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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: 2020
Oct 26, 2020

Thought leadership is one of those buzzwords that has been so overused, it has almost been rendered meaningless. But as Stephen Woessner and I preach to agency owners in our book, Sell with Authority, when done well for the right reasons, being an authority can drive significant revenue for your agency. Stephen’s agency, Predictive ROI, decided they wanted to quantify the value of thought leadership so they engaged Susan Baier (Audience Audit) to do some research to answer the question “is there an ROI to being a thought leader?”

Creating unique, relevant content targeting a very narrow niche is time-consuming. Is there a payoff? How does it impact both new sales and retaining clients? Does it influence the sales cycle? How do people define what is and isn’t a true authority?

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Susan and Stephen join us to share the data that came out of the research and the implications that data has for us as agency owners, both as we think about our own biz dev but also how we advise clients about their own thought leadership efforts.

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.

Agency Owners | The ROI of thought leadership for agencies

Agency Owners | The ROI of thought leadership for agencies

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can use data to measure the value of thought leadership
  • The origins of Susan and Stephen’s research about the ROI of being an authority
  • The research methodology Susan used for the ROI of thought leadership study
  • What Susan and Stephen’s study uncovered about people’s attitudes/beliefs toward experts in their field
  • The distinguishing characteristics that others use to determine if someone truly is an authority
  • How referrals are impacted by someone’s position of authority
  • The big takeaways of the study on the ROI of thought leadership and how to apply them in your agency
Oct 19, 2020

After this year, I think agency leaders can all rightfully claim their MBA in leadership! With the recession and COVID-19 rewriting our plans for 2020, we’ve all been challenged to step way outside of our comfort zones. And yet, I believe we can all get even better. How can we level-up as leaders and make sure our team is aligned and bringing their best to the job?

My guest this week, Chad Carden, is on a life mission to improve the way leaders interact with their teams to create greater engagement and better results. His style is very results oriented, but it’s balanced with a goal of helping everyone on the team do their best work and feel good about the contribution. This head and heart combination lines up nicely with how I know agency owners think about and care about their team members.

During this conversation, Chad and I discuss the different ways we can ramp up for success as we build momentum into the 4th quarter of 2020 and head into 2021. Chad outlines how we can show up as better agency leaders, transform our internal environments, and drive results. We all know that when everyone is happily rowing in the same direction – good things happen!

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 2020 has forced agency leaders to level-up their leadership
  • How agency leaders can carve out time for their people and build stronger connections without taking too much time out of the day
  • What agency leaders can do to make professional development a consistent part of the day-to-day
  • Why agency leaders should be focused on creating a sense of clarity, alignment, and purpose within their teams
  • What agency leaders can do to win the day and maintain the agency’s course to success
  • How agency leaders can inspire their teams to work better together
Oct 12, 2020

Creating content is both a huge opportunity and a big challenge for agencies. How do you elevate your efforts so that the content is actually meaningful to the audience and attracts prospects? How do you properly price your content efforts so you get paid fairly? If you’re looking for good writers – what are the clues that they’ll be able to do the work? All of these questions affect your bottom line. Luckily, there are principles you can follow to ensure your content creation is on-point, whether you are outsourcing writers or doing everything in-house.

My guest for this week’s episode is Steve Pockross, Owner and CEO of Verblio. Steve brings more than 20 years of startup, Fortune 500, and nonprofit experience to his role at Verblio. As CEO, he applies leading marketplace and SaaS principles to create an industry-leading content creation platform with 3,000 writers supporting thousands of clients with their digital marketing.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Steve joins us to talk about trends in content creation. He explains what agency owners can do to work better with outside writers and breaks down the traits you should look for in prospective writers if you want to build out a content creation team of your own. Whatever route you choose to take, Steve’s experience will provide you with insights to take full advantage of the content revolution.

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:

  • Current trends in content creation
  • How we can work better with outside writers
  • What agency owners should look for in writers as they build out their own writing staff
  • How to achieve quality at scale
  • How the agency landscape has changed since COVID hit
  • How content is being refreshed and repurposed to create an immediate impact for clients
  • How we will consume content differently in twelve months
Oct 5, 2020

A.I. As agency owners and leaders, we understand what it is and what it does, but we haven’t quite figured out the best way to use it in our own agencies for ours or our clients’ benefit. Many still believe it’s something inaccessible or unaffordable. But, A.I. can transform our deliverables, change the ROI we deliver to clients, and make us even better at what we do. Today. At an affordable price.

My guest for this week’s episode is Neil Sahota, a professor at UC-Irvine in California. Neil is a specialist in artificial intelligence marketing. He was an IBM Master Inventor and is currently doing some astounding work as an A.I. Advisor for the United Nations. Neil authored the book, Own the A.I. Revolution, and is one of the foremost expert on emerging technologies as they relate to business strategy.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Neil joins us to share his journey and technical expertise. He explains what agency owners can do to harness the power of artificial intelligence marketing so we can use it in ours and our clients’ favor. He also walks us through some of the most progressive A.I. tools marketers are using to communicate with their audiences more effectively.

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.

Artificial Intelligence Marketing | How agencies can use A.I. to communicate more effectively

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How we as agency owners can harness the power of artificial intelligence marketing and use the technological disruption in our favor
  • How to use A.I. to get data and use it in your client interactions
  • What tools agencies can use to leverage data and turn it into ROI
  • Where agency owners should look for guidance on what A.I. can do and how to do it
  • What inspired Neil to write his book, “Own the A.I. Revolution”
  • Neil’s perspective on the ethics of A.I. in marketing
Sep 28, 2020

As agency owners and leaders, we have 90 days to put 2020 to bed and get ready for 2021. To help you prepare, I’ve created a To Do list for every agency owner to work through in the 4th quarter. Use this checklist to dodge the landmines and give your agency a leg up for the new year.

In this episode of Build A Better Agency, I’ll walk you through the To Do list I’ve built out based on what I call the four critical components of a profitable and growing agency. They are leadership, biz dev, getting it done and managing the money.

With some focus in each of these four areas, you can go into the new year with confidence that your agency is ready. The To Dos won’t cost you a dime, but they will cost you some time and attention. Don’t wait until December to start executing on this list. Start today!

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/

Agency Owners | Your To Dos for the 4th quarter

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What agency owners should be doing between now and the end of the year
  • The four critical components of a profitable and growing agency
  • What we can do to replenish ourselves and our teams after all that has happened since March
  • Why this crisis is a great opportunity to level-up our teams
  • How to get our finances in check so our agencies are profitable going into 2021
  • What we can do to improve our project and client management processes
  • How to incorporate our new biz dev tactics as permanent pieces of our biz dev strategy
Sep 21, 2020

Ongoing professional development is a challenge in most agencies. It’s tough to gather the right tools/resources, some agency owners aren’t sure about how to make it happen and for most the biggest challenge is making the time. And yet we know that one of the critical elements of our agency’s ongoing success is that our team has to keep getting better. I am a firm believer that professional development is a shared responsibility, which means your employees should do some of it on their own time and on their own dime. However, creating a culture of ongoing skills development and contextual learning is vital to stay ahead of the pack. And it’s not as hard as we might think.

My guest for this episode is a longtime veteran of the advertising industry. From print production and creative services to leading employee development within HR, Cecilia Gorman earned her stripes at agencies and brands large and small – most notably Y&R, Oakley, and Innocean. She currently consults on manager development, helping creative-minded companies strengthen the communication, leadership, and effectiveness of managers at all levels.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Cecilia joins me to talk about what it actually looks like to build a team of lifelong learners. She explains how agency owners can integrate professional development into their culture and create an active learning environment that impacts their clients and their team members alike. That not only serves your clients well but dramatically impacts retention and employee satisfaction. Everyone wins.

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.

Agency Owners | Creating a culture of active learning in your agency

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The number one thing that gets in the way of professional development
  • Why agency owners need to make professional development a part of the culture
  • How some agencies are carving out time for professional development, and when is the best time to invest in employee growth and development
  • What managers can do to create an active learning environment
  • How we can use storytelling to get more buy-in to our culture
  • The importance of developing self-awareness on top of technical skills
  • Four key skills that agencies should never neglect
  • Cecilia’s background in the agency world, and how she transitioned into professional development coaching
Sep 14, 2020

Many of us have earned our MBAs in leadership over this past year. As we wrap up 2020, we have some ground to make up and we can’t do that alone. We need to inspire our teammates to rise to the occasion, overcome their personal speed bumps, and build momentum as we drive to the end of the year. Elise Mitchell’s experience running agencies and coaching business owners provides actionable clarity on how we get there.

Elise Mitchell started Mitchell, her PR firm back in the nineties grew it to a seventy-person shop before selling it to Dentsu in 2013. What she loved most about the agency business was building young leaders so she built a leadership training program over the last several years. She works with emerging leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, agency leaders, and a variety of others.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, I pick Elise’s brain about how we, as agency leaders, can get the most from our teams during these critical months. Elise’s wide range of expertise can help us inspire and coach our team to a new level of greatness.

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.

Agency Leaders | How to become a more effective agency leader

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Elise’s transition from agency owner to leadership coach/consultant
  • How agency leaders can better lead their teams through change
  • Why agency owners should acknowledge that it’s okay not to have all the answers
  • Critical mindset shifts that enable us to find opportunities in times of uncertainty
  • How to bring your team through change when everybody is not on board
  • How to empower your employees by helping them discover their own insights
  • How to become a more mindful leader and avoid succumbing to burnout
Sep 7, 2020

They say that the only thing we fear more than public speaking is death. That’s some pretty deep seeded fear! On top of the fear, many agencies want to leverage speaking as part of their biz dev strategy but there are so many questions. How do you get in front of the right audience? How do you capture email addresses from the stage? How do you convince event organizers that you have something of value to offer? The good news is – it’s not as scary or as hard as it might appear.

We are itching to get in front of our sweet spot clients so we can demonstrate value, step into a position of authority, and walk away with opportunities to make a sale. But results driven public speaking does not happen without a plan. You can get in front of an audience but are they the right ones?

When it comes to public speaking as a biz dev tool, Grant is an expert. He is the founder and CEO of TheSpeakerLab.com, a training company for public speakers. He is also the best-selling author of “The Successful Speaker.”

Grant coaches professionals of all skill levels with the biz dev techniques he uses in his own speaking engagements. He also teaches how to market yourself as a speaker and find the right event and audience for your goals.

Listen to the episode, and learn how to get on the right stage, in front of the right people, so you can demonstrate your expertise and walk away with opportunities to land some business.

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.

Biz Dev | How agencies can use public speaking as a biz dev tool

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Grant’s background in public speaking and how he developed his expertise
  • How to use public speaking as a biz dev tool
  • Why public speaking is a great way to step into a position of authority
  • How a business development mindset can change your approach to public speaking
  • How to identify natural speaking opportunities in your niche
  • How to differentiate yourself and stand out from the other speakers in your vertical
  • The common mistakes speakers make with booking and how to avoid them
  • How to engage promoters and event planners
Aug 31, 2020

Agency growth isn’t easy and it isn’t a given. It’s not because agency owners don’t want to build their agency to be sustainable, scalable, or sellable down the road. It’s because they consciously or unconsciously avoid putting systems and processes into place. Instead of having a “your agency name here” way, every one of your team members has their own way of serving clients and getting the work done. When you’re five people, that’s tolerable. But once you get past ten employees or so, that breaks and you are stuck. Want to get unstuck?

As long you allow everyone to work in their own way and there’s no standardization, there’s a ceiling for how much growth and scale you can achieve. Systemizing your team’s workflow and putting new processes in place can get your agency unstuck.

David Jenyns believes deeply in the relationship between systemization and agency growth. After rolling out new systems and processes within his own agency and witnessing the powerful results, he organized the experiences into a new book called Systemology. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, David shares some of the key lessons and techniques from his book so we can apply them in our own agencies and achieve unprecedented growth.

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.

Agency Growth | Putting systems and processes into your agency

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency growth is hindered by a lack of systems and processes
  • How David mastered the application of systems and processes in his own shop
  • What David believes are the mandatory systems and processes for all agencies
  • How to use David’s “Critical Client Flow” system
  • Why your systems and processes cannot be dependent on the agency owner
  • How to get your team members to embrace and appreciate new systems and processes
  • What characteristics and personality traits we should be looking for as we look for our system or process champion
  • The outcome and benefits we can expect to see from implementing new systems and processes within our agency
Aug 24, 2020

There’s no doubt that covid is going to leave its mark. For most of us, it’s the most disruptive event of our lifetime. The question is – what are those lasting marks? In this solocast, I’m going to walk you the changes that I think are inevitable. Some of them are short term and others will be around for many years. The good news is – it’s not all bad news!

We’re going to look at changes that will impact your staffing, your pocketbook, the work you do, what clients are demanding, and how your work will be measured.

While we’re not completely out from under covid’s crunch, I am already seeing agencies pivoting into these changes and reaping significant rewards for being out in front of the evolution. I want to make sure you’re able to react quickly and fend off the risks and capitalize on the new opportunities.

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/

Agency Owners | Your agency in the post-COVID world

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What we can expect to see in the short and long-term as we sail out of the COVID storm
  • How agency owners should navigate the post-COVID landscape
  • What agency owners can do to address the changes that will impact their cash flow
  • How agency teams can and should change in the post covid world
  • Why the work week as we know it will never look the same
  • How the pandemic’s effect on mental health is going to impact your agency
  • How to deal with skittish clients during the recovery period
  • Why COVID is a huge kick in the butt to get out there and sell
Aug 17, 2020

We all have experienced the membership economy. Disney+, Dollar Shave Club, and a wide variety of meal prep kits delivered to your door. But, does it work in the B2B or service delivery worlds? When we talk about the membership economy, we are talking about something much deeper than the transactional value of memberships and subscriptions we pay for each month. It’s about how we are treated and cared for by the businesses whose programs we join. As we think about how to strategically guide our clients – this is a concept we need to understand.

Robbie Baxter is an author and one of the foremost experts on the membership economy. She has written two books including The Forever Transaction and her earlier book, The Membership Economy. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Robbie explains how the membership mentality benefits a business and its clients, and she walks us through some of the challenges as well.

Is it a viable option for your agency or some of your clients? I think the answer might just surprise 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.

Membership Economy | Looping your agency into the membership economy

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The framework of Robbie’s books and teachings
  • How the membership economy has changed the way we look at our business model
  • Why the subscription religion is taking over all industries
  • How the membership model translates in the B2B space
  • Why membership is still a viable option if you are an artisanal bakery
  • How to get your clients on board with a membership model if it makes sense for them
  • The common obstacles we may run into while trying to roll out a subscription service within a client’s organization
Aug 10, 2020

Prior to the economic downturn in ‘07-’08, I worked with a lot of agency owners who were very adamant that they would never outsource any of their services. Then the recession hit. Agencies were forced to trim their payroll and job-out projects to 1099s and other partners. Today, 99% of the agencies I work with have a hybrid business model that incorporates some type of outsourcing. When done well, this is actually a benefit to your clients so the question becomes how can you make this work in your agency? Brian Gerstner joins us in this episode of Build a Better Agency to explain how we can build and maintain strong partnerships that work well for all concerned.

Brian Gerstner has over twenty years of experience working with agency owners across the globe. He currently serves as the Creative Services Director for Huebner Marketing and the presenting sponsor of this podcast, White Label IQ. Brian offers a unique perspective on working with freelancers and outsourced service providers because he understands the nuances that influence these working relationships as both an agency creative director and the guy who heads up an outsourced resource.

Like most relationships, making it a rewarding experience for everyone takes work, commitment, and consistent communication. Listen to Brian’s tips and learn how to incorporate outsourced labor into your business model in a way that serves everyone well.

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.

Agency Owners | Smart outsourcing for agencies

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How agency owners can be a good partner to their outsourced partners and vice versa
  • How to pick the right outsource partner for your agency’s needs
  • What outsource partners should bring to the table to improve the workflow
  • How to manage communication with your partners under a compressed timeline
  • How White Lable IQ demonstrates technical expertise to people who aren’t technical
  • How to know when it’s time to pull the plug on a partnership
  • How to set clear expectations with your outsource partners
  • Why outsourcing is a great way to try before you buy
  • How to disclose your outsource partners to your clients
Aug 3, 2020

This may be the most unorthodox episode of Build A Better Agency to date. When I met Amira Alverez, who helps agency owners and leaders really harness the power of the subconscious mind, I was intrigued and invited her to be a guest. But then she asked if she could turn the tables on me and do a coaching session with me – live – and we’d let all of you eavesdrop in on the session.

I’ll admit, I was anxious about it. I didn’t want the episode to be about me. But Amira flipped the script and takes us all through a live-action case study using her methodology, with yours truly as the subject. She stops and coaches along the way and in the end, it’s a brilliant look at how we are all the biggest detriment to the success we’re capable of achieving as agency owners.

Amira Alvarez is the founder and CEO of The Unstoppable Woman, a global coaching company helping entrepreneurs, empire builders, athletes, creatives, agency owners, and rising stars in all fields achieve their dreams and goals in record time. Before Amira got clear on her goals, she was making $135k, but only a short while later, she started producing a seven-figure income that she’s been able to sustain to this day.

Amira helps agency owners figure out what they want, and what’s in the way. I encourage you to join in on this unique journey because you might have a breakthrough as well. Follow along and work through Amira’s process with us—it may provide you with clarity in areas you have struggled with for years.

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:

  • Amira’s entrepreneurial journey
  • A live-action case study using practices from Amira’s success methodology
  • How we as agency owners can own the truth about what we really want
  • How to get clear on your big, audacious goal and make a plan to execute it
  • Why a timeline is such a huge factor in your ability to achieve your goal
  • How to understand your subconscious mind and self-image
  • Tactical strategies and mindset shifts you can use to get out of your own way
Jul 27, 2020

As agency owners, we are constantly searching for new ways to harness the power of persuasion and trigger an audience’s buy-button on behalf of our clients. Understanding what’s happening inside the consumer’s head and what drives their behavior is where that effort begins. We’ve always worked to understand how audiences in the past, but what if we could leverage data and science to crack the code and target the decision-making part of a prospect’s brain?

As a neuroscientist and an agency owner, my guest Patrick Renvoise bridges the gap between science and marketing so agency owners can understand what makes different audiences tick.

He has taken an entirely new approach to persuasion that enables agency owners to better recommend marketing solutions to their clients by explaining the science behind them. It is one of the many reasons Patrick co-founded SalesBrain, the world’s first neuromarketing agency, where he currently serves as the Chief Persuasion Officer.

In this episode, we’ll explore the science behind human decision-making and how we can harness that for our agencies and our clients.

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.

Agency Owners | The science of marketing with Patrick Renvoise

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the brain reacts to persuasion
  • The role of the primal brain in decision making, and how to reach it
  • The six stimuli of the primal brain and how to leverage them in your work
  • Why logical and emotional messaging is not enough to impact your customer’s decision
  • How to position your agency against all of the other agencies in the landscape
Jul 20, 2020

In my 250th (man, how times flies!) episode of Build a Better Agency, we look at the next set of client and employee-focused trends from the 2020 Agency Trends Report, picking up where I left off in episode #245, which was me walking you through the first half of the trends. The back half of the report covers everything from employee retention and happiness to the changing needs of your clients as they respond to current events. I am hoping these trends will give you a better idea of what we can do to adapt to this complex economic climate while protecting the health of our agencies.

Every summer, I consolidate the trends that I see every day in the 250+ small to mid-sized agencies we serve and distill them down for you so you can plan for these evolutions in our industry.

With everything going on right now, it is hard to dedicate the necessary time and mental space to focus on running your agency. But, paying close attention to the health of your agency and the trends that will impact its health, is more important than ever before. We have to carve out of the time to protect our businesses and I am hoping that taking a look at these trends will help you do that.

The State of the Agency 2020 will provide tons of insights to push through these difficult times and help your clients do the same.

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/

Agency Leaders

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why agency leaders had to make concessions due to employment shortages and how that trend is shifting
  • How to regain control of your agency while maintaining employee retention and happiness
  • How to take advantage of the expanded talent pool created by the pandemic
  • Why our clients are looking to get a bigger share of wallet from their existing customers
  • How agencies can capitalize on the need for cause and social marketing
  • How agencies are stepping over the line and diving into sales strategies with clients
  • Why clients are seeking out brand activation
  • Best practices for embedded employees
  • How we can help our clients create and manage private communities that are loyal to their brand
  • New areas where agencies are making great money
Jul 13, 2020

Most agencies do not have a reliable sales strategy. They either rely on referrals or they employ what I call the feast or famine methodology. Neither strategy actually delivers consistent, profitable prospects or new clients. There’s a new, better way to sell for agencies. I’m a huge believer in an agency owning a position of authority and using it to make sales easier, faster and more profitable. That’s why Stephen Woessner and I wrote a book on the subject! And it’s why I wanted to invite Michelle Prince onto the podcast.

Michelle is a best-selling author, public speaker, self-publishing expert, and CEO/Founder of Performance Publishing Group. She offers a unique perspective on thought leadership to agency owners who are looking to establish a position of authority within their niche. She believes that authoring a book is the strategy of choice.

In fact, Michelle says, “you can’t spell authority without ‘author,’” and while writing a book is certainly not the only way to build your thought leadership position, it is a very effective option. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Michelle shares her process for becoming an authority by focusing on authorship and publishing as a means of bringing significant value to your audience.

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.

Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What being an authority looks like and how to get there
  • How Michelle’s experience working for Zig Ziglar shaped her approach to building authority
  • The power of putting yourself out there as the subject matter expert
  • Why writing a book can help build your thought leadership and establish your position of authority
  • Why you have to claim your authority no matter how many agencies do what you do
  • How to leverage the power of authority
  • Why backstory is so important in the digital age
  • How to build your entire thought leadership platform off of a book
  • How you can use your thought leadership platform to generate multiple revenue streams
Jul 6, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement has triggered a global conversation that has been a long time coming. Like other business owners, agency leaders are wrestling with the questions and concerns about racial equality in their agency and in our industry. How should our agencies respond internally and externally?

The demand for conversations about racial equality is louder and more urgent now than it has ever been. Employment attorney and discrimination complaint investigator Jennifer Long has a scalable, business-centric response to moving towards racial equality that will help us create consequential and sustainable change.

What can we do to take meaningful action? Should we be issuing an anti-racist statement? Or use our social media channels to post memes? How do we handle this well and respectfully while also not taking our eye off the ball and helping our agency recover from COVID and the economic downturn?

It’s critical for agencies to have their house in order before they publicly bang their drum, and Jen can help us understand how that works from a business perspective. Her recent engagements have been focused on helping organizations expand their racial consciousness and messaging around this topic.

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 agency leaders should respond to the need for racial equality
  • How to provide your team with the right resources to educate themselves about racial equality
  • How to improve your hiring practices and align them with racial equality
  • Why implicit bias negatively influences the workplace
  • How agency owners can put together a course of action that is meaningful but also enables them to continue operating profitably
  • What you can do to take a stance on racial equality without being criticized as a hypocrite
  • Examples of companies that are dealing with this issue successfully
Jun 29, 2020

There are very few agency owners who love biz dev. It’s time consuming, sometimes it feels like you are trying to target shoot in the dark, and you often end up settling for prospects that aren’t quite the right fit. But at least it’s a win! Your spidey senses are tingling and you know there’s trouble ahead but you ignore that little voice and forge ahead, hoping for the best. What if you could eliminate those near misses?

I’m a firm believer that every agency should have a clear understanding of what their sweet spot client looks like and how to spot them in the crowd. Every client is right for some agency. But not every client is the right fit for yours.

How do you know who your ideal client is? How do you attract them to you so you don’t have to hunt them down and how do you encourage them to give you that first dance?

My guest will be a great beacon and help us gain clarity around all of those questions. I’ve known Matthew Kimberley for about 4-years and love his unique style and outlook on sales. He leads the business building system called Book Yourself Solid Worldwide, which is based on the bestselling book, Book Yourself Solid, written by Michael Port.

Matthew is waving that flag all over the world and helping salespeople understand there is a proven way to literally book yourself solid. The beauty of the Book Yourself Solid system is that when you do it well, you never have to settle for a not quite right fit client again.

Matthew is also the author of a great book entitled, “Get a F*cking Grip: How to Get Your Life Back on Track” and has an online course about writing delightful emails — which I thought was spectacular. He also hosts his own podcast entitled, “How to Get a Grip.”

Matthew and I talk through the concept of Book Yourself Solid and how it pertains to agency owners. We talk through the questions that I know you would ask around sales, prospecting, and how we as agency owners and leaders can better use our day to drive sales into our agencies.

Today (no matter when you’re listening to this) is the perfect time to get a better set of client filters in place so you protect and build your agency by filling your pipeline with those sweet spot clients.

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.

Agency Owners

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to create a set of criteria so you and your team can quickly filter out the wrong fit clients and spot the right ones.
  • How to get more right-fit clients than your agency can handle even if selling isn’t your favorite thing to do.
  • How to apply the “rule of three.”
  • How to create new business opportunities around things you already enjoy doing.
  • Why agency owners tend to do well at the top end of the sales funnel but then struggle when it comes time to drive sales into the agency.
  • How to apply the three guiding principles within the Book Yourself Solid business development system.
  • Why blending in “non-negotiable” criteria in your client filtering process will help protect your agency.
  • Why you need a conscious process for developing trust at different points in time for different reasons with your clients and prospects.
  • How you can develop a “Something to Invite People to Offer” so your prospects have an opportunity to get to know you and your agency better.
  • How to apply the five things every agency owner should be doing every morning to fast-track biz dev.
Jun 22, 2020

Most agencies have yet to harness the power of data automation tools, and the numbers reveal a concerning reality. 60% of all agencies believe that they make at least 6 costly digital marketing mistakes on a client’s account every week. 33% of agencies have eaten between $5-$10,000 to fix a single campaign mistake. And it doesn’t get better with size. The number of mistakes nearly doubles when a digital agency scales from $1 million to $5 million in fees. And that’s not the most horrifying news that came out of a recent study conducted by Morphio.

If there’s one thing most agencies have plenty of—it is data. If there’s one thing agencies struggle with—it’s data. That’s what intrigues me about data automation tools like Morphio. They define themselves as a check engine light for your digital campaigns. I invited founder (and agency owner) Eric Vardon onto the show to talk to us about this very real challenge. Out of his agency’s necessity, Eric’s team has been developing data automation tools baked with AI and machine learning. Eric’s products are helping agencies plug their leaks and become more profitable using data and automation, and he offers his tools at an affordable price point.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Eric shares his journey as a tech entrepreneur and agency owner. He walks us through the lessons he’s learned about refining agency processes, improving team efficiency, and expanding the agency-client relationship using data automation tools. He breaks down the common mistakes agencies make in that arena and explains how we can improve our own systems and processes. Find out how Morphio is working with other small to mid-sized agencies to bring them invaluable AI and machine learning capabilities that don’t break the bank.

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.

Data Automation Tools

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How data and reporting have shaped the way clients interact with agencies
  • How Morphio’s data automation tools help agencies plug leaks in the bucket
  • When and how Eric decided to offer his automation tool to other agencies
  • How to leverage AI so you can focus on creativity and client strategy
  • Why you need a check engine light for your agency’s performance and efficiency
  • How you can use Morphio to make your agency more profitable
  • How Morphio has changed reporting, and where it’s headed next
  • Why data monitoring can help you make more informed decisions as an agency leader
Jun 15, 2020

The past three months have felt like a bad sci-fi movie. As agency leaders, most of us have navigated the economic struggles right after 9/11 and the great recession of 07-08’. But nothing has come close to the economic, health, and social impacts that we’ve experienced recently. But we need to stay smart and fight our way out of this economic slowdown. I want to share some trends that will help you do just that.

COVID continues to be a major topic of discussion throughout the world. It is still a hot button issue as many agency leaders work to stabilize their operations. However, the pandemic has had to share the spotlight with the global conversation about racism and it’s reasonable to assume these are both conversations and realities we’re going to be wrestling with for the foreseeable future.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, as I have every summer, I want to look at the trends that are impacting our industry. A couple of them have been altered by COVID but most of these are trends I was talking about in early 2020 and they’re as relevant today as they were in January.

With everything going on right now, it is hard to dedicate the necessary time and mental space to focus on running your agency. The health of your agency is more important than ever before. We have to carve out of the time to protect our businesses and I am hoping that taking a look at these trends will help you do that.

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 the health of our agency is so important in the big picture
  • How to tee up your agency for a great 2021
  • What you can to start thriving right now
  • Trends that agency leaders should be watching for in 2020-2021
  • Why AMI agencies have been so much more profitable than average privately held agencies
  • How our clients’ needs have changed this past year
  • What we can do to map out our sales funnels and increase efficiency
  • How to take control of the sales cycle by being direct
  • Why agency leaders have become a bottleneck for strategy
  • Why we are seeing more employees buy minority stakes in their agencies
Jun 8, 2020

Most agency owners would put attorneys in the cost column. Until they get into legal trouble. Then, they quickly realize how much they could have ultimately saved if they’d been a little more proactive and worked with an attorney before they got into hot water. But with the right attorney who specializes in agencies and understands our world, you can navigate common legal obstacles while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My guest is AMI’s go to attorney, Sharon Toerek. Sharon’s depth of expertise in our world makes her an invaluable resource for agencies who have any sort of legal issue that they’re either trying to proactively resolve or when they’re in a jam.

She speaks our language and has spent the last fifteen years carving out her niche. In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Sharon Toerek joins us again to share her expertise and walk us through the new research project that she and her law firm put together, looking at common legal snags that get agencies into trouble.

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.

Agency attorney

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The most prevalent legal issues that agency owners are currently facing
  • How to approach client contract negotiations from a legal perspective
  • How to overcome the legal challenges of working with freelancers
  • How to protect your agency from copyright and trademark issues
  • How to move out of the anxious and afraid category by finding an agency attorney you trust
  • Why putting foundational processes in place can make a substantial difference in the way you handle legal issues in your agency
  • How the pandemic will change language in contracts
  • The most worrisome part of Sharon’s research findings

The Golden Nuggets:

Jun 1, 2020

There are two questions plaguing agencies in the spring of 2020. The first is how are brands going to respond to covid when it comes to budgets, tackling new projects and their relationships with agencies. The second is how can the agency sensitively and successfully mine for new business while the world is trying to get back on its axis. Fortunately, RSW/US recently released a new study that answers both of these questions and is filled with more good news than you might expect.

The first piece of RSW/US’ research was conducted in March 2020 just as the pandemic was hitting the US. They went back into the field in mid-May to track how things had changed over the previous 45 days and as the US was beginning to re-open for business.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, RSW/US’ Lee McKnight walks us through some of the key findings. He also shares how some of the responses have shifted over the two months in between the studies. There’s plenty of encouraging news in the data and there are also some danger signs. Listen so you can learn what the agencies and brands are thinking, feeling, and saying as the curve flattens out and business begins to pick up again.

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:

  • The findings from RSW/US’ research in both March and May of 2020
  • Why small to mid-sized agencies have a better shot at being “too small to fail”
  • Why most brands believe that their spending will be unchanged or increased as business gets going again
  • The surprisingly good news from RSW/US agency research project
  • What surprised Lee the most on the agency side of the data
  • How agencies can change their messaging to position themselves as leaders in the crisis
  • What we should be thinking about as we take a new approach to case studies
  • What agencies are doing right now to get conversations/meetings with prospects
May 25, 2020

The most popular relief loan in the US is the Paycheck Protection Program loan or PPP loan. Unfortunately, in a rush to get the funds out to agencies and other businesses, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department forgot to define how the loan and its forgiveness will work.

There’s a lot of grey area surrounding the PPP, so in this episode of Build a Better Agency, tax advisor Craig Cody joins me to explain what we do know and what we’re still waiting to discover.

Craig is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Tax Coach™, and business owner who has been following developments since day one. Many of us have applied, many of us have received funding, but not one of us knows all the rules. Craig is here to change that, to the extent that he can.

We’ll talk about the SBA’s forgivability application released on May 15th, other forgivability factors, whether or not the expenses we pay for with PPP funds will be deductible and how to manage our finances to weather whatever rules come down.

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:

  • The PPP relief loan, what we can use it for, and what we can’t
  • What we know so far about PPP eligibility for deduction
  • What has changed as a result of the new forgiveness application
  • Where the forgiveness application gives us the clarity that we didn’t have clarity before
  • What we can make of the IRS/Congress tussle over the PPP guidelines
  • Strategies we can use to mitigate our tax liability until the HEROES Act is passed
  • How the alternative payroll covered period benefits agency owners
  • How agencies can use PPP funds on expenses other than payroll
  • How we can reimburse agency employees for working from home expenses
  • How to avoid mistakes with your application
May 18, 2020

Very few agency owners are giddy about the prospect of prospecting for new clients. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. But what if it isn’t that they hate biz dev but that they just weren’t doing it in a way that aligns with their strengths? If sales felt comfortable and easy, wouldn’t you do more of it?

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we are joined by biz dev expert Jody Sutter of The Sutter Company, a new business consultancy that advises small agencies on organizing and operationalizing their growth strategy. Her programs make it easier for small agencies to embrace and sustain a new business strategy because they take both the agency’s strengths and available resources into consideration. Jody walks us through the steps we can take to bolster our biz dev strategy as agencies and clients emerge from the storm.

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:

  • Jody’s background and what she is doing to serve agencies
  • Common biz dev mistakes that agency owners make
  • How agency owners can overcome fear and rejection in business development
  • The four strength profiles of agency owners and the nuances of each one
  • How to identify your strength profile and build a strategy that caters to it
  • Jody’s “prescriptive approach to new business”
  • How to stay the course while you’re constantly changing your mind about your agency
  • How agency owners can move from inaction to action
  • How Jody is helping her clients redirect their sales efforts during the global pandemic
May 11, 2020

The panic around COVID lockdown is plateauing. The storm has certainly not passed, but we’ve navigated out of the panic stage and now everyone is realizing they need to get back to business. Whether you live someplace that is still sheltering in place or you are figuring out how to get back to the office — we have to sustain our business through this and come out on the other side. If we do it well, we can not only come out on the other side but we can come on stronger and better than ever.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, we walk through the five mini plans that I’ve been talking about in our weekly newsletter. I want to help you build them out.

They are:

  • Operational/financial plan (how will you get the work done on time and on budget? Then, determine the minimum acceptable profit margin for your agency and use agency math to manage your way to never dipping below it)
  • Team plan (how will you keep them motivated, efficient, profitable, and striving to serve each other and your clients)
  • Client plan (you need to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so that when they can step back in — they’re ready and more prepared than their competitors)
  • Prospect plan (what can you talk about that will be valuable — based on what your prospects are ready to hear at any given moment in time)
  • Vision of the future plan (what parts of normal are worth rushing back to and what could/should be different?)

The danger to every agency right now is that we get stuck in place and don’t shake the panic phase. If you and your team work through these plans it will propel you past the paralysis and into a future with a solid foundation. Don’t wait – get working on these plans today!

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/

Agency Leaders | 5 mini plans agency leaders can use to thrive through covid

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to build out an operational plan that enables you to continue completing work on-time and under budget
  • Financial metrics that agency leaders should be paying attention to
  • How to keep your team motivated, efficient, and profitable moving forward
  • How to proactively guide each client into a position of readiness so they are more prepared than their competitors
  • How to create a solid biz dev plan for your agency’s resurgence
  • How to make difficult staffing decisions in times of crisis
  • Different ways that agencies are successfully managing their teams
  • How agencies are landing new clients in these difficult times

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for agency 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 over 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 several books, including Sell With Authority (2020) 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.”

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