The Agency Growth Blog - For Owners Who Want Growth

Mike Lieberman

Mike started Square 2 Marketing, the largest and most successful inbound agency on the planet, in 2003 with his business partner Eric Keiles. Since then, Mike has grown Square 2 Marketing into a $6 million business. Square 2 Marketing is HubSpot’s ONLY Diamond Partner and is responsible for almost $1 million in HubSpot software each year.
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Recent Posts

Are You Going To Inbound This Year? Heck Yea, I’m Going!

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Sep 11, 2020 7:45:00 AM

I have to admit, this week feels a little weird. Last year we were at Inbound and there were meetings, dinners, parties, get togethers, sessions, high fives, handshakes, and a ton of wows!

This year, not so much.

But Inbound is happening anyway and yes, I’m attending and yes, I’m speaking, and yes, I’m looking forward to what the team at HubSpot has put together for their annual conference.

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Topics: HubSpot, Inbound 2020

11 Ways Your Team Will Make Or Break Your Digital Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Aug 21, 2020 8:45:00 AM

This Might Not Be As Easy As You Think

I’ve had a few less than stellar service experiences over the past month that has me looking introspectively at the team at Square 2. Are we doing everything we should be doing to give our clients the remarkable experience we aspire to deliver?

This effort triggered me to consider sharing some of the insights and efforts with all of you.

Because I think now more than ever, the people we have on our teams are going to make or break our efforts not only this month but for many months and years into the future.

Now more than ever, how we take care of clients is going to be the difference between success and failure.

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Topics: client services, client management

What The Summer Of 2020 Is Signaling To Digital Agency Owners And What To Do About It

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Aug 14, 2020 8:30:00 AM

All The Signals Are There, If You Stop Long Enough To Notice Them

Running a digital agency over the past few years has been challenging but running one in 2020 is extremely challenging. Who would have thought we would be dealing with a global pandemic, recession, political uncertainty, and protests in the streets?

Having run and grown a successful agency over the past 17 years has taught me a couple of very valuable lessons. The biggest is being able to notice signals and make adjustments to our agency based on those signals.

It helped us get through the financial crisis in 2008. It helped us get through the explosion of inbound agencies and it’s helping us navigate uncharted waters today.

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Topics: agency growth strategies, 2020 planning, Response to Covid-19

You Can Grow An Agency With A Blend of Full-Time And Part-Time Team Members

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jul 31, 2020 8:30:00 AM

The Agency World Is Different Today, So You Need To Think About Your Agency Differently Too

Working with contractors, freelancers and part-time people isn’t novel. It’s been an agency staffing model for years and years. Almost every agency has at least a couple of people who help out in a pinch or do specialized tasks to act as support for agency owners. Some agencies are made up of entirely contractors.  

But what might be a trend is looking at the agency as a combination of full-time and part-time team members who work together every day. What might be different is thinking about your part-time and contractors as equals to your full-time team members. What should be different is taking full advantage of smart people who simply want to be contractors.

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Topics: staffing your inbound marketing agency, digital agency team models

What A Digital Agency's Sales Process Should Look Like Given The New Normal?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jun 25, 2020 8:30:00 AM

Here’s A Big Hint – It Should Look A Lot Like Your Old Process, If You Had That Right

I work with a lot of agencies and it's still shocking to me how many don’t have a defined, documented, and optimized sales process.

If that’s the case, then it’s reasonable for many of you to be wondering how you adjust to the new normal when it comes to agency new business.

But if you have built a sales process that works, then the answer is going to be simple. Just do more of the same.

Yes, more people are home and not in the office. Yes, more people are distracted. Yes, you can’t network like you used to before Covid-19. Yes, you’ll have to meet everyone via Zoom. Yes, your conferences and events are not going to be rescheduled.

No matter what happens in the next few months, you’re not going back to the way it was in January.

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Topics: new business development, Sales Process

The Most Important Question Digital Marketing Agency Owners Should Ask Prospects

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jun 18, 2020 9:15:00 AM

And How To Ask It On The Very First Call

It’s the middle of June and most of the agencies I’ve talked to are doing surprisingly well. Some are so busy they don’t have time to think. Considering the alternative, this is very positive news.

However, with all this opportunity you still have to be careful about who you choose to work with. In some cases, the recent slew of lay-offs have forced many businesses to seek agencies because they no longer have any in-house marketing resources. All new business opportunities are not created equally.

I’m encouraging you to be more selective now than you might have been in the past. While you might want to say YES more than you say NO, consider this one question and the prospect’s answers as your guiding light on whether to pursue the business or not.

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Topics: Sales Process

What The Next Normal Looks Like For Digital Marketing Agencies

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jun 5, 2020 8:00:00 AM

How To Get Your Agency Ready For The NOW

States and countries are starting to allow businesses to open up. I headed back to our office this week for the first time since the middle of March. But our agency will never be the same and neither will yours.

If you think you’re going back to how you worked in January, you are mistaken. If you think your clients are going to want the same thing from you as they did at the end of 2019, you’re also mistaken.

The business world and the agency world is now changing faster than ever before. You have to accelerate your own change to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. 

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Topics: 2020 planning, strategic planning, Response to Covid-19

How To Do Planning For Your Digital Agency When The Future Is Uncertain

Posted by Mike Lieberman on May 8, 2020 8:45:00 AM

Adjust, Don’t Scrap Your Strategic Planning Work

My leadership team and I met earlier this week to revisit our strategy and plan for 2020. During the conversation, we all agreed doing any long-term planning right now seemed like a waste of time given the general uncertainty facing everyone right now.

But we’ve come to lean on strategic planning as a core value at Square 2. We meet regularly, plan regularly, and create annual, quarterly, and monthly plans. We develop an annual theme to keep the team focused and energized. We identify rocks and key initiatives and then roll those down to the team aligning execution.

It has served us well for years and years. But, in the face of the obvious uncertainty, what’s an agency to do?

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Topics: strategic planning, Response to Covid-19

The Game Just Changed: The Biggest Challenges Facing Digital Agencies Over The Next Few Months And Beyond

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 23, 2020 12:37:33 PM

What You Do Next Will Shape Your Agency For Years To Come

I’ve talked to over 100 agencies over the past few weeks. Some I’ve spoken to via email, others on Zoom and a few on one to one calls or chats. The story is very similar. Yes, a few agencies in a few unfortunate industries are closing, but most are making it through.

We’ve weathered the initial wave of the storm and are now trying to figure out what’s next. But what’s next is what concerns me, because your agency will have to be retooled to deal with what’s coming over the next few months and beyond.

What worked last year won’t work this year and what you planned for 2020 needs to be thrown out and you need a new plan. Not an annual plan, but a plan that you can adjust every week and a plan that goes out no more than 30 days. A plan that is flexible, but based on data and a plan that ensures your agency will be around for the next 10 years.

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Topics: inbound marketing agency challenges, agency operations, 2020 planning

How Digital Agencies Are Going To Survive The Next Few Months

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 9, 2020 9:15:00 AM

I’ve been through 9/11 and the financial crisis in 2008. Both events caused a massive and shocking shift in the world’s economy and what we’re all dealing with today is equally shocking.

I am in touch with close to 100 agencies in some way or another and it seems most are seeing a small to medium sized impact right now. Of course, if your agency specializes in any of the decimated industries, the situation is much more dire. 

However, it seems like right now most agencies have seen a handful of client pauses, reductions or cancellations. At Square 2, it's been a small group, less then we can count on one hand. The bigger issue has been new business. It’s out there and we’re talking to prospects, but rightly so, people are slow to move forward.

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Topics: digital agency strategy, Response to Covid-19

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