be helpful, and show the world what you can do.

3 Strategies To Help You Win More Agency Business

  1. Connect others. When you connect two people within your network, without anything to gain for yourself, you build trust and goodwill. Help others out and they’ll remember what you did for them. In return, they’ll want to connect you with others too.
  2. Low hanging fruit. As a rule, I tell my clients to go through a low-hanging fruit exercise every 90 days. Your low-hanging fruit could be old clients, old prospects, missed opportunities. Re-engage with them in a strategic way. Don’t simply check-in, but approach them with a plan on how you can help them now.
  3. Stay present. Spend some time scrolling your LinkedIn to see where people are and what they’re up to. Out of sight, out of mind. So in order to stay top of mind, interact on social media and build goodwill. Results won’t be immediate but you never know what’s in store 6-months or 6-years down the road.

2 Tips for Hiring Agency Team Members to Help Scale

Artemis Ward makes every effort to stay small and nimble. Therefore, it’s important to have really good people on your agency team in order to scale. Colin says he hire for culture fit, keeping two criteria in mind:

1. Smart and adaptable. They want agency team members who can stay fluid. Some people need more structure and that’s OK but not a fit for the agency. Colin hires people who can be flexible and embrace unpredictability.

2. Diverse background and experiences. They don’t just hire the “typical agency person” or someone with tons of agency experience. Colin wants team members with different perspectives. When you’re solving unique problems you need a team that is unique.

Looking for a Content Creation Solution?

Verblio has been a long-time supporter of the Smart Agency Masterclass and a trusted vendor we've been using for over two years. They are an amazing content creation solution designed specifically for agencies; their writers can help with all your content creation needs across a variety of industries.

If you're interested in trying Verblio for yourself check out Verblio.com/smartagency for 50% off your first month of content.

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

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

Have you ever struggled with upselling? Would you like to expand revenue from your current accounts? Want to get your team more involved in upselling? All it takes is some strategy and a change of mindset to reap the benefits of upsell opportunities.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • #1 worst agency sales mistake.
  • What works for digital agency upselling?
  • 2 ways to make upselling less salesy.
  • Are you selling your agency short?
  • How to train your agency team to upsell.

Today I chatted with Daniel Hodge, Head of the Wix Partners. Danny and his team build relationships with digital marketing agencies. Over the years, he has seen and heard it all from digital agencies. Everything from what is work to what doesn’t plus all the good and bad strategies for growing digital agency business. He’s sharing some great ways you can improve your upsell strategies right away.

#1 Worst Agency Sales Mistake

There’s a ton of experts out there sharing best practices, but Danny said he’s actually seen a lot of “worst practices.” The top among them is the mistake of making it impossible for site visitors to get in touch.

The site design might be amazing, but oftentimes the call to action is lacking. Either it’s unclear, buried, or simply non-existent. Sure, the big agencies can get away without a call-to-action because they already have a reputation.

However, medium and smaller agencies tend to model them even though what works one doesn’t necessarily work for others.

What Works for Digital Agency Upselling?

Danny says he is seeing agencies the size of 5-50 employees growing fast over the last year or so. He believes this is largely due to their ability to be flexible and work quickly during the pandemic when a lot of businesses need to increase or improve their digital presence.

But, how can you take existing clients and turn them into more revenue? It all starts with not disguising the upsell but understanding the opportunity from day one. The best way to do this is to ask questions like:

  • What are their business needs?
  • What will a digital presence do for them?
  • How can we enhance their digital presence to meet their business goals?

When you understand early on, you can put together a plan with 3, 6, and 9-month check-ins. Then look at the client’s business with an eye to the future. So when you make a recommendation it doesn’t sound or feel like an upsell. It’s simply executing another part of a long-term plan in order to meet their goals.

Then position it like: If we’re successful with “this”, then you might need “that”. Then it’s just a natural next step instead of an upsell.

2 Ways to Make Upselling Less Salesy

  1. Align on what success looks like. What does a successful engagement look like for the client 6 months down the road? Have them define success and it gives you an idea of how realistic they are. (Plus time to reel them in if needed!)
  2. Be proactive rather than reactive. Agencies usually provide dashboards and reporting all the time. But instead of just reporting activity, start making recommendations on what could make the results even better.

Are You Selling Your Agency Short?

The key to strategic upsells is positioning your agency as an advisor. But, Danny believes agencies are selling themselves short. Clients end up viewing them as a commodity instead of an authority. Agencies often market themselves as being good at web design, development, and SEO. But they leave out the part where they can also remarketing, lead generation, and much more.

You don’t have to be a full-service agency. However, you can explore different tools and technologies that may help you broaden the success of your service offering.

How To Get Your Agency Team to Upsell

It’s very common that the agency team is resistant to upselling to clients. They feel weird or awkward getting salesy. And let’s be honest, Project Managers are finishers or completers. They like to check items off their ‘to do’ list. They definitely don’t want to add more tasks. So it is against their nature to bring on more by suggesting an upsell. They are really good at execution but usually not so good at generating more work or upselling.

Danny says you have to make upselling more about client services and less about “selling”. Your PMs might be resistant to make a sale, but when you reposition it as enhancing client success they may be more receptive.

Another way to get team buy-in is to get them aligned with your agency goals. If they believe an upsell just puts more money in the agency owner’s pocket they aren’t motivated. But if you have a bigger picture goal about ways your agency can impact the industry your team will care more about sales successes. Agency Partner Program wix.com/partners

Want to Learn More About Partnering with Agencies?

When you join forces with Wix agency partners, you'll unlock a community of agency partners that can help you grow and scale your agency faster than ever.

The Wix Partner Program is ideal for freelancers and digital agencies that design and develop websites for their clients. Check out Wix.com/Partners to learn more and become a member of the community for free.

Direct download: How_to_Increase_Digital_Agency_Upsell_Opportunities.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Are you still not convinced your agency needs a niche? Are you tired of spending your time on free consultations that don't convert? Converting a lead into revenue for your agency requires careful planning. If you want to convert and retain more clients, beware of these common mistakes.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • 5 most common lead generation mistakes.
  • Overcoming lead generation mistakes for digital agencies.

I talked with Bob Sparkins, Sales and Marketing Manager for Leadpages. Known as "Bob the Teacher," he provides instruction to agency sales teams through podcasts and webinars. Bob has a ton to share about the biggest mistakes he sees agencies make when it comes to lead generation.

1. Failing to Specialize

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Find a niche for your agency. Bob says many new agencies make the mistake of believing they can do all things for all people. However, Bob says beyond the benefit of doing work you are passionate about, specializing in one industry or service offering will actually help increase revenue and attract more clients. Why? Because most clients don't come to your website looking at the big picture of all the solutions you provide. They come looking to solve a single problem with their marketing plan. If you specialize in solving that sort of problem, then you have a foot in the door to provide additional solutions to the client in the future.

2. Overpricing or Underpricing Your Services

Bob says determining a fair price for the services provided is a common problem for most agencies. Some agencies underprice their services in the hopes of attracting a client looking for a deal. While others set a higher price without having built the trust and proving the service is worth the investment. The problem with underpricing your services is you're not communicating the value of your team's skill set. Overpricing can lead to making promises you can't keep and could cost you the client.

3. Offering a Free Consultation

Bob encourages agencies to remove the free consultation from their website. "A person off the street should not be able to stumble on your website and get access to your calendar," Bob explains. The problem with free consultations is they only have about a 30 percent conversion rate. What this means is when you provide free consultations for ten people, only three of those people will return for more information. That equals a lot of time spent on conversations where the prospect is more likely to say no than to say yes.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

4. Ineffective Lead Magnets

Instead of providing free consultations, Bob encourages agencies to convert leads to clients through the use of lead magnets. An effective lead magnet is one that considers the context of why the lead is on the web in the first place. Providing a short video or article with information on how to accomplish a task, along with a call to action for more information, is much more effective than simply advertising your services in the traditional way.

"Teach people the steps that are involved in doing what you do," Bob says. But, also show them that the task demands a level of knowledge and expertise that you can provide.

5. Holding Your Clients Hostage With Their Website

One mistake Bob sees agencies often make after they've worked with clients is holding deliverables hostage. This is particularly true with creative and design agencies. They keep all the information and work under lock and key. If the client leaves, they lose the work.

"You need to evaluate if that is really in service to your client," Bob says. He notes allowing a client who wants to leave access to the work they paid for and to exit with a positive vibe provides a better chance of getting a good referral. Additionally, you leave the door open if the client wishes to return.

Looking for a Content Creation Solution?

Verblio has been a long-time supporter of the Smart Agency Masterclass and a trusted vendor we've been using for over two years. They are an amazing content creation solution designed specifically for agencies; their writers can help with all your content creation needs across a variety of industries.

If you're interested in trying Verblio for yourself check out Verblio.com/smartagency for 50% off your first month of content.

Direct download: Is_Your_Agency_Making_These_5_Lead_Generation_Mistakes_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

The Agency Visionary and Integrator

Are you a visionary or an integrator? How do you know, and how do you use it to grow your agency? Check yourself on these:  Got big goals for your agency but no idea how to get there? Spending too much time on the day-to-day operations when you would rather be leading? The world is filled with visionaries and integrators. With effort and understanding, you can harness the strength of both to grow your marketing agency.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • What is the difference between a visionary and an integrator?
  • 5 rules between an agency visionary and an integrator.
  • Finding the missing piece to your agency puzzle.

I talked to Mark Winters, co-author of the book, Rocket Fuel. Mark is an entrepreneur who has been directly involved in fourteen different businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout his life. He has started, sold, and even acquired businesses. During that time, Mark has learned the importance of having a visionary and an integrator in your agency leadership and how the two can work better together.

What Is the Difference Between a Visionary and an Integrator?

Many agency owners are visionaries. Visionaries are individuals with big dreams and goals. They're the ones that can look at the big picture and determine where the agency should be in the next five years. However, visionaries often struggle with the day-to-day details of enacting a plan to reach their goals. That's where an integrator comes in.

Integrators are individuals capable of focusing on the details of operations of your agency right now. They are usually the general manager or operations manager tasked with building the road between where the agency is now and where the visionary owner wants to be.

Can an Agency Visionary and an Integrator Work Together?

When they work together, the visionary and the integrator offer a complete management package. One minds the overall mission while the other ensures success of individual tasks. However, these two personality types are so different they often have a difficult time working together. In his book, Mark discusses the five rules between a visionary and an integrator. The rules can help the two accomplish what needs to be done for the agency without driving each other crazy.

5 Rules Between a Visionary and Integrator

  1. Get on the same page. Do what you need to do to stay in alignment with the other half of your visionary/integrator coin. If you need to fight it out, do so in a back room and then come together for your team.
  2. No end-runs. If the integrator answers to the visionary and the rest of the team answer to the integrator, that is the end of the line. The visionary should not allow team members to disrespect the chain of command.
  3. The integrator is the tie-breaker. If there is a disagreement within the organization, the integrator has the ground-level view and is in a better position to consider the plan and make a decision.
  4. Rules for owner-employees. Many times the visionary owner also does work as an employee. However, problems arise when this owner-employee decides the rules don't apply. As an owner of an agency, Mark believes you really only have two rights. First, the right to your share of the profits. Next, the right to have your voice heard on major decisions. At any other time, if you're acting as an employee, you should be the most diligent and devoted employee ever.
  5. Maintain mutual respect. Many visionary-integrator business relationships fail because one or both parties fail to devote the time and attention to making it work. The visionary can't treat the integrator like a lackey and have success. Ideally, the two individuals will have an eyeball-to-eyeball relationship as equals.

Finding the Missing Piece to Your Agency Puzzle

So how do you find the right piece to the puzzle? Mark says it is really a three-piece puzzle. You need to understand your business. Then you need the insight to know your strengths and skills. And finally, you need to identify the gaps in your team structure. Only then can you find the right person to close those gaps.

Caution: You might not understand this person. The way they think and approach problems will be different than yours. That's the point!  And, all of that is less important than the ability for you and this person to work together. The goal is to use your individual superpowers to build the best agency possible.

Are you looking for a unique web design tool?

Editor X is a platform built specifically for designers, where you can create complex sites while feeling like you’re working on a visual design software. Picture stepping into a wide workspace where you get total CSS control powered by smooth drag and drop. Editor X's canvas is so intuitive it feels like a physical space where you can move things around as you want.

It’s a platform where every tiny detail has been considered so you can let your creativity run wild and build your most creative sites yet. I can describe it to you all day but you should really go see it for yourself, at EditorX.com—and discover the new standard in web design.

Direct download: Does_Your_Agency_Have_Visionary_and_Integrator_Roles_Filled_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Do you feel like you are working with tunnel vision? Are you only focusing on one small aspect of the agency? Are you wondering which direction to take your agency? Do you spend too much time on the wrong projects? Time moves quickly in the agency world, and success often rides on your agency continually evolving; otherwise, it could die.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • 3 benefits of surrounding yourself within a niche.
  • Finding passion in your niche.
  • Why staying the same is an agency's kiss of death.

I spoke with Scott Addison Clay, the Founder, and CEO of Addison Interactive, a digital marketing agency that works with the entertainment industry. The 10-year-old agency is the culmination of a number of Scott's passions. However, along the way to finding these passions, Scott built the interactive department at another agency from two people to thirty. He's here to offer some tips on how to evolve your agency from a job into a passion.

3 Benefits of Surrounding Yourself Within a Niche

Building a team from two people to thirty in a relatively short period of time seems like a difficult feat. How do you create the need to grow so fast? Scott says one of the biggest reasons the agency grew so quickly was because they were in a building full of others in the entertainment industry. Surrounding yourself with others in your niche provides benefits such as:

  1. A professional network that can increase opportunities and help get the word out about your agency.
  2. Fresh ideas that can prevent you from getting tunnel vision during a project.
  3. Resources and knowledge that can help you provide a new service for your clients.

Finding Passion in Your Niche

Many years ago, a news producer gave Scott a piece of advice he has always remembered: Pick something -- anything -- and just do that thing. However, passion is not simply about having a goal. It is also about the journey you take to get to the goal. For Scott, passion evolved from a love of entertainment and a curiosity about how things work. From there, he went to building an agency that started with website building and evolved to offering services like video editing and social media content for the entertainment industry.

While it is important to choose a niche reflecting your passion, it's also important to remember chasing those passions is often a long-term commitment. It usually involves doing jobs you're not crazy about in order to grow your agency.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Why Staying the Same Is an Agency's Kiss of Death

When Scott started Addison Interactive a decade ago, his first projects involved building websites. Then he started learning to do content for Tumblr. "We just kept figuring things out and then staffing for those things."

In order to grow your agency, Scott says, you have to always be evolving. This is particularly true with digital marketing, where technology and trends are changing rapidly. Evolution includes a lot of listening, both to clients about what they need as well as experts in the industry you serve. It also includes the ability and willingness to adapt. "The kiss of death is saying, 'We've always done it that way,'" Scott explains.

Through the Agency Playbook, Scott learned being open to possibilities and expanding involves not just asking the question: What do you want to do? It also involves asking yourself what you don't want to do. While there are many reasons for this, perhaps the best reason of all is the point where Scott now is. It's the point where you can start turning down small jobs you don't want because they don't fit into your goals.

Looking for a Content Creation Solution?

Verblio has been a long-time supporter of the Smart Agency Masterclass and a trusted vendor we've been using for over two years. They are an amazing content creation solution designed specifically for agencies; their writers can help with all your content creation needs across a variety of industries.

If you're interested in trying Verblio for yourself check out Verblio.com/smartagency for 50% off your first month of content.

Subscribe

Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM

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

Is your team struggling to keep up with client communication? Having a hard time managing all parts of agency projects? Many agencies need project management dedicated to communication and details. How do you know when or if your agency needs a project manager? How can you find a great project manager? Having a project manager is crucial for some agencies and absolutely unnecessary for others. The challenge is determining your agency's need in order to grow successfully.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • When should your agency use a project manager?
  • When project management isn't necessary.
  • Finding the right project manager.

I talked with Bea Bonte, Co-owner of Hook Agency, a digital agency that provides services for small to mid-sized businesses in the construction industry. In less than three years, the agency has grown to a team of 12. Project management is part of Bea's job description. Hook also has a project manager for its website design team. Bea says it has been a learning process determining what types of services need project management and which don't.

When Should Your Agency Use a Project Manager?

Project management is a frequent topic of debate among agency owners, with strong opinions on both sides. However, Bea says the discussion really shouldn't be as much about whether you do or don't need a project manager. It comes down to the types of jobs where project management helps deliver the service more efficiently. For example, Hook uses a project manager for website design because it requires extensive information-gathering with the client. A project manager handles communication while the design team is busy on creative work. Large projects involving the output of different parts of your team are the type for project management. In those cases, the manager is able to coordinate the different aspects of the work.

While creative projects often need a project manager, Bea believes in letting her team communicate directly with the client as needed. If a designer has a specific question for the client, it does not make sense to run the question through an extra layer.

When Project Management Isn't Necessary

For small agencies and agencies that offer very specific services, it is often not necessary to have a project manager. For example, Hook's SEO team requires specific information from the client and without running through a project manager. The rule of thumb Hook uses in determining whether project management is necessary is whether the communication required will take too much time away from the work they were hired to do. If so, then it's time to hire a project manager. However, if there are instances where involving a project manager slows down production and delivery.

Finding the Right Project Manager

If you decide your agency needs a project manager, how do you go about hiring one? Bea says Hook places a higher priority on tenacity than on a heavy resume. She and her husband took a risk on an individual at the start of their agency who was so passionate about wanting to work for a marketing agency he was willing to work for free. He is now transitioning from the agency's SEO lead to the General Manager.

One of the most important things to remember when hiring a project manager or adding other new members to your team is finding a match to culture and values. New skills can be acquired, but finding someone whose goals and work style match those of your agency is a bigger task.

Are you looking for a unique web design tool?

Editor X is a platform built specifically for designers, where you can create complex sites while feeling like you’re working on a visual design software. Picture stepping into a wide workspace where you get total CSS control powered by smooth drag and drop. Editor X's canvas is so intuitive it feels like a physical space where you can move things around as you want.

It’s a platform where every tiny detail has been considered so you can let your creativity run wild and build your most creative sites yet. I can describe it to you all day but you should really go see it for yourself, at EditorX.com—and discover the new standard in web design.

Direct download: How_to_Decide_When_Your_Agency_Needs_Project_Management.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Are you constantly trying to get prospects to tell you their budget? Do you spend too much time managing client expectations? Not sure which projects to prioritize? Contrary to my opinion, some agencies find success by putting agency pricing on the website. And, there are some benefits. It solves some client budget issues and helps the team prioritize projects. Do you agree?

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Does agency pricing on the website work?
  • The pros and cons of publishing your agency's prices
  • What is more important than pricing to some clients?

I talked to Tory Smith, Co-Founder of the Texas-based B2B and SaaS marketing agency, Bay Leaf Digital. He and his partner began the agency without a playbook or even a solid grasp on what their niche would be. However, they were able to turn to their professional connections to get their foot in the door. Tory believes in being transparent with prospective clients about the price of agency services. Contrary to my beliefs, he is here to tell us about the rather unconventional way his agency addressed the issue.

Does Agency Pricing on the Website Work?

Tory began researching the idea of placing a price page on the agency website during the year before the pandemic. What Tory found is the practice is common with software companies, however, very few marketing agencies display their prices. He and his partner decided to give it a try. They decided f they didn't see a quick benefit, they would take it down.

Within two days, Bay Leaf landed its biggest client to date. An established overseas company found the agency's website. The CEO called Tory asking to obtain even more services than what was offered in the highest package price. What Tory learned was the price page worked for the agency and the top-tier package needed to be open-ended.

The Pros and Cons of Publishing Your Agency's Prices

In addition to disclosing prices on their website, Bay Leaf created a point system for billing their services. The benefits Tory found with the price page and point system include:

  • Placing the pricing structure upfront helps begin the important conversation about budget and helps the client understand how much they can get for their money.
  • The ability to prioritize projects and organize the workload based on the service level tiers and point system for different tasks.
  • The ability to have a greater understanding of the client's needs by using the price page as a starting point for a conversation about which services are most important.

The downsides of the price page and point structure include:

  • An increase in record-keeping to track points.
  • Some clients micromanage the points or have difficulty understanding the point system.

What Is More Important Than Pricing to Some Clients?

During the recent economic downturn, Tory wondered whether his clients would still be able to afford the agency's services and considered lowering agency prices. However, instead, he discovered clients weren't hung up on price, but rather the long-term contract. Because of this, Bay Leaf began offering a six-month service commitment for clients and finds even that is too long for some. Since the pandemic, Bay Leaf had a promising prospect walk away who likely would have stayed with a shorter-term contract.

Instead of lowering your pricing, consider lowering the commitment level. Additionally, remind your clients the transparency of your pricing page is just a starting point. It is the stepping stone to a larger conversation that can lead to providing exactly the services the client needs.

Looking for a Content Creation Solution?

Verblio has been a long-time supporter of the Smart Agency Masterclass and a trusted vendor we've been using for over two years. They are an amazing content creation solution designed specifically for agencies; their writers can help with all your content creation needs across a variety of industries.

If you're interested in trying Verblio for yourself check out Verblio.com/smartagency for 50% off your first month of content.

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

What does it take to truly grow your agency? Could your pricing structure be holding you back? Are you giving away your strategy for free? There's a lot to consider when growing an agency, but it a lot of it comes down to 3 basic things every agency owner struggles with.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Choosing your agency's niche.
  • Determining your agency's pricing structure.
  • Helping clients understand your agency's value.

I talked with Wendy Covey, Co-Founder and CEO of Texas-based Trew Marketing, an agency that works with technical audiences such as small to mid-sized engineering companies. She is here today to talk about three of the issues that often cause a lot of worries and stress for agency owners.

1. Choosing Your Agency's Niche

Wendy and her business partner started Trew Marketing after working together in the engineering industry. What they discovered was small to medium-sized engineering companies often have horrible websites. This was a challenge they could help solve. 

Wendy says the partners had conversations in the beginning about what their niche should be. Just as they were starting their business, the 2008 economic recession hit. A blessing in disguise, the recession placed even more importance on the two deciding what type of agency they wanted. They made a list of who their ideal next five clients would be and it always came back to their past connections in the engineering industry. "As soon as we narrowed our focus to just one type of client, our business took off," she says.

Trew Marketing regularly receives interest from potential clients in other industries. The partners do not venture away from their niche, however, due to the inefficiency of trying to learn a whole new market. Instead, they have continued to hone their expertise in one area so they are able to provide the best services for their clients.

2. Determining Your Agency's Pricing Model

Determining how to price your services is one of the biggest considerations for a new agency. Like most new agency owners, Wendy says Trew made peanuts off its first client. The partners considered billing hourly, but quickly realized their profits would decrease as their efficiency increased on an hourly structure.

Trew's pricing is derived from an hourly rate, but there are considerations given to the market rate as well as the value of their service. Your pricing structure can evolve and change over time. If you're too busy, you're not charging enough.

3. Helping Clients Understand Your Agency's Value

It doesn't take a new agency owner long to find themselves in the never-ending debate over whether marketing agencies should pay for the pitches they provide to prospective clients or offer the strategy for free in hopes of landing the project. Wendy is on the side of the debate that says you should never offer strategy for free.

Trew's clientele consists of engineering CEOs and executives who often have no idea what marketing really is. A lot of the strategy the agency provides for its prospects includes education on need as well as how it is going to be executed. Wendy believes "strategy sets the tone for everything else."

Trew generally requires their clients to participate in the strategic process before delivering services. This is especially important if there is no internal marketing department. Trew finds more success by involving the client early on in the strategy process. When clients are involved in the strategy they understand more about the value of the agency's execution.

Growing an agency is not one-size-fits-all. However, Wendy says one thing is true for every agency: they underestimate the value they bring to their clients. Learning that value is one of the biggest keys to thriving as an agency.

Are you looking for a unique web design tool? 

Editor X is a platform built specifically for designers, where you can create complex sites while feeling like you’re working on a visual design software. Picture stepping into a wide workspace where you get total CSS control powered by smooth drag and drop. Editor X's canvas is so intuitive it feels like a physical space where you can move things around as you want.

It’s a platform where every tiny detail has been considered so you can let your creativity run wild and build your most creative sites yet. I can describe it to you all day but you should really go see it for yourself, at EditorX.com—and discover the new standard in web design.

Direct download: 3_Things_Every_Agency_Must_Know_In_Order_to_Grow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Are you struggling to scale your agency? Is it a challenge getting clients to understand and value your strategy? Do you feel like there's a missing piece that will help you grow faster and easier? Success requires solid systems for positioning, pricing, and selling your agency services to your ideal clients who trust and value your agency's expertise.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Why digital agencies must be agile.
  • Why your agency should charge for strategy.
  • How the agency-client relationship is a lot like dating.
  • Do you have the right systems to scale your agency?

I talked to Dean La Grange, Founder of the direct consumer advertising agency, La Grange Digital. Dean helps brands with Facebook and Instagram advertising. This is Dean's second time on the show and this time, he explains there are two major ways companies attract customers on social media: through organic posts and paid advertisements. Dean focuses on the paid advertisements, freeing up his clients to focus on organic posts. He is here to explain the importance of relying on a system and valuing your own time to grow your business.

Why Digital Agencies Must Be Agile

In spite of the rumors you've heard, Dean says Facebook and Instagram are still viable ways to reach your audience. He regards these platforms as a way to get his foot in the door with new clients. Even during the peak of the pandemic, Dean and his team were able to meet clients' needs by focusing on consistency in posting on the platforms they use. As a result, they doubled the agency's revenue during a tough financial environment.

However, he says digital agencies have to pay attention to the trends and go where the attention is. For example, Tik Tok is widely viewed as the newest fad in social media. In order to ensure that Tik Tok advertising is something he is able to offer to his clients, Dean must familiarize himself with the platform.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Why Your Agency Should Charge for Strategy

"One thing I've learned," Dean says, "Is to understand what you offer and not accept anything less." What this means for La Grange Digital is that they've quit giving away their strategy for free.

It's easy for an agency just starting out to begin offering free work and strategy to get its name out there. In fact, Dean is quick to explain that -- for the right client -- he is still willing to provide free strategy. Most of the time, however, he prefers to work with clients who are willing to pay right from the start. This "trains" the client to place a value on the services they're receiving, and to view the agency team as the experts.

How the Agency-Client Relationship is a Lot Like Dating

So how do you know if the prospective client is going to work without giving them a bunch of free work to prove yourself? By making your agency's values known from the start. Dean says the agency-client relationship is a lot like dating. If you fail to communicate your values and needs to the other person from the beginning, you cannot really wonder a few years down the road why it isn't working out.

Do You Have the Right Systems to Scale Your Agency?

Dean says having a successful agency relies on one very important ingredient: a commitment to serving your clients. Having that focus ensures that you're going to do what is needed to keep them happy. He credits the systems in the Agency Playbook for providing his agency's framework. It includes 8 systems for everything from growing your team and determining your offering to building your sales pipeline. Through this, Dean created a repeatable process that not only solidifies the expectations for his team but also for his clients.

The pandemic was a good time for Dean and his team to take stock of what they offer to their clients and to move forward with a fresh focus on their commitment. That is important, he explains, as the time is coming when those who are in business for the wrong reasons will be discovered. "Those who love will shine," he says.

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

1