Episode 223 - Featuring Lee Matthew Jackson
July 17, 2019
Once you know your ideal customer, developing a long term marketing strategy is essential. To avoid feast and famine there are a range of activities you should be planning and then engaging with to ensure a health attraction strategy for your business.
Sales strategies are effective when converting leads, and extreme sales techniques are often applied in times of low income in an agency life to help an agency survive. A long term marketing strategy however helps you build your brand, and ATTRACT targeted and warmed up leads to you on a regular basis.
In this episode we release the audio of a recent presentation I gave on one of our weekly calls for premium members.
In the call I share a range of achievable strategies that you can work into your weekly/monthly routine and build upon.
Purpose of this session
The aim of today’s session:
Your target audience
It is so important you know who you are talking to.
Marketing vs sales
Both look to serve the same end goal (connect with and convert people into paying customers). Yet there are some differences.
You need a marketing strategy
In order to create the conversations you need to have to build up relationships and to convert leads into sales, you need to invest in your marketing.
Strategy one: Content
Content is still king. But remember you need to show up in ways your target audience can consume and engage in.
Strategy two: Social engagement
Sharing value on social media is a great way to build awareness but ensure you are socially engaging also.
Strategy three: Paid digital advertising
Regardless of if we have tonnes of content and a huge audience, we still need to attract new folks and build on it.
Strategy four: Print advertising
There is still life in print and depending on where your target audience consume content there may be industry magazines and other publications that you would benefit from exposure in.
Strategy five: Influencer collaboration
Are there influencers you can partner with who will be able to create content, or represent your brand?
Be sure to measure the results. What was quality of traffic driven. What do the conversion metrics look like?
Strategy six: Networking
Referral marketing is actually a thing. Your existing clients are a great source of referrals but so are people on the networking scene that you build up relationships with.
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Welcome to The Agency Trailblazer Podcast. This is your host Lee, and on today’s show we are releasing the recording of my presentation just the other week, to our premium members all about marketing activities for agencies. So if you’re not aware, we do have a premium membership where we have a weekly call with myself or one of the community representatives and we do a presentation on a particular topic and then we open up for questions. So this is the recording of my specific presentation. If you need any notes, there will be some notes as well in this podcast episode show notes that you can check out. Now, if you are not part of our community, then there are two that you can be a part of. Number one is free. That’s always good. You can check that one out on agencytrailblazer.com/podcast and then the other one you can find out all about on agencytrailblazer.com where you can be part of those regular calls. Anyway, sit back, relax and enjoy the presentation.
So in this session we’re going to be talking all about marketing strategies for agencies. Now the purpose of this session is first and foremost to raise your awareness of the importance of ongoing marketing. Marketing is what feeds your sales, so it is so super important. We also want you to focus in on your target audience and work out who it is that that ideal customer is, who it is you’re going to be marketing to, and also to give you an example of repeatable strategies that you can tailor for your business.
First of all, your target audience is so important. I bang on about this all the time. I did a whole conference on this with regards to Agency Transformation. It is so important that you know who your ideal client is. What do they do? What are they like? What do they talk like? Everything about them. What is their client Avatar? What are their problems? What solutions do you offer to that client? Where does your client show up? It’s so important to understand who it is that you convert as a sale. Who are those people you are converting as a sale because those are the people that you are going to be aligning your marketing to.
What is marketing from the dictionary: It’s the action or business of promoting and selling products or services including market research and advertising, which I imagine means probably nothing to most people. I would like to explain marketing by explaining the differences of marketing versus sales. And that should in its own right, help us work out why marketing is so freaking important and how marketing is feeding the sales process. So let’s take a look at this. This is a marketing versus sales and this is by no means in depth we only have a short time for the call and we can always go into deeper workshops in this, in the near future if there is some demand for that. Let’s take a look at the two differences and lets actually start at the bottom here. Sales is push. You are converting a lead into a sale, whereas marketing is pull. So with pull, what we’re doing is we’re attracting people to us, making them aware of us, attracting them to want to work with us, for them to want to align themselves with. The sales part is where we are pushing, i.e converting that particular attracted person and actually doing some business with them.
Let’s go from the top here. So sales time-sensitive sales is very much a back and forth or we need something to happen. We need to create something. There is a sale, we need to make this conversion. Whereas marketing is a much longer term process. This could be something that goes on over weeks, over months, etc. To slowly build up an audience and start warming that audience up and bringing them in. Sales is very much conversion focused. So we already know the person, we’re already having this conversation and we want to convert them into a sale. Marketing on the other hand is more about building awareness about slowly growing that audience so more and more people become aware of us. We’re not wanting to convert them all straight away. We want them simply to be aware of the brand and we want the brand to be showing up regularly in their day to day, hopefully eventually in their conversations as well. Sales is one to one. So this is a conversation that I am going back and forth with the person to convert them. Whereas marketing is that one to many where again, I’m putting messages out there too many people in the hope to start to build up that audience, off the back of that as well, marketing is much more abstract again because we are attracting a larger group of people were imagining who these people might be to pull them in with specific messages.
Whereas with sales we’ve got those one-to-one conversations and it’s direct relationship building. We are building up those relationships. And lastly, again, like we said, sales, if you’re going to remember it in the most simplest way, sales is push. You’re doing the conversion, you’re making the sale, etc. Marketing is about pulling. So if we look at this, we understand that if we’re going to make any of these sales, any of these conversions that we absolutely must have some sort of marketing strategy as a business in order to create the opportunities that we need as a business. So those the opportunities that we can convert into sales, we need to make sure that we are investing time in building our audience, in growing our reach, in people, being aware of us. That’s where the marketing activities need to happen.
Now you’ll often think of those feast and famine modes unless just describe that in a bit more detail. So you’re an agency, you’ve made a sale, that’s fantastic and then it’s all hands on deck. Perhaps you got two or three projects on the go. Everybody gets involved, the project goes over time a little bit, but that’s okay because you’re going to send an invoice and get paid, etc. And then by the end of say those two or three projects and the overhang of time that those may have taken, cause they went on a little bit longer than expected, you suddenly recognise that there is not enough money for you to continue to operate as an agency unless you make some sales. So this then means that it’s desperate times, desperate measures and you are trying all of the hard and fast sales techniques that you’re going to have to grab hold of to make those sales. That could be doing a whole lot of cold calling, running out, trying to find anyone and everyone who will potentially buy your wares and then sell them something.
This is actually the point where a lot of agencies start to make a lot of bad decisions. They start to accept a lower price jobs in order to just to win some jobs in, to get some money through the door. They will also start to bid on jobs that maybe they’re not necessarily the best equipped to do. But again, it’s money coming in through the door. And again, they also might start selling stuff to people who are not even the ideal target audience or the ideal client, which again means that we’re starting to get into this space where we’re less and less happy with the quality and the calibre of the work that we have. We’re just trying to attract anything and anyone and every, every project through that door because we have got a financial hole to fill. Now, if we can put our time and energy, some of our time and energy in one marketing activity every single day or every single week, something that’s repeatable, something that is not going to take up too much of our time but is going to at least grease the wheels as it were, of that marketing machine, then that’s gonna allow us the benefit of broader reach, introducing people to our brand and then bringing them in as a new potential relationships.
So if you think about the podcast as an example, part of the marketing strategy for Angled Crown and also for The Agency Trailblazer Community is to create content that will attract the right sort of people who will then potentially engage with us either in an gold crown for development or in the paid community. So you will have consumed some of my content and grown to know, like and trust me, wanted to align yourself with my journey and therefore slowly but surely you’ve then developed a relationship with me and we’ve moved you from marketing into sales and you are now part of the converted sales. That’s the journey. Again, if we look in at Event Engine as well. If we do the same there and look, we create the content for Event Engine and then we bring people in etc. We also do other forms of marketing as well in both businesses for the exact same reasons. In order to build our brand and build brand recognition, get people to know us, for us to meet new people, for us to build up those relationships so that we can then bring those people on into sales where we can help them, where we have something that will solve the problems that they have. By having that continuous marketing machine, we don’t have to come to that point where we’re at the end of a project and we’re panicking about who on earth do we talk to now to try and get the next piece of business.
Now I want to share with you some content strategies that we have applied in our business. The first one is content. It’s what you guys are already aware of. Content is still king, but remember you do need to show up in ways that your target audience can consume that content and they can engage with that content. So what we’re doing in both our agencies is creating regular content for our target audience. You’ll see here there’s an action. I would encourage you, go ahead and watch last week’s content creation call. This shows you some ridiculously easy ways that you can create content. The next thing I would recommend as well is repurpose that content for maximum reach. There was a podcast we did years and years ago and the chap who was on that said, the people often in content marketing create the content, but they forget the marketing and there’s a great talk by Amy Woods at Agency Transformation Live. I recommend you go ahead and check that out. That went live and you can see that in the library and ATL talks and she talks all about repurposing content. So if you’ve created a blog post, she explains how you can then go on from there. So maybe you go ahead and do a Facebook live stream so that maybe you’re answering some questions, etc. Then from that you can repurpose the audio into a blog post and so on and so forth. Showing up with content, it’s obviously going to help build up SEO. It’s going to help people who have never consumed your content before but are coming to you because they can see you are answering a particular need or a problem that they have that is going to start to build up the awareness. Remember what we said, this is attraction marketing. People will be attracted to you and to your brand, your pulling them in because you have some content that is of interest to them that they are going to be consuming.
Remember as well that’s also long term, content is certainly not the quick fix and I think that’s why people tend to give up because sales is so palatable. You”ll see the instant result of your sales conversation, you’ll have a sales conversation, you’ll send a proposal, maybe a follow up with a telephone call, you’ll close the sale job done. Whereas very often with marketing, especially with something like content marketing that is so long term, people will often do a couple of articles, see no return on those articles, maybe for six months and just give in. You’ll see from the example that we’ve done here at Angled Crown where we have consistently put content out for over three years now and I’ll tell you that first year was soul destroying, looking at the numbers of podcast downloads, etc versus now what we see where we are getting tens of thousands of downloads we are reaching thousands of people around the world and yet three years ago, you know I was looking at 50 downloads, sometimes just on one episode. Actually when we first launched hardly any at all, maybe 10 that was soul destroying. You’ve got to start somewhere but it’s going to help and that’s the strategy that we have found has worked for us. But remember I am sharing with you some strategies, pick a couple of strategies that you can apply to your business that will work with your workflow. It doesn’t have to be content, but obviously from my experience content has been king for Angled Crown. And as you’re aware, we are launching our content campaign for Event Engine. Event Engine has always grown because people know was in the industry. We’ve been around there for 15 years. They know me and Tim, we already have a name for ourselves, but we now want to grow our reach, therefore are adopting the same sort of content campaign that we’ve done with angle crown over in event engineering, you’ll have seen all those new videos that have been coming out etc.
So the next one, is strategy two social engagement. Now, sharing value on social media is an amazing way to build awareness, but we also need to ensure that we’re socially engaging. That means we actually are having conversations with people. So when we go online, it’s great to be able to schedule up some content of course. So do schedule up have some content, it might be expressing a view, it might be asking a question, or it may be sharing some content that you’ve created or sharing some valuable content from someone else. So they’re all great things to share on social media. But when people then also reply or retweet, communicate with those people and also go and have a look at other people’s content as well. Can you re-share that? Can you make a comment when you re-share that, can you comment on their content as well and have a conversation with them?
So definitely go and have those conversations. I know social media can be a bit of a minefield and it can draw you in and you can end up spending hours. I know everyone on this call is a professional social media person because you all hang out and our Facebook and in our slack so you know how to communicate and have good conversations. We’re great at talking with people in our own industry, but we’re maybe not so great at actually putting ourselves out there and going and finding the groups where our clients, that’s our target customers are hanging out and actually having a conversation. So again, I’ll caveat that with Event Engine. We’ve been doing a massive drive now where in LinkedIn we are part of industry groups and we’re having conversations and joining in to conversations and we’re actually putting aside 30 minutes a day and that’ll be one of a member of the team who will be engaging in that. So either Tim will be doing the 30 minutes or I’ll be doing the 30 minutes and sometimes if there’s a bit of free time we’ll double up and we’ll both be in those groups, having conversations, etc.
If you can commit to a small amount, maybe two or three times a week where you’re going to go into that place, find some questions that you can answer and engage with people. It’s building up that awareness of your brand, of who you are. Also another thing that we do is join a Twitter chat. So if there is a Twitter chat that happens for your community that you can join in, it’s usually once a week, it’s usually for an hour and it’s usually based on a specific Hashtag and then you can share a message or answer people’s questions or ask if anyone has questions, etc so go ahead and look for things like that. These are essentially small achievable things that you could just fit into your week. A half hour here, an hour for the Twitter chat or whatever but just some form of social engagement to marry up with the social sharing that you’re already doing.
Strategy number three, paid digital advertising. Regardless of if you’ve got a million zillion pieces of content out there and a massive audience, you’re still going to need to attract new folks. A very good example is that I went through a period of time religiously consuming content from John Lee Dumas and I listened to every single episode from something like one to 1000 but over time the content was less and less relevant to me because I had moved on to a different stage etc of my growth as a business and that was no longer relevant and I moved on. So remember, there are going to be people who are consuming your content that over time are not going to be relevant anymore. You’re not going to be relevant to them. Perhaps they’re in a different place and need someone else to help them, etc. Equally, you may have a huge audience, but a large audience may not be engaging with you as much. So attracting new people is essential. Whether or not you have an audience of one and you’re just starting out, or if you have an audience of thousands, if not millions. So paid advertising, where can you meet your target audience? Again, who’s your target audience? Where are you going to meet them? Are they typing in a specific thing into Google? Because they are, you want to be doing some PPC. What value can you offer them?
What are they going to be entering into to Google and what may be download or whatever it is. Can you be offering them in your paid campaign on PPC or equally, if it’s going to be in social media as well, then what can you be doing in social media that’s gonna attract attention. So let me explain that in a bit more detail. With regards to the Agency Transformation Live event, what I wanted to do was build up a bigger audience. So more and more people were aware of the event. So with Dave Toomey’s help, what we did was phase one was that we created a whole load of messages that would appeal to our target audience and we created some custom audiences of people that liked the .net magazine and all sorts of different types of magazines that were industry specific. So we knew who our target audience was, what our target target audience was likely to read, etc. We then put specific messages in front of them through social media, through paid campaigns to attract their attention, to get them to visit a page on either Agency Trailblazer or on Agency Transformation or an Angled Crown depending on what content we were serving them. Then we were putting them into a pixel. So that was phase one.
Phase two of that then was to then re-market to the pixel to start telling that pixel, that audience inside of that pixel, hey we have this event coming up, these are going to be the speakers, these are going to be what they’re going to be talking about, a get your ticket now, et cetc. Then for the final month, this was a three month campaign for the final month. Then we were doing just the typical, ‘hey, count down, there’s only so many days to go and only so many tickets left’ and so on and so forth. So there were very particular targeted messages. So that’s an example of a strategy that you might have. You may only ever want to build up your pixel for the first year, for example of getting people that are right for you and then maybe target specific messages to that pixel. The reason why we did that pixel focused advertising meant that when we wanted to put a message in that was going to convert people to maybe download something or to maybe purchase something etc, then we knew we already had a warmed up audience who are already aware. Therefore the cost of those conversions was actually going to be cheaper. So take a look, where are your target audience? What are the problems they have?
What value or solutions can you be offering them? Therefore, what messaging can you be putting on social media or pay per click to attract them? I would recommend you test the messaging that you have. So look at the data, test, the messaging, what converts best, what’s attracting people the most, what’s being clicked on the most, what’s getting the most engagement, and then do more of the same, but some sort of regular digital advertising is going to help you build up that audience. It need not take hours. You can get other people involved. If you’re a bigger agency who is able to get someone involved to work with you on this, then I will recommend you start with the likes of Adrian Bold, Dave Toomey, those sorts of guys who do PPC or who do Facebook campaigns, etc.
Print advertising. Print is not dead. Hooray. There is still a life in print and depending on where your target audience consumes their content, then may be industry magazines and other publications that you would benefit from exposure in. Now, in the events industry, there are several rags. When I say a rag, I mean a specific magazine that most people in the industry consume. There are a whole load of industry rags or magazines that cover the entire UK as well as in other countries, targeted at the very specific conference organisers or at event organisers etc. So we know we can put in paid advertisements, we can do a half page spread, we can do sponsored content, we can do all sorts of different things and we can also submit articles as well into these magazines so that you know, Lee Matthew Jackson or Tim Davies from Event Engine will get exposure in those industry rags that people will be reading. Equally you can do the same thing in local business magazine. So if your agency is very much focused on building websites and solving problems for local companies, then great get your content into those local business magazines or your advertisements. Other forms as well of print advertising would be some sort of print mail campaign as well. So if you’ve got a database, either a local database or a nationwide database where you can send them a clever campaign, then I would recommend you potentially look at that. Now, we’ve done campaigns over the years and we’ve always thought of something that we can always do to make it interesting. Remember two things, number one is people don’t receive mail anymore, so they’re going to open it. They’re like, ‘yes!’ And they run downstairs and they grab the mail and open it. And number two, make it memorable.
So if you can make that mail campaign memorable, so i.e personalised, maybe it’s got something that can be folded out and made into something or anything like that, that it’s gonna make you memorable, maybe even have something on there where they should take a picture of whatever it is and put it on social media and just do something clever with that campaign. Then it’s gonna put you front and centre in their mind. They’re going to remember it. I would highly recommend it. It’s something that we have continued to do. Even in this day and age of social media we’ve still done print campaigns where we’ve done custom cartoons or done a print foldable or whatever. I’ve done it for other clients or we’ve done it for ourselves and still something depending on, again, depends on your target audience, the industry etc, it’s certainly something that we would recommend you take a look at and consider. Is that going to work for your business? Is that something that you can do as a print campaign? And I’m not saying send out a flyer to thousands of people and hope for the best. I’m talking about proper thought out strategic print campaigns that may be you could do one every couple of months or so. Or just one core awareness campaign that you could at least try with some sort of call to action that’s going to bring those people to a page on your website, into a pixel or however you want to do that.
Let’s go into the next influencer collaboration. So are there influences that you can partner with who are going to be able to create content with you or for you that will represent your brand? Believe it or not, I’m classed as an influencer and there are several companies that I do work with to help with brand awareness and the way I get paid is most often in an affiliate setup. So any links that I’m sending off to people etc will push traffic that way they’ll make a sale, I’ll get a cut of that sale, etc. So you’ll have seen as well that I actually post products that I don’t even get paid for as well. So for example, I’m a massive believer in RelayThat and some of the benefits that it has for some of the bigger agencies. So I very often will share what RelayThat does and create videos. There’s been conversations with them about potentially being a brand ambassador or something along those lines. But as an influencer who has an audience, it does mean that there are companies that want to align themselves with me and they would like me to share about their company, what they do, some of the benefits that the problems and all that sort of stuff. I’ll only do that if I believe in the product anyway, but it’s certainly something that you could potentially do with influences in your industry. Can you collaborate? Can you get them to do some content for you? Can you get them to review some of your services? Can you get them online to have a conversation that they can share? So podcast, live stream, what are the different ways that you could do, could you pay them to post on their social profiles if they’ve got massive followings, etc. So take a look at that. What sort of influencer collaboration could you do? Or alternatively, the last option here is actually become the influencer of your industry.
That’s something that we’re working on in Event Engine. I’m an influencer as much as I hate the term in the agency space, people know, like and trust me. They are aware of me and they consume my content, etc. In the events industry, other than in a small circle of big event organisers that I’m well known, I’m actually not known in the wider sphere. So I am trying to become the influencer in that space by creating the content. In the meantime we are collaborating with influencers on LinkedIn, especially in that industry who are then commenting on some of our content or re-sharing the content that we’re creating. Whatever you do with regards to influencer marketing, don’t be blinded by numbers and followers. Remember, be sure to check the results. What was the quality of the traffic that’s been driven and what do those conversion metrics look like? So if you’re getting a whole load of great quality targeted traffic, that’s great, but also what’s happening with that traffic? Are people landing on the page and being added to your pixel? Is that your conversion metric or are they downloading something or are they filling in a form or are they x, y, and z. So be sure to make sure that you’re not throwing money after influences that may not necessarily be giving you good bang for your buck. Because remember, there are some influencers out there with fake followers and everything else out there.
Strategy number six, networking. Another thing that is still not dead, referral marketing is a thing. It’s an actual thing. That’s essentially what networking is. And your existing clients are of course a great source of those referrals, but so are people out there on the networking scene. So I would recommend this is something we still do to this day, despite the audiences, despite everything else, despite the paid campaigns, not as much personally because of family circumstances, but it’s something that I continue to try and do, which is regularly attend a networking meeting and keep in touch with those people that are part of that networking meetings and contribute to the conversations online that we all have with those as well. So attend a regular meeting. I would say there’s two types. If you’re a business that serves locally than obviously a local networking meeting or for Event Engine for example, we’ve started attending a very network organisers specific in the event tech remit. So that’s actually other event tech providers or getting together and networking and getting to know each other, getting to know what each others products do etc. Then we can then refer those onto our clients.I can refer app developers in the events industry to my event clients. Equally those app developers can refer our web platform to their clients, so that’s a very good example of how networking could be working within your industry.
No matter what type of meeting that you’re going to local, industry specific, I would always say educate the networking community on what you do, who you do it for, who you want introductions to, and what the pain points of those people are. What are their pain points? What’s the conversation that you might be that someone might be having with that person that would lead to you being referred to that person? An example might be that app developer that I mentioned, that I’m developer having a conversation with a conference organiser who is frustrated that they are unable to integrate their website with the app developers platform so there as an example. So that app developer now knows that I’ve got an integratable web platform. So they can have a conversation and say, ‘Hey, I know the guys at Event Engine, they’ve got this a web platform that apparently integrates with all sorts of different APIs including Zapier. Our app also integrated with Zapier, maybe we should be having a conversation with those guys. So it’s just an example, referral marketing is a thing can work and you can build that up through networking.
That’s six different strategies that you can easily apply to your business. Let’s just recap on those. So number one, creating some sort of regular content and marketing that content. Number two, a social strategy would include obviously regular sharing, but also some sort of regular engagement that is manageable, even calendared, but just regular. Number three, paid digital advertising where you’re going to create some sort of campaigns to a particular target audience and then put those out, test those. That’s something you could review maybe on a weekly basis and just put low amounts of money on and slowly build up the audience and the pixels there. There’s also print advertising where you, depending on your industry, could have your brand or your content in those industry rags, those local magazines or sending out those print campaigns. That’s something that again, you could look to do either monthly or quarterly or whatever your budget and your time allows. But just something to keep that marketing muscle flexed. There’s also influencer collaboration where an influencer may become a brand ambassador and maybe sharing content about you, maybe sharing your content for you, maybe talking about you or maybe even you are interviewing them etc. Having those kind of extra exposures to those audiences to build up your influence.
Then finally for this session at least, and there are many more that we will go in over the next few months through our conversations, but finally there is networking as well. Something that’s repeatable where perhaps you could go once a week or just once every two weeks, which is what I’ve always done, to a networking breakfast in a particular, either industry specific networking group or out there in the local networking environment. And with that said, do you have any questions?
That wraps up today’s show. Now the way these calls work is we all get together on the call and we have a bit of a conversation. I then hit that record button and we do the presentation that everybody can watch and often people will also ask questions in the chat feed as I go through. At the end of the presentation I’ll go through those questions and then we’ll open up for a live conversation where we’ll all hang out for another say 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes we might talk shop, other times we might just have a laugh and catch up, which is great. So these are my favourite parts of the week. We do them every Wednesday currently at 8:00 PM British summer time or GMT if it’s winter and you’re listening to this and there are just a great time to hang out.
If you would like to be a part of these in the future, check out for more information on agencytrailblazer.com. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this little preview of what happens inside, and I hope you got some immense value as well regardless of whether or not you decide to join us on the other side. Anyway, wherever we see you, be that in the free community agencytrailblazer.com/group, or in the premium community, or at next year’s event, or just on the interwebs, somewhere or somehow we will at least certainly see you in the next episode.