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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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Now displaying: April, 2018
Apr 30, 2018

One of the most rewarding aspects of AMI is that we can give agency owners a sense of perspective. Owning and running an agency is lonely and isolated. You make decisions based on what you know and usually you only know your own reality. I love it when I can shine a light on how other agencies are doing something or a best practice or metric that gives owners confidence that you’re on track or even that you’re ahead of the curve.

Hubspot recently completed a survey of over 1,200 marketing agency decision makers and I was invited to comment on some of the findings. After reading the report, I knew the insights were something we needed to explore together on the podcast.

Tim Dearlove is the Growth Marketing Manager at Hubspot, which as you know is a market leading inbound marketing and sales suite of tools that is very agency centric and they invest a huge amount of time and effort to support agencies all over the globe. (Note: And the presenting sponsor of Build A Better Agency)

Some of the findings will touch on themes you live with every day – the fears and frustrations of any agency owner. There are some trends and practices we’ll call to your attention and some opportunities for you to take the lead over your competition.

We’ll also look at how you can stay ahead of your clients – and the importance of ongoing learning not just for you, but for the talent you hire as well.

It’s an episode full of big ideas and targeted actions you can take to make your agency better and your life a bit easier.  

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services on an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

Ways to contact Tim Dearlove:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 23, 2018

A frustration for many agencies today is that it’s tough to get clients to commit to ongoing retainers. Post recession, clients are drawn to project work as opposed to the longer-term, on-going work that agencies prefer. There are many factors that play into this and some agencies have cracked the code of earning a client’s confidence and being positioned as an on-going partner.

Barry O'Kane has cracked the code. He has over 18 years of experience as a digital agency owner and a web developer. He and his team work in partnership with social impact organizations and creative agencies to solve their toughest challenges. Barry runs a virtual dev shop called endzone.io, and he also teaches web agencies how create recurring revenue for their shop and recurring value for their clients. He really believes that there are internal processes and systems and that agencies need to consider so they get compensated differently and create a whole new value proposition for themselves and their clients.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Retainers/long-term relationships: why they are great for your agency as well as your clients
  • Retainers that allow your agency to provide services in an ongoing basis while keeping control
  • Some of the mistakes agencies make by not clearly defining what the service is and tying the value directly to the offering
  • Going through the process and making sure the decision to work on a retainer basis is thought out and not just tacked on at the end
  • Why the paid discovery process is the ideal way to enter into a retainer agreement (and why it’s not always possible)
  • The three categories a retainer should have to provide value to the client: optimization, insurance, and strategy
  • How to talk to prospects so they understand the value of an ongoing relationship
  • Three great ways to clearly define and price your services
  • Why your clients will test the boundaries of your agreement if you don’t clearly define them
  • The importance of saying “no” and the right and wrong ways to do it
  • Why consistent, clear communication with ongoing clients is a great way to upsell services
  • Building the systems and processes for great internal and external communication
  • Why you have to work on your processes in small increments or they will never get done

Ways to contact Barry O'Kane:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 16, 2018

It started with the cats. Who knew cats were trend setters but when it comes to video they were on board long before we were! One of the biggest trends I’ve seen over the last five years is the proliferation of video. You can’t go anywhere (Online, mass transit, Times Square or your home security system) without seeing a video these days. And these are not the videos of old. When I started in the business, we make gorgeous videos, shot on film and painstakingly edited for days. Today’s videos can certainly be that but more often than not – they’re run and gun videos that are often shot, edited and posted the same day, if not in real time.

To think any agency can avoid getting proficient at video is a fool’s folly these days and I don’t want ignorance, fear or the “I hate the way I look on video” worry to keep you from evolving your agency’s skills in this area. You simply can’t afford not to be good at video, not to understand how to leverage video and most important – how to create videos for yourself and your clients in a cost effective, profitable way.

That is why I invited George B. Thomas onto the Build A Better Agency podcast. This guy gets video and has a passion around it that is infectious.

George has an interesting past – he’s a recovering youth pastor, a former pub bouncer, but no matter what his title was, he's always been about helping people at different points in their journey. Now he is the Resident Nerd at the Sales Lion, an inbound and content marketing agency helping businesses become rock stars in their markets.

George believes that video is the next step of the inbound marketing evolution. He loves helping businesses wrap their heads around video. As he is quick to tell you – he’s a branding guru, a video marketing ninja, and an inbound Jedi. A little peek into George right there!

When he's not running video workshops or speaking around the world, he's hanging out with his family enjoying the beautiful world that is North Carolina. What I love about George is that he's got an energy and a passion for this, which you will feel in this episode, but he also brings the goods in terms of expertise and he's going to get down to the really needy gritty of telling us not only what to do, but how to do it.

I want you to listen to this conversation through parallel tracks. First, I want you to listen to it while thinking, “how can video help our clients grow their business and improve their customer’s experience?”

But the other lens I want you to be using is, “how do I use video better for the agency and our biz dev efforts?” Some of you are already swimming in these waters but many of you are not. Time to get to it!

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why George believes that getting great at video is the difference between having a successful agency and closing your doors
  • The difference between creative, big budget video that dominated agencies of the past and the much cheaper, revenue-driving videos of today
  • Making quick, easy videos that answer the questions your sales people get the most
  • How to sell clients on making these quick videos
  • The kind of equipment you need to own to make video for yourself and your clients that looks great
  • Everything you need to know to pick the right editing software
  • The skills needed to be great behind the camera and in the editing room
  • The kinds of videos your agency should be producing
  • Why every person in your agency needs a video of themselves in their email signature
  • The danger of being too salesy in your videos
  • How to become more comfortable on camera
  • Why you don’t have to be afraid of live video
  • Misassumptions agencies and other businesses make about video that consumers don’t make
  • Matching the right video to the right platform/audience

Ways to contact George Thomas:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 9, 2018

When I think about this episode, it’s all about voice but not just in the way that you might first assume.

Stephen Woessner and I taught a workshop together in January called Creating Content that Creates Revenue. One of the big themes from that workshop was the idea that most agencies really haven’t defined their distinct point of view. I did a whole solocast on that that really does a deep dive on the topic. But it’s really all about finding your agency’s unique voice and weaving that through all of your content, your website, your new business decks, and your agency’s work.

The second way you can see the theme of voice in this podcast is in the idea of using content as the Trojan Horse of sales, as my guest Stephen coined the phrase. When you give your prospective client a voice through your cornerstone content (podcast, book, video series, blog, etc.) by putting the spotlight on them as a guest or subject matter expert, you can leverage that invitation to create a relationship with them that they’d never welcome if you were just trying to sell them something. Giving them exposure and a voice is the door opener that actually gets them to be interested in you and how you work.

I believe this is one of the most effective and least exploited sales techniques in our space and the agencies who master it will be several steps ahead of their competitors. It completely changes the landscape of the relationship you have with prospects.

Finally, we explore the idea of voice from a channel perspective. Voice controlled devices are becoming very mainstream and there are some huge opportunities for agencies in that space. We explore some of the possibilities as we wrap up the episode.

As you can see – this is an episode that is packed with content and thought ticklers. I can't wait to hear your reaction.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  1. Why success is not only about creating great content but it’s also about creating content that creates revenue for your agency either in the form of sponsorships, new clients, or other opportunities.
  2. How your agency can create your own Trojan Horse of Sales to open doors with your Nano 25 prospects, have a different kind of conversation than what most agencies are having with prospects, and all without your prospect ever feeling like they were a prospect.
  3. How to spotlight the wisdom and insights you collect from your Nano 25 and share that knowledge with your audience – and what happens when you do.
  4. A specific script you can use for a phone call with your Nano 25 to move the business development process forward.
  5. Why it’s important to plant your flag in firm ground using a channel agnostic content strategy.
  6. How monetizing your content extends much further than just attracting new clients sponsorships, speaking engagements, or books.
  7. How “Voice” has become a fast-tracking trend that will be a cultural norm within a year or two.
  8. How strategy and content creation for voice controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home represent opportunities for agencies to jump in and help clients make sense of it all.
  9. How to restructure website content pages to make them more voice search friendly.
  10. Why the agencies that understand how to produce content around their point-of-view that then becomes the search result for voice activated search are going to have a huge advantage over competitors.

Ways to contact Stephen Woessner:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

Apr 2, 2018

A lot of agency owners say to me, “Drew, I know you’re running your own agency and I know you’re running AMI. I know you've got some other things on the side like real estate. How in the world do you get it all done and how do you keep yourself organized, on track, and on-time?” So for today’s solocast, I want to talk about how you can get more out of your day.

I know that I may give the impression of being able to get it all done – but I never do. Let me be very clear about that. I don’t. I don’t want to say to you that my “To Do” list is ever empty because it’s not. But it’s manageable and I keep everything moving forward like I need to.

Like many of you, I have spent years trying to crack the nut of my own productivity. I’ve tested tools, tried tricks and heaped hacks into my day. Over the years, I’ve developed a reliable system for managing my world and my day so the most important things get done every day.

And that’s what I’d like to share with you in this solocast. It is my own blend of habits, tools and disciplines that allow me to consistently get all of the important things within AMI, my own agency and the rest of my business dealings done while still being able to take time away to relax and be with family and friends.

It’s possible and it can happen for you, too. I am going to share all of the tools I use, my daily habits, and what I think is my secret weapon for how I move through my day to make it all work.  

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How I use a task list management tool or electronic “To Do” list to keep myself on track
  • Why I break my to do list into “buckets” so they are easy to manage and less daunting
  • How I use my “secret weapon” to prioritize all my buckets and identify my the three things that absolutely must get done the next day
  • Why I think it is important for me to own and manage my own calendar
  • How I take control by chunking my calendar into time blocks that give me the space I need to get all of the daily priorities done
  • How a simple tool like an orange traffic cone could be a game changer for you and everyone on your team
  • Why I am a huge fan of taking time out and being absent from the office
  • My travel routine for how I set up my hotel room, how I unpack everything to stay organized, and the stuff I keep with me at all times
  • My thought process for deciding if I should keep a task on my list or delegate it to someone on my team
  • My biggest time saving tip
  • How I knit all of this together into a system that keeps me on track and on time

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:

  • Producing the weekly Build A Better Agency podcast
  • 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:

We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!

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