Stop slaving over custom proposals that lead you down dead-end roads. Instead, start with a proposal that’s already 90% to completion for every prospect. You will save time, create happier clients and close bigger deals

How? It starts with a template. That’s right. Similar to your email template, or your newsletter template, or your website template. It’s the same concept, you start with a basic, proven framework and you add what you need and take away what you don’t. You’ll be finished in half the time and you’ll win three times the deals. Download Digital Agency Coach's proposal template to help push your proposal in the right direction. Keep reading to find out how to maximize the template and get every last drop of value out of it. Before you submit it make sure you run it by our Ultimate Digital Agency Proposal Checklist to make sure you’re submitting only the creme-de-la-creme of…

At the tender age of 20 I started my digital agency Optix Solutions. 18 years on we are still going and employ almost 20 staff. Here are 5 useful tips if you're thinking of starting your own business.

At 38 and as a relative old timer of the industry, I thought it would be useful to tell my story. Hopefully I can inspire the next generation because although the internet might have changed dramatically in the time I've been going, good old common sense business fundamentals haven't.

When I started my agency back in 1999 Google and Ebay were both in a garage somewhere. Many companies didn't have websites so my job was to persuade them this Internet thing was worth investing in! 18 years on and its a little different! In that time we went through the dot com bubble bursting, the birth of ecommerce,…

A checklist of issues aimed at improving your new business marketing processes and techniques

If you are a big, established agency then you may well run a finely tuned new business or demand generation machine already. If you are a smaller or a start-up agency and growth so far has been ‘accidental’ then where do you start with a more proactive, controlled approach to generating ‘New Biz’? New business is, I think, is more competitive than ever and there are a few reasons: The sheer number of agencies of all types. There are 18,000 or so in the UK alone (figures I have seen vary from 16-20,000). Client (prospect) time is stretched thin with smaller teams and more to do. It follows that decision makers are less willing to hear you out, unless they have a burning need and you catch them at that exact time. An increasing understanding of all things inbound…

5 essential sections for a great agency proposal template

First things first: a proposal isn’t a pitch. A proposal is usually used as the first stage of a wider pitch process to filter down a field of agencies. I'm focusing here on the long form written proposal. As an aside, alarm bells should be ringing if the prospect or client only wants a written proposal sending through with no opportunity for you to meet or at least ask questions. So I’ll assume you have requested and secured a meeting or some form of Q&A before you start creating your proposal. That way you have all the facts you need to answer the request and you’ve also started building a relationship. 'Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.'  Zig Ziglar There'll be times when your proposal isn't written in a competitive context: you may be the incumbent and have a great client relationship…

Keeping digital skills relevant in an agency

If you think life is a continuous learning experience, then consider working in a digital marketing agency as a microcosm of this experience. Flux, evolution and transformation are a constant theme in digital marketing. Digital marketers have to keep up to date with the latest technology, upskill on a regular basis and deliver results in an increasingly competitive market. I have experienced these challenges and in this post, I would like to share my experience of over five years working in digital marketing and SEO agencies. My goal is to give some tangible advice that can help you keep ahead of the flux and be more successful as marketers. Of course, flux is not restricted to agencies! So the advice can be applied to both agency and in-house marketers. Let’s get started.

1. Project Management and Organisation

Project management is…

When your agency gets big enough you'll have to think seriously about account handling

Maybe a surprising question (especially to those account managers or handlers reading this post) but it is a question that comes up fairly regularly from owners of new or smaller agencies. And that’s who this post is aimed at. Actually, rather than being asked if an account handler (at the right stage in the agency’s growth) is necessary, I’ve sometimes been told that it isn’t. Period. To paraphrase some conversations: “we won’t be recruiting account handlers, clients will deal with a flat structure, we’ll save on overheads and that’ll also set us apart from other agencies”. Not to sound flippant, but ‘good luck with that’! That approach will be what eventually makes you over run on projects, miss new business opportunities and underserve on proactive ideas. And tie you (the business owner or creative/tech lead) up in knots, trying to…

More clients think their agencies are innovative than ever before!

When it comes to digital marketing, innovation beats tried and tested. No one gets excited by banner ads, but a clever new Snapchat campaign or interactive billboard might just get some attention. So it stands to reason that clients would want and expect a good level of innovation with respect to digital initiatives from their marketing agencies. A report from SoDA shows how many clients think their agencies really are innovative when it comes to digital. The numbers are looking fairly promosing, almost twice as many cleints thought their agencies were very innovative this year as did in 2015. More also thought they were 'somewhat' innovateive and less thought they were average. So agencies had better keep up their efforts to become digital innovators, lest they fall behind the competition. If you're a marketing agency owner looking at offering new digital services, you'll…

How to use analytics to convince potential clients that they need your help

Analytics are a vital tool for establishing which marketing strategies are successful and which are proving to be a drain on resources. However they can be overwhelming to the untrained eye, which provides the perfect opportunity for you, if you work in business development for an agency, to offer your services and expertise to potential clients. Using analytics enables you to identify issues and shortcomings in their current strategy and recommend solutions, supported by data.  Your initial step must be to establish their existing level of knowledge. It’s essential that you clarify whether they are a novice, or they are just looking for the input of an expert, and whether the use of jargon is appropriate. Making this differentiation early on will not only save you time in your explanation, it will also prevent you inadvertently patronising or over-simplifying to…

Is this the Perfect Marketing Agency exec?

We love this new infographic just posted on The Agency Post. It's simply fun! You could say it prompts ideas of what makes a good, functional, responsive agency that is following the latest digital marketing best practices, but it's just fun really. As the creator explains: "Both agencies and clients say they value creativity, expertise in emerging trends, and product and service innovation in an agency. However, the day-to-day of maintaining and collaborating between two teams makes a single email or request seem like the thing standing between your agency and that next review. With this narrow view, an agency metamorphosizes into a Frankenstein-like monster — one that fulfills a client’s every need and want". This seems to cover all of the current agency buzzwords nicely, from sub-sonic hearing needed for real-time social media listening to the…

Don't let BAU get in the way - make the time to plan for account growth

New business is the lifeblood of every agency, or so the saying goes. But, at the same time, the equally well-known adage is that it costs you a lot more in internal time and external / freelance costs to acquire a new client compared to retaining and growing an existing one. Unfortunately business-as-usual work on client projects or "agency life" can get in the way. So, if you (the client services / account handling team) are not focusing on existing account growth, then you should be. By the way, I’m not a fan of the term ‘organic’, which is often applied to refer to growing an existing client account. It can imply 'it’ll just happen' rather than 'let's plan to grow this account…