3 Science-Backed Reasons You Need to Post on LinkedIn

The image that most professionals have about posting on social media isn’t too positive. In fact, it’s usually downright horrible. When you picture “posting on social media,” what image comes up? Teenagers sprawled on their beds and posting Instagram selfies on their phone? The hipster taking a picture of their food at a restaurant for Facebook? Your friend who can’t seem to stop posting their every thought to Twitter? If that’s how you view social media engagement, it’s easy to blow it off. It doesn’t seem connected to the goal of winning more business. But what if I told you that there was actually science behind why you should be online? There are very specific professional outcomes that you can support through regular and consistent engagement on social media. And for your professional goals, there’s still no better place to spend that time than on LinkedIn. Unconsciously (and Powerfully) Influence Your Prospects Through LinkedIn If you want to build your credibility, influence, and reach, there are no tools as efficient, scalable, and accessible as social media platforms. Social selling advocates tend to focus on using digital platforms for research, pipeline-building, and information-gathering, and rightly so. There are also powerful ways that all professionals can use it for building a stronger brand among your network. You can use it to make your presence known and actively influence your connections. And your connections might not even know that it’s happening, because much of what influences us isn’t being processed at a conscious level. We can see this by looking at the ideas and writing of researchers like Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, and Sheena Iyenga. Central to their research are the cognitive biases and unconscious heuristics that influence [...]

By |October 4th, 2018|

9 Steps to Picking a Niche for Your Digital Agency

As a digital agency owner, you probably tell your clients all the time that they need to refine and focus in on their service or product offerings. But have you applied the same logic to your own digital agency? Finding a niche for your digital agency allows you to connect with your prospects and deliver a unique selling proposition that speaks directly to them. To make this connection with a prospect on the first impression though you must have clear and targeted messaging. If you’re trying to tell ten different stories and appeal to ten different audiences, then you’ll lose them all. This is why you’ve never seen an Asian-Italian-Greek-Burger-Smoothie fusion restaurant. Sounds silly when you think of it like that. So why then are you and your digital agency trying to help so many people, in so many different industries, by providing so many different services? Instead of focusing in on on being really good at one thing and developing a killer value proposition along the way, you’re spreading yourself too thin. Find a niche for your digital agency now. Every day you waste, the competition is getting more focused, more precise, and more skilled at the niche you could be in. However, it’s important to pick the right niche, one that provides enough opportunity for new business without being oversaturated. You need to be able to carve out a unique section for your agency and there needs to be a demand for it. Follow the nine steps below to find your digital agency’s perfect niche and start growing your agency today. 1. Find a niche that is digitally friendly Is the industry digitally friendly? A lot of industries have done as little as [...]

By |September 18th, 2018|

Podcasting For Advertising Agencies: How to Win New Clients, Part I

If you run an agency, or any B2B services firm, you’re in the business of relationships. Relationships = partnerships, (and therefore sales). The more conversations you have with the right people, the better your business will be for it. If we disagree on this, you may not derive much from this article... If we agree, however, read on! Imagine if you had a way to get a meeting with anyone you wanted to, and build a genuine value-driven relationship with them? At scale. A Tier 1 potential client. A great referral partner. An influencer who could promote you to their audience. What would that do for your agency? In this post, I’m going to detail the exact process for building those relationships at scale, in a very short amount of time, by using a channel that is massively under-utilized by agencies - podcasting for advertising agencies. Podcasting For Advertising Agencies It won’t go into detail of how to properly launch a podcast - that’s another post entirely (or you can see this free video workshop here). So with that, let’s get into it. But first, to dispel some myths: Don’t I need to build an audience over 6-12 months before I see results from podcasting? Short answer: no. When most people think of the benefits of podcasting, they think of the primary content marketing benefit. Build an audience of listeners, provide valuable content, give away free education and build trust in the eyes (or ears) of your listeners. Eventually you will get leads, and those leads will be great leads, because they feel like they already know you. After all, you’ve been in their ears for 30 minutes every week. And believe me, that’s a [...]

By |September 11th, 2018|

The Secret Way to Grow Your Agency Fast

I don’t run an agency, but I do work with agencies to develop a sales process custom-suited for generating repeatable new business opportunities. In the next 5 minutes you spend reading this post, I’m going to share the exact method you could start experimenting with to double the productivity of your agency’s outbound business development. In short, I’m going to share the secret way to grow your agency fast. Really Fast. Fair warning – I am going to talk about the two tools I’ve founded (SellHack and Replify) throughout this article. There are certainly other tools out there that do the same type of work and I’ve mentioned a few throughout the piece. Even if you choose to do all of this manually, it will still work. It’s just a matter of how much time versus money do you want to spend. How to Grow Your Agency Really Fast Step 1 in the process of how to grow your agency really fast relies very much on the word “experiment.” This is a word carefully chosen to describe the mindset your business development team must embrace when hunting for new clients. Some of you are reading this thinking, “Yeah, but most of my business comes from referrals.” Okay, great. Keep asking for referrals. But if you’re serious about how to grow your agency really fast, forget referrals and do what I suggest. Consider a New Channel for Developing Leads Moving away from relying solely on referrals is smart business. So I’m suggesting you consider a new channel for developing leads: An outbound channel. More specifically, I’m talking about automating your prospect list-building, sending cold emails and follow-ups. You can do this manually or you can use [...]

By |September 4th, 2018|

How to Find Top-Level Freelancers to Help You Grow Your Business with Nathan Hirsch

One of the most common challenges agencies of all sizes are facing right now is finding the right people to add to the team, especially as it relates to learning how to find freelancers who are capable of doing the great work that agencies require. Client budgets and programs are growing, agency new business is getting a little easier and so everything should be rosy. But when you don’t have the right team to get the work done – it’s frustrating and frightening.   Ten to fifteen years ago, the prevailing attitude was that agencies needed everyone under one roof. After all, the work is so collaborative. But when the recession hit and people had to reduce fixed expenses to survive, many agencies who swore they would never try to manage a network of freelancers or hire someone virtual crossed over and did just that. Not only did they survive it – but it opened up many opportunities to serve clients in new ways.  Fast forward to today – whether you are in a big market with lots of talent (and lots of competitors for that talent) or in a smaller market that just doesn’t have enough qualified bodies – finding and keeping the right team is a serious struggle. Most AMI agencies have a pretty robust freelance pool and are versed in knowing how to find freelancers. 75% have some sort of flex hours where people either come in early/leave early, come in late/leave late or have some sort of non-traditional work week, be it fewer than five days a week or a full work week but they work from home one or more days. In terms of remote employees, I would say that [...]

By |February 8th, 2018|

Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Podcast in 2018

I’ve become a morning walking companion to people I may never meet. How is this possible? They take me along in their earbuds as they stream my podcast, Build a Better Agency It’s a wonderful sign of things to come for marketers willing to venture into the podcasting universe. Once a fringe platform, podcasts are now surprisingly mainstream. According to Nielsen, six out of 10 people understand what they are, and 112 million Americans -- 40 percent of the nation’s population -- have listened to at least one. Though podcast listeners lean male, it isn’t by much: 56 percent are men, while 44 percent are women. Discover instructions on how to get a podcast up and running. Marketing professionals must not only be aware of these statistics, but they must also leverage them in their own campaigns. When 67 million men and women are monthly podcast consumers, it’s a niche that deserves serious contemplation. Add to that fact the amazing statistic that 63 percent of podcast listeners made a purchase based on something the host recommended, and you have yourself a veritable gold mine. Of course, you have to crawl, then walk, then break into a steady trot to glean the benefits. A no-nonsense primer from a podcast experimenter. In my case, I’d written blog posts, conducted webinars, and published articles in places like Forbes and Fast Company for some time. These content producers worked, but I felt a different portal would help connect with more agencies and leaders in an accessible, easy to find, on-demand format. As a longtime podcast listener myself, I recognized that the podcasting platform was the next logical step for me -- especially if I wanted to reach a narrow [...]

By |January 10th, 2018|

Six Simple Steps To Mastering Marketing Automation

Marketing automation isn’t a passing fad. The technology has completely transformed the worlds of marketing and advertising and will continue to do so in the coming years. While big names like Marketo, Oracle Eloqua and Pardot tend to dominate the conversation, there are countless other players in the marketing automation space, and the market is projected to reach $7.63 billion by 2025. For marketers and agency leaders who want to stay ahead of the competition, the evolution of marketing automation technology will present opportunities that were unimaginable just a few year ago. But diving into it without a plan isn’t smart — it'll lead to more headaches than marketing miracles. Instead, start with a strategy. The Tool Is Not The Strategy Lead generation is the top priority for most CMOs that I talk to, so it’s not surprising that marketing automation software has gained such traction within the industry. It has the potential to make lead generation easier and more efficient than ever. But the success of any lead generation tactic has always depended upon the effectiveness of the strategy behind it. That’s still the case. In fact, strategy may even be more important now that a sizable part of the marketing process can be automated. Yet many of the clients I work with tend to focus (sometimes obsessively) on specific tools or features they’re missing rather than on how their marketing automation platforms fit within their marketing strategies. I’ve had an agency client try out three different platforms before deciding that each was insufficient when the reality is that any of them would have been fine. Rather than looking at marketing automation software as a comprehensive marketing solution, we have to view it as just one mechanism [...]

By |December 13th, 2017|

Growth-Driven Design: A Smarter Approach to Profitable Web Development with Luke Summerfield

Web development seems to be a constant conundrum for most agency owners. It’s hard to hire and it’s even tougher to make money on web projects these days. On top of the profitability issue, there’s the scope creep and timeline challenges. Many agencies have actually gotten out of the web dev side of the business. But is that the right choice? My podcast guest Luke Summerfield would say no. He’s got a different way of looking at building out websites and other digital assets. He calls it Growth-Driven Design, a smarter approach to web design. It’s a methodology that puts a whole new perspective on web dev both for your shop and your clients. Rather than a one and done product as most agencies view websites, Luke and his team take an iterative approach to making their websites an ongoing project with stages and continuous improvement. Join Luke and I as he walks you through this new way of selling and creating websites that deliver for both your clients and your agency. Growth-driven design: what this “smarter way to do web design” is all about Why the platform you use for your website doesn’t matter with growth-driven design How growth-driven design was born out of the pain both agencies and clients felt around web development and why this system is so much better than previous ways of doing web dev Step 1: getting an empathetic understanding of your client’s audience’s world Step 2: building a “launch pad” website -- something that looks and performs better than what the client already has but is not the final product Step 3: continually improving websites How to sell and price growth-driven design to clients Why you should always [...]

By |October 26th, 2017|

How the Creative Director Role is Changing in the Digital Age

Our industry isn’t just changing, it’s evolving. What we offer clients, how we’re measuring success and the tools we use are all constantly changing. While the changes are helping us grow our agencies and future proof our businesses – it also means some painful changes to how we’re structured. The biggest change I am seeing within agencies is the shift in how we use the creative director role. I’m seeing more and more agencies realigning their agencies to meet the current demands of today and more often than not, that doesn’t include a traditional creative director.   Creative directors have played a significant role in agencies since their inception but now, out of necessity, they are morphing into all sorts of new roles. Join me as I detail out the changes that agencies are making to revamp their creative director roles such as: Why the days where creative led agencies have passed and why creative has been replaced by strategy, content, and lead gen The shortage of writers compared to the abundance of art directors and why that’s a pretty big issue for agencies Why the creative director role isn’t in that high of demand anymore, and what traditional creative directors look like in the agencies that have them Administrative, account service, and creative services: the three departments that make up most agencies today The triad of leadership - a writer, art director, and digital producer form to lead the creative services department in lieu of a creative director Why you don’t usually even need to produce spec creative for a pitch anymore Figuring out which roles inside your agency you still need Allocating funds from cut positions elsewhere to serve your clients better Drew [...]

By |October 12th, 2017|

How to Develop a Thought Leadership Content Strategy with John Hall

Now more than ever before, you have to differentiate yourself as an agency but with so many channels out there to consume content and distribute it in, how do you do it?  Two words - thought leadership. Agency owners talk about the idea of thought leadership and the importance of it but never seem to get off the dime. They just don’t know how. My podcast guest John Hall has thought leadership down cold. As the the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co, he spends his time advising agencies on how to differentiate themselves with thought leadership and leverage the content they are creating. John and his team have helped agencies position themselves as leaders by creating content that is helpful, unique and truly their own. Join John and I as we lay out a blueprint for you to finally get that thought leadership done: Thought leadership: why it’s something you have to do Creating a thought leadership content marketing blueprint Why your blogs should have the author’s name for a byline -- not the agency’s name Strategies for creating content that isn’t generic How to build thought leadership into your schedule so that you actually spend time on it -- and what to do if you can’t Finding the ideal mix for publishing content on your own site vs. externally Big mistakes agencies make with their content Why thought leadership content marketing is here for the long haul John Hall is co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps companies and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to their key audiences. In five years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|