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

Wish your agency had better account management? Want to learn how to increase client satisfaction and reduce churn-rate? It might be time to take an inward look in order to up your game and improve agency account management. When you and your team communicate more effectively with your clients, you will turn them into your biggest fans.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • How to build a deeper relationship with your clients.
  • The most effective way to communicate with clients.
  • Top 3 account management tactics.

Today, I talked with Karen Hayward a Fractional CMO at Chief Outsiders — the largest fractional CMO firm in the US. Karen works with CEOs and helps brands build growth strategies. She's an expert on account management, which is an area where we see a ton of growing agencies struggle. This episode contains crucial information that could be a real game-changer in your agency's client relations and retention.

How to Build a Deeper Relationship with Your Clients

Meaningful client relationships are churn's kryptonite. The faster (and better) you build a relationship with your clients, the less likely they are to jump-ship. After all, leaving a faceless brand is far easier than leaving an agency that you have nurtured a strong affiliation with. So, how do you build a deep-level relationship?

Karen says it's all about aligning your values and your client's values while leveraging your human assets. So, let the people in your agency get to know key members of your client's team. If you have a relationship that exists on multiple channels, you will suffer less when you hit those road-bumps. Make sure your team and your client's key employees (CEO, CFO, CMO, marketing director, etc.) build a relationship while agreeing on performance metrics.

We talked about relationships a ton when Joey Coleman, author of Never Lose a Client Again, was on the show. Bottom line, be certain you and your client have the same end-goal in mind as well as the same definition of success.

The Most Effective Way to Communicate With Clients

Figuring out how and when to communicate with clients is a huge headache for startup agencies (and lots of mature agencies as well). When are you bothering your clients? Some clients probably prefer not to communicate with you at all, right?

Karen suggests you communicate with your top clients quarterly. Even if everything is fine - and especially if everything is fine. Don't make communication about sales. Ask them for feedback and learn what your clients really want by asking them. Hear them out, reassure them, and take action before there are issues.

A great way to get off to a good start is to send new clients Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys after the first 30 days! You can send them these surveys quarterly as well. You can take all of these Net Promoter Scores and see what kinds of trends your agency is having with your client. This gives you some great insight and also takes care of sheltered client concerns they may not be openly sharing with you.

Top 3 Account Management Tactics

Before she left, Karen left us with a few great tactics we can all try out.

  • Start NPS immediately. Net Promoter Scores are amazing! They give you critical insight into your client-agency relationship status. Karen says you can get started right away with these if you take advantage of websites like and AskNicely, which both offer free NPSs in the U.S. with their free trials. Eat up the free trials and operationalize right away. If you aren't finding any value, at least you didn't spend anything!
  • Make marketing pervasive in your agency. Karen suggests pushing marketing at every turn in your agency. Whether that's attaching marketing supplements to email signatures or even small details like business card design, subtle marketing can add great immediate value to your business and keep your clients interested.
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue. Karen suggested making sure your team has a story to tell. In other words, the account team needs to study-up on their clients so they can engage in meaningful conversations. Karen uses a system she calls S.T.A.R. (Situation, Task, Action, Result). The key is for everyone to be prepared to interact deeper than surface-level.

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

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

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


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

Do you want to turn your agency's clients into raving fans? Would you like to retain more clients instead of just procuring more? Here's how to make your clients first 100 days noteworthy enough to turn them into advocates.

In today's episode, we'll cover:

  • What is the 100-day problem?
  • 8 phases of the client lifecycle and keeping them happy at every phrase.
  • 3 quick tips to transform clients into raving fans.

Today I talked to Joey Coleman, a professional keynote speaker, consultant and author of "Never Lose a Customer Again". Joey has worked on client retention with brands such as Hyatt Hotels, Deloitte, and even Zappos. He is a master of retaining clients and transforming them into raving fans. And that's why here's here with advice on how to keep the clients you have while simultaneously transforming them into advocates for your agency.

What is the 100-Day Problem?

As a marketing agency, we pour tons of time and resources into customer acquisition. Whether it's social media, sales strategies, content curation, or even email marketing, we focus tons of effort on turning prospects into customers... but then what?

According to Joey, anywhere from 20 - 70% of customers (depending upon your industry) don't make it more than six months. And of those, nearly 90% won't make it past the first 100 days. All of that time and all of those resources, wasted. That's the 100-Day Problem and we all encounter it whether we realize it or not!

Fortunately, we have Joey giving us some critical advice on keeping clients and turning them into our biggest fans, with the ultimate reward of referrals.

8 Phases of the Client Lifecycle and Keeping Them Happy

Joey defined 8 key phases of the customer's life cycle, plus he gave us some fantastic tips on keeping customers happy at every phase. Check out his First 100 Day Starter Kit.

  1. Assess: This is the phase where customers are deciding if they want to do business with you. They're assessing your website, third-party reviews, and your marketing materials to determine if you're the right fit for their needs.
  2. Admit: Here, your customer is finally admitting your agency can help them solve their need and achieve success. They feel a sense of hope and possibility by deciding to work with you.
  3. Affirm: Despite the initial feeling of hope, the very next thing your client will do is start to second-guess their decision to work with you. While your team is celebrating a new client, the client is already having thoughts of buyer's remorse and wondering if they've made a mistake. The key to overcoming this is to communicate with them right away and AFFIRM they've made the right decision! Connect and make sure they know you're with them every step of the way. Often times we get busy working on the work, we end up going dark on client communication and that's when they start to get worried.
  4. Activate: This is the first significant interaction your customer has with your agency. If you have a product, this is the unboxing. If you have a service, this is the implementation of it. This is where your client digests your product or service and evaluate whether they'll continue the relationship. This is the first impression and you need to totally nail it so you can continue the relationship!
  5. Acclimate: This is the phase where you need to get your client familiar with your way of doing things. Joey thinks this is the stage where most agencies fall short. During this phase, the client will be learning your processes as well as potentially interacting with your team members and learning about additional offerings.
  6. Accomplish: This is the phase where you actually helped the client achieve their initial goal. The key is to make sure their initial expectations for the end result is met. Did you actually accomplish their goal, or did you just achieve what you thought was their goal? You must communicate regularly to identify their full set of goals and understand their definition of success, as well as what metrics will be utilized to measure success.
  7. Adopt: At this phase, your client is loyal and they've fully adopted your agency's philosophy and practices. They don't care about competition or price point because they believe in what you do and how you do it based on the outcomes you're producing for them.
  8. Advocacy: When clients are all in, you've reached the final (and best) stage. They are out there advocating for your agency because you have established trust. This is typically anytime after their 100-Day Anniversary. They are now more likely to share stories with their network and provide you with testimonials or case stories... Ask for them and use them!

3 Quick Tips to Turn Clients into Raving Fans

  1. Get personal right from the beginning. Start the relationship off by connecting on a personal level. People like to work with people! Therefore, something as simple as a quick personalized thank you video can even do the trick. (I do this all the time for anyone who buys any of my products or services. It's been a game changer!)
  2. Incorporate video into your contact points. Everyone wants to know there's a person behind every action. When you use video (versus email or worse, automation!) your true personality can shine through and your client will get to know you more authentically.
  3. Remember snail mail carries real influence. Don't forget the old-school inbox. As everyone moves to digital, the physical inbox is looking a little empty. Get noticed quickly way by cutting through the digital clutter. Old fashioned, handwritten thank you notes are more memorable and have more staying power than an email.

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

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

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

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

Are you ready to make the jump and start your own agency? Do you want to the top 3 struggles of starting an agency? Don't let those startup agency jitters get you down! Get scrappy, and be picky! Also, learn about how Facebook Messenger Marketing and chatbots are going to change the future of agency lead generation.

  • Is it time to start your own agency?
  • The 3 biggest startup agency struggles.
  • #1 most important tip for the future of Facebook marketing.
  • 3 reasons to implement Facebook Messenger Marketing.

Today, I talked with Molly Pittman who owns and runs Digital Strategy Boot Camps, co-hosts the Perpetual Traffic podcast, and was a former VP of Marketing for DigitalMarketer. Molly brings some incredible startup agency insights as she started Digital Strategy Boot Camps a little over a year ago. We get down to the bare bone fears of starting an agency and her best advice for avoiding and overcoming the top 3 struggles of a new agency.

Is it Time to Start Your Own Agency?

One of the most challenging aspects of starting your own agency is knowing when to actually start one. After all, that you're probably really comfortable (but maybe unfulfilled) in your current gig. So is it time to start your own agency?

The answer isn't really clear. According to Molly -and I agree - you just know when you know. It's one of those internal things that drives you. We're all creators, and when it comes time to set out and create your own thing, your gut will do the talking.

You know yourself best, so you're going to be the one that decides when it's time. Are there risks? Sure! Are there rewards? You better believe it.

3 Biggest Startup Agency Struggles

Molly talked about the 3 biggest struggles she faced when she went out on her own. Trust us when we say these struggles are universal. You will encounter these when you start an agency, but you can manage them if you're aware in advance.

1- Project Management: When you first start your agency, you're going to have to learn how to juggle multiple clients requests at the same time. The squeaky wheel method is probably going to take over, and you'll either be servicing the loudest or the highest paying client first. That's natural. Here's a great tip from Molly. She has a notebook that she organizes everything she has to do for each client for the week (emails, meetings, work, etc.) This way she knows what she's walking into, and she doesn't leave clients in the dust.

2- Client Alignment: When you first open your agency's doors, you want to take all-comers. It will give you some great experience and give you the foot-in-the-water that you'll need at the beginning (oh, and the money!) Once you get to the point where you can pick-and-choose your clients, you can start making sure your client's values align with yours. Molly's big tip here is to work with clients that you get along with. Picture yourself in the airport next to them — would it be miserable or not?

3- Setting Expectations: Client-agency expectation misalignment is a run-of-the-mill problem. Your client wants more than you think they do, and you thought you agreed on terms they didn't actually want. It's crucial for you to sit down with your client and set expectations. Go over the metrics with them, and introduce specifics early on.

#1 Most Important Tip for the Future of Facebook Marketing

Since Molly works a ton on Facebook, I couldn't help but ask her what she sees Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica stuff... Her biggest tip is to create content that's more engaging. As Facebook returns to newsfeed values, it's rewarding the ads that get the most engagement. Facebook wants to see users interacting with ads.

The best way to get engagement is to be authentic. The best ads are less salesy and offer more (free) value.

3 Reasons To Implement Facebook Messenger Marketing

Since Molly's also a guru on Facebook marketing, we talked about the new landscape of the platform, as well as Messenger Marketing. When done right, Facebook Messenger and chatbots can drastically change your lead generation strategy. Here's why:

  1. It's where the people are! 1.3 billion people are using Messenger, and the number continues to grow. You could make a case that Facebook is dying down, but Messenger is just getting started.
  2. The metrics are crazy. People are seeing 80 - 90% open rates and +50% CTRs on Messenger. Compare that with email's 25% open rate and a measly 4% CTR, and you'll see why chatbots and Messenger Marketing is so valuable.
  3. You get engagement. Messenger is an engagement heavy platform and users who click want to engage. People want to talk to you. Just pop a bot in to automate the first part of the conversation and then pass it on over to someone real. Get quirky with it! Messenger is filled with an audience that's ready-to-talk.

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

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

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

Direct download: How_to_Avoid_the_Top_3_Struggles_of_Starting_an_Agency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am MDT

Looking for ways to get your agency noticed by your ideal clients? Do you want to stand out among the competition? Then it's time to understand and amplify your agency's talk triggers. With the right strategy, you can conquer word-of-mouth advertising and get your ideal clients talking about your agency.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Why you should be doing something different.
  • 5 types of talk triggers.
  • #1 word-of-mouth tip.
  • What is your agency's triangle of awesome?

Today, I talked with Jay Baer founder of Convince and Convert, and (if you've been living under a rock) he's also an amazing content marketer, speaker, and author. He is also one of my favorite show guests because he's always got fantastic agency growth advice! This time, Jay is here with a lot to say on word-of-mouth advertising as well as what he calls Talk Triggers, which you can use to stand out from the competition.

Why You Should Be Doing Something Different

Jay talked about why agencies should be doing something unique and different. It's a noisy space and it's difficult to stand out among the competition even when you're the expert in your niche.

Instead of simply falling back on your expertise, do something! You have to be proactive in your word-of-mouth, and one way to do that is to take everyday things and do them differently. Putting a unique twist on something ordinary can generate a ton of buzz about your agency.

Jay gave an example of sending your proposal at the bottom of a sheet cake. If you got a proposal at the bottom of a sheet cake, wouldn't you talk about it? That's a perfect example of what Jay calls a talk-trigger.

5 Types of Talk Triggers

Jay identified 5 of these talk triggers, which he works with clients to improve. You don't have to use all of these (that may be overkill) but you should attempt to have at least one thing that you do differently than other agencies. Here's Jay's list of his 5 types of talk-triggers.

  • Generosity: These are things such as gifts, presents, or anything else that adds free value to your customer's experience.  When done, properly gifting can be an amazing talk trigger.
  • Attitude: Sometimes wacky behaviors, such as the sheet cake example, can really stand out and make a solid impression. There are a ton of things you can do to set yourself apart from your competition with attitude, as long as it's authentic. You do you! Example: Every time someone asks for more info on your agency, send them a personalized video.
  • Responsiveness:  People love doing business with people who respect their time. Speedy responsiveness can make a great impression and get people talking about you. Jay gave an example of a New York car repair shop that picks up your car at night (while you're already not using it), fixes it while you sleep, and brings it back in the morning.
  • Usefulness: This is all about being extra useful for customers. Example: Does your agency provide written content services? Provide a bonus 500-words once in a while, just to go beyond expectations.
  • Empathy: We all know we need empathy, but some agencies go above-and-beyond. Empathy is talkable when it's at the correct dose. Too much feels pushy and too little feels rigid. Example: Call people who signed up for your service and personally thank them! Ask them how they're doing while you're at it.

#1 Word-of-Mouth Tip

If you're trying to figure out how to create your own talk triggers and you just can't seem to figure out the best strategy, try this... ask your clients!

Jay recommends sitting down with your clients (new, old, and former) and ask them what they expected at every point in their buyer's journey. Let's take proposals for example. They'll probably say that they expected to get a PDF of your proposal via email (which you better not be doing unless you present it in person first!) Whatever it is they expected, do something different - try the sheet cake thing, maybe? :)

The most important thing is that you do something your customer doesn't expect and that will surprise and delight them.

What Is Your Agency's Triangle of Awesome?

Jay talked about understanding your clients. Too many agency owners and workers spend the vast majority of their time at their desks. Marketers like to think they know customers better than anyone, but that's usually not the case.

Jay recommends running talk-triggers by your triangle of awesome — which consists of marketings, sales, and service departments.

You want to get ideas flowing in from every direction and collaborate to come up with the best talk-triggers possible. Get those marketers, salesman, and customer service employees in the same room.

Cashflow or Bookkeeping Issues?

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

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

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