Growing Your Inbound Marketing Agency
If you’re working hard growing your inbound marketing agency, then you’re probably looking for changes you can make today to impact that growth tomorrow. Good news, here are 11.5 ways to propel your agency up and to the right.
But there’s better news, you can attend a live, in-person session with me at Inbound 2015, where I’ll talk about each of these items, answer your questions and provide personal guidance to anyone with questions related to inbound agency growth. If you want to attend you can use code HSBLOG for 25% off the All-Access Pass.
Here we go.
1. Hire A New Team Member
It always feels “wrong” to hire someone into your agency. We should be boot strapping it, right? All the experts have drilled it into our heads, you need to make it hurt before you hire your next person.
But there’s something that the experts don’t tell you about hiring. Assuming you hire the right person, as soon as they are trained and start contributing, you are free to work on the most important aspects of your business that, right now, are undeserved. By making it hurt, you’re actually performing two roles at an average level of performance instead of one role at a very high level of performance.
2. Make The Decision To Go All In On Inbound
This decision impacts all aspects of your business. Your team gets focused, your clients get better results because your team gets better and your prospects get a simple straight forward message during the sales process. A lot of legacy services hold back agencies from moving forward with inbound. If you think inbound is the future, leave these legacy services to other commoditized agencies and focus on high value inbound services.
3. Upgrade Your Marketing Strategy Deliverable
I’ve spoken with hundreds of agency owners and almost all of them have incomplete or entirely missing marketing strategy in their package of inbound services. An inbound marketing engagement without a comprehensive marketing strategy is a recipe for low to non-existent client results. If you’re not spending the time to help your client create the right stories, you need to go back and upgrade your strategy work.
4. Create A Product Catalog
Inbound marketing is a series of repeatable marketing activities. These can be turned into what author John Warrillow calls a product catalog in his book, Built To Sell. Look at everything you’re doing and productize these tactics. Package them, price them and sell them exactly like you would sell a product. This helps you get your team thinking repeatable, scalable and predictable—three very important ideas for inbound agency owners.
5. Fire Your Worst Client
We all have them. Those clients who take more of your time than they’re paying for. Those clients who refuse to set realistic expectations. Clients who don’t take your advice or even follow your team’s lead. Maybe even clients who treat your team badly. Bad clients bring bad feelings and no one gets ahead. Fire them immediately and move on to work with someone who appreciates your desire to help them generate leads.
6. Pulse Your Engagements More Quickly
Once you transition into the Grow- Optimize phase of the engagements the faster your team can pulse the better the results. Get them to cycle the work deliverables weekly instead of monthly and you’ve improved your ability to get clients leads by 400%. This isn’t easy but if you make small changes over time, you’ll see the team’s ability to accelerate improving.
7.Create A Defined Sales Process
If you don’t have a well thought out, well defined sales process your prospects are going to see right through your stories about inbound marketing. If they don’t feel your using the same tools and processes you’re proposing they use, they’ll never trust you as an adviser and probably never hire you. People want to be led, people want to work with experts who practice what they preach. Get good at this or you will struggle.
8. Tell A More Inspiring Story
How do you talk about your agency? If your story isn’t inspiring, prospects won’t be excited enough to hire you. If your story sounds like all the other inbound agencies then you’re not helping your prospects to know why they should hire you. You’re the marketing expert, show them how it’s done by telling emotionally inspiring stories that get people to take action.
9. Don’t Do Things That Don’t Generate Leads
Does a brochure generate leads? What about a website without onsite SEO, compelling copy or offers? Your clients and prospects want leads. That’s really all they want from their marketing and they wouldn’t be wrong in wanting leads from 100% of their money invested in marketing. So once you go all in on inbound, why would you continue to support tactics that you know will never generate any leads? The answer, you shouldn’t. If it doesn’t contribute to lead gen—don’t offer it and don’t do it.
10. Raise Your Prices
You’re not charging enough when compared to the value of what you’re doing for your clients. Someone who pays you $4,000 a month can afford to pay you $5,000 a month for the same set of services. Raise your prices today, start by adding 25% to everything you do. As long as you tell the right, inspiring, emotional story—no one is going to balk. Since you’re providing the same services, this price increase falls right to the bottom line, improving your agency’s profitability in one swift move. Try it.
11. Get More Intimate With Your Numbers
Inbound agencies run on numbers and you need to know them, so you can control them. You need to know how your client engagements are doing, how much time your team is taking to deliver those results, how each of your tactics is performing and how long it takes to deliver each of those tactics. You should know efficiency numbers for each team member and each team. It’s not hard, but it takes practice and commitment. Without these numbers, you’re flying blind.
11.5 Ask For Help
Finally, there are people who can help. The inbound agency community is unmatched in the business world today. There are people who want to help, who are helping and how are happy to talk with you about your agency, your agency challenges and how you can overcome any of those issues. Just ask.
Start Today Tip – It might not be what you do, but that you do something. Think about it. If you made one change a week for the entire year, you would have added 52 upgrades to you agency. Today’s tip is to pick even one of the 11.5 tips outlined here and add it to your agency today. Is it possible that it won’t work out perfectly? Yes. But the chances these tips enhance your client experience, improve your bottom line, or help you close more new clients is VERY high. Try one, any one of these and see for yourself.
To learn more about what you can do today to grow your agency tomorrow, click on the button below to download our newest eBook which talks about these and other techniques that can be deployed today to help you grow or come to my session on Wednesday, September 9 at 10:30AM in Boston at Inbound 2015.
Agencies 2 Inbound – Helping Agencies GO ALL IN On Inbound!