Growing an agency is very difficult, and you might feel unclear what to do next in order to grow and scale your agency. The Smart Agency Masterclass is a weekly podcast for agencies that are wanting to grow faster. We interview amazing guests from all over the world that have the experience of running successful businesses, and will provide you the insights you need. Our podcast is just over 3 years old, and have reached more than a half million listeners in 42 countries.
How Do Agencies Create a Data Story to Show Value and Charge More?
How can agencies prove value to their clients and eventually charge more? That's the solution Paul Deraval offers in this episode about founding NinjaCat. After entering the agency world later in his career as a software developer and finding the competition was everywhere, Paul shifted his focus. As Paul says: Who makes money in a gold rush? It's the guy selling the pickax." So he decided to offer his unique data reporting technology to agencies and created Ninja Cat in 2014. They are a digital marketing performance management platform built for agencies, media companies, and brands and help agencies create a . He joins the podcast today to talk about how agencies can prove their value to retain customers and the benefits of having automated reporting.
3 Golden Nuggets The crack in the fortress. Paul found that many agencies were using big black box algorithm platforms for reporting capability that was very limited in scope. Not really designed for that use. And paying a ton of money for it. He decided to focus his business on solving this problem and be the best in the world at helping agencies prove their value to clients by knocking their client reports out of the park. Deliver a story. Know your clients and know their appetite for data. More data isn’t always better. So, before delivering an 80-page report that they may not even read, ask what they would like to know and then deliver to them on a silver platter a data story that says here's what we did for you, here's the impact that had on your business. And don’t forget to be clear on the point “here’s why you should continue to do business with us.” Focus on the meaningful. What do agencies get from using Ninja Cat for their client reports? They get to focus on the meaningful instead of the monotonous. Instead of data chaos and data wrangling and client reporting they automate that process and spend more time actually optimizing campaigns and building client relationships. Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
Using Data Reporting to Tell the Story of Your Agency's Value Jason: [00:00:00] What's up, agency owners? Got another great, amazing podcast interview coming right up. This guest has a really interesting story and we're going to talk about how can you really prove your value, prove your worth, your ROI? So you can actually charge more and hold onto your clients better. Because a lot of times, if you don't know the value your clients don't know the value and you're probably not going to hold onto them.
So let's go ahead and jump into the episode.
Hey, Paul. Welcome back to the show.
Paul: [00:00:36] Hey, Jason. Thanks for having me.
Jason: [00:00:37] Yeah, man. I'm excited to have you on. So, uh, tell us who you are and, uh, tell us a little bit about your background.
Paul: [00:00:45] Yeah, sure. Uh, my name is Paul Deraval. Um, currently I'm the CEO and co-founder of a company called Ninja Cat. We help, uh, large scale agencies and media companies prove value to their customers through, um, automated and highly effective, um, data stories as we call it dashboards as well as, uh, automated PowerPoints and PDFs that really help you as an agency prove value to your customers.
Jason: [00:01:11] Awesome. Very cool. And so tell us, how did you come about starting this? And, you know, I know it's an interesting story.
Paul: [00:01:21] Yeah. So, long story short. Um, my background is a software entrepreneur. Prior to this, built a SAS company called uh, Easy Facility, an all-in-one platform for health and fitness clubs, like a YMCA or yoga studio. The one tool you needed to get all your different jobs done from member payments to personal trainers, scheduling, mobile apps. Everything. Very big product.
Um, was fortunate enough in, did that from 2003 to 2009, uh, when we got acquired, and that, enabled me to do some angel i
How to Position Your Agency as the Solution Clients Need
Vasa Martinez is the founder and CEO of Growthbuster, a remote marketing agency that has helped food and beverage brands reach new heights with community, creative, and innovation. After years of CPG experience working with many brands, Vasa started building his own company focused on the outsourced marketing department. Today he joins us to talk about his experience with brands, how he positioned his agency as the solution clients need, and why you need to follow your north star.
3 Golden Nuggets Bet on yourself. A lot of times a company might be really attached to “vanity metrics” and turn to buying followers. This is a really ineffective measure, as they usually find out when they hire an expert. Trying to steer clients away from shady practices like bots or buying clients, this company started making bets that they would grow their social media in four months. Trusting their methods has helped them win many of those bets. Follow your North Star. As a rule, Vasa and his team make it a point to work with companies that are solving a problem in the world. This aligns with their core value of “human first, business second”. That has led to saying no to brands that could bring in a lot of revenue but don’t really fit with the agency's values. For his part, Vasa says their north star is not growth if it comes at the cost of his values or his team’s mental health. Don’t compromise your team’s mental health. This is a very demanding industry but running a solvent business, working with some really cool brands, and scaling your agency shouldn’t come at the cost of your team’s mental health. Respect people’s rest time. As agency owners, we sometimes end up working weird hours but don’t expect everyone on your team to do the same. Follow Your North Star and Position Your Agency as a Solution Jason: [00:00:00] Hey, what's up everybody? Jason Swenk here, and I'm excited to have another really good episode, a really amazing guest. He's going to talk about how did they position their agency as an outside marketing solution for companies coming in.
So let's go ahead and jump into the show.
All right, Vasa. What's going on, man?
Vasa: [00:00:25] What's up. What's up? How are you?
Jason: [00:00:27] I'm excited to have you on, so tell us who you are and what do you do?
Vasa: [00:00:30] My name it's Vasa Martinez. I'm the founder and CEO of Growthbuster, an outsourced marketing department. I'm also the CMO of Outer Aisle, which is a food brand that creates cauliflower sandwiches and pizza crust.
Jason: [00:00:43] Very cool. And so with the agency, how'd you get your start? Why did you guys jump into this world?
Vasa: [00:00:48] Well, I found that I had some ideas that I wanted to see brought to life, and working as an employee wasn't the best way to do that. So in the back half of 2017, I started consulting rather than being a full-time employee.
And that turns into, uh, you know. At the beginning of 2018, I incorporated what became Growthbuster and started building from there.
Jason: [00:01:06] Awesome. And talk about kind of, why did you choose to kind of position? Or why are you guys going after the outsource marketing department?
Vasa: [00:01:17] For me, it's, it's nice to have a group of specialists and a group of generalists all on the same team when we work with different brands.
I’m typically running point on, on the account. So we never pass it off to an account manager that's just out of college or anything like that. So having that team behind you, that support, is the most helpful. You know, having the graphic designer or having, you know, an email marketer or a copywriter, uh, rather than just focusing on being a paid agency or a social media marketing agency.
It just wasn't enough for me and part of it was, you know, I treat GB as a CPG company. We work mostly with CPG companies, food an
Why You Shouldn't Forget to Treat Your Agency Like a Client
Jason Yormark realized the job stability he always hoped to find behind a desk was waiting for him as an entrepreneur. That's when he decided to take the risk and founded Socialistics, a B2B social media agency. Three and a half years later his agency, based in Seattle, helps tell businesses stories in ways that not only drive audience and engagement; but more importantly, real business results. Today, he joins the podcast to talk about how you should treat your agency, the benefits of long vs. short-term contracts, and more.
3 Golden Nuggets Don’t be afraid to disrupt. When Jason started thinking of ways to disrupt and help get his new agency noticed, he thought about offering clients an option that would get rid of something that they typically hate. Long-term contracts came up as something that clients don’t usually love about their experience with marketing agencies, and so he started offering monthly contracts and got good results. In time, many of his clients have opted to change from a monthly contract to a long-term contract. Treat yourself like a client. A lot of agencies don’t dedicate enough time to building their brand. They get so busy with business development and clients and that it is the first thing to get pushed aside. Building your brand takes time and consistency when it comes to putting out new content, blog posts, social media, etc. Jason’s advice is to make sure that somebody in your team is responsible for treating your business as a client. You can still outsource if you're doing the content. Are you a good writer, or maybe a natural in front of a mike when it comes to recording a podcast? Great! However, that doesn’t mean that you have to take care of every step of the process. Get an SEO editor or a video editor that will take on the heavy lifting. This way, you can focus on your expertise and putting that content out there. Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
Don't Forget to Build Your Brand and Treat Yourself Like a Client Jason Swenk: [00:00:00] What's up everybody? I have another amazing guest coming for you in just a second. We're going to talk about why you should treat your agency as the number one client. As well as we're going to talk about long-term or short-term contracts, the benefits, the disadvantages. We're going to argue back and forth.
This is going to be a really good episode. Now, before we get into chatting with Jason, our guest, I want you to do something. I want you to take a screenshot off your phone of listening to the podcast and upload that to Instagram and tag us because I want to thank you for listening to the show and do a big shout-out to you.
So let's go ahead and get into the episode.
All right, Jason. Welcome to the show.
Jason Yormark: [00:00:44] Thank you for having me.
Jason Swenk: [00:00:45] Yeah, man. I'm excited. So let's start fighting. No, I'm just kidding. No, tell us who you are and what do you do.
Jason Yormark: [00:00:53] My name is Jason Yormark. I'm the owner and founder of Socialistics. We are a B2B social media agency.
Jason Swenk: [00:01:01] That's awesome. And so how did you get started? How'd you fall into this crazy-ass world?
Jason Yormark: [00:01:06] Well, I thought, I mean, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit my entire life. But, uh, I was always searching for stability in my life professionally, and I always thought that that was, you know, a nine to five or sitting behind a desk with my paycheck and my benefits. All that good stuff.
But, uh, marketing is a pretty volatile career path, I learned. And once I started to kind of see other folks experiencing the same thing I wasn't. So I didn't feel so bad about myself, you know, jumping around job to job, whether by choice or not. So that's stability I was always looking for was right in front of me all the time. Which was doing my own thin
How to Qualify Leads and Stop Wasting Time On the Wrong Prospects
Mike Poznansky was still in college when he started working at Red Bull's college marketing division. Since then, he realized the need for agencies that understand students and deliver at the scale and quality necessary to keep up with large consumer brands. That's why Mike founded Neato and now works alongside the world’s best brands to design and run creative marketing programs that bring new value to both brands and students. He's here to talk about pre-qualifying leads so you can separate the good ones from the ones who are just fishing.
3 Golden Nuggets Separate the fishers from the rest. Sometimes clients come in and say “give us ideas” and you may have to if you’re a beginner and want to earn their respect. But there will come a point when you need to consider how much work that entails and come up with other options. Mike recommends telling potential clients the agency will interview the target audience and put together a scope. This research involves a payment to make sure that it's at least worth their while. It’s a way to separate the fishers from the ones who will actually pay for your services. Involve the client in the process. The times of coming up with an entire concept and presenting that to the client are over. It’s better to involve the clients in the process. This way, you can understand their reasoning when they reject something and have a better chance at getting them to believe in your vision. You also have better insight on important things not reflected on a brief. Have real human conversations. This goes for both your audience and your clients. Take the time to regularly speak with your audience to really understand what they need. Also, talk to the people on the brand side, on the client-side. Try to figure out what they're challenged with, because it could be something that they haven't even considered. Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
How to Qualify Leads and Stop Wasting Time on the Wrong Ones Jason: [00:00:00] Hey, what's up, everybody? Welcome to another great show. The smart agency masterclass. I have a really good episode today coming up with Mike, who's built a really amazing agency and we'll get into that in a second.
Now, before we jump in, I want you guys to take a screenshot of the show. And then I want you to post on Instagram and tag us so then we can give you a shout-out for being a loyal listener.
So let's go ahead and jump into the episode.
Hey Mike, welcome to the show.
Mike: [00:00:33] Hey! Thanks for having me, Jason.
Jason: [00:00:35] Yeah, man. I'm excited to have you on. So tell us who you are and what do you do?
Mike: [00:00:39] Yeah, my name is Mike Poznansky. I'm the founder and managing director over at Neato. We're a full-service marketing agency that helps brands connect with young audiences with a focus on gen Z and college students.
Jason: [00:00:51] Awesome. And so how did you get started in doing this and how did you connect to that particular niche?
Mike: [00:00:59] Yeah, I actually was pre-law. When I was in college, I had the, I had every intention of going to law school. I was thinking about being a sports agent or maybe working in intelligence.
And through a strange set of circumstances, I connected with Red Bull. My passion work was in the action sports world and a company I was working with partnered with Red Bull on an event. And the employees over at Red Bull said, we have a job for college students that we think would be perfect for you. So, I was a senior, I became a student brand manager for Red Bull.
At the time, I wasn't a big fan of marketing. I just saw it to be as something that was too disruptive or annoying, you know, kind of pestering. And through my work with Red Bull, even as a student, I discovered that it could be something that actually doesn't take away from your experience, but adds
How to Create a Recurring Revenue Machine for Your Digital Agency
Kevin Daisey works hard to stay on top of changing trends in digital marketing. He is the founder & CMO of Array Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization, social media, and digital advertising; and also Rival Digital, a digital agency niched in the HVAC market. Today he joins us to chat about how to create a recurring revenue machine. And also how establishing tight processes will not make you lose clients if they’re the right clients, and how his agency benefitted from eliminating the least profitable services.
3 Golden Nuggets Becoming a recurring revenue machine. After his accountant asked what he was predicting for next month's revenue and he had no answer, Kevin realized they needed to get serious about the business. So, he and his partner decided to implement 12-month payment plans and started converting clients to that plan. Clients pay for 12 months, even if the project was done in four months, and they can forecast on collecting that revenue. Figure out which services are bringing in more clients. Investigating all the services that they offered and identifying which ones were recurring and which ones were not, helped our guest make some changes in his agency. A lot of agencies try to do too much and think that to double in size, they need to do double the amount of services. And that's actually very incorrect. In the end, they figured out which services they could eliminate and which ones they should go all in. That helped them grow their recurring revenue in just eight months. Have a tight process. Establish a very solid outreach and communication process to establish clear payment options for your clients. If checks are just not convenient for your business, you can establish other options, like ACH, and offer a discount to encourage customers to use that method. You can also establish penalties for delayed payments. If you clearly communicate the benefits and downsides of each payment method, there are no excuses. Kevin and his team trusted their vision and were happy to see that customers started to comply with this new process. Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
Secrets to Becoming a Recurring Machine Jason: [00:00:00] What's up everybody? Jason Swenk here and on today's episode I have an amazing guest from our mastermind who runs a really amazing agency. And we're going to talk about creating a recurring machine, but before we get into it, I want you to do me a favor, take a screenshot of listening to the podcast.
And upload it to Instagram and tag us, because we want to reach out to you and give you a shout-out. So make sure you go do that now and let's get into the episode.
Hey, Kevin. Welcome to the show.
Kevin: [00:00:36] Hey, Jason. Thanks for having me.
Jason: [00:00:38] Yeah, man. I'm excited to have you on. So tell us who you are and what do you do?
Kevin: [00:00:42] So my name's Kevin Daisey and I run two agencies, one called Array Digital and, Array Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency that primarily focuses on working with law firms. Also, I have another agency that we started in September of 2020, which is niched in the HVAC market. So HVAC contractors, companies around the country, uh, with websites, SEO, social media, and on, on advertising.
Jason: [00:01:12] Awesome. I love it. Well, let's go ahead and get into it. How can people listening, how can they create a recurring machine?
Kevin: [00:01:21] Well, let me, uh, I guess start with kinda what led to where we are and obviously where we are is a far cry from where we want to go. But, uh, in order to get there, we had to have recurring revenue.
And so back about a few years, my business partner, Eric J. Olson, who’s actually a member of the mastermind as well. Me and him formed Array Digital together, after both running our own agencies for quite a f
How to Attract and Hire Your Agency Dream Team
Anna Shcherbyna is the CEO of Remotivate. And, leveraging her decade of experience in Business Operations and International Recruitment, Anna's recruitment agency helps online businesses hire remote staff worldwide. They handle all the due diligence relating to candidate communication, arranging interviews, discussing salary expectations, and conducting reference checks. Today, she joins us to talk about how to find and attract your agency's dream team. She shares why some job search platforms are better than people may think, why it’s better to invite candidates to apply for your agency, and why you should never hire for the fire.
3 Golden Nuggets Create a process. After going through profiles in some of the job search platforms (our guest recommends a few good ones) instead of going straight to interviewing the candidates, try to have a process in place. Identify 5 requirements for success in the position. You can incorporate that into a questionnaire, a skill test. This weeds out candidates who don’t care enough. Finally, ask them to create a video. This will answer so much, from their motivations to what do they say in the video and how they say it. Be in control of the narrative. Something that can really help you be in control of the type of candidates that will go through your hiring process and subsequent interviews is to not just post and wait for candidates to apply. Instead, after searching through some profiles, you can invite some candidates to apply for the position. This way, you’ll have much more control over the type of candidate you’ll be interviewing and filter out the ones who maybe have the wrong motivations or are just not good quality candidates. Don’t hire for the fire. Take the time to truly understand the position you’re hiring for. Try to have a clear idea of what success looks like in that position. What kind of background are you looking for? What level of experience would you prefer candidates to have? This will help filter candidates and speed up the process. Anna’s advice is “don’t hire for the fire, hire for the long term.” Subscribe Apple | Spotify | iHeart Radio | Stitcher | Radio FM
Jason: [00:00:00] What's up everybody? Jason Swenk here and I have another amazing episode for you where we talk about re, remote recruitment. If I can actually get that out, I don't know why that's so hard. But we're going to talk about how to find the right senior-level managers and hiring them remotely, as well as how can we evaluate and make sure that the right one.
So, it's a really good episode. Let's go ahead and get into it.
Hey Anna, welcome to the show.
Anna: [00:00:32] Thanks so much for having me, Jason. It's a pleasure to be here.
Jason: [00:00:36] Yeah, I’m excited. I almost wasn't able to say remote recruitment. I don't know why it's such a tongue twister this morning for me. But for the people that don't know who you are, tell us who you are and what do you do?
Anna: [00:00:48] Yeah, absolutely. So my name's Anna Shcherbyna. I'm actually originally from Ukraine and I help online businesses all over the world, help them hire remote staff internationally. Uh, it's been an incredible journey and the experience to work with companies that have all kinds of needs. And I believe, as you mentioned, we do focus on managerial and leadership positions, but we've always get some fun roles and fund requirements.
So it's kind of the, uh, the new age of headhunting, so to speak, uh, at times that's what it really comes down to.
Jason: [00:01:17] Awesome. Well, let's go ahead and dive into it. Let's talk about where can we find these people, right? So, you know, we're, I'm an agency owner. I'm looking to get some more help, so I don't have to make all the decisions. I need, like I already, I'm maxed out at managing these people. I want to build my team up. I think a lot of tim
Jason highlights all aspects of growing a business and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Loved being on the show!
Jason, host of the Smart Agency Master Class podcast, highlights all aspects of management and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!