It’s Hard To Hear, But You Are All Pretty Neglectful Of Your Own Agency Marketing
I just spent the last few weeks talking to agency owners and it's painfully obvious that most of you aren’t investing enough time, money and energy to your own marketing. Yes, it's true. The cobbler’s kids don’t have any shoes.
However, in 2020 and 2021 that’s no longer acceptable.
Your prospects are looking for you to lead, not follow or make excuses. Worse, you’ll never be able to grow your agencies if you don’t have a steady stream of inbound leads. Finally, how can any client feel like you’re able to help them when you can’t even help yourself?
If you really want to grow, you have to run one of the biggest marketing programs in your agency—for your own agency.
To help you out, I’m going to outline what I think the minimum viable program should include in order for you to look like you know what you’re doing, do enough to inform what you do for clients, and generate leads for the agencies.
Ready? Here we go.
Your Agency's Marketing Program Details
Website – You need the best website possible. Who’s going to hire you to do their digital marketing if your website is circa 2018? It needs to look great, but more importantly it needs to utilize the methodology you're going to be talking to them about. Content, video, buyer journey mapping, chat and other tools need to be front and center.
Monthly Conversion Rate Optimization – You and your team need to know how to evaluate the performance of the website and make regular upgrades to improve performance. Optimization of landing pages, website pages, conversion points, click throughs and more are all key to generating your own leads. The sooner your team is awesome at optimizing your own site, the sooner they’ll be awesome at optimizing your clients’ sites.
Chat On The Site, Bots Designed By Page – Whether you like it or not, chat works. Prospects want to talk to you. You need to turn it on, start using it, and make sure it’s covered by someone on your team. The sooner you start using this tactic, the more comfortable you’ll be to add this to your client campaigns too.
Search Engine Optimization – Yes, SEO is a long-term tactic. It takes time to get ranked. But you need to know what keywords, phrases, and questions you want to be ranked for and start working toward that. Build pages, create content, blog, and make sure that you have pages dedicated to these keywords to help you rank. Track your rankings, track organic visits, and make sure your work is pushing visits up and to the right.
Referral Sites for Backlinks – You can drive a decent number of visitors from other websites, especially if you can share content or do some joint marketing together. These links improve your domain authority and if they are targeted correctly will also drive prospects to your front door.
Email Campaigns One or Two a Month – Your prospects are busy. They are going to forget about you and what you do. That’s why you have to remind them. Once or twice a month you have to send out educational emails that remind your prospects what they should be thinking about when it comes to marketing, lead generation, websites or whatever your specialty. I can’t tell you how many prospects have said to us, “I’ve been reading your emails for six months and now I’m ready to get started with Square 2.” Email works. Use it more regularly.
Long-Form Educational Content Monthly – The next three tactics go together. Bottom line, you need to create a steady stream of thought leadership content. Long, short and micro form content need to be tied together and relevant from an SEO perspective and then just write, publish, write, publish and do it again. Whitepapers, tip guides, check lists, infographics, eBooks, playbooks, and research are all great types of long form content. Put something out monthly and you’ll be on your way to more leads in no time.
Short-Form Blog Content Two to Three Times A Week – Curate as much of your blog content as you can from long form content. If you do a 20-page eBook, make sure you can get five blog articles from that eBook. Blog articles don’t have to be written from scratch but simply tailored to the blog format. Then promote the long form content in each of the five blogs to get a tighter integration across your content.
Micro-Content on Social, Two Platforms, Twice a Day – Curate as much social media conversation starter content as you can from your long form content. If you do a 20-page eBook, take 20 small snippets from the eBook and use them as social media conversation starters. Link back to the blogs and your long-form content to keep everything tight and contextual.
Offer Development for All Stages of the Buyer Journey, New Offers Monthly – Most agencies are pretty bad at this. You need offers for each stage of the buyer journey. These offers are going to be different for people at different stages. Pay special attention to the late stage buyer journey offers. Free Consultations, Free Marketing Assessments are good, not great. You can do better. The better your late stage buyer journey offers, the more leads you’ll generate. Test, test and test these again.
New Video At Least Once A Month – You need more video in all aspects of your marketing. That includes video for your website, video for email campaigns, video for social, video for landing pages, video for your sales process, and video for references. No matter how many videos you have now, you’re going to need more. Start by figuring out how to create more videos for less money and in less time. Today you can do more from your iPhone than ever before. There are no excuses.
Defined and Documented Sales Process – Most agencies have pretty poor sales processes. Once a prospect says they want a proposal you need to jump into action, whip it up and send it out. What’s your close rate on proposals submitted? If it's not 80% or higher, something is wrong. Don’t do a proposal until you know exactly what you’re proposing. Don’t give anyone recommendations until you know enough about their business to be correct with your recommendations. This takes time and this takes a process. Never deviate from your process. Walk away from the business before you break this process.
Co-marketing With Partners, Quarterly Minimum – There are a lot of companies out there who would be happy to do joint marketing with you, especially technology partners who want to sell more software. They’re looking for anything and everything to do. Working with partners means you get to use their list to drive new prospects for your agency. Look for complementary partners, companies with large databases that are aligned with your personas, and companies that are already good at marketing. If you can do one of these a quarter, you’ll jump start your marketing in no time.
Speak To CEO, CMO and Sales Leaders – Today there are many CEO groups. Peer to peer learning groups are in every city and every country, and they are looking for people to come in and talk to them about a specific topic. You happen to be one of those experts. Start local, start small and as you get more confident expand your reach and speak to large audiences and make sure all your attendees leave their session saying “WOW! That woman was smart so how do we work with them?”
Analytics Daily, Weekly and Monthly – You have to know what’s working well, what’s just working and what’s not working so well. You have to be intimate with the data so you can quickly make adjustments to improve performance. This motion is exactly what you should be doing for your clients too. There is data you want to look at daily like website visitors and leads. data you want to look at weekly like landing page and email performance and there is data you want to look at monthly like sales opportunities, revenue and attribution reporting. This type of work is no longer optional, it's mandatory for an agency to be able to do this for their clients. You have to be the expert at this for your agency.
HubSpot for Marketing and Sales – It’s virtually impossible to do all this manually. That’s why marketing automation tools like HubSpot are mandatory in almost every business. You need to run and be intimate with marketing automation and CRM for the agency so you can help your clients get it implemented at their companies too.
If this was a program at Square 2, it would be a $20,000 a month client program and that’s exactly what you need to grow your companies. Anything less means you’ll see no growth, or extremely slow growth.
Who’s Going To Do ALL This Work?
Yep, good question. The answer is you, initially. You can try to get your teams involved. That won’t work because they’re too busy taking care of clients. You can try to hire someone and that might work, but you have to generate enough revenue to be able to support a non-billable resource like this.
So, in the interim, it's going to be you. You should spend at least 20% of your week or one full day a week working on your own agency’s marketing. There is no bigger priority if you want to grow.
I’ve given you the playbook for what to do. Now you have to do it.
What Will The End Game Look Like?
In the beginning it's going to be slow. You won’t see much return on your investment. This is going to be an interesting perspective because it's how your clients feel in the beginning. Stick with it. Push through.
When I started this journey for Square 2, we had 400 visitors a month to our website. Today we have well over 100x that.
Eventually you’ll start to see more visitors to your website, better conversion, and more leads. Eventually, all this work will start to pay off and you’ll see a compounding effect.
Eventually, you’ll start getting leads and good quality leads from this effort and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
Eventually, you’ll be sitting around and saying to yourself, “At least we don’t have to worry about where our leads are coming from anymore.” Won’t that be a nice change of pace?
Start Today Tip – Many of you are resisting the need to buy HubSpot early in the journey. Yes, it's an expense. Yes, it's an expensive investment for some of you, but the insight I received from using HubSpot for our own marketing was worth 10x the cost. The skills I learned from using HubSpot informed our client engagements. The knowledge I collected by seeing what was working well, what was just working and what was wrong with what we were doing allowed me and my team to know we could help any client who engaged with us. You can’t run marketing for your agency without a tool like HubSpot. Think of it like a GPS that helps you get to growth. Without it, you’re driving in circles.
Agencies 2 Inbound – Helping Agency Owners Grow Beyond Even Their Own Expectations!