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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Dec 9, 2019

Have you ever wished that you had a team member dedicated to helping manage your day, your email, your commitments, and your goals? When we have someone in the office, they often get usurped by other teams or the crisis of the day. That’s one of the many advantages of working with a virtual assistant. Many agency owners are enjoying added productivity and peace of mind that comes with someone always having their back thanks to their VA!
My guest Jess Tyson takes a people-first approach to virtual assistant matchmaking. She facilitates the connection and establishes a professional relationship so you can start delegating and focusing on your highest priorities.. Jess is also the author of Panic Proof: How the Right Virtual Assistant Can Save Your Sanity and Grow Your Business, a speaker, and the Director of Calm at Don’t Panic Management. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we talk about how virtual assistants can help you get your calm on.

VAs are a flexible commitment that ebbs and flows with your agency. Most agency owners I know use VAs to increase their efficiency and effectiveness, and VAs can become trusted members of your team if you approach the relationship the right way. It’s an option worth considering and my goal with this episode is to broaden your sense of what’s possible with a VA by your figurative side!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Jess’s new operations audit can help people figure out where to best spend their time and relegate, automate, or delegate the rest
  • How VAs work and how the relationships are structured
  • What Jess looks for as she searches for a client’s VA
  • The advantages of hiring a virtual assistant over a traditional admin
  • Why agency owners need to delegate
  • How a VA can manage your biggest time-suck; emails

Ways to Contact Jess Tyson:

Dec 2, 2019

Like every other consumer, your prospects go on a wild and winding journey as they consider whether or not they want to hire an agency and then go about finding that perfect partner. It’s amazing to me that many agencies teach their clients about buying journeys and yet don’t really understand what their prospects go through as they go to market.

Robin and Steve Boehler are the principals at Mercer Island Group and every day, they help brands find that perfect agency partner. They have a unique lens into the emotional roller coaster that prospects ride on their way to hiring an agency. They’ve spent the last few years documenting this journey and now they’re ready to share it with all of us so we can win at each of those milestones.

That’s why I’ve asked Robin back to the podcast, as my first three-peat guest! The Boehlers are just that smart! Take a listen and get a taste of what Robin and Steve have learned through their work with many clients, all on unique but similar journeys that will give us clues on how to win our next sweet spot prospect.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The importance of understanding and anticipating your prospects’ buying journeys
  • The emotional elements in the prospect’s buying journey
  • How to help a prospect mitigate the risk they face when switching to a new agency
  • How to get visibility with your prospects before they’re ready for a change
  • How to make a lasting impression that helps your agency stand out

Ways to Contact Robin Boehler:

 
Nov 25, 2019

There are very few agencies today who aren’t trying to solve the content challenge. The content creation process is complicated and it’s often difficult to demonstrate the ROI to clients so they will pay you what it takes to actually create something worthwhile. Clients want high performing content but aren’t excited about paying for it. And it can be tough for us to document and demonstrate what’s working and what isn’t.

At this summer’s MAICON (Marketing AI conference) conference, I met Jeff Coyle, the co-Founder and Chief Product Officer for MarketMuse. Jeff and his team are doing incredible work with AI to help agencies and brands better understand how content is performing, what content is missing and how to fill those gaps in a way that is SEO and visitor friendly.

Technology and traditional content production methods are merging, and that’s creating a whole new level of measurability, predictability and performance metrics that can justify the spend. What would take us hours to number crunch and calculate can take tools like MarketMuse mere seconds.

Join me as I explore the possibilities with subject matter expert Jeff Coyle.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The evolution of content marketing
  • How Jeff Coyle is bringing AI and traditional content production methods together
  • New tools and insights that agency owners can leverage to create more impactful content
  • Creating content that has direct conversions
  • Why you should be updating your content

Ways to Contact Jeff Coyle:

Nov 18, 2019

For the last decade, I have been living in the perfect home. I love everything about it— from the size and layout to its waterfront location. I thought I would never move again. But everything changed when I adopted my charcoal lab puppy, Heather.

Heather is about four months old right now and she already exceeds the 30lb weight limit for pets, according to our homeowner’s association. It’s safe to say she’s not getting any lighter, so we don’t have any choice but to pack up and move.

Change is a part of life and yet even though it keeps happening, it’s uncomfortable. We don’t seem to get used to it. We get settled into a direction or path. And suddenly, an unanticipated event triggers change that we weren’t prepared for or can’t control.

In my case – this is change I triggered and I can control. But it’s still unsettling and disruptive. I know most of you are feeling unsettled right now too – because of the economy, which is out of all of our control!

Many agency owners are feeling stuck in a state of flux right now, when it comes to the economy. Every day an agency owner brings up the potential economic downturn and admits that they’re anxious because we don’t know if it’s coming, when it’s coming, or how bad it will be.

Let’s take control of this uncontrollable situation by adopting the best offense is a strong defense stance. In this solocast episode of Build A Better Agency, I am going to walk you through some things you can do to protect yourself IF a downturn or recession is coming. And even if it’s not – this will make you stronger as you enter the new year.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How to prepare yourself and your agency for change
  • How to balance your client roster during an economic downturn
  • How to manage your agency finances during a recession
  • How to strengthen your biz dev program for an economic downturn

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources:

Nov 11, 2019

You are agency owners, not career keynote speakers. But that does not mean you don’t earn your living as a presenter. You present every day of your professional lives. You hold one-on-one meetings in your office and lead all-agency meetings. Some of you are speaking at conferences and tradeshows as well.

By sharing your expertise, teaching, and demonstrating that you know your stuff, you will create biz dev opportunities that start deeper in the funnel. It doesn’t matter if public speaking is a strength or a source of anxiety, it is a learnable skill where craft outranks natural talent.

My guest Michael Port has written six best-selling books including Book Yourself Solid and Steal the Show. He has spent the last several years developing and honing the company he co-owns with his wife Amy, Heroic Public Speaking (HPS). HPS conducts training programs for speakers of all walks of life. When I think about great public speakers that are commanding top fees for keynoting, almost all of them have gone through some level of training with Michael and Amy. But they also train people who will never step on a formal stage, but just want to present their ideas in a more compelling way.

The people who go through the HPS program develop confidence and the ability to command an audience. Michael joins us on this episode of Build a Better Agency to talk about the art and science of presentation. He explains how we can use it to serve our agencies, our teams, and our clients in bigger, better ways.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • You are presenting and public speaking every day
  • Why speeches are an unrivaled biz dev opportunity
  • Michael Port’s story, and the work he and his wife Amy are doing with Heroic Public Speaking
  • Why presenting is a combination of art and science
  • How mastery of public speaking will enable you to become a more effective agency owner

Ways to Contact Michael Port:

Nov 4, 2019

With so many people that have yet to join us on the show, I very rarely ask someone to come back on. But Tamsen Webster is an exception. You may remember episode 61, where Tamsen joined us to talk about speaking at conferences and tradeshows as a biz dev strategy. This time, we are going to take a different tack because Tamsen has been pretty busy since we last spoke.

Every day, I talk to agency owners who struggle to see what differentiates them from their competitors. They fail to recognize their unique reflection in the mirror. Tamsen has developed a methodology for identifying what sets you apart, which is one of many things that we cover in this episode of Build a Better Agency.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why it is difficult for agency owners to recognize what makes them unique
  • Tamsen’s methodology for identifying what sets your agency apart
  • How to use Tamsen’s process internally and with clients
  • How Tamsen designed her system and why it works

Ways to Contact Tamsen Webster:

Oct 28, 2019

Every business is struggling to be seen and heard. They spend a lion’s share of their budget fighting to find an audience. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be that hard. They are often overlooking an incredible resource. Their own employees.

Employees can be some of the best advocates for any business; especially with the right system in place. They know the company inside and out, they talk to current and prospective clients about it and, if they love their work and their employer, they probably share that love when they get the opportunity.

What if you could amplify that critical voice for your clients and help them create a program that encouraged their employees to shout it from the rooftops?

Glenn Gaudet, the CEO of GaggleAMP, founded his company with this idea in mind. GaggleAMP helps companies get the most out of their social media efforts with solutions that help amplify their efforts through employee engagement and interaction.

In episode #209 of Build a Better Agency, Glenn and I discussed employee and brand advocacy at length. We talked about incentivizing employees to engage with their company’s social media, recognizing employees as influencers, using advocacy from raving customers and channel partners, and so much more.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What employee advocacy is and what it looks like in practice
  • How to market employee advocacy strategy to employees and clients
  • Implementing and evolving employee advocacy programs
  • The myriad benefits of the different kinds of brand advocacy
  • Specific strategies to incentivize employee advocacy
  • Common pitfalls when approaching advocacy programs
  • The mission of Glenn’s company, GaggleAMP

Ways to Contact Glenn Gaudet:

Oct 21, 2019

Every year we partner with Audience Audit to conduct research that we know will benefit agency leaders. This year, we decided to re-visit some of the questions we initially asked in 2014 to see if there had been significant shifts. In some ways, the results showed a consistent trend and in some other areas, there’d been some pretty significant changes.

In the 2019 study we included clients from the US, Canada, Australia and the UK and there were over 1,000 respondents who participated.

In this episode we’ll walk you through some of the most significant ah ha moments in the study in terms of what clients value, how they view us, and the kinds of work they think we do best. We will also talk about some of the new questions around agency specialization and agency owner involvement in key accounts.

Listen in as Susan Baier, president of Audience Audit and I explore the insights and talk about the implications of this new research. We’d also like to invite you to join us on November 12th (if you’re listening to this in real time) as we walk folks through every single question and data point in a live webinar just for you!

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What remained steady and what shifts we saw from the 2014 study
  • The three distinct audience segments we uncovered and how each of them view agencies
  • Why over 50% of all respondents work with an agency who is 200+ miles away from them
  • How you can get the complete download during the webinar on November 12th

Ways to Contact Susan Baier:

Oct 14, 2019

In the agency world, there are days where it seems like tomorrow will never come. It’s easy to get fixated on what is broken or what else needs to be done. There’s always one more tweak and THEN things will be good.

Actually, no matter where you’re at in the ebbs and flows of agency life, it’s all pretty good.

Even on your worst day, you have it better than most. The problem is, we often fail to realize that. We get tunnel vision digging ourselves out of holes and preparing for the next fallout when things are going well.

In this solocast of the Build a Better Agency podcast, I share the story of a conversation I recently had with a friend who just sold his agency. His perspective was so telling and for me, so inspiring.

My hope is that it will give you a fresh look at how to approach agency ownership, no matter what the day brings.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why some agency owners fail to enjoy the ride
  • How to show gratitude and the impact it will have on your agency
  • How to recognize the privileges of being an agency owner or leader
  • Why it matters that you slow down and appreciate your role
  • Different ways that you can improve as an agency leader
  • How to articulate what your clients and employees mean to you

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Oct 7, 2019

Our agencies and the work we do will inevitably be impacted by artificial intelligence in the next 3-5 years. That’s just a fact. Odds are, it’s probably already changing the way you do business every day. There’s a lot of hype and buzz about jobs going away and most agencies are struggling to figure out how to keep up.

Questions of what data to use, how to analyze it, what tasks can be automated, and what AI can do for clients pop up all of the time. And it all shifts on what seems like a daily basis.

Fortunately, the agency space has a beacon to light the way into the uncharted territory of AI. His name is Chris Penn, and he is an authority on analytics, digital marketing, and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, best-selling author, and keynote speaker, he has shaped four key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, modern email marketing, and artificial intelligence/machine learning in marketing.

Chris is a generous guy who frequently shares his knowledge over his own podcast, Marketing Over Coffee, as well as through books like “AI for Marketers: A Primer and Introduction.” I was thrilled to welcome Chris as my guest for episode #208 of the Build a Better Agency podcast.

I barely scratched the surface of questions I had but we got a good start, talking about data analysis, keeping up with the flux of AI, and the tasks that agencies can automate to save time and money. The conversation was fascinating and I’m excited to share it with you.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What data actually looks like in the agency environment
  • The importance of hiring people with analytics and software skills to an agency
  • How to keep up with the ever-changing field of AI in an agency setting
  • Common mistakes agencies make around data and analytics
  • The most onerous tasks that can be automated using AI
  • The capabilities of machine learning and where humans come in during the process
  • What Chris does to keep current with technology in the agency space

Ways to Contact Chris Penn:

Sep 30, 2019

I’m a big believer in love. Sure — romantic love or the love you have for your family is awesome but that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about loving the people on your team and your clients. It’s amazing the level of connectivity you can create when you lead with love. It may seem odd, but I think love is especially important in the workplace. Agencies lead with love towards their employees and clients will likely keep those employees and clients and enjoy the fruits of those relationships for many years.

That’s why I knew I’d love Steve Farber’s new book Love is Just Damn Good Business. Steve has decades of experience as a leadership trainer and expert, he’s an internationally sought out speaker and best-selling author. (He was my guest on episode #46 and we mentioned love a few times there too!)

In episode #208 of Build a Better Agency, Steve and I talk about the impact of love on a business’ ROI, employee retention and employer satisfaction. This is one of my favorite conversations I’ve had, and if you only listen to one episode of the podcast, I hope it’s this one.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why Steve’s message is so important in today’s world
  • The benefits of building a work environment based on love
  • Building love and relationships with clients
  • How to demonstrate love to employees
  • The powerful message of being fully present with people
  • What empathy really looks like in action
  • Showing love and kindness in the most difficult times
  • Serving your employees by being a “strong frame”

Ways to Contact Steve Farber:

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Sep 23, 2019

Many agency owners are struggling to not only understand laws like the CCPA and GDPR, but more important — determine what your agency has to do to be compliant and avoid liability. What laws apply to your shop and your clients? What does compliant even mean in terms of practical do’s and don’ts? What is the chain of responsibility if clients make bad choices? What are mistakes we should avoid?

My guest Ruth Carter is an Arizona-based business, intellectual property, and internet attorney; a best-selling author who literally wrote the book on the legalities of blogging; has been living and breathing the new CA privacy law and works with agencies every day to help them manage the hype and interpret the laws accurately.

Ruth and I had a lively conversation about privacy laws and what they mean for agencies. Ruth is a wealth of legal and privacy information for agencies and a brilliant navigator for this tricky subject.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What determines which privacy laws an agency and our clients need to follow
  • How agencies can protect themselves if clients don’t follow privacy recommendations and get into legal trouble
  • Privacy disclaimers, policies, and declarations needed for an agency’s website
  • Whether your agency has to abide by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and/or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Privacy mistakes that get agencies into hot water
  • The importance of transparency when adding clients to your email list
  • Why most agencies can take a deep breath – they’re probably already complying with the law

Ways to Contact Ruth Carter:

Sep 16, 2019

There are people who are considered leaders because their title says they are and then there are people who lead, no matter where in the org chart they may be. Agency owners can’t afford to be leaders in title only. We have to step into true leadership if we want our agency to thrive and grow.

David Wood, founder of Play For Real, is my guest on this episode of Build a Better Agency. David is a pro at spotting what it takes to be a strong leader in the workplace.

David was a former consulting actuary to Fortune 100 companies like Sony Music and Procter & Gamble. When he left his Park Avenue job, he began to explore the world in a different way in terms of helping high-performing entrepreneurs, executives and leaders play the game of personal development as well as it can be played.

In this episode of the Build a Better Agency podcast, David and I talk about what it means to show up as a leader who is not afraid to be daring, authentic, and vulnerable. We talk shop on how to encourage employees to be better leaders, how to build an environment of trust, and how true leadership can make all the difference.
A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Ideal traits and practices for leading people
  • The differences between relational and posturing leadership
  • How to recognize leadership flaws and train employees to keep you accountable
  • The importance of incentivizing employee contributions and collaboration
  • What being an authentic and daring leader looks like
  • How your leadership skills translate directly to running a more profitable agency
  • The power of listening to people’s problems rather than giving advice or trying to fix them
  • Action steps for becoming a more vulnerable leader

Ways to Contact David Wood:

Sep 9, 2019

As agency owners, we all want to hire the mystical, magical salesperson that will allow us to hand that task to someone other than us. Can it be done? Yes, but probably not the way you think or wish it would happen.

Sales is a challenging activity no matter what you’re selling. Selling for agencies, even more so.

In this solocast, I will walk you through the make-up of that unicorn of a salesperson so you can spot one out in the wild. I’ll help you identify some prime places to search what traits are non-negotiable, and how to build a compensation package, if you happen to find one.

Even if you find this unicorn of a salesperson, you won’t be able to walk away completely. I’ll also discuss the agency owner’s role in the biz dev process. With the right people, the right assets, and the right communication, you’ll be well on your way to a successful sales operation for your agency.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What makes agency owners uniquely qualified to be the best agency salespeople
  • What an outside salesperson has to understand about your niche to sell for your agency
  • The traits of a good salesperson
  • The different kinds of agencies and how that impacts salespeople’s success rates
  • A compensation model for outside salespeople and how long it will take them to start making sales
  • What assets salespeople need to set them up for success
  • Why salespeople need access to the agency owner

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year, Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Tools & Resources:

  • Get 10 hours for FREE for a Project with More than 50 Hours with White Label Here.
Sep 2, 2019

Lawyers, financial planners and insurance salespeople. You joke about avoiding them at cocktail parties, but they are definitely not who you should avoid as agency owners. Many owners think of attorneys as an expense. I can tell you – the preventative investment you make with a lawyer to get a good contract and other tools is a pittance compared to what I have seen agencies lose when they don’t have those good tools.

If you are a high-risk gambler – grab a contract off the internet and use that.

That’s why I invited Jamie Lieberman, founder of Hashtag Legal LLC, to be my guest on this episode of Build a Better Agency. She has over 15 years of legal experience and specializes in helping agency owners protect themselves before they get into hot water.

Jamie brings extensive experience in contract creation and negotiation IP issues agencies face, web and mobile app terms and conditions, and influencer marketing legalities.
Settle in – she’s ready to give you a free hour of legal counsel!

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why you need to find the right attorney for your agency
  • The absolute necessity of drawing up the right contracts for your agency and some characteristics of the ideal contract
  • How agencies can (and should) protect themselves from potentially hazardous legal situations caused by clients
  • The ins and outs of independent contractors and how to avoid legal headaches and fines
  • Navigating non-compete and non-solicitation agreements for employees and contractors
  • The importance of confidentiality agreements and defining what constitutes confidential information
  • Claiming domain names while avoiding copyright or trademark infringement
  • Why agencies owners should stay abreast of popular trends in the industry, especially in areas such as influencer marketing

Ways to Contact Jamie Lieberman:

Aug 26, 2019

One of the most expensive mistakes many agency owners make is leaving too much money in the business. It’s too easy to forget that the retained earnings in the agency’s checking account is actually your money. You’ve earned it. You’ve paid taxes on it. It should be in YOUR bank account.

But, when you leave it inside the agency you often spent it on bad financial decisions, like staying overstaffed rather than making the tough call to downsize if business shifts.
You need to build your wealth outside of your agency. I dove into that topic in detail in episode 115 if you want to go back and review it.

For many agency owners – when they think about building that wealth outside their agency, they think about real estate I’m a big fan of this strategy and it’s been my go-to for years. But it’s easy to make big mistakes if you aren’t well educated (I wasn’t) or don’t have a good advisor. In the early days, I made some costly mistakes that I’d like to help you avoid.

That’s why I wanted to talk with a true expert in real estate investing so we could all learn from one of the masters.

My guest, Chris Prefontaine, has been creating wealth through real estate and teaching others how to do the same for years. This conversation is going way beyond flipping houses. There are so many ways to make a profit in real estate, and the barriers of entry are much lower than you might think.

Chris has always been a big advocate of constant education which is why he’s written Real Estate on Your Terms: Create Continuous Cash Flow Now, Without Using Your Cash or Credit. He’s also the founder of SmartRealEstateCoach.com and the Smart Real Estate Coach Podcast.

He’s been in real estate for over 25 years. His experience includes the construction of over 100 single-family and duplex homes (mostly 1990’s and selectively to date) as well as ownership of a Realty Executives franchise (Massachusetts 1994-2000) as a broker, where he maintained high per-agent standards and eventually sold to Coldwell Banker in 2000.

Chris runs his own buying and selling businesses with his family team, which buys 2-5 properties monthly, so they’re in the trenches every single week. They’ve done over $80 million in real estate transactions and help clients do the same thing around the country.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why you need to start building wealth outside your agency today
  • How real estate can become a source of income beyond your agency
  • How to use tax liens as an instrument to earn income via real estate
  • The wide variety of ways you can earn through real estate
  • Why you don’t need a massive cash reserve to get started in real estate
  • How to minimize the outlay and risk in real estate
  • When to consider remote real estate transactions, and when to work on transactions closer to home
  • How to ride out market fluctuations to make the most of your real estate investments

Ways to Contact Chris Prefontaine:

Aug 19, 2019

You’ve seen all the stats and you’ve personally experienced the explosive growth of video in the last 5+ years. It is not a channel we can or should ignore for ourselves or for our clients.

But unless you or your client have a skateboarding cat – producing a compelling video that will attract and connect with viewers is no small task. (If you do have a skateboarding cat – can I borrow him?)

In this episode, we’re going to deconstruct what it takes to create a compelling, engaging video that connects you with your ideal audience. My guest is an expert who has spent over a decade exploring and perfecting the art of the marketing video.

Beyond learning how to best our own hang-ups about being on camera, there are even broader questions. What are some best practices? What elements need to be in place to have an effective video? What does effective video even mean these days?

My guest Gideon Shalwick is a serial entrepreneur who has been creating businesses in the online video space since 2006. He’s been experimenting, studying trends and making plenty of money off video for over a decade.

Today, his focus is on his business Splasheo which is a video captioning service where humans manually transcribe your videos and then burn those captions right into your videos using a variety of engaging layouts. They’re perfect for social and if we’re connected on LinkedIn, you’ve seen my weekly video’s new look, thanks to Splasheo!

Gideon also occasionally offers private coaching and training to help people grow their businesses using video marketing.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why video content is not primarily about transferring knowledge
  • How to connect with your video audience so they want to engage with you
  • How to structure your video content for maximum engagement
  • Tips on how to look natural on camera
  • Why audio is just as important as imagery in creating a video
  • How to use social proofs both as a novice and after you gain traction in video
  • Creating video out of your audio content
  • Why captions make such a big difference in video engagement
  • How to slice and dice your existing content into valuable video nuggets
Aug 12, 2019

Millennials (people born from 1981-1996) comprise the largest and most diverse generation in American history. Most agency owners are either older millennials or Gen X or Boomers. When it comes to leading the team — sometimes those two worlds collide. They’re coming at the world with completely different expectations, wants, needs and goals. Whenever I talk with agency owners, they almost always talk about the frustrations that come from that disparity. Who are these people and how do we manage and motivate them?

In this episode, I ask these questions of agency owner and millennial whisperer Chris Tuff. After living it, researching it, and then literally writing the go-to book on the subject, Chris has some wisdom to share.

The perception is that millennials don’t have the same work ethic that we had at their age. However, the reality is we aren’t from different planets, despite the fact that the world and the work environment today is vastly different from what many of us experienced when we were breaking into the business.
Chris and I dig into perceptions and misperceptions of hiring and leading millennials with the goal of understanding what motivates them, the role of culture, and the fact that we are all people in different stages of life. Hopefully, this will give you some tangible takeaways to help you engage with, inspire, get inspired by, and work with millennials – to everyone’s benefit.

Chris Tuff is a partner at the advertising agency 22squared in Atlanta, GA, where he successfully attracts, motivates, and whispers to Millennials every day. When Chris isn’t working, he kiteboards, mountain bikes, runs and spends quality time with his wife and two daughters.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why managing Millennials doesn’t have to be so challenging for older agency owners
  • Why transparency is so important for Millennial employees
  • The kinds of leadership that Millennials are seeking
  • How to make promoting culture and company goals the job of everyone in the agency
  • What to look for in Millennial candidates
  • How to make a contract-to-hire “test drive” worth the risk for both the candidate and you
  • The benefits that Millennials are seeking
  • What the Millennial-owned company of the (very near) future will look like
  • Why diversity and inclusion are not optional with Millennials

Ways to Contact Chris Tuff:

Aug 5, 2019

During the spring gatherings of AGI owner peer network members, I walk them through a presentation on trends that I’m seeing in the industry. Then I devote two solocast episodes to these findings later in the summer.

In episode 195, I covered what’s happening with agency money and finance, along with some trends in ownership, decision-making, and how you and your peers are managing the pace of change in this industry.

In this episode, I talk about employees, clients, and some tactics with which agencies are having great success in terms of winning clients and serving them well.
If the topic of employees gives you a queasy feeling, you are not alone. It’s a big source of concern for many agency owners. I discuss trends I’m seeing in why retention is such a challenge and what you can do to make your agency the best option for employees you don’t want to lose.

What’s happening on the client-side? There are some really interesting findings. I discuss creative ways in which agencies are gaining more clients and more billables from existing clients.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why freelance work is becoming more common and more of a draw to your current employees
  • How to increase diversity in your agency
  • What employees are looking for in agency culture
  • How to set up an attractive incentive program
  • What agencies are doing to counteract clients doing more work in-house
  • The most in-demand work with which agencies are engaging clients and for which they are being well-compensated
  • The four traits that will get you on a client’s radar
  • How agencies can help clients take a stand on the issues that are important to them and their customers

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Jul 29, 2019

Influencer marketing isn’t new. Remember Joe Namath in pantyhose? (If you don’t Google it)

But what is new is that anyone can harness the power of the internet and attract and monetize an audience. The value to our clients in that new twist is that there is an influencer for any subject, budget, or audience.

This is an area where many agencies are crushing their financial goals. But if done wrong – you can lose your shirt. That’s why I knew we needed to talk to Shane Barker.
Getting to the tactical heart of effective and profitable influencer marketing is what episode #199 is all about. My guest is Shane Barker, who has been doing influencer marketing since before the term was even coined. We talk about finding the right person, the proverbial needle in the influencer haystack, and how to determine the real reach of that individual who calls him/herself an influencer.

Maybe you or your clients are still questioning the ROI of influencer marketing. Shane and I discuss how to do it right from start to finish, so you and your clients get the most bang for your influencer buck.

From working with agencies and brands on influencer strategy and with celebrities on digital reputation management, to obtaining a #1 national ranking with PROskore as a social media consultant, Shane has built an impressive list of accomplishments. As a regular contributor to publications like Salesforce, Yahoo Small Business, Marketing Profs and others, he continues to grow and share his knowledge.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How to vet influencers so you and clients get what you pay for
  • Why you should interview influencers to find the right fit beyond the metrics
  • How to A/B test in influencer marketing
  • What goes into developing a solid influencer marketing strategy
  • How to be the best choice for the influencers you want to work with
  • Developing Scope of Work terms with an influencer
  • The best tools to use to start your influencer search
  • How to fine-tune your influencer search with the “eyeball test”

Ways to Contact Shane Barker:

Jul 22, 2019

In all the years that I’ve been an agency owner (almost 25) and worked alongside agency owners (15+) there is a common pain point — biz dev. We love getting to the table and talking with a potential client about how we can help them. However, getting to the table feels like a slog.

That’s why, if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t invest as much time and attention as we should to prospecting. The situation becomes a real Catch-22. Sooner or later, that bites every agency owner in the caboose and the bank account.

In episode #198, I talk with Dan Englander, who was on the show a while back (episode #76) and what I appreciate about Dan is that he’s been a student of this challenge. Not only has he analyzed the reasons why we avoid going after new business, but he has developed a process with tangible steps you can take to break the pattern. He’s the proverbial “man with a plan.”

We dig into what makes a good sales team, the right roles for the right people, and how to get and stay on the right biz dev tasks as owners and principals.

Dan founded Sales Schema in 2014 to help marketing service companies reach new heights by aggressively focusing on new business. Previously, he was the first employee business development lead at IdeaRocket. Before that, he was Account Coordinator at DXagency. He’s the author of Mastering Account Management and The B2B Sales Blueprint. In his spare time, Dan enjoys developing new and exciting aches and pains via Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How to set up a biz dev team for success
  • How to create a 3-person sales pod
  • The role of a B2B biz dev strategist in your shop
  • Specific tasks that owners and sales leaders should be completing
  • How to create a transparent process that leads good-fit clients to a buying decision
  • How to find enough confidence in your pipeline to be choosy about clients
  • Ways to back up an abundance mindset with solid strategies and tactics
  • How to build momentum through your biz dev efforts
  • How to avoid perfection paralysis in biz dev

Ways to Contact Dan Englander:

Jul 15, 2019

The customer journey, UX, customer experience: buzzwords or actually points of value we can offer clients? I think in the hands of the under-informed and without good data, a process for gathering that data, and a genuine understanding of what the customer journey can tell us, it becomes a matter of hearsay and guesswork.

That isn’t good enough for this week’s guest, so we’re taking the guesswork out of it. I talk with Heidi Trost, owner and CEO of Voice + Code, about how to gather the right data and what to do with it to make that crucial connection between the goals of the customer and the goals of the company.

Heidi Trost has built an agency around those kinds of fixes. Heidi started Voice+Code in 2010 after working at other agencies and being an adjunct professor. She has a passion for helping clients build technology that actually serves their customers and delivers on the experience the customer is seeking. We’re going to dig into all of those topics.

Heidi’s obsession with usability and the user experience began with her award-winning graduate research at Rochester Institute of Technology. Today, her passion is to help businesses measure and optimize the user experience while making the digital realm safe, usable, and accessible.

As a user experience researcher and designer, speaker, and usability expert, Heidi has helped startups and Fortune 500 companies develop digital product strategies that align customer needs with business goals.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The data and metrics to use in understanding the customer journey
  • The best methodologies for getting input from your clients
  • How to test your assumptions about a customer persona
  • How to set up usability studies
  • How to map out the customer journey
  • Getting realistic about the customer journey
  • What prevents a product or service from achieving a great user experience
  • How to convince clients to invest in research

Ways to Contact Heidi Trost:

Jul 8, 2019

I know a lot of agency owners think about selling their shop. But do they think about it strategically? Or soon enough? Do they execute on a plan that will set them up for success 5-10 years before they’re ready to sell?

Usually, the answer to those questions is no. And on the flip side, how many agency owners think about growth through acquisition? Selling is a big part of the conversation but buying should be on the table as well.

In episode #196, I talk with Terry Lammers, who has been buying and selling businesses since he sold his family fuel company. We talk about the monetary and non-monetary aspects of getting the most from your agency or being a smart buyer if you’re on that end of the transaction. Most importantly, we dig into how, why, and when to start planning your exit strategy as an agency owner.

Terry Lammers grew up in a little town of 600 people. His family owned a wholesale fuels and lubricants company and when Terry took over as president of the company, he had some big ideas for growth. Out of that experience developed a fascination with the process of buying and selling businesses.

Since then, Terry has formed a business brokerage that helps people who want to buy and sell businesses. He also has his designation as a certified valuation analyst, accreditation through the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. He is the author of You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Sell a Business.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why it’s never too early to plan your exit strategy
  • How to value a business (like an agency) with little regular recurring revenue
  • Who to have around the table to plan your exit strategy
  • Nonfinancial elements of your agency that add or subtract the value
  • Why culture is so important and why blending two company cultures is so difficult
  • How agency owners can start thinking about the acquisition as a growth strategy
Jul 1, 2019

How’s your year going so far? I might have a pretty good idea already. We work with and see how 250+ small to mid-sized agencies are doing every year and there are always patterns that emerge.

Every spring, I give a trends presentation to all of the agency owners in AMI peer groups. Together we explore how those trends are showing up in our world and how they’re impacting the industry.

Then, in the summer – I share those same rends with my podcast audience. If you’ve been listening for a while, you know this is an annual feature of the show.

In this episode, I share the financial picture that is emerging from the data. How are clients spending their marketing dollars? Is this a good time to be an agency owner? I’ll share what the numbers are saying. We’ll also talk about the mood among agency owners and whether or not they’re bullish on 2019 and 2020.

There are too many trends to cover in one episode, so this is part one. Check it out so you’re ready for part two next month.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Top agency trends in 2019
  • Understanding the rise of project work
  • How to manage after a gorilla client suddenly breaks up with you
  • Why transparency in markups and commissions is so important
  • Why agencies are earning more dollars, but those dollars are harder to acquire
  • How to regain that spark when agency work makes you weary
  • New trends in agency succession planning

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Jun 24, 2019

My entreé into agency life was as a copywriter. I loved digging around and finding the story underneath the story. That love was the foundation for my belief in the power of a strong and smart brand. For decades my agency has helped clients define, develop, and deploy their brand both internally and externally. It’s still some of my favorite work to do.

Understanding your unique story is a powerful competitive advantage for our clients and our own agencies. Without understanding what makes us unique – we have to swim in the sea of sameness and that’s definitely swimming upstream!

In this episode, we’re digging into storytelling by understanding it at the root level. There is an architecture to stories and I have gone to the expert to learn more about that structure and how, as agencies, we can better use it to build our clients’ brands – and our own as well.

My guest is Park Howell. For 25 years, Park ran an agency in Arizona called Park & Co. At a certain point in his career, he pivoted his agency to become a storytelling consultant, helping clients learn how to tell their own story. Park founded his consultancy, The Business of Story, on January 1, 2016, so he could partner with leaders of purpose-driven organizations and help them clarify their stories, amplify their impact, and simplify their lives.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How the hero’s journey has been with us since the beginning of storytelling
  • Why story is one of the most powerful tools in your brand building arsenal
  • How to help clients live into their most powerful stories
  • Who should be the hero of the story (the answer might surprise you)
  • Why it is so hard for agencies to discover and tell their own stories
  • How storytelling connects with something so primal in all of us
  • How to use storytelling to help customers fulfill what they wish, will, and want

Ways to Contact Park Howell:

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