Your Startup Won’t Make It to 2022 Without Video in Sales

No matter how effective your current sales strategy might be, you won’t survive the next few years if you don’t add video to the mix. What’s changed to make video so important? Smartphone usage and internet speeds are driving video content consumption to unprecedented levels. Fortunately, those same technologies make it easier than ever for businesses to join the fun. Sales-centric video content makes the customer journey feel more personal while saving time for the salespeople. Instead of writing a 15-minute email, reps can spend two minutes on a short reply and include a video link that answers a prospect’s questions. In this article I contributed to Entrepreneur.com, I outline five steps to make video work for your sales strategy. Has your agency engaged the use of video marketing? I’d love to hear your feedback on what is holding you back, or the results you achieved from its use.

By |June 15th, 2019|

Your employees need clarity

I know it seems like common sense and your brain may agree — but your mouth often takes a different path. If you’re struggling to work with some of your team members, odds are you have not embraced the idea that employees need clarity. Truth be told — most agency leaders struggle with this, especially if they are offering constructive criticism or even tougher — disciplinary action. One group of employees that really needs you to get good at the whole clarity thing are your millennials. They come into your agency with very different ideas about how employees behave, what success looks like and how they can contribute. They’re eager but raw. But if you really find a way to be straightforward and very directive with your feedback, I think they will surprise you. Be it millennials or any other group of employees, agency owners and department heads can be vague, passive-aggressive, or just absent in their management style (you may well be the exception to the rule) and I think there are a few reasons for that. In a recent blog post, I dug into what gets in the way of us being more clear and then offered up some tools we can use to get better at it. Check it out and let me know what you think.  

By |June 10th, 2019|

Create a Captivating Agency Pitch through Storytelling

I’ll set the scene: Your agency is a finalist in an important pitch. You’ve got a presentation filled with ideas- In fact, it’s overflowing. You’ve got too much you want to say and not enough time to say it. Of greater concern, you’re not sure how compelling it is at all. Your team worked like dogs getting their sections ready, and the work is good, but when woven together, the presentation feels a little Frankenstein-esque. You take a break, leave the war room, and go for a walk to ruminate. Before you know it, you’re thinking about why you got into this business in the first place. You were planning on writing that novel and then… You think, "Whatever. I can still write that novel someday. But for now, there’s nothing better than witnessing how a germ of a creative idea can transform a business." Each day, you embrace the joys and sorrows of running an agency. Yes, joys and sorrows, because every single challenge you’ve met on the way has taught you something. Each frustrating problem you overcame shaped your values! Then you think about the client whose business you want to win. You think about the challenges they’re facing. You recognize their anxiety. They’ve got some big choices to make. Some are safe; others are riskier. That’s where you come in. And you realize that at the heart of the disjointed pitch deck pinned up on the war room wall is an idea so bold it could transform this client’s business. It’s not without its risks, of course. You’ve done the work dozens of times before—and often with stunning results. It’s why you’re in this business. It’s why you built this agency in the first [...]

By |June 10th, 2019|

How To Get More From Collaborative Content

Most clients hate feeling pressured to pay for services — even those they desperately need. After more than 30 years in the agency world, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to turn a friendly, low-pressure connection into a client than it is to hard sell a prospect. Prospective clients don’t go around advertising their desire to get acquainted, though. The agency must usually make the first move — that’s where content collaboration comes in. Content that puts the spotlight on a client is an effective way to make genuine connections that frequently lead to sales. To adopt a collaborative mindset and leverage client-focused content, agencies may need to rethink how they approach the creative process and audience engagement. In this piece that I contributed to Forbes.com, I discuss methods of collaborating within your network and ways in which you can form business relationships that are mutually beneficial. Tell me, how have some of your best business collaborations formed and what did you do to initiate the opportunity?  

By |June 8th, 2019|

10 Business Lessons Learned Running an Ad Agency

If you want to get an MBA from the streets, learn how to run an advertising agency. If you don’t know me, I’m Arsham Mirshah, one of two co-founders of WebMechanix. We’re coming up on 10 years in business. In that time, I’ve grown a thriving, nearly-50 employee digital marketing agency (with equal help from my co-founder, Chris Mechanic). WebMechanix has grown from an idea in a townhouse to one of the top-ranked agencies in the DC/MD/VA area according to Clutch.co and other directories. Along the way, I’ve learned running an agency might very well be the hardest business to run. With that, comes countless business lessons. Here are ten of the most important lessons in entrepreneurship, one for each year of business. Discipline One of my biggest discoveries as a CFO is that you must establish a rigid, recurring routine. For me, a strict routine means knowing: Every Tuesday, we get and process checks and update Account Receivables. Every Wednesday, we do collections. Every Thursday, we look at collections, see who is overdue, and tell the marketing team to stop working on tasks for those who are overdue. Every Friday, we look at cash flow and expenses, so we can print checks based on the cash available. Every week, I know what to do every single day, and I do the same tasks. I don’t care if there’s a tornado or hurricane, we do what we planned to do based on the schedule we established. It’s why I stress the importance of having a routine. Discipline also translates to evaluating reports. I look at the Profit & Loss statement at least once a week. If there’s a spike, I find out what went wrong [...]

By |June 3rd, 2019|

Is podcasting the new business tactic for you?

I had a great conversation (podcast) with Stephen Woessner, the host of Onward Nation about the value of podcasting, how my podcast Build A Better Agency has served my business and why I think it’s a strategy worth considering for any agency owner who is trying to establish a sustainable new business effort. Take a listen here. In the podcast, I talk about how podcasting creates a position of thought leadership and gives you a chance to connect with your prospects in ways you haven’t even imagined. It’s also killer for content creation. If it’s crossed your mind, the episode might be worth a listen. FYI — The AE bootcamp that we’re doing on September 24/25th won’t be offered again until 2020. So if you’d like your newer (5 years experience or less) AEs to actually understand their role in helping the agency and their clients make money and learn how to make that happen consistently — sign them up before we fill up! Register them today here!

By |May 27th, 2019|

Want to Land Speaking Engagements? Here’s How!

Whether you’re just getting started as a speaker or you have lots of speaking experience, it’s helpful to understand the tactics and strategies of the speaking world and what you need to do to get onto the stage more frequently to boost exposure for you and your agency. Many people are unaware that the vast majority of speaking engagements are not paid engagements. How can this be, you ask? Why would anyone give up their time and provide an audience with useful knowledge and not get paid for it? While some meeting organizers are sometimes willing to pay for a longer format than a 45-60-minute presentation, such as a workshop, it’s important to keep in mind that most events have a policy of not paying speakers other than the keynote speaker and possibly one or two featured speakers. It would be unaffordable for them to do otherwise. Further, most speakers and panelists are not interested in speaking as an income source. Rather, subject matter experts are usually trying to grow a non-speaking business, such as an agency or some other professional services firm. They look to speaking as a great way to create or boost awareness for their business and personal brand, so doing free gigs is a good business strategy. Speaking is also a great way to demonstrate thought leadership. Let’s focus primarily on unpaid speaking engagements and how to obtain those gigs. Speaking is a great way to expose your expertise to prospective customers and clients. Conferences, seminars and forums held by independent event organizers, associations, and professional and industry trade groups all offer the opportunity to reach your target customers. Furthermore, speaking often results in the attainment of business, by providing increased [...]

By |May 27th, 2019|

What Marketers Get Wrong About Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is one of the hottest trends in marketing, but it may also be one of the oldest tactics in the book. Today, informed consumers want to know everything about the brands they support. Sadly, many marketing teams take that as a license to churn out generic thought leadership that does little to show audiences why they should care. But it’s the team’s responsibility to create meaningful content: its members must cultivate thought leadership strategies that forge real connections with audiences. In this article that I contributed to SpinSucks.com, I discuss the value of intentional thought leadership content creation and the value of follower loyalty. If you want to leverage thought leadership content but have struggled to do so in the past, don’t get discouraged. Continue reading and I’ll outline the most important ideals to cling to when mapping out your way forward.

By |May 25th, 2019|

How are you investing your time?

I had a great conversation (podcast) with Andrew Dymski, the host of Inbound Agency Journey about how and where agency owners should be investing their time. We talked a little inbound but the lion’s share of the conversation would be relevant for any agency owner. Take a listen here. In the podcast, I talk about how a primary focus for any agency owner should be new business. In fact, about 50% of your time and attention should be devoted to it. How are you doing on that? To make that happen, you need to get out of the weeds of daily client work. You also need a plan of attack. Take a look at our online business course - AMI’s Agency New Business Blueprint. It just might be what you need to help you get out of the weeds. Like all AMI work, if you don’t like it, we’ll give you the money back. Check out the content here and hurry up before 2020 budgets and plans are created and you’re not part of the mix.

By |May 20th, 2019|

5 Easy Agency Hacks for Business Development

Long gone are the days when agency business development was just the combination of a prospect database, an automated direct mail program and a tenacious new business “Hawk.” Ask most anyone today charged with reeling in client prospects how they do it and they speak to the vast array of present options. All said, all things work or nothing seems to work from within the choices now on the table. Consider the obvious.  Your agency has a website with as much SEO as your IT staffers swear they know. By hook, crook or accident your site is getting traffic. Do you know what kind and by whom? Three services that can help answer that question are www.kickfire.com, www.clickback.com and www.leadforensics.com.  But they all suffer the same drawback – they can’t identify precisely who the visitor was because that’s against the “rules.” However, those programs do have value. Those prospect visits are gold in the making. Let me introduce 5 easy agency hacks for new business development that spring from those visits. Contact Us Tab An unofficial and unscientific survey suggests that more than 50% of agency websites fail to identify where they are – as in city, street, State, then zip, phone, fax and email. The ruinous but narrow minority resort to fill-in-the-blanks forms – “tell us visitor who you are, where you are, and then adding insult to injury, tell us what you want!” Client visitors know the Worldwide Internet is “worldwide” and most know where they want their new agency to be. If you were selling an “item” maybe China is acceptable, but as a service, they want close if not closer. Golden rule – show them where you are and how to get in touch in proud glorious detail. Team Tab [...]

By |May 20th, 2019|

5 Mistakes that cost agency owners money