My guest, Jami Oetting has seen both sides of agency life and is with me on this podcast to discuss new business development for agencies. She worked as a strategist at a full-service agency before deciding that she really liked reporting on what agencies are up to more than living it day-to-day. As the editor of Hubspot’s Agency Post, she gets a front row seat to what is going on in shops all over the nation and boy does she have some perspective.
In this podcast, she gives us her take on a wide array of topics from how agencies need to differentiate themselves to tips for how agencies can consistently create content. The conversation also digs into new business development for agencies in this digital age.
Some highlights include:
- Solely relying on referrals doesn’t make sense anymore. There’s a whole world out there with clients looking for specialists.
- Attract the right clients and repel the wrong ones. We discuss why it’s so much better to be upfront about who you are as an agency, and who you are not.
- Consider what your agency would look like in five years if you started specializing today, versus what it would look like if you didn’t. People will pay more for specialized expertise.
- Stay on track with your content creation. Understanding formulas and blocking time to write will allow agencies to create better content in a more efficient and consistent way.
- Create your niche from your client profile and develop a plan to generate leads from that.
Jami Oetting is the editor of Hubspot’s Agency Post, which is a blog for advertising and marketing agency professionals. She led the launch of the publication in 2011 and its growth before Hubspot acquired it in 2013. Hubspot works with about 2,500 agency partners and about 15,000 customers worldwide. Now, Jami’s blog is one of the largest blogs for agency professionals. It offers incredible content to help agency leaders grow their business.
To listen – you can visit the Build A Better Agency site (https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/jami-oetting/) and grab either the iTunes or Stitcher files or just listen to it from the web.
If you’d rather just read the conversation, the transcript is below:
Table of Contents (Jump Straight to It!)
If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.
Drew: Good day everybody, this is going to be a great episode of Build A Better Agency. Drew McLellan here to guide you to strengthening your agency, so you can enjoy all the rewards of business ownership, without all of the worries and headaches, which is why I know today’s guest is going to absolutely rock it for you.
Jami Oetting is the editor of HubSpot’s Agency Post, which is a blog which I’m sure most of you are already familiar with. But it’s a blog for advertising and marketing agency professionals. She led the launch of the publication in 2011 and its growth, and then it was acquired by HubSpot in 2013. HubSpot, as you all probably know works with about 2500 agency partners and about 15,000 customers worldwide, and now Jami’s blog, Agency Post, is one of the largest blogs for agency professionals. It offers incredible content, tips, insights, stories that help agency leaders grow their business.
Jami graduated from the University of Missouri’s journalism school, and worked as a strategist at a full-service agency, so she comes from our world, prior to deciding that writing about it was more fun than living it. So Jami, welcome to the show.
Jami: Thanks Drew for having me.
New Business Development for Agencies
Drew: So Jami and I have had lots of conversations around new business development for agencies and she certainly has been gracious enough to write about Agency Management Institute on her blog. We’ve actually appeared at some workshops together around new business. So that’s really where I want to focus my attention. You are in the catbird seat, looking at all kinds of agencies and how they are behaving over the last five or six years. So that’s kind of what I want to pick your brain about today, if you’re good with that.
Jami: Yes, for sure let’s do it.
Drew: Awesome. So, agency new business used to be a matter of, back in the good old days, used to be a matter of agency owners and leaders showing up at a rotary or a Lions Club, or an industry trade conference, and networking and kind of getting to know each other. And by building relationships, they secured clients and they got referrals. And that was really even today when I ask agency owners how are you getting clients? The one way they all point to is the referral model. But in today’s world, as agencies realize that geography shouldn’t be a barrier anymore, and especially the agencies that have decided to niche themselves and serve certain industries or verticals, or offer a certain set of services, they all of a sudden, they can serve clients anywhere in the country or in the globe. And that makes bumping into somebody at a trade show or at the rotary meeting a little more challenging. So, I’m curious how you’re seeing the idea of getting new clients. How do you see that evolving over the history of Agency Post, and even in your career at agencies?
Jami: Yeah, I mean I think you’re completely right in the fact that, and it mirrors what we see in the workforce as well, that people aren’t bound by geography. You can take your laptop anywhere and start an agency. You can run an agency from anywhere, and you can work with clients from all over the world basically. And so I think the model of solely relying on referrals, and solely relying on what business you can drum up in your backyard basically, it doesn’t make sense really anymore. That’s fine to have that as part of your strategy, but there’s a whole world out there of clients that are looking for specialists too. Which I think is the other part of that, is that you used to have all the agencies competing basically on offering five different core services.
And now, agencies are specializing in verticals. They’ve got different tactics that they specialize in, and clients really want to add these type of agencies to their rosters. So they can’t just look at the agencies that are within a 20 mile radius. And where do people go to look for some information that they don’t know? They go to Google, right?
Drew: Right. The magical Google.
Jami: The magical Google, right? We search for information that we want to find, and I think that plays into the referrals too, is because agencies still list referrals as the biggest source of new business. It’s the most valuable source of new business. We see the stats. We know that they convert at a higher rate and have higher lifetime value and so I get that. But I think the flip side of this is that the way that people give referrals for professional services, or for any service really, is very different now too. And that’s mostly driven by online as well.
So we tell people that we found this interesting company online, right? Or someone says, “Hey, do you know anyone that provides this service?” They might ask their friends but a lot of people go straight for Google to find the information they want, and they read about agencies that are publishing thought leadership pieces on different blogs like Agency Post, or they come across their website, or they come across their social profiles. I mean that’s all part of that footprint, and that is really how we’re driving referrals now I think.
Drew: Absolutely. I think, what is the statistic? I see all kinds of stats around this, but between 70 and 80% of the buying decision is made by clients looking for agencies before they ever contact the agency. So much of it today is about our digital presence and how we present and package ourselves online, so that people can passively sort of shop us before they’re ready to have a conversation with us.
Jami: Yeah, I think the thing is, and this may make sense, because the agency business isn’t a business of selling, even though we are. We don’t like to think of ourselves that way, right?
Jami: And no one likes that four letter word, but the agency business hasn’t had a really good relationship with the idea of sales, and so they’re not, I think, as attuned to the fact that buyers now have more information than the sellers do in some cases, because they’ve done all this research online. And I don’t think that people can exclude the agency business from these larger trends of how people are buying and selling, right? And that’s why sales reps used to be valuable. Because they had this briefcase of all this information that buyers could not access, right?
Jami: And now, buyers have as much, if not more, information than sellers do basically, because they’ve maybe talked to their friends and they have individual recommendations or testimonials, that type of thing, that that agency maybe has never heard before. And so you have to go into the idea of selling your agency or generating new business with a completely different frame of mind. Which is, how can I give people as much information as possible upfront so that they can not only learn who my agency is, but what services we provide, our case studies, our successes, who our executives are, who our other clients are? All of that information, but also can get to know that agency’s personality a little bit through the way that they write and describe themselves and tell their story online. So that clients can one, self-select a little bit basically, that agencies don’t spend so much time going after new business that they have no business going after really.
Drew: Bad for the clients, right?
Jami: Yeah, exactly. And people self-select, right? When I look for a service online, I look up the rates for what that plumber costs. I don’t want to relate plumbers to agency services, but it is a service. And you buy in a similar way.
Drew: As consumers, we get it, because that’s how we shop. But it’s difficult for us as business owners to understand that we’re being shopped in the same way. And what I find sort of ironic is this is what we’re doing for clients all day every day. We help clients understand this, and yet for some reason it seems to be a challenge for agency owners to wrap their head around that there’s nothing wrong with the old model of getting clients, it’s just not enough anymore.
Jami: Exactly. Well, and I think, the other thing is that this is going to become more and more of an issue as younger marketers rise in the ranks of those client-side companies, brands, basically. They’ve grown up making purchasing decisions this way. They don’t know another way. They don’t go to lunches where you have a couple drinks and that’s how you decide what agency you want to work with.
That idea is very foreign to them. And so I think if anything, this is going to accelerate in the next couple of years.
Drew: Yes, so we’ve got to get ahead of the trend and we’ve got to be comfortable with this new version of selling.
Jami: Yes, exactly and comfortable with that word I think is the other side of that.
Drew: Absolutely. I think you’re right. I think agencies have sort of held themselves above the idea that they were salespeople for so long that it’s sort of a dirty word to your point earlier, and the reality is we sell every day. We sell to clients. We sell, you’re selling internally inside your organization to try and get somebody to get something done, and we certainly sell to prospects.
Jami: Well, yeah, and I think that’s because, we talked about this a little bit but, it’s also like I referenced earlier where salespeople used to have all this power, because they had all the products specs and everything in their briefcase that they carried around from client to potential client. And now because they have so much information, it’s not so much about selling but about being able to provide customized information and specific knowledge and things that are very, that that potential client or prospect wants to know. Once you actually get to the point where you’re having that conversation, then the agency can make a very tailored recommendation. And agencies are, historically this is what we do. We’re not Ikea.
We make custom solutions for our clients, and so that teaching and educating and being able to provide individual knowledge and individual recommendations is what we’re really good at. We just have to get them to that point.
Specializing and Niching Your Agency
Drew: Yeah, I think you’re right. So as you observe agencies across the spectrum, the agencies that have really wrapped their head around this and have really tweaked their new business development model to understand that they have to be ready to be shopped and they have to be able to position themselves online in a certain way to attract sweet spot clients, and also I keep telling agency owners, it’s not just about attracting the right ones, it’s also about repelling the wrong ones. The ones that are going to be a bad fit, or you’re not going to be able to make money. Better to deal with that right up front by being very clear about who you are and who you are not. But, as you look across the spectrum and you see agencies that are doing this well, what do they have in common? What are they doing well?
Jami: So I think that really leads to what agencies are doing around this whole idea of inbound marketing for the sole purpose of business development. And part of that is that they are like you said, they’re defining their niche. They are defining what they want to talk about, and who they want to talk about. And part of that they need to figure out who their ideal client is if they don’t have a profile already. They go into building those kind of buyer personas to be able to understand, What do my readers care about?, or my prospects?, which is the same thing in this case. What do they want to know about? What are their challenges and struggles, and what can I help them be more educated on?
So I think the first thing is really finding that area and defining what you’re going to talk about, and what’s equally as important in that practice is what you’re not going to talk about.
Drew: Yes. Talk a little bit more about that.
Jami: I think it helps, so I can say that I’m going to talk about healthcare marketing, right? So kind of a, if I’m an agency and I have a strong practice in healthcare marketing, and I know that these are my best type of clients. So I want to attract more of these type of clients, right? So, I’m going to start a blog about healthcare marketing. But I think there’s so many different segments in there, right?
So you could say, healthcare, well, we’ve worked with some health organizations that are more like wellness side of stuff, that are chiropractors, right? And we find that they’re not the best type of clients. Or we find that that would create this kind of confusing mix on our blog of content that’s partly for this type of person and partly for that type of person, and then you have two conflicting areas. So, you really need to also, on that other side, figure out who you’re not going to talk about, that might be closely aligned with your core niche.
Drew: Right. I’m going to do Pharma but I’m not going to do hospitals. Or I’m going to do doc-clinics but I’m not going to do midwives or whatever. What you’re saying is be careful that you’re niching down narrow enough?
Jami: Yeah, exactly because you want to capture your core audience, and you should be alienating a large percentage of your actual audience. That should be your goal in some ways.
The other thing I’ve seen that people really have to approach inbound marketing, content creation, at that core, is they have to commit to it. So a lot of times what I see is that people, they start blogging and they post it on their website and they come back and in that first day they get some shares and then two weeks later they’re like, “Well this didn’t work. So, I don’t think we’re going to do this whole blogging thing anymore.”
And that’s approaching it from this idea of just throwing something at the wall and hoping that someone comes up and picks up your business card and says, “Oh, I want to work with you.” It’s really a long-term strategy that people have to commit to. I think we’ve done some studies on this that people who have a library of content, they get a lot more leads and a lot more traffic than those that have less than 300 blog posts or something like that. So you really have to build up that library.
And you have to do it in a thoughtful way, which is starting with understanding your niche, doing keyword research, understanding what people are actually searching for. What are the actual problems people have? Really committing to it.
And then doing it like you would do any other campaign, which is setting goals, and then figuring out how to re-use those campaign assets elsewhere. If you’re writing these great blog posts, use those in email nurturing campaigns and create this full funnel experience for the prospects who are visiting your blog and subscribing to your email. Make yourself accountable to those goals at the end of every month, just like you should do for your new business person. Figure out on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis what goals are we hitting and why are we not hitting those.
Drew: But you know it’s interesting, because I know the listeners are nodding their heads, because this is the speech they give their clients every day.
Jami: Yeah, exactly. I’m the most horrible blogger out there. I’m a reminder for all agency professionals of what they say to their clients.
Drew: But you know what, they don’t do it. So they know it, but they don’t do it. So, I know you’ve talked to people who have been successful at it, so what are they doing differently? Is it as simple, if you remember the conference that we were at together, what I told them in my presentation was, here’s the silver bullet to do business. You have to decide to actually do it every day.
But is there something that the successful agencies are doing to actually be accountable and to make the commitment for the long haul, and to create that library of content, and to be brave enough to niche. Is there something different that they’re doing or that they know that our listeners need to hear?
Jami: Well I think one of it is, I think you’re totally right, Drew, in that doing it everyday and just committing to it is part of it. I think the other part of it, I talked to an agency and they were out of Colorado Springs, and I’ve written about them before, and they had historically been a direct mail firm. And they started committing to inbound a couple of years ago and then they really started to specialize about a year, a year and a half ago, something like that. And they just realized that they weren’t going to exist in a couple of years if they didn’t do something different. And so that’s a very dreary prospect to say that this is why you should do this. But I don’t think it’s out of scope here to say that if you can’t do this for yourself, and if you can’t commit to this type of ongoing inbound new business prospect, there are agencies out there that obviously get away with not doing any inbound. They get a lot of mentions in the press, and they’re looking most likely to be bought up by someone else. But for those of us who want to grow really strong, really successful and independent agencies, I think it’s important that you need to then diversify how you’re bringing in new business.
And then if you’re not attracting people that are outside of your current sphere of influence, because like I said, the referrals are great, but that dries up eventually. And you’re not attracting, you’re not setting yourself to attract the people who are going to be CMOs in five years and that thinking about the way that they’re going to make purchasing decisions for services. I don’t know, I think that’s a question to think about … what your agency would look like in five years if you started this today versus what it would look like in five years if you didn’t do this?
Drew: Yes. One of the things that as the CEO of AMI that I get to look at is the financials of 100, 200 agencies a year. And I will tell you that when I look at the bottom line, there is a direct correlation to specialization and niching and being able to have a new business program that just chugs along and tells a different story to the generalists out there. And the generalists are struggling to not be commoditized and to still make money, and I think that, the struggle, the hill is about to get even more steep for them.
Jami: Yeah, I think you and I talked about the fact that if you’re not specialized, basically the only thing you’re competing on is price. And I think people will pay more for something that they see as higher quality, more expertise, that they hope will give them better results. And I think the other thing that’s interesting about this is that if agencies can do this for themselves, if they can put themselves above the needs of their clients, it really changes the way that the agency operates as well whenever the agency is its most important client. And that’s the one client it doesn’t want to lose or fail for or mess up. And I think that that brings an entirely new outlook for not only the leadership but also the staff.
Because part of, I see it on agencies websites, which are somewhat of a mess between if they’re writing for prospects or they’re writing for their current clients, or they’re writing for talent, but the other issue is obviously going to be talent retention in the next couple of years. And that’s going to determine whether or not you’re going to be able to win new business because of the work that you’ve done. Because of the talent that you have in your agency. And that young talent is looking for companies who they can relate to. And I think a lot of times we do that through content.
Drew: Yes, well I think they’re looking for companies that they can rely on, so I want a strong, stable company. And so part of the, as agencies struggle, there’s certainly an employee shortage that we are in the midst of now, and I don’t think it’s going to get better anytime soon, especially for digitally savvy agency employees. And agencies are struggling to attract the right kind of people. And again the agencies that are having better luck at that are the specialists who can really articulate who and what they are all about, and who and what they are not all about.
Jami: Yeah, I wish that I could…if I were to apply for an agency job now, I wish that I had gone in and asked what is your new business plan? How are you guys generating new business? Because as a young agency employee, if you realize that they can’t answer that succinctly in an interview, and they can’t list anything that is sustainable versus, “We sit someone in a chair and have them cold call and design mailings and go through a bunch of…”
Drew: Or the hit-or-miss of referrals, right?
Jami: Yes, exactly.
Drew: Yeah right, then as an employee who has choices today, because everybody’s trying to hire, why would you go work there?
Jami: Yeah, exactly, I’m going to go down the street to the startup, where I’m not going to have to deal with needy clients, and I’m going to get to do a lot of different things, and I can call myself a budding entrepreneur.
Drew: Or I’m going to go to the agency that has their act together, because that feels more stable to me.
Jami: Yeah, exactly. I think talent is going to become more savvy, if they’re not already, in figuring out how stable is this job. Especially for a lot of people who went through the recession and were laid off. I had friends who were laid off four or five, six times in an eight year span of time just because every company that they joined then faced layoffs. So stability is one way I guess.
Drew: Yep, absolutely. So, as you observe agencies who are doing it well, are there some best practices for our listeners who are saying, “Okay, I get it, I have drank the kool-aid, I’ve gotta get better about this. I’m going to niche myself.” Are there some best practices that you’ve observed that helps agencies do this well?
Jami: Yeah, well, I think part of it is setting goals, and that is one of the most important things that I’ve seen that leads to success. I don’t like goals either, but I still track them on a monthly basis, and it really helps me think about what I’m doing. And not just a, “I’m creating something,” but also the results of that. And then it holds people accountable, right? I think the other thing is making someone on the team responsible for marketing the agency. And responsible for getting these things done. That person, if you can afford to have an entirely, a higher head count for that role, that would be fantastic.
If they need to, take on one or two clients while they’re doing this other thing, I think you can make that work. But it’s hard, because I understand how the client’s stuff can come first a lot of times. So I think having someone who is solely responsible for this on your team and someone who can wrangle the owner to write or interview them, who can come up with ideas, who can coordinate with your creative team to get designs, all of that type of thing. You need someone whose main goals and success at the agency is also associated with the success of the marketing of the agency, or the new business results. And you have a new business person that really buys into that and should support that in a big way.
Creating Content that Fits Your Niche
Drew: So, you’re creating a lot of content. Here’s what I hear agencies say. I know I need to do all of this. I get it. We just can’t get it done, because we’re always so busy putting out client fires or whatever. So I’m assuming as an editor of a very busy and active blog, that you too run into, “How in the world do I get all this done, and how do I stay on schedule?” and, are there some tricks or tips that you can offer agency owners on how to create this content on a regular basis?
Jami: Yeah. So there’re a couple of things that I do, because I get it. And my full-time job is writing, but I still get pulled into all the meetings and events and stuff like that, which can mean by the time I get to my desk like today at four o’clock, I’m not going to have much time to write a blog post for today, right? So there’s a couple of things.
One thing is to understand the formulas associated with writing blog posts. So, there’s the how to blog post. There’s the list blog post. There’s the infographic. There’s all of these different formulas, and we’ve got some resources on that on our blog that I can send you, that help you organize your thoughts based on an outline or a structure. And that can make the writing process a lot easier when you actually sit down to write.
I use our company’s flexibility with working from home. And sometimes I’ll just block off two hours on my calendar every single morning from 7:00 to 9:00 or 7:00 to 10:00, and I’ll use that time to write and try to get that out of the way before I have to come into the office and go to a bunch of meetings. And especially if you’re in a leadership position in an agency, what happens between like nine and ten o’clock, you’re getting your coffee, you’re checking your email, all of that type of stuff. Anything can wait until then quite frankly. I would hope so.
Drew: Yes. We’re not saving lives.
Jami: Yeah, we’re not saving lives here. And using that early morning time to really put your thoughts together, to research, it’s this very relaxing meditative thing as well. The other thing I do is I use Trello. So I know a lot of people use this tool. It’s basically a repository, a lot of developers use it to manage projects.
You can use it for a lot of different cases. But I have a board that’s basically just post ideas that anytime I’m reading, as I’m going through the morning and I’m reading different emails that I subscribe to, different industry publications that I read every morning, different general publications that you’re just reading the news. Whenever I come across in my day, I say, “Oh! that would make a good article.” And I throw a link to that and the idea that I had when I first saw that on my Trello board. And then when I go back there, I’ve got 100 articles basically that could be written on various different subjects that are fairly timely, because I’ve seen someone else write about them, someone else finds it interesting. So that’s a good way of always looking for ideas to and what you’re reading, if you’re actively reading instead of simply just reading for information. If you’re reading for a purpose it can help you spot those ideas anywhere.
Drew: Well, I think that after you create content for a while, you sort of get in a groove without even meaning to, it’s almost at a subconscious level, blog post or article ideas or content ideas sort of pop up all the time. A lot of times I’ll be out doing something. For example, I’ll be out to dinner with my daughter and we’ll have bad service, and my daughter will look at me and she’ll go, “You’re gonna write a blog post about that, aren’t you?” That sort of life experiences and what you read and what you observe sort of automatically get tucked away. But I think having some sort of a tool whether it’s Wunderlist, or Trello, or Evernote, or any of those, that is sort of your, do not count on your brain being the repository for the ideas, because that doesn’t work out so well.
Jami: No, exactly. I still get writer’s block, and I do this every single day. So sitting in front of a blank word document or a blank CMS page can be overwhelming. So if you have that repository, you know that you can go back to it.
The other thing that I suggest is, interviews are a great way to create content. I do a lot of these, and I would think for agency owners, make up a list of your top 20 prospects that you’d like to work with. And call them up and ask them if they’d like to be interviewed for a blog post. That you’d like to talk about the emerging trends and the retail space, or in the food and beverage space, or whatever that is and spend time building your relationship with them through content. You don’t want to go in with a hard sell, but it’s a really great way to get in touch with someone, and I think a really fantastic way to think about building up that referral network, right?
Drew: Well, I think the very person who’s ignoring your new business phone calls and direct mail will take your call or email when you tell them you want to interview them for a blog or a podcast that gets some traffic. And so, it’s a brilliant new business strategy. And I’m constantly encouraging AMI members to sort of incorporate that in their new business programs. When you go at a conversation like you’re a reporter and you’re really asking questions and through your good questions you’re demonstrating your expertise in the same space. And all of a sudden, at the end of the conversation they’re going to turn to you and say, “This was great, thanks so much for the interview. Tell me again what you do?” Or, “How is it that you know so much about the food and beverage industry?” or whatever, and that’s the door to very gently just say, “Well you know what, that’s what my agency specializes in. Thanks again so much, I’ll let you know when the podcast goes or the blog.” So again, to your point, it’s not time to do the hard sell or pull out the brochure. And that’s the place where I think a lot of agency owners sort of stumble, is when the doors open a crack, they shove their way through it as opposed to just slipping something through the crack. But it’s a great way to get in front of and get on the radar screen of prospects.
Jami: Yeah, because even if that prospect is not looking for an agency, if they think you’re smart, if they think you’re personable, if they really like the conversation that they had and you gained a lot of respect during that interaction, who do you think they’re going to send their interview to? They’re going to send it to all their marketing friends. Marketers have a lot of other CMO friends, close-knit circles where they talk and discuss, just like agencies do. And so I think that you can’t think about content just from a single view perspective. Because one, it’s about what’s shared around and what’s passed around and who people know, because they’ve read about you or someone else, yeah.
Drew: Well, and I think it’s the beginning of the relationship. So, if you’re a prospect, and I interview you, and you say something in our conversation that reminds me of a blog post I wrote three months ago, at the end of the conversation, I can say, “I really loved what you said about XYZ. I’m going to send you something I wrote a few months ago about that very topic,” and now we have this ongoing dialogue. Because I’m going to send it to you, and you’re going to write me back and go “Thanks for sending it,” or, “I think you’re full of crap,” or, “Boy, you’re brilliant,” or whatever that is. But now we’re having a conversation at a completely different level than, “Hey, I want to sell you something.”
Jami: Yeah, exactly. And I think we’ve talked about this as well. Is creating these nurturing programs, using the content that you’re creating and that you stay top of mind for a year, for two years, for three years, for however long it takes that prospect to decide that they want to work with an agency, that you’re continually sending them information that’s valuable to them, because you know who they are and you know what matters to them, right?
Yeah, and it’s just a really low touch way to kind of continue that conversation.
Drew: Yep, absolutely. We have been all over the board on this, but I…
Jami: I know.
Drew: …well I’m glad. I mean, this is such a hot topic, and agency owners, this is just something that they are constantly banging their heads against brick walls about. And so we’ve given them lots of stuff to think about, and some great action items. For the agency owners that are listening that are sort of saying, “Okay, I get it, I am going to decide to do this. I’m going to commit,” are there a couple of things that you can suggest that they could do right off the bat? That they can get started on to get on the path of this new business model?
Jami: Yeah. So I think one is to, which we’ve talked about, is finding that niche when it comes to new business development for agencies. And part of that should be determined by an ideal client profile or a buyer persona, or however you want to phrase that. But you should really understand who your best type of clients are, and create a plan about what you’re going to do to get more of those. And part of that needs to be this inbound marketing strategy with a strong reliance on content creation.
The second thing people can do is then once you’ve figured out that niche, do that keyword research. Figure out what the top 10 things are that people are searching for, or the top 10 things that you can educate people on. And then write those really long in-depth pieces of content around that. You don’t need to write every single day and post every single day. But really make an effort to create those kind of canonical pieces of content that can serve as the backbone of your blog and continue to bring in more people through organic search if they’re searching for certain keyword phrases. And you can hopefully capture some of that ideal client, or some of those people in your ideal client profile.
Drew: So when you say a really long piece, what does that look like? Give me a ballpark word count.
Jami: Yeah, so we’ve done some studies on this on the Hubspot blog, and I would suggest these longer, not every blog post needs to be that, but 1500 words. We actually found that the posts that had the most backlinks and the most shares were actually more than 2500 words long.
Jami: So, it’s surprisingly obviously, and intimidating in a certain way if people haven’t written like that before. But it is a good way to not try to take over the world but to write a couple of really really in-depth, the authority, the guide on that subject, for people, for your target audience, basically.
Drew: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, this has been awesome. Any other thoughts that you want to share with our listeners before we wrap things up?
Jami: No I think, I just want to remind people I think is to make yourself your own best example client. And I think that that will really change the conversations that you’re having during the new business process.
Drew: Yeah, great advice. If folks want to track you down, learn more about you, read your content, where’s the best places for them to find you?
Jami: Yeah, so you can find Agency Post at blog.hubspot.com/agencypost. You can also connect with me on Twitter. I’m @jami, J-A-M-I oetting O-E-T-T-I-N-G and, yeah. Should I provide my email?
Drew: Sure, that’d be great, yep.
Jami: Okay, people can also reach out to me, I’m [email protected]
Drew: Yeah, awesome. Thank you so much for making the time to do this. I know you’re super busy, so I really appreciate it. Thanks for sharing. You’re very unique. You’re in a unique position that you get to see how all these agencies operate, and what they’re doing well and not, so I’m really grateful that you took the time to share all of that with us. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Jami: Yeah, thanks for having me Drew. This was fantastic.
Drew: You bet. So everybody, that wraps up another episode of Build A Better Agency. I will be back next week with another episode, with another guest who’s ready to really bring it, and to share really thought- provoking content with you. I’m excited to do that. As always, remember if this content has been useful for you, make sure you don’t miss an episode by subscribing at your favorite podcast provider, iTunes or Stitcher, depending on your tool of choice. And as always, I’m open for feedback or questions or suggestions of other people you’d like to hear me interview. So you can always reach me at [email protected]
And if you’re liking what we’re doing, I would really greatly appreciate reviews and ratings, because that lets us get in front of more folks so that we can spread the word. So, go out there and build a better agency that serves your purpose. That’s the reason why you took the risk in the first place, and I will see you next week.
That’s all for this episode of Build A Better Agency on new business development for agencies. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops and other ways we serve small to mid-sized agencies. While you’re there, sign up for our e-newsletter, grab our free eBook, and check out the blog. Growing a bigger better agency that make more money, attracts bigger clients and doesn’t consume your life is possible here on Build A Better Agency.