Rob Da Costa
Author Archives: Rob Da Costa

Winning Your Ideal Client

In today’s podcast, I’m going to show you how to identify your ideal client and how to go about winning them, even during these uncertain times.

This is something I spend a lot of time discussing with my coaching clients because so many of us (myself included) have wasted a lot of time and money attracting the wrong types of clients.

I’m going to be giving you loads of practical advice so if you can, grab a pen and paper and make some notes because you can start implementing a lot of this information from today.

[1:19] Today is the final day for enrolment to my 12-Week Agency Accelerator Mastermind Programme! I was so excited when recording this I actually forgot what year it was (it’s 2020 not 2019 at the time of recording! If you’re serious about growing your agency in a profitable & sustainable way, this is for you. If you’re listening to this podcast in the future (are there flying cars yet?!), keep an eye out for future programmes by signing up to my mailing list.

*EDIT – Due to the current global climate, I have extended the deadline until the 8th April at 7pm.

[2:00] Can you relate to this typical scenario I’ve seen happen so many times before? An email pings and it’s an enquiry from someone interested in your services, you’re excited so you agree to a meeting but when you turn up, they are not a good fit and it turns out you’ve completely wasted your time!

[5:52] Get clear on your target niche - do not try to be a generalist and please everyone. It won’t work! Download my ebook on defining your niche - where I go into this topic in a lot more detail.

[7:51] Define your ideal target customer - what is their job? What are their pain points? Where do they go for information etc? Learn as much as possible about your ideal target customer and your life will become so much easier.

[9:04] Target the easy wins and work on your ‘know, like & trust’ sales funnel

[12:16] Education based marketing should not involve you using your time! – Do not waste your time educating an unsuitable prospect when you could have spent that time putting that info into a useful free ebook to share with potential clients for years. Let your prospects educate and qualify themselves using your online content!

[14:12] Ask each prospect some non-negotiable questions – what questions MUST be answered before your prospect moves to the next stage of the sales funnel?  Make sure they answer these before moving forward.

[15:47] Make sure you and your prospect both go to the meeting with the same agenda – you can do this in an email before the meeting takes place to ensure you’re both on the same page.

[18:00] Close the meeting properly – Put an action on you & them and get a date in the diary for the next interaction.

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,

Rob

LINKS

Are you a niche or a generalist -  ebook?

How to define your ideal target customer - ebook

 

Why do some companies offer their clients pain killers while most try to give them a vitamin pill?

selling

If you had a really bad headache and you could buy a pain killer or a vitamin pill, which would you buy?  The painkiller, right? Obvious!

Yet in business, I see time and time again, agencies trying to sell their prospective clients a vitamin pill.  This is not a good way to sell.

Imagine going to your best friend’s wedding and having too good a time and waking up with an almighty headache the next morning.  Would you reach for a pain killer or take a vitamin pill? Well a pain killer of course!

Clients who are in pain have an urgent need to solve that pain (with your solution). Yet many agencies are trying to sell their prospective clients a vitamin pill (something that is nice to have but not urgent) rather than a pain killer!

So when you are marketing & selling your product or service, are you addressing the client’s pain or are you telling them your product is something that would be great to have in their business?

Getting this positioning wrong will have a massive impact on your agency.

A real bugbear of mine is that many websites make this mistake by starting out selling the vitamin (which looks like telling the client how great YOU are and what YOU do on your home page) rather than recognising the pain (which looks like building empathy with your client by showing you understand the pain they are in).

This could well be the case with your own website?  

They are trying to sell the client something they may not be aware that they currently need (the vitamin pill) because although it might enhance their business, it doesn’t solve one of their major pains right now (the pain killer).

Let me give you a real example of this – something that happened to me last week.  I got a cold call from a company that can track visitors to your website and give you detailed info on them.  

Sounds great right?  

The issue is that this isn’t one of my current pains.  A current pain for me (regarding web traffic) is that I would like to get more traffic to my site.  Only then would it be worth investing a monthly fee on visitor tracking software. Meanwhile, that product is just a vitamin pill for me, so I am not going to buy it!  The guy on the phone wasn’t really listening to me and just tried to tell that spending £500 / month on their software was a good investment.  Not if it doesn’t solve one of my key pains!

They needed to better target by understanding who they were calling first.

If we start by identifying the client’s pain then we ‘stand in the client’s shoes’ and demonstrate we understand them (which builds empathy, a crucial part of the sales process). The language we use when we discuss our product or service will then be geared to show the client how we solve that pain rather than just discussing the features of our product (which we can do later).

So 3 things we can all do better in our agencies:

  1. Know your customer persona/avatar and specifically what the top 3 pains/issues are in their business
  2. Understand the language they use and build our solutions using this language, showing how our solution can cure their pain
  3. Make our initial communications (via email, blogging, your website) all about the client and their pain (so they want to read more) BEFORE we talk about our solution and how great we are

If we do this we are much more likely to build empathy with a client which will lead them to say ‘tell me more’ and then you have started a dialogue that can more easily lead to a sale.

Navigating your agency through these uncharted waters

agency growth

We are in fight or flight mode right now. You either sit back and wait and see what happens and let the world happen to you or you get into action mode: regroup and replan. I am hoping you are choosing the latter.

It's a stressful time. We are all in a period of collective mourning: of the people we are losing, of our loss of freedom and all the things we take for granted and in many cases, loss of our clients or worse still, our businesses.

In these uncharted times, we need to focus on what we can control and not on what we can't (which is why I am limiting my exposure to the news and social media to only once a day). We need a plan and it's probably a different plan to the one we were working on 2 months ago. We also need to be listening to our market and ensuring we are truly serving them - and pivoting our businesses, if appropriate.

The businesses who do this and are nimble, are the ones who will survive this uncertain time and come out the other side thriving.

Each year I run a group online coaching programme, in the past it's been a big success. For the last 6-months I have been planning to open the doors to this year's programme today.

But as you know A LOT can happen in a few days in this crazy time we are currently living in and today is definitely very different to how I imagined it would be.

In the spirit of listening, I asked my community what their views were on whether I should still go ahead, and whilst some said I should delay many others felt that with the isolation and uncertainty ahead, getting some external help as well as being able to work with other agency owners, is exactly what they need.

So I have decided to go ahead and that means that the Agency Accelerator Programme for Agency Owners is officially open for registration. BUT I am going to do a few things differently because of Coronavirus:

  • Extend the enrolment period from 8 days to 13 days
  • Offer a 15% discount off the programme (just use '15DISCOUNT' at check out)
  • Offer more flexible payment terms (you can now pay for the programme in 1, 3 or 6 monthly payments)

Read more about the programme here.

Let me explain why I think I can help.....

I started my marketing agency back in the early 1990s during a challenging time (the gulf war) and rapidly grew (before selling up). I started my agency coaching practice in 2007 and then the world hit the financial crisis in 2008 .... and my business thrived.

Now I appreciate we are in completely unchartered waters with current challenges including:

  • Clients cancelling and retainers reducing
  • Moving the office to home working and ensuring staff welfare
  • Clients wanting more for less
  • Challenging cash flow
  • Immediate needs v long term planning - where do you focus your time?

I realised that now more than ever, getting some external support from me and from other agencies is really going to help you navigate these next few months, and that is why I decided to go ahead with the launch.

I am also running a series of free webinars (the first one is tomorrow), so please come and join me online to learn how to navigate these uncharted waters.

Agency growth & transformation with Lee Jackson

I am super excited to be joined by Lee Jackson of Agency Transformation and the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. This episode is jam PACKED with actionable tips and advice to help you with your agency’s growth.

We are going to be looking at the 5 stages of growth and transformation every agency needs to go through in order to grow. So grab a pen and paper because you’re going to be taking away so much from this episode today.

[1:09] Doors are finally open to my 12-Week Agency Accelerator Mastermind Programme! If you’re serious about growing your agency in a profitable & sustainable way, this is for you. Doors to enrolment are only open for one week so be quick, since there are limited places available in 2020.

[1:52] Lee Jackson has been a very busy guy for the past few years with multiple projects including the Agency Trailblazer podcast, The Event Engine and his brand new podcast The Event Martech. How on earth does he manage his time and keep on top of it all?

[5:18] With so much going on, how does Lee determine what he’s going do and what he’s not going to do? Lee actually closed one of his groups recently and he explains the reasons behind this. Focus on what moves the needle forward for you.

[7:42] Let’s look at the typical journey someone takes when they go out on their own. Like many agency owners in the early days, Lee used to work 18 hours days. However, long hours and passion isn’t enough to succeed and grow (indeed it can actually be detrimental to your to agency’s growth!). Lee discusses the 5 pillars of transformation and how every agency owner needs to go through each stage in order to grow their business.

[12:47] The first pillar of transformation – Know Your Identity

You need to know your identity. Be the authentic version of you and commit to your niche. Lee flashes back to when he used to show up to meetings in a suit and tie (totally not how he likes to dress) ….which would attract the complete opposite types of clients he wanted to work with!

[17:29] The second pillar of transformation – Value

So many agency owners still don’t value themselves enough and they regularly find themselves in the feast and famine cycle. We need to recognise that we are amazing at what we do and make sure we charge our worth.

[21:47] The third pillar of transformation – Messaging

Getting the first 2 pillars nailed will make it much easier to understand your messaging and choose the best platforms to get your message across to your audience e.g. Which social media platforms are best for what you do? Lee shares with us how he found his perfect platforms and how you can find yours.

[28:19] The fourth pillar of transformation – Nail Your Output

Be amazing at what you do! We need to make sure the quality of what we deliver matches our pricing.

[32:40] The fifth pillar of transformation – Future

If we haven’t worked out the last four pillars, how can we work out our future? This is all about scalability.

[35:02] How long does it usually take for an agency owner to go through each of the five stages?

[38:06] Why agency owners need to align themselves with someone that talks their language….

[41:24] Lee tells us about his next amazing event for agency owners – Agency Transformation Live on 6-8th May 2020. Read more about the event here.

[44:08] I ask Lee “if you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?”

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it’s also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,

Rob

Book Links:

Mike Hyatt, Free to Focus

Lee Cockerell, Time Management Magic

The E-Myth Revisted

Business & life lessons from my month in South Africa

Hello from South Africa! I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last month here and I’m recording this podcast from Cape Town, during my last week in this stunning country.

I’ve learnt some really great lessons during my time here and I wanted to share my thoughts about Cape Town and South Africa in general and how they can relate to the way that we run our agencies (and our lives!):

[1:37] The Importance of Branding - “yes but Rob, is it safe?” is exactly what so many people asked me before I came here. This is my 4th trip to South Africa and to be honest, in my opinion it’s as safe as any big city I have been to! It’s clear that South Africa needs to do some serious rebranding to shake off its past reputation and this highlights just how important branding really is to your business. Once you are known for one thing, you have to work super hard to rebrand to become known for something else.

[5:12] Living In The Present - We seem to be a lot more present and ‘in the moment’ when we’re on holiday, which is a shame because most of us only tend to spend a few weeks of the year away (if we’re lucky enough), and the rest of it is spent working. Stop wishing time away. Life is too short and if you hate your job, try to find something you love doing because before you know it, 20 years would have flown by and you’ll never get that back.

[8:00] Be Efficient With Your Time – Know what your goals are and organise your time properly. During my last two weeks here, I made a plan to work from 7am-3pm each day. Knowing I could be exploring the beautiful sunny Cape Town at the end of each day meant I didn’t waste any time throughout the day, and I achieved so much because of this. Giving yourself a reward, (even something small like a cup of tea or a nice 30-minute walk) can help you get super focused throughout your day.

[10:39] Morning/Evening Routines – Following on from the last point, having a consistent morning and evening routine helps me to be really efficient with my time during the day. I highly recommend you check out Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt if this is something you’d like to work on.  

[11:39] We All Have Choices – I’ve been told by various people that I’m so lucky to be able to go on trips like this, but to be honest it has nothing to do with luck. It was all simply in the planning and this is something you could do too, if you really wanted to! Stop constraining yourself. Stop telling yourself stories that you believe as facts. Step outside of your comfort zone and into your learning zone, and remember, it’s all about choices and planning. Listen to my episode Starting the Year With A Positive Mindset for help with this.

[13:51] Sun Is So Good For The Soul! - Seriously, doesn’t everyone seem so much happier when the weather is beautiful?

[15:06] It’s A Small World - So much of business operates on a “who you know” basis, so always make sure to keep networking and making sure the world knows who you are. 

[15:43] Practise Gratitude - There is a lot of poverty in South Africa and it reminds me just how lucky most of us really are. We need to remember to be grateful for what we have and stop moaning about such small things.

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,

Rob

Facebook ads with Sophie Walton

Facebook ads

Welcome to The Agency Accelerator’s eighth episode, hosted by agency coach and online educator, Rob Da Costa.

In today’s world, advertising on social media is a very competitive sport, so we need to ensure we’re doing it correctly, otherwise, we could end up wasting hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

In this episode, we are diving into the world of Facebook advertising and I am joined by a very special guest, Sophie Walton of brand and social media agency, 3Twelve.

Don’t miss this one because Sophie shares some incredibly valuable tips that even I didn’t know about until this episode!

[0:45] Exciting news from The Agency Accelerator!

[1:37] Sophie discusses her background and what led her to run her own agency, 3Twelve. When 3Twelve was first created, they offered everything from SEO to Google Adwords and web design. They tried to offer something for absolutely everyone! However, they recently niched down to mainly focus on lead generation through Facebook and has already proved to be a great move for the company.

[5:48] Traditionally, Facebook was seen as a platform for B2C companies only. However, if you know what you’re doing, this can be a great platform for B2B companies too. Sophie discusses how this is the case.

[7:26] Many people use Facebook for personal reasons only (i.e posting pics of their cute dogs), but they could really be missing a trick here! Facebook Ads, when done correctly can be a great lead generator for your business. Sophie gives an AMAZING re-marketing tip here and recommends installing a Facebook Pixel into your website. This bit of code will track your website visitors (warm leads) and then show your ads to them on Facebook!

[10:30] One of the main questions people ask is “how exactly do you find your target audience on Facebook?” Sophie gives another brilliant tip here (amongst others!) and explains how we can use Facebook to find a “lookalike” audience, where a new audience is created by using the info from your Facebook Pixel made up of people with similar ‘likes’, interests, demographics and more.

[13:22] So, how do we go about building an ad that resonates with our target audience?

[15:19] Let’s look at where in the sales funnel Facebook Ads fit in. Facebook is definitely great for brand awareness, but is it useful for further down in the funnel?

[16:52] Facebook Ads isn’t as cheap as it used to be and it’s a LOT more competitive! This is why it’s more important than ever to test different campaigns (using a very small budget) before going all out and potentially throwing lots of money down the drain. Sophie explains the best ways of doing this.

[19:35] In the world of advertising, you are basically fighting for real estate and unfortunately it’s not free. What is the minimum amount of money we should expect to spend each day before seeing some real results?

[20:17] Facebook Ads can be a bit of a pain to get approved, and thanks to Facebook’s not-so-great support, we are sometimes left in the dark wondering why! Sophie gives us some tips to help ensure your ads are approved every single time like avoiding making unrealistic claims (e.g “lose 10 stone in a week with these magical tablets!”).

[24:59] What are the benefits of outsourcing Facebook Ads management when you can do it yourself? Is it really so complicated?

[26:45] If you’d like to contact Sophie or simply find out more information about her services, visit the 3twelve agency WEBSITE or send her an email at: [email protected]

[27:35] Before we go, Rob asks Sophie “if you could go back in time what advice would you give?”

For a step by step guide on how to identify and define your ideal customer click HERE.

What does it take to run a successful, growing & profitable agency?

If you run your own agency or are a solopreneur and want to grow your agency, or aspire to start one, then this blog will give you some really useful insights in how to grow your agency in a sustainable profitable and perhaps most importantly, enjoyable way.

Back in the early 90s I decided to start my own marketing agency.  I made tons of mistakes (more on that later) but I did have some really clear reasons as to WHY I wanted to run my own business.

These included:

  • Wanting to be in control of my own destiny;
  • Wanting to grow something and make an impact;
  • That feeling that I could do it better than what was currently out there (naïve arrogant youth can sometimes work in your favour!).

What I didn't realise (at age 24)  is that you need to be able to do more than just be good at delivering the service (in this case PR and content).  Since then I've learned that every successful entrepreneur has skills in the following 3 areas and if you want to be successful you need to make sure you are focusing on all 3.

 So these are: 
  1. Be good at delivering work today (revenue).  
    • This is working in your business of today
  2. Be good at focusing on the future of your agency (strategy). 
    • This is working in your business of tomorrow
  3. Be good at running your business (admin)
    • This is working on the administration side of your business

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these:

1. Be good at delivering work today (revenue).  

I call this one, ‘money today’ and it is perhaps the easiest one to understand - after all we started our own agency because we were good at doing this. This includes everything to do with delivering ‘work this month’.  It will incorporate client and account management, producing copy, design, web build etc. and generally keeping existing clients happy (whilst also ensuring you don't over service them!). 

As a rough rule of thumb this is probably going to account for 60 - 70% of your time.

2. Be good at focusing on the future of your agency (strategy). 

I call this one ‘money tomorrow’ and it can easily be overlooked when you are super busy delivering client work.  Strategy includes everything you will do to get new clients in the future.  So that will include your marketing, business development, networking, pitching, proposal writing and so on.

As a rough rule of thumb this is probably going to account for 25 - 35% of your time.

3. Be good at running your business (admin)

This is the lifeblood that keeps your business going and is usually a cost. Whilst this area can be quite tedious for entrepreneurs nevertheless it is vital that you allocate enough time to focus on the admin part of running your business.  This will include finance, invoicing, credit control, HR, paperwork, filing etc.  You will want to delegate or automate as much of this area as possible.

As a rough rule of thumb this account for no more than 10% of your time.

So it's clear that if we want to be successful at running and growing our agency we need to be disciplined about how we allocate our time.  This is especially true if you want to avoid those nasty peaks and troughs that many businesses go through.  I.e. A peak happens when we are super focused on delivering great client work.  However, as great as that is for current cash flow, it also causes us to not focus on the future and that ultimately leads to projects coming to an end and an empty order book - so we decline into a trough.  I went through this 3 times in the 11 years of running my agency and trust me, it was not pleasant so if you want to avoid this, make sure you are allocating enough time across each of the three areas as outlined above.

If you want to read more about creating a scalable agency, grab a copy of my free eBook

5 traits of a successful entrepreneurial agency owner

Over the past 14 years I have worked with over 350 agencies and I've identified 5 traits that every successful entrepreneurial agency owner possesses, so let me outline them for you.

1. Has a clear vision

If you don't know where you are going you'll never know whether you get there and that simply is why every agency should have some kind of documented vision!  This vision should motivate and excite you. 

If you have a team then make sure you bring them along with you, so they are equally motivated to get to the destination.  When you share your vision with your team you need to acknowledge the reality that some team members will feel like it sounds like a lot of hard work so remember to make it clear to them “what's in it for me?” if you reach the destination.  This could include opportunities, new exciting projects, training, promotion, bonuses, pay rises etc.

What does a vision look like?

A vision needs to document the destination that you want to reach, and it needs to describe that destination in terms of the sales, the type of customer that you want to win, the staff that you need, what systems and processes do you need to support that vision and how you will measure the steps along that journey.

Once you have this vision (it should be on one page), you then need to turn that into quarterly strategies and then turn those quarterly strategies into monthly plans.

If you want to be successful with your vision, you cannot create it once a year and then cast in stone and not be willing to change it. This is a sure-fire way of making it fail and is one of the two reasons why so many businesses fail to create a vision, and this stops them doing it in the future (the second being that the vision is overly complex). So, make sure that you revisit this vision frequently. Your vision needs to be a dynamic document that you are constantly updating based on what you know today.

2. Has a clear niche

I have written about niching many times before (you can grab my FREE ebook on niching here) so you'll know I am a big believer in finding your niche and showing up in this niche as an expert.  

Why? 

Because it helps you stand apart from your competition and show up as a specialist rather than a “jack of all trades”.  A specialist will always win against a generalist and a specialist agency will be able to charge higher fees and finally, when you have a clear niche you can identify your ideal target customer much more easily and build sales & marketing messages that really resonate with them.

Remember your niche will be the intersection of where you get the best results, where you have previously delivered profitable work and where your passion lies.  Read more about niching in my detailed blog on niching.


3. Builds a strong team 

A successful agency owner who aspires to grow their agency knows that a crucial part of this is building a strong team.  Now I’m not a big believer in building a business using freelance staff because that's like creating your agency on quicksand (understandably, freelancers have their own agenda, will not necessarily share in your vision and often, whilst doing a good job, will not go the ‘extra mile’). 

Freelancers are good for bringing in specialist skills and coping with capacity issues, and certainly can be used in the early days to build your business (until you have enough sustainable revenue to hire a member of staff) but ultimately you will want to hire your own team.

Now a successful agency owner will be willing to hire the best they can afford (and sometimes challenging people), and delegate down as much as possible.  This approach not only frees up your time but also develops your team members.

4. Is laser focused on how they spend their time

Talking of time, if you can delegate down as much as possible it will leave you to focus on the things that only you can do.  These tasks will include developing the vision and focusing on the strategy i.e. the future of your agency.

Don't get caught up in the belief that all clients want you to work on their account and you don't have time to delegate or believe it's quicker to do it yourself.  These beliefs are a sure-fire way of you becoming the bottleneck to the growth of your agency.

5. Is resilient

Agency owners often believe that they are superman or superwoman and are the sponge to absorb all the stress and pressure that surrounds them.  However, ensuring you take care of your mental well-being is crucial to the longevity of your focus & energy, and ultimately your agency. Being mentally tough means putting really good boundaries in place and not letting things that happen on a day to day basis derail you from your vision.  Good boundaries, learning to say NO and getting your priorities right also enable you to stay focused and motivated.

So finally, here are 8 areas you should focus on in 2020 to ensure the successful, sustainable and profitable growth of your agency:

  1. A clear actionable 12-month plan
  2. A clear niche
  3. A definition of your Ideal Target Customer (your ideal avatar or persona)
  4. A sales and marketing strategy and plan
  5. Some financial planning including cash flow forecast
  6. A value-based pricing policy
  7. A method for managing clients in a profitable way
  8. A staff plan (even if you are just using freelancers)

So how are you doing implementing all of this?  What is the one area you are struggling with?  I am running a series of FREE LIVE webinars on the topic of Growing Your Agency in 2020.  Learn more here: find a time that works for you and save your seat.

Latest Agency Accelerator Podcast: Running & growing a successful marketing agency

Agency Accelerator Podcast

In today’s podcast, I will be discussing exactly what it takes to grow a successful marketing agency and I’ll be giving you some great tips on areas to focus on as well as some common mistakes agency owners make.

Now, I’ve experienced the challenges and growing pains both when I ran my own agency as well as with countless other agencies I have worked with (both start-ups and established).

So, if you’re running an agency or you’d love to start your own agency, do not miss out on this episode. 

[1:21] – Why did you start your own agency (or why do you want to?) Maybe it’s because you love the freedom of having your own business brings? Or maybe it’s because you think you can do it better than others? Whatever the reason, you must ask yourself if you have these 3 crucial skills to build a successful business.

[06:02] Let’s now look at the 5 traits of a successful entrepreneurial agency owner. How many of these traits do you have? If you don’t possess all of them, what will you do to develop them?

[13:16] A very quick announcement that my 12-week Agency Accelerator Mastermind Programme is starting again very soon! If you want to create a successful and profitable agency, this programme is for you. You’ll receive 1-2-1 coaching from me at a fraction of the normal price as well as group coaching, accountability, your own unique roadmap and LIFETIME access to over 40 hours of online content, tools and templates. Doors for enrolment open on 26th March 2020 and are only open for a few days with a maximum of 20 participants. Click HERE for more info and to register your interest.

[14:16] Finally, I share with you my top 5 dos and don’ts of running and scaling a profitable and successful agency. If you can follow all of these, you will be on your way to creating a successful (and sustainable!) marketing agency.

Other links mentioned:

Agency Sales Pack

Agency Growth Pack

Subscribe & Review

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it’s also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,

Rob

PS BIG NEWS! After 3 months and lots of positive feedback, it’s time to ramp things up. So from today onwards, The Agency Accelerator Podcast will be published weekly!

Slow down to speed up

time management

Anyone who knows me will hear me often say “slow down to speed up’. It’s one of my favourite business expressions. 

We are all running along at 100mph, doing what we do, putting fires out, trying to juggle many priorities and of course keep our clients happy.  I am sure you can relate to that – I certainly can.  I have been that person – it’s exhausting, and sometimes it feels like we are just running to stay still.

Here is something else I bet you can relate to… I was with a customer last week who has an issue with ‘scope creep’ which results in project overrun, stress in the team due to long working hours and ultimately less profitable work.

The problem is that clients don’t always know exactly what they want at the start of the project, so the give a brief or outline that is a little too vague. My client is then forced to make some assumptions to ‘fill in the blanks’ and invariably, some of these assumptions are wrong.

It’s only when they deliver the first version of the solution/design that their customer’s give a more in-depth brief (based on seeing what they don’t want!).

This is a really good example of ‘slow down to speed up’. If my client had a more thorough briefing process and was more assertive in saying ‘no we can’t start until we can complete this brief’ then they would get to the end result (a great design or a great solution) much more rapidly, with less pain internally and ultimately, with a happier customer.

Getting your briefing process right at the start

I always tell clients you need a set of questions that must be answered and a set of questions that ideally you would like answered BEFORE they begin any piece of work. I call them your 5 non-negotiable questions (and I am going to blog more about this in the future since it’s such an important topic).

Doing work before you get the brief

Let’s take a few steps back –  you’re now in the prospecting stage and the prospect has asked you to write a proposal and in that proposal they’ve also asked you to provide some sample ideas of designs, graphics or web pages (or whatever you are pitching for) as part of the pitching process. 

How on earth can you deliver your best work if you haven’t taken the client through your briefing process and have them answer those 5 non-negotiable questions? 

In the end if you agree to pitch in these circumstances and invest lots of time creating designs, it becomes the luck of the draw and you have to hope that one of your designs really resonates with the prospect!

Now I know I’m not going to change the world because for a long time prospects have asked for strategies or layouts / designs without briefing the client fully but when you have an ideal target customer as a prospect it becomes much easier to apply this thinking and get them to agree to either brief you properly or not to have to do these designs as part of your pitch.

You’d be much better off selling them the briefing immersion process that you will take them through when they buy from you.  This is another example of ‘slowing down to speed up’ by explaining the logic of your thinking to your prospect and getting them agree to buy into the process rather than a vague outcome or random pretty picture!

As busy entrepreneurs there are so many areas of our life and our work where we would do well to heed the slow down to speed up mantra . Sometimes just taking a breath, standing back and seeing a situation with some objectivity enables us to ensure we are focused on the right things that move our agency forward and it also helps us push back or even say NO more often.

Interview with David Miles of The PPC Machine

Da Costa Coaching Podcast

Welcome to The Agency Accelerator’s sixth episode, hosted by agency coach and online educator, Rob Da Costa. 

In this episode, Rob is joined by guest David Miles of The PPC Machine and they cover the world of PPC marketing and how it is changing.

David also discusses how and why he niched his agency.

So make sure you tune in, because Rob and David have some incredibly valuable tips to share with you in this episode.

 

[1:07] David discusses his background and how he ended up creating and building The PPC Machine. SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) have changed significantly over the years and The PPC Machine has to ensure they keep up to date so they are able to help their clients the best they can.

[4:58] How can you as an agency use pay-per-click to generate more leads? David shares some very handy tips and different approaches you can take to save money but keep results coming in. He also reminds us of the importance of sharing value-added content with your audience to help ensure that they come back to you, when they are ready to buy.

[08:11] Is it a good idea to stop running PPC when your site’s SEO kicks in?

[11:46] Why should we outsource PPC when surely we can just do it ourselves? David discusses some interesting points about Google and how setting up a campaign can look easier than it actually is (more money for Google, less money for you!)

[14:42] Rob and David discuss the value of delegating and the different approaches you can take with this, including delegating internally to junior members of staff.

[17:15] How can we compete with our PPC competitors without paying out ridiculous amounts of money each month?

[19:30] Businesses need to remember that PPC leads can be very different to more traditional leads, as they tend come in at the very top of the sales funnel (i.e they don’t know anything about you). David tells us how he helped a Dental practise change their approach with PPC leads to turn more of them into new clients.

[21:30] The PPC industry is always changing. David predicts what he thinks is going to happen in the next few years.

[24:24] How and why did David and PPC Machine choose their niche? 

[34:01] How can we find out more about the PPC Machine?

Subscribe & Review 

Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? If you’re not, please do so to avoid missing out on any episodes!

You can subscribe/ follow on iTunes, Spotify or directly from my website.

I would be very grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too as they will help other people to find my podcasts and it's also great to read your comments!

Thanks so much,

Rob

Find out more about David and The PPC Machine

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