Episodes

  • How to Amp Up Your Agency or Client’s Video Presence

    · 00:27:31 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Are you avoiding video? Afraid you’re not interesting enough or don’t have enough content to produce? Does it look too hard or are you worrying about production quality? Find out how to build your digital communication with a video presence. It’s more accessible and approachable than you think! In this episode, we’ll cover: Understanding the importance of vlogging. Finding a style that works for you and/or your client. How to avoid getting discouraged. How to turn viewers into subscribers. Today I’m chatting with Amy Schmittauer, a media triple threat as a successful YouTuber, with her channel Savvy Sexy Social, best selling author of Vlog Like A Boss and keynote speaker. If anyone understands the power and importance of video in digital communication it’s Amy. She's looked to as the authority in the how-to vlogging space and actually one of the influencers of my vlog, SwenkToday. Understanding the Importance of Vlogging Digital communications is becoming a big need for businesses, both large and small. This need started with social media but is now moving towards video. It is difficult to survive online communications or digital marketing without some form of video. Understanding the way people are consuming content is going to decide your digital communication. People are trying to find the better, faster way of what they want… video accommodates that need. Video and vlogs are growing because they make the host seem approachable. The platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, etc. are growing and video is becoming more accessible. Because of this, it’s time to step outside your box and start asking, “How can we, as an agency, better consider what our customer wants when it comes to video?” Sit down and have a conversation with clients because using the visual of video is going to make a much deeper connection. This will help your agency make more money and serve your clients better, because this is a necessity in business today. Finding a Style That Works for You People can get caught up in feeling uninteresting, but that is the beauty of video… you can make ANYTHING look and sound interesting with video, IF you think about what it’s like for the end user! So when you think about your video style you need to ask yourself these 3 questions: 1. What is the Brand of You? How do you want people to be talking about you? Get creative. Stay consistent so your audience can get to know you and care about you. 2. Who are You Talking To? Know your audience. Know what your audience wants. This will make you more interesting and keep them watching! 3. What is Your Audience Size and Loyalty Level? If you are new to vlogging and have little or no audience, you have a lot of work to do to earn trust and interest. This will help you build a solid base audience, which can allow you to take things to another level and take some liberties with your content. If you are more concerned with the number of views than the quality of viewer… you’re in trouble. How to Build a Solid Video Presence Don’t get discouraged! I get it, entrepreneurs are impatient (myself included!). Remember: It’s not about the number of views or number of people you reach, because it just takes one person -- the perfect customer. Don’t lose focus on who that person is. It’s tough, vanity metrics on Facebook can make it hard to choose a platform. Facebook feels like your content is getting more views, but in reality, the context of that view is not as valuable as on, say, YouTube. Facebook pushes content into a newsfeed, can come without audio, and is logged as a view if it's watched for 3 seconds or more. So of course, views can look higher on Facebook. YouTube viewers are more intentional. They come looking for the content you are providing and a view isn’t ticked off until 30 seconds is viewed. Every platform has a different algorithm to make more money and keep people happy. But remember, you are working with the same algorithm as top YouTubers. If you get that one person, that perfect customer to watch you and can build a connection through advising them on something that will help them in a positive way… that’s all that matters. Keep ‘Em Coming Back The BEST thing to do to get people to come back is: Ask them. DO ask for them to subscribe - the ask makes them more likely to do it. DON'T assume if they watch your video they will subscribe. DON'T assume if you put a visual, without actually calling it out, they’ll subscribe. Technology is always trying to get better for the viewer and also the vlogger, but sometimes they conflict. You have to be explicit. Lead off with it, but make it short. You don’t want to spend too much time or you will lose them. You want to keep your viewer until the end. If you get them to watch your video all the way to the end, you are considered their thought leader. So tell them what to do next, whatever the natural next step might be (i.e. subscribe, opt-in with email, or visit your site). Say it. You have to say it. Use visuals and create features that make for a nice user experience. This also encourages more action. Related: Want to get better at producing video? Check out this episode: https://jasonswenk.com/video-marketing/ Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • 3 Elements of a Proven Agency Sales Process

    · 00:26:31 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Is your agency using the Foot in the Door strategy? Are you keeping all the clients you want to? Learn the three core parts of a proven sales process that is working to renew client contracts and improve recurring revenue. In this episode, we’ll cover: The 3 core parts to every agency sales process. How to create a successful renewal process. How to get out of your agency so it can be a successful agency. Today my guests are Rob Murray and Paul Demarco, cofounders of Intrigue Media, a full-service digital agency servicing B2C clients. In the 11 years they have been working together, they’ve grown their agency from a $50 project fee to $3 million in revenue this year. They credit their growth to a proven sales process and to always sticking with the process. 3 Core Parts of a Proven Sales Process 1- The Sales Process Itself The key to this part is how you interact with people, i.e. your client or customer. There are two main philosophies to consider: Two ears, one mouth, use accordingly. Listening to your clients, let them do the majority of the talking. Ask lots of questions, your client wants to be understood. Avoid writing a prescription without a diagnosis; that is malpractice. You cannot properly pitch them a successful idea without understanding them. Be mindful and open to needing help. Your sales is what drives agency growth. Rob and Paul realized early on that they couldn’t afford not to get help. If you are in the same boat, then check out my Agency Sales Makeover. 2- Financial Commitment for Proposals Traditionally, Intrigue’s proposals or plans had been provided up front for free, or virtually free. However, this is where you want to implement the Foot in the Door strategy, and create a fee-based proposal that is clearly outlined. This is the first step in the direction of a long-lasting client relationship. Proposals require work, outlining this work with your fee is totally acceptable. Intrigue's Marketing Action Plan (MAP) includes the research and education necessary to understand what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, how it will be done and creating a plan around that. Thinking the proposal “seals the deal” is looking at it the wrong way. Charging a low, set fee will: Help you win the deal faster. Make the deal less risky. Provide you incentive and enjoyment through the process. Help make it an easier decision for the client to trust you. Can be a qualifier on your merit. Using the Foot in the Door strategy will also help define the type of clients you want to be working with. If the partnership doesn’t feel right, you can walk away with little loss, rather than taking on a large retainer and becoming stuck. 3- Provide a Plan that Defines Expectations You need to develop a crystal clear plan that defines crystal clear expectations. Something like: "This is exactly what we are promising you." "This is exactly how we will go do it." This plan needs to be shared with your CLIENT as well as your TEAM so that it can be properly executed. With this thinking, you need to make sure that the team you intend on doing the work is the team you are having scope the work up front. This can prove to be a huge win. Creating a Successful Renewal Process Keeping your clients satisfied can be achieved with making sure they are delighted on a regular basis. They implemented “delightful client moments,” where they get to know their clients better. It’s those soft touches that make the business relationship more personal. Taking a binary look at satisfaction creates a more black & white answer: If they don’t renew they aren’t satisfied. If they do renew they are satisfied. Everyone can say your stuff is great, but if they pay you for it, then you know it is great. Using the Foot in the Door method is a stepping stone towards a 1-year retainer. A month or two before the retainer is up, bring the client back in for a renewal. This is when you go for the longer term because you have built up a relationship of trust. How to Get Out of Your Agency So It Can Be a Successful Agency Consider a successful business being a business that can run without you. Leave the details to the team who specialize in the details. Success is all about: The focus you provide for the team. The focus you put on the team. Bring consistency in what they do everyday: Create structure inside the organization. Put your priorities in focus. Get those priorities accomplished. Do updates frequently so everyone is in the know. Providing clarity and context to team members ensures that everyone knows what is going on and can roll in the same direction... sticking to the process and growing your client base. Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • How to Overcome "Best Practices" Overload for Your Agency

    · 00:31:18 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Is your agency stuck in a "best practices" rut? Are you following so-called industry best practices without seeing results? If you’re in a place where excitement and momentum have puttered out and you think your agency has plateaued, you’ve hit what my guest calls your “crapping point” :) It's time to start asking the right questions and creating your own best practices. In this episode we’ll cover: Understanding your context and its three components. How to create your own formula for best practices. How to not fall into the best practices trap. Today’s guest is Jay Acunzo, is Sorry for Marketing and shares it all as a keynote speaker, blogger and host of the podcast, Unthinkable. Jay has an impressive background in the tech world and with start-ups, including a career at Google and Hubspot. He also did investing in start-ups for a firm, so his experience and insight comes from both sides of the aisle. Jay understands the importance of asking a lot of questions, the right questions, and turning away from conventional thinking. Today he is in a fight with best practices because “it has never been easier to be average.” If you aren’t seeing the results you expected and your agency has “Crapped Out,” Jay is here to give us some tips on how to better find your best practices by asking the right questions so you can stand out, rather than blend in. Understanding Your Agency’s Context Your context consists of three things: Those doing the work - yourself, your agency, your team Those receiving the work - your audience, the customer or client Your resources - the means to make things a reality If you find yourself asking “Why isn’t this working?” don’t forget to start adding the word “us” to the equation…. Such as: “Why isn’t this working… for us?” The best practices that might work for one company, may not for yours because your context is different. “Success leaves clues.” ~ Tony Robbins Success might leave clues, but it doesn’t leave answers. Best practices are simply a possibility that still need to be put through the filter, that is your context and then add your details to, and find, a best practice that will work for you. It is time to start thinking for yourself and not just following a list. You are the expert of your agency’s context. How To Create Your Own Formula for Best Practices One word: INTUITION We aren’t talking about the gut feeling you get from emotion and running with it. We are talking about the defined word, Intuition, which has roots in Latin that mean: Knowledge from within In other words, this circles back to knowing your stuff -- knowing your context The best way to know your context is to make sure you are asking the right questions for the three things that make up your context, listed above, Yourself, Your Audience and Your Resources. Visualize your intuition as a thing or tool that is on par with a list article. Understand that Intuition is that compounding return you experience from, constantly asking questions and understanding your context, and making the right call. Trust your INTUITION. How To Avoid the Best Practices Trap It all starts with a shift from the desire of knowing the answer, to caring more about how to find answers. This mindshift begins with asking the right questions of your context points. Each component has two questions and we can look at it like a funnel... The TOP Level is where all the confusion and all the excessive information is found. Sublevel 1 - YOU What is my aspirational anchor? Meaning, your intent for the future and hunger for today. What is my unfair advantage? Do an audit on your team to determine strengths and figure out how to best utilize them. Sublevel 2 - YOUR AUDIENCE What is my first principle insight? Understanding your clients needs/wants and knowing what you can bring to the table to help them achieve those. Who are my true believers? These are the people (even if just a few) who are passionate about what you're doing. Find your super fans. Sublevel 3 - RESOURCES What are my constraints? Is it money, size, time? Understanding these constraints will help you innovate within them. How can I expand? Think big, but understand that you have to start small. Putting a lot of boxes on a field will still cover the field and can build something big The BOTTOM Point is where you find your CLARITY. Be the exception. By identifying and acknowledging your specific context you are in a category of ONE! Related: Creating content that speaks to an audience of one.

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  • Jason Swenk: Marketing Business Strategist, Agency Consultant and Advisor

    · 00:14:12 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    How does your agency fit into your life? Are you being very honest and clear on what it is that you want and what success means to you? If you feel like a prisoner to your business or you're struggling with passion for your agency, it might be a time to look within. In this episode, we’ll cover: 3 simple questions to gut check whether your agency is working for you. How to reinvent your agency. How to understand your recurring revenue needs. Today I talk with Pia Silva, Founder and Brand Strategist at WorstofAll Designs, speaker, Forbes contributor and author of BadAss Your Brand. Pia and her partner (who also happens to be her husband) had their lightbulb moment over 6 years ago when they’d fallen into a huge funk and some serious business debt. She’s here to share with us how to avoid those same mistakes while being true to yourself and your business goals. It was then they realized their agency model wasn’t working and that they were trying to front an agency model and be something they weren’t and have now come to realize they have had so much more success just embracing what they did have that was different. 3 simple questions could change everything Do a gut check with these three simple questions: Is it UNIQUE? Do you ENJOY IT? Is it PROFITABLE? Does your current business model work for you? Pia uses these three questions as a foundational point of helping other small business owners with their branding issues. She believes your business should really be “the intersection of what you love and what’s most profitable.” It’s that outside-of-the-box thinking that will set you apart and put you on the path of a business model that will work. Is it time to reinvent your business? “If you’re gonna spend all your time on this, you better LOVE it!” ~ Pia Silva If the answers to any of those 3 questions are ‘no’ then it’s time to reinvent yourself. You need to attack this and look at it going: “This is us. This is what we want to do. This is what we enjoy doing. This is what we’re going to do”...and then figure out how to do it. For Pia and her partner, it meant letting go of employees and redefining their measure of success. Now, instead of being a traditional agency trying to play hardball with the big guys it’s just the two of them. By their choice. Instead of taking on lengthy projects and retainer clients their agency runs intense full day workshops with one client at a time where they “badass their brand” through a BrandUp session. How to Reinvent your Agency First, go back to the basics. Look within. You can’t compete with the big guys if you think the same as the big guys. Instead, think: What makes us unique? What do we want to do? Next break it down, step-by-step to go after it. If you look backwards, then you are just reacting to the market. Instead be proactive and break down your business growth into smaller decisions. Drill down by determining answers to these: How can I buy an ideal client? How can I buy a pitch? How can I get their attention? Who do I want to go after? Understand yourself and your core service Understanding Your Recurring Revenue Needs Honesty is key. Ask yourself why you're in this and possibly, what your end game looks like. Are you comfortable with a lifestyle business? Are you looking for enough revenue to live your life and afford you extra time to do other things you enjoy? Or, are you looking to catapult your business or eventually sell it? What do you want? What does success mean to you? Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you. Related: A $3 Million Agency with a Unique Business Model

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  • How to Create a Desirable Agency Culture

    · 00:20:29 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    How can you create an agency culture that continually inspires your team? After all your team is your #1 asset, so keeping them energized and motivated is key. Agency culture and brand are two sides of the same coin. So, it all starts with defining your on core values. Easier said than done, right? In this week’s episode, we’ll cover: Who to hire first at your agency. How to create a desirable agency culture. One example of core values that set the tone for amazing agency culture. Today’s guest on the show is Brad Flowers, founder of Bullhorn Creative. Like many others, Brad and his partner “accidentally” founded their agency. What was just the two of them and some freelancers in 2008 has grown to 2 offices and 14 employees. They learned fast and hard in order to grow, and Brad is on the show to share his tips on creating a desirable agency culture. Who to Hire First at Your Agency Their first hire was a Project Manager which is ideal, because PM's: Pay attention to details and follow-up/follow-through. Create and implement agency systems and processes. Keep track of projects, keeping them on time and in budget. All this frees up the owner(s) for higher level, business growth activities. Things like: identifying your ideal clients and proactively going after the business you want in order to grow. How To Create a Desirable Agency Culture It clicked for Brad when he read a line in Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness. “Our belief is that a company’s culture and a company’s brand are just two sides of the same coin. The brand is just a lagging indicator of the culture.” ~ Tony Hsieh Meaning, culture is the outside world’s perception of the people within your agency. And since the people on your team are a reflection of your agency’s core values you need to hire the right people in order to have the culture you want. So, it all starts with  setting core values. Here's how: Do honest inward reflection to determine your (and your partner’s) personal core values. Write your core values and live them by example every day. Begin hiring based on core values in order to mesh them into your culture. Consider incentives or awards in line with the core values. For more on Zappos' highly acclaimed company culture and core values check out: How to Define Your Agency’s Core Values and Set Up Your Team for Success Like Zappos. Core Values that Set the Tone for Agency Culture Bullhorn has 3 pairs of core values they bring to life in their agency’s culture. Like Zappos, these aren’t just a motto to aspire toward, they’re a way of life. 1. Empathy & Honesty Understand where someone else is coming from but be honest enough to keep things on track. Relevant both internally among the team and externally with clients. Empathy is a unique way of demonstrating authority to your prospects and clients. 2. Dissatisfaction & Improvement It’s OK to be unhappy but also important to help be part of the solution. Always look for ways to make things better. 3. Creativity & Decisiveness Agency teams are presumably creative, but creativity is encouraged and celebrated in every role - including bookkeeping, business development etc. Indecisiveness is the enemy of good work. Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • Why Hiring Entry Level People Can Grow Your Agency

    · 00:24:13 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Do you want to grow your digital agency with amazing talent, but worried you can’t pay top dollar? This unique “reverse recruitment model” for finding, training and keeping incredible talent might make it more doable than you think. In this episode, we’ll cover: Why and how to implement a reverse recruitment model. How to develop agency talent with an entry level team. 2 big benefits to reverse recruitment. Today’s guest is Morgan Lopes, CEO of Polar Notion, the web and mobile app development agency he co-founded 5 years ago. Like so many of us, he’s an accidental agency owner who shares with us some valuable advice about hiring a team to grow your agency. He has created and implemented a new recruitment model that’s netting fantastic results. Why Hiring Entry-Level People Can Grow Your Agency Morgan had an amazing mentor when he was young and new to the industry. He developed his craft through the generosity of an older, more experienced person who would not accept payment for his time. Instead, he asked Morgan to pay it forward. Years later, the solution is Polar Notion’s reverse recruitment model. How the Reverse Recruitment Model Works: Skills are teachable, personality is inherent. Hire entry level candidates, typically right out of school. Hiring process focused on personality and character instead of skill level. Character traits to look for: teachable, curious, thoughtful, actionable Skills are teachable, character is not. Train skills and develop the craft in people who are already a culture fit. How to Develop Agency Talent from the Ground Up At first Polar Notion had no process and it was messier than it should’ve been. Now there’s a process and curriculum in place. New hires are onboarded and trained based on specific guidelines. Employees follow process/steps and their appointed mentor makes daunting tasks more bearable. Expectations for new hires and existing team are clear so the program is more successful. 2 Big Benefits of Reverse Recruitment 1. A Company Mission Transitions to a Way of Life This isn’t a “thing” Morgan wants to talk about all the time or force his team do. They’re starting to create habits of mentoring and teaching each other - which is the ultimate goal. Instead of mentorship just being a company mission he aims for it to be something that is naturally ingrained in their culture and lived out. 2. A Super Low Employee Turnover Rate Morgan's agency has only ever let one person go. Ever. When you’re hiring based on personality and character everything clicks and people stick. Also, if/when issues arise the team is more apt to talk to leadership and work through a solution. Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • How to Get Your SaaS Idea Off the Ground Without Going Broke

    · 00:35:26 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Have you thought about productizing your SaaS idea or tech solution? Is a SaaS company the way to go? It might be! As agencies, we provide solutions and create tools for clients every single day. So, why not monetize them? But first, learn the right way to build a profitable SaaS company. In this episode, we’ll cover: How to create a profitable SaaS product. What agencies are doing wrong when it comes to productizing. How to avoid common mistakes creating your SaaS product. This week’s guest is Dan Martell, a former agency owner and current coach to SaaS companies. His passion has always been in the tech space and he’s here to share insights on how you can get your incredible SaaS idea off the ground and be profitable at it. How to Create a Profitable SaaS Product Successful SaaS creates a technology solution for: customers, so they can do something themselves. the industry, so they can do something easier. B2B SaaS is the most tried and true type. There are 5 categories: Alerting or monitoring tools Reporting tools Workflow tools Collaboration CRM (customer relationship management) 4 Steps to getting your SaaS idea off the ground (without going broke!) Step 1: Create a clickable prototype - create a spec model, no coding necessary in order to test your idea. Step 2: Identify early adopters - techies crave innovation and like to be first to jump into new using new solutions and tools. Step 3: Accept pre-orders - take advance orders from the early adopters by offering an amazing deal (like 50% off) if they order and pay in advance. Step 4: Build your team - usually once you have taken the first three steps, the team falls into place. 3 Mistakes Agencies Are Making with SaaS A lot of agency owners stumble into the business accidentally. When they are struggling or unhappy they often think the “grass is greener on the other side” and want to develop a SaaS product. If that’s the case for you, that’s OK. But remember: the grass is greener on the side you water. 1- Product: Make sure the idea is something you can get behind. The best products are at the intersection of what people will buy + something you’re passionate about + your area of expertise. So the goal is to find a sweet spot between all three elements. Mistake to Avoid: Don’t spin your wheels on something you don’t love or don’t know enough about. 2- People: A lot of agencies decide to productize a solution so they start using their existing team to develop it. This is a bad idea because that same team is also responsible for working on billable projects. Given the choice, billable work will always take priority over the new SaaS project causing a major stall. Mistake to Avoid: As tempting as it is, keep the teams separate. And, find the right person to be in charge of it. Use what you know as a springboard but bring on the right person to actually push the boulder up the hill. 3- Profit: With little to no resources to start, agencies tend to pull funds from the existing business in order to get the SaaS up and running. While focusing on SaaS they neglect the growth of the agency. The end result, is two struggling businesses. Mistake to Avoid: Keep agency and SaaS funds in separate silos. Follow the steps for launching SaaS to the early adopters in order to fund the project. Related:  The Ins and Outs of Going from Agency to SaaS Company Software Idea for Agencies? If you would like to talk to me about your software you are developing for your agency or the software idea, click here and fill out the form.

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  • How to Handle Nightmare Clients Who Don’t Pay

    · 00:23:29 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    So what can you do when a client refuses to pay? I mean, absolutely refuses! That’s the dilemma this new agency owner has with a nightmare client who owes him almost $10K. Listen to his story plus my advice on how to get through it and the processes he needs in order to prevent it from happening again. In this episode, we’ll cover: Why you need a prospect qualification process. What information to get in an initial client meeting. 2 ways to get the client’s budget every time. How to protect your agency against slow pay or no pay clients. Today’s guest is Mike Volkin, a long time freelancer turned agency owner when he founded 800lb Marketing in early 2017. Mike’s agency specializes in fractional CMO services for startups that don’t have marketing leadership. He was about 8 months into the business when I interviewed him. He caught my attention with a post in our Digital Agency Owners Facebook group about a client who wouldn’t pay. In this episode, Mike candidly shares his story about a client who stiffed him on almost $10K while I give him advice to make sure it doesn’t happen again. How a Good Client Turns Bad So here’s the gist of Mike’s horror story... His agency was working with a new client who was investor-funded. They assured him there was plenty of funding - they were even turning investors away. So money wasn't going to be a problem. The deal was going to be 800lb Marketing’s second largest contract with multiple-thousands of dollars in recurring revenue. Well, fast forward several months and now the client refuses to pay. Their reason for nonpayment is because they didn’t receive investor funding. And they didn’t get investor funding because ~ get this~ because, the agency didn’t meet their traffic goals. But wait… WHAT TRAFFIC GOALS? The agency was never given traffic goals yet their success and payment are tied to them? [clickToTweet tweet="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process" quote="There’s no such thing as a bag agency client. Just a bad prospect or a bad process"] Why You Need a Qualification Process You might have a similar story. Sooner or later, every agency owner has at least one nightmare client story. In hindsight, usually you look back and realize the signs were always there... Agency owners have to understand they have the right and duty to screen prospective clients. It’s not a one-sided process. Agencies need to ask the right questions and really dig deep to understand if the client is the right fit for them, and not just the other way around. Since Mike works with startups, he typically asks about the source of funds -- whether self-funded or investor-funded but rarely… hardly ever... will they give him a budget. In most cases he doesn’t budget info until the second meeting, after he presents a proposal. Mike says typically, in the first meeting, prospects ask him to create a plan and they’ll “find” the budget... Sound familiar? What Info Do You Need in the Initial Meeting? I always advise my clients to think of N.B.A.T. before engaging in a new project conversation with a new prospect. N- Need. Find out what the client’s desired goals are. What do they believe is the specific need in order to achieve the goal? What they think they need might not be what they actually do need. How does this goal tie into the company’s vision? And how will success be measured? B- Budget. 99% of your prospects know their budget but rarely will they share it. They don’t understand it makes a huge difference in knowing whether you can help them reach their goals or not. Below are my 2 strategies to get the budget from clients who aren’t forthcoming with the information. And the 1% who don’t know the budget? Those are usually the really big clients who have the money to spend -- you’ll know who they are :) A- Authority. Who’s involved in the decision-making? Make sure you’re working with that person or group of people. You don’t want to spin your wheel with people who don’t have the authority to give approvals or make decisions. T- Timing. What is the timeframe for this project and how soon does the client expect results? Is the time frame realistic? Can you achieve the desired results in the period of time they’re allowing? 2 Ways To Get the Client’s Budget Every Time In order to get the client’s budget I like to have a little fun… it depends on your personality as to which one of these strategies work best. You could even use: Jokester:  If a prospect tells you there is no budget, you can respond with a little sarcasm. Like, “No budget? That’s great! I love working with client’s who don’t have limits on what they can spend. Then we can do a bunch of testing and see what works!” Of course, there is a budget and they’ll soon end up giving you a ballpark of it. If not, you can try #2. Reverse Auctioneer:  Start with an obscenely high number and just keep dropping it until you land on a number they’re comfortable committing to. Say something like, “What’s the budget? $100,000? $50,000? $40,000?…” Just pause for a brief second between throwing out numbers until you can get them to lock in a range. How to CYA Against Clients Who Are Slow Or No Pay Mike says he’s going to binding arbitration to try and recoup the loss. I think he should chalk it up to a lesson learned. It’s just not worth investing his time and energy. Learn from it and spend that time building processing to make sure it can’t happen again. This will protect the agency from future potential issues and improve cash flow. Get paid in advance. Literally you should have the cash in hand before you start a project. Either 100% paid in full or, depending on the size of the project, at least 50% upfront. Your salesperson will probably want you to start as soon as there’s ink on the contract. Don’t do it! Cash first is the way to go. Change payment terms. A lot of agencies like to do 50% upfront and 50% on completion. That’s not the best idea because if the client drags out the project, you’re stuck. Instead, get the client’s credit card on file and let them know you’ll be billing on certain dates over the course of the project. Also, put language in your contract about a penalty for charge-backs (and of course, consult your attorney about your contract.) Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • How to Personalize Your Agency’s Content & Engage with Prospects

    · 00:20:28 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Looking for a new way to monetize your agency’s content marketing? Check out how you can use interactive content to personalize the user experience, engage with your prospects and gain trust by making the content more relevant. Learn what interactive content is all about and how you can use it to acquire new agency business. In this episode, we’ll cover: What is interactive content? How can agencies use interactive content? What types of interactive content works best for agencies? Today’s guest is Randy Reyess, cofounder of Outgrow, a growth marketing platform that enables marketers to build interactive content that increase customer engagement. He’s on the show to share strategies on how you can create interactive content that captures more leads and helps convert them into clients. What is Interactive Content? You know those clever quizzes on Facebook that test your movie knowledge? Or calculators you find online to recommend what type of mortgage loan you need? That’s interactive content. It content that requires the participants' active engagement -- more than simply reading a blog post or watching a video. It helps the creator gather information about the user and move them along within the funnel. How Can Agencies Use Interactive Content? Randy says agencies should reflect on all the common questions their sales and support teams always seem to get. The best interactive content usually answers those types of questions. They are the questions that take a lot of explanation, rely on several variables and could not be easily explained in something as simple as a blog post. These are the types of things agencies can handle with a quiz or calculator. [clickToTweet tweet="Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker." quote="'Everyone is unique but they have common criteria. Use interactive content to understand them quicker.'"] When you offer all your options to prospects it can be overwhelming and confusing. And when you confuse - you lose. Interactive content helps you build a solution and make the recommendation that best suits a prospect’s specific needs. What Type of Interactive Content Works for Agencies? Agencies and SaaS companies are loving interactive content for capturing leads and acquiring new clients. Here’s how they’re using them: Calculators: ROI is huge for your prospects and clients. They want to see what kind of bang they’re going to get for their buck. Agencies can use ROI calculators to help clients determine where and how to spend their budgets. Calculators provide useful information and build authority by not only providing a result but also explaining it. Quiz: Agency prospects often think they need one thing, but in reality actually need something completely different. A short quiz can help them (and you) understand their goals and determine how to meet them. It eliminates the confusion and guesswork while also keeping the focus on the client and their needs. At the conclusion of the quiz, you can make a recommendation on which product or service they need based on quiz results. Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Interactive Content Not having a promotion strategy. Some marketers create calculators without any plan for getting it to it's users. Your interactive content can't generate leads if there's no plan for distributing the content. Not fully experimenting enough. If you want your content to be a lead generator it's important to test the effectiveness of the lead gen form. Run testing on having different numbers of fields on the form, as well as where, when and how much information you require from the user. Not understanding where the user is in the buyer's journey. Understand what type of person you're targeting and where they are in the funnel. Randy suggests starting with your end goal in mind and then determine your target and whether you want to be educational (calculator strategy) or entertaining (quiz strategy). Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster? Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier? Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University. Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

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  • How Create a Social Media Community To Generate New Agency Business

    · 00:23:23 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Wondering how you can get the attention of your ideal clients? It's a noisy marketing world out there, but you can break through the noise. Learn how one digital agency owner is growing a social community with tens of thousands of prospects. In this episode, learn the ins and outs of creating a Facebook group that provides value and connects people so you can beat out your competition and stay top of mind. In this episode, we’ll cover: 2 benefits to building a Facebook community. Tips on creating and managing an engaging group. How to avoid common pitfalls when creating a Facebook group. Today’s guest is Arne Giske, a digital agency owner whose business sky rocketed after creating a Facebook community has over 29,000 members in just one year (and still growing!). He’s here to share tips on creating and managing an engaged group plus pitfalls to avoid so you can generate new agency business. 2 Big Benefits to Building a Facebook Community It took Arne 6 months to take his Facebook group from 0 to 1,000 members but just another 6 months to jump from 1,000 to 18,000! (It's called Millenial Entrepreneur Community - check it out here.) It’s better than an email list because people choose to see and engage with their Facebook communities every day. 1- Eliminate Your Competition Creating a community and helping to connect and serve others. In a very busy, digital world your prospects want to feel seen and heard. You can help them by creating a community of like minded individuals where they can ask questions and idea-share. The best way to break through the noise and clutter of your competition is to help, not hype. Doing this will make you stand out from the “me too” agencies. 2- Member Development Builds Revenue As your community grows it’s members are more likely to work with you. Members become aware of you and your brand. As an active member of the group you’ll be building trust and authority with your comments, answers and helpful posts. When you provide value first, it will come back to you. Tips on Creating an Engaging Group So, there are millions of Facebook groups out there. What can you do to make sure yours is different? The key is making sure people want to join and engage in the group. You can’t even begin to monetize your group until you have active members participating in it. First, set the mission for the group. What is the intention for bringing these people together? Why would someone want to join this group? Arne says he has started some other groups that flopped entirely. Looking back, it’s because his other groups were self-serving. People could see through his motives and chose not to be involved a sales platform. Also, understand the basics of Facebook’s algorithms and use it to your advantage. Facebook groups grow because of engagement. Every like, share, comment and post counts! The more engagement, the more Facebook suggests your group to non-members. It becomes very cyclical: member growth = more engagement = more growth = more engagement, and so on. Naming is important, so take your time. The first three words in the group name will determine whether people want to join or not. Arne suggests making the group name keyword heavy. People will join groups that are relevant to their life, so reach your target audience by identifying them in the group name. (This is another reason why your agency must have a niche!) How to Manage a Successful Facebook Community Arnes says the best way to manage a Facebook community to to give the members freedom while providing them structure. Here’s how: Be selective. Consider your criteria for membership. Facebook allows you to ask new members a few screening questions before they’re allowed to join. Determine how you’ll screen group members in order to keep the integrity and intentions of the group. Set guidelines. Set rules and make sure you or community manager enforces them. For example, you want to keep your group spam-free. So set a rule about no self-promotion and then make sure there’s a system in place for enforcing it. Decide what kind of penalty rule breakers will receive and then follow through: Will you delete their post? Will you block them from the group? Pin important posts. A pinned post is the one that stays on the top of the group discussion at all times. It can only be pinned or unpinned by an group administrator. You can use pinned posts to explain rules and guidelines, draw attention to Facebook Lives, make special announcements, or provide special member offers, such as affiliate links. How to Avoid Common Pitfalls Low membership: Some groups just never take off and membership doesn’t grow beyond a couple hundred. That’s because the creator is relying on organic growth. Instead, Arne says to update backlinks from your other social channels and point people toward the group through other media. Help grow membership by promoting it. Branding the group: You are connecting and serving like-minded people. Remember, Arne learned the hard way that people will see through selfish motives. So it’s ok to stick branded, content in the group so long as it’s relevant and helpful. But you can’t push your services or brand on the members. And most definitely do not make your brand name part of the group name. People will get to know you within the group after they click the “join” button. Misunderstanding the platform: There’s a misconception on how different messaging works on different platforms. A Facebook group is not for sales or marketing. It’s simply a place to start a conversation or a place where people can raise their hand to indicate interest in learning more. When it’s times for marketing and sales, your job is to lead them off that platform and take them somewhere else (like your website) to learn more.

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  • How to Overcome Agency Growing Pains (Two Agency Owners Talk Pipelines, Pricing and Employee Problems)

    · 00:25:40 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Being an agency owner can feel isolating and lonely. But it can be a whole lot better when you hear from others in the same boat.  So, check out the stories of not one but two super successful agency owners as we cover everything from overcoming their biggest challenges, to increasing prices and growing their teams. In this episode, we’ll cover: Overcoming the pipeline problem. 4 tips on increasing prices. What agency role to hire for first. What to do about a weak link on your team. I could not be more excited to share this episode with you because it’s my first three-way! :) Today’s show guests are two digital agency owners Zach Williams, of Venveo, and Todd Earwood, of Money Path Marketing. These guys have been super successful - Todd’s agency doubled their business in 4 months and Zach’s did 4X revenue in one year, so listen close! They’re here to talk about the similarities and differences in their journeys as agency owners, as well as share some golden nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. Overcoming the Pipeline Problem One of the biggest challenges as an agency owner is continuing to find new clients and sell, while serving your existing clients. Both guys agree, it like it’s a vicious cycle! You’re a marketing agency, but there’s never enough time to practice what you preach… You work hard on your own marketing to attract new clients, then you get busy with them and end up neglecting your own marketing, so when those projects dry up you end up scrambling to procure new clients again… and the cycle repeat itself over and over. The solution? Todd and Zach both say defining a specialization and positioning the agency to a specific audience greatly helped their pipeline problems. Todd said it made a major impact on business when he identified and communicated: who they are, the market they serve, and what they stand for. 4 Tips on Increasing Prices Are you charging enough? Zach says he didn’t fully understand the value his agency was providing to their clients… in some cases it was up to 100X! They were under valuing services  by not charging enough. 1- Measure and quantify value Chances are, you’re not charging enough! Clients should see a 10X return on their investment working with you. So, the key is to work backwards to determine the value of your work and divide by 10. One of the best ways to determine value is to understand their 3 I’s - issue, impact and importance. Once you know what a project is worth the client, you can better estimate it’s value. 2- Ask the right questions upfront. As Todd said, there’s nothing worse that estimating a project at $50,000 only to find out the client was prepared to spend triple. So you’ve got to ask all the right questions to qualify your client, scope the project and determine what the outcome is worth to them.   You can’t fully understand the scope of a project without all the right information. You have to gather as much information as possible from your client so you can fully understand what they need or rather, what they think they need and how you can help. Here are some of the questions you should ask new clients to determine value. 3- Sell outcomes and ROI. A lot of agencies try to sell based on their portfolio and what they’ve done for others. Zach adds says past work can very subjective but outcomes and ROI are concrete evidence of value. It’s so much easier to sell on black and white facts. 4- Report and remind often. Clients usually have short term memory, right? They tend to forget where they started and have a hard time remembering or realizing the value your agency provided.  Todd says it’s super important to report results to clients regularly. Help them remember where they were and where they are now so they can realize your value. Do this often and in person, rather than just via email. Data reporting can be your secret weapon to growing your revenue. When to Hire (and Fire) for Your Growing Agency What Role to Hire for First? In the early stages of agency growth, it’s hard to know when and who to hire first. Most owners want to get out of the account management and project management work… how did Zach and Todd do it? Zach says he’s horrible with process and he knows it. Know your strengths and He knew right away that he needed to hire someone who was process driven and his first hire was a Project Manager. Todd agrees, and says it’s important for the owner to know their own skillset then hire what’s missing. His first hires were specialists and he learned the hard way that he needed people to own the accounts. It’s hard to give up that control but when you do it can be oddly refreshing. As Todd put it, “there’s pleasure in knowing people pay our firm money and I don’t have to personally work with them.” Recognizing a Weak Link on Your Team Hiring is hard - firing is even harder. That’s why they say: hire slow, fire fast. Growing from 0-5 employees is different than 5-10 and 10-20… When your team is small each person needs to be nimble. As your agency grows, the people who got on board early have to adapt to the changing environment. As an owner you have to recognize the employees who cannot make the future journey and grow with you. There are ones who will be dead weight, so you’ve got to make decisions about them quickly. Todd says, in those cases he sees two choices:  confront the issue and coach up -or- coach out.

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  • Should You Give Up and Close Your Agency?

    · 00:26:55 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Have you ever considered closing your agency because you feel like you’re failing? Cash flow problems, employee issues, bad clients… the struggle is real! You don’t have to throw in the towel. Just check out what this agency owner did to turn things around to become profitable and happy again.   In this episode, we’ll cover: How an agency goes from good to bad. 6 Steps to turning around a struggling agency. One regret from an agency owner.   Our guest today is Jack Jostes, President and CEO of Ramblin Jackson, the SEO agency he started in 2009. In his video The Good, The Bad and The Ugly he talks about his eight year journey as an agency owner and the valuable lessons he learned in order to go from almost close to thriving. Jack’s on the show to talk about the steps he took to turn around his agency so he and his team could enjoy it again. How Does an Agency Go from Good to Bad? Like many entrepreneurs, Jack fell into the business by accident. He was working in sales and started to learn SEO as a trade from someone in the business. He decided to start a digital agency to marry those two skills but he admits he had no idea what he was getting into. The Good At first, things were great and it was super fun taking on new clients, challenging new project and hiring contractors to help with all the new work. After a couple years, though, he decided to bring on a partner with 20 years experience in the agency business. It turned out to be a great decision because they grew 50% for several years after forming the partnership. The Bad & The Ugly Jack says it was fun and growth at great at first. But then things got bad - and ugly. Cash flow was terrible. Jack and his partner went months without getting paid and vendors were paid late. The team morale was low and clients were getting frustrated. Jack got to the point where he considered closing. That’s when he reached out to me the first time and told him not to give up!   I told Jack about the Navy Seal’s 40% rule which is, when your mind thinks you’re done, you’re really only 40% done. And that was Jack’s turning point. 6 Steps to Turning Around a Struggling Agency So how did Jack turn things around? Here are the six steps he took.   1- Get really clear about company vision. Jack was unhappy and ready to throw in the towel. I get it. I considered closing my agency when we were struggling too. When things are hard and it’s not fun it seems like giving up is the answer.   However, Jack said he took a step back and got really clear about what he wanted and didn’t want for the agency. Then he had an honest, respectful conversation with his partner where they realized they wanted different things. That’s when they made the mutual decision to part ways. Jack bought his partner out and since it was an amicable split, they still work on some projects together.   2- Understand and be transparent about financials. Jack says part of the reason they had such bad cash flow was because he was embarrassed of the state of the financials and kept it a secret. He used to feel as President, the accounts receivables and collections were his responsibility. No one was aware or incentivized to help achieve better cash flow.   After going through my Agency Playbook he discovered ways to incentive his team. Now there are key employees are get bonuses based on accounts receivables and attaining agency financial goals.   3- Change payment terms. Like most agencies, Ramblin Jackson’s payment terms were 50% to start and 50% upon completion. However, the problem with this payment structure is when the client stalls on a project the final amount can’t get billed. That means the agency is stuck holding the bag while the client drags their feet on providing information, feedback or approvals.   Now, they require full payment up front for smaller projects or use my date driven payment terms for larger engagements. As a result they’re they’ve reduced project cycles since prepaid clients are motivated to receive the value they’ve already paid for.     4- Hire slow. Fire fast. It’s imperative to have a A players on your team - even in roles that might not seem integral to the outward success of the agency. In Jack’s case, it was the bookkeeper who was awful and incompetent. He was always slow to send invoices and didn’t have a pulse on agency finances.   Once Jack fired the bookkeeper and hired a new one things turned around quickly. In fact, the new bookkeeper found over $10,000 of unsent invoices! She has also streamlined bookkeeping and created systems to make it easy.   5- Tie others to the same bomb. By holding everyone accountable to the same goals, there is more cohesiveness among the internal departments. For example, Sales doesn’t get commission until the client pays the invoice. With common goals everyone is motivated to work together to achieve them.   6- Invest in mentors. Agency ownership can be lonely! Jack says he has worked with some incredible coaches over the years who each specialize in different aspects of business. He had worked with a sales coach (at different job) and now pays that coach to help his sales team at Ramblin Jackson. He also works with a sales management coach and an executive coach to help him hone his skills in those areas. Jack also says it’s been key finding a coach who has owned and sold a successful agency. (Hint: it’s me)  The Agency Playbook and our Agency University have been invaluable resources for the mentorship from someone who’s been there and done it.

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  • 9 Tips to Giving a Memorable Speech That Generates Leads

    · 00:28:17 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    As Agency CEO one of your 5 roles is to be the face of the company. A great way to do that is to use speaking engagements and presentations to build your brand and grab the attention of your ideal clients. Here are 9 tricks to keep the audience engaged and leave them with an unforgettable first impression.   In this episode, we’ll cover: What makes the best presentations? 9 Tips to a unforgettable speech   Today’s guest is Mike Pacchione, one of the public speaking experts at Duarte. As Mike puts it, he gives “workshops on giving workshops” and “talks on talks.”:)  No matter how you explain it though, Mike is the pro on giving memorable speeches. He knows what to do to keep your audience engaged so you can use your presentations to build your agency business. Mike shares his experience and advice on making the most of your speaking opportunities. What Makes the Best Presentations? Two things. It might seem obvious but most importantly you need to start with a good idea. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering but it does need to be somewhat thought provoking and worth sharing.   Next, you have to understand your audience. Like, really understand them. Why are they interested in your topic? How can they relate to or use the information you’re presenting? You also have to be relatable, like not to using technical language to a non-technical audience. 9 Tips to an Unforgettable Speech   1- Grab attention with a strong first line. Mike says you want to say something that makes them put down their phone and pay attention. A great technique is to start by dropping them in the middle of a story and then frame the rest of your presentation around filling in the blanks.   How NOT to start: Don’t start with your name and the title of your presentation. Super boring! Besides, they already know who you are and why you’re talking. Don’t start with “I’m really nervous”. Your audience will focus on your jitters the entire time and could undermine your authority.   2- Be a little vulnerable. You can share personal experience or say something like “I used to think this but now I realize that’s wrong because of that.” Just insert something that shows the audience you’re human and not perfect. This creates empathy between you and your audience, which can have a major impact on how they react to your talk.   3- Build evidence based authority. Too many people give advice based on what worked for them. Everybody is not everybody and not everything works for everyone. Avoid anything that sounds like: “Here’s what I did and you should too...” Instead add data or case study evidence to back the advice/strategy in your presentation.   4- Share anecdotes and stories. The best, most memorable presentations are those told in story form. You can use personal, real life stories or even industry case studies. Did you know the most viewed TED Talk is Sir Ken Robinson “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” with over 42 MILLION views? His talk is simply a collection of stories strung together to make a point.   However, don’t just tell a story for the sake of storytelling. Use it to demonstrate transformation or change mindset.   5- Craft short and long term calls-to-action. Most presentations end with a closing statement and a CTA, such as: “Text 123456 to receive my PDF of XYZ,” but that’s such a finite ending. Mike suggests adding an additional long term goal or CTA which leaves the discussion more open ended. Challenge the audience to be doing “X” by next week or give them a 90 days to achieve “Y”. You want to have two CTAs to leave a longer lasting impression.   6- Warn the audience about traps. No one wants to fall victim to a trap but everyone loves a good story about it. Point out potential pitfalls, mistakes or traps to create a little tension in your talk. Pointing these out and explaining the resolution can be another way to build your credibility. Saying things like, “you might be tempted to X, but here’s why you shouldn’t…” or “one of my clients did Y and here’s why that didn’t work.”   7- Develop an impactful closing statement. A lot of people end their talks with Q&A. This is great for credibility but you can’t control the final question which means the last thing the audience hears may not be on point. Mike says to craft a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression. Then, deliver the closing statement before and after the Q&A   8- Have fun. Your audience will mirror your emotions when you’re on stage. Your demeanor will set the tone for the entire time you’re up there. If you’re nervous, fidgety, distracted, etc. it will transfer to your audience. So just have fun and they will too! (There’s a difference between fun and funny. Only be funny, if you are a funny person. Forced humor is not fun or funny.)   9- Rehearse until it becomes part of you. Some people practice until they get it right. I think you should practice until you can’t get it wrong. You want your speech to become second nature and flow easily. When it does you’ll notice you’re far less nervous and you can adjust your presentation to fit your crowd. The more times you give a certain talk, then better it becomes.

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  • The Most Well Known Brands Do These 5 Things That You Should Be Doing

    · 00:17:52 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    How can you turn your agency into a highly sought-after brand? Today’s guest knows how because he’s done it for the OxiClean and the George Foreman Grill. In this episode, learn the 5 key strategies to build a brand that gets clients beating down your door.   In this episode, we’ll cover:   How the right positioning can drastically change your business. 5 things you can implement right now to build a successful brand.   Today’s guest on the show is Rick Cesari of Cesari Media, the agency he founded over 20 years ago. They specialize in building brands that sell products direct to the consumer. Over his career, Rick has worked some amazing brands such as OxiClean, George Foreman Grill, Rug Doctor, and Sonicare to name a few. He’s here to share the secrets to building these amazing brands so you can apply them and grow your agency.   “Figure out a good way to position so you’re different than everyone else.” ~ Rick Cesari Why You Might Need to Reframe Your Brand Positioning Have  you ever heard of The Fajita Express? No, you haven’t. But I’ll bet you have heard of the George Foreman Grill.   When Rick was first approached to help with branding it was for grilling product called The Fajita Express. It was a slanted grill so the meat could slide right into taco shells. It didn’t sound too groundbreaking to Rick but with his help repositioning, that grill became the George Foreman Grill. As you probably know, it is marketed for its ability to drain grease away from the meat. They’ve sold over 30 million grills since then! 5 Keys to Building a Better Brand With over two decades in the direct response business Rick has discovered some consistent themes to building brands. These are easily adaptable from product to service-based agency business.   1- Develop a Unique Selling Proposition A USP is the foundation of building a better brand. It’s the single most important factor clients use when deciding to work with you over your competition. The best type of USP for an agency is a niche or specialization that helps you stand out. When you show expertise in a specific area you develop a reputation for being the best. You will become “the choice” rather than just “a choice.”   2- Position to Stand Out Rick says he tells his clients to sell benefits or results rather than features. In the agency industry that means you should be marketing the ways your agency can serve your clients. Show clients what you can do for them and how you are the trusted advisor who helps achieve their desired results.   3- Deliver More Value When you are laser focused on particular niche you can drill down and really understand the intricacies of that industry. Then use that understanding to exceed expectations. For example, when Rick’s agency was helping OxiClean he says they always sent a larger container than what the customer expected and included free samples of other products. This is a great strategy for growing revenue from your existing client base.   4- Always Listen to Your Clients Speak to satisfied clients - the people who have already had success working with you - and see what they liked and disliked. Use the positive feedback when crafting your marketing messages, in your new business proposals, etc. When you get input from existing clients you can use that information to understand and then market toward the benefits of working with you.   5- Procure and Use Authentic Testimonials Today’s decision makers want to hear from others in their same boat. Talk to your clients that are getting great results and ask them to share their story as a testimonial. Social proof such as testimonials (particularly video testimonials) will go a long way with your prospects. It’s a very powerful message when existing happy clients share their story of success.   Above all else, Rick’s best advice is to be unique. You can’t be everything to everybody so focus on an industry or segment of the population that you help best.

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  • Ways to Attract the Attention of Bigger Agency Clients

    · 00:23:08 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Are you trying to land bigger clients for your agency? It’s hard when to communicate value when a lot your agency […] The post Ways to Attract the Attention of Bigger Agency Clients appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

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  • How to Use Data Reporting to Increase Agency Revenue

    · 00:24:39 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Do you feel like your agency spends more time being an order taker than providing insight and value to your clients? […] The post How to Use Data Reporting to Increase Agency Revenue appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

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  • 3 Big Mistakes a 20 Year Veteran Agency Owner Made That You Don’t Have To

    · 00:30:07 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    What can you do to stand out from your competition? How can you avoid costly mistakes that make it harder to […] The post 3 Big Mistakes a 20 Year Veteran Agency Owner Made That You Don’t Have To appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

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  • How to Get Unstuck from Doing Everything Yourself

    · 00:19:28 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

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    · 00:20:47 · Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

    Hopefully you already know your agency employees are your biggest asset. But, is your agency “employee-centric”? Do you have the right […] The post Is It Time to Hire a President or HR Director to Your Agency Team? appeared first on Smart Agency Masterclass: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies.

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