Scott Harkey FC RS

How Owens Harkey Made the Inc 5000 List with Scott Harkey


Scott Harkey is a partner at Owens Harkey, a firm that made the 2013 Inc 5000 list. He and his partner Matthew Owens achieved substantial growth by specializing in media buys, an area where they have substantial expertise.

Owens Harkey has not only had big growth in the past year, they’re also planning on going from their current $6M in sales to $12M this year. This is a fast growing company using proven marketing strategies – so if you’re at all interested in media or online buying, or in digital marketing for that matter, I guarantee you’ll take away some great lessons.

Listen now and you’ll hear Scott and I talk about:

  • (03:00)  Introductions
  • (05:00)  What is media buying?
  • (08:00)  What are the two biggest mistakes made by media buyers?
  • (12:00)  Would you encourage other agency owners to get into media buying?
  • (14:30)  What does digital marketing mean for your firm?
  • (18:00)  How does YouTube Preroll buying work?
  • (21:00)  How can you get started with retargeting?
  • (23:00)  What is the hottest trend in digital media buying?
  • (25:00)  What are some best practices for Facebook advertising?
  • (29:30) What are some of the best practices for image selection?
  • (34:00) Does buying media via content networks make sense?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Scott Harkey

Scott HarkeyScott Harkey always fostered a love of marketing. A native to Arizona, he proudly attended Arizona State University. Most of his time at ASU was spent studying marketing, and he also formed Mammoth Marketing, a marketing promotions company.
He then began to work extensively in all aspects of the radio world, in radio formats extending from Hip Hop to Oldies. During his six years in Media he ended up in the senior rep position at CBS radio and generated over $3 million in annual revenue (Job share position).

Now, Scott is partnering with a long-time friend and marketing expert, Matthew Owens, to build the kind of marketing services firm he has always envisioned. As partner, his core responsibilities lie in marketing strategy, business development, account services, media services, and broadcast production. His personal webpage:

Additional Resources

Robb Bailey FC RS

How to Pivot Your Agency From SEO to Content Marketing with Robb Bailey


There are a great deal of companies that focus primarily on SEO, and that’s a problem. The problem is, it’s easy to think Traffic leads to Revenue… and that ignores a big missing piece. It’s really Conversions lead to Revenue.  That’s why Content Marketing is such an important piece of an overall marketing strategy.

Robb Bailey of PageLadder understood this and shifted his company’s emphasis on SEO to an Inbound approach and has seen massive success from it. As one of Hubspot’s prime case studies for effective Inbound Strategies, Robb and PageLadder have a great deal of insight for you and I highly recommend you take the time and listen if you are using – or thinking of using – a Content Marketing Strategy (hint: you probably should be).

Listen now and you’ll hear Robb and I talk about:

  • (03:35)  Introductions
  • (06:00)  Why the transition from SEO to an Inbound Marketing Agency?
  • (08:35)  What did the transition from SEO to Inbound look like?
  • (10:00)  How did this change impact fees?
  • (16:35)  How are you prospecting for new business?
  • (23:35)  How are you using to find prospects?
  • (34:35)  What is the Content Marketing Blueprint?
  • (39:35)  How does the Content Marketing Blueprint help to identify the gaps?
  • (42:35)  When do you ask clients to start to pay for your help?
  • (49:35)  Do you require a client to move from WordPress to Hubspot?
  • (52:35)  Why do you prefer Hubspot reporting instead of Google Analytics?
  • (57:05)  How do you drive traffic to new content in the first 90 days?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Robb Bailey

Robb BaileyRobb is the CEO & Co-Founder of PageLadder, an agency that helps emerging growth companies bridge the Inbound Marketing gap through Content Marketing Strategy. His work was featured in a case study at HubSpot’s Inbound Conference 2013 by Innovative Marketing Resources. PageLadder has been recognized as a Certified Partner Agency by HubSpot. Learn more at RobbBailey and PageLadder.

Additional Resources


Groove Digital Marketing Agency: Key Activities and Results for Week of March 31st

how to launch a marketing agency groove weekly header Since writing a post about how I’m planning to grow my agency, Groove Digital Marketing, into my next 7 figure success story, the feedback I’ve received from readers has been very positive. Thank you to those of you who shared the post, commented on it, or emailed me directly. Your feedback was very encouraging.

In today’s post, as promised, I’m going to give you a look over my shoulder for the past week and share with you what I did, as well as the results that I achieved. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here.

As always, my hope is that my transparency with you can be the fuel you need to achieve similar results in your own business. Sound good? Here we go!

Key Activities in the Week of March 31, 2014

During the past week, I worked on the following things:

  1. Landed another $5M client
  2. Published an eBook to Amazon
  3. Wrote another white paper and created a landing page for it
  4. Instructed our designer to turn the white paper into a polished looking report
  5. Created our new client on-boarding process in Basecamp
  6. Ordered business cards
  7. Conducted a CMB discovery call with our new client
  8. Created a 10 step direct mail campaign for our Target 100 list of suspects
  9. Crafted our Twitter strategy

Now that you’ve seen, at a high level, what the key activities were, let’s dive into some details.

Landed Another $5M Client

During the week of March 24th, I reported that I did a total of 4 scoping calls with prospective clients. I’m pleased to say that the second of the four companies has chosen to become a client. (This was the company that asked me for the proposal last week.) The proposal outlined that they needed the following:

  • New website ($5,000)
  • Content Marketing Blueprint ($2,000)
  • Implement Hubspot and build the marketing automation engine ($3,600 to $6,500)

Their CEO called me to say that they wanted to proceed and they sent payment of $7,000 in advance (we require payment in advance for all work) for the website and Content Marketing Blueprint.

This particular client is a $5M company in the B2B space and they have ambitious growth plans. During the week of April 7th, I expect they will also proceed with having our team implement Hubspot so we can build the content marketing automation engine for them.

Published an eBook to Amazon

Publishing an eBook to Amazon wasn’t part of my original marketing strategy and I owe a huge thanks to Chris O’Byrne from JetLaunch for helping to make this happen.

About a week or so ago, Chris emailed me out of the blue to thank me for producing such helpful content and offered to help me create an ebook for free. His offer was a generous one and I was curious to see how it would do in terms of lead generation, so I agreed.

Thus far, the book, which has only been online a day or two, has sold two copies…however, our plan is to offer it for free, so the number of sales isn’t really what I’m after. I’ll be sure and give another update on how this has worked for me in a future post.

Target 100: White Paper, Landing Page, Direct Mail Campaign

In last week’s report, I introduced the concept of the Target 100 list. The goal of this list is to give me a finite group of companies that fit our definition of an ‘ideal’ customer so that we can reach out to them on a consistent/persistent basis. (I describe this in detail in my course, The Best Buyer Formula).

This week, I drafted a plan for the outreach: each of these companies is going to receive up to 10 pieces of 3 dimensional direct mail (one per week), all of which ask them to visit the page shown in the image below. The page isn’t live yet; hence my sharing only the screenshot….plus, I don’t want BI readers clicking on it and skewing my stats!


groove landing page how to launch a marketing agency

The final design will likely be improved from what you are seeing above, and I will also be running an A/B test on it to ensure I get the maximum conversions possible.

Each time one of my suspects receives a letter from me, it will send them to this page where they can download a white paper that we wrote. While this approach isn’t purely content marketing, content does play a large role in it. The reason for the outreach is that I don’t want to wait until our blog is popular enough to attract leads organically.

Over time, that will definitely happen; however, by adding in an outreach plan at the start, I believe that we will significantly increase the speed of our results. To put this in perspective, the entire cost of the 10 week long direct mail campaign for all 100 prospects will be about $4,000 and if we land just one retainer client, our return on investment will be about 10X over the subsequent 12 months. What will I do with the cash flow, you ask? Invest in creating more content so I don’t need to repeat the direct mail campaign over and over and over.

Documented Our New Client On-Boarding Process in Basecamp

With Liz soon going on maternity leave, the importance of making sure we have documented processes for all of our client interactions has never been higher. To facilitate this process, I decided to give Basecamp a close look, and I have to admit that I’m super impressed so far! Learning how to use their app took me about 20 minutes. It’s dead simple. As soon as I understood how to use it, I set out to create a project template that we’ll use for every new client. In taking this approach, we have a few goals:

  • Ensure that the on-boarding process is consistent, regardless of which person on our team executes it
  • Create a way to track all client communications in one place so we can avoid hunting through inboxes for messages
  • Create an easy way to link to our internal Wiki (where we keep all of our internal training material) from any part of the on-boarding process that requires specific instructions to be followed

At some point in the future, if enough of you ask for it, I may create a post to go into more detail on this.

Ordered Business Cards

Why am I telling you that I ordered business cards? Just one reason. I see far too many people spending too much time “getting ready” to be in business. We have now landed over a half dozen clients – none of whom I’ve ever met in person – without my having a business card. The only reason that I’ve ordered cards is because I thought it was about time I had some. :)

Conducted a Content Marketing Blueprint Discovery Call With Our New Client

cmb how to launch a marketing agency The very first thing we do with a new client is to do a 60 minute call to walk them through our Content Marketing Blueprint questionnaire. The purpose of the questionnaire is to help them (and us) to gain clarity into:

  • One specific buyer persona that we are going to create content for
  • The problems this persona suffers from
  • The solutions our client can offer
  • The topics we should write about
  • The lead magnets we can create to address this problems
  • The blog posts we need to write

In addition to the one hour call a client does with us, we then assign them a 2-3 hour “homework” assignment where they are to involve other key members of their team to finish the questionnaire. While the homework can be a challenge to complete, thus far, the feedback from our two clients that have done so has been outstanding.

They have both told me that the questionnaire forced them to really think carefully about some very important aspects of their business, and, possibly more importantly, about the type of customer they want to attract.

Our Twitter Strategy

Being one who loves to experiment, I’ve decided to try a new approach with Twitter. Each day, I read and share the work of others in addition to my own stuff.

With Groove’s new Twitter account, I’m going to start following writers whose work I value. I’ll then start making a habit of sharing their work via retweets so that they become familiar with me. Once that has happened, I suspect they will follow me back and retweet my stuff. Given that they have larger audience that our new Groove account, this should help us to more quickly build a targeted following.

The last part of the strategy will then see me inviting some of these folks to syndicate their content here on the Groove blog. Ideally, this will give us more high value content that we can put our own call to action at the bottom of (in addition to their writer bio). With more posts and more calls to action, we should see more traffic and more leads.

Additional Resources

Now What?

If you liked this post, and want future updates on our progress with how to launch a marketing agency, just click the image below. If you’d like to get even more help and surround yourself with other agency owners, be sure and check out the Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite, which is my mastermind group for entrepreneurs running marketing agencies.

Have questions or comments? Please share them with us in the comments below.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]


Groove Digital Marketing Agency: Key Activities and Results for Week of March 24th


Since writing a post about how I’m planning to grow my agency, Groove Digital Marketing, into my next 7 figure success story, the feedback I’ve received from readers has been very positive.

Thank you to those of you who shared the post, commented on it, or emailed me directly. Your feedback was very encouraging.

In today’s post, as promised, I’m going to give you a look over my shoulder for the past week and share with you what I did, as well as the results that I achieved. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here.

As always, my hope is that my transparency with you can be the fuel you need to achieve similar results in your own business.

Sound good? Here we go!

Key Activities in the Week of March 24, 2014

During the week of March 24th, I worked on the following things:

  1. I asked our writing team to write 5 blog posts
  2. Did a Content Marketing Blueprint discovery call with our new client
  3. Did a scoping call with three prospective clients (suspects)
  4. Wrote a proposal for a qualified phow to launch a marketing agencyrospect
  5. Wrote a white paper for the middle of our funnel (MOFU)
  6. Asked my designer to create a cover page for the white paper
  7. Asked my designer to create a Call-to-Action image for the white paper
  8. Asked my designer to create some podcast cover art
  9. Had one of our virtual assistants create a list of of suspect companies for outreach
  10. Tested our top of funnel (TOFU) automated workflows
  11. Created MOFU automated workflows
  12. Connected Hubspot to Infusionsoft using Zapier
  13. Created several automated campaigns for managing new prospects
  14. Published several more middle of funnel posts to the blog

Now that you’ve seen, at a high level, what the key activities were, let’s dive into some details.

Ordered 5 Blog Posts

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I will not be the one writing the posts for Groove.

Instead, I am treating Groove’s blog exactly like I’ll be treating all of Groove’s client’s blogs. This means that the writers that will be writing our own content will be the exact same team of writers that are producing content for our clients.

There are two reasons I’m doing this:

  1. I believe in drinking my own kool-aid (what’s good for me is good for my clients)
  2. Working “in” the business is not how a CEO should spend their time

I’m not saying that I will ‘never’ write a post for Groove, but I am saying that 90% or more of them will be written by people other than me.

how to launch a marketing agency

One of the most common objections I hear from people when it comes to not writing their own content is that they fear that no one else can write as good as they can.


Do you think Hubspot’s blog publishes articles from the company’s founders? Hardly.

Instead, Hubspot publishes content from a team of staff writers and other Hubspot partners. Given that Hubspot’s blog is one of the most popular blogs on the web (and the company has gone from $20M to $100M in the last 2.5 years), I think that their success is ample evidence that working with writers works just fine…SO LONG as you give them enough guidance.

What is enough guidance, you ask? Well, for us, it looks like this:

  • We come up with the title of the post (taken right from our Content Marketing Blueprint)
  • We provide them with a detailed post outline that includes the main key points that we want them to write about
  • We provide them with instructions detailed enough to ensure that the first draft is 90% of what we’ll need to publish to our client’s site

Did a Content Marketing Blueprint Discovery Call with Our New Client

how to launch a marketing agencyI mentioned last week that we signed our first client. This week, I spent an hour on the phone with them to help them get started with the detailed questionnaire that we use to create their Content Marketing Blueprint.

The Blueprint plays an absolutely critical role in the content marketing process, and the feedback from our client was terrific.

Prior to the call, I warned them that the questions that I was going to ask them were not going to be easy to answer, and that they should expect to involve several members of their team.

At the 40 minute mark of the call, they told me that, while difficult, they were absolutely loving how our questionnaire was really forcing them to think about who their customer really is and what problems they needed to address.

Scoping Calls With Prospective Clients

At the end of the day, everything that I’m doing from a marketing perspective has a single goal: give me the opportunity to do discovery calls with qualified leads.

When you end up talking to someone who already knows they need what you do, and they have already been exposed to your (high quality) content, the chances of your converting these prospects into clients is actually quite high – assuming they can afford what you do, and have the authority to say yes.

Of the 19 leads we generated from Groove’s site, 3 turned out to be qualified enough for a scoping call.

What is a scoping call? We talk to them to find out if there is a need for what we do, and to see if they would be qualified (budget, authority, need, timeline) to work with us.

Wrote a White Paper for the Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

When we created our own Content Marketing Blueprint, one of the things that was designed was our MOFU offer. Generally, a MOFU offer is a white paper or webinar that provides more detailed information about your specific service, what its like to work with you, etc…

how to launch a marketing agency

The middle of the funnel (MOFU) is shown as the Consideration Stage. This is where prospects begin to become interested in learning about the specifics of how your company could help them.

Think of this white paper as a very detailed brochure that is only sent to prospects who’ve requested it. This is one of the ways we filter our qualified leads from those who are just looking for free information.

Generally speaking, this white paper is about 2,000 words long and rich with images. The goal of the white paper is to convert a marketing qualified prospect (that’s a term we use to describe a MOFU lead) into a sales qualified prospect. Once they become sales qualified, it’s time to talk to them one to one; which for us, is the scoping call.

Created MOFU Automated Workflows

The workflows for the middle of the funnel are much the same as the ones for the top of the funnel that I created last week. Each workflow is triggered when someone downloads a report, and then a sequence of actions and emails are triggered. The goal is to get the marketing qualified lead to continue on down the funnel to become sales qualified.

Created a Target 100 List of Suspects

While I absolutely love content marketing, I’m the first to admit that achieving success from content marketing alone takes time. To help speed things up, I recommend you combine your content marketing with very targeted outreach.

how to launch a marketing agency

The importance of targeting a profitable market cannot be understated

To make this happen, I instructed one of our virtual assistant’s (VAs) to build us a spreadsheet containing 100 companies that met the criteria for revenue and industry. This first list contains one industry and companies doing $10M to $25M a year in sales.

With this list in place, the same VA will now be doing cold emails to this list in a very specific way (I describe this in detail in my course, The Best Buyer Formula). We’ll also be making extensive use of our TOFU content to support these emails.

Next week, I’ll be having her build several more industry specific lists and repeating the process so we can begin to collect data on the responsiveness of various niches that we believe are a fit for our services.

Connecting Hubspot to Infusionsoft

When I announced that I’ve chosen Hubspot as the software for Groove, several long-time readers wrote to me to ask why I was “switching from Infusionsoft to Hubspot”?

Given that I never said anything about my switching from Infusionsoft to Hubspot, I was rather surprised at the number of questions I got.

how to launch a marketing agency

So, with that in mind, let me be clear: I have added Hubspot and still use Infusionsoft.

The reason for using both is simple; aside from email marketing, there is almost no overlap between the two apps. Hubspot is awesome for content marketing and I’m using it to help attract prospects. Infusionsoft, while extremely good at the email marketing part, sucks at content marketing because it wasn’t built for it. In fact, there are zero features for content marketing.

Where Infusionsoft shines is that, in addition to killer email marketing, it also gives me a CRM and eCommerce engine, and I need both of them.

Think of it this way: I use Hubspot to help me to create epic inbound marketing campaigns to attract traffic and leads. I also use it to help me nurture those leads from being just ‘information qualified’ to ‘sales qualified’. Once they are sales qualified, they are copied over to Infusionsoft and then we manage the relationship in Infusionsoft from that point forward.

To easily connect the two apps, I’m using Zapier.

My Results for the Week

Of the 4 discovery calls that I did two weeks ago, thus far, one has become a client and gone ahead and purchased a Content Marketing Blueprint for $2,000. The remaining 3 have the payment link in their inbox and I am waiting for them to proceed.

how to launch a marketing agencyLast week, I left a voice mail for each of the three. One never called back, so they are no longer a prospect and are now ‘demoted’ to ‘suspect’ again and will continue to receive an email per week that is educational in nature.

Another called back and said that budget was going to be an issue and so they needed to delay. They will also be getting an educational ‘drip’ email per week.

The third called back and said that they had every intent to proceed; however, as he (the CEO who called me) had not yet received anything in writing from me (like a proposal), he didn’t have anything to share with his management team to build consensus to proceed.

I sent him the proposal on Thursday and hope to get a commitment to proceed this week.

I should point out that I’m not a really big fan of proposals; however, in some situations, they are a required part of the deal.

Now What?

If you liked this post, and want future updates on our progress with how to launch a marketing agency, just click the image below. If you’d like to get even more help and surround yourself with other agency owners, be sure and check out the Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite, which is my mastermind group for entrepreneurs running marketing agencies.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]


Groove Digital Marketing Agency: Key Activities and Results for Week of March 17th


Since writing a post about how I’m planning to grow my agency, Groove Digital Marketing, into my next 7 figure success story, the feedback I’ve received from readers has been very positive.

Thank you to those of you who shared the post, commented on it, or emailed me directly. Your feedback was very encouraging.

In today’s post, as promised, I’m going to give you a look over my shoulder for the past week and share with you what I did, as well as the results that I achieved.

As always, my hope is that my transparency with you can be the fuel you need to achieve similar results in your own business.

Sound good? Here we go!

Key Activities in the Week of March 17, 2014

During the week of March 17th, I worked on the following things:

  1. Created a Content Marketing Blueprint to be used as our 90 day content marketing game plan
  2. Had my designer rebrand our new Top of Funnel (TOFU) lead magnet. This is a report called “25 Website ‘Must Haves’ for Driving Traffic, Leads, and Sales”
  3. Had my designer create a call to action for the bottom of each blog post that is a part of the first inbound campaign
  4. Created the back end automation in Hubspot (emails and the blog posts they link to) so that when a new lead downloads this report, they receive a series of 3 emails to help them move towards the Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
  5. Published 3 blog posts that these 3 emails will link to
  6. Did 4 discovery calls with prospective clients
  7. Signed one new client

Now that you’ve seen, at a high level, what the key activities were, let’s dive into some details.

Content Marketing Blueprint

GrooveCMB3DImage-300px-wideIf you are going to succeed with content marketing, you’d better have a pretty solid game plan. Just banging out blog posts without a strategy in mind isn’t going to get you the results you’re after. Trust me on this one.

The goal of the blueprint is to force you to really think about who your ideal buyer persona is, what their problems are, and how your solutions can help them to solve their problems.

Once you have gone through this process, the next step is to come up with 3 campaigns that can be executed over 90 days. Each campaign covers one topic, has 8 blogs posts, and is published over 30 days.

All 8 blog posts have a call to action that sends visitors to a landing page where the campaigns lead magnet (ebook) can be downloaded.

When the download happens, a lead is captured and then the automated follow up emails start to go out. The goal is to have your new lead move down through your funnel and transition from being an ‘information qualified lead’ to a ‘marketing qualified lead’, and then, ultimately to a ‘sales qualified lead’.

The Lead Magnet for Inbound Campaign #1

25_Must_Haves_3d_ebook-450px-wideThe first lead magnet is a free report will serve our first inbound marketing campaign, which will consists of 8 blog posts published at a rate of two per week over a 30 day period.

I will not be writing these posts. Instead, I have created a detailed set of instructions and will be outsourcing this task to contract writers.

Why use contract writers? Simple. As the CEO, my job is to work ‘on’ the business, not ‘in’ it. If I’m to build a company that can one day be sold for over $1,000,000 (like my last one), I cannot be the one to handle ANY of the day to day operations.

The Call to Action for Lead Magnet #1

Within Hubspot, there is something called a Call-To-Action.

Essentially, it’s a way to create a button that will be clicked to take someone to a webpage where a lead can be captured.

Rather than use just a button at the bottom of the post, I’m going to be using Hubspot’s Call-to-Action feature so that I can get analytics on how many times the button is shown and how many times its clicked. As you might guess, I want detailed analytics on what is (and isn’t) working so that I can continually improve conversion rates.

To ensure that the Call-to-Action stands out, I had my designer create a professional looking image for me that I just uploaded into the Hubspot software.


Create The Back End Automation in Hubspot

On of the things I really like about Hubspot is their Inbound Campaign planning tool.

By using this tool, it’s pretty hard to forget anything. Plus, as my campaign is running, I can collect all sorts of data on how my content and offers are converting. Plus, at the end of the campaign, I will be able to see how my campaign did against the goals I set for it, as well as if the campaign achieved a positive ROI or not.

Below is a screenshot of our first campaign. The campaign is not yet live, but notice how detailed this screen is. It’s literally a checklist for everything you need to do to run a successful campaign.

In future posts, I will be sharing the results of this campaign, so be sure and become a subscriber if you want updates sent to you.


Published 3 Blog Posts to Nurture My Leads

The goal of capturing a lead is to convert them to a customer. To help my leads to move along through my funnel, I need to answer questions and concerns long before a sales conversation every takes place.

When we did our blueprint and defined our persona, we also determined what some of these concerns might be. In our case, they were:

  • How do I know that content marketing will work?
  • How do I get started?
  • What results can I expect?

The three follow up emails that a new lead receives address these issues and then point readers to the appropriate ‘middle of funnel’ blog post.

The posts we published to address these concerns are:

Discovery Calls With Prospective Clients

At the end of the day, everything that I’m doing from a marketing perspective has a single goal: give me the opportunity to do discovery calls with qualified leads.

When you end up talking to someone who already knows they need what you do, and they have already been exposed to your (high quality) content, the chances of your converting these prospects into clients is actually quite high – assuming they can afford what you do, and have the authority to say yes.

My Results for the Week

Of the 4 discovery calls that I did last week, thus far, one has become a client and gone ahead and purchased a Content Marketing Blueprint for $2,000. The remaining 3 have the payment link in their inbox and I am waiting for them to proceed.

Two of these calls were done on Friday, so it’s quite possible that payments will be received at some point today or tomorrow (if they do, I will update this post).

The Content Marketing Blueprint is the first step of a new client engagement. Once this step has been done, my client has a solid game plan for their first 90 days of content marketing.

If we both liked working together on the Blueprint, the next step is for my team to set up their Hubspot account (we call this ‘building the engine’) so that all the inbound campaign items I showed you in the screenshot above (except the blog posts) is done. If they want us to, we will also create the three premium reports for them for an additional charge.

At the conclusion of step two, the next (final) step is for my clients to put Groove on retainer to create the blog posts for them. We’ll also advise them on how to promote their content on their social media accounts.

Now What?

If you liked this post, and want future updates on our progress with how to launch a marketing agency, just click the image below. If you’d like to get even more help and surround yourself with other agency owners, be sure and check out the Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite, which is my mastermind group for entrepreneurs running marketing agencies.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]

Rhea Allen RS

How Peppershock Media is Using Online Video Marketing to Land Government Contracts and Oracle as a Client


Government Contracts? Easy. International Corporations as clients? No sweat.

You’d think from the from the client list that Peppershock Media is a specialty firm based in NYC or something – and then you learn that they are headquartered in a small Idaho suburb. So how did Peppershock get their clients? I talk with the Rhea Allen, President and CEO, about the strategies her company uses to secure big name brands, and how online video marketing has had a role.

If you’re looking for ways to land that next big client, listen in to this episode.

Listen now and you’ll hear Rhea and I talk about:

  • (3:30) Introduction
  • (4:00) What type of agency is Peppershock?
  • (05:35) What type of clients do you work with?
  • (07:10) How did you attract clients without being niche specific?
  • (09:20) Do you get a lot of referrals?
  • (11:15) How did you get started in business?
  • (13:15) How did you get your first government project?
  • (16:00) What do you see as the future of marketing?
  • (22:35) How does social media play a role in business development?
  • (25:15) Tell me how Facebook ads drove traffic for Bluecross of Idaho
  • (26:35) Let’s talk about how to excel with video marketing
  • (30:20) What makes a video effective?
  • (34:30) Let’s talk about the Century Link video
  • (36:30) Can you describe the creative process used to create this video?
  • (41:00) How much gross margin can one expect from making a video?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


About Rhea Allen

RheaAllenSince Peppershock’s inception, in 2003, Rhea Allen has managed and expanded Peppershock and has gained local notoriety in her persistent passion for causes. She is involved with the communities of Idaho and surrounding areas and has a vast working knowledge of how to generate awareness for a number of brands and causes. She is extremely diligent in obtaining effective media campaign results by planning and crafting relevant and compelling messaging for target audiences. Rhea oversees development of all Peppershock projects, from conception through distribution and follow-up.

As an in-demand Integrative Marketing Consultant, Rhea was a primary proponent of social marketing and traditional media integration within the industry. She has a passion for discovering and telling stories through visual and audible mediums. Her television news and promotions background in the Treasure Valley and at the top 12 market in Seattle provides investigative, documentary, testimonial and “edutainment” style to her celebrated work.

Additional Resources

Elle Phillips RS

How Elle Phillips Became a Successful Designer With Her Freelance Work


From freelance work to owning her own business, Elle Phillips made a living out of self-management.

In her 18 years in graphic design, Elle has worked her way to entrepreneurial success. Though this story itself is worth the podcast, her points on the importance of having a mentor, and becoming one herself, are really great topics as well.

If you’re a freelancer or if you struggle with pricing your services, this is a must-listen.

Listen now and you’ll hear Elle and I talk about:

  • (2:25) Introductions
  • (4:15) How did you get started freelancing?
  • (5:25) Has overseas competition affected your business?
  • (7:25) How has mentoring played a role for you?
  • (9:55) Tell me how you and Jason began your mentoring relationship
  • (14:45) What did you advise Jason to do next?
  • (18:55) What type of clients are you attracting?
  • (23:25) What advice would you give for designers on how to price their services?
  • (26:05) How do you work with clients that don’t know what they want?
  • (30:05) What are some of the most common mistakes you see freelancers making?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


About Elle Phillips

Elle Phillips2Elle Phillips is the Owner / Creative Director of Red Couch Creative, inc., a creative design group located in Eagle, Idaho. With her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Visual Communications, she started her professional career at 19 years old and has successfully grown and expanded her graphic design and marketing skills over the last 17 years, most recently as the owner and freelancer of Elle Phillips Design.

She’s worked with a wide variety of clients such as Pepsico, T-Mobile, Verizon, Spraying Systems Co. and VIP Products, among many others. Known for her ability to take on any project with extreme dedication and bring it to completion on deadline with consistency and grace, she has been working as a freelancer and entrepreneur-ette since 2004 with huge success.

Elle is proud of her ability to work with all personality and project types, happily extends her dry sense of humor onto those who don’t necessarily seek it, and enjoys assessing a clients’ needs with an almost psychic-like ability.

Additional Resources


My 2 Year Plan to Build a 7 Figure Lifestyle Business

focus-header-image-webNote: This post has been updated since it was originally published on March 17, 2014. You can also listen to me explain my 2 year plan here.

If there is one word that is most often used to describe ultra-successful entrepreneurs, it’s focus.

When you have it, you get results.

When you don’t, you’re just busy.

Ever since last month’s dismal earnings report, I have been deep in thought about the business that I’m trying to build and the results needed to get me there.

As I’ve thought more and more about my businesses, my products, and how I’ve been spending my time, I’ve come to the realization that how I’ve been allocating my time (and the actions that I’m taking) are not exactly what I need to be doing to achieve the results that I’m after.

In other words, I’ve not been focused on the right things.

Begin With The End in Mind

To help me work my way through my challenge, my wife and I decided to begin by creating a vision board for what we want our life to look like. At the time of this writing, the board is not yet complete; however, I can tell you about a few of our ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’.

Before I do, I want to emphasize that the reason that I’m going to share this is not to boast about what we want to accomplish. Instead, my motivation for sharing some of our goals is purely to (hopefully) inspire you to take this same step in your own business/life planning process. So, with that said…

Must Haves

how to start a marketing agency

Come Up With Plan and Work Towards It

With respect to the business, which will obviously have a large impact on our lifestyle, our list of must have’s includes the following:

  • We must add massive value to our clients and customers, so that they remain highly engaged and reliant on us for a long period of time
  • A recurring billing revenue model, so that we can build a business that can one day be sold for a large sum, and gives us highly predictable revenue for as long as we own it
  • The business is location independent so that we can live anywhere we like without restricting our level of income
  • Products and services that we are passionate about with a very long shelf life so that we can build a business that will last for the long term
  • The potential to achieve a 7 figure revenue stream with gross margins of at least 60% so that our net profit margin will exceed 20% of total revenue
  • A suite of products and services that are very scalable so that we can build systems and train employees to use those systems to run day to day operations
  • Products and services that are paid for in advance so that we never have to deal with unpaid receivables and a negative cash flow cycle
  • The opportunity to work with interesting people so that the business always remains fun to be a part of

Nice To Haves

While not critical to my happiness, below are a few of the things that would be very nice to have in my business:

  • Invitations to speak and consult that are close enough for me to fly my own plane to (I have a pilot’s license) rather than hop on an airline
  • A mastermind group comprised of people running $10M (or larger) companies so that I can organize retreats to some really amazing places, and be paid to travel there
  • A few clients that are paying me enough each year that I can afford to take them to Miller Motorsports Park for a fun-filled day of racing around the track in some really fast cars

One of the biggest reasons that I chose to become an entrepreneur is so that I can design a lifestyle of my choosing. What motivates you? Please tell me in the comments below.

Make a List of Short Term Challenges

In 2013, Bright Ideas earned a six figure income from information products and consulting work. The revenue from information products came primarily from two major product launches and the consulting revenue came from consulting engagements with Bright Ideas readers who wanted to use Infusionsoft in their business.

Given that we hit $127,000 in our first year of monetization, our results were OK (but not incredible). To repeat this level of income in 2014, we either need more consulting clients, or I need to write more books and launch more products.

The problem with product launches is that, in my opinion, they are not a sustainable business model. Worse that than, however, is that a product launch is a massive amount of work and pretty stressful (what if it flops?).

Because of this, I’m not terribly interested in building a business dependent on product launches, and as such, I’m going to need to do more consulting work with clients.

The problem that I’m faced with is that, up to now, attracting consulting clients hasn’t really been my focus. Sure, I’ve mentioned Infusionsoft (see…I did it again!) on my blog many times; however, thus far, consulting engagements for this type of client have been limited to $5,000 or less, and worse, the revenue has all been one-time revenue, as opposed to recurring revenue.


If I’m to hit my goal of at least $250,000 in revenue in 2014, I’m going to need to offer something much different that I’m offering today, as well as to offer it to a type of business that doesn’t (yet) even know that I exists.

As you might guess, I have some work to do!

Make a List of Goals

The Bright Ideas business (everything I sell, except consulting) will probably generate between $30,000 to $40,000 worth of sales in 2014 without my doing much other than blogging and running my mastermind group. The rest of the income is going to have to be generated by my agency, Groove Digital Marketing. I suspect the numbers will be about the same split in 2015.

As I plan to look back on this post in two years to see how I’ve done, here’s a quick summary of the goals for each of my businesses:

Groove Digital Marketing

Within two years from today, Groove will have become a $500K company with a 20% net margin. This business will have embraced the “built to sell” methodology and every part of this business will have been systematized and delegated to a member of the team.

Virtually all revenue will be from retainer income. The value of this asset will be equal to 5X earnings IF I am not needed to run the day to day operations of the company.

This is pretty much what I did while running my last company, Dyrand Systems. In year two, I think we did just shy of $500K; about half of which was recurring revenue. By 2008, we were doing just under $2M and I sold it for $1.2M :)

how to start a marketing agency

I Plan to See This Company Become the Beacon for Groove

Bright Ideas

Bright Ideas will be the platform where I talk about what we are doing to build Groove. The content produced will be of interest to other agencies and entrepreneurs in general. Revenue will be $500K.

I came up with these numbers after a talk with a guy I really respect. His business has the exact same model as Bright Ideas (we create high value free content to generate traffic, and then monetize that traffic with info products, affiliate income, and our mastermind groups.

Like me, he also has a services division that does work for his clients – though his service business caters more to other information marketers, as opposed to the type of clients that I will pursue with Groove.

When I found out that his business did $2.5 million (with a net profit margin of 50%!)  in the last year, I was pretty stoked, to say the least. As I couldn’t wrap my mind around hitting that figure within 2 years, I thought $500K would be something that was more believable; especially if my success with Groove gives me the street cred to attract more mastermind members at a higher price point than I charge now (his pay $18,000/year and he’s got 40 of them).

Make a Plan to Get From Here to There

how to start a marketing agency

If I Don’t Set My Goals How Will I Know Where to Go?

Below is a short summary of my plans for Groove and Bright Ideas.

Groove Digital Marketing

Effective immediately, my primary focus will shift to growing Groove into a 7-figure business, and to do that, my plan is to offer content marketing services to businesses that can get an ROI on a monthly retainer of $3,000/month or more.

In hindsight, this is a decision that I should have made a year ago; however, there are two reasons why this didn’t happen.

Reason #1: My last business was really hard to grow. We were an outsourced IT department for small businesses and our clients paid us a monthly retainer for this.

The reasons it was so hard to grow were twofold: first, no one really wants to pay for IT support, and second, due to the nature of our business, attracting larger clients was incredibly difficult because selling to companies with one full-time IT manager involved a massive amount of politics (they feared for their jobs).

As a results of this experience, up to just recently, I swore I would never get into another services business as my primary means of income.

Reason #2: Thanks to my podcast, I have had the opportunity to interview quite a number of inbound marketing agency owners, and they have all been having quite a bit of success.

Unlike IT services, marketing services is something that CEOs want to buy because they know that effective marketing will help them to increase profits. And, thanks to my understanding of how to create documented processes and outsourcing, I am extremely confident that providing content marketing services can be treated as a scalable ‘product’ business in ways that offering IT support could never do.

With a scalable product offering, we should be able to grow faster! (assuming my sales engines is optimized, of course)

Sidebar: If you haven’t yet checked out my podcast, you should. The amount of free training in provided by my podcast exponentially exceeds what I have created in my paid products.

how to start a marketing agency

Know Who to Target and How

The Niches We’ll Target

Initially, we are going to focus on two niches: financial services and industrial manufacturers. By specializing, the goal is to:

  • Decrease direct competition from generalists
  • Increase our ability to charge premium pricing
  • Increase the likelihood of referrals
  • Have fewer places we need to advertise
  • Create more compelling offers and lead magnets
  • Develop high levels of industry specific expertise

The reason for the financial services niche is that I spent my first career in that niche so I have a better than average understanding of it. In addition, profits margins in financial services tend to be quite good and there are plenty of companies in the $10-50M range to target.

The reason for the industrial manufacturing niche is that they sell very high ticket items and aren’t generally known to be very good marketers. For this reason, I believe that we will be able to charge premium prices for premium quality content marketing. I have also interviewed several CEOs in this space and they have confirmed my assumptions.

My Lead Generation Plan

To acquire leads, we will:

  • Use the Content Marketer’s Blueprint (CMB) combined with Hubspot for Groove to build traffic to our site*
  • Contact existing Hubspot users who might not be getting the ROI there were hoping for
  • Perform Seek and Assist on LinkedIn
  • Buy Facebook Ads to promote webinars and other lead magnets
  • Speak at Vistage (I’ve just become an “approved” speaker, thanks to an introduction made by a past guest on my show)
  • Use dimensional direct mail + content to pursue my “Target 100” list of ideal prospects.

*as a result of a recent interview, I discovered the content marketers blueprint and how it ties into Hubspot. Suffice to say, I was blown away by what I saw. Infusionsoft is awesome for information marketers, people who want/need ecommerce, and people who want just one system to use ; however, as I’ve just recently discovered, Hubspot is ‘the shiz’ for content marketers looking for detailed analytics on what is working. Look for future posts on this.

Required Resources

In order to achieve the maximum benefit from the CMB, we have purchased Hubspot at a cost of $800/month. This is a significant investment; however, I cannot credibly sell content marketing in the way that I plan to without using the same tools myself.

The Groove Website needs a facelift which will cost $500 and a day or two of my time (this is actually done already).

Initially, my role will see me working “in” the business, and as cash flow allows, I will hire more employees to take over my day to day roles, thereby allowing me to transition to working “on” the business almost exclusively. With the time I free up by working “on” and not “in” the business, I will be able to invest time into building Bright Ideas into a much more successful business than it is today. 

Bright Ideas

James Schramko has proven that a personal blog can be built into a 7 figure business and the key driver to achieving this result is the production of very high quality, helpful content.

Many others (including me) have proven that providing incredibly helpful content for free creates a highly engaged audience and a very large mailing list.

Given that our near term monetization plan is focused on Groove, aside from creating content, Bright Ideas needn’t consume as much time as it has in the past.

More advanced funnels, product launches, etc, are all items that, given the current size of my list and volume of traffic, don’t offer a high enough ROI to warrant the time investment required.

Required Resources

Given that Bright Ideas content will be centered around sharing the story of how I’m building Groove (the stories of other enterpreneurs’ successes will continue to be shared via the podcast) into a 7 figure business, I suspect that the audience demographic will shift more towards agency owners and consultants as time goes by. 

To ensure that new visitors are clear about who Bright Ideas is for and what they will learn, I am going to make some changes to the lead magnet on my home page.

Currently, the home page looks like this:


Yesterday, I sent my designer the following mockup and asked her to create something attractive.


With this type of lead magnet, I don’t need to create a new course (this would take time). Instead, all I need to produce is one blog post per week to detail my progress. The post could be as simple as what I did that week and the results I achieved.

More importantly, by offering this type of “look over my shoulder” content, I expect that I will also attract the type of reader I most want to have and this will likely generate more leads for the mastermind group.

In the near term, the only monetization system that needs to be built is a new version of my resources page that I’ve started referring to in recent podcast recordings (these recordings will start to air in a few weeks).

Assess the Time Required to Execute The Plan

No plan is worth the paper it’s written on if it isn’t feasible from a resource standpoint. Given that time is my most precious resource, I thought I would produce an estimate of how I plan to allocate my time to execute my plan.


As you can see, I only account for 34 hours per week of productivity, where as I will work a total of about 45 hours. This is because it would be impossible for me to produce 40 hours of productive work in a 40 hour week. Email, which is a necessary evil, is a somewhat unproductive time pig. Oink!

Adjust and Fine Tune

In 3 to 6 months, when I read this post again, I’m sure that, with hindsight to my benefit, I will see all sorts of flaws in my plan that are invisible to me today. Such is the nature of the beast.

If you’d like to join me for this journey, please be sure and become a subscriber today by clicking the button down below. It’s going to be another incredible ride and I’d be stoked to have you join me!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]

Lee-Frederiksen 4in x in x 300dpi x FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: Lee Frederiksen on How He Used Content Marketing to Attract $100M Clients


Lee Frederiksen is an acclaimed author and Managing Partner at Hinge, a re-branding and consulting agency for professional services firms.

I had the distinct pleasure to talk with this very intelligent and successful guest and learn how he used content marketing to attract high revenue clients. Lee shared some truly brilliant marketing ideas with me; I was so impressed that I went back and re-listened to our entire interview.

With clients reaching the billion dollar mark in sales, Lee is an expert in bringing on quality leads and establishing solid relationships.  Listen as we discuss lead generation techniques, finding the right firms, and creating a winning content marketing strategy.

(If you want to hear more from agency leaders on lead generation and digital marketing strategy, be sure and check out this podcast episode with Toby Jenkins.)

Listen now and you’ll hear Lee and I talk about:

  • (02:30) Guest background and introduction
  • (04:30) What are some of the marketing challenges faced by professional services firms?
  • (06:00) What are the marketing activities professional services firms should be using?
  • (13:30) Can you tell us about your content marketing strategy?
  • (23:30) Can you tell us how you ensure your content is seen by your audience?
  • (26:30) Please tell us how you capture leads from your site
  • (28:30) How do you nurture your leads?
  • (34:30) What advice do you have for new content marketers?
  • (38:30) Why is niche specialization so important?
  • (44:30) Why did you choose professional services opposed to a sub-niche?
  • (46:30) How does paid traffic play a role?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast. I am your host,
Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast where we feature interviews
with entrepreneurs behind some of today’s fastest growing companies.If you’re looking for proven tactics and strategies to help you start
a new business or grow an existing one, you are in the right place.In each and every episode we do an interview with a proven expert, and
I get them to share all the nuts and bolts and the strategies and the
tactics that they have used to achieve that success. In this episode,
that is going to be exactly what you’ve got coming your way.My guest in this episode is a fellow by the name of Lee Frederickson.
He is a managing partner behind a very successful marketing firm
called Hinge.They have a roster of clients that are in the professional services
space from anywhere from about $10 million in annual sales up to over
$1 billion. The client engagements, just for example, one of the types
of engagements that we talked about in this interview is a re-branding
engagement. Those typically will sell for between $80,000 and
$120,000.The way that they have achieved their success and the way that they
attract their clients is through a very, very specific content
marketing strategy, which we dive into in great detail here in this
episode.Lee is a Ph.D., and he is an author of three books on the topic. If
you go to the “About” page of Hinge and you read his bio, you’re going
to see that he is an incredibly well educated and successful
individual.Getting to have a whole hour of his free consulting time here is going
to be incredibly valuable. We’re going to get to that in just a
second.Before we do, speaking of content marketing, if you’re new to the show
and you don’t already know, I have also written a book on content
marketing called the “Digital Marketing Handbook’.You can learn more about that at With that said,
please join me in welcoming Lee to the show.Hi, Lee. Welcome to the show.Lee: Well, hello. It’s a pleasure being here.Trent: Thank you so much for making some time to come on with me and
talk about how
professional services firms can successfully attract more clients.Now, before we get into all of the details of what I’m sure is going
to be a very interesting discussion, I’m sure that many of the folks
in my audience don’t yet know who you are, and so I’d like to give you
an opportunity in your own words to just introduce yourself, who you
are, and what you do.Lee: Okay. I am the managing partner of a firm called Hinge. We are a
branding and
marketing firm that specializes exclusively in professional services
organizations. Our clients are management consultants, marketing
firms, accountants, technology companies, architects, engineers, the
kind of people who sell their expertise.That is the only kind of firm we work for. The kinds of things we do
is we help them research their clients, position and brand their
firms, and do marketing programs to generate new leads and
opportunities and turn those into clients.Trent: Okay. So profession services firms. There’s obviously lots of
opportunity there. I know
that applies to a wide range of companies like the ones that you’ve
just listed off. In our pre-chat you had mentioned that you’ve written
three different books to help that particular tribe of individuals to
be more successful at this.Why don’t we kind of dive in right at the very top. Lee, so for
professional services firms, what do you think are some of the biggest
challenges that they face when it comes to client attraction?Lee: Well, there’s actually a lot of commonality across firms. Usually the
biggest thing is how
do I found and attract leads. I think people are sort of stuck in the
notion that the way they do that is they go out and they find people
and they try to convince them that they need to become clients of
those.While that’s certainly a traditional way of doing it, it’s not a very
effective or efficient way. I think the thing is, how do they generate
the leads that get them to the point where they can have a real
substantive conversation about it? They seem less concerned on the
whole with closing the sale than they are with generating the
opportunity in the first place.Trent: Okay. What you’re looking, if I’m understanding you correctly,
the big challenge is you
want to find people who already know that they’re looking. They
already know that they have a problem to solve, and you need to get in
their path of research so that you have an opportunity to have a
conversation with them?Lee: Yes. I think that’s exactly right. Actually, you raised a very
important point there that’s
kind of nuanced but it’s critical, and that is find a person who knows
that they have a problem. Here’s the thing with professional services.
For many problems or business issues that clients face, there’s more
than one potential solution.

For example, if you’re a firm and your margins are weak, you maybe
could have someone help you with cost cutting to improve your margins,
or someone to help you with your process, or someone to automate part
of it, or someone to bring you in new clients with higher margins.

Right away you have four or five potential solutions right off the
top, different directions. The key for professional services is how do
you get in the discussion early enough so you can help shape the
discussion of what is the appropriate solution for that potential

I think what happens is people often start too late. They’re focusing
on, “Well, let me find someone who’s ready to hire a new accounting
firm right now.” Well, there’s only a small proportion of your
potential clients who are ready at the particular moment you want it,
so you may be aiming too late at the process with your efforts.

Trent: Yes, that makes a whole lot of sense. What are some of the
things then that you, in your
books, talk about, are the activities that professional services firms
should be engaged in early on to get themselves on the radar screen of
their prospective clients before it’s too late?

Lee: That’s an excellent question. Let me back up a little bit and give
you a context for what I
think is the right answer to that.

The thing I love about Hinge is that we have an interesting kind of
situation. We decided early on that what we were going to do is we
were going to start out by researching the clients, potential clients,
as thoroughly as we could.

Then, when we found something that was going to be a good potential
solution for professional services firms, we would try it ourselves.

Once we have tried it and we have mastered it for our own, then we
would offer it to our clients. That allowed us then to go into the
situation with potential clients and say, “We’ve got experience with
this. We’ve done it ourselves. It’s based on research. We know how it
works.” That turns out to be an incredibly effective way for us to get
new business.

I think if you apply that lesson in what we learned, it’s if you can
find a group of potential clients for which you have not only a
solution that will work with them but have a very credible story to
talk about, then you’re in a position to begin the educational part of
the relationship, which transitions very nicely into actually having
them become a client.

The thing you’re trying to do is demonstrate to your potential client
that you understand the issue thoroughly, that you have a potential
solution, and that you can effectively solve their problem. I’m afraid
that’s a little bit of a roundabout answer, but I think it really gets
the essence to what you need to do.

Trent: Absolutely. Give me an example of what you’re talking about in
something that you guys
did for yourselves. You tested it, you got the research, and then you
started to use that to attract clients.

Lee: I’ll give you one simple example. When we’re doing research on
high growth professional services firms, we found out that they tended
to spend much more of their marketing budget, and their resources
focused on online marketing. We did a piece of research that really
focused in on online marketing for professional services.

We looked at over 500 firms and what they did on online marketing.
What we found was that there was a certain kind of commonality in the
kinds of techniques they used online, that when you boiled it down,
what came up was really a model for content marketing. We embraced
that model, and we started to do it ourselves.

The more we started to do it, the more we got success. The size of our
clients began to increase. The geographic range of them, the budgets,
t sophistication, it’s really been one of the primary drivers of our
growth, and that came from really what the research showed us about
what high performing professional services firms do. We followed that
path and it led to success.

Trent: Let’s dive a little deeper into that, because obviously I’m a
big fan of content marketing.
We have an agency where we do consulting, like you guys do, and all of
our leads come from content that I create very much like this podcast
and posts and so forth.

I’m definitely drinking the Kool-Aid, and I think that there’s a lot
of people here who are listening to this who would love to have more
success with content marketing.

First off I want to ask you, what types of…You’d mentioned you’ve
had success attracting larger clients. Let’s put a little bit of a
definition to what is a “larger client” in terms of annual revenue
that they would generate or annual billings for you. Either way you
want to describe it.

Lee: Well, right now our clients are primarily concentrated in the top 100
firms within their
respective industries. For example, in accounting, if you look at the
top 100 accounting firms nationally, that tends to be where our
clients come from. That’s true of also architecture, engineering,
technology, and so forth.

That’s what I mean, whereas when we started down this path our clients
were primarily local clients. They might have a firm or revenue of a
couple million dollars, five million dollars.

Now our client revenues are in the tens and hundreds of millions of
dollars and many times well above a billion dollars. It’s a much
larger group of firms, and they’re more geographically dispersed.
We’re getting clients literally from all around the world contacting
us with their particular marketing challenges.

Trent: Okay, so these sound like they’re probably pretty good clients
to have. Folks, just so we
know, I’m just setting the stage for the type of client. We are going
to dive into more of the types of content marketing activities that
Lee is doing to get these clients.

But the services that you’re delivering to them, Lee, are they for the
most part retainer type services, where they’re paying you monthly to
do something on an ongoing basis, because content marketing, it’s not
a one-time project?

I’m assuming, looking at your site, that much of the stuff that you’re
doing is in the umbrella of content marketing.

Lee: Yes. It is a balance of both content marketing, ongoing marketing
programs, and one-
time kind of projects. These one-time kind of projects, they’re often
pretty significant. The most common type of one-time project we do is
re-branding, and that will involve doing research, positioning and
messaging, doing all the website and collateral identity work, logo
design, and how that is going to be rolled out. Even though it’s a one-
time project, it can be a pretty substantial project.

Trent: Before we move on from that, if I might, there’s folks in my
audience who haven’t done
that yet, and this might be their first opportunity to think about,
“Hey, maybe I should be doing some of this kind of stuff.” Just for
their curiosity and mine, for a $10 million client, just ballpark.
What would a re-branding project be worth?

Lee: They’re roughly about, I would say $80,000 to $120,000.

Trent: Okay, and that would take you how long to deliver something
like that, from the very
start when they say, “Go ahead,” to “Okay, we’re done.”

Lee: It’s usually within the window of six months to a year.

Trent: Okay.

Lee: Generally, the smaller and the more quickly they can make decisions,
the less time it

Trent: Of course. I would assume that probably the biggest roadblock
to any project being
completed is just the client not being able to respond quick enough.

Lee: Yes, yes. Exactly.

Trent: Okay.

Lee: They’re all busy, almost by definition, all of the time.

Trent: Absolutely.

Lee: Many times marketing, for the top management, marketing isn’t
something where they
have the deepest background. Sometimes things can go wrong and it can
become a stand-in for other kinds of issues that an organization is
struggling with when you’re re-branding or repositioning, but that’s
relatively rare.

Most of them have pretty clear reasons why they need to re-brand, and
want to move along quickly.

Trent: Okay. Now let’s talk about the content that you’re using to
attract these folks. I want to
give this a bit of a framework as well. A book is what I’ll call big
content. A blog post or a video or a podcast like this is what I call
kind of middle content.

Then tweets and social sharing is what I call tiny content. First off,
you’re obviously doing a mix of all three of those, because you’ve got
three books, you’ve got a blog, and you have social profiles.

Lee: Correct.

Trent: In terms of attracting this kind of client, can you just kind
of walk us through your
content marketing strategy at the high level? So the concept first,
and then I’ll ask some follow on questions to dig into some details.

Lee: Sure. Well, the concept is that you need content at all of those
levels, each of those levels.
You need to have the very small content, the mid-level, and all the
way to the deeper content to have a full bodied program. Yes, we have
content at all of those levels.

But if you step back a second and you say which are the streams of
content you have, if you look at those as sort of like individual
programs, you start with what are the types of services and solutions
that I want to offer to a client population, and what is the specific
population or target group that I want to offer it to.

Those kinds of decisions, those generally get made by some kind of a
marketing analysis, or it may already be obvious to you because of
your background as a firm or as an individual where your sweet spot
is, where you can deliver the most value. That’s kind of where you

You say, “If the endpoint is someone who needs to engage me to deliver
this kind of service, what’s the starting point? What are the earliest
symptoms that they would have where this might be the possible

That’s at the front end of your funnel. Your small content and your
blog posts, beyond that, those are the kinds of things that deal
generally with the issues at the issue level. You’re not at the
solution level yet. You’re at the issue and diagnosis.

As you go further down the funnel you deal with more about, “Of this
issue, what are the possible solutions, and what are the things that
indicate this is the right solution?” How do you think about this
problem in a way that will help you solve it? What are the
alternatives that you could consider, and when is the solution that I,
as an organization, want to offer? When is that the appropriate one,
because you don’t want to try and get the wrong people?

Content marketing is as much about qualifying leads as it is
attracting them. At the end of the process, as you get further down
into it, you’re dealing more and more with the specifics of what is
the solution.

Then, eventually, the person will say, “I want to talk to you about
this. I want a proposal. I want to explore working together.” At that
point, then you get into the discussions about specifically how you do
it and how much your services cost and why you might or might not be a
good match for this person.

I think the mistake a lot of people make is they try to jump to the
end in the very beginning. They say, “Hey, we’ve got great services.
You should work with us,” which is silly. Nobody’s going to do that.

Trent: Yes, yes. It’s like walking into a cocktail party and saying,
“Here’s my card. Let’s do

Lee: I use the slightly cruder metaphor of it’s like going on your first
date and asking the
person whether they would like to marry you.

Trent: Yes, doesn’t work.

Lee: It’s jumping way too far ahead too fast.

Trent: Okay, so let’s use the accounting niche as the guinea pig
vertical for the next couple of
my questions.

Lee: Okay.

Trent: Folks in the audience here, they’re thinking, “Yes, okay,” I
want to go after accountants,
“What should I be blogging about so that I can start to get in the
path of their discovery?”

Lee: Okay.

Trent: So what topics would you be writing about?

Lee: Well, again, I think you need to start with the services that you’re
going to offer as you’re
thinking. In the context of your question, let’s say that you wanted
to do consulting with them on IT security for example. I’ll just use

Trent: Can I interrupt? Most of…

Lee: Sure.

Trent: …the people listening to this will be in the business that
you’re in. They sell marketing
services, so why don’t we just talk about what you blogged about to
get into the path for these people?

Lee: Okay. Well, in our case we were looking at branding and marketing
services. We asked
ourselves, “Okay. Who is in a position to need branding services in
accounting?” We’ll just take that to simplify the discussion.

We said, “Well, okay. These are firms that might have gone through a
merger or are considering it. These are firms that potentially want to
accelerate their growth to grow faster. Or these are firms that might
want to reposition themselves to go after a different audience.

Or these could be firms that just haven’t addressed this for a while,
and they are just out of date. Their websites and their marketing
materials are out of date.” Right away we have four or five different
topic areas that could all be appropriate reasons.

We say, “Okay. What are the types of topics that people who are going
through a merger or considering going through a merger would be
interested in?” We would write blog posts about post-merger
integration, or how is your brand impacted by a merger, or what are
the challenges of generating leads in a merged firm.

All of these things are things that someone in a position to hire us
would be interested in and would likely be thinking about and be on
their mind. We’re not dealing with how we help you re-brand. We’re
dealing with what are the issues that you’re facing when you have the
kind of problem that would lead you to consider working with us.

Trent: Yes. It’s really quite straightforward hearing you explain it.
You’re identifying who is my
target audience, and what are the problems that they have. I am going
to blog about ways to solve those problems. Boil it down, real simple,
that’s what you’ve just said.

Lee: Yes, exactly. That’s what we’ve said. It seems too simple on one
level. It’s so interesting.
I find that people just really oftentimes don’t think about it that
way, because they get so focused on their own services that they lose
sight of who the client is and what their world is really like.
They’re the same.

They’re also professional services providers, just like us. They have
the same crazy schedule. They don’t have enough time. They can’t
research something thoroughly.

They’re not going to sit down and read your wonderful website that’s
got 17 paragraphs of content about why they should work with you.
They’re not going to do that. They’re going to do what you do.

Go to a website. They’re going to skim it. They’re going to look at
it. They’re going to try and get what does this person do? Can they
help me? Is this useful?

Trent: How do you ensure, because you said some very interesting
things there. They’re busy,
which means they’re probably not sitting at their desk all day just
reading other people’s blogs. Content that isn’t consumed, it might as
well not have been written in the first place.

We’ll stick with the post-merger theme here just for the next part of
this discussion. Do you combine outbound outreach of some kind with
this content that you’re creating so that the people you’re creating
it for discover that the content even exists? How do you get them

Lee: What our research showed, and again, we are pretty disciplined about
when we find
something in research, that’s the direction we go, we found that the
important keys were, number one is SEO, search engine optimization.

In other words, you have to write the content that is on the front end
of your funnel, and not so much the back end, but it’s on the front
end of your funnel, has to be written in a way so that when people are
searching for a topic, like post-merger integration or re-branding,
that they come across your blog posts or the kinds of things that
you’re doing. That’s kind of number one. That’s the must have.

The second thing that we do is we use social media. LinkedIn, Twitter,
to a lesser extent Facebook for our audience. Some of the verticals
are on Facebook, so we do some sharing on there. We share as widely as
we can in social media and discuss it in LinkedIn groups and so forth.

Then we do other kinds of outreach like speaking engagements, that
kind of thing. What we don’t do is we don’t do cold calling. We don’t
do rented lists. We don’t do very much networking other than to
maintain relationships and so forth when we have it. We don’t spend a
lot of time going out to networking and hoping to run into people.

Trent: Yes, that’s kind of a glorified cold call.

Lee: Yes, yes. Our whole goal with this is, can we get something that’s
useful and interesting
that’s going to capture your attention in front of you? Can we share
something that you would find useful?

Trent: All right. We’ll assume that you’ve got some success getting
the right eyeballs on the
right content, but you still need to move the ball forward, because if
they read it and they don’t do anything, that’s obviously not helping
them and it’s not helping you.

What are some of the ways that you ensure that a piece of content
causes, I’m going to call it a conversion, are somehow moving them
forward? Talk to me about how you do that.

Lee: Well, every piece of content should have a next step, should have,
“What should I do
next?” For content that’s at the early end of the funnel, that next
step is usually content that is somewhat more engaging. For example,
with a blog post, we might offer a guide that we have.

Our guides tend to be 25 to 35 pages long, that kind of talks about a
subject in more depth, whether that might be a subject like re-
branding or content marketing or SEO, and these are all kind of
related to services that we offer. That might be a next step.

Another next step could be a webinar or some other kind of educational
event that we’re doing, or it could be an e-book that we’re
publishing, or it could be a more extended piece of research. Any of
the things that would be more useful to a person who’s more interested
in that topic to take the next step.

Trent: Okay. Now, behind the scenes, what I call behind the screen,
when someone registers to
download one of your lead magnets, be it a webinar, an e-book or what
have you, what are some of the things…

Do you have an automated marketing funnel that’s attempting to nurture
and segment these people, or does that lead go to people in your team
who would then make a follow-up phone call? What happens?

Lee: Well, the one thing it doesn’t do, when someone downloads a piece of
content, we do not
jump on that person and make an outbound phone call or do anything to
try to convert them at that point.

We feel like that is really not what the person is asking for, because
if they’re asking to talk to us to discuss how we might help them,
they are going to reach out to us, we found out. If they’re not asking
for them, we don’t find that you talk people into re-branding or
marketing their firm or anything like that.

These are not impulse purchases, or they’re not something where you’re
going to talk them into it. These are things that people come to
through their education and understanding of what the situation is
they’re facing, and it has to be a high enough priority for them. If
it’s not, what you will end up with is a lot of leads that go nowhere,
that aren’t really opportunities.

You may have a person temporarily interested, but the next time
something comes up and distracts them, they’ll be on to something
else. You have to really deal with people who have a real business
challenge for which you are a genuine appropriate timely important

Trent: That makes perfect sense. I want to be clear. Then, when
someone downloads the report
from your site, obviously they go into your database. They get the
report via an email. Do they get any more follow-up emails or anything
after that, or is the onus simply now on them to contact you if
they’re really that interested?

Lee: They do get follow-up emails, but what the emails are isn’t an
attempt to convert them.
It’s offers for more engaging content. For example, if you downloaded
a white paper or, let’s say a guide or something, you might get an
offer for, “Here’s our latest e-book,” or “Here’s some research on a
related topic,” or “Here’s a webinar.”

We have tested some programs where we’ve been very specific about what
the person gets, but we find in general, if you expose them to a range
of other content and other opportunities, the thing that they
downloaded first may not be the thing that is their current interest
or becomes the thing they work with you on.

Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn’t. They may have downloaded
something on how to differentiate their firm, but in the end they
really need a new website.

Trent: So you’re basically segmenting them by the activity that they
take, which is the reports
that they download, and each progressive report that they download,
does that have an influence on the next set of reports that you would
send to them?

Have you built that kind of logic into the funnel, or is it simply a
linear process that everyone goes through and they just pick whichever
report they want?

Lee: I think in general it tends to be a linear process, but that’s not
completely because it
sometimes is very dependent on what they’re done. For example, we use
the example of someone who downloaded a report.

Let’s say the next step they do is they attend a webinar on marketing
planning. At that webinar we’ll often make an offer that we’ll do a
phone consultation with you to go over your marketing plan and give
you some feedback on it.

That would not be an offer that we would necessarily make to everyone.
We’re making it to someone who has had that level of engagement.
They’ve taken that next step.

Then some proportion of people will say, “Yes, I want to do that.”
Then that gives us an opportunity to engage with them more, determine
whether they have a good fit, whether there’s a need, and some of them

It becomes somebody calls. They will say, “Well, you know what? We
wanted to talk about the marketing plan, but what I really want to
talk to you about is re-branding.”

Trent: Okay. For folks who are earlier on, and I’m going back here
because I know I have a
meaningful portion of my audience that’s going to be going, “Wow, this
sounds awesome, but it also sounds a little bit overwhelming. How am I
going to get all the time to create all this content?” Everything
starts, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I guess, what advice would you give someone who is either not yet
started with content marketing or they’re relatively early? They’ve
just maybe started to blog. What activities do you think would be the
highest and best use of their time?

Lee: I think, and this might be counter-intuitive, but I think the most
valuable thing they could
do when they’re just getting started is research on their target
audience. The reason I say that is because that is where you get two
benefits from that.

Number one, you’re going to get a better feeling for what are the real
issues and opportunities for your kinds of services with that target
client group.

That is so important because, as human beings, we don’t know what we
don’t know. We spend so much time justifying it that we don’t need to
do things because we already know them.

What our research clearly shows is that we don’t know our potential
clients as well as we think we do. We just don’t. You have to accept
that. That’s a part of being human. You think you know them, but there
are probably gaps in your knowledge that you can fill in by doing that

The second thing it does is, by gathering that research, that gives
you something substantive to talk about, to write about. You go to,
let’s say that you want to consult on marketing with hospitals. We’ll
use that as another example.

If you go and you talk to those hospital administrators and those
marketing directors and you truly understand what they’re struggling
with, even though it may not seem like it has anything to do with
marketing or branding or any of that, it’s a rare organization that
some of their key problems are not in some way related to marketing.
It really is.

Even if those are some of the things getting in the way, your ability
to talk about those problems, those issues, and how they’re related to
what you do is one of the keys.

How do you relate the kind of services you do to the things that
they’re talking about in their organization? That is going to right
away make you more relevant and make your blog posts and the things
you’re doing as the things they’re most focused on, where their heads
are at today.

Trent: That makes an awful lot of sense. If folks don’t have this type
of research, do you simply
reach out to people, cold email or social media, and say, “Hey, we
need to gather some data. We’re producing another research report?”
What is it that you say to get a stranger to say, “Yes, okay. I’ll
spend some time helping you with answers to your questions?”

Lee: Well, I think you’ll find that people are pretty generally willing to
share their information
or to share some research related thing if they’re going to get the
results or if they feel like knowing those results will be helpful to

Even then, if you approach them kind of openly about what you’re
doing, we find that many, many people are willing to talk to you.
Plus, if you’re going after this area, you probably already have
contacts in there and you can network your way into it, and you can
begin small and build up from there.

The impediment to doing it is not that you can’t get people to
cooperate. The impediment to doing it is what’s between your ears,
where you talk yourself out of it and say, “Oh, they won’t talk to me.
They won’t do this. They won’t do that. This couldn’t happen. That
can’t happen.” That’s the thing that gets in your way; not the reality
of it.

Trent: Yes, I’m glad you pointed that out because I agree completely.
You don’t need to get to
talk to 10 strangers. You need to get to talk to one, and if you have
a nice conversation, more than likely when you say, “Who else should I
talk to?” they’re going to refer you to the next one.

Lee: Exactly, exactly.

Trent: Yes, okay. What haven’t I asked you about that you think is an
important piece to include
in this discussion? I think we’ve covered a lot of really great stuff
already, but you’ve got three books on this topic, and I don’t have
all three of them in front of me at the moment, so I’m sure there’s
some more.

Lee: Yes. There are a lot of things. I think one of the things that is the
biggest barrier for a lot
of people is the whole concept of specialization. I want to focus on
that because it’s a scary topic to people.

People, even marketing people who intellectually know that
specializing and focusing is a better way, they may know that
intellectually, but on an emotional level, they’re just afraid to give
up business.

They’re afraid that, “If I say I specialize in working with hospitals,
what if someone from a catering service calls me and they want to work
with me? What then?”

What they don’t realize is that the benefits of specializing so far
outweigh the cost with any business that you will potentially give up
that it is an even close. That’s one of the things that not only our
research shows but our experience shows, that specializing, while it
is not an emotionally easy thing to do and feels risky, is really the
safest thing you can do.

Now, someone says, “Well, what if I specialize in the wrong thing?
What if I specialize in this?” What we’ve found out is that generally,
the specialist, if you’re in the marketing area or in in general the
business development, helping them grow, it’s awfully recession

Sometimes it’s actually industries that are in trouble that are the
best clients that are looking for help more than industries that are

We saw that in the last recession, where the architecture, engineering
and construction segment just got absolutely battered in the last
recession. Turned out to be an excellent group of clients, because
those that made it through the first wave, they said, “You know, I
didn’t have to do anything before. Just show up and I would get
business. Now I have to actually figure out what I’m going to do.”

Trent: Yes.

Lee: It’s not always intuitive. If you really are in tune with an
industry, you do find out where
those opportunities are, and you have a tremendous advantage over
someone who’s a generalist.

Trent: Yes, no kidding. Sorry, I’m just jotting notes here down. That
is such incredibly sage
advice, and I’m glad that you thought to bring that up.

Now, for someone who is saying, “Okay, yes. I’m sold on this
specialization thing. Give me some criteria. There’s all these
industries to choose from. Help me narrow the list down to at least a
subset so that I can start to go do some research on that subset,”
what are some of the criteria that you would suggest that people
consider when trying to go from the whole field to that slice of the
pie they’re going to maybe start to do the research on?

Lee: Well, it starts out with looking where you have a competitive
advantage. If you peel back
how people specialize, almost always what you find out is, “Oh, I used
to work in that industry. “My spouse works in that industry”. “We’ve
got several clients in that and it’s really interesting.”

It’s some kind of an advantage or an entree you have into an industry
that gives you the ability to look at it differently than a generalist
would look at it. That’s where I would focus first.

If it’s not that, then you’re just looking at very general things,
like, where is there a market, where do I think the industry is going
to be down the road. I’m constantly amazed at the niches people have

There are the environment with the range of industries, and which ones
you could focus on is so broad and so deep that there is most likely
going to be something when you even pause for a moment and look at
where you have the experience, where you have the interest and

Trent: Yes, and that makes perfect sense as well. In looking at your
homepage, there’s a number
of things that scroll through in the featured section, and one of them
is of course that we specialize in professional services, marketing,
and branding, with that cool little airplane.

Was there a reason why you didn’t go more niche and say, and maybe you
did this in the past, “We specialize in engineering firms,” because in
North America there are lots of engineering firms?

Lee: Right.

Trent: Your message would have been even more relevant to that sub-
niche of the professional
services space.

Lee: That’s a very perceptive question, and it is exactly precisely the
strategic discussion that
we have when we said, “Is professional services too broad a niche? Do
we need to go narrower?” because we observed that there were a lot of
people who were just focusing on one vertical. I think the answer to
that question about how broad or how narrow is your niche has to do
with how people see themselves.

Are they part of a broader industry or not? In other words, the
clothing store, do they see themselves as being a retailer or a
clothing retailer? Where is their primary identification? That kind of
tells you what the client will accept as being relevant to them.

It’s a battle. We took a calculated risk that we could build a brand
that cut across professional services that included multiple ones.
When we did it, we didn’t know whether it was going to work or not,
whether the psychology of our buyers would allow it.

Well, in the end it was successful for us, but we also didn’t just
rely on that, because we have verticals within the architecture,
engineering and construction or the technology area, and we have
people that are devoted just to those verticals.

We believed that the brand could handle all of professional services,
and so far it seems to have worked. But we didn’t start there. We also
built within the individual niches.

Trent: Do you have landing pages and special reports that are devoted
to the sub-niches of
professional services that I simply just can’t easily navigate my way
through to from the homepage of the blog?

Lee: Yes. We have landing pages. We have research reports. We have case
studies. We have
things that are devoted to each of the niches. That’s actually
something that we’re continuing to strengthen. Sort of every year by
year we go deeper and broader within the niches within the things we
offer, the people we partner with, and so forth.

Trent: Does paid traffic play a role at all in getting the right
eyeballs onto the right offers,
meaning those landing pages that are top of funnel for you?

Lee: It can. It can, and particularly in certain situations, where you
have keywords that you
want to be found for but you can’t get to when you have, we’ve used it
in the promotion of some of our books as they’ve been released to get
a little bit broader release of them. It’s certainly a component. It
isn’t necessarily the most efficient way.

But having said that, we have a number of clients or people that we’ve
studied who have relied very heavily on paid promotion, and it’s
worked well for them where they’ve promoted that content. Certainly
don’t rule it out, but it’s not generally where you look first.

Trent: A follow on question to that is, have you ever for yourselves
or for your clients used paid
traffic as a means of testing the viability of a keyword, a major
keyword, before embarking on a content creation strategy for that

Why I ask that question, as I’m sure you’re aware, not all keywords
have the same value. Some of them have a much higher converting value
just by the nature of the keyword. The people who are searching for
that are more likely to become a buyer of whatever it is you’re
selling versus some other keyword.

Lee: Sure.

Trent: Paid traffic’s a very fast way to test it. Do you do that?

Lee: We’ve done a little of that, but generally we’ve found that we’re
focused on getting the
right kind of content. If we can’t draw the traffic with SEO, then
we’ll use that particular topic, we might use that as a guest post in
somewhere where we can draw the traffic, or as a conference speech or
an article or something.

So there’s more than one way to draw traffic. Keywords, that’s what
does the bulk of the work day in and day out, but it’s certainly not
the only way to draw attention or traffic to an idea.

Trent: Well, Lee, I think we should probably wrap up pretty quick
here. We’ve been about 46
minutes so far. Before we do that, a couple of very quick questions.
Obviously, if people want to get a hold of you, they go to, and then there’s all sorts of ways that they can
learn more about your organization and interact with you.

The books that you offer, if anyone wants to get, what are the titles
of the three books, and then how can people get them if they want to?

Lee: Okay. They’re available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or also as
downloads from our
website. They’re free electronic versions at the website. The first
book is called “Spiraling Up”, and it deals with high growth
professional services firms. We looked at what they do differently
than average firms.

The second one is called “Online Marketing for Professional Services”.
That is based on a study of 500 professional services firms and how
they use online marketing and what the fastest growing ones do.

The third book is called “Inside the Buyer’s Brain”. That is a
combination of over 1,300 interviews of buyers of professional
services, also called clients, people who purchase services, and
sellers, and how they see the world differently and the blind spots
that the sellers have.

All three of them are available in those sources, and they’re all
really based on research, as all of our things are.

Trent: Okay, fantastic. As you’ve been talking, I’m trying to download
all these things. “Inside
the Buyer’s Brain” was very easy to find. Just so that I and the
listeners can find the other two on your site, how do I get there?

Lee: You go to the Library.

Trent: Oh.

Lee: In the Library, you’ll see where it will say “Books”.

Trent: You know, I’m sometimes blind as a bat. Didn’t even see the
Library button beside the
Blog button. All right.

Lee: They’re different, and that’s why you have to be clear with your
navigation. That’s the one
thing you don’t want to be innovative about, is your navigation

Trent: Yes, I would agree. Do what everybody else is doing, because
people expect that the
doorknob’s going to be in the middle of the door; not up at the top or
the bottom.

Lee: That’s right.

Trent: Lee, I want to thank you very much. I learned some really good
golden nuggets
from this interview, and so I have no doubt that my audience did as
well. I do want to thank you very much more making the time to come
and spend some time with us here on the show.

Lee: Thank you very much for having me. It was a pleasure chatting with

Trent: All right. You take care and have a wonderful day.

Lee: Okay, thank you. Bye-bye.

Trent: Okay, to get to the show notes for this episode, go to If you really
enjoyed this episode, which I sure hope you did, please go to, and there you will find a very easy way to leave
feedback for this episode in the iTunes store.

That is really, really important because with each feedback we get
more awareness, we rank higher in the iTunes store, and that helps
more entrepreneurs just like you to discover the Bright Ideas podcast.

When they do, we get to help more people to massively boost their
business with all of the bright ideas that get shared by my guests
here on the show.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you
so much for tuning in. I look forward to seeing you again in the next
episode. Take care.

About Lee Frederiksen

LeeFrederiksenLee Frederiksen, Ph.D., is an award-winning marketer and renowned business strategist who helped pioneer the field of research-driven marketing. A rare combination of businessman and research scientist, Lee draws on his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology and his entrepreneurial experience as CEO of three successful firms to help clients achieve high growth and profitability. His research also forms the basis for his six highly acclaimed books on the topics of organizational growth, marketing, and business strategy.

Lee has authored or edited several books on marketing and management, including Handbook of Organizational Behavior, Marketing Health Behavior: Principles, Techniques and Applications, and Computers, People and Productivity. He’s been widely quoted in the business press, including Fortune, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Business 2.0 and Advertising Age, as well as numerous trade and professional journals. Most recently, Lee co-authored the book Spiraling Up: How to Create a High Growth, High Value Professional Services Firm.

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chris handy 4in x 6in x 300dpi x FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: Chris Handy on How He Built a $400K 2-person Agency in 24 months

If you’re a marketing agency owner who’s struggling to get traction, how would you like to hear from an agency owner who was very successful early along? Chris Handy built a $400,000 two-person agency in just 24 months, and he has generously agreed to share what worked with the BrightIdeas audience. (For more agency Bright Ideas, check out our other posts that are especially relevant to marketing agencies.)

Chris has excellent strategies for lead generation, LinkedIn and other social promotion, lead nurturing and more. In addition to the ThinkHandy digital marketing strategy, Chris shares ideas on how to select a profitable niche.

Listen now and you’ll also hear Chris and I talk about:

  • (5:00) Introductions
  • (8:50) His background with eBay
  • (12:30) How his exposure to process has molded his thinking
  • (14:50) Overview of #1 lead generation
  • (15:30) Overview of how he’s using LinkedIn
  • (19:50) Overview of how they are blogging for leads
  • (24:20) Criteria for selecting a profitable niche
  • (26:30) Overview of lead nurturing
  • (31:00) Overview of retained income and how assessments lead to it
  • (40:00) Overview of how they systematize the deliverables
  • (43:30) How they are using client interviews to create blog posts
  • (45:00) Overview of deliverables given for retainer
  • (51:00) Overview of social promotion strategy
  • (56:00) Advice on how to get started at content marketing
  • (58:20) His biggest mistake and lessons learned

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. Welcome to the Bright Ideas
Podcast. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast
for marketing agencies, marketing consultants and entrepreneurs
who want to discover how to use content marketing and marketing
automation to massively boost their business without massively
boosting the number of hours that you have to work every week.
As a matter of fact, the goal is to help you reduce the number
of hours you have to work every week. The way that we do that is
we bring proven experts onto the show to share with us what’s
working for them. When I say a proven expert I don’t mean a guru
or a theorist, I mean someone who’s actually using this stuff in
their business and they’re getting significant results by doing
so.My guest on the show today is a guy by the name of Chris Handy,
and he is the Founder of a marketing agency by the name of He and his wife are actually the two people that
are behind that agency. He launched that in the beginning of
2011 and here we are just not even two years later he’s at
$20,000 a month in recurring revenue from retainer business.
They’re on track to do $400,000 in revenue this year and as you
can imagine with no overhead and only he and his wife as being
the two key employees that also translates into a very
profitable business venture.In this interview I get Chris to share all sorts of stuff with
us in great detail. For example, I want him to, or get him,
rather, to explain how he’s using LinkedIn to generate leads and
he does something that’s very unique and interesting. It’s
different than what I do and I’ll go so far as to say it’s
smarter and better than what I am doing so of course I need to
adjust my action as a result. You’re going to hear that at
roughly the seven to nine-minute mark and then after that we
start talking about his criteria for selecting which niches that
he pursues and that is a real key part of his business strategy
is choosing those niches correctly because as he points out not
all niches are created equal. Some are going to be a whole lot
more profitable for you than others.Then we walk through his four-step process for taking a lead
that goes through the funnel and requests an assessment then
there’s four steps that he does to convert them to a client and
it was very interesting as he shared the details on that because
the one thing that he doesn’t do is he doesn’t ever go and meet
them face to face. The really wonderful thing about this is no
matter what town you’re in or where you live you can get clients
that are anywhere if you listen to this interview and you
replicate the process that Chris explains.His background involved a lot of work with process improvement
and process automation and that really shines through in the
systems that he’s using to run his agency. We talk about that as
well. When a client says yes, how efficient you are or aren’t in
delivering the work that you’ve promised to them is going to
make all the difference between whether you build an agency with
lots of revenue and no profit or you build an agency with lots
of revenue and lots of profit. You really need to get good at
this whole systematizing and process management and in this
interview Chris shares a whole lot about that.Finally, towards the end of the interview he shares one of the
biggest mistakes that he made early on and the lessons that he
learned as a result of that. Do make sure that you stay tuned to
the very end and check that out.We’re going to welcome Chris to the show in just a second, but
before we get to that I want to very briefly tell you about a
new book that I’m working on and how you can get an advance look
at it, some free chapters and a discount when it comes out if
you go to all of the information will be
there and this is going to be a book that covers extensively
everything that I’ve ever learned plus everything I’ve learned
from all the guests that have been on the show about two really
important topics, content marketing and marketing automation.Why are those topics so important? Because in this day and age
that’s the magic sauce that gets you all the business and all
the clients and the growth and the profits. I didn’t really have
a name for the book yet but if you go to
you’ll see there a landing page that I created and you’ll be
able to opt in and get all the things that the landing page
says. With that said, please join me in welcoming Chris to the
show. Hey Chris. Welcome to the show.Chris: Thank you, Trent. Great to be here.Trent: It is a thrill to have you on. Just from what we were talking
about before we hit the record button we have a very good
interview coming your way so for the listeners who have not
heard of you please take a moment, introduce yourself, who you
are and what you do.Chris: Sure. My name is Chris Handy. I’m in Fort Worth, Texas, and I
operate a company called Think Handy and we’ve really decided
against putting anything as a definer on the end of that name
because we were kind of in marketing sales and operations and
we’re a consultancy in helping people streamline those and get
more out of their marketing dollars, but also integrating sales
and service into that.Trent: In the last, so you started this firm at the beginning of 2000,
and we’re going to get into your background and everything in a
minute, but I want people to know the results that you’ve
achieved in a pretty short period of time. You started in the
beginning of 2011, correct?Chris: Yes.Trent: Here we are, 2013 now. Middle, I guess fall and in the last, so
you started off from zero. Nothing. Right?Chris: Started off from zero. I took a few freelance web design
projects in 2010 and really proof of concept is, we were just
trying to see if we could get clients and found out that we
could so in 2011 went ahead and took the plunge and got started
and it was a slow ramp up. We’ve grown quite a bit in revenue
and in recurring revenue specifically so this year we are on
track to do about, hopefully about 400,000 by the end of the
year.Trent: In the last six months you said, off air you said you’d done
200.Chris: That’s correct.Trent: That’s pretty good. Your recurring revenue is at how much per
month now?Chris: We’re at about $20,000 in retainer relationships for each
month.Trent: That’s pretty fantastic. It makes, when you run a lean business
like you do with virtually no overhead, then 20,000 a month
coming in on the first day of every month makes for not a whole
lot of stress of, ‘Hey, where’s our next meal coming from.’Chris: It’s definitely improved our quality of life a little bit. Not
having to worry but we’re investing a lot back into the business
and in our marketing. Really we’ve spent a lot of time figuring
out where we go. We can obviously grow now so which way do we
grow? That’s very important to me. I want to make sure that when
we do make that next hire, who’s it going to be? What’s that
role going to be for and how can we make the most of our future?Trent: I have a lot of people who listen to my show based upon the
emails and so forth that I get that are solopreneurs. A lot of
marketing consultants, [freelance] web designers and I think I
speak for the when I say they all want to grow up. They want to
get, they want to make their firms bigger. They want to get more
recurring revenue. They want to be able to hire some more
employees and they want to use some more resources. They want to
grow like every other entrepreneur on the planet.I really want to make this episode for them so let’s, I want, I
really want to walk through kind of how you made that transition
from that first freelance client and I know there’s a lot of
people who listen to my show as well who maybe aren’t even in
business yet and you talked earlier how you kind of did a little
project with some freelance work to see if you could even get
clients. I want to talk about that.Before we get into both of those things I want you to tell a
little bit about your background because you have this rather
unusual background, this eBay consignment thing. You want to
talk a little bit about that so we have context?Chris: Sure. A lot of people bring up the 40 year old virgin when I
bring that up because you’ve seen that movie. The girl that
Steve Carell was going after, she managed an eBay store and what
an eBay store is is where you walk in and you hand the item to
the person at the counter and say, ‘I’d like to see this on
eBay.’ What they do is they take the item back and list it on
eBay or another online sales channel and basically sell it on
consignment so they’re going to take a commission and give you
the rest. Email you a link to the auction so you can see
everything that’s going. I was in that business which was
definitely interesting and that business has kind of, that whole
industry’s changed a lot in the last few years obviously.Started off in a small shop and then was recruited to the big
boys of the eBay consignment world, and I found myself managing
a distribution center that we routed trucks and went out and
picked up items from different people’s homes. We had five
stores in the Dallas Fort Worth area, that’s where we’re located
so all over the Metroplex. It’s a really large area so we had a
lot of ground to cover.I found myself routing all these trucks, managing the creative
team. Working on marketing these items. Actually getting them
listed onto eBay, working with software, working with people.
Managing a lot of people, customer service. Really just
everything that you could possibly think of with that business.
I was the operations director but that just included all these
different things. I learned a lot from the upper management
there. A lot of the people that were in management there were
former executives at Radio Shack and they had some great
processes. That was one of the things I really picked up during
that, what I called boot camp for sales and marketing and
operations.I was taught there that you don’t have to manage people as long
as you can manage the process and that was the most important
thing that I learned. We would create detailed process books for
everything. Now when I say everything I mean this is what you
say when you answer the phone. Scripts are easy to identify but
we encourage people to riff on those, obviously but also this is
what happens when an item comes in. Let’s say we get an item
from a person who wants us to sell something for them. This is
exactly where it goes, this is the process here, here, here.All the steps are detailed on an online document that everyone
can see. What we found was if ever there was a situation where
the, where something went wrong, rather than saying, ‘How, why
did you mess up or how did this happen,’ you simply say, ‘Well
did you follow the process?’ Either yes or no. If they did
follow the process, well, then you change the process. You don’t
have to do anything with the person because it’s not their
problem. That if they follow the, or if they didn’t follow the
process then it becomes a situation where, ‘Hey, here’s our
process book.’ You point to the book and you don’t have to
really do any disciplining of any kind. It’s just letting the
process manage the business for you so manage your team.Trent: Now being a guy that runs a marketing agency, how did all that
exposure to the importance of processes, how has that influenced
how you’re building and running your business, right, the way
from, and we’re going to go into detail on all these things but
just kind of at the high level right the way from lead
generation all the way to delivering your service. How has that
influenced you?Chris: Well it’s kept me, kept my eye on the prize of duplicating
myself and making sure that I don’t have to be the one pushing
all the buttons and following all these processes. If I work to
build these processes as we grow our agency then it won’t be
very difficult at all to manage people and every agency owner
wants to grow. Every agency owner wants to have a team of X
number of people. We have our own growth goals and I want to
make sure that we’re ready when we get there and that we have
detailed processes in place.We use a lot of online tools to get there so you have to kind of
come up with a process before you build the tool. That’s been
really important in our marketing process and then everything
that we do as far as client service.Trent: Where do you store all these processes?Chris: Well we use a project management system called Podio, but many
of them can do similar things. I found that this one works for
us because we can customize certain things with regards to
marketing campaigns specifically we can trigger actions based on
creating an item. We have a very detailed process on how we run
campaigns so if we have a client we know that we need to create
a downloadable offer for that client and we know we need to
create some blog posts to promote those downloadable offers.Every time we come up with a marketing persona to market to we
know we need at least one marketing offer and at least eight
blog posts to promote that marketing offer. As soon as we create
that persona, all these other tasks are created automatically so
it helps manage me. I’m extremely ADD. I don’t know what’s going
on.Trent: Join the club.Chris: If I don’t have it written down or if I don’t have somebody
bugging me to do it then I’m going to forget. There’s no
question. I built the software and built it on top of the
software basically just to keep me in line.Trent: My wife does that for me along with software. Let’s go back to
the thing, I want to talk about lead generation here because I
think a lot of people really struggle with it. Can you tell us
what you’re doing? What’s your number one method of generating
leads?Chris: Number one method of generating leads has got to be creating
content. I’ve had the website for two or three years now and so
I’ve done a lot of, before I really got into inbound marketing I
did a lot of SEO work, so I spent time making sure I was getting
found for some local stuff here in Fort Worth. That really
doesn’t bring me any business to be honest.Now our focus has been to get global and to not worry about
local because our best clients are not anywhere close to us so
we got away from that and really started getting active in
social networks. I think LinkedIn is the best place to promote
our content that we’re creating. [inaudible 15:45]Trent: How do you promote your content on LinkedIn? I want to see if
it’s similar to what I do.Chris: Gotcha. We’re writing blog posts that promote offers. That are
behind a form so that we’re gathering leads that way. I’ll look
for conversations where information we’ve written about is
applicable. I’ll go and I’ll say, ‘Hey we wrote this. Maybe this
can help you out.’ I’m a member of a lot of different groups. We
do have some verticals that we target and we’re always looking
to figure out what the best verticals are going to be for us to
go after. We’re still defining that.We’ve done a lot of construction marketing and home contractor
marketing which is interesting. It just kind of found us. We’re
testing out a new market right now and I’m involved in some of
those groups and I’m starting to kind of get in on those
conversations and help people. I think that’s the number one way
is helping people. Eventually they’re going to either need your
help or need more of your professional help or they’re going to
refer you to someone who does.Trent: How much of your time do you spend going into, how many groups,
first of all how many groups are you a member of?Chris: I think I’m a member of 45 right now. I had to delete myself
from some groups that I just wasn’t all that active in in order
to pursue some other ones in the verticals I want to see.Trent: Define specifically your activity in these groups. When you
produce a blog post on your blog, like when we do, we can put a
check mark in every group and say Add to group and it puts a
link to your post and your little intro. It’s not really like
one on one discussions. How do you do it?Chris: Sure. We use HubSpot for marketing automation. It does the same
thing and I think that’s the number one mistake people make when
they go in and they see this fancy social media tool, and they
can just check all the group boxes and then they end up spamming
everyone in their LinkedIn feed. That’s not good for anyone
because everyone sees that you just posted in 15 different
groups and that really doesn’t add any personal value.I really do spend time watching the groups and figuring out who
the influencers are there. Then when a conversation is heating
up and someone actually has something that I can add to, so
there’s a question about marketing in that particular instance
and I have something that’s of value to them I’ll add it into
the conversation manually. I will go ahead and automate some of
the posts, like when I do a new post on the blog. We’ll put that
out there to everyone on LinkedIn but I’m not spamming it into
groups. I really do consider it spam if you just add it to
everyone’s group. That’s how we do it. Even though it’s
marketing automation I think you really need a very human touch.Trent: I agree. I don’t think the way that we’ve been doing it is
ideal. It was, I had a past guest on the show was a LinkedIn
expert author of a book and that’s what she told us to do and so
we’ve been doing it since.Chris: That’s how you do it. I’m sorry.

Trent: No. I don’t mind. This is how we get better, we see what other
people are doing. How much time per day do you spend on LinkedIn
monitoring these conversations? Because with 45 groups, I mean
dude, you could spend like four hours.

Chris: You have to pick your battles. I’m not active in 45 groups. I’m
a member of 45 groups right now. Some of them are professional
groups. Some of them are places we’re targeting so maybe four or
five different groups really right now I’m active in and
actually helping people, and I spend maybe an hour throughout
the day monitoring LinkedIn. It’s one of the first things I look
at when I get up in the morning just to see because I get the
emails of what was going on yesterday, the hottest
conversations, that kind of thing.

Trent: So you . . .

Chris: I just look for anything that I might be able to help add value

Trent: Do you subscribe to a daily email for every group that you’re a
member of?

Chris: Some of them. Yes.

Trent: Some. You wake up in the morning and you check and see what
people are talking about and say, ‘Can I add value to that

Chris: Correct.

Trent: That’s a good way to do it. I should probably do that too. What
other things are you doing for lead generation?

Chris: Aside from LinkedIn, just creating content around those
personas. We do a lot of keyword research. Now we’re trying to
actively solve problems. I prescribe to the Marcus Sheridan
school of blog topics. Marcus Sheridan made his pool business
grow by answering his customers’ questions online. I know that
you’ve interviewed him before.

Very much inspired by his process. Let’s just figure out what
questions our customers are asking and each one of those is
going to be a blog post. I look for questions that have not been
answered in the industries that I’m targeting and I answer those
questions. Simple as that.

Trent: Is that working well for you yet?

Chris: It is. Absolutely. I’ve got a few blog articles that are just
machines. They’re bringing in more leads than I need. A lot of
them we have to qualify throughout with some nurturing sequences
and stuff like that because it’s bringing in more than I
probably need to but you need to kind of cast a wide net at the
top of the funnel and then figure out who’s going to be a fit.

Trent: Absolutely. What types of lead magnets do you find are working
really, because you’ve got your blog posts and people are
getting there via either LinkedIn or search? They’re reading the
article. Are you using one lead magnet across all your posts or
using ten different lead magnets? How many do you use?

Chris: We rotate them out. I’ve got a few. I’ve got one that’s Inbound
Marketing 101 that is a really nice go to for the top of the
funnel and for some of our more basic blog posts. We categorize
our blog posts by three levels, introductory, intermediate and
advanced. I try to make sure that people that are visiting see
that, ‘Hey, they’re on an intermediate article, or they’re on an
advanced article.’ I’ll have it even suggest introductory
articles to folks who found us on an advanced just in case it’s
above their heads because this is an education game.

People need to understand when we’re talking about marketing
automation or even sales process improvement they need to
understand a little bit more about how we work so we’ll always
suggest a previous post to try to educate them along the way.
To answer your question I’ve got probably 15 different offers
that we’ve got and we use five or six of them more than all the
others. We kind of refined those fringe ones every once in a
while and repost it every once in a while.

Trent: What would you say is your number one lead magnet for top of
the funnel?

Chris: I’ve done this really interesting thing. If you’re familiar
with Facebook marketing you’ll have a cover photo at the top of
your Facebook page. I found myself always going and Googling the
dimensions to create a custom Facebook cover photo for my
clients and for me. We create a new one all the time. I found
there wasn’t any great place to find it, so what I did is I
created a Facebook page that is called Facebook Cover Photo Size

In fact, if you Google Facebook Cover Photo Size it’s like
second or third result. What it does, it puts the actual cover
photo shows all the pixels on it so you can see exactly how to
build a perfect cover photo for you. Then I link to, I
constantly post some of our articles, and I link to a landing
page where you can download an even bigger guide on how to build
Facebook cover photos.

Trent: What’s the, I just did that search criteria. What is the URL
for your particular?

Chris: It’s

Trent: Yeah, okay, number two.

Chris: Right behind Facebook’s Help article.

Trent: Smart, smart, smart. Look at that, 9,643 likes.

Chris: And growing.

Trent: That’s a smart idea. I might even have to call that one a gold

Chris: Sure. It brings us 15, 20 leads every single day.

Trent: How many of those, because not every lead, not all leads are
created equally of course. Do you, how many of those leads are
converting to customers?

Chris: I’d say we’ve gotten two or three referrals off of that.

Trent: You mentioned earlier that you are targeting a few different
niches. Can you talk a little bit about the criteria that you
use to analyze the viability of a niche?

Chris: Sure, Trent. I think that, especially when you’re talking about
a retainer relationship, now we really shy away from projects
but every once in a while we’ll take a project, if it’s a
referral that we think is going to help an existing relationship
we’ll do a project. That is different criteria but if we’re
going to go after someone that we think can be a pretty sizable
monthly retainer with a multi-year agreement or 12-month
agreement, we’re looking for something that is a large decision
purchase so it’s a business that has to do a lot of education
before a sale can be made. Maybe something that has really long
sales cycles.

I would not go, we found ourselves doing some construction
marketing and home contractor marketing. That’s just kind of how
we grew. That’s some of the first projects I took on so I keep
getting them, but I would not, today target those industries
because they are kind of one time and the need for recurring
services is not there. I want something like a big software
purchase or a managed IT company, something like that that
targets maybe huge facilities. Just an example of something that
is really a big decision and they need to have a lot of
expertise in any particular field.

Trent: Interesting that you mention managed IT. That was the industry
that I was in before and I’d never want to deal with those guys.
Once you get your leads into the funnel I’d like you to talk
about how you are segmenting them and if you’re using mid-funnel
lead magnets. Because where I’m going here is, as I said before,
not all leads are created equal. There are, and even if they
have the same need they’re at different phases in the buying
cycle. Some people are early. Some people are ready to buy. How
do you handle all of that using automation?

Chris: Sure. Everyone that signs up for any one of our offers is
automatically subscribed to our blog. I’ve had people give me
different feelings on that, whether or not you should just put
everyone on your blog but I find that it really works because we
get a lot of social shares. That’s something that immediately,
they’ll see everything that comes in every week. [inaudible

Trent: I’m sorry to interrupt you. Do they get an email for every post
that you publish?

Chris: I choose to have it go out once a week.

Trent: A weekly summary?

Chris: Sure. Weekly summary. We’ll do three or four or five blog posts
every week. In a perfect world we’d have one for every day or
two but right now we’re producing about three or four every

Trent: They get those on Sunday morning.

Chris: Mm-hmm. I find we get the best open rate then. I’m sure once
this thing goes live if you have enough listers that now
everyone’s going to be coming through on Sunday morning and
we’ll need to change it to another day. There’s no hard and fast
rule I’ve found. People will tell you it’s Tuesday at noon.
Well, it really is just when your audience is getting up. I find
early in the morning is great for me. No matter which day.

Trent: What type of, what are some, how are you segmenting? Just kind
of walk us through that. I opt into your funnel. What happens?

Chris: Now you’re signed up for the blog and if you click on any of
the links in those blogs I can identify that you’re somewhat
interested. That’s the only criteria I have to go into an
automated list. I’ve segmented that list off then I will segment
off the agencies because there are a lot of other agencies that
read our content. Then I narrow it down further and I look and
see where people came from. I’ve got some other smart lists that
tell me where they came from. If someone came from that Facebook
cover photo size helper and they’re not an agency then I send
them more introductory content on basic marketing and I look at
that as a way to get more social shares, more cheerleaders out
there because not everyone that comes through there is going to
be a fit for large scale retainer services.

Once I kind of siphoned off all of those other folks, I look at
everyone by industry and I’ll try and send something very
specific. We’ll create new landing pages all the time with
webinars because I can write a webinar. If I see that I’ve got
five different, for instance, managed IT companies that have
come in and filled out forms I might decide to try out a
webinar. I’ll say, ‘We’re going to do a sales and marketing
alignment webinar specifically for the managed IT companies.’
I’ll send them all an email and if somebody signs up, I do the
webinar. If somebody doesn’t sign up, I don’t.

It’s just something else out there a lot of times that we do, we
do end up getting that. I’ve got a real quick process on
launching new targeted landing pages and so we do that all the

Trent: Define all the time. How often would you say you do it?

Chris: Once every week. Probably creating a new vertical just checking
it out seeing what comes up and then it’s another page out there
on Google to be found. Especially, we do have a field on all of
our forms that’s biggest marketing challenge. I think I saw that
on several different marketing automation software original
forms and so I started doing it. It’s kind of my gauge on what
questions to ask folks.

I’ll go and create content around that and make sure it’s in the
weekly email coming up. Even if it’s not a direct, ‘Hey,’ I’m
targeting this person,’ it is something that I can answer and
I’ll find that, let’s say managed IT, I’ve got ‘How do I build a
workflow for marketing automation with a managed IT company?
I’ll build that blog article. I’ll make sure it’s in the next
week’s weekly RSS email that gets sent out. Oftentimes those
folks click on those and then they go straight to an assessment.
Our bottom of the funnel’s always that request a free

Trent: That was going to be my next question. What’s the main call to
action? You mentioned that you’ve been particularly successful
to the tune of $20,000 a month in generating clients that pay
your retainer. How long did it take you to get from zero to
20,000 a month?

Chris: Actually only about four months. We had all the pieces of the
puzzle we just hadn’t put it together really until early this
year. I read a book called the, god. Is it “The Agency
Manifesto”? I think it’s, “The Marketing Agency Manifesto.” I’ll
make sure that you can have a link to this but it’s basically a
quick read but it has 12 proclamations. Unfortunately, I’m
unable to think of the author’s name right name but basically
one of them is, ‘We will specialize.’ One of them is, ‘We will
charge for our services.’ I just really was inspired by that and
a lot of different things that is said in there is how can we
charge more for our expertise?

We really don’t accept projects anymore unless, like I said
earlier it was a referral or it’s something that we think will
further our business. We’re just very steadfast on that. I’m not
sending out proposals. I will flat out tell you I’m not in the
proposal writing business because I don’t want to spend my days
writing proposals. We are right now a two man shop and we can’t
do that. We really want to do business. Make the verbal
agreement that we’re going to go forward at that time a contract
will be signed and we’ve eliminated the proposal process
entirely. I think that’s allowed us to spend most of our sales
time on getting quality clients and then weeding out those that
must present a proposal to a board and all those extraneous
steps that end up getting in the way.

Trent: What is the average size of your retainer right now?

Chris: Right now it’s about $5,000, $6,000.

Trent: You’re talking roughly four clients that you have on retainer.
Do these clients all go through your funnel and do the call to
action for the assessment that’s at the bottom of your funnel?

Chris: They all filled out the assessment. Some of them were referred
straight to the website and one of them just called me actually
but in equality I guess he requested an assessment. But two of
them came all the way through the top of the funnel.

Trent: When you do this assessment, so I want to make sure that we,
the listeners and myself understand what this assessment is. Is
that them filling out a form on the website with lots of
questions or is that you on Skype with them asking them a bunch
of questions? What is the assessment?

Chris: Sure. I’m really just wanting their information with that form
and then it’s a 20 to 30 minute conversation. We run a
consultative sales process. It’s very defined. I’ve got four
steps basically in the process. Starts with the assessment. I’m
going to identify what your goals are, ask questions. That’s
really a question and answer session. Sometimes if we need to do
a little coaxing to actually do the assessment once we get on
the phone after they fill out the form we’ll set an appointment
for this assessment. The way it’s positioned is that we’re going
to give you some tips on things you can do online, things you
can do in your sales process to improve. No obligation.

It’s just an opportunity for me to give them a few things that
they could change right now and either get more visits to the
website or drastically improve things and it’s an opportunity
for me to really interview the client and understand if it’s the
right fit. Start to identify some of the questions I’ll ask in
the next call.

Trent: All of this stuff is done on the call? You don’t get face to
face with your clients to do this?

Chris: I try not to, even here in town because what it does is it
takes another hour out of my day to go and drive across town and
get in front of someone and it’s just a big waste of everyone’s
time especially with that first call. I really refuse to even
have people out to my office for that first call because I just
want to get a feel for what they’re after. If the first question
they ask is how much does it cost, I know that that’s going to
be a big factor in the whole relationship and it might not work.

Trent: Do you do these calls with video like you and I are doing right
now where you can see each other?

Chris: Typically, what we’ll do is we’ll use Go to Meeting, and I’ll
have their website or lack thereof up on the screen and we’ll do
a screen share.

Trent: If that’s step one. What’s step two?

Chris: Step two, after we have an assessment we’ve identified their
goals, we’ve identified that there is a need and they’ve
identified that they would like to continue talking with us. We
go to a goal setting call where I send them homework beforehand.
They’re going to fill out a lot of different questions. Here’s
where they fill out a lot of questions and it’s basically just a
spreadsheet that asks them the frequency of marketing and
different channels. How often are they blogging? How often are
they performing these X marketing activities and it’s designed
to do a few things to give us an end result of an arbitrary
score, sort of holistic score based on their entries.

Also the process of that prospect filling out this form and
saying, ‘No, I’m not doing any of this stuff,’ it’s a
psychological trigger and it’s sort of an “aha” moment. ‘Oh my
gosh, I’m not doing any of this.’ That’s been really effective.

Trent: Is there any chance that you would share that spreadsheet that
we can make as a downloadable from this episode?

Chris: I can give you a PDF copy of it, yes.

Trent: That would be wonderful. Thank you. For my show notes, what am
I going to call that?

Chris: Let’s call that an assessment questionnaire. This will be
homework between my assessment call and my goal setting call.

Trent: Very helpful. Thank you for that. That’s very generous of you.
What’s number three after that goal call?

Chris: After the goal setting call we get on the phone and we’ve
identified, ‘Hey, we want to increase revenue by $1 million next
year and it’s going to take us three big projects to do it.’
We’ve kind of gone through the process of, ‘Well how many visits
do you have to your website right now? How many more are you
going to need to get? How many leads are being generated by your
website?’ We can reverse engineer a number of visitors that we
need to bring to the website so we’ll have to put together a
plan. That plan will vary based on how effective their website
is right now, how many calls to action we need to add. Are they
doing anything or do they have any offers? Do we need to create
some? That will all kind of go into the last call [inaudible

Trent: What do you call this third call?

Chris: Sort of just a deal presentation or a solution presentation. I
won’t write up a 20-page document but what I will do is, I have
a PowerPoint presentation that has some of this stuff in it
already. I will just manipulate that to show what our plan might
look like. It’ll detail out the services that we would perform
on an ongoing basis and it’s really a visual meeting so we’re
screen sharing that and we’re talking about, ‘Hey, this is the
plan that we’ve put together. Based on the things you told me
this is what we think we can do and this is how long it’s going
to take us to get there and here’s the cost.’ Only after they’ve
said, ‘All right, let’s do it’ will I go and actually draw up a

Trent: That’s the fourth call?

Chris: Yes. That would be the fourth step.

Trent: You just review the contract, get them to sign it and send it
back to you?

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: How do you collect payment for retainer? Credit card or direct

Chris: I require a credit card, recurring payment. I found that when
we did not do that they’d come in late, they’d come in early,
they weren’t as reliable. I don’t mind taking a hit on the fee
because it’s peace of mind. There’s no question it’s going to
come in.

Trent: Absolutely. That’s been very interesting and so now you’ve got
to the point, and I promised early in this conversation, at
least I think I did, that we were going to talk about process
automation and how it’s fitting into your business because I
know that having run a service business myself in the past and
now launching another one how efficient you are or aren’t in
your service delivery can make the difference between being
wildly profitable and making no profit whatsoever.

I think a lot of people especially the solopreneurs or even
people who haven’t started yet maybe haven’t had that experience
and they just assume that if I get more revenue I’ll naturally
have more profit. Doesn’t always happen. Can you describe to us
and let’s stay on the thread of a retainer client, so you’ve got
this spreadsheet, you’ve got a solution, you’re going to need to
do all these things, how do you then systematize the delivery of
the deliverables so as to maintain your efficiency?

Chris: During the process of the sales process we’ve already detailed
out exactly what we’re going to do. Typically that’s going to be
creating offers, promoting those offers and then working on lead
generation. I’ve got in my project management system, which they
have access to, I’ve got built in templates for all these things
so once I launch the new marketing persona that we’re going to
craft for this client, let’s say they are managed IT and they’re
performing managed IT services to let’s see, theme parks, right?
You have to solve very specific problems for that theme park IT

We want to create a construct of that person so I said all that
to say once we create that persona we know we need to deliver an
offer for that persona to download on the website. We work
backwards. I don’t start with the blog posts. I start with the
offers; I start with the personas then the offers, the promoting
blog posts.

I’ve built my project management system the same way. When a
persona is created we know an offer needs to be created. When an
offer is created we know a blog post needs to be written, in
fact eight to ten. It’s automatically going to create all those
tasks for me. This helps me keep in line because I’m prone to
forget things and I have to have a system that allows me to go
back and make sure we’re on track.

The number one thing we’ve done is make all this open to our
clients so we have complete visibility. The clients can see what
we’re doing all the time. As we create these offers they can
comment, like. They can add files; they can contribute as we’re
working. This makes our meetings so much more productive because
we’re not having to recap, ‘Hey here’s everything we did this
week.’ They know what we’ve done this week. That’s already been
established. Let’s just talk about our strategy for next week.
Let’s talk about the results so that we don’t have to spend so
much time educating them on what we’re doing.

Trent: You’re using Podio to make all this happen?

Chris: That’s correct.

Trent: Do you speak to your retainer clients? Is there a weekly
meeting with them just as though you’re their director of

Chris: Yes. Weekly or bi-weekly. That’s how often we meet and we
structure our meetings based on the week number so we’ll have a
different style of meeting at the beginning of the month than
from the end of the month. Then during the middle of the month
we’ll have what we call interviews so we are talking about
topics that we’ve identified are going to be good keywords for
them to target. We’ll put an outline out there and just have
them talk about it and we’ll record the session on Go to
Meeting, come back and use that interview content to actually
build the blog post so that each blog post will be in the voice
of that particular business owner or marketing director.

Trent: That is an excellent idea. Did you think that one up or did you
learn that from Marcus?

Chris: Marcus definitely talked about that and we had already been
doing it for a while when I heard him say something about that
and it’s been a great thing. Once I heard him giving it I said,
‘We’re on the right track.’ We implemented processes around
that. Now it makes our meetings a lot more fun, we don’t have to
spend as much time digging up, ‘Oh god, what are we going to
talk about this week’ because I know a lot of agency owners that
have to speak to clients on a regular basis.

You might find yourself struggling to come up with, ‘What are we
going to talk about?’ That was genuinely a problem I used to
have. Not much has changed. We’ve gone up a little bit. This is
really where we thought we were going to be as far as visits,
leads and sales but we have this meeting on the books. Now we
have something to talk about for these meetings and it’s way
more productive and way more fun honestly because people love to
talk about what they do. It makes them happy.

Trent: Let me feed this back because I want to make sure that myself
and the audience has understood this. In these meetings you come
into the meeting with an agenda of keywords that could be
targeted, correct?

Chris: Yes. They’re framed in the form of a question.

Trent: Like give me an example.

Chris: I have a client that is an HVA, commercial HVAC contractor.
People have questions about how to better cool a commercial data
center. ‘How do I keep my data center cool?’ We’ll just come in
with that and have that business owner share their expertise.

Trent: Your team knew that that was a keyword that you should target?
You then do this meeting with them and you ask them that
question, you record the answer so now you have it in his voice.
You transcribe it and edit it and turn it into a post.

Chris: That’s correct.

Trent: For these clients that are paying you the $4,000 to $5,000 per
month, how many posts per month, like what is the deliverable
that they’re getting for the $5,000 a month?

Chris: It depends on the level of retainer, but we don’t suggest
having any less than ten blog posts every month. There are some
graphs that I’ve got in my presentations that show when you get
to 30 blog posts a month, which we’re not even at, but when you
get to that point the leads start coming in like crazy. It’s
just all about having more content out there on Google but we’ll
have anywhere from ten to 20, in some cases 25, blog posts per

Trent: That’s a lot of posts.

Chris: It’s a lot of posts. That’s what it’s all about though is
creating content that is going to get found.

Trent: You’re doing these, so in one of these calls then, if you’re
doing this once per week you must have to have four different
blog posts in mind that you’re interviewing them for, and so
four questions and they’re giving you the answer to those four
questions and those four questions become four different blog

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: Tell me what the process that goes from recorded answers
through to finished blog posts and are subcontractors playing a
role in any of this anywhere?

Chris: In some cases yes, we use a content marketplace to fill out
questions, if we didn’t have a chance to do interviews and we
look for experts. For instance I have a client that is in the
hockey space and we found a contractor who is awesome at writing
about hockey and he just knows hockey better than I do. We’re in
Texas. I don’t know anything about hockey. It may be different
from up north but we’re Cowboys football, Rangers baseball down
here. We have the Starts, but it’s just not as big of a deal so
we really struggle in that area but we’ve been very successful
with the content we’ve been able to create because we found an
expert to help us. We do have a few contractors in different

Trent: Going back to the first part of that question, you’ve got the
recorded answer. You’re not going to use a contractor so do you
then pay a transcription service to transcribe it and then you
or your wife edit that into a post?

Chris: We don’t pay any transcription services. I take a lot of notes
during so I’m bulleting things out and I do this in Podio where
the client can see so as I’m typing they can see all this stuff
go down. Then we have the transcription so that by the end of it
we’ve got a nice bulleted list of maybe 15, 20 bullets of things
that they hit on during the conversation and then we also have
the recording to fall back on. We can go in pretty soon after
that meeting, we like to go ahead and just type it all out. Get
it ready; get it into a finished format.

We might go over one or two passes as an editorial pass and just
clean it up. Make sure we’re matching it up with the right offer
but we’ve typically come up with that offer and matched it up
well before the interview even takes place.

Trent: How long are these posts typically?

Chris: Six hundred to 800 words is our normal rule of thumb.

Trent: If you’re doing, you said ten of these a month or 20 a month
per client?

Chris: Depending on the client it would be minimum ten. I don’t think
we’re doing only ten for anyone but 15 to 25.

Trent: Let’s just use a number of 15. You’ve got, say five clients
doing this. That’s 75 posts per month?

Chris: Yes.

Trent: Written by just you and/or, well not written, edited, crafted
because it’s already there in the transcription.

Chris: Correct.

Trent: That just seems like a boatload of work.

Chris: It’s a lot of work. We’re putting together a growth plan right
now. We don’t envision us doing that forever.

Trent: I was going to say because that doesn’t scale very well is my

Chris: Not for the business owner or the agency owner, for sure, but
what it does it doubles as service. You spend this time client
facing, they’re talking about something they love to talk about.
They’re seeing their ideas realized. They’re seeing the results
they’re getting based on that content. It’s a very positive
experience so that client time spent is actually helping us
produce the content so we’re overlapping a little bit there.
Client service.

With our software being so open they can see everything we’re
doing. We minimize the time on the other side of constantly
struggling to prove your worth. I know that a lot of agency
owners are constantly trying to prove their worth so I’ve tried
to eliminate that step by making everything as transparent as

Trent: I think that’s very smart. That was a big challenge that we had
back when we ran the IT company because if the computer network
didn’t break, why am I paying you $10,000 this month? Well,
because it didn’t break but it was challenging at times. Where
do I want to go next? Yes, so what strategies do you do to
promote all of this content that you’re creating for clients? Is
it purely an SEO strategy or are you going to town on social

Chris: We go to town on social networks. I’ve got very specific
numbers of posts for each client that we’re going to make on
each day. For instance our own, we treat ourselves as a client
so the exact same processes you’ll see for our clients are being
used for us. I’ll interview with my wife. My wife and I co-own
the agency together, we work together so we’ll have interviews
together just to kind of extract this content. We find it’s the
best way but for our business, our Twitter account, we post 20
to 25 times a day. Almost every hour and I found that when we
did that we increased now, month over month, 20 percent every
single month in followers. That same growth in my retweet reach,
so our reach is growing at the same pace. If we drop down to 15,
that growth lessens quite a bit. I found that’s optimal for our

Trent: What tool do you use to schedule Twitter posts and get

Chris: We use HubSpot for pretty much all of our marketing automation.
That’ll be different for each client. Sometimes the client
preference is simply, ‘I don’t want to have that many posts go
out on my Twitter account.’ That’s understandable. We can show
them, ‘Hey, this is how you get results,’ but we can’t always
convince 100 percent.

Now Facebook’s a different story. We found three to five
different posts every day is appropriate for some and then in
some cases it’s only one.

Trent: Are you sharing other people’s content like in your own Twitter
account, are you only tweeting out your own stuff or do you
share other people’s stuff as well?

Chris: We do both and there are a lot of different schools of thought
on this. A lot of people will say, ‘Share 80 percent of other
people’s content and only 20 percent of yours.’ I found honestly
that’s not the way to go. We’ll schedule out 18 to 20 posts of
our 24, of our own content. We’ll spend time interacting with
other people as sort of an alternate to that plan of sharing
everyone’s content. We’ll retweet. We’ll reply to people’s
tweets. We will generally share the love online but tweeting out
other agencies content, we’re not doing that. I generally don’t
want, I’d rather get the leads. I don’t believe that’s selfish.

If somebody writes a really good article that I used, I found,
‘Hey, how do we use this marketing automation tool in this way?’
If I found value in that, absolutely I’m going to retweet that
because I found personal value but typically we’re going to
write about things as we discover them and that’s the content we
want to promote.

Trent: You guys are doing a lot of writing.

Chris: You have to. It’s content marketing, right Trent?

Trent: Absolutely. You know what? Writing’s better than cold calling.

Chris: That’s true.

Trent: I gave a talk here in Boise just last week. I was given zero
notice. Guy calls me up the night before. He had broken his
tooth and he was supposed to speak and I had lunch with him that
day, just met him. He said, ‘Can you go talk for me?’ There was
like 80 small business owners that were in the room, mostly I’m
going to say three person companies and fewer. A lot of
solopreneurs in there.

The beginning of my talk I asked, I said, ‘How many people here
know what content marketing is?’ What would you guess, let’s
just say there was about, about 70 people in the room. How many
hands do you think went up?

Chris: I’m going to say not many, right?

Trent: Like six. Then I said, ‘How many people here are cold calling?’
Three quarters of the room put their hands in the air. I said,
‘How many people here receive cold calls?’ About half of the
room’s hands went up. I said, ‘How many people who receive them
like getting them?’ Nobody’s hands went up. Then I said, ‘Of
those of you who are making them, how many are getting results?’
Nobody’s hands went up. I’m like, ‘Stop. You’re just pissing
people off and you’re not getting results.’

Chris: Exactly. You’ve got to make warm calls, right?

Trent: Absolutely. So much more I could talk about that, but I’m going
to make a blog post actually about that, that talk that I gave.
Folks will be able to get that at Let me look at
my questions here and see where I want to go with this.

For the folks who are listening to this and they’re thinking,
‘This is content marketing and marketing automation thing seems
like it’s a pretty good idea, but man oh man does it ever seem
overwhelming. There’s like so much stuff to do.’ A lot of times
people get overwhelmed, they don’t do anything. What advice
would you give, Chris to someone who wants to get started? Who’s
the cold caller and they want to stop being the cold caller and
become a content marketer.

Chris: Start answering folks’ questions online. I will not shy away
from spreading Marcus Sheridan’s advice there. That’s the big
thing because it solves a few problems, well, it solves your
customer’s problems, right? It also solves the problem of what
do I write about? That’s the biggest challenge that I had at the
beginning. I’d write about what my customers are asking me and
you should do the same. Start writing. Don’t worry about what
domain name you’re going to use. Don’t worry about getting a
logo. Don’t worry about getting business cards. If you’re trying
to start a business don’t let any of that get in your way and
just pick something. Just put something out there. Don’t worry
about the design because Google doesn’t care about the design.
[inaudible 57:16]

Trent: You can host it on

Chris: Sure. Anything. That, ultimately it doesn’t matter because
that’s not what people are going to be typing into Google. If
you’re truly going to attack content marketing you’re going to
be attacking questions people type into Google or phrases people
type into Google. They’re not going to be Googling for your
website address, at least that’s not going to be the effect
content marketing has for you, so start writing. Start answering
questions and pick a vertical. Pick an industry that you want to
target because there are a ton of content marketing agencies, if
we’re talking to agency owners, there are a lot of content
marketing agencies, inbound marketing agencies. It’s becoming a
saturated market. It’s not a differentiator anymore so pick a

Trent: Absolutely. Is there anything that you thought we should have
talked about in this interview which I’ve neglected to ask you
about? Anything that has worked exceptionally well for you or a
big mistake that you made that you learned a lot from? Anything
at all that we’ve missed that you think we should talk about
before we close out?

Chris: Sure. I think that the biggest mistake I made at the very
beginning was relying on marketing automation and not
remembering that each piece of automated action and all that
stuff really requires a human touch. That’s why I spend so much
time on LinkedIn personally answering questions. You can’t just
set it and forget it. A lot of material online would lead you to
believe that. Remember that each person that you’re trying to
get as a lead is also a real person and they’ve got their own
challenges, their own problems that need to be solved. Start
identifying with them.

Speak with these folks, even if they’re someone who’s not
qualified pick up the phone every once in a while and ask them,
‘Hey, how’d you find us? What did you find valuable in the
content that you read and that you downloaded?’ I do some of
that. I like to spend time just speaking with people even if I
know it’s not a good fit, just understand what challenges they
have and really work with them to better understand. That helps
me build out better lead nurturing sequences, helps me send
better emails. It helps me identify better prospects and that’s
what you have to do over time to improve your efficiency is to
spend time with the folks who are going to be a better fit for

Trent: Absolutely. Those are your biggest cheerleaders and with the
80, 20 rule they’re also going to be responsible for 80 percent
of your revenue.

Chris: That’s right.

Trent: Chris, thank you so much for making this time to be on the
Bright Ideas Podcast. It has been a good time to interview you,
rather a lot of fun to interview you. Download [sounds like],
the episode number of this but I’m just going to pull it up and
so I can rattle that off. Actually I’ll put it in the, I’ll do a
recording here just after you and I are finished so again,
thanks so much for being on the show.

Chris: Cool. Thanks man. I really appreciate your time.

Trent: All right, so that wraps it up for this episode. To get to the
show notes where you can download all of the things that Chris
and I talked about, go to It’s just the
number 80. Then the other thing that if you could do is go to, there you will find a prepopulated tweet
and you’ll also find a link that will take you to the iTunes
store where you can leave some feedback for the show.

I would really appreciate it if you take a moment and do that
because the more feedback that the show gets, of course the
higher it goes in the iTunes store and the more exposure that it
gets and the more entrepreneurs that we can help to massively
boost their businesses with all the bright ideas that are shared
by my guests here on the show.

That’s it for this episode. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank
you so much for being a listener. I’ll see you or hear you or
we’ll see you again in another episode very soon. Take care.

About Chris Handy

ChrisHandyChris Handy is the Founder & CEO of Thinkhandy, a sales and marketing alignment consultancy in Fort Worth, TX.

Clients working with Thinkhandy find a helpful partner dedicated to shortening their sales cycle and generating more qualified leads.

We create a much more efficient business development environment with an aligned marketing and sales strategy.