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

How To Navigate The Changes To The HubSpot Partner Program And Thrive

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 8, 2023 8:15:00 AM

It’s been a while since I published any agency-directed content on the Agencies 2 Inbound website. Let’s just say the agency business at Square 2 has needed my attention more than in the past. There are a number of strategic initiatives we’re working on that are both time-consuming and exciting. 

HubSpot threw a wrench into a lot of the agency’s long-term plans with the announced changes to the Partner Program. I’ve heard from many of you, heard from HubSpot on the response from the partners, and of course have my own opinions about all the upcoming changes. 

It’s very interesting to see the wide variety of responses. Everything from thinking this makes sense for HubSpot, to taking legal action for removing lifetime commissions.

The bottom line is that HubSpot has always taken care of HubSpot. That’s not a bad thing. As agency owners, you should have been taking care of your own businesses, regardless of what HubSpot was doing. Now you’re forced to make some difficult decisions. These are decisions that probably should have been made years ago. 

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Topics: HubSpot, HubSpot Partner Program, HubSpot Solution Partners

Profit Is Elusive: 6 Ways To Ensure Your Agency Is Operating Profitably

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 6, 2022 8:15:00 AM

You might have noticed that it's getting harder and harder to make money in the agency business. Salaries are going up, inflation is pushing up costs, pricing is getting forced down, and investments in your culture and technology are rising. 

About the only expense that might be on the decline is your office—if you’ve gone to a distributed model. 

The days of 30% net profit are long gone. Today, data from Promethean Research supports a 17% net profit as average for most agencies going into 2022.

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Topics: agency operations, profit, digital agency profitability

6 Secrets Tips For Creating Your First Services Catalog

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 4, 2022 8:30:00 AM

One area my agency clients get most excited about is the idea of a services catalog. That is a listing of everything they do, how long it takes them to do it, and what they charge clients to deliver each of those services. 

Agencies I’m working with want to see our catalog, they want to build their own, they want me to look at theirs, and once they have one they all tell me that they wish they had done this years ago.

So, I thought I would share some best practices around the creation and maintenance of a services catalog for your agency. Here we go.

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Topics: Agency Processes, Agency Systems

What’s Your Agency Worth And How To Increase The Value

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Feb 2, 2022 8:00:00 AM

There is a major change coming to the agency world and you should be prepared for it. Right now, there are thousands of agencies who all look similar, are similar sizes, and provide similar services. This means this industry is ripe for a roll-up.

I was discussing this with the agency owners in our Mastermind Group last week. Almost all of them were interested in this process and it was a lively conversation with everyone sharing. 

Some of you may have even had initial conversations with potential buyers. Some potential acquirers are working on rolling up a number of smaller agencies to produce an agency that does over $10 million in revenue and over $1 million in profit each year. 

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Topics: Selling Your Inbound Marketing Agency, Agency Acquisitions, merging with other agencies

Behind The Scenes At Square 2 And How You Should Be Thinking About 2022

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Dec 29, 2021 12:15:00 PM

Some of you may have been wondering, “Where’s Mike? I haven’t seen an article from him in a very long time.” The last article was on August 21.

I have to admit that I never intended to take this much time off.

But, as many of you know, my day job is CEO at Square 2. In fact, I’m one of the few agency coaches and mentors that still runs an active agency.

That means sometimes the agency comes first. I’m sure all of you can understand and appreciate those priorities.

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Topics: strategic planning

The Top 10 Questions Agency Owners Ask Me And My Answers – PART 2

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Aug 25, 2021 9:15:00 AM

Sorry for the long pause between Part 1 and today's installment Part 2. I didn’t intend to take that much time off between posts, but my life has been extra upside down the last few months.

Besides taking care of all my agency clients, Square 2 has been going through some dramatic transformations, including adding a more technical engagement and doubling down on our Accelerator engagement.

Regardless, agency life goes on, and I’ve been wanting to get back to part two of this blog article for a while to answer the remaining five questions and continue helping other agency owners on their own journeys.

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Topics: agency management, Questions from Agency Owners

The Top 10 Questions Agency Owners Ask Me and My Answers – PART 1

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jun 18, 2021 9:15:00 AM

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog article for Agencies 2 Inbound. There are a lot of exciting changes going on at Square 2 and I’m happy to share those over the next few weeks. One of the biggest includes a bunch of experiments related to improving results with clients. 

However, my work with agency owners has been continuing and over the past few months, I’ve spoken with well over 50 agency owners. 

During those conversations, I’ve collected the top 10 questions that agency owners ask me when we chat. Since there is a common theme and a definite trend in what agency owners ask me, answering them in the blog seems to be a good idea. 

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Topics: Questions from Agency Owners, FAQs for Agency Owners

The Top 5 Signals That Should Be Keeping Digital Agency Owners Up At Night

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 16, 2021 8:30:00 AM

The Agency World Has Been Changing Faster Than Ever And It’s About To Get Even Faster

Having been in the agency business for over 18 years, you learn a thing or two. One of the things I’ve learned is the ability to see signals and position the agency to respond to those signals. 

Over 10 years ago, I saw HubSpot’s ability to tell me exactly what marketing was working and what marketing wasn’t. That insight caused us to tell ALL our clients, “Buy HubSpot or you can’t work with Square 2.” Just a few months later we were HubSpot’s largest partner.

I’ve seen a few other signals over the past decade. Some I responded to, and some I mistakenly ignored. Some I regret having ignored today, while others were less significant than I might have thought at the time. But today, there are some very significant signals that I think every agency owner should be aware of and be prepared to respond to at least in some way. 

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Topics: digital agency trends, changes in the digital agency space

How To Keep Your Team From Being Poached. It Might Be Easier Than You Think

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 15, 2021 2:00:00 PM

I’m part of an agency owners community and their monthly email had an article titled, “It’s Poaching Season” along with a picture of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The title resonated with me and in a few of my cohorts we've been discussing this practice. 

It seemed like a topic worth writing about because if you haven’t had anyone poached, it's just a matter of time. 

This always seems like someone else’s problem until it becomes yours. What’s worse is that when someone leaves, there is a good chance other people will leave too. Turning over team members and especially losing client-facing people is one of the fastest ways to lose clients and revenue

Protecting your team from poaching might be the smartest thing you do this year.

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Topics: Hiring, Culture, Team Member Happiness

The New Services Your Digital Agency Should Be Considering in 2021

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 3, 2021 9:02:09 AM

Every few years write a similar article on the new services that agency owners should be considering. This might be a little overdue.

I don't want to scare anyone but if you look out far enough, you might see a world where content, emails, and even websites are built by bots and automation tools. If that future has even a remote possibility of coming true, then what services would a digital agency deliver?

When you’re playing a lot of defense, it’s hard to devote the time to create look ahead and make sure the agency is positioned for the future. It’s hard to do the research and talk to enough people to help inform your decisions around vision and new services the agency should be considering.

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Topics: digital agency strategy, new services for digital agencies

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