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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Dec 31, 2019


Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres, and Ken Ott talk about (the struggle) of getting new business in episode #2 of Agency Exposed. They talk about their own pain points within their businesses, tools they can’t live without when it comes to new client acquisition, and maintaining balanced relationships with clients as a young agency. 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. Referrals are always going to be the most powerful customer acquisition tools- the Power of Word of Mouth.
  2. No one client should make up too much of your overall revenue- work to balance out this trend in the early years of your business.
  3. Long-term, deep business relationships will ALWAYS be your best advocates. 


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 


Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:


Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:34] Bob on Getting New Business

  • “Reality of an agency owner is keeping enough biz in pipeline to keep up with overhead first of all, to keep your team busy, and ultimately to be profitable.”

[1:14] What are your specific pain points?  Other than salespeople, what are other tools and methods you use to drum up business? 

[1:43] Ken: Metacake is constantly trying and testing new ways to get business

  • Ultimately “building some sort of relationship at scale with people” where people associate you with expertise in your field. Create authority in their minds when they think of you.  

[3:32] Brad: At Anthem, the difficulty is “Communicating to potential clients exactly what will benefit them.” 

  • More services = more complexity when explaining what Anthem can do for any given potential client. 

[6:25] From high level, what is the best way to get clients?

[6:50] Ken: Metacake has 3 main channels: cold leads, partners, & referrals. 

  • Referrals are not good to rely on completely, they are not repeatable, scalable, and consistent. Instead create a sales ENGINE that can be maintained and kept up regularly, with a combination of all 3. 

[10:29] Bob: Write a book! 

  • And market the heck out of it. This will create a built-in lead mechanism thats perpetual long-term because someone is going to pass that book on to somebody.

[13:40] Brad: Take note of where your current or past clients found you- and follow up. 

  • “I always look back at the clients we get and try to analyze where they first came from, where they first heard of us- I always ask them those questions… how they heard about us, what they thought about us, how that perspective changed after working with us…”

[14:18] Bob: Is there a tool in your tool box that you absolutely cannot do without? A tool that your business would be nothing without? 

[14:35] Brad: Word of Mouth.

  • Be bold enough to start asking those questions! 1st person referrals are GOLD. *Hubspot mentioned, link?*

[15:35] Ken: Highest quality lead sources are referrals.

  1.  First you have to be really really good at something and being specialized. 
  2. Second, you have to be able to apply it to client’s needs. Use word of mouth to show off that proof. Speak, get on stage, market yourself and your knowledge. 

[17:56] Bob: Create content about your work. 

  • Press releases about projects you’ve launched will let the industry know what you’re doing. Those projects will be searchable online forever!

[18:56] Content Creation: How to do it, what types, how to use it

[19:10] Brad: Planting seeds of content creation along the way is a great way to sow seeds for the future. 

  • Sometimes it might feel like a press release for a project is not worth it, but you may just be too close to the content to recognize the value. 
  • Press releases aren’t really to get into the news, but to be juice for the Google algorithm. Do this often and the likelihood of someone coming across your content increases.
  • Doing more written articles that are being published on LinkedIn and other channels to drive traffic further. Articles aren’t necessarily about the work you’re doing, but maybe even about your client’s industry to draw new perspectives.
  • Getting a “seat at the table” in an industry that you specialize in gets you recognition and helps you promote yourself as a thought leader. 

[25:09] Ken: Let’s talk RFP’s. (Requests for Proposal) Do you do these things and is it worth it? 

[25:49] Brad: RFP’s come by word of mouth for Anthem, and usually we only take those. 

  • Helps to compare cost/time expense vs reward/returns from that project. 

[27:31] Bob: RFP model is at one end of spectrum, versus charging for a proposal. 

  • “We will create an RFP and it will cost you. Value to you is that even if you don’t hire us, you can use our detailed plan to do it all yourself.”

[29:25] Ken: My #1 goal is financial independence.

  • From a business standpoint that means… having operating capital in the bank at any given time. We don’t want any 1 client to be so big that they dictate everything we do…so that we can make healthy decisions” 

[30:40] Bob: As a young agency, how do you maintain healthy boundaries with clients without putting 1 above the others because they are paying your bills? 

  • Ken: “No 1 client can be more than 10 percent of our revenue” 
  • WHEN this does happen, it’s a challenge to intentionally increase revenue everywhere else and be aware of not allowing 1 client to dominate the work of every other. 

[33:40] Brad: The way many agencies pop up:

  • Often freelancers start agencies with a big client that they use to create a business around. Adding new clients quickly becomes necessary, so they’re not in a compromised position if that big client becomes unhappy. 

[38:00] What tool/s do you use to aid client management? 

[38:33] Hubspot

  • Bob: Making your business your #1 client and changing your mindset around internal marketing is necessary to grow your business and get the clients that you want. 
  • Ken: “Any business needs to grow its business and grow it’s brand.” Discusses blocking out time to work on internal marketing plans and building the business. 
  • Brad: Uses Calendly to book meetings with clients or co-workers. Allows people to set up appointments based on your free time and schedules time to invest in biz dev. 

[49:36] Bob’s #1: “Spend more time with your current/existing clients- take them to lunch and continuously educate them. Create case studies about other clients doing different things.”

[51:00] Brad: “Send existing clients a newsletter to let them know what we’re doing for other clients.” Discusses letting clients know that you’re experts in other services, let them know what you’re up to so that they don’t go somewhere else for a service that you offer!

[52:58] Ken on the Real Value of an Experienced Agency:

  • “Being able to tell clients ‘We know this works this way because we’ve done it here and here… maybe think about doing it this way?” 
  • Be INTENTIONAL about flipping typical perspective that agencies only have 1 client and should be afraid to let clients know about others. 

[54:00] The power of LinkedIn

  • Ken: “The percent of the population that is an ideal client… is extremely small. So finding those pockets of people… on these consumer-based social network would take forever… LinkedIn is a much smaller pool that’s much more specialized.”
  • Metacake FB strategy is brand building and brand recognition. Content there is created for those who are interested in starting their own business. 

[58:35] Brad: What is your #1 thing for generating new clients

  • Bob: Build good relationships in person and online. Long-term and Deep relationships will be your biggest advocates. 
  • Brad: “Serve someone well and if they change jobs or move, the odds of them bringing you into new biz is high.”
  • Ken: “Important but not urgent things that will make you successful include truly finding your voice and what you’re good at, then creating content through that, for the sake of telling the world your perspective on things… in terms of tactics, maintaining our high-quality partner network is 100% our focus… peers that always generate high-quality leads.”