The Agency Growth Blog - For Owners Who Want Growth

The Death Of The Inbound Marketing Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Nov 30, 2017 7:06:00 AM

You might have missed it, but the inbound marketing agency is dead. All of you agency owners who changed their website design, branding, SEO or PR firms into inbound agencies, it’s  time to change again. What happened? When did it happen? Why it happened? And most importantly what should you be doing about it?

If you think I’m wrong, check out this article from HubSpot’s FAQ section of their website. In full transparency, this was an article from 2014 that must have been high performing and they republished and updated it about a week ago. This is a guest article, not created by anyone at HubSpot. I don’t know Ritika or anything about her, except that her article appears to show the future of inbound marketing’s place in the wild world of marketing.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, inbound marketing agency owner support, inbound marketing agency owners

Advice To The Inbound Marketing Agency Owner

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Oct 13, 2017 7:03:00 AM

It’s All On You To Make It Work, There Are No Short Cuts, Don’t Do Everything People Tell You

After Inbound 17, there’s been a bit of a dust up in the partner community around HubSpot’s role in helping us grow our agencies. If you’re curious to see what I’m talking about, click here to check out the post on While I did post a comment, this forum allows me to get into a little more detail.

For the past three years, I’ve been working closely with agency owners, specifically inbound marketing agency owners. Over that time, I’ve had over 80 agency owner clients work with me at Agencies 2 Inbound. I think that classifies me as an expert when it comes to understanding what your challenges are and what’s holding you back from the growth you expect.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, growing your inbound agency, inbound marketing agency owners

Should Inbound Marketing Agencies Be Selling Account Based Marketing?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Sep 20, 2017 11:00:00 AM


Short answer? Sell your prospects what they want to buy. If you have a pizza place and people keep coming in asking for salads, add salads to the menu. If your inbound marketing prospects keep asking about ABM, then it’s time to consider it.

Now there are other factors that go into deciding to add or remove services from your services catalog. Like do the desired services violate any principles or morals that you find important? As an example, if you were dead set against doing anything that was not 100% inbound then ABM might not be something you’re comfortable with.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, Account based marketing

Inbound Marketing Agencies Are Getting Rolled Up, Are You Ready?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Jul 5, 2017 7:34:00 AM

Depending on who you ask there are between 3,000 and 4,000 inbound marketing agencies in the HubSpot partner program. History teaches us that when there are a large number of similar businesses in any specific industry—roll ups are inevitable.

You’ve seen it in local cable companies, funeral homes and local radio stations, it’s been going on in digital for years. Deloitte and Accenture have been buying digital agencies to bring new service offerings to their clients.

How do agencies compete when there are so many options for clients? There’s downward pressure on pricing. Talent becomes difficult to acquire. Clients have a hard time telling the agencies apart and worse they have a hard time knowing who’s quality and who’s not.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, Selling Your Inbound Marketing Agency, Inbound Agency Exit Strategy

Today's Inbound Marketing Agency Better Be Good At More Than Inbound

Posted by Mike Lieberman on May 23, 2017 7:05:00 AM

Inbound Takes Time And Clients Want Leads Today—You Better Be Able To Deliver

Let me start by clarifying, I am in no way going back on my belief that inbound is how you should be marketing your business. I’m 100% ALL IN ON inbound. However, today’s marketing world is dramatically different than the world that birthed inbound marketing back in 2008 and 2009.

When inbound first burst on the scene the country was in the midst of the Great Recession. The idea of marketing based on the size of your brain instead of the size of your wallet made a lot of sense. It was smart and efficient.

Today businesses are spending and their spending on marketing. Today there are many more methodologies joining the ranks of inbound. Account based marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, advocacy marketing and demand generation on its own is back in vogue.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, inbound agency, inbound marketing agency services

How To Increase Profits At Your Inbound Marketing Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on May 16, 2017 7:05:00 AM

What To Do Today, This Week, This Month and This Quarter

It’s not easy running an inbound marketing agency. It's even harder running a more profitable agency. You have to build your own inbound marketing machine to generate leads, you have to close those leads, you have to work with clients, you have to hire, train your team and of course handle all the admin stuff that goes along with running a business. On any given week, you have to wear five of six different hats.

What typically gets lost in the mix is—profit. At the end of the month you sit down and go over the numbers. If you made any money, it’s not because you were proactive, it’s usually just the way it worked out. You got lucky. If you made money this month, it doesn’t mean you’ll make money next month. And don’t forget to pay yourselves. If you’re making money, but not taking a pay check, you’re not profitable.

This story is typical of most small businesses. It’s typical of most agencies. It’s typical of the owners I work with, but it doesn’t have to be like this. With a little planning and strategy, you can make sure your agency does between 10% and 20% net profit every single month. You can collect enough cash to weather a sales dip, economic downturn, or even give yourself a bonus after a few months. It just takes some planning.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, inbound agency profitability, Inbound agency profits

Are You Getting Leads For Your Inbound Marketing Agency? Are You Closing New Clients?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on May 2, 2017 7:03:00 AM

If You Can’t Get Them For The Agency, How Can You Be Sure You Can Get Them For Clients?

Agencies 2 Inbound has worked with almost 100 inbound marketing agencies over the past two years. By far, the most frequently asked question during our sessions is about getting more leads and signing more new clients. It’s not anecdotal anymore. Inbound marketing agency owners need help with their own marketing and sales.

Some of the first guidance I provide to owners is to do inbound for their own agencies. Do it early and often. Make it a priority, dedicate resources to it and use it as a test bed to learn inbound marketing. Two very positive outcomes result from this approach. First, you’ll get better at inbound so you’ll see better results from clients and second, you’ll have more leads coming into the agency to drive your own sales results and company growth.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, inbound Agency Sales Process, inbound agency marketing

Why Team Member Happiness At Your Inbound Marketing Agency Predicts Client Success

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Apr 11, 2017 7:05:00 AM

AND How To Know How Happy Your Team Is AND What To Do About It

I’ve mentioned this a few times over the course of the last 12 months. Your team is one of the biggest factors in whether your agency succeeds or fails. 

Hire the right people, nurture the right team members and you’ll see major growth. Fail to bring on the right combination of team members and you’ll feel like you’re treading water.

If team member happiness is so important. What are you doing to make your team happy? What are you doing to keep your team happy? What are you doing to measure it? How are you responding to the data? What about the people who aren’t so happy? It’s an ongoing challenge that you need to be on top of day in and day out.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, Inbound Marketing Agency Team, Team Member Happiness

What The Inbound Marketing Agency Of 2030 Is Going To Look Like

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Mar 28, 2017 7:34:00 AM

Here's a shock, it's not going to have anything to do with inbound marketing.

A lot of inbound marketing agency owners have been going through dramatic transformations over the past few years. Moving from single practice shops to inbound agencies. Getting your first few clients, learning inbound, finding out you need different internal operations, making adjustments, struggling with the financials and finally getting it all worked out—more or less.

And now, things are changing again.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of research into what the “bigger” agencies and digital shops are doing. I’ve been paying special attention to Deloitte and Accenture but also looking at larger agency shops to see what they’re talking about, doing and the value they’re delivering to their clients.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, inbound marketing agency challenges, future of inbound marketing agencies

Inbound Marketing Agency Generalist Or Specialist? Which Is Right?

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Feb 7, 2017 10:20:00 AM

Last week I wrote about our changing perspective on projects vs. retainers and today I’m talking about our changing perspective on generalists vs. specialists when it comes to team structure and organizational planning.

Over the past year, we’ve learned a lot about running a more profitable agency. A 20% net profit margin target is insight. As you might know, many traditional agencies are able to do 20% net profit or even higher but the inbound marketing agency struggle to be profitable and you might see 5% net profit in a good month.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing Agency, roles in an inbound marketing agency, inbound marketing team structure

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