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How Committed Are You To Your Niche?

How Committed Are You To Your Niche

How niche is too niche? And, how niche are you? 

I know that's a lot of niches in one sentence! But it’s such an important topic that it deserves that many ‘niches’!

Any of you who listen to my podcast regularly or read my content will know that I am a massive fan of niching.

But it strikes me that a lot of people think they have a clear niche, but when I check them out, they don't.  They tell me about their niche but when I check their website or social media content, they don’t show up as clearly focused on the niche they claim to be in.  Why is this?  Well I think  they are hedging their bets

So, let me remind you why I think having and commiting to your niche is so important.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:01] 

What does it mean to have a clear niche?

[1:54] 

Why understanding your niche is important

[2:46] 

Advantages of having a clearly defined niche

[4:06] 

Tips in figuring out your niche

[5:26] 

How to stand out from the crowd to more easily reach your target audience

[7:09] 

Reasons why you must stay committed to your niche

[7:37] 

The impact of broadening or narrowing down a niche

[8:40] 

The difference between a generalist and a specialist

[9:52] 

How my niche has ebbed and flowed over the years

[11:49] 

Four ways you can segment your niche

[31:44] 

What is Anthony’s advice to his younger self 

Quotations

“When you have a clear niche. It means you can produce products and services that you know your audience wants, rather than making a huge mistake of selling products that you think they need.” - Rob Da Costa

“When you have a clearly defined niche, you can also REALLY understand your ideal target customer and their specific needs, challenges, pains that your product or service can solve.” - Rob Da Costa

“..niching is definitely one of the ways where you can minimise the pool of your competition and get much more laser-focused on who your ideal target customer is.” - Rob Da Costa

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“I enjoy listening to The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I always learn something from every episode.” If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you — move towards a Self-Running Agency.

Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

 Full Episode Transcription

How niche is too niche? And, how niche are you? 

That's a lot of niches in one sentence, but that's why I want to talk about them in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

In running my Agency Implementation Group Coaching call this week, we had a conversation about how committed everybody is to their niche. It's a really interesting topic, so I thought I would dive into that in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. 

So grab a pen, think about how niche you are,  protest your niche and let's get on with today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob Da Costa. 

Any of you who listen to me regularly or read a lot of the content I post through my email list on my blog and on social media will know that I am a massive fan of niche or niching if you are in the U.S. 

But it strikes me that a lot of people think they have a clear niche, but when I check them out, they don't. This often happens at the prospect stage when I'm preparing for that call. They've answered some questions in advance because they follow the qualification process that I teach my clients. I've got some information about them, including their niche. But then when I go and check them out on their website or on social media, they're not really showing up clearly in that niche. 

So it got me thinking, how committed are you to your niche? This was a discussion that we had in The Self-Running Agency Implementation Group call this week, and it was a bit eye-opening for quite a few people. That’s why I decided to record a podcast about this today. 

Now, I've recorded podcasts about niches in the past, but let me remind you why I think the mission is so important. So right now we are in late 2021 and the last couple of years have been really challenging, and I think those agencies that have done well have managed to keep serving their audience. 

But my question is, how can you really serve your audience if you don't understand them really well? And if you don't have a clear nation in more of a generalist, then it becomes much harder to really understand your audience. When you have a clear niche. It means you can produce products and services that you know your audience wants, rather than making that huge mistake of producing products that you think they need. This is that whole. Are you selling painkillers or vitamin pills to your clients? A painkiller is something that's going to get rid of their pain right now, while a vitamin pill is something you know will be good for them, but it won't get rid of their pain. It might stop them from having that pain in the future. But right now, what the client wants is a pain killer, and that means producing products and services that you know your audience needs rather than the ones that you think they want, either vitamin pill.

An obvious point here is that a niche provider will always be able to charge more than a generalist. If you needed knee surgery, you would go to a knee surgeon and not your GP. Then, if you had to pay for that surgery, obviously, the knee surgeon would charge a lot more money. When you have a clearly defined niche, you can also clearly define your ideal target customer, your customer advertises your customer persona and really understands their specific needs, challenges, pains that they have that your product or service can solve.

When you understand that you can create truly differentiating USPs, unique selling points as opposed to those cliches such as ‘We go the extra mile,’ ‘we really care’ and so on, which, of course, everybody would say. Then when you've done all of that, it means that you can create really clear marketing messages and powerful content that really hits home. Your goal with your outbound marketing is for your ideal target customer is ‘To read it and go blind me,’ that person is reading my mind. That's exactly what's going on for me now, and that leads them to think, ‘Tell me more,’ which looks like reading the content, clicking on a link or even booking a call with you.

Now I'm not going to go into too much detail about how to create your niche. You can download a copy of my book, which I put in the show notes, which digs into an itching in more detail. 

But broadly speaking, your niche is the intersection of where you're most profitable, what type of customers do you get the best results for, and what work do you most enjoy doing. Then when you've worked out that niche, you need to be really committed to it. This is the question that I asked and brings me back to the kind of core title of today, which is a lot of people say their niche but they don't really 100% show up about that. All the outbound communications don't necessarily show that niche. As I think that it's because people are kind of hedging their bets. Intellectually, they get the idea and the value of niche ng but at the same time they've got this little voice in their head going, ‘Yes, but if you niched you're going to lose opportunities.’ But if you believe niching will make you lose more generalist’s opportunities, then let me tell you that quite the opposite is true. Because when you have a clear niche, your ideal target customer will be able to more easily find you. And of course, as the specialist, you're going to be able to charge higher fees as I've already said.

Most of us operate in a really crowded market, whether you're a PR agency wherein you provide SEO or PPC services, you're a web design developer or a graphic designer or a content marketer or full-service agency, or even a coach like me, we are all in really crowded markets. We have to find a way of standing out.

Now, standing out can't be because you're cheaper than everybody else or because you promise ridiculous levels of service. Unless your completely online based company has no interaction with customers because being cheaper is never going to make you profitable. So you have to have other ways of standing out and standing out by saying ‘we go the extra mile,’ ‘we really care.’ 

As I said earlier is just cliches because I always think when you're trying to work out your niche, you need to ask yourself when I'm coming up with my proposition: ‘Would everybody else say this with all my competitors say this?” And if the answer is ‘Yes,’ which certainly they would be too, ‘we go the extra mile’ or ‘we really care,’ then it isn't something that makes you different.

Therefore, niching is definitely one of the ways where you can minimise the pool of your competition and get much more laser-focused on who your ideal target customer is. So, as I said, they can actually find you which is the best way for you to be able to reach your target audience.

Then, outbound communications providing value, demonstrating that you know what you're talking about, being very clear about who you serve to enable those people in the pool that you're fishing in to find you and reach out to you.

And that means once you've worked out your niche, being super clear very quickly on the first page on the home page of your website, being really clear in your LinkedIn profile, social media content, email marketing, blogs, guesting, webinars and all the myriad of many things that you can do. Are you always showing up as that specialist niche agency or are you hedging your bets because you think there might be some other fish that you can catch outside of your pool?

Let me tell you this when you win a business that is not in your core niche, it is always much harder to service because you don't really understand them as well as your ideal customer, and they don't really understand you. In order to service, those customers often lead to over-servicing which leads to stress and lack of profitability and no time to go and win those ideal clients. 

So there are 100 reasons why getting clear on your niche, being committed to it is super important. Now you've got to work out how broad or narrow your niches are, and my advice is always to go as niche as you can and then broaden up over time. But obviously, there are some limits to that.f you were 

If a web design agency and you might work with SME businesses, or marketing agencies doing their websites, you wouldn't want to go so niche to say that ‘We’re a web design agency that works with marketing agencies in Brighton,’ because you're going to limit your target audience to sort of maybe 10 companies. But you also don't want to be so broad by saying, ‘We're a web design agency that focuses on WordPress development,’ which is not a niche. That's just being a generalist in a very large pool. So that's a clue that you need to go more and more narrow. 

When you have worked out your niche, how easy is it for you to find your ideal target customer? If I'm a WordPress website design agency, I'm not sure that it's that easy for me to find my ideal clients because they could be anybody and everybody. Now I know that I sound like I'm standing on my soapbox and being really passionate and preaching about this, but I can't tell you how important it is.

It's interesting when I asked this question to my 30 Self-Running Agency Implementation Group members and I said to them, ‘How committed are you to your niche?’ Then I work through some of what I'm sharing with you. A lot of people kind of raised their hand and said, ‘Yeah Rob, you've got a point.’ One of the other questions I got is, can you have multiple niches? And yes, you can, and sometimes they can even be disparate niches. But what you need to do is find a way to present that on your website, and you also need to find a story that links your disparate niches together.

But what you can't do is have so many disparate niches, like five or six disparate niches, because that just makes you a generalist again, and that sounds like you are hedging your bets. 

What you can do is start narrow and flow over time. I’m in year 15 of running my coaching business, and I started out as a generalist coach. I failed spectacularly in the first two years of running my business. I really struggled. I didn't have compelling stories to tell big corporates. If I was talking to a small startup and I told them I work with a big corporate, they think, ‘Well, you can't help me, you won't get me.’

So I then realised I needed to niche. It was easy for me to work out my niche because I previously run my own agency. I decided to focus on the marketing agency sector. Over the next few years, that worked really well. That's my business took off. Then I was doing some work with a non-exact director who works with recruitment companies, and he started referring a lot of recruitment agencies to me. Suddenly I found myself with four or five recruitment agencies in my book, but it didn't kind of make sense to just say that I worked in the agency sector. And broaden out to say I work in the service-based business. 

I'm just gonna put a time out in that story there to jump in and say that when you are niche, it doesn't mean you can't take on companies and clients outside of that niche. It just means that you need to make a very considerate decision if you can help them. If you think you can help them, they get you and you enjoy working with them, then take it on.

Back to my story, I had one of these recruitment clients. Then, I started repositioning myself to say, ‘Hey, I'm Rob Da Costa Coaching works with service-based businesses.’ After a year, I realised that I actually don't enjoy working with recruitment agencies that much. Sorry, any recruitment people who are listening to this. So, I stopped taking on work through that channel, and I refocused my efforts on the marketing agency sector. Then I narrowed it a bit more and said, ‘Actually, the place I really enjoy working and the place I feel like I can get the biggest impact.’ The quickest is working with smaller agencies. 

So my target market now is creative marketing agencies with between one and 15-20 staff. That is where 95% of my clients that I do have 5% on the other side. Outside of that, there are the bigger agencies or even they're not in the agency sector at all. But as I said, I made a very considerate decision when I took them on. That is really how you should approach your niche. 

Then, my question to you is if I went on your website right now, would it be really clear to me about your niche and your specialism? One of the points to say here is to remind you that you can actually split your niche in four ways. When we think about our niche, we always usually think about it by the sector that we serve, e.g tech or finance, but actually can split it in four ways. 

Again, if you grab my copy of my book at the show notes, it digs into this in a lot more detail, but you can dig into it by the geography that you serve. So if I'm a web design agency, I would say something like, ‘We create websites for businesses in London.’ You can cut it by the industry or sector, which is the obvious one, ‘We create websites for gaming businesses.’ You can cut it by the deliverable, ‘We create e-commerce WordPress websites.’ Then you can also cut it by the problem that you solve. This is focusing on the outcome. We generate new business leads by improving your online presence through web development and SEO services. 

Now it's very likely that you would combine one or two of those together, but I've tried to be clever here and combine all four of them just to show you how you can do that, and you would never do. This is a bit of a mouthful, but I'm making the point. ‘We generate new business leads by improving your online presence by developing e-commerce WordPress websites for gaming businesses in London.’ 

As I said, that's a bit of a mouthful, and you wouldn't combine all four. But I just want to remind you that when you're working on your niche, you can cut it in a number of ways. Back to my question, how committed are you to your niche? If I went and checked out your website, would it be clear about the niche that you're in? And if the answer is no, which I think for a lot of people it will be. Then I really challenge you to go back to the drawing board, redoubled down on your niche, be really committed to it and make sure that your website. Also, your outbound calm, such as your LinkedIn profile all show up as that specialist. Trust me, when you provide your niche you can charge more money, it becomes much easier to win clients and you stand out from your competition. Then, you shouldn't be shy about finding a niche. As I said, what you should really do is go as niche as you possibly dare and then think about broadening out over time.

Another point to bear in mind is that when you try to appeal to lots of people because you really want to hedge your bets, as you don't want to be a niche you try to appeal to lots of people. You actually end up appealing to nobody, and then the niche provider comes along and beats you in all the different areas that you are trying to win in. 

So if you're frustrated that you're not winning business or you're going in to pitch, but you're not always winning it. If you're frustrated that clients that you're winning don't really understand you, then I could say double down on your niche and do some work on it. 

Grab a copy of my book because it talks you through the steps of creating your own niche, and if you have any challenges with it, reach out to me. I guarantee that the niche agencies always do so much better than the generalists. I've very rarely seen any kind of agency. That's a generalist doing as well as the specialist agency. As I said, if you needed knee surgery, you would go to the knee surgeon specialist, not the GP and the same is true with your agency.

So I'm going to get off my soapbox now. I hope this episode has been food for thought for you. I challenge you to go back and check your website out, double down on your niche, and I'll see you next week for the next episode of the podcast. 

By the way, if you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving me a review on Apple Podcast. Also, please think about sharing this with your colleagues as well and really trying to reach more people. It’s one of the best ways I can do that is with your help to get the algorithm to show this podcast to more people. But other than that, have a brilliant rest of your week and I'll see you next week.

Building Communities with Anthony Burke

Building Communities with Anthony Burke

How can building online communities help your agency’s marketing strategy? 

In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I am joined by Anthony Burke, the Owner of “Brits in Dubai”, as he shares his journey building and monetising online communities as well as his story of living in Dubai and what inspired him to start  his community.

Brits in Dubai is a private Facebook Group that originated in 2014 and is dedicated to helping British expats settle and thrive in the UAE. A great place to get advice, support and network. 

Since then, the group has grown into the number one British expat group with more than 25,000 members and over half a million posts in the last six months alone! 

How can you apply what Anthony has learned and achieved in your agency business?  That is what we set out to explore in this episode.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:29] 

Anthony’s journey to building a number 1 Facebook community 

[6:00] 

Tips on how to build momentum in your group

[9:11] 

How much time is needed to invest in managing an online community?

[11:21] 

Why delivering great value is important in monetising a Facebook Group

[13:55] 

What is the best and cost-effective way to build professional partnerships

[15:44] 

Why you should ‘go unique’

[16:50] 

Building landing pages and searching the best keywords

[18:37] 

How to find the balance in delivering the value and selling your products/ services

[20:18] 

The importance of building your email list

[21:20] 

Tips in marketing your products/services to the members of the group

[26:50] 

The impact of Covid in business decision making

[28:33] 

Living the ‘digital nomad lifestyle’

[31:44] 

What is Anthony’s advice to his younger self 

Quotations

“The thing that I always tell my audience is that when you are creating outbound communications, whether it be through a Facebook group, email marketing, social media, videos or whatever, you need to get this balance of 80% providing value and only 20% selling. ” - Rob Da Costa

“It's about being human, and it's about being real and authentic. If you have a community, listen to what your community needs, then you make sure you produce products and services that they want as opposed to thinking about what's better for them, and you're going to create something that nobody ever buys because they don't actually need it.” - Rob Da Costa

“I'd always say, ‘go with your gut. If it works fantastic, if it doesn't, there are more options.’” - Anthony Burke

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

“I enjoy listening to The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I always learn something from every episode.” If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you — move towards a Self-Running Agency.

Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

Useful links mentioned in this episode: 

 Full Episode Transcription

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob DaCosta. 

Welcome everybody to today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast I am really excited to have with me today, my latest guest, Anthony Burke.

Anthony Burke runs a business called Brits in Dubai. Way back in 2014, Anthony created a Facebook group to help Brits settling into Dubai. A place to get advice, support and network. Since then, the group has grown into the number one British expat group with over half a million posts just in the last six months and about 25,000 members. So I thought it would be really great to have Anthony on the podcast today to share his experience of growing a community like that and then also how to start monetising that community. 

So, Anthony, welcome to the podcast. Is there anything else you want to add to my introduction about where you are and what you do? You've actually done quite well there, Rob. 

Hi. How are you? Are you Well, I'm really good. Thank you. Yeah. Good. Because he has been shining, so that always helps isn't it. It always helps too.

Just kind of elaborate on the group. As you rightly said, this was purely when I'll go back a couple of steps. I was in the UK and I on coffee shops had three coffee shops myself on my now wife, who was the governor of the time again, a little bit stalled. We wanted a new challenge, wants to do something completely different and shall decide I'm going to the device. And I went, why? In my mind, no culture, no history, no anything like that. Basically, I didn't know anything about it. 

So the idea was to go over for weeks. We've enjoyed it and if so kind of look at option thereafter. Then, we went for a week. I didn't come back basically. Gemma did some finalising. She went off and she joined me. Probably six weeks, it makes 22 months later, and I was basically working for a publication called Construction Magazines. Obviously, Dubai is just building and building and building. It was a good place to be.

Then, I've actually done some work on that previously, probably about 20 years ago, and I knew the owner, so I decided to jump in with them. So they'll be there for a year, just see what I wanted to do. And in social media, which was very, very lucky in the back at that particular time. They haven't really caught on. It's usually about 10, 12, 5, 10 years behind. I would say the Western World. It's got a massive now, as you can imagine, But at that time in 2000 and I think he was 14. With that,  I thought that this is my market. This is what I'm going to go after. Let's sit back and develop them. So I built a company called Stepping Social, which is still today and when I first moved by this to use Google, but it just wasn't the tools for really specific questions like,  ‘Where can you live? Where's the best place to come and meet like-minded people and all this kind of stuff?’ So I thought Facebook Group before they were popular with that will be good things soon.

I invited a few friends, people can ask questions. I can just give myself some guidance and what’s not. So it starts with a handful of friends. They are friends, obviously, and they started blooming and blossoming before it, a few 1000 when it's 10,000, and from 10,000 is now 25,000. It just keeps escalating. It's people who recommend the group just because of the help. Readily, the information is that it's very active. People are genuinely very good at giving advice. It's worked out quite well.

So basically, if you want to debate that is the group to join. It’s gonna give you all the information that you need. I'm quite proud of that and I think. 

Sorry to interrupt you. It's interesting that I was doing a bit of research prior to our interview today, and so I was looking at other kinds of groups like that, and any other groups that have fought are way lower in terms of the numbers. So your group has obviously become the number one kind of place for expats to go and learn the network and ask questions and so on.

Right, it's I mean, there's about three or four. I would say that I've seen what I've done to try to mirror that to a degree, not quite successful, but usually disgruntled members from the group that I've tried to have their own thing, and that's fine. If there's a market for others, enough paper and well. Good but ideas to make sure it was all-inclusive, as in there's no such thing as a silly question. There was no such thing as troubling or anything like that and were heavily monitored.

What I would say is because it is a niche group were very keen not to be the latest or anything like that. But we want to say, right, if you are a Brit and you are living and working, but I mean, this is a group for you, we get many other nationalities, wants you to join, but chances are they're wanting to join to sell goods and services. We’re very strict, and we have one person that looks after basically admitting people, and so we do background checks on literally everybody that comes through. 

Just on Facebook, we want to know if there are provisions from the U. K. They are living and working in the boat, and they're not just going to come to the group to sell, because if it becomes just a sail fest and it will absolutely kill your group, that is for sure. The way we've done is, we've been quite creative, and we've been very strong and the management of who actually gets to partner with us within the group.

We'll probably talk about how we monetise up. Throughout this year, I'm interested to ask you this is kind of for a personal reason because I've been really unsuccessful. If I'm honest about growing my own Facebook group, which I've tried on and off over the years and kind of put it parked it really? How did you start from scratch? And I know you said like you invited a few friends and colleagues, but how did it kind of build momentum from that point onwards? Because I guess at the size you're at now, it's sort of easy to organically grow it because so many people are seeing it and sharing it. But when you just got 10 or 20 or 100 members, how do you get from that point to the next sort of next level? 

Well, the other thing is, it's been crazily active within the group, not just leaving it up to other members. Start by building conversations again. People actually talking once you get to talk and the people kind of join them out with the algorithm out to Facebook. Its lots of conversations are going on here, and then they start. You've been to be seen in kind of search engines and whatnot. That's when Britain to buy where I think that the top when it comes to anything, British experts and advice. We were quite elderly people who just joined the group with that based on the number of conversations, but I would say you've got to lead it. You've got to drive it. You've got touch some conversation there that people are going to kind of enjoy doing with us because it's a nation because it is the Brits group.

Then, we started doing events. We get together and got to a venue to meet like-minded people. We even a single night which is strangely enough, because a lot of people just moved to the by there on their own. It's a big, wide world if you like. They tend to be on the younger and the biggest if you like demographic is probably 21 to 35. These people kind of fresh out of uni and whatnot and that they're just trying their feet elsewhere, and it's a great way to do it with.

So having these get-togethers has really helped, and obviously, they start talking. We're going to this event during this group because they would say, and invite your friends. So then they would get other people to join the group. I would do webinars, seminars, and some people that fragment tax seminars. 

A couple of years, but did I was completely tax-free. And a little while ago, they decide that they're gonna start introducing some. Sometimes it's very small, but people need to know. So we started doing seminars and webinars based around that and that you've got very popular.  Again it just drives people and without necessarily wanting to sell, because I think it's probably sailed in a group. It's a big fat turn off. It's all about giving massive value. And that's what we did in the initial stages today. 

Yes, it's interesting because the thing that I always tell my audience is that when you are creating outbound communications, whether it be through a Facebook group, email marketing, social media, videos or whatever, you need to get this balance of 80% providing value and only 20% selling. And because you've got to build that know like and trust with people before they're ever going to buy from you.  So you're sort of singing off the same hymn sheet as me of really focusing on providing value. 

Let's just talk about I know that most agency owners and probably most business owners are super short on time, so they might be thinking about building a community. But how much time do you have to invest like in those early days? Now, if you make a comparison, how much time are you spending actually monitoring, answering questions and marketing the group?

We're more in the initial stages. I'll be honest. It was a lot of hours, and it's not a 9-5 thing. Now, people asking questions all sorts of times. I think if you're really active and you do give these people the good advice as much as you possibly can in the initial stages, then that's a good thing. Eventually, you get your own champions within the group and people with the skill sets. So when somebody's asking about tax kind of questions, that’s going to help them instantly. If someone is looking for property in the marina, right and say, someone, 's gonna tell him where's a good place while our good towers please avoid this tower and whatnot. 

Then, you start eventually, just get me on champions. But yet in the initial stages, it is a lot of work. But it just evens out now, like they were 25,000 adult posts nearly as much as conversational because it’s held on there for me. Lots of people are asking the right questions. I guess the building is ill but I think it's fairly niche as well. 

I think that's key to make sure you're looking at a niche market rather than a generic one, because so many other groups, I absolutely demand is huge. 78 to 200,000 members and then I joined a couple just to see how well they were doing. And there's just no interaction. It's basically people going on there just trying to sell anything and everything. It's a big turn off. People just do not want to go in there to be sold to on on on a regular basis. So it's how you even monetise that and how you kind of manage it. I think that's the key. 

Yes, I think that's perhaps where I could have done better with my group because I was just targeting agency owners but I could have probably notched it down a bit more, so I think that's a really good piece of advice for me and anybody else that's thinking of creating a community is to be as niche as you can, invest lots of time upfront and then make sure you're adding value to the members and getting them to engage. 

One of the reasons why our listeners might be thinking about creating a group is because they think that's the way of building an audience that they can ultimately monetise. This is a silly question for someone who's built an audience of 25,000, but just talk a bit through the value of building that community and in terms of how it supported you, earning revenue and doing business development. 

Okay, Again I'll put some background and I was in Dubai for seven years, and then we moved back to the UK. So everything I'm doing right now is in the UK. We came back to our first child. We haven’t managed to get anything about,  such as life, Covid came around and it's kind of lost. A lot of things were not going to be out there, but it's irrelevant now, to the digital world that we live in.

Anyway, sorry to interrupt you again, and I want to touch upon that whole digital nomad thing at the end. We'll definitely come back to that because I got a shared interest there, Yes, I think the point I was probably alluding to is I'm kind of trying to start now.

We were talking about monetising the value of building that community and how you can use it as a business development platform. Right, we lived up to the UK and I was going to be doing photography that that's why I was getting to then has a full diary full because I was going to be doing wedding photography because that's kind of my past as well. I had a social media company in The Bible, and we did a lot of hotels, restaurants. I use photography from that. So it was a skill set I was using, and I thought I can easily get back into the UK and develop that now that collapsed. There are no weddings going when I had a year full of weddings gone instantly and some other than I'd start thinking, right. ‘How am I going to get myself out of this? This mess that we're potentially in? The circumstances in it?’ And I thought I am spending so much time on this group and my wife, we have somebody else working in that.

We've got about five men knowing the group. Spending a lot of time and I'm talking initially 12-14 hours share between us on a daily basis. It’s nowhere near as much like that now. But the fact is, we needed to get something from this rather than just being these nice people upset this group, and I didn't want to inundate it. So we started working with partnerships. 

Now, what I mean by that is I wanted to work with one specialist that works in any one particular area. If I can say a property developer and themselves and rent houses and wanted that I wanted one specialist, I wanted him to be our champion. Anybody talked about properties where to live, they can give some good, solid advice and that's worked out well. We work with some specialists that do use cars, expert motors, and they do 60% of their business through our group. It's huge, and that's because we give them value out. They talk to people they explain about how they can get finance, that they can sell cars all the registration because it's much different to what is in the U. K. So it's value out. 

And that's what we were saying to people. ‘Look, you are champions. I want you to start speaking to our group, really explain what is you can do for them.” I can make their life a little bit easier. I've gone down this route, and we have one eye care specialist. Basically, with people, I want some money back to the U.K. It was the best way to do it. We must cost of works. The best cost-effective way of doing it through the banks is the same expensive, using an eye FX broker because of some money to and grow so that that helps. That helps our members massively. Because I've got now somebody that goes to and then accountable because they're in the group. So, we know that these people are gonna give good side device and really help out.

So I would say me working with just a specialist in any particular area has worked massively with baggage people sending baggage home. We've got one specialist. I do that now. How we've actually done that is rather than just leaving it to chance and putting on an advert, because if you've been in the group you'll see there's a post it's gonna drop down and we use, like, the feature posts. But we do multiple pulses about that. We do video interviews very similar to what we're doing, asking a business and then they are where they come from, and it's more conversational. Like how they started in the by the weather came from what their background is. 

It's on a personal level. That's what I tried to get through, for our champions of speaking, I do call them champions because, the other people are the best of what they do, and I'm like, I'm heavily focused on looking for those right people, and we don't just let anybody do it. So let's have systematically start looking right. ‘What do you want to our members’ needs? Where do they need to help on a regular basis?’ I mean hotels and restaurants, the 10,000 of them in Dubai, so we can look at lower the different venues for that. But when it comes to specialist advice, I always say, ‘Go unique, go with one person and, let's see how they can help the members.’ So that's how we've done that. And I basically look at people and say, I want to work with you for three years. his is how much is going to cost, and this is what we're gonna do for you.

So that's probably the next thing that we do. Not just a case of post and on the group. And as I know, you're a massive fan of build a list as far as an email list. Yes, absolutely crucial, massively crucial. What we do is build a landing page for any particular business. Anybody wants to talk about any particular product or service, I want them to speak to them directly, but we collect the data. 

Then, it is initial and right. Okay, ‘X Y is asking for properties in the Marina, can you help them out?’  Well, then steer them. Obviously, we've got the data, and we can then talk to them about properties further down the line. Do some added work for the clients. And we also use keywords. The keywords are fantastic in the group. So if anybody is saying I want to again, I'm just gonna use property for now. But anybody who wants to move to the Marina or downtown or to wherever in the city. 

As soon as I mentioned I get pain, and then I put a link straight through. You need to be speaking to such and such is linked to some more information. It can be a brief synopsis of who they are and whatnot. They know who they're speaking to do some debt collection of the phone number. Well, it's usually an email and the name, and now and again, we get a phone number for, like, mortgages. People want to speak to them very quickly. So we collect this information for my list is building all the time. You don't have to give me your email just really joined the group. But people are very willing to give you an email address because it's something that they want. We don't spam them, that's ever so important. We understand the information that's pertinent to what the original query was. It's building up that you've got far more of an open right if you do that as well. 

Yes, there's so much in there that I just want to pick apart a bit. It sort of reinforces the 80-20 rule that 80% add value. But then there is a way of selling as well. It's interesting that I have a client that has been really successful at building a Facebook community, and it's growing, and it's very niche. I won't say who it is because I don't think they're listening. I don't want to know who I'm talking about. Then one day they're a marketing agency and then one day, someone in that community because I'm part of it as well, said. ‘Can anyone recommend a marketing agency that can help us do this thing, which my client could?’ And then someone else went on and said, ‘Oh yeah, go talk to this company,’ which wasn't my client. 

So here's my client running a community with someone asking for their services and someone else recommending another. That is because they were just focused completely on adding value and never letting people know who they are and what they can do. And that's a good example of only, like focusing 100% on adding value but never the 20% on selling. So you've got that balance right. 

I really like the point that you made. It's about being human, and it's about being real and authentic and all that stuff. And I also think one of the great things about community, which again you alluded to, which I think is so important for listeners. If you have a community in whatever way it is, whether that be an email list or Facebook group or something else, and you listen to what your community needs, then you make sure you produce products and services that they want as opposed to thinking about what's better for them, and you're going to create something that nobody ever buys because they don't actually need it.

So I think it's really smarter for you to listen to your audience and then bring in partners that can solve some of the problems and challenges that they have. And of course, the building of an email list.  As you said, I'm a big fan of that. The listeners will know that because I talk about it all the time. But a really good example is like I think building a community online like this is a brilliant strategy. But it's also smart to try and get those people to come to your email list. Because, as I know Donald Trump gave me the best example as he had 20 million Twitter followers, and overnight he lost them. Of course, that's very extreme. 

But these social media platforms can change their teas and sees, and that can have a big impact on you. A good example of that is that a few years ago it was very easy to export your LinkedIn connections and get their email addresses. Then LinkedIn changed their terms and conditions so you can no longer get their email addresses. So encouraging people to move into your list in whatever way is a smart thing to do. 

If you think about your social media agency in creating a community to support the growth of your social media agency or to win more clients, which is obviously what a lot of the listeners would think about, what advice would you give those people? Like it for me, if I was going a group to support my business, and I wanted to turn to find a way of actually turning some of those members eventually into my customers, which is a bit different to what you're doing, what have you got? I know I'm putting you on the spot here. Have you got any advice for anybody that's thinking about embarking on that journey? 

Well, I would not say I must have kind of going so that the community groups, rather than I mean niche is great, but it's quite difficult to target these people to get into a certain group because we're all busy kind of professionals, aren't we? It's spending a lot of time in groups can be a bit counterproductive. So, it's having that fine balance.

Most people are just basically looking to get clients, aren't they? It is tough because I say everything I've done. I've not gone down that route. I've always talked to the community groups. I do think there's a tonne of value, a tonne of business within, so maybe not the right person to spend give advice about lights of the newsgroups supporting agency. 

So you've not thought about doing that for your social media business, then? No. I mean, what I thought about doing is doing more community groups what I've done now looking down at the regional, or, whether the damage that route again in different parts of the world, because they have proved very useful.

Why don't you get the numbers and the people as opposed? But now I just thought about it. I could in reality if, at the time, the crowd, the manpower, these people are coming to me now. Now, my clients, I could potentially outreach them and do their social media, the PR, and maybe you can build a business out of that. I haven't touched that. That could quite easily do that. So, building opportunity groups where people have come in and they've fragments. 

I get this a lot. The drawing, a tonne of groups and all I've done is ever put a post on there. And its hepatitis has been taken down. We've been asked to move away, or it's just not the same kind of impact. That's down to again, down to the age of 20 things. So if you could potentially build up these quality niche groups, as far as the community groups that mentioned in, these groups say there is a business I can get through there because people just don't understand the power of social media, whether or not going to be selling adverse, they're doing PR doing marketing coming to you and chance that they want to advertise in the group is just because they haven't really got much of a clue outside of the group.

So there is a market there. I haven't touched it because I have another partner who basically does web creation and social media presence. which comes to me for that I have set up. I'm quite busy doing what I do that I don't necessarily need to do the other side. But I would do. I build up the community groups because you're going to get people who want to advertise, and if they're doing that, chances are you don't really know what they're doing. Then, you can be their guiding light. I would say, 

Well, that's the thing I guess it’s like any way you can build your tribe, whether it be through these community groups or email this or anything else gives you an audience that you can demonstrate your credibility to build that no like and trust so eventually you're there when they're going help. I get this, but I haven't got time to do it myself. ‘I need some help’ and you're like, ‘Hello, I'm here that I would have?’

Yes, and I think I've seen some really successful business groups you can call in communities the same thing, really, where they've built their tribe using a Facebook group. And then they've been able to really market to that when they're focused on that 20% of the selling. Of course, those people already know, like and trust you, so they're much more likely to buy. 

I'm just going to say that there is one thing that I could have possibly added to that a little while. But again, like a pre covid, basically put out questions saying to businesses, ‘Look, there's a lot of business owners in here. Do you want a networked group?” It is where we can read regularly, almost like a, b and I just for our members and that 400 people sign up a lot. So, if I was that way inclined that could have been a really nice platform for me to say, right? ‘No, I can help you on the X, Y and Z.’ And hindsight, maybe I should have done that and it’s not. I can't do it now. But I think building up that group, you're going to get these natural people coming in anyway. Then you can touch that. I’m not saying. Then you can say you want to set up your own kind of network professional within that. You've got low hanging fruit potentially and it's not a big leap, isn’t it? From having the community to then saying ‘OK, well, now we're creating a networking group and you're going to pay £20 a month or whatever for that.’

That's great. Now you touched upon this early earlier that you're now back in the U. K. and just for listeners Anthony, any sort of achieving the digital nomad status of currently travelling around the UK while his son is still young enough to be able to do it in there in their motor home and having lots of adventures but still being able to work. So just tell us a bit about that decision. Obviously, Covid had some impact on it, but tell us about that decision and, what it's like, right?

Okay, well, against me being me, if I have an idea, I kind of go with it. Paul, Jim, I should just go. We're gonna have coffee shops, Okay? We're going to go to want to live in a different country, okay? We'll come back. And then he said, Well, ‘I'm getting stalled.’ We've all been locked up for such a long time. I've lived in the UK for numerous years. Obviously, I spent seven years in the divine. We came back and I said, I've been literally everywhere in this country, and I cannot tell you anything about it, because wouldn't it be nice to just go from one town to another town and really kind of enjoy and explore and just trundle around?

So we said, ‘Right, let's get a motor home, and do a two-year trip,’ which is what we're on now. Been doing it since April. Well, so far we've been as far as Carlisle all were done to then to Cornwall, which is amazing. Unfortunately, we caught Covid and, in the common wheel, myself and my wife, isolated in a van with a two-year-old. Yes, through its challenges that was quite difficult when we eventually could. We weren't contagious. We managed to get back to our base in Cheshire. That's good. Yes, well, so we came back out again a couple of weeks ago.

But the idea was one just enjoys the kind of digital nomad lifestyle to up to two years old. I'm an older dad. I'm 50 now and I wanted to spend as much time with him. This is why I love the digital kind of frame. Why you don't need to be anywhere. 

So he's going off, and he's having the best time of his life. He's seen so many cool things were going so many nice places. I can work from the van. I'm gonna set to help. I've got a WiFi setup pack of solar panels so I can just work here. We also built, but we've got these pop-up areas. So when it's raining, he's got play areas to play outside can still work. We bring our car with us as well. Then, Gemma can just go off for the day. I do my work, do whatever I need to do.

And then, we've got family time, and it's not just a case of coming home and just watching TV, we've got a new backyard every other night, and it is such a nice way to live. It really is. I'm going to have this helps out it down. They're trying to go from a four-bedroom detached house to basically a small box. It's quite difficult, but we're managing it, and we're doing well because of it. It's just open up your eyes and you meet so many nice people and you get to see so many beautiful places that you probably passed through and not giving it a second top. And to be able to do the exploring to be able to work, just live which everybody's dream life. To be fair, we're living it. It's quite nice, but I think it's because we thought a few years ago about this digital world, and to be fair, it wasn't covid. I probably wouldn't have done this out of setting up an office that I just kind of developed, and I don't think we would have developed as quick as what we have done.

Because of Covid, everything's going online. My Zoom meetings. I have three or four of these days sometimes, and it's opened it up for me. I'm paying so much you used to do in the Zoom something so you don't need to do. You don't need to jump in. You can go to a meeting two hours away for a half-hour, 45 minutes and then do another two hours drive. You are much more effective doing the way you're doing now in digital, well again, doing it in a space I just love, and I like to have a new backyard every other day. It's just a really nice way. 

So I'm sure lots of listeners will be listening with envy. But it's completely possible, and I think we put a lot of our own roadblocks in our way that keep us in a comfort zone and stoppers doing these things. It's completely possible, and as you say, if there's anything positive to be taken out of the coronavirus situation. It's meant a lot of us have had to move online and proved that we can work remotely and also proved that travelling is not a very effective way of running the business.

Last Friday, I had to go to London. It was the first long sort of trip that I've done. And so I was in London for a two-hour meeting and it probably took me six hours in total. I drive there, have the meeting and come home. I mean, it was a necessary meeting because I needed to meet this person face to face. But it does remind you that it's just not efficient. At that same time, I could have done a 32-hour meeting. 

So if anybody is listening to this with envy about what Anthony is done, then just remember that it's completely possible. You just have to get out of your own way and make those decisions. 

Okay, so before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask you the question that I ask all of my guests, which is if you could go back in time and give your younger self a bit of business advice when you're just starting out, what would it be? 

I've tried a couple of different things, and I'm quite pleased that I have. I'd always say, ‘Go with your girl if it works, if it works fantastic, if it doesn't, there are more options.’ I think that the younger me would have. Maybe I did a lot of self-doubts. I mean, eventually, I've done things, but I think I would have done it a lot easier a lot earlier. I would say, ‘Just go with your gut feeling if it works from tough, if it doesn't, there's always other options.’ And I think you're a longtime dead as well, so you kind of got to live your life, because the possibilities now are endless. I wish we had the opportunity. 

Now you know me at 50, what I had when I first started doing my own thing because I've worked in various different industries, and my first business was 20 years ago. It's still alive and well today. Sometimes I wish it stayed within that. Yes, I just think it's nice to have choices and a good feeling is a massive one. If you think it's a good idea and get the right advice. Speak to the right people don't just maybe go hang out with them.

I just get a good bit of advice. I think I always say to people, back in ‘92 when I started my first business, and it was my young, arrogant, naive, innocence that probably enabled me to do it because I didn't know anything else, whereas now I'm old grey and cynical. So I think listening to your got such a good bit of advice, I think it's an I've got instinct. That flight or fight is a thing that keeps us safe. And there are so many scenarios, including that one where we need to listen to our gap.

Anyways Anthony, I really appreciate your time today. If people want to get in touch with you or learn more about Brits in Dubai and so on, where would they go? That's something usually two but I'm assuming Mafia readers are not in Dubai or of any interest in going there. But if they want to reach out to me personally, I'm more than happy to do that so they can send an email or they can follow me on Facebook, it's Anthony Berg. The email is [email protected], and I'm happy to field any questions. 

I'm even thinking about creating a training package to show people how to develop a good straight-faced constructive and talk about other things more in-depth than what we have done today and build out can build it as a business. So I'm in the process of thinking of doing that. If there's enough interest and also a great idea. 

We'll include will include the links in the show notes, including the Brits in Dubai, because people might want to just have a look at what you're doing. And if anyone wants to reach out to Anthony and have a chat with him about building your community, then he's just giving you that office, please do. 

But other than that, I want to say a big. Thank you for giving up your time today. I know you're in that. I think you're in the Lake District at the moment, so there's probably lots of beautiful things to see, but you're sitting here with me instead. 

So sad. I've got 11 o'clock and 12 o'clock meetings. I'm not seeing much of Kendall at all today, but yes, I'm in the Lake District is beautiful. I don't work Fridays. Friday is the weekend. That isn't Saturday for me, it’s my complete two days off. Yes, we're going to win the man that kind of thing, but brilliant, Rob. Absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for having me today. Welcome. Thanks for joining us.

How to Generate Leads from Your Website

how to generate leads from your website

Let me ask you a question: What is your website for? 

Is it just ‘brochureware’ (a place to learn more about your business) or are you aiming for it to be something more, such as a way of generating a consistent pipeline of new leads?

The answer is that it should be the latter.

So in this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast,I share my thoughts around some of the fundamental do’s and don't about getting your website to work more effectively for you and also some key strategies to consistently generate leads from it.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:09] 

Why you should make sure your website isn’t full of ‘we’!!

[2:01] 

The importance of quickly building empathy with your readers

[2:46] 

What is the anatomy of a successful website, what does a great website look like?

[5:03] 

Tips on how to drive traffic to your website

[8:58] 

How to convert leads

[9:23] 

Four stages to drive traffic to your website

[10:51] 

Tips in creating your ‘killer content’

[11:46] 

Killer content Myth #1: ‘I need lots of gated content on my website’

[12:14] 

Killer content Myth #2: ‘It needs to be long to deliver value.’

Quotations

“..remember that your ultimate goal with your website is to generate leads. The way you're going to generate leads is by getting people to sign up to your email list, and then you're going to nurture them through the buyer's journey.” - Rob Da Costa

“..drive traffic from all your different channels, where your target audience hangs out, to your website and then, once they are there, get them to take action, which means them giving you their email address (in return for your killer content).” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Let me start this episode of the podcast by asking you a question and that question is: ‘What is your website for? Is it just brochure-ware, so somewhere or someone can learn more about your business or you’re aiming it to be something more, such as a lead generation machine?’ 

Well, firstly, it definitely should be that something more. But there are some fundamental do’s and don't about getting your website right and also some key strategies to making it generate leads for you. So that's what I am going to cover in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. 

Now, this is a super action-packed episode, and I'm going to be covering a lot of bases. So go and grab yourself a pen and paper. Or, if you're like me, you're remarkable to take notes so that you can leave with an action plan from this episode. But without further ado, let's get on with today's show. 

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob da Costa. 

So the first thing I want to talk about is making sure that your website isn't full of wee. Yes, you heard me, right. Making sure your website isn't full of wee. What I mean by that is so many websites start off by saying we do this and we do that. As we were founded in 1974 wherein we have these amazing, great clients, this is what we've done for them, and this is what they say about us. But fundamentally, when your reader arrives at your website, they just don't care about that. You haven't built any no, like and trust yet. 

Then, your first job is to start building empathy with your reader, and you're not going to do that. If you start off by telling them all about you. What you need to do is show them that you understand them and you understand some of the challenges they have, so that you immediately starting building some rapport and empathy because then the reader sits there and thinks ‘this is interesting, tell me more,’ and that tells me more translates into the action of them scrolling down the page or clicking on some links and digging deeper into your website. And as they dig deeper, that's when they're going to be interested to learn more about you.

So that homepage, that starting point when someone arrives at your site has to be about them, you have to show them very, very quickly that you understand them and the challenges they face day in and day out. Now bear in mind, someone might have found your website via Google, and therefore they would have found thousands of other websites as well. They'll be quickly scrolling in, and you've got to stop them from scrolling on to the next search option and stay with you. Then, you're going to do that by showing them that you understand them.

Let's just spend a few minutes talking about the anatomy of a great website, and it starts by getting the above the fold part right now. What I mean by above the fold, if you're not clear about that terminology is everything that they see before they scroll down. You need to be mindful about what they'll see on a mobile device as much as a desktop device. In that above the fold real estate, you have a matter of seconds to get someone's attention, so show them you understand them and build start building empathy and then also in the above the fold section, you need to offer them some value. You want to be really clear about what action you want them to take, and I'll talk more about that in a moment. 

So, the first part of the website needs to identify the challenges and pains that they have, and then you can offer them some value to start to solve that pain or challenge. Then as they scroll further down, you want some social proof. This is who you've worked with so that they want to align themselves with some of these great names that you've already worked with.

If you have some names that will be recognisable to your potential reader, then list them, put their logos on and so on. Then a bit further down the page, you're going to start to detail more about yourself and also more about the services that you offer. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, you're going to have the next action steps that you want them to take. 

Of course, you're going to have other pages, such as an about us page, the services you offer, how they can contact you and so on. But let me just kind of contradict myself a bit here. Because if you have an about us page, well, guess what it's all about you. It's not about them. So rather than having about us, I often say to people, why don't you list something like how we can help you as the reader. Again, you're making about them. Then, you're gonna have those typical pages and I'm not going to dive into them too much today. 

What I really want to focus on is how you're going to generate leads from your website. If you get that initial homepage design right, then it's gonna make your website sticky, wherein someone's going to want to learn more, read on and click on the other links as well. So those are the key kind of anatomies that you want to focus on on your home page. 

The next thing you need to think about is how you are going to drive traffic to your website because it actually doesn't matter whether you have an amazing website or a terrible website. If you're not driving traffic there. No one's going to see it anyway, so having a great website is one part of the journey. But of course, the other part is driving your ideal target customers to your website, and obviously, you want to make sure that you have optimised it for all the search terms that your ideal target customer will type into Google. You might invest in some SEO services so that you are driving that traffic, and I would highly recommend people at least have an SEO specialist look at your website to make sure it's optimised, even if you're not working with them on an ongoing basis. 

You may also choose to run some ads, will that be Facebook or Google or YouTube Ads to drive traffic to your website. You're going to use social media, so when you're posting on your social media platforms, make sure that you are driving traffic back to your website because you want people to take action. 

A really important point here that I've talked about many times is to remember that your ultimate goal with your website is to generate leads. The way you're going to generate leads is by getting people to sign up to your email list, and then you're going to nurture them through your list.

And one of the key reasons for doing this is because you own all of those names on your list. Whereas if you're just relying on social media to generate leads and drive traffic to your website, you need to remember that you don't own those social media contacts, you're renting them if you like, and they can be taken away from you at any time. 

I've told the story before about a client who had I don't know what it was. 10,000 followers on Instagram and then their account got hacked. So Instagram's policy was to shut them down and say, create a new account. Then, of course, recently Donald Trump had I think about 90 million followers on Twitter, then he had his account closed down, and he immediately lost those 90 million followers. Now, if we'd been smart enough to try and encourage them to join his mailing list, then he'd have been in control of that list. 

So social media is a fantastic platform. You want to drive traffic from all your different channels where your target audience hangs out, drive them to your website, get them to take action when they get to your website, which will mean giving you their email address so you can then continue to nurture them through your email list.

Now, another way to drive traffic back to your website is through partnerships. So it could be that you are a guest on a podcast like this. Or it could be that you writing a guest blog for someone. Or it could be that you've got some kind of agreed freebie swap with somebody. But if you have partners that are targeting the same audience as you but with a different offer, then that is your ideal partner. If that partner happens to have a much bigger audience than you, then they're even more of an ideal partner. If you can get them to put you in front of their audience by offering their audience and value, such as being a great guest on the podcast and actually teaching something of value. Then that's how you will drive traffic back to your website and when they get to your website of course because you've got the design of it right. You're going to be really clear about what next step you want them to take. 

So that's just a few ideas in a really quick nutshell to give you some thoughts around how you can drive traffic to your website. Of course, you want to be doing all of these things, and you want to be doing them on a continual basis. Everything I talk about that every solid marketing platform takes time, and you have to be committed to doing it on a regular basis. If you want to see results. As there are very few kinds of getting rich quick schemes where you just do a little bit of marketing and suddenly you want to get loads of these. It just doesn't work like that, despite what some people might try and lead you to believe. 

Now, in Episode 79 of the podcast just a few episodes ago, I talked about how to create a lead magnet to generate new subscribers to your list, then I'm not going to go into that in too much detail because you can go back and listen to that episode. But obviously one of the key ways that you are going to convert website visitors into leads and then convert those leads into prospects and clients is by having a piece of killer content a lead magnet, which I'll talk more about in a moment that you can offer your audience on your website in return for them giving you their email address, which then goes into your email automation system and you nurture them through that.

So there are four stages you want to focus on with your website, first of all, driving traffic to your website. Second of all, once they're there, build empathy with your readers so that they want to stay on your website and learn more. Then number three, you're going to offer them a piece of killer content, a lead magnet that they are going to download, and then that puts them in your email list. And the fourth stage is to nurture them through your email list so that you can convert them into a prospect and then a client.

Now, talking about understanding the conversion process for you, I have a really good talk all the time about conversion tools. I'm going to put a link in the show notes, and you can grab a copy of this, and this will basically help you analyse how long it takes a lead to come into your world. I someone who's just found about you, visited your website, downloaded something, and you nurture them to the point of them becoming a client. ‘What is that time to conversion?’ And you'll often be surprised at how long it takes.

I've done this work for myself, and it takes on average, about 12 months for someone learning about me to buying from me. It's really useful to know what that time to conversion is for you so that you can make sure that you have to nurture content to help move people along that buyer’s journey. With that, I'm going to put a link in the show notes to a time to conversion tool that you can download and do some analysis and work out what that length of time is for you so you can make sure you have a really good marketing content that will nurture people along with the sales funnel.

So let's just focus on the third point I mentioned in that four-step process, which is producing a piece of killer content. Now, if you really know your audience and you've done your work on defining your customer avatar your customer persona again, I'm going to put a link to my e-book on that. So you haven't done that. Go grab a copy of it and go and create your customer avatar, because it will be really helpful, and you will understand the pains that they suffer from the challenges they have. That piece of killer content that lead magnet you're going to create and you're going to promote it on the above the fold part of your website is going to address one of the core pain points that they have. And so you're going to create this e-book, this guide, this cheat sheet. There's top tips, this video training, whatever is something that your audience is going to digest and something that you feel comfortable creating. That's your piece of killer content. 

Now let me dispel two myths at this stage. First of all, you only need one piece of great killer content. When I created my website, I created loads and loads of pieces of killer content, ebooks and guides that you can download. In fact, if you go on my website, you'll see there are probably 20 different things that you can download, but you don't need 20 things. You need one piece of content, so that's myth number one. Like I said, if you understand your audience, then this piece of content will address one of their core pain points. 

While the second myth I want to dispel is that it doesn't have to be long. I think what puts a lot of people off is that they think it needs to be the best thing since sliced bread and needs to be 20 pages long or 40 pages long because people would judge me based on how big this thing is. Actually, the opposite is true because most of our target customers, i.e. people like you for me are time-poor, so they don't have time to read a 20-page thing, and they won't be judging how good it is based on the length they'll be judging it on the quality of it. Does it help them solve one of their core pain points? And that's the second myth. It doesn't have to be long. In fact, it could just be one page. It could be top tips on optimising your website or top 10 tips on how to implement your own SEO or top tips of what a journalist is looking for in a good press release. So doesn't have to be long. It just has to be good and address some of their killer points 

Now, kind of a bonus thing here is that you probably think I need to create something that's truly original. Yes, of course, you should definitely not played your eyes. And if you can create something that hasn't been done before, then brilliant. But the chances of the thing that you're going to create, not existing in some form or another on the Internet already is very remote. 

So your goal is to package it up in a way that your ideal target customer will find really easy to digest. Those are the two myths I just wanted to spell about your killer content, so you're going to create this piece of content. You can make it look pretty by outsourcing it to a designer or designing it yourself and then you're going to embed it on your website now. The key here is that they have to give you their email address in order to get it's like this transaction. I'm going to pay for this thing with my email address, and I'm going to tick a box that confirms I'm happy to receive emails from you in the future so that your GDP is compliant. And in return, I'm going to give you this piece of great content.

Then, that's the deal that you are making with your reader. Now, once they have given your email address, it's going to go into your email automation system. I've talked about email before Episode 55 so you can go back and listen to that so I'm not going to go into picking an email automation system. But a really key point here, really good tip is to make sure that you deliver your killer content to your lead magnet via the first email that you send the subscriber. Don't deliver it on your website. The reason for that is because if you deliver on your website, I could just put any old bad email address in. I still get access to it, whereas if you deliver it via the first email, then the reader has to give you a good email address, and you want to make it clear that in your form that they fill in that you want to ask them to give you their best email address, so you will deliver the lead magnet via an email. 

So that's a tip that's worth noting and something that I see a lot of people get wrong where they just embed the fact file of the ebook onto their website. Don't do that, deliver it via your email system. Then, once you've got them in your email, you're going to create a sequence of nurturing emails that dig into the guide a bit more or talk about some other things, and your goal is to get them to take the next step on the buyer's journey. But again, I don't want to go into that into much detail today. I've got other episodes about that because today the focus is on making your website work for you and how to generate leads from your website. That's the purpose. 

Anyway, create the content, deliver it by your email system and nurture your reader through your email system. You will start moving them from cold lead to warm lead to prospect to customer to raving fan, which is obviously your goal. If you've done your time to conversion, you know how long that journey takes typically, you'll be then thinking about well if it takes me 12 months. ‘What kind of content can I use to nurture people, keep building that no like and trust with them to the point that I'm still in their face when they're ready to buy because humans are kind of like sieves’. If we don't constantly stay in front of mind with them, they'll forget about us and they'll buy from someone else. 

This all starts with your website. I always view my website as the centre of my universe, and I want to drive traffic through all the different means that I've talked about today to my website, then when I get my reader to my website. I want to quickly build empathy with them by showing I understand them and then get them to take action. 

Now, this takes action needs to be on that top of above the folding stuff. You can't afford to have it buried somewhere deep in your website on the assumption that your reader will actually ever get to that page. Because, remember, as I said earlier, they might just be searching on Google. You might be one of the thousands of results they've come up with, they quickly visiting your website, then you have literally a few seconds to grab their attention, and it's not clear what you want them to do next. Then they will probably leave and remember that to do the next action is to get them to download your lead magnet or your killer content, and that has to evidently very quickly demonstrate that it has some value to them.

So those are my tips about making sure that your website is generating leads for you, making sure that it's not full of we, i.e. it's not just about you, but it's about your reader. Then as they dig into your website and they're thinking, tell me more. That's where you start talking about you, who you are, what you do, how long you've been around, who you've done it for sharing some testimonial sharing, some case studies and so on. But that needs to be further into your website once your reader has got some connection with you, so I hope those tips are useful.

As I said, this is a bit of an action-packed episode. I hope you've taken some notes. I hope that gives you an action plan of things that you might want to review your website or get changed. Or maybe some ideas on creating that lead magnet, that killer content for your website and also perhaps working out exactly who your ideal target customer is if you're not clear about that.

I hope that was useful as ever. Please make sure you've hit the subscribe button. I would love you to leave a review on Apple podcasts because, as you know, that helps the algorithms show me to more agency owners just like you. But other than that, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week, and I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast

How To Increase Your Prices

Why do so many agency owners struggle to increase their prices? 

Every January, I get a letter in the post from my utility companies telling me that their prices are increasing. We are used to receiving this kind of increase.  In fact, we expect it, so we don't question it and we just move on. 

What can agencies learn from this?

In this latest episode of The Agency Accelerated Podcast, I explore strategies to increase your prices in a way that you feel comfortable with and the client is more than happy to pay for (because they continue to see the value in what you're delivering). This applies to both existing clients and new clients. 

I explore the different pricing models agencies use as well as some tips and strategies to ensure your clients value what you do.

Finally I discuss why mindset is the key to increasing your prices and charging a fair fee for the work you deliver.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:13] 

Why should agencies increase their price every year? 

[2:02] 

The importance of having the right mindset in pricing  

[2:34] 

Different pricing models

[3:08] 

Reasons why you shouldn’t sell your time to clients

[4:06] 

Understanding transformation of pricing from being in pain to not being in pain

[5:13] 

An overview of value-based pricing 

[5:43] 

Difference between value-based and time-based pricing

[6:55] 

Tips in positioning yourself with clients 

[8:06] 

The importance of having a niche

Quotations

“You need to focus on the thing that the client really cares about - which is the outcome and the transformation from being in pain to not being in pain.” - Rob Da Costa

“..you all know that a niched agency is always gonna be able to charge more than a generalist. So having a clear niche will also help you increase your prices because you will be seen as a specialist, not a generalist.” - Rob Da Costa

“50% of getting your pricing right is getting your mindset right.” - Rob Da Costa

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

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Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

 Full Episode Transcription

Every January, I get a letter in the post from my utility companies telling me that their prices are increasing that year and the price increases almost always above inflation rates. Now we are really used to receiving this kind of correspondence, and we just assume that it's the norm. So we don't question it and we just move on. 

So why do we struggle so much in our agency to do the same thing? That's what I want to talk about in this episode of The Agency Accelerated Podcast and explore ways to increase your prices in a way that you feel comfortable with and the client is more than happy to pay the price because they really see the value in what you're delivering.

Now, this applies to both existing clients and new clients. So if you struggled with increasing your prices or indeed you have increased your prices for a number of years, then this episode is one that you won't want to miss.  So grab a pen and paper and let's get going. 

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob Da Costa.

So based on my introduction, you'll understand that. I believe all agencies should be increasing their prices on an annual basis. This is something that they need to sow the seed with new clients, that they understand how it works and then have the courage to implement this with existing clients as well. 

Why? Well, firstly, your costs are constantly going up, and secondly, you'll also be investing in people, systems and software to continually improve the service that you provide your clients. So, just like utility companies, you should be implementing a price increase every year. Now I can feel some of your heckles raising as I say this, and it's worth stating that yes, you can increase your prices to half. The battle of getting your pricing right is having the right mindset. So for some of us, that means changing our mindset and focusing on the value that we deliver to our clients and really believing that we do a great job rather than believing the stories that we tell ourselves, such as ‘The climb will never agree to this,’ or ‘if I increase my prices, they’ll probably fire us.’

This just isn't true, and you need to recognise that these are stories that you're just telling yourself and they're not facts. You know, ask yourself what evidence do I have to support this belief? Usually, you'll find you don't have any. 

If you're constantly promoting the value of what you deliver to your clients, that they won't have any kind of issue with the price increase now, talking of value, it's worth reminding ourselves of some of the pricing models that agencies currently use. And to be honest, this stat really drives me crazy. According to a recent benchmark report, 60% of agencies still are pricing on time and materials. If you listen to this podcast before or you read any of my content, you'll know that I am not a fan of this approach, and it really makes it way harder to increase your prices. So let's just take a moment to dig into that. 

The issue about selling time to clients, i.e. hours or daily rates is that a client isn't really buying your time and you’re encouraging them to focus on the wrong thing, i.e your hourly or daily rate, rather than the thing that they're buying, which is the outcome of what you do for them now. The problem about selling hourly or daily rate is it really commoditise is your service and encourages your client to compare one hourly rate, for example, to another. So there might be two agencies pitching for this piece of work. It wants you and one other, and the other agencies charging £20 an hour less than you. But of course, the reality is that the quality of their work is nowhere near as good as yours.

Now the client is comparing your hourly rate against the cheaper hourly rates. So they either go with a cheaper rate or they ask you for a discount before you've even started. And this is a fundamental reason why selling time is the wrong thing. Clients are buying a transformation now that transformation is from being in pain to not being in pain. So, for example, if you go to the dentist and you've got a toothache, then you were literally in pain and you want them to get rid of your pain and you don't care how long it takes. In fact, you want them to do as quickly as possible because you're not buying their time. You're buying the value of getting the outcome, which is not being in pain. 

But if you're buying a bottle of water, then the transformation you are buying is from being thirsty to not being thirsty or being dehydrated to being hydrated. So if you are pricing against the transformation, then it becomes much harder for the client to ask you for a discount, and you've certainly no longer look commoditised. You're focusing on the thing that the client really cares about, which is the outcome and the transformation from being in pain to not being in pain.

So, what you need to do is really dig into this in your prospecting conversations or with an existing client when you're setting the next cycle of objectives, you need to dig into understanding what that transformation is and understanding how much it's worth that clients not being in pain anymore. That's kind of a quick overview of value pricing, and I believe everybody should be using that. I think a lot of people don't use it because they get confused. In fact, the benchmark report states that only 23% of agencies are taking this approach and using a value-based pricing approach.

So obviously this episode isn't just about value-based pricing, but I wanted to give you the context of value-based pricing versus time-based pricing and also explain why it's much harder to increase your prices when you are selling time. Because if you say to a client we want to increase our hourly rate from X to Y or a day rate from A to B. Then immediately the client's gonna start comparing you to other people and asking you not to do that because someone else is charging a cheaper rate. But as I say, they're not comparing the right thing when you do that. So that's why you shouldn't take that approach, and it makes it much harder to increase your prices. 

So the first summary from this part of the conversation is you can increase your prices by taking a value-based pricing approach, and when you are talking to your prospects and you're writing proposals focused on the outcome you're delivering for the client and therefore charge the higher fee. Now, of course, internally, you're still going to want to work on ours because you need to make sure that your team is profitable, that people are not over-servicing clients and so on. The only way you can really do that is by doing time recording. But that's a whole different conversation compared to what you're selling the client.

Now, another way to think about this and ensure that you're getting your pricing right is to consider the things that the client is buying from you. Fundamentally, they're buying three things. They're buying your technical skill to deliver your product or service. So if your web developer, then it's your skill to develop the website or graphic designer or your copyrighting skills or your SEO, PPC skills, that is kind of a given and that's kind of commoditised because that's what everybody in your market will be doing. But you are also selling, and the client is also buying your strategic advice and your years of experience to make that transformation is pain-free and as fast as possible. And in my experience, too many agencies undervalue those second two points that your strategic advice and your creativity and years of experience to fish effectively get rid of the client's pain. So when you're talking to clients and you're quoting, make sure that you focus on those second two areas, and not just the commodities kind of delivery of your service, because that's where the value is to the client.

That's what starts to make you look different and more importantly, in the context of this conversation, that's what enables you to increase your prices. And, of course, you all know that a niche agency is always gonna be able to charge more than a generalist. So having a clear niche will also help you increase your prices in the market because you will be seen as a specialist, not a generalist. If you needed knee surgery, you would go to a knee surgeon specialist. You wouldn't go to your GP. And if you had to pay, guess which of those two would be charging more.

So a niche agency is always going to be able to charge more than a generalist. So that's some tips and ideas on how to position what you do with your clients in a way that they will really value it. So when you're talking to a new customer, you can get your pricing right from the start. And, of course, when they are signing a contract, you want to make sure in that contract that you state that you will be reviewing you're pricing with clients every single year. 

Now I totally appreciate that. That's the easier way to get your pricing right. And the harder way is, well, if I'm underpricing with current clients or if I'm pricing on time and I can see now that I'm undervaluing what I do, how do I go about changing it? And I appreciate that's the much harder thing to do. So, first of all, I do think you need to get into the rhythm of increasing your prices every year. I think when you write to your clients while you discuss it with them, you need to focus on the value that you're giving to them, which is why you're increasing your prices rather than leaving it to them. To think that you're increasing your prices because you've got fancy new offices or you want to pay yourself more money, which, of course, we all know it's not true. 

In the show notes, I am going to give you a link to grab a free download of a price increase letter. So if you want a template you can use, then head over to the show notes. Click on the link and grab a copy of the free price Increase letter. 

Now with existing clients, you want to do it in more stealth-like ways. All that means is just changing the tone of your conversations to start focusing on the value and the outcomes more. And then when you are pricing up new projects or you are pricing up additional work on top of your retainer, then you can start pricing based on value and having that conversation with your clients, where you're asking them about the outcomes and understanding the wider impact that the work you're doing for the client will have on their business and price based on this. 

As I said earlier if you're sitting here thinking, well, Rob, that just won't work for me, then I really want to challenge you and to challenge you to start changing your mindset because you don't know that is the case. Then, if a client is really arguing with you about a minor price increase, then, first of all, you've got to ask yourself, ‘Are they the right client?’ and second of all, you need to be asking yourself, “Have I got the way we position? What we do wrong?’ And, ‘Is the client perceiving my product or service in a very commoditised way, rather than seeing it as a strategic part of their marketing that will really help their business move forward?’ If it's the latter, it becomes much easier to increase your prices.

So you really want to challenge your mindset around this because, as I said, 50% of getting your pricing right is getting your mindset right. 

Okay, so that's what I wanted to talk about in this episode of the podcast, short and sweet. It's a big topic, and I actually have a webinar that I run on this. So do look out on my homepage when I'll be running that webinar again and we dig into the whole pricing models and the way to understand what your clients buying and then strategies on increasing your pricing, getting your pricing right and some techniques that you can use that will make this much easier.

But I hope that the outcome of today's podcast is to get you thinking a little bit differently about your pricing to challenge you if you haven't increased your prices for a long time, and to start changing the conversation with your clients to focus on outcomes and impact rather than the time that you spend providing your product or service. 

As I said, if you jump into the show notes, there is a link to a free download of a price increase letter that so please grab that and use that as a template for contacting your clients. But that hope you found it useful. Please hit the subscribe button. Share this with your colleagues and please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts because it helps me reach a wider audience. But other than that, have a brilliant weekend and I'll be back with you next Thursday with our next guest episode.

Using A Lead Magnet To Get New Subscribers To Your Mailing List

Any of you who listen to my podcast regularly will know that when I have a guest, I ask them what advice they would give their younger selves just starting out in business if they could go back in time. 

Now some of you have asked me, “well Rob what would you say to your younger self?” So, the piece of advice I would give my younger self is to start building my email list as soon as I started my business. If I had figured that out earlier, I would have a much bigger list now. And more importantly, I would have a much bigger pool of ideal target customers to nurture and ‘fish’ from. 

So in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator podcast, I want to revisit one of my favourite topics because it's one of the most valuable things you can do in your agency and talk about the importance of building your mailing list, and more specifically, how to get new subscribers to join your list. 

Now I've spoken about the importance of building your list before (in episodes 5 and 30), but today I want to dig in to specifically discuss how you can get more subscribers.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[0:14] 

What advice would I give my younger self if I could go back in time?

[2:43] 

The importance of building a mailing list

[3:40] 

What is the best structure for an email?

[4:04] 

How to win new clients

[4:55] 

Understanding the value of a ‘lead magnet’

[8:00] 

What is the best place to get people to start engaging with your lead magnet?

[8:56] 

An overview of how a sales page works

[10:34] 

The components of an email automation system

[14:39] 

How to set up a sequence of emails in an email automation system?

Quotations

“Every business will have two or three marketing activities that work well for them and deliver good results.” - Rob Da Costa

“..the bigger the list, the more value you will get from it. And communicating regularly with your list means that you're keeping your list clean and you are keeping them connected with your agency.” - Rob Da Costa

“Remember, your goal with these emails is to nurture them through the sales funnel so that you can identify your five-star prospects (your hot prospects) and start having a more personalised engagement with them.” - Rob Da Costa

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

“I enjoy listening to The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I always learn something from every episode.” If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you — move towards a Self-Running Agency.

Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

 Full Episode Transcription

Any of you who listen to my podcast regularly will know that when I have a guest on, at the end of the episode, I asked them what advice they would give their younger selves just starting out in business if they could go back in time. Now some of you have asked me, well Rob what would you say to your younger self? So, the piece of advice I would give is to start building my email list as soon as I started my business. I know that's a sort of really practical piece of advice, but if I figured this out earlier, I would have a much bigger list now. And more importantly, I would have a much bigger pool of ideal target customers to fishing. 

So in today's podcast, I want to revisit one of my favourite topics because it's one of the most valuable things you can do in your agency and talk about the importance of building your mailing list, and more specifically, how to get new subscribers to join your list. Now I've spoken about the importance of building your list before in episodes 5 and 30, but today I want to dig in to talk about how you can get more subscribers.

Now hopefully, many of you will buy into the concept of building a mailing list. You'll also know that it's not really worthwhile buying in a list or building a cold list by people that don't know you and have given permission to be emailed by you. So you need to get people to opt in to join your list so that they are a warm, receptive audience. But how do you go about doing that every day so that you're getting more subscribers? Well, that's the topic of today's podcast.

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach Rob Da Costa. This episode of the podcast is sponsored by my own programme, The Agency Selling System. The programme provides you with a resource library of video trainings, tools, and templates for everything to do with new business from your positioning, your marketing strategy, including everything you need to know about building your email lists and creating engaging nurturing sequences to convert your subscribers into loyal customers. Everything to do with selling and client retention and growth, just to name a few of the topics. You can see more about the programme by checking out the link in the show notes and as a thank you to my listeners for following me on the podcast. If you use Podcast10, that's podcast number 10 at checkout. Then you're going to get a 10% discount off the programme.  Okay on with the episode and this particular episode is action-packed, so it's well worth you sitting down and grabbing a pen and paper so you can take some notes. 

Every business will have two or three marketing activities that work well for them and deliver good results.

And these were based on the type of content their audience likes to digest, and also on the things that you're good at doing, whether that be making videos or recording a podcast like this or writing detailed blogs. But one of the things that are non-negotiable that every business should be doing and underpins so much of your other marketing activities is building your mailing list. Consider that every warm lead that you add to your list is worth £10 a month in revenue, Then hopefully you would be motivated to want to add more contacts to that list, and secondly, you would want to communicate with them frequently so that you can convert those contacts into revenue. Now, of course, you want to make sure that you're adding value when you send emails and you're not spamming your audience. And you also want to make sure that you are getting the structure and the content of your emails right, so that you're focusing 80% of the time on value and 20% of the time on selling. But that structures a topic for another podcast. Basically, the bigger the list, the more value will get from it. And communicating regularly with your list means that you're keeping your list clean and you are keeping them connected with your agency.

Now, if you want to win new clients, not only do you need to demonstrate that you're good at delivering your service, whether that be web design or writing or SEO strategies, but you also need to be showing up as the expert and the trusted advisor, and your email marketing strategy is a great way of doing that consistently by showing up in your prospects inbox and providing them with small bite-size pieces of value whilst demonstrating your expertise. Remember that we have to take our prospects through that no like and trust funnel and email marketing is a great way of building all three of those stages. 

But another way of providing even more value and positioning yourself as that trusted advisor and expert is by offering a more detailed lead magnet. So you may well have heard of this term before, but let's just take a step back. For those who haven't and explain exactly what a lead magnet is. As the name implies, a lead magnet is something of value that is going to attract your ideal target customer to part with their email address in return for receiving this lead magnet. Now it needs to be something that genuinely provides value so that it demonstrates your credibility and understanding of your client’s challenges. So what could a lead magnet be? Well, it could be a number of things from a detailed 10-page guide to a one-page template or top 10 tips. It could be a video lesson, or it could even be something like a quiz that provides some insights for the reader once they have answered the questions, and, of course, they received those results fire an email once they've submitted their email address. It just needs to genuinely impart some value to your reader. It's going to focus on the ‘why’ and the ‘what.’ And of course, when the client works with you, you're going to be delivering the ‘how.’ 

Now one of the questions that people often ask me when I'm talking about this with my private clients are my group coaching programme is, they say. But, Rob, I'm worried about giving so much information away that they won't actually want to work with me. But the reality is that clients come to you because they are time-poor and they don't have the time or the resources or the skills in house to solve the problem. And so they just want you to take the problem off their hands. So let's remove that as one of the reasons why you don't want to produce a detailed guide or you fear giving too much value away. Remember, people are time-poor. They've got time to go and figure this out for themselves, and they want you to solve the problem for them. So the lead magnet is just going to be providing them with some value and showing them via this value that you are the right person on the right agency to help them.

Now one mistake that I've made in the past is producing so many pieces of content for my lead magnet, and thinking that I need to have lots of these mitt lead magnets, and that's the right way to generate more email sign-ups. But the reality is that you only need one or two pieces of really great killer content to act as your lead magnet to start getting regular subscribers to your email list. So let's dispel another myth, which is I need lots of these lead magnets. No, you don't just start with one. And again, if I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice, I'd say, Rob, you don't need to have 20 or 30 lead magnets on your website. Start with one. Make it the best piece of content that you can promote the hell out of that, and then over time, you can add more to it. But just start off with one and market it really well. Oh, and by the way, let's dispel. Another myth here is that you don't need to spend thousands of pounds getting it beautifully designed pdf. Obviously, if you're a design agency, it needs to look like and you might have those design capabilities in house. But if not just used canvas and create a nice template so that it's easily readable. Remember, people are judging you based on the quality of the content. They're not judging you on the design. 

Okay, so now you've got this one piece of killer content for your lead magnet, and you've created a nice PDF or you've shot a video. Well, you've written the quiz. Where do you promote it? And how do you get people to start engaging with your lead magnet so that they can access it in return for their email address? Well, the best place is going to be your website, and what you want to do is create a specific sales page or landing page on your website so that when they arrive, they're seeing some really engaging and enticing content. It's almost like an ad if you like, to encourage them to download the lead magnet. Now, this sales page needs to lead with your client’s pain and then show them how your lead magnet will help them start transitioning away from being in pain to not being in pain and how to do that as quickly as possible.

Now I'm going to do a future episode on the anatomy of a great sales page. But a quick overview of a sales page needs to start with a really engaging headline, which typically looks like how to achieve a desire without getting stuck on an obstacle. So a recent headline for one of my cells pages using this formula was: “How to increase your profits without fear of losing clients?” So take that approach to your headline and then promote the freebie. The killer content is the lead magnet.

Now you're also going to want to include some testimonials or which could be written. Or there could be a video of people that have used your freebie and get value from it. So that's something to bear in mind to get some feedback from people, and a really important point is that you want to make it really easy for your reader to access your freebie. So make sure that right at the top of the sales page, almost below that headline and what we call above the fold, you've either a form that they fill in, which might just be their first name and their email address or a button to click on, which will open up a pop-up form. And you want to make sure that that's not buried somewhere at the bottom of the page. In fact, you're probably gonna want to include this but formal button at least twice on the page, once at the top and once at the bottom. And if you're using a long-form sales page and you're probably going to have it in the middle as well. So don't be afraid of putting that several times and making it really easy for your reader to access it. So, as I said in a future episode, I'll go through the anatomy of an ideal sales page. But that just gives you a kind of quick snapshot and have a look around my website to see some examples of sales pages. In fact, I'll put some links into the show notes. 

Okay, so you've written your piece of killer content. You've created this amazing, engaging sales page. Now we need to link it all together using the right tech. Now, sometimes this can feel really overwhelming, and actually, it's a barrier for some people to start building their email list. But at the end of the day, it's pretty simple. So let me outline the tech, and the process is you need to connect all of these pieces together. So basically you need three things. A website to host yourselves a page, an email automation system to send out the killer content and then subsequent follow-up emails and a form that people fill in to request the piece of killer content in the first place. So let's break these down, and we're going to start off with the email automation system. So you want to start using something like convert it or Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. And I've personally used all three of these over the years. But now I host all my emails in Cartwright, which is an all in one system, and my websites are also hosted there. My email automation system, my forms, my videos and so on. But I would start simply by using one of the systems that are just off for email automation, and I'll list all of these in the show notes. Now, of course, you can also need a website, and I hope that with the website that you have you can easily create new pages yourself, rather than having to go back to your web development agency every time you need a new page. And certainly, if you use a platform like WordPress and a design system that sits on top of it like Thrive Architect, it will be very easy for you to create a new page. In fact, tools like Thrive Architect and Kartra that I use give you lots of pre-designed templates for sales pages, which are a great starting point. 

So now you've designed ourselves page. You need to connect the form to the email automation system, and you'll be able to do this in one of two ways. You either create the form in your web development platforms such as Thrive Architect, and then you link it through to your email automation system, or you create the form in your email automation system and embed it on your website. Now I know that might sound complicated, but trust me, it's not. It will take you 10 or 15 minutes now, of course, to ensure that you are GDPR compliant. You'll also want to make sure that you have a tick box confirming that the reader allows you to send them further emails. And your email automation system will make this very straightforward to add that in. In fact, usually, it's just part of your settings to say you include GDPR compliance approval. I hope that doesn't sound too complicated because it is really very simple. 

So the final piece of the jigsaw is the emails that you're going to send once they've given you their email address and requested to receive your lead magnet. And the nurturing sequence of emails that you send after they've downloaded the lead magnet is really important so that you can start to move them through the sales funnel and build that know-like and trust journey with your ultimate goal, being a meeting to discuss a potential project that you could help them with.

Now, one piece of really important advice here is that make sure you deliver your lead magnet via email. Don't just redirect someone to another page on your website where that PDF appears because that will encourage people to give you bogus email addresses. Whereas if they know that you will send the lead magnet via an email, then they have to give you their correct email address, so that's a really important tip. Also, by doing this, you force or highly encourage people to tick that GDP our compliance box. So word it carefully, such as in order for me to send you the guide you have requested. Please confirm you’re happy to receive further emails from me and tick the GDPR compliance box. Now the sequence of emails you send once they've requested your lead magnet deserves a podcast episode in itself. But I put together a lead magnet of my own, which is a welcoming sequence of emails that you would send to somebody once they've subscribed to your list. So if you want to grab a copy of that lead magnet, I'll put a link in the show notes.

The first email you're going to send immediately upon them completing the form is going to be the email that delivers your lead magnet or your killer content. And you can store that, for example, on Google Drive and then put a link to that in that email. Or you can send it as an attachment and that both of those approaches have pros and cons, and this will largely be dependent on the email automation system you use in terms of which allows you to do what? As I said, both have got their pros and cons. But again, just a reminder. Don't deliver your killer content directly on your website unless you want to receive loads of bogus email addresses. 

Okay, so you then want to send them further emails over the next week or so, which digs into certain aspects of the lead magnet that they have downloaded in more detail. So, for example, in my case, if you download my self-running agency book over the next five days, you're going to receive a series of emails that include videos of me diving into certain aspects of the book in more detail. Now, this is a really good idea because some people like to read and some people like to watch videos and so on so I'm covering all the different variations of different readers. Then the follow-up emails will become less frequent over time. But you probably want to end up with a sequence of about 10 to 15 emails sent over the next 30 to 60 days. Remember, your goal with these emails is to nurture them through the sales funnel so that you can identify your five-star prospects who you're hot prospects and start having a more personalised engagement with them to discuss a potential project. You shouldn't fear sending that many emails over that period of time, because remember what we said at the beginning. Your subscribers are worth £10 a month, and you need to identify those hot prospects that you can start engaging with. And if they have requested to receive your lead magnet, and in the emails you send, you continue to delve into that particular topic. Then they're going to be receptive to them, and your open rates should be high. Okay, so I feel like we've covered a lot in this episode, and as I said at the beginning, I hope you grabbed a pen and paper and took some notes.

I hope that it makes sense, and most importantly, I hope it inspires you to start building your email list if you haven't done so already. Now don't forget I've put the links to the email automation systems in the show notes. I've also put a link to my lead magnet, which is a welcome sequence of emails. You can grab that for free, and you can just see how all of that works. But other than that, go forward and create your email list. I hope you found this useful. Please hit the subscribe button. As you know, please leave a review if you enjoyed it, because that really helps me reach more people. But other than that, I will see you next week for our next guest interview on The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

SEO & Backlink Strategies With Richard Kennedy

Does your agency have a robust SEO and backlink strategy in place? 

If not you should, and in this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I am joined by one of my clients and one of The Self-Running Agency Group members, Richard Kennedy, who explains why SEO and a backlink strategy is a must.

Richard runs an e-commerce SEO agency, Arken Marketing.  Arken helps SME e-commerce businesses grow and compete against the big players in the market, by utilising effective SEO.

Richard shares how he started Arken Marketing and how he helps SME e-commerce businesses grow and compete using SEO and backlink strategies

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:11] 

Backstory in building an SEO agency and Richard’s future aspirations for Arken Marketing

[4:24] 

How to figure out your niche when starting up an agency

[6:36] 

Tips in niching down your business

[9:17] 

Defining SEO in a broader context

[10:37] 

What are the advantages of using SEO over PPC?

[11:56] 

The importance of being ranked organically

[12:24] 

Why SEO is an effective strategy for your business

[13:05] 

Benefits of link building for your website

[14:14] 

Understanding link building, domain authority rankings and backlinks

[17:21] 

How to implement link building strategies

[19:11] 

How to distinguish a good backlink from a bad backlink

[22:21] 

What is the deciding factor if a link is worth pursuing or not?

[22:50] 

Tips in creating SEO strategies for your business

[24:11] 

What is the ‘dream 100’  system?

[26:19] 

How to build good quality and trustworthy website

[29:26] 

Why ‘focus’ is important for your business’ SEO strategy

Quotations

“I don't want to be too big, but I've always wanted it to fuel my other projects.” - Richard Kennedy

“...not every business defines its success by how big it is or how fast it grows.” - Rob DaCosta

“We only work with people that we want to work with and they want to work with us and it's made it a whole lot easier in the long run in the short term.” - Richard Kennedy

“..the website needs to be trustworthy… approachable... Having good content makes everything so much easier.” - Richard Kennedy

“..you just can't replicate success through copying.” - Richard Kennedy

“..building your dream 100 list is actually one of the systems that we teach in The Self-running Agency Group.” - Rob DaCosta

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Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

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Useful links mentioned in this episode:

 Full Episode Transcription

To rank on Google, you need a few things, you need a technically sound website, you need to match with the intent. So if someone's looking for SEO services, you have to have SEO services and you have to have authority and authority, you get mostly from links. So links count as votes and votes aren't all equal.

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value-added interviews with your host, agency owner and coach, Rob Da Costa.

So, welcome everybody to today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I am excited to be joined by one of my clients and one of The Self-running Agency Group members, Richard Kennedy. Richard runs an e-commerce SEO agency, Arken Marketing. Arken helps SME e-commerce businesses grow and compete using SEO and backlink strategies.

Welcome, Richard! Is there anything else you wanted to add to my introduction and talk a little bit more about who you are, what you do?

No, well thanks for having me and you kind of got it, got it in one really help small to medium-sized e-commerce businesses. Try and compete with the big boys in their market. Fantastic. How long have you been running Arken? Five or six years now. I actually remember when I started, but it kind of started off as a freelancer and then it just kind of happened naturally that I could bring it into the agency brand rather than just being a freelancer. So, it just kind of happened naturally. I think that will be a very common story to many listeners and indeed that was the same as my journey that I started out freelancing on my own, and then got the opportunity to grow my agency and had to make that choice from being a freelancer to actually growing a business. What are your aspirations for Arken? So, I don't want to be a too large agency, a very small agency at the moment, but I don't want to be too big, but I've always wanted it to kind of fuel my other projects. I have an interest in plenty of other things. I'll kind of use this as a way to explore my other passions, but that's kind of how I hope it goes or envisioned it going. But no, I don't have aspirations to be a huge SEO agency. I see some of them, especially on LinkedIn and it just seems like an absolute nightmare to manage to me and it's not something I have personal aspirations to be, to be honest with you.

Well, if you have a clear plan and this is the stuff that we talked about in the program if you have a clear plan and so you know where you're headed, then you can kind of create controlled growth, whatever that means. And of course, not every business defines its success by how big it is or how fast it grows. So I think it's really interesting that you say you want Arken to be a vehicle to enable you to explore your other passions because getting that balance as an entrepreneur right in your time can often be a challenge and we can all get very consumed by our business and that becomes our life rather than you know it's supporting our life. I mean when I say the pattern, I don't mean like not going to be a professional golfer which is the only hobby I have outside of work, but I just feel like there's a lot of opportunity with the skill set of SEO and done marketing to explore for avenues and I don't think people should necessarily pigeonhole themselves in it for forever in that sense.

No, sure. I mean I'm a good example of that, this is career number three for me. So I started out as a bad programmer at IBM, and found my way into marketing, became a career to really become marketing manager for a software company, then started my agency around that for 11 years before selling up and then re-training to become a coach's what I do now. So I've actually had four pretty different careers, so absolutely. And just a little bit of a side track before we jump into talking more about SEO and backlink strategies and all that stuff. Arken has a very clear position in a very clear nation that provides SEO services to SME e-commerce businesses. And listeners to this podcast will know that I am a big fan and a big advocate of agencies getting a clear niche. So, I'm just interested to understand how you chose that nation, and what you see some of the benefits of working in that particular area are.

Yeah. So like I imagine most not almost all the agencies they start and they service everybody anyone who wants SEO. Their service to them we noticed a clear pattern of who we can help best and who we can track the results best on. So it's like we still do have clients that are within that certain market. But it's like I had a call the other day with a B2B client that they only need a couple of costs or conversions a year to make it absolutely worth it. And as great as that is, it's not something that we can track that well. So when we know it was big e-commerce, when we do good work we can see the results quickly. So it's nice for this, most of us to see the benefit we're having. It's easier for us to track it's something we enjoy working on. It just made it a lot easier niching down. We still do have clients outside of that, but it does make it easier and we can hone our skills better if we are dedicated to e-commerce. It's been really good for us.

Yeah. Absolutely. And a good point you make there is that just because you are niched into a certain sector doesn't preclude you from taking on clients outside of that nation. That's something I always tell everybody. And that's true for me. I have a couple of clients that are not agencies, like having architects that it's not an agency or so you just take those clients on a case-by-case basis. But you market yourself as being in that niche. What advice would you give to an agency and SEO agency that is scared of a niche because they think they might lose business opportunities if they don't niche down.

So I think it is very good for numerous reasons. But by how I think you should do it before I get onto the benefits is don't go into it in niching before you've actually worked with. What you think is your ideal client because it may not be what you think it is. So we were quite lucky that we had a range of clients and we kind of naturally fell into the saw clients that we will be like working with the one that we can get the best results. So I wouldn't just decide before you've actually worked with them. I know that it can be quite difficult to understand, but difficult to get these clients if you're not in a niche. But it's something I was scared of at first and I'm not scared of. But since we've done it, we've been able to hone our services to our select clients. Not only can we give them better results, but we can also charge more and more of them who are ideal clients. There's no or there's a lot less stress involved with dealing with clients that we kind of don't really want to work with. We only work with people that we want to work with and they want to work with us and it's made it a whole lot easier in the long run in the short term.

And that's a really good piece of advice actually, that I should use more with people, which is to get clients in your target niche. First of all, to prove that you can win them, to be proved that you can do a great job for them and to show that you actually enjoy working with them, because that may well impact your niche, where your niche is. Yeah. Yes, exactly. Right. I just think it's important to know you like working with them before you commit to, you know, all your branding or being. For example, dedicated to e-commerce and then once you've got any commas to climb, you really don't enjoy it. It kind of seems a bit backwards, but it's definitely been a positive move for us. And of course, there are some sectors that will get the services that you offer more than other sectors, so that's a part to play in it. Like if you were, I don't know how good an example of this is, but if you were trying to sell SEO services to say manufacturing businesses, you might find that harder because they don't really get it. I mean I might be completely wrong here of course, but they don't really get SEO and they don't really understand the value of it.

Yeah, there's not many established e-commerce businesses that don't know what SEO is and the value that can bring doesn't necessarily mean they're implementing it. But they do understand the value of it. They do understand you know what it is for a start there not, you know, it's not smoke and mirrors to them, they are aware of it. And of course, they're going to be very dependent on it too, to generate revenue for their business.

So let's move on to talk about SEO. Which is kind of the topic of today's conversation. Can you just start out by giving us and the listeners a broad definition of what SEO means? So search engine optimisation is optimising for search engines, most commonly everyone refers to Google, but that doesn't necessarily mean just Google. So you got Amazon from an e-commerce standpoint, you've got YouTube, you've got Bing, it's all different search engines and you can do stuff like if your content creator you can optimise for like gum road and stuff like that. So it's basically optimising to get your listing higher in a specific search engine. I try and describe it like I help people find what they're already looking for because they're not going on a search engine looking for trees and then they come up with, you know, I'm not trying to get in front of those services, they're already looking for the business, which is why it probably converts a lot higher than anything else because you know, you don't go on Twitter to look for us. You said, well you can do it, but if they're using Google, they're already looking for your business. So, that's kind of a broad definition of SEO.

And if there was you sitting in one corner talking about SEO and then someone else who was a big fan of PPC like paid advertising, what would you say the advantages of using SEO? Excuse me, it's not paid traffic, right? It's traffic, that's the right term. So what advantage would you have using SEO versus PPC or should I use both? Well, I think you should use both. I think any successful business won't just rely on one source, but the biggest difference or the biggest selling point is organic traffic is if you turn off your ads, you know your traffic doesn't go off overnight. It's something that you've earned. It's something that you have for a while as long as you've done it properly. So it's not something that you know costs X and you get Y from it. It's yeah you earn it and it stays with you for a while if you do it properly.

So that's an important distinction to make. I just want to emphasise, you're basically saying if you pay for advertising, the minute you turn those ads off your traffic is going to disappear because you don't have that source anymore. Whereas if you put a good SEO strategy in place, it's going to last for a while and it's going to keep working beyond the time of initially putting that strategy in place. Exactly. There's an inherent trust as well, like when you Google for a business or a service that if they're ranked organically there's an inherent trust you get that the number one. So you kind of know that you just assume that the best but there is a trust factor involved with ranking organically as opposed to being a paid ad up there.

So have you got any other thoughts on your sort of answer anyway? But why is SEO such an effective strategy? Like if I'm a small agency and I'm putting my marketing in place, why should I put SEO as one of the top strategies that I invest in? Well, it's just to remember that with SEO you're targeting people that are already looking for you. It's not you're not forcing something on them that they're not interested in. There. already interesting your services to some degree where they are in the funnel, depends on what sort of contact you build this, they're already looking for you. You just got to be in front of them at the right time, because they're already looking for you.

Okay, let's talk a bit about link building and then I'll come back to using it broadly. Now, I've seen the benefits myself of doing link building, but can you just explain a bit about what link building is and why people should be doing it? I'll give you a quick kind of explanation. So to rank on Google, you need a few things, you need a technically sound website, you need to match with the intent. So if someone's looking for SEO services, you have to have SEO services and you have to have authority and authority, you get mostly from links. So links count as votes and votes aren't all equal. So, the benefit with link building is well, without link building it is very, very difficult to compete in the competitive markets. It's normally the difference-maker. So it's important for certain markets. It's not vital for all markets, but anything competitive, a difference-maker is more often than not link building. So if you want to overtake a big player, it's usually a lack of links. Not always, but it's usually a lack of links.

So let's just take that, that's a good explanation. But let's just take a step back for anybody that's listening to this and going, that's fine. But I don't understand what link building is. All right then, the link is essentially when you go on a website and you have the blue hypertext and you link from one site to another. That's a link you can have. So there's a difference between referring domains and backlinks. The backlink is the individual link. So if your website, if you link to my website 10 times throughout your website, that's one referring domain and 10 links, that's what the differences are. And there are various different types of links. You can have image links, you can have no-follow. You can have the following links, you can have redirects and I won't explain all of those because I will be here forever. But some links are worth more than others, which is mostly what people can't when they're talking about. You know, I need X links. It's not mostly a follow links sign.

And how does this all come into play with domain authority rankings and what the hell does that mean as well? So the main authority domain rating, trust, flow and citation, I think citation player from majestic, are all numbers that tours give you, so they don't mean anything. The problem with relying on those as well as they can be easily manipulated. It used to be a paid rank. All these numbers don't really mean anything, to be honest with you. They used to report on domain rating, but it doesn't, it's as if I had to explain the overall power of the domain in five seconds, that's what I would use. But it's just a real kind of vague look at how powerful a website is. It doesn't mean a lot on its own. You know, you gotta look at the links that they're getting. This domain rating is from traffic relevance. It's not just so I wouldn't just rely on those metrics but it is kind of a good quick indication as to the value of a link. But there's a lot more to it than just domain authority or domain rating. So, that's useful for me to know because I've always looked at my domain authority or rating and think it's always too low and look at my competitors and it's a lot higher. So I've been striving to improve that. But as you say, that's only one way of ranking how your website is performing. Google doesn't rank websites based on their domain authority or domain rating. It's a good indicator but it's something that could be an easy meal. It is. You can just go on fibre and type in domain authority and there are so many gigs that you can artificially boost that provide absolutely no benefit other than associate your website with their potentially bad neighbourhood.

So it talks us through some strategies for link building, like if I was doing myself, what would I be doing, what would I be trying to achieve? So there's, I mean there are hundreds of different strategies that you can implement. We try to focus on a few core ones depending on the client, you've got images. If you've got great imagery, that's a fantastic way to get links. You can get the top websites the world isn't going out and create their own images for that of course. They will source them from third parties, which is a great way you've got guest posting, although it's typically got our worst name now because it's people associated with the spam techniques. I'm sure you get it as well, you know, offering you a guest post, you've got digital PR which is something we're doing more and more lately. You've got the thing that we love, what I love to do the most is build assets that build links. So think of it like it could be useful like it could be a calculator, it could be a, you know, a link tool, it could be anything that's useful to your industry that has a search volume. Statistics pages are great because you can build it, you can promote it and then it will naturally build your links over time. That's what we focus on. But the easiest way to get into it would probably be the guest posting group by essentially putting your content on other people's sites. But it has to be good and don't fall into the trap of buying the links that people will email you and the massive excel sheets because they are 99% absolute junk and you don't want anything to do with that. That's kind of the easy way into it. And I guess there's a danger there that the whole point of link building is that you want a high performing, high ranking website to refer people to your website or use your images or usual tool as you said. And if you've got lots of backlinks coming into your website, but the actual quality of the websites they're coming from is not very good. I guess that can damage your own SEO. Yes, but to be honest, the link penalties are far less common than they used to be. Google's a lot better at just discounting them so you're wasting your time and effort in the first place. I just would set your expectations or set your standards higher than what may be typically people do just because if you do if you're not setting your standards high, could just be wasting your time. Putting an effort into the sights set isn't worth anything. You know, if you submit crap content to a crap website, it's not going to do your business any good. It's just a waste of time.

So, this is a message of quality over quantity. Better off building one backlink a month from a good website with good content. Then you would be doing 10 or 20 or 50 or 100. All right. I don't know about those. It depends. It's very subjective what is a good or bad backlink. But yes, for example, you wouldn't go on fibre and have 100 automated links that just get no value from it whatsoever. And I would rather spend my time and money on creating a good piece of content that I would naturally build links over time. But you do have to, you have to promote that content as well. It won't just, you can, unless you're a large established business, you know, you already have a search presence, it's not a case of build and they will come, you do need to promote these assets as well, but I would rather spend my time and money on one piece of great content that can build links over the next 6 to 12 months then blasting links from rubbish websites.

A couple of years ago I pursued HubSpot to write a guest blog for them and they had lots of hurdles that you had to jump over. But eventually, I wrote an article on client and account management for their blog. HubSpot is a really good active marketer and obviously a good product, but they are great at marketing I guess their website ranks really high and I could see when it went live I could see a significant increase in traffic to my website and most importantly because I was allowed to promote one download in that guest blog, I could actually see the number of people that were downloading the piece of content as well and you know it isn't it's hundreds. Of course, as you said earlier on that was probably two years ago and it still delivers results for me today because it's still alive and it's still there. So that is a good example of I guess a good quality website and good quality content as well.

A very easy way to decide if it's worth it or not, is to try and imagine if Google didn't exist, would you still want that link? And if you would then that's not the only indication, but it's a good indication that it might be a link worth pursuing.

Let's just more broadly speaking from an SEO strategy. So I am a small agency owner, I don't have the budget at the moment to outsource my services to an agency like you. What kind of advice would you say to me if I wanted to do my own SEO, or what are the sort of 3 or 4-5 tips you would give? I think his name is Brendan Hufford has a good strategy for doing stuff like this. You would find, I think because his dream is 50 years dream 100, I'll have to double-check. Basically, you find the top 50 or the top 100 people or sites that you would most like to have dealings with and then just start building relationships with them. That's how I would do it, because it's not only the, you know, the SEO. The benefit of that, but there are potential partnerships as being a guest on the podcast, there's a whole different host of things that can transpire from that rather than just implementing a strategy that's how I would approach it is to find the sites I really want to be a part of. For we were linked to from, sorry, see what they post and just start a conversation with them. That's how I would start. Yeah, absolutely. So, building your dream 100 list is actually one of the systems that we teach in The Self-running Agency Group. Have you seen that bit? But there are actually templates because it's a strategy that I've used myself. So where you literally sit down and brainstorm every single partner that you would work with, love to work with from the ridiculous aspirational kind of partners down to the more realistic kind of partners who are maybe one or two rungs bigger than you up the ladder. Then, you start an outreach program. And as you said, Richard partnering can mean a number of things. And actually, before we went live on this episode, we were talking about guesting on podcasts being a great way of building your profile, building your audience, and getting traffic back to your website because obviously in the show notes the list was linked to a marketing website. So no doubt you will get some traffic from this website. Sorry, from this episode. So building a dream 100 list could be in all sorts of things from guest blogging, guest podcasting and running a joint event together, doing a speech for their audience. You know, all sorts of things. So that is a good strategy and I guess that's sort of a broader part of an SEO strategy. I think there's potentially massive SEO benefits and others and that's the way I would approach it with not just an agency site, but any site really is. If you're starting a brand new site and it's not it's not a case of they have 1000 makes you need 1000 links, but if you look at it in that terms, it can really seem insurmountable. And that's how I would start or recommend. Any business to start is to find the 100 sites where you would love to get links from, see what content they post and build out similar content. That's how I would recommend any business to start.

Right, good advice. Any other tips to someone who's thinking about doing SEO and link building themselves. Anything else you would advise them? People often forget about their actual website, so the website needs to be trustworthy. You need to be approachable. If you're after a pestle band, you need to have information on yourself on your website. People don't link to nameless faceless sites anymore. They used to, but I would spend a lot of time getting my site to look as trustworthy as possible and have as good content as possible. Having good content makes everything so much easier. So I really can't emphasise that enough, that having good content. Just makes things a lot easier. And it does start with having a good site as well. I guess you're sort of saying that there's no magic bullet to this, there's no magic solution as much as some people will try and tell you otherwise, and that it's the sort of fundamentals that are so important, like having a good quality website that has good content that's easy to navigate that is clearly talking to me, and that functionally works is a great basis to start with. Yeah, it just makes everything else so much easier. You can outreach to a higher standard site if you've got a good site yourself or if your content is useful, it makes the conversations you're having with these people so, so much easier. I think every client we work with, we work on their site before we work off their site just because it makes our job so much easier. That's a good point. And I guess sometimes it must be frustrating for you because a client doesn't necessarily think that should be your starting point. They think they've got a website there now, and want you to drive traffic to it. But actually, you kind of have to say, hang on a sec, let's look at your website first. People fall into the trap of X posts having 50 links, for example, we can just recreate that and get 50 links that don’t work like that. So you need to, if you want to go down that route, you need to have something that differentiates you from it. It needs to look better. It needs to talk to the user better. It needs to do something better. Otherwise, you just can't replicate success through copying. Absolutely good.

Any last thoughts on any other advice that you would share before we wrap up today? No, but I'm always happy to help if any of your listeners want advice and I think I can reach me on, it's just [email protected] Always happy to help or point them in the right direction. Sure. And what's while we're talking about links concluding the show notes, we'll also include your website link and your email. Is there anything else you want us to include? No, that's absolutely fine. Just my website and just my email, [email protected] If they have any questions they can reach out on LinkedIn or anything happy to help.

So the final question that I ask all my guests is if you could go back in time and give your younger self just starting out in business, one piece of advice, what would it be? Other than buying as much Bitcoin as I possibly could. I think I would say just to focus on one thing, whether it's because there are so many different elements to it, so it's not just link building, it's not just technical, it's not just content. There are so many things I would just focus on one aspect of s because as the business is growing or the industry, sorry, it's you have specialists in all these different areas and I would just say just focus on one thing, and one market.

It's a good piece of advice and we should all start narrow and broaden out. It's much easier to do that than it is to start broadening. Try and fail at that, and then we have to go narrow. So yeah, I think I would tell my younger self to buy more Tesla shares. A great, good piece of advice, I always love asking guess this because I almost think in 100 episodes we've never had the same, think twice, even tested a few people who've come on the podcast more than once to see, to challenge them not to listen to what they said before, and then to check if they said the same thing or not.

But I don't think I've had that bit of advice before, So Richard really appreciates your time today. There were some good nuggets of advice in there and I was just thinking as we were talking that we need to call this episode titled build it and they won't come because I think sometimes people think if I build a lovely website and put it live suddenly I'll get loads of traffic to it and of course that is far from the truth and I think you've highlighted that point today.

Yeah, you think it used to work more like that but now as blighted companies are in there they the bar is so much higher. Absolutely. So we all need to be applying some of the advice you have given today. So great thank you so much for your time today and I will see you soon. No problem. Thank you very much.

Staying In Control Of The Direction Of Your Agency

Why do so many agency owners aspire to build an agency that is less dependent on them (i.e a self-running agency) but completely fail?

They end up building a business that they work for (instead of working for them) with the worst boss in the world!

So in this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I explore how to ensure you build an agency on your own terms: one that you stay in control of and one that ultimately could be running itself.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[0:00] 

The 4-day work experiment from Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy podcast

[0:45] 

The concept of running a self-running business

[2:26] 

Staying connected with your mission and vision statement

[3:18] 

What does real success look like?

[3:53] 

How to reconnect with your ‘why’ in running an agency

[4:29] 

Transitioning from face-to-face coaching to online meetings

[6:00]

Why I can spend my winters in South Africa

[7:43] 

The importance of focusing on the journey and not just the destination

[7:57] 

How I am moving towards becoming a ‘digital nomad’

[9:05] 

What are the technical equipment I need 

[9:59] 

Understanding how to best use a VA and the structures I use

[11:47] 

What I am doing this year to take control of how I want to run my business

Quotations

“We are surrounded by stories of super successful entrepreneurs who make it sound so easy and have supposedly made their millions and are trying to tempt you to strive for the same thing - it’s almost as if - if we don’t aspire to that then we are failing.” - Rob DaCosta

“..growth in a financial sense doesn’t always mean success.” - Rob DaCosta

“..wait for some future point when everything will be better and forget to live my life within the constraints of what we are able to do now.” - Rob DaCosta

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Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

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Useful links mentioned in this episode:

 Full Episode Transcription

I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts last week, which is Amy Porterfield’s online marketing made easy, and she was talking about an experiment that her business has been doing to move the whole organisation of about 20 staff down to a 4-day working week without losing any revenues in their business, and indeed ensuring that they met their ambitious growth targets. It was really interesting to hear about the positive and negative aspects of the experiment, the things that they've had to change, e g. moving all their meetings down to a maximum of 30 minutes rather than an hour or more, and indeed whether they will keep doing this after the 90-day experiment is up.

It got me thinking back to the concepts of the self-running agency that I've been talking about and teaching for the last couple of years, and the importance of making sure that we are running an agency on our own terms and not just chasing the next shiny new object or the next revenue tear, because that's what we feel we should be doing to be successful. We're surrounded by stories of super successful entrepreneurs who make it sound so easy and have supposedly made their millions, and then they're trying to tempt you to strive for the same thing.

It's almost as if if we don't aspire to that, we are failing. It's crazy when you say out loud, right, and it seems to take you so far away from the key reasons of why you would start your own business in the first place. So in this episode of the podcast, I want to remind us about that. But I also want to share my personal story of some of the things that I'm doing to make sure I'm running my business on my own terms. 

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob DeCosta.

I'm not sure where this is instilled in us, but it's almost as if we don't aspire to grow our agency by, say 20% year on year, then we're not being successful and indeed others. But perhaps more ourselves, if I'm honest, judge our success based on this growth. But that might well not be what you want. You might want to create a lifestyle business and focus on maximising profits, or you might want to focus on being a social enterprise and making a difference in your community. There's a whole myriad of reasons why we run our own agencies and why we started our own agencies. And it's super important that we stay connected with that mission. And we create a vision every year so that we know we're headed in the right direction rather than just being pulled by external factors or by the things that we tell ourselves we should be doing. The problem is, as I mentioned in the introduction, that we're bombarded with social media posts and ads of Instagram people standing in front of expensive yachts that probably aren't even up. There's telling us how they built their agency and how they can help you do the same.

But it's important to remember that this might not be what you want, and growth in a financial sense, doesn't always equal success. Let's face it, if you were growing your revenues, but you're hating what you were doing and you get really stressed and working long hours and perhaps even getting physically ill, then would you deem that as success? I know I certainly wouldn't. And sometimes, you know, we have to learn that lesson the hard way by going down that route to get to a certain point where we say no, having more money isn't necessarily the thing that makes me happy.

So in the spirit of openness and sharing, I want to talk about some of the conscious choices that I'm making in my business and my life as we are coming out of the pandemic. And I'm sharing this in the hope that it might inspire you but also give you permission to reconnect with the why like, “Why did you start your agency?” What do you want to be?” and, “How can you do it on your own terms?” Because, let's face it, one of the reasons we start our own business is because we want control. But we're not careful, and we're not making these conscious decisions and choices. Then suddenly, one day we can wake up working for this monster that we've created and having a much harder boss than we've ever had in any kind of job that we had in the past. So anyway, here are some of the things that I am doing and choices that I am consciously making. So first of all, prior to lockdown on the pandemic, I would spend probably three or four days a week travelling to head to clients in London, on the train or driving up the motorway or even getting on a plane. And it was a super ineffective use of my time because let's say I was taking a train into London, which would take me an hour and a half, and then I would perhaps coach one or two clients and then I would come back in a very crowded trainer and probably standing up most of the way for another hour and a half. And that would be my day. Whereas the pandemic force, of course, was all online. And now I do my meetings by Zoom, and that means that I could possibly do 3-4 even 5 meetings or coaching sessions in a day if I chose to.

So I made the conscious decision to not go back to that face-to-face coaching life because I think coaching online can actually be more effective because you can do shorter sessions and more frequent sessions. I have a couple of exceptions to that where I will travel to a client because they're either very local or because I really need to be sitting face-to-face. So, for example, if I was doing some strategy work with a client for the day, it would be very difficult for both of us to concentrate that long online, so I would then go and sit with them. But that's probably the exception and not the raw. And it probably happens once every two or three months rather than two or three times a week. So that's my first conscious choice I'm making not to go back to doing face to face coaching now. Prior to the start of the pandemic and indeed, at the start of the pandemic, I used to spend every January-February of each year in warmer climes, typically in Cape Town. And, of course, the pandemic has paid for that. In fact, I only just got back in 2020 before lockdown happened, so I was fortunate to not be stuck in South Africa during the start of lockdown. But having done this two or three times now, it's really shown me that I can completely viably go to another country and spend an extended period of time. So I'm not just there on holiday and actually get into the rhythm of working. And of course, one of the great things about South Africa is not only that their summer in January-February, but also they only have a two hour time difference to the UK, so that really makes the working day viable. You can rent pretty cheap. Airbnb is out there. The cost of living is much lower than the UK, so that is something that I aspire to do every year. But of course, as I said, the pandemic has put paid to that. But that will be something I'll be doing again. But in the meantime, I find myself sort of marking time and waiting for this fictitious point in the future when we might be allowed to travel again. And then I realised that I'm doing exactly what I outlined in the introduction, and exactly what I advise my clients not to do, which is to wait for some point in the future when you think everything will be better and forget to live your life right now and enjoy the journey.

So you know, when we're talking about vision, Sometimes clients tell me that when they hit this milestone, things will be great and they're busy with their business. But of course it might take them a year or so to get there, and they don't think about that journey. So I want to encourage my clients and myself to make sure I'm focused on the journey and not just the destination. Of course, right now there are lots of constraints on us. I can't go and spend my time abroad. But another thing that I've been working towards is becoming more of a digital nomad, which is a term that lots of 20 year old Instagrammers bound around while they live their lives on an opioid in Bali.

But as I said, I've proven for the last few years that I can work in a different country and be just as efficient and continue to serve my clients and my audience when I'm sitting at my desk in the UK or sitting at a desk in Cape Town. Now, we are taking one step further because we've just purchased a motor home. And whilst I'm not quite ready to become a socks and crocs, I am excited to be able to find some beautiful places in the U. K. And then hopefully in the near future in Europe where I can travel, explore, and work. And you know, technology really does make this easy impossible to do now because you can get great mobile WiFi setups that you can get solar panels and all that kind of stuff so I can run my computers and record these podcasts and edit videos, and all that stuff whilst being in different locations.

So I haven't taken delivery as I record this podcast, but we're just about to. So we've been busy researching all the tech that I'm gonna need, like mobile WiFi and off grid energy solutions such as solar panels and lithium batteries and all that kind of rubbish. And who knew that there was a whole world of tech and terminology to learn? And right now I'm revisiting my physics level by reminding myself the difference between amps, watts, and volts. Now, by the time you listen to this episode, I will have been away for the first few weekends. So if you want to know how I got on, just reach out to me and I'll let you know. So that's a really exciting project and a new adventure for us. And, you know, I have no idea what the outcome will be. I might hate it, although we've done it a few weekends before, but I'm hoping that I will enjoy it and I can explore parts of the UK that I haven't seen and do it in a pretty inexpensive way. 

Now, the next thing that I have been working on because I've made lots of mistakes with this is getting my kind of team structure in place. So I've tried various virtual assistants. I've tried using a virtual assistant to organise my diary, someone else to do my audio podcast editing, someone for video editing, someone for copyrighting. And it's been really difficult to project manage and they've been really different qualities. So sometimes I find myself trying to delegate and then having to rewrite it, and telling myself those stories like it's quicker to do it myself. So I finally got a structure in place that is really working, so I'm working with a VA company, and my main point of contact is the project manager there. And then they have a team of people that have specialist skills. So they have someone who is really good at creating artwork for social media, someone who is good at editing audio for podcasts, someone else who is great for video editing, and someone who is good for writing content. And I'm only dealing with the project manager. And then she is managing all these other people, and so far that is working well. And that is enabling me to pump out a lot more content and also for me to be able to focus on my superpower, which is creating the content, not necessarily editing this podcast or writing the show notes. So if you are a freelance personal or one person agency, then really think about how you can delegate to a team of people, even if they're just virtual people that you hire for a few hours a week, and I'm going to be recording more about my VA structure and I'm going to actually interview my via on a future episode. So look out for that because, like I said, I think I've got this concept of having a project manager, and then a public publisher and editor working well for me. So I want to share that with you. 

So that's what I'm doing in 2021 to take control of how I run my business. As I said, I think I was starting to fall foul of this idea that when the world opens, I'll be able to start doing things I used to do and pick up where I left off. And I think many of us felt that would start to happen at the beginning of 2021, but here we are halfway through the year and whilst the vaccination is rolling out well in the UK, things haven't really changed in terms of being open and travelling. And to be honest, most countries are not opening their doors to us right now. So rather than continue to mark time and wait for some notional point in the future, I'm creating the kind of working environment that I want based on the constraints that exist right now, and who knows what the future holds. But this whole situation reminds us to live more in the present, and I guess that's sort of the theme of my podcast today, which is to stop marking time and waiting for things to happen in the future. But take control of them now and realise that you have choices and you can make whatever you want happen. And remember that success isn't determined by you growing your revenues 20% year on year on year on year. And so make sure you stay connected to the reason why you run your agency. So I hope this episode has given you some food for thought, and if so, please make sure that you leave a review. I agree. Be eternally grateful. Hit the subscribe button to make sure you don't miss out on future episodes, and I'll be back with you next week for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

Simplifying Your Life!

Life’s been a bit crazy for me in the last few months. I’ve been juggling so many things that led me to feeling burned out. I realised I need to work smarter and start doing less whilst remaining as effective as I was before. 

In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I share what I have been doing to simplify my life and get renewed focus for my business.  

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[01:55] 

There are so many distractions and noise in life that put pressure on me to do more of so many things. I realised I need some kind of filter to work out what I really need to keep doing and what I can stop doing - all whilst remaining productive and effective.

[04:10] 

Use the 4 Ds of Eisenhower’s Square to assess tasks - Can I DITCH this task? Can I DELEGATE it to somebody else? Can I DEFER it? I have to DO it.

[04:52] 

I’ve added 2 more Ds and an A. 

[04:56] 

The A is Automate. Are there tools or systems I use to run my business that can be automated? (Example: Appointment setting)

[05:46] 

The fifth D is does a task make a DIFFERENCE?

[05:57] 

The sixth D is do I enjoy DOING it?

[06:17] 

Six things I’ve done in my business to simplify and give me renewed focus.

[06:37] 

# 1: Reconnect with my vision.

[08:06] 

# 2: Put a pause on a time-intensive mastermind group I’m part of. 

[09:13] 

# 3: Choose the focus of my social media efforts.  I chose LinkedIn as my main social media platform.

[10:24] 

# 4: Resurrect my Youtube channel.

[12:17] 

# 5: Stop being distracted by new shiny objects!

[12:59] 

# 6: Work with a project manager who will manage other specialists’ tasks for the business.

Quotations

“Is this really driving my business forward? If the answer is ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘No’, then we really need to ask ourselves why we’re doing it.” - Rob Da Costa

“Doing something because you’ve always done it is not a good reason to keep doing it!” - Rob Da Costa

“All of the things you’re doing are there to help you win new business and be excellent at client delivery.” - Rob Da Costa

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

“I enjoy listening to The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I always learn something from every episode.” If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you — move towards a Self-Running Agency.

Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please hit the subscribe button below to be sure you are alerted when new episodes are published.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

 Full Episode Transcription

Life's been a bit crazy for me in the last few months, which has resulted in me juggling lots of goals and working long hours. You know, the typical lifestyle of the entrepreneur. However, it got to the point where I feel a little bit burnt out. And so I realised I needed to be smarter, and start doing less whilst remaining is effective like I was before. So I wanted to share this journey with you in the spirit of openness, never trying to look like I have it all sorted and perhaps most importantly in the spirit of sharing so that you might learn something that you can apply to your agency as well.

So that's what we're going to talk about in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I hope this will be really useful for you, a bit of a different episode, but let's get on with today's episode of the show. Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value added interviews with your host agency owner and coach Rob Da Costa. Today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast is sponsored by Cloudways, loved by agencies around the world. Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that takes care of all the web hosting related complexities, leaving users free to focus on growing their businesses and clients.

The platform offers unmatched performance reliability choice and 24/7 365 support. The act is an extension to your own team, making Cloudways the ultimate choice for growing agencies. Now, at present, Cloud Ways is offering exclusive discount for the agency accelerator listeners. So visit cloudways.com, and use the promo code AA20. That's AA20 to get a discount of 20% off your first three months on the hosting platform of your choice. OK, on with today's show. I don't know about you, but it seems that more and more, and more frequently we are surrounded by so much noise and so many distractions, with people telling us how we should run our businesses better, ads showing people standing in front of shiny, expensive cars, telling you that they made millions and you can do.

Every week there's a new book out by an entrepreneur. And of course, there are loads of social media platforms and new things coming along like clubhouse. And of course, there are coaching programmes just like mine, that help you grow your business do we're just surrounded by so much noise. And as I said in the introduction, life has been crazy for me and I've been juggling lots of things and kind of putting pressure on myself to doom more of these things. There's definitely a feeling of FOMO. So for example, when clubhouse came out, I was one of the lucky people.

I guess that got an invite very early on. I thought, right, I must join that. And then I remember spending a Saturday, just kind a listening into different conversations and then suddenly feeling overwhelmed, because if I was going to do that properly, I really needed to find time to do it. I was also a member of a mastermind coaching group that met three times a week on a needed can commit a minimum of five hours a week to do that and because I wasn't managing to do all of that, I started feeling like I was letting myself down, letting the group down and I was spending lots of money on that programme every month as well, so something needed to change.

I needed some kind of filter to work out. Why I really need to keep doing, and what I could stop doing while still remaining productive and effective, and serving my audience, you guys plus, of course, developing my content, and delivering my coaching, whether that be the one to one private coaching or one of my group coaching programme. So it's just a lot going on. And I'm not saying any of this because I'm looking for sympathy from you, but much more because you could probably relate to this as well.

And I just want to share with you as I come out the other side of that. Some of the things that I have done to simplify my life and hopefully you can apply some of this, too. Now you may have heard of the Four D's of Eisenhower's Square, where we talk about running tasks through this filter of The Four D’s. So ‘Can I ditch this task?’ And if the answer is ‘No,’ then you ask yourself. ‘Well, if I can't ditch it, can I delegate it to somebody else?’ And if your answer is ‘No,’ then you move on to the third thing, which is, ’Can I defer it?’

So can I do it on the latest date? And the answer's no to that. Then you say, OK, I have to do it. And I have always used those Four D’s to quickly assess tasks that I'm doing so that I don't get distracted by things I can quickly get done now, but they're not really important. This is all about separating the important from the urgent from the nice to do. Why taken those Four D's and I've added two more D’s an A to it, and I think that's really, really helped me.

So the A is automated. So I think when I look at tasks now, I always thinking, are there tools that I can automate. And a great example of that would be email automation for the systems that I used to run my business. For example, appointment setting, where  I use YouCanBook.me for my calendar system. But I've also is currently before on Kartra, which is the main CRM system that I use that also has a calendar booking system. That's a really good example of taking a task that can be quite time consuming because you compare diaries, and swap notes and all that kind of stuff and then just automated.

So that's my sort of fifth element to The Four D’s, which is the A for automate. But then the other two that I've been using recently which have helped me really flter things, is just to ask myself, ‘Does this task make a difference?’ That's number five. So when I look at moving my business forward, does this task make a difference and if the answer is? No, I really gotta ask why I'm doing it on the sixth day is, ‘Do I enjoy doing it?’ and if I don't enjoy doing it, but I've just been doing it because I've always done it, which is what so many of us do. Then I'm using that as a filter to say, ‘Do I really need to do this?’

So, using that filter of The Four D’s plus the A plus the two extra D's, the six things that I've done in my business over the last three months. There are simplifying things that are giving me renewed focus, that are making me feel like I'm in control of my day and my week without working crazy hours. Andi, I feel like I'm moving the dark forward, so I want to share with you what those six things are. And number one is the big game changer for me, it's such an obvious thing.

It's something I tell my clients to do it. It's something I work on with all my clients, but like many of us, I don't do it for myself. Enough, and that is reconnecting with your vision. So what that's enabled me to do is to figure out what I want to do over the next couple of years in terms of growth, in terms of focus, in terms of revenue, in terms of product development. And it's also enabled me to stop chasing things that others telling me that I should do or I should have.

There's a real danger that we look at, for example, our revenue figures every year and say I must grow by 20%, 30% next year, and we said that at a target. And then we just do that year in and year out, without ever stopping and saying, ‘Is that what I really want?’ So, I think reconnecting with my vision has been so powerful because it becomes a framework for making decisions about whether I do things or not. So I spend a day when we had some son sitting in the garden with my remarkable, and just using the template I teach.

I used my private clients using on myself to capture my vision and say OK, where I want to be in the next year on the next year after that. And that has really helped me apply the next five things. That's the number one thing that I've done, which is reconnect with my vision and stop chasing things that others are telling me I should be doing and actually start thinking what I really want to do that will make me happy, that I will enjoy on will give me the things that I need.

So the second thing I did, which sounds really counterintuitive given that I sell a group coaching programme, is that I put the pause on a time intensive mastermind group that I was part of. And this group is great and I'm still part of the group. I was part of like a premium part of the group but it was just taking a tonne of time, as I said earlier is taking me about six hours a week. It was costing me about £1000 a month and I was missing half sessions because I was busy with other stuff, and that was causing me stress and  I felt pressured, and there was a huge relief when I said that I need to put the pause button on this for the next few months to focus on a number of other things.

I simplifying my business. So that's the second thing I did, which was put pause on some of the external help that I was getting and actually just give me some time to implement what I've learned, and get my systems right, and make sure that I'm doing the things that I'm learning in a sort of best practise way. So, it was the second thing out of the six changes that I made it my business. The third thing I did was really focus my social media, and decided to focus on LinkedIn as my major social media platform because that's where my ideal target customer hangs out mostly. And I have spent lots of money, for example, on Facebook Ads, and I have tried to build a Facebook group, and some of you might even be part of that group and what's not closing any of that stuff down.

I'm certainly not spending any money or Facebook Ads at the moment, and it just isn't a major platform. And most of my clients tell me that they want to use Facebook for staying in touch with the family and looking at fluffy animals rather than being interrupted with business things. So, I decided to focus on LinkedIn as my major platform, and pause the effort I'm putting into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep posting on there. I'm just not really putting the major effort.

When I spend time on social media now, it's always in LinkedIn, and it's not on those other platforms. So that's number three, which is really focused down on LinkedIn, and stop focusing on some of those other platforms. The fourth thing I decided to do, which will take more time actually, is to resurrect my YouTube channel. I have had a YouTube channel for awhile, and I have probably about 70 videos on there providing culture over the years, but I've never really promoted. I've never really thought about you know, the CEO aspect of it.

And let's face it, remember that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. So it's a great platform, provided we think about SEO with the content that we're putting out, tagging and all that stuff. So I'm putting a renewed effort into that. And why am I doing that? Well, because if I go back to those six D’s, one of them is, ‘Do I enjoy doing it?’ And actually the two kind of things I really enjoyed doing most is recording podcasts and shooting videos, and I'm fortunate that in my home office I've got a studio set up.

So it's really easy now for me to record a video. And the more you practise getting in front of the camera, the more comfortable you get just like anything. So I'm going to be putting some renewed effort into that and that that's going to look like taking some of the guests podcasts that I shoot because we recorded video for them and putting them on to YouTube, creating smaller videos from them, plus creating some more YouTube content. So little pluck it. If you're not part of my YouTube channel, then please head over to youtube.com/RobertDaCosta or one word Robert D-A C-O-S-T-A. It's a very simple and you can hit subscribe.

You can look at some of the YouTube videos on there before. Obviously, I'm now going to try and grow that channel, and we'll be putting more focus on it. So those are the two kinds of social media things that I will really be focusing in on which is LinkedIn and YouTube. So that was my fourth strategy. My fourth thing that I'm cutting down on number five is stop being distracted by new shiny objects, and get a grip of hell FOMO. Oh, so like I mentioned earlier, clubhouse would be a good example of that where I jumped on board quite early on.

I probably could have put a big focus on that, and it's obviously a big grain channel. But what I didn't want to do is what I've done often in the past, which is kind of dabbled a bit but not really done it. And then you waste a lot of time, but you don't get any value from it. So I just made the decision that I'm not going to focus on clubhouse because it's just a distraction. It's a shining new object. It's the latest trendy thing, andI need to focus on the core things that will make a difference that I enjoy doing.

So, that's number five and then number six the last one, which is probably the biggest thing, is that I have worked with a number of different virtual assistants and copywriters, and I've tried to find some podcasts edited and show note writers and I've had varying degrees of success with that. But I've always had to be the project manager. There's pulling it all together that's chasing people out for content. On some of the time, I felt like it actually wasn't saving me a lot of time because the quality of the written work wasn't very good and I had to rewrite it, and I don't want to fall in that trap that a lot of my clients do who are not good delegate is because they think it's quicker to do it themselves.

But when it really is quicker to do it yourself, you need to do something about it. So change the structure of that, and thanks to the coaching programme that I'm part of they just taught me this concept of hiring a project manager and then hiring some delivery people. And so that's what we have been putting in place in the last few weeks. Really. So we now have a project manager that looks after all of the stuff that I just talked about. So they will take the raw footage for this podcast and they will make sure that it gets edited on.

They will make sure that the show notes get written and they will make sure that it gets uploaded to my podcast hosting platform, and then they'll make sure that some social media posts get written. So I've got a project manager, who is then managing some specialists who are managing my admin for, you know, reconfirming client employments, managing the creation of the podcast, both from an audio editing and a show note perspective, but also video editing, and also creating social media posts from the podcast, and from my weekly email, and then doing some admin like up loading the content to my platforms. And this is going to save me a tonne of time.

And I think I'm finally nailed this, like a lot of you who were listening. I don't aspire to grow my business by hiring lots of in-house staff, but having this project manager, who then manages these other people and make sure that not only things get done when they need to get done. But it's also the first kind of gatekeeper point for quality control is just changing my world completely. So if you're really busy, this is a really good structure that I would encourage you to do so if you're looking at outsourcing aspects of your work, the key person you need to find is the project manager who can be the shepherd to make sure that all the things that getting done, and also the gatekeeper to make sure that they're the first point of contact for quality control before get things get passed over to you.

So that's probably the biggie number six, which is hiring a different structure for my virtual assistant, and my content creation, and copyrighting, and video editing, and audio editing. So lots of stuff go into making these podcasts and getting them broadcast out and then shared out, as I'm sure you're more than aware with the marketing that you do. So those are the six things that I've done to simplify my life. So first of all, reconnected with my vision, really sat down and thought about what is that I want to achieve over the next year and in the next couple of years, break that down into quarters and then in two months, and then make sure that the things that I'm doing every day of driving towards delivering the month and in the quarter than the years goals, and not just doing things because people telling you that I should be doing them. The second thing I did was put a pause on the intensive mastermind group, but I'm still part of the group. I'm just not part of this premium programme that's giving me back about five hours a week, which is amazing and taking some stress away from me.

We shouldn't be doing things of it's causing us a lot of stress. The third thing was to focus just on LinkedIn. And the fourth thing was YouTube, and for my social media and stop really putting too much effort into Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. That doesn't mean I'm abandoning them. It just means I'm not getting a tonne of effort in. The fifth thing kind of aligned to that was to not be distracted by new shiny objects such as clubhouse. And then lastly, to put this new VA structure in place. And I already feel like a weight has come off my shoulders. I already feel like I'm going to be dropping less balls, and I already feel like I don't need to work 10 hour days and a Saturday in order to just keep up with the volume of activity that I had self-created. That actually wasn't always moving the needle forward. And that's one of the filters that we have to be asking ourselves, which is ‘Is this really driving my business forward?’ And if the answer is ‘Well, I'm not sure’ or ‘No’, then we really need to ask ourselves why we're doing it and remember doing something because you've always done it is not a good reason to keep doing it, especially if you can't measure the effectiveness and the ROI. Because at the end of the day, all of the things that I'm doing ,and all of the things that you do are there to win new business, and to be excellent at client delivery and to make sure that the product or service you're delivering is as premium as it possibly can be. So, that's why I wanted to talk about today. Like I say in the spirit of honesty I wanted to share with you.

Some of the stresses that I've been feeling over the last six months and how crazy life has been, and how that resulted in me kind of just stopping, taking stop, and saying there must be a better way on and what do I need to do to keep my sanity but also keep my business. So I hope that helps, I love you to share this episode if you found it useful, please do consider leaving a review, hit the subscribe button, and I will be back with you next week for our next guest interview.

But until then, have a brilliant riff of your week and a great weekend. And I will see you next Thursday!

How to Use PR in Your Agency with Michelle and Christian Ewen

In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I am excited to be joined by Michelle and Christian Ewen, owners of Write on Time Ltd, a Public Relations (PR) agency.  They have a vision of helping business owners to grow and thrive through positive media coverage and industry awards recognition. This episode is all about PR and how it fits in your marketing strategy. 

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:39] 

Michelle and Christian’s story of crossing from journalism into the agency world 

[2:45] 

Tips and tricks on starting to do PR for your business

[4:52] 

How Michelle and Christian Ewen found their calling in the middle of the pandemic!

[7:55] 

Importance of having PR in your marketing strategy.

[9:20] 

When an established media or publication writes about you, it helps not only to amplify your message but also to strengthen your credibility.

[10:21] 

If you can get your organisation mentioned in an article in a key publication, it is a big help for your SEO strategy.

[11:15] 

How  to measure the effectiveness of your PR marketing strategy

[15:24] 

How to manage clients in setting the right PR goals for their business

[19:04] 

Tips and tricks on starting to do PR for your business

[24:32] 

The Pros and Cons of a husband and wife working together

[31:33] 

Stay tuned for ‘The 5-Day PR Challenge’ by Michelle and Christian Ewen

[33:25] 

What advice would  Michelle and Christian Ewen give their younger selves?

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Useful links mentioned in this episode:

  1. • LinkedIn: Michelle; Christian 
  2. Write on Time Ltd

 Full Episode Transcription

So, welcome everybody to today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. Now, today we are talking all about PR and how PR fits in your marketing strategy, and I'm really excited to have with me today, Michelle in Christian, you in from right on time. Now they are both two former journalists who've turned to the dark side and become PR pros, and then spent decades writing stories. And they've been featured in many of our biggest newspapers. Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value added interviews with your host agency owner, and coach Rob DaCosta.

Today's episode of The Agency Accelerated Podcast is sponsored by Cloudways. Loved by agencies around the world, Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that takes care of all the web hosting related complexities, leading users free to focus on growing their businesses, and clients. The platform offers unmatched performance reliability choice, and 24/7 365 support. The act is an extension to your own team, making Cloudways the ultimate choice for growing agencies. Now, at present, Cloudways is offering exclusive discounts for The Agency Accelerator listeners, so visit cloudways.com and use the promo code AA20. That's AA20 to get a discount of 20% off your first three months on the hosting platform of your choice.

OK, on with today's show. So welcome, and why don't we start off by telling the listeners a bit about your journey from crossing from journalism into the agency world of P.R. Well 100% because we have effectively done what is known as going to the dark side. So myself, and Christian have both got extensive experience of writing for newspapers at a local, regional, and national level. And we have both independently gone into PR. Christian went through the private sector route. I went through the public sector route.

We've come full circle now and created our own PR agency, but we like to feel that, having actually been in that decision making. See, having chosen stories that get published. That's what gave those really insiders insight into the kind of stories that work so well for the press. So that's kind of a bit of our U.S. pay as former journalists coming into the PR territory. Yeah, what made you decide to start an agency then? Well, we've always had a longstanding ambition to work together. We actually met each other in a newsroom.

That's all the way back in 2012. So we fell in love like Glorious and Clark in the newsroom setting working together in the environment and then us. Instead, we went on our own pathways. But we always dreamt of returning to that co working together as husband, and wife. And because we'd learned all these skills from the private and public sector. See my career’s natural progression to set up our own PR agency. It's just where we found our kind of flow. If you will, it's where we felt most comfortable, kind of pulling together all our different skill sets on really helping people, particularly to find the confidence to take those first steps towards publicising their business.

I think that's our real strength. Yeah, I completely agree. And I think it was really important to Michelle and I that we showed up in a way where we allowed our own personalities to shine through as well. We wanted to be quite distinctive in how in how we show up in the world and try to teach what we know in a way that we feel is quite original and maybe a little bit, sometimes a little bit of reverend or maybe a little bit think outside the box, but still get into the ultimate objective, which is to help people to harness power of PR and use it for the wrong God. Yes.

Oh, for sure. I mean, I see you showing up all over LinkedIn, and that's where we met. And you know, you guys have a really great presence there. And like you say, Christian, your personality shines through, which I think is so important. We can't, especially small businesses. We can't show up his soul, faceless corporations. It's interesting. I was doing some, and with my group coaching programme last week, we had this amazing LinkedIn trainer on one of the questions the group asked her was, should we show up on LinkedIn with our company page or our personal page?

And she was like, you need to shop on your personal profile every single time because, you know, businesses do business with people they don't want to have these faceless conversations. So, you know, I completely agree with that. How long have you been running the agency now? Since 2017. Yes, so it's on. It's kind of evolved in that time as well, because we started out very much doing PR for people. So we were kind of behind the scenes people doing all the pitching on behalf of businesses.

And then, when the pandemics jocked in March last year, a lot of our clients were in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality sector, so they weren’t able to work. So obviously the PR needed to be pulled back at that point on. That's when we first started to deliver our services online and actually step into more of a mentorship and training role to kind of pass along the skills that we've got so that people could do that own PR on its works out really beautifully because obviously working with a handful of clients, we could only have a small scale impact.

But over the course of the pandemic, we have been able to deal with so many different businesses in so many different sectors, and we really feel like we found our groove with that. Yeah, we feel like we found our calling. Since running, for instance, The 5-day Challenges for free and things like that. We've been able to help literally hundreds of business owners to identify great story ideas, to build their confidence and to help them really, really start to think about using PR in a positive way, but also to show them that it's important to be consistent with it.

Don't just do it as a one off thing or something that you do every now and again, and then you pick it up and put it back down. You've got to be persistent and consistent, really important. That’s cool. Yes. So, I mean, if we get a chance, we can pick this a bit more. But you guys are a really good example of, you know, using that awful word of pivoting during the pandemic and being able to react quick enough to keep serving your audience and obviously, you know, keep revenue coming in.

So, it sounds like you've had a pretty decent time in a very challenging time with the pandemic by doing more of this mentorship, and I guess reaching more people. Yeah, I think it's kind of pushed us into a position that we would have hoped to have got to eventually anyway, because obviously you can only have a finite number of clients when you are doing the doing yourself. But the model that we're working at now is literally helping those to reach hundreds and hundreds of business owners, and because what we teach is applicable to every single trade in sector.

Because it gets down to the real core of identifying quality news stories, it means that we've not got a limitation on who we can work with. We have seen literally people from like accountants all the way up to people in the science community using the same process, and getting results in really key publications for them. So, we're really happy with where we've ended. All right now, you couldn't be more, couldn't be happier with the journey we take and then yeah, okay, Well, like, say, if we get a chance, would come back to that because I'm interested in learning more as some of the listeners will be.

So let's just talk about PR from an agency's perspective, you know, the agency wants to grow, they want to build their brand, and they want to win more ideal business, and they probably do this by focusing on having a social media strategy. They may well even do some paid advertising. But in my experience, a lot of agencies they’re not really thinking about using PR. So, tell us about why they should and wear it where it fits in that overall kind of marketing and new business strategy.

You go ahead, you're on the floor. We're very polite because we're a husband and wife team, as you’ve been able to tell. We're really trying to move off the top of each. Definitely, we’re going to talk about it in a bit. But carrying that might when we do start talking over the top future without question. The brilliant thing about PR is you can do and you absolutely should be doing social media. And we certainly don't say PR is a replacement for other kinds of marketing. Activity is all part of a really holistic approach to improving your visibility. But with social media, you can keep plugging away and speaking to exactly the same audiences all in one but gradually and incrementally grows. But when you actually do succeed in securing really good publicity in key trade publications, the serve of your ideal client or that have got really credibility attached to them, that's when you can really amplify your message to literally thousands and thousands of people. We've worked with people who've had regional coverage in newspapers that have got readerships literally in the millions. And that's when you can really start to get in front of why wide scale big numbers of people who could all potentially convert as a client. So this is very much about amplification. But it's also about credibility because obviously, with your social media, you can write whatever you want within reason on your own platforms. But when a newspaper chooses to write about you, they've got established readership.

They're very credible publications that can actually increase how people perceive you. You kinda see these phrases like “I’ve seen names”. We've got really big tick names that really attract credibility back to your organisation. And the second point I would mention is excellent for SEO. So, if you can actually get your agency mentioned in an article in a real key publication that has got a really good ranking on Google. Then that's really gonna help from your SEO strategy, and things like actually getting blue tick verification on Facebook.

One of the questions that is asked as part of that process is can you direct us to any media coverage? So if that is on your ambition list is well, then making sure that you have a solid media strategy is really important. Yeah. I mean, you know, you know that you're preaching to convert ‘cause I ran a PR agency for 11 years, so, you know, I totally buy into that. But I think like I said, when I'm talking to a lot, my coach, my agency clients, and we're looking at their marketing mix on their new base strategy.

PR often isn't a partner And I think one of the reasons which is the million dollar Question that you must be asked all the time, is how do you measure it? Because that is, You know, if I'm sending out an email, I can measure open rates. If I'm you know, looking at social media, I can look att, engagement and likes and comments already. How do I measure the effectiveness of my PR strategy? Yeah, for us. One of the things which we do turn to is that we are able to establish with clients the circulation of the publications which are being targeted.

That's usually very important. That's something that we could go away on research at the key metric. That is a key metric and circulation figures. If it is a title that still has a physical hard copy version, because countries what people may believe they do still exist, there has still think it's 25 million people in the UK that still take a regular newspaper, however, that being alone a weekly or daily. So we are able to give figures like that. So, it does give them an idea if they are able to then get in front of that number that there is a level of attraction so few for you to be able to say, for instance, a big regional city title where we live here, the Liverpool Echo that's got six million readers in total.

So you know that if you're going to get into that particular publication, there were going to be millions of people who have got an opportunity to view that to engage with it, to interact with it online or to respond to it in some way. And it's not uncommon at all, which is obviously the name of the game, the people to get back in touch with those and say that as a result of appearing in such a publication. Somebody then reached out to me and said, I want to work with you so those are obviously great results as well.

That is evidence that using PR canon doors leads to costumes coming on board because they've had a chance to learn a little bit about you as a person. They've become attracted to you in that way, and then they've gone ahead, and instigated a business transaction. So there's definitely a sculpt for that. Ultimately, that's the key measurement, right? Do you have new customers come into your business, and if you've got the right systems in place to data capture the journey that they've come into your business on that consign post?

That PR has had an influential role in that, Then that's Kay on. We have very common real life examples, like the coach that we worked in Manchester appeared in The Manchester Evening News, and within 24 hours she had five new enquiries from people seeking information about her coaching packages. And that is very clear, draw the dots the line back to that coverage, so it's in some ways. While you might think it's the hardest thing to measure, it's often the clearest because if somebody comes to you and says, I saw you in the paper, tell me more about what you do.

You can measure that instantly. Yet the beauty of it is that if you're appearing in a newspaper piece rather than an advert, then you're there based upon your old merit. Because the news story that you've shared is there because it has got home at a connection with the readership that's being targeted. So there's always that unique level of authenticity that the newspaper article Curries that is completely in its own will to anything else really that exists, you know, to have that feeling of making it into the paper and have that ability to.

Then, you know, we hear a lot about people who will keep their clippings, you know, they'll have a scrapbook all they'll frame them on, display them proudly on their office walls and that type of thing. There is something very special about securing that coverage. And then when people do walk into, say, a bricks and mortar premises and they can see that coverage adorning their walls, it looks very impressive. It all already creates a conversation starter, and then it gets people really, really thinking about wanting to do business with that company because you can see the credibility is literally coming through the walls.

So it's very, very powerful in that spats as well. Yeah, it's funny, isn't it? That there is all these trendy new things coming and going. But it's still the traditional marketing strategies such as PR and, you know, it building your email list and networking and all that stuff. That is the solid foundation for everything. And I think we should all be doing it now, let me ask you a question of something that happened to us all the time. I worked in tech, and so our PR agency focused on tech sector.

We would meet a potential new client, and we would ask them what they're trying to achieve from the PR. And we were sitting with the CEO as someone they go, I'd love to be in the Financial Times. And you think you thought we roll our eyes and think. Well, okay, what do you do when you get someone stating a ridiculous? Well, not ridiculous, but a very ambitious goal that actually might be more ego based than actually supporting their business. That is such a good question.

And it does happen all the time. You sit down and the two things that people say towards us: I want to be in Forbes, and I want to be on the couch with Holly and Phil. And we're like, have you been in your local newspaper? And said “No, no I have not even been in my local newspaper.” But what we say is don't discount that. We would never say that can't happen. But have that as a stretch goal. And, we also say to think about your ideal customer. So if you are for example, an agency that specialises in working with people in the financial sector, having some coverage in the publication that serves that sector is much more likely to convert into paying customers in your business.

This is a piece in Forbes that's being read by millions and millions of people, admittedly, but are they necessarily going to come back and spend many money with you? So we certainly don't say don't go for the big tick objectives but also have a strategy that's based on what's going to convert, and make it most likely that I'm going to get sales into my business. And so that's how we tend to approach things with people. We have become known for providing healthy challenge ways. Do that with everybody that we come into contact with and who we have a business relationship with.

We're always happy to hear what their goals and dreams and objectives are, as you said, drop quite rightfully, always very respectful of their ambitions. But there has to be a bit of a reality cheque sometimes, and it has to be about working smarts and doing it in the right way, making progressive steps, starting at one level, building up that little bit of credibility through the press, establishing some credentials, revealing a little bit about your story in your background and then you can start to work towards those TV radio opportunities or the big hitters, such as a Forbes or Time magazine or which have a publication happens to be that people have mentioned she was, Yeah, I did.

A really interesting interview for the podcast is coming out in the next. The next actually probably would have come out by the time this one goes live with someone called Marcel Petitpas from Parakeeto, and we're talking about profitability, but he had a really good point to make this very salient to this point. And that is that when you first meet a prospect or a potential customer, you have to manage them, and you have to show up as a consultant and be equal and guide them on.

If you don't do that, you're setting yourself up for all sorts of problems further down the line to do with, you know, the relationship, but also to do with profitability and margins and all the rest of it. And this is a good example, right? So someone says I want to be on Holly and Phili’s sofa, and they work in the financial services, then you immediately know that's all about their ego and know about something that's going to, you know, actually engage with the customers and ultimately bring them more business.

So it's your job as the consultants to solve. Steer them as you said. And if you had this idea, this public hard question, I don't know. But if you could give, the listeners saw three or four tips on what they should be doing if they start thinking about PR because I suspect that some people listen to this probably haven't even thought about media relations is part of their strategy because they probably think that's what corporates do. And you know, we don't have the time resource budget whenever so what tips would you give someone like that if they were just going to start out thinking about doing some PR?

So the first thing we always say is try to understand your own PR personality. So are you a person who is more comfortable with being on camera or perhaps talking than you are writing on? If that's the case, then saving your energies for radio opportunities, TV opportunities, and potentially YouTube channel guest expert spots or even corp house, which is obviously taking off massively at the moment. So focus your energy in that direction. Conversely, if you are that person who needs more time to think on these, perhaps a little bit more introverted, or you like to take your time to put together a story idea or a proposal, then focusing your energies on newspapers and magazines and trade journals is going to serve you best.

So the number one thing is, we always say is understand your PR personality, and  what we try to say is identify where you are now, but also building some realistic stretch goals. So if it is that you have an ambition to be on the radio, practising on being courthouse for now would be a really good way of finding your voice, finding your talking points so that when a radio opportunity comes up, you feel a little bit more prepared for that. So PR personalities K a good tip as well.

Just to use Michelle's example, if you are hoping to make that radio appearance one day, is perhaps having a goal of going live on your own Facebook page just that you can practise your presentation. You’re doing it there in front of people that are friends, that are family there, a trusted audience. They're people that Khun, just maybe give you a little bit of constructive feedback. But you know that you're doing it in a scenario that isn't the real deal, but it's giving you that chance. 

For instance, you just work on things such as how you sound, how you come across your visual presentation. You know, whoever you want to have a particular local backdrop to what you do. These are all things which, if you were doing a visual and broadcast, these will be important. But for practise and just rehearsing and getting things right, focusing on what key messages you would like to be translating to people and how you get them out there, that's really, really good for practise as well. So considering doing a Facebook live or LinkedIn video could be a good way of just help me to prep for the real thing.

Yeah, we also say that the thing with PR is people focus on what they want to sell, so they're like, I want to sell my programme, I want to sell my course. I wanna sell my service package. They make the mistake of approaching a reporter with something that is, in fact, an advert on. That's why the end. You end up being shunted to the advertising team and ask to spend some money. So we always say, bring it back to news value. What are people going to be interested in?

What are they going to engage in? So, we always say a people first strategy rather than a product and service, that's strategy. So that involves looking at your business from a people perspective. What the interesting human interest stories within that on often that could be the journey to how you actually came to settle your agency. It could be a huge sense of why that's propelling your business or a significant life challenge that you've overcome on its being prepared to in a very controlled way. Lift the curtain a little bit and show people who you are.

So you're not just this faceless organisation, this faceless agency. It's about giving people the opportunity to get to know, like entrust you so that when they need a service you offer you become their first port of call. So really focusing on the news value that you want to offer, as opposed to the endgame of selling a product will put your thinking in the right lane. Yeah, so that's such a good piece of advice. You have to have a point of view and you have to have an opinion, because if you don't, then the journalist is gonna get bored and it's really funny.

Actually, that I use is a coach. Now. I use so many of the tips and tricks that journalists used to use, like what you would do media training with clients when they were about to sit with a journalist, and we would talk about some of the tips and tricks they use. And now I teach some of those in a different context to my client's, whether it be interviewing a potential employee or, you know, just kind of getting the best out climb when I'm coaching them. But you know, you have to have a point of view if you just go in and you, like you say, try to sell.

Are you going with very generic like the same thing everybody would say. But when we were putting clients forward for feature articles in the media. We would say, look, this journalist is probably talking to five people, and they're probably going to use two quotes from those five people. So if you want to be one of the two out of five you have to have an opinion on, you have to be controversial where you possibly can and you know you can't just give the corporate, you know, the corporate spill.

And, like you say, we'll try to sell because Jonas are cynical beasts. So they are going to get very turned off by the by that approach, that's really good advice. Let's just switch tacs because I'm self conscious of time. And one thing I'd really like to touch upon is the fact that you work together as husband and wife now. Personally, for me, I am interested in that, because I I don't know why, but I have a lot of husband-wife clients, and I have a lot of the partner clients. And so I suspect in the agency world, your setup is pretty similar.

So tell us about what that's been like. The pros, and the cons, and the pitfalls and the boundaries, and all the things that you need to put in place to working each other. Yeah, it's a big question, isn't it. Should I start now? Yeah, you go. Yeah, I think it's really important, first and foremost, I mean again, it's one of those questions when when you answer, I'm trying not to sort of got fall into saying anything cliche to stereotypical, but I suppose it's because it's free.

The biggest thing I think for us is about compromise. It's really, really, really important that we both feel that when we're talking about any given thing regarding a piece of work that we might be undertaking for a client, or we're actually discussing the strategy of how to take our own business forward, that we both have the opportunity to feel that we're being heard. And sometimes it can be quite tricky. If we are in different directions with that, it could be that I might be down one end of the road to Michelle might be, you know, down the end of the road round to call on one of the roads again. So, it's important that we try wherever possible to speak to each other respectfully, which we do to take our time, considering each other's thoughts and feelings, because we're both experts of what we do.

So that can be difficult sometimes, when you kind of have that niggling thing to think. Well, I actually feel that I'm correct here completely, before that. That isn't always. The case usually ends up happening is we take a breath, think it through, listen to each other, and then we will reach a point where I feel like my contribution or my thought is being heard and reached some level, and then and then vice versa for you. It's never a way where it's my way or the highway. Neither of us do that with one another.

We love and respect each other too much to do that. We value each other's ability to do that. We compliment each other in terms of their things, which Michelle is certainly better at doing than I am. But then there are things that I feel Michelle would agree, hopefully, that I'm better at doing some other things as well. So it's about playing two to the strengths is very important, recognising where one of us needs to maybe take a backseat, and let the other one take the lead. Hopefully, we've done that a little bit and demonstrate that today on the podcast of how we answer questions. And yeah, I think it's just always about as well as trying to train to have form, and all that might sight seem a bit silly. But we try shopping in a way where we are educating people and we want to be informative. I think someone wants to call us entertainers, which we were happy to be called that. But I think it's important at the end of a working day, we remember that we're not just business partners. That's something that you do, you really need to think about that. You don't let work on work or work related matters continue to dominate that you know the life that you have outside of work.

You know what? The end of the day, we're a couple. We want to have a marriage as well as having a business relationship. So sorry to interrupt you, but how do you manage that, though? Because I would say that's the biggest challenge. How do you make sure that when you're on holiday, you're not talking about work or when you're It's the weekend and you haven't got much to do that you don't just lurch back into work mode, because I know that is a problem for a lot of a lot of my clients and just tell it, talk to us about that.

So, I think we are. We've kind of learned over the past three years to set some boundaries. So if we are going for a day out, we might confine work chat to the journey on. Then when we arrive at the place where we are, we're present and in that moment, and that is something that kind of works quite well for us, I'm the driver in the relationship. I love to drive when I'm driving. That's when I tend to have my most great creative ideas. And when I like to talk things through. So we keep that conversation in the car, and then when we get where we're getting, too, that's when our personal time begins, and we can catch each other in the sense that if we are drifting into  work chat.

One of this will be like, hang on, let's part that from one day or let's park that for the more name on one of the things. That we always do at the end of every working day is review our to do list, cross off things we've achieved, update for the next day on that allows us to draw a line under the working day, and moving to our into our private life after that, Yeah, we have, umm, pretty much that philosophy that once we closed the office door over, that door was shut into is physically and it's metaphorically shut.

And then we don't do anything. Then, until that door was reopened the next working day, and that's when the work, think and resume again. So that's really important. So yeah, good advice. And you know, I'm a big fan of Michael Herd, and I use his concept of morning and evening rituals, which is kind of what you're talking about, you know? So my morning away starts off with my cup of coffee, and that's the signal to start my day, and I review my to-do list.

And at the end of the day, I review my to-do list, create the next day's, close everything down, and I clear my desk. And I'm ready to go for the next day, so I completely concur with that. And I think you know, you guys have done really well if you can get those boundaries in place because I think, you know, years ago I used to work with my partner and it was a challenge of kind of being to work all the time and invade. Using tough solved slides back into work mode, and almost become the easiest discussion.

One thing you said, Christian,you kind of said in an almost apologetic of flip ways about having fun. And you know what you know myself, strap line from my what I do is helping agencies grow in a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable way, because I think too many people grow their businesses, and they get fixated on this fictitious end light of the end of the tunnel, and they forget that they're actually supposed to enjoy the journey along the way. And, of course, we all know that often we never get to that light at the end of the tunnel. So we better make sure what present and enjoy the journey.

So I think that that is a fundamental part of what we do. It's like if you don't, you know, enjoy being in a broader sense, what you're doing and you don't have fun doing it, and you need to do something else. So I, how heartedly off buy into that. There's lots of things. Yeah, there's lots more things we could talk about, but I'm conscious of time. I was interested to hear about your 5-Day Challenge, but maybe if there's a link, we can include that in the show notes.

And so, if people are thinking about starting PR than that seems to me like, that would be a good thing for them to do. Yeah, we have run the 5-Day Challenge four times in the past 12 months. And altogether, over a thousand people have taken part. Today, every single one of them have been either business owners, or authors in lots of cases, or artists, anyone who's kind of got on entrepreneurial slant to what they do. We have had some agency owners involved in that process, as well as.

And basically, we take people from Day 1. We assume from a baseline level that they've never been in the press. Some people have before, and they just need to revisit that build back up. But we take everyone from having no story, no clear newspaper or outlet in mind, and no structure or process to pitch on Day1 but on Day 5, we are very strict in that. By Day 5, people will literally have press send on a fully formed pitch with a central story idea to a publication of their choice. The reason we do that is we don't want it to be a dress rehearsal, or a dry run, because that pushes people into procrastination. They didn't never end up hitting send. So we want to really help people to make that journey over the course of 5 days, in a really supported, and calm way with lots of fun involved, and lots of information involved, and a really value packed learning experience. So that's kind of the nature of our 5-Day Challenge.

Okay, so we can include some links to that. Is that a free challenge or is that I paid for service? It's completely free. We've done four so far. So the best way to find out about future challenges is to follow us on social media, and also on website. But we can include the links for you. For you for that, Rob. Yeah, sure. Okay, so last question before we wrap things up today, and a question I ask all of my guests, which is, if you could go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice when you were starting out on business which, admittedly, is not that long for you guys.

But what would that piece of advice be? Okay, we should go one at a time. Yeah. You wanna go first? Well, my advice would be keep up with tech. I remember like being a journalist fresh out of university, and at that point, we were still pitching to the nationals on a fax machine. We were still using yellow pages on the telephone directory to ring round and find story leads. On the curve that journalism has gone on since I graduated in 2001 has been huge. The number of new technologies that have come out on social media has obviously revolutionised everything.

And I think a key strength of ours has always been to evolve with that. So when anything new comes up to be an early adopter on, then you can help all the people coming down the line to upscale as well. So for me, I would say always be at the forefront of new tech,and even if you are not a technical person. Use it as a user just so you can have an understanding of how we operate, and then you can let reach that to push your agency forward. Yes. Okay.

And from my point of view. How about you, Christian? Yeah, from my point of view, I think that’s myself and Michelle would have saved a lot of time and energy that we expended had we have reached the conclusion earlier that it's okay to support your hands up, and seek help from experts within any chosen field. So what I mean by that is that we were very guilty, right at the beginning of trying to do everything on our own. So not only we’re be trying to run the PR agency and show up in a way that we knew that we were experts in.

But we were also trying to do a myriad of other things as well, which we were not so great up, and things which we didn't particularly enjoy doing. So when we began to learn the value of outsourcing, and we had a lot of people telling us to do that. Who’ve been in business for a lot longer than we are that really started to open our eyes. It gave us a massive energy boost that allowed us to focus on the things which we knew we needed to be doing in order to give the most value that we called and just to trust other people to do all the aspects of the business which is so important, and let them take care of.

That is sort of one of those things where you can pass it over, trust that person or people or organisation to do it for you and then it just frees you up to really, really get enjoyment and form, as we talked about earlier looking at the things which like you open that you want to be focused on. So why do you wish that I had taken that step earlier to have outsourced quicker than we did? That's that's more of a recent thing for us to be fat. Yeah, yeah..

Good advice. I think we all need to identify what are our superpowers and delicate everything else as much as we can. Because, you know, I always talk to people about what their value of their notional hourly rate is, and the concept of a notion really rate is how much is an hour of your time worth. And if you're on, this is not about you know how you shout clients because you should never sell time. But if you are doing a task that is worth less than your notion hourly rate, then why you doing it?

Why? You aren’t outsourcing. You should all be doing tasks that at your hourly rate or higher, because those the ones that are going to move the needle forward for your business. So, great advice. It's always good to hear these things because we might all think we know them, but it's really good to be reminded of it as well. And just on your point, Michelle, when I was, you know, when I was running my PR agency, it was fax machines. It was printing off press releases, stuffing them in envelopes, put them through the franking machine.

There was no internet back in the early 90’s when I started agency, so they're very different world to the one that we are in now. And in some ways it was simpler, and it was way less distracting. And in other ways, of course, there's so many new ways of reaching our target audience. So, it's sort of pros and cons. Anyway so, we will include your contact details in the show notes. But if people want to find you, what would be the best way for them to do that?

But the absolute best way to connect with those is on LinkedIn and Facebook. Those of the places that we are most active, and see you will find us as Michelle Ewen and separately, Christian Ewen on LinkedIn. And our surname has the unusual spelling of E-W-E-N, and then over on Facebook. We are right on time, UK and again, please feel free to send us a friend connection request on Facebook, because we are active on our personal profiles as much as we are on our business page.

Eso anyone who wants to come into our world, we’re always sharing little prompts or advisory points or just a little bit fun. Lots and lots of pictures of our car, if that's your thing. Anyone who wants to just come and have a little bit of fun but also learn some really key skills about moving their PR strategy forward come and hang out with us on social media. Yeah, of course. We all know that social media is all ready for our pets anyway. Don't wait.

I will confirm that you're suddenly on LinkedIn. I always read your content. You're reactive on there, and you produce great. You share great content, which means it gets lots of engagements. You're a good advert for making that stuff work. So listen, thank you so much for your time. Today has been really interesting. I feel like there's other areas that we could have touched upon today. But I hope this has inspired you guys listeners to think about how media relations fits into your business. And also think about the best ways of you getting out there, as Michelle said, whether it be written or on video ,or audio, like these podcasts ,or compounds. Go and start doing it because it is such a great way of reaching a wider audience.

And as you guys said, it's also a really good way of building kind of endorsements, and credibility, because it's seen as much more credible than a paid ad. So I really concur with everything you said today and just want to say, thank you so much for your time. She has been an absolute pleasure, and we're so appreciative of the chance to speak to your community thoroughly. Enjoyed it. Thank you, everybody, thank you Rob.

The Importance of Building Partnerships in your Agency

Today, I want to talk to you all about partnerships. Partnerships are a really smart way for small businesses to win new businesses. They give you reach far beyond your own audience, and managing one relationship can deliver several clients and new leads into your agency. 

So in this episode, I want to share with you the two types of partnerships you should be pursuing and some dos and don’ts in finding and managing partners.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[02:01] 

Why partnerships are such a good idea 

[03:00] 

The two types of partnerships you should be focused on

[03:44] 

What are marketing partnerships?

[06:34] 

What are new business partnerships?

[07:39]  

How to create your ‘Dream 50 List - a target list of people that you would like to partner with either from a marketing or new business perspective

[08:13] 

How to work out a strategy to approach your target marketing partners

[12:26] 

The importance of addressing your potential partner’s fears of getting into the partnership and as well the benefits

[13:18] 

5 key benefits of partnerships 

[14:07] 

5 key fears your potential partner may have

[15:18] 

Pitfalls to avoid in building partnerships and what to do to avoid these errors

[20:23] 

Wrap up - Partnerships are a really smart way to reach a much wider audience

Quotations

“If you have an amazing partner, then they deliver you multiple clients in one year.” - Rob Da Costa

“Your ideal partner is someone who is targeting the same kind of customers that you are trying to reach but they are offering a different product or service.” - Rob Da Costa

“When you’re doing your outreach, you have to answer that question of what’s in it for them.” - Rob Da Costa

“Effort in is less than the results we get out.” - Rob Da Costa

“Partnerships are a really smart way to reach a much wider audience.” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Hey everybody, and welcome to today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. Now today, I want to talk to you all about Partnerships. Partnerships are a really smart way for small businesses to win new business, they give you reach far beyond your own audience. And managing one relationship can deliver a number of clients and new leads into your agency. So in this episode, I want to share with you the two types of partnerships you should be pursuing, and some do's and don'ts of finding and managing partners. So let's get on with today's show. We've been talking a lot about partnerships recently in my Agency Implementation Group, the self-running agency. So I thought it would be good to record an episode talking about the importance of partnerships as part of your marketing and your business development strategy. So let's start off by just kind of thinking about why partnerships are such a good idea. If we don't have any partnerships, and we are focused on new business ourselves, then that limits us to the audience that we've built in our mailing list and our social media and so on. And also, it means that we have to build a lot of one to one relationship. So we have to go and find that customer and build that relationship and win it, and so on, and so on and so on. However, when you have a partnership program in place, it no longer is a one to one relationship, but a one to many relationships. And what I mean by that is that if you have an amazing partner, then they can be delivering you multiple clients in one year. And you're just focused on managing that one relationship. So it's a one to many relationships. And that is really the key reason why you me and everybody else should be focused on partnerships. Now we're gonna talk about some of the things you need to do and some of the pitfalls shortly. But let's just talk about the two types of partnership that you can build.

And I just want to say about both of these, before we jump into that, that the ideal partner is someone who is targeting a similar audience to you, but with a different product or service. So let me say that, again, your ideal partner is someone who is targeting the same kind of customers that you're trying to reach, but they are offering a different product or service. And we call this a shoulder niche. So you want to find partners who are in a shoulder niche, similar to you. And as I said, there's two types of partnership that we're going to begin today. There's marketing partnerships, and there's new business partnerships. So let's start off with marketing partnerships. Obviously, we need to make sure that we are constantly building our brand and promoting our products and services to our audience. But if we want to expedite that growth, then we want to do the same thing, but to somebody else's audience. Now, if your partner is promoting you to their audience, then you are already warm, and you're almost pre sold slightly because they by association are making you credible. And that is one of the great reasons why partnerships are so strong, because you're no longer in that kind of cold, top of the sales funnel place. But you're actually already somewhat further down the sales funnel, because by association, their audience thinks they're credible. And if they're referring you, then they think you're credible too. So a marketing partnership can mean many things, it could be that you really like being on podcasts. So you reach out to podcasts who are targeting the same audience to see if you can be a guest, it could be that you want to do something similar but on a webinar, so you want to be a guest on somebody else's webinar, or even run a webinar on their behalf that they promote to their audience, it might be that you have an amazing piece of content that you know, is going to be really valuable for your partner's audience. So you offer it to your partner, they will promote it out to your audience. And of course, they land on a landing page, they type in their email address, they can download this valuable piece of content from you. And now you have got that email address to nurture in your email list as well. So there are a whole number of different types of marketing partnerships. But the point is here is that you want to get in front of your partner's audience. And you want to be promoting your product or services by providing some value. And in return for that you're going to get their email address so that you that you get them on your list and you can start nurturing them. Now often partners that we look for, like the ideal partner is either going to be a similar size to you, or even more, ideally, one or two steps up the ladder. Now occasionally, you might want to target partners that are a whole number of steps higher up the ladder, but they're of course much harder to actually engage with and get committed to. So when you're putting together your dream 50 which is something I'll come on to shortly, make sure that you have a few really aspirational partners that are whole number of rungs higher up the ladder but most of your partners or on the same rung or slightly higher than you, because it's going to be easier for you to reach out to them, engage with them, and get some kind of commitment. So that's the marketing partner, the whole point of that is that you get in front of their audience, and you provide some value, and therefore you can build up your mailing list or just your reputation with our audience. Now, I'll talk in a moment about how to reach out to these people. But first of all, I want to talk about the second type of partnerships. So the first type is marketing. The second type is new business. And this is where you're going to partner up with a company who will refer you directly into a specific client to provide some services. So the point is here, that you're building a relationship with a company that has an audience that often asks them for your services. And you almost become their preferred supplier, when you refer you in. So I have a few people like this, early this week, I had a client reach out to me saying that they have a customer that's looking for new website, could I recommend anybody. And I have my preferred website, developers and designers that I know and trust. So if I refer them to my customers, then I know that they are going to do a good job. And of course, that's going to help me and not damage my brand. So that's the second type of partnership, which is a new business partnership. And you're going to want to have a small number of both marketing partnerships, and new business partnerships. And to start working out who you want to target for marketing and new business partnerships, you're going to create your dream 50 list. This is a target list of people that you would like to partner with, either from a marketing perspective or a new business perspective. So what you want to do is create a spreadsheet. And you want to start listing those people who are in a shoulder niche, i.e. they're targeting the same audience with a different offer, you may know them, you may not know them, they may be really aspirational, or they may be people that I like so just a bit bigger than you. And you're now going to work out a strategy to reach out to them. So your dream 50 spreadsheet is going to list who these people are, who the key contact is. And you're also going to start to list out some of the ways that you're going to approach them. So let's just talk a little bit about that now. And from a marketing perspective, let's talk about this podcast. Because every week, I get at least three or four people reaching out to me to try and get their CEO or MD or whoever, onto the podcast as a guest. And I really see the good, the bad and the ugly of how people do that. And the really bad way is to send me an email that says my SEO is amazing, we've got this amazing product, I think he should be on your podcast. And I'll always reach back to them and say, well tell me why on which podcast episodes you enjoyed. And of course, you know full well that they haven't even listened to the podcast. And they're not going to get anywhere with that. The problem about that, that's all about them and not about you. And so when you're doing your outreach, you have to start off by showing them that you understand them. So in my case, that would be saying, hey, Rob, I've listened to Episode 10 and Episode 72 of the podcast really enjoyed it, I thought it was really insightful. However, there's an angle that you didn't discuss, and my blah, blah, blah, would be really great at doing that.

And that's very different to starting off talking about you. So that's one thing that you want to do is you need to show your potential partner that you have done your research, that you understand them. And the first thing they're going to think of when they get an email like this or communication like this is what's in it for me, why should I partner with you, because a lot of the time, they won't even know who you are. So you need to tackle that straightaway and talk about the value that you can bring to their audience, either from a marketing perspective or from a new business perspective. And talk about that straightaway when you reach out to them with that first engagement, which might be an email, it might be a phone call, an online call, whatever. Now your dream 50 list becomes a bit of a CRM. And of course, you might want to actually put all of this into your CRM system, because you want to know what you sent to somebody you want to know what your follow up date is and what your next action is. And you also want to have a series of prompts if they don't get back to you because of course, probably five out of 10 or eight out of 10 aren't actually going to respond to you. So you want to follow them up. Now one kind of rule of thumb, which is a really good rule of thumb, for me running my business for a long time, is that you need to be a rock filer. And what I mean by that is, if you're not willing to follow something up to its end degree which might be Yes, we'd love to pop top partner with you or no thank you. We have no interest whatsoever, then you shouldn't start that in the first place. And I see a lot of people start you They, they do that outreach, and then they kind of give up because they didn't hear back, you need to pursue it too, without being annoying, of course, but you need to give it a good go to get your feet, get some feedback from your potential partner. So that's building your dream 50 list, sit down for an hour, and try and brain dump as many potential partners as possible. And you can categorize them as marketing partners, or new business partners, but just brain dump list, and then you can start to flesh it out. Now in the self running agency implementation group, we have lots of tools and templates to use for this stuff. So if you're interested in finding out more, then reach out to me and I will tell you all about it. And I'll put a link in the show notes, because partnerships is one aspect of what we cover in the self running agency where we look at your future vision, we look at your new business, which of course is where partnerships fits in, and we look at developing your team. Now one point I will just want to re emphasize again, is that when you're doing this outreach, you have to answer that question of what's in it for them, because that's exactly what they're thinking. We're all busy, we all get these types of communications regularly. And we've got sort of five seconds to capture someone's interest. So you need to really make it very clear very early on what's in it for them. Now another thing that you need to do, and you're not going to do this in your initial conversations, but if things move forward, and you start having face-to-face conversations with potential partner, you need to make sure that you are addressing the fears of getting into a relationship as well as the benefits. So what typically happens is we will sit with someone and we will talk about all the benefits of why we should partner together. And you know, those ones are sort of obvious. But what we need to be mindful of is meanwhile, the other party is sitting there running a bunch of fears in their head about this. So if you address those fears head on, you've got much more chance of moving the discussion to the next stage. So, let me just really quickly tell you that there are five categories of benefits, and there are five categories of fears that you need to address, I'm not going to go into this in a ton of detail, because again, we dive into a lot of detail in the self funding agency implementation group, but the five key benefits are revenue. So obviously, if I partner with you, we both have the opportunity of getting more money into our agencies, loyalty. If I refer people in my network, then I'm building more loyalty with my clients. Because if I refer someone and they really helped my client, like with the website example I used, then the client loves me even more referrals is an obvious one. But if I partner with someone, I'm going to get new referrals. And the other two are all about protecting my network. Because if I refer people in my network, those people are not going to start trying to get them to leave me and go and work with somebody else. And the fifth benefit is knowledge. So what knowledge can I gain from my referral about my customer that I might not know myself? So those are the five categories of benefits that we will often address. But now let's quickly talk about the five categories of fear. So the first one is "Do I trust you?," because obviously, that's you know, fundamental to everything. The second one is "If I refer someone to you, am I going to lose control of that client relationship?," so that second one rather.

The third one is"What is the quality of advice that you are going to give?," and then the fourth one is "If you have a team, is my client going to get consistent quality advice from you?" And then the fifth one is "How much time is this relationship going to take to manage?" Now those five fears you can't always do anything about. But if you just get them out on the table and talk about it, then that is a big step forward, rather than just ignoring them. But just trust me, that's what's going through your head or your your potential partners head. So address the five benefits, but also make sure you talk about the five fears and you counter them where you can, and you acknowledge them where you can't. Now those five fears and five benefits apply to both marketing partnership and the new business partnership. So, I just wanted to wrap this up by sharing with you some of the pitfalls to avoid that I see people making time and time again, and I'm sure you'll be able to relate to some of these, and I've certainly made some of these errors in the past as well. So, I think it's good for all of us to be reminded of these. So the first thing is what I said earlier, it's about not being tenacious, like having one meeting, and kind of both agreeing that you're going to do something and then not really following it up. And then of course over time, things disappear. And then you might bump into that person in six months time at an event and you feel a bit awkward because neither of you have really pursued what you said you would. So remember, if you're going to pure partnership, you need to be tenacious and follow it up. So don't so my advice to you is that when you have that first meeting, you do two things you try to set an action on you and an action on them, because that will keep the dialogue going. It'll also make it easy for you to talk to them without feeling awkward. And the second thing to do is to try and get a date in the diary for the next meeting. So the second pitfall to avoid in that first meeting, is that you make a commitment to them. But they don't really make a commitment back to you, or the promises you make each other are too vague, like, Oh, yeah, let's touch base again in a few months time. And of course, you know, don't well, that that's not going to happen. And what you want is someone to be honest with you, if they don't feel like there is a good partnership opportunity, it's much better for them to say that and for you to give them the space to say that than it is for them to make vague promises, because that makes them feel slightly less uncomfortable. The next one is, again, don't start something if you're not going to pursue it just so you have to have asked yourself that at the beginning, am I going to follow this through, and if you're honest with yourself in the answer's no, then don't start it in the first place. The next one is about partnering with someone where there is really in balanced value. In other words, it might be really good for you, but not so good for them, because if that happens, or of course the other way around, so you're going to do all the work, you're going to really help them but you can't see what you're going to get in return. Partnership relationships have to be balanced. And if they're not, they're gonna quickly fizzle out from one side or another. The next thing to avoid is partnering with someone that you really like, but they are not in your shoulder niche. So their audience is not your audience, and you may really be helping them. But that's not really gonna help you. And I've made a few mistakes like this before, where I've partnered with people, for example, who are helping people launch their online courses, which is something I really care about, because I do that. But that isn't really my audience, I might provide value by being a guest on a podcast or writing a guest blog or running a webinar, but it isn't really targeting my audience. So, sometimes we get into bed with people we really like. But if they're not targeting your shoulder niche, you're in danger of wasting a lot of time. Now, the next pitfall to avoid is having too many partnerships. So it's really difficult to manage, and you can't apply all the things that I've mentioned earlier. So to that end, I would encourage you to only have one or two marketing partnerships, and one or two new business partnerships, because you can't manage any more than that, as effectively as I'm telling you that you should, if you have a lot more. So this is not a numbers game, you need your dream 50 list, and you're going to prioritize it and work from the highest priority down through that list. But your goal is only to have one or two of each of those types of partnerships at any one time. Now, once you've got those partnerships, another thing you need to make sure you don't do is that you don't assess the effectiveness of the partnership, you just keep doing it because you perhaps find it difficult to say that this isn't really working, or you really like the person or you're just not assessing, is it giving me the outcome. So when you set a

partnership up, you need to set some delivery goals, and you need to discuss those goals with your partner. And you also need to set them for yourself. And you need to regularly review them to say is this partnership worth the time that I'm investing, because remember, we always want to be working to this equation of effort in is less than the results we get out. So the effort we put in is less than the results we get out. In other words, our time investment is delivering the results we expected and not the other way around. So if the partnership isn't delivering, then have that conversation with your partner, and either agree to go your separate ways, or agree to make some changes to the partnership. Okay, so that's what I wanted to talk about today. Partnerships are super important for small agencies. And it is so much easier to manage to partnership agencies that might give you for 5, 6, 7, 8 clients a year than it is for you to go and find those eight clients yourself. Now, of course, these are not mutually exclusive, you're going to have partnerships as part of your new business marketing strategy. But you're also going to be doing your direct marketing, and your direct new business outreach as well. So you want to just have a combination of these things. It's not one or the other. But as I said, partnerships are a really smart way to have this one to many relationships and reach a much wider audience. So I hope that was useful for you. Like I say, it's something that we have been talking a lot about in my self-running agency implementation group. So if you want to learn more about the dream 50 partner list how to the specific outreach strategies, then consider joining the group and as I said, I'll put a link into the show notes. But other than that, I hope you found this useful. Please make sure you smash the subscribe button, share with your colleagues. And also please, please, please consider leaving a review because it really helps me get this podcast out to a wider audience and help more people which is the reason why I run the podcast. Other than that, have a great rest of the week. A fantastic weekend and I'll be back with you next Thursday for our next guest interview on The Agency Accelerator Podcast.

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