One membership covers your whole agency. You and your whole team can take part in all these sessions with an Agency Hackers membership.
Here's what's happening over the next few weeks at Agency Hackers. Some sessions are aimed at agency leaders, and others are more aimed at specific agency disciplines like client services or marketing and new business.
These sessions are for Agency Hackers members. If your agency isn't a member yet, please join here.
HOW DO YOU DEVELOP WHEN
YOUR AGENCY GROWS?
Size brings problems - it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
How do YOU change when your agency grows?
Raman started the agency twelve years ago in Newcastle. Now it has a sharp focus on pharmaceutical PR and employs over 40 people – with both Raman and 70% of his business based in the US.
This interview is all about how you change as a leader when your agency gets bigger.
“You’re going to have to sack people. You’re going to lose clients. You’re going to produce shit work. It’s all part of the journey,” says Raman.
In our session, we will focus on:
- Knowing when to zero-in on a niche. (In 2016 Ramarketing decided to focus on a 'sector within a sector' – pharmaceutical PR – which paid off handsomely.)
- Learning and adapting to being a leader.
- Recognising when to recruit a larger team of a higher calibre.
“We started in the Conference League, and we ended up in the Champions League. Sometimes you end up with Conference and Third Division players – and some don’t make the jump."
This will be an interesting session if you’re on a growth journey and you want to peep around the corner.
LOCKDOWN 2.0: STATE OF THE NATION
Join us for an Agency Hackers "State of the Nation" where you'll hear how other agencies are finding life – and the economy in general.
How are things across the agency sector?
Everybody is wondering how everybody else is getting on. And honestly? It's kind of hard to tell – because often agencies that are doing well are keeping quiet on social media.
In this session we have a host of agency leaders joining to contribute to a "State of the Nation" – helping us take the temperature of the independent agency sector.
How is new business? How is the team? You can share your hopes and concerns, and take the temperature of your agency peers.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AGENCY LIFE CURBS YOUR ENTHUSIASM?
Hear a story about losing – and rekindling – your passion for your business.
An agency leader woke up one morning during lockdown and decided to call it day.
“I woke up and my head just said: enough is enough. Let’s close the business,” he explains.
After running the business for over a decade, he found that he didn’t fancy carrying on. (We're not putting his name on the web to prevent this story ending up in the Google index forever!)
“I felt battered and bruised, having run it for so long and then being faced with the challenge of Brexit and then Covid and the impending recession.”
With lockdown looming, closing the business seemed the most practical thing.
(This is VERY common – but it’s not something that’s often spoken about.)
However, he didn’t pull the trigger immediately.
“I think it’s important that you live with those things and really explore the implications thoroughly,” he says. “Would I be happy if I closed this business and didn’t feel I’d given it everything?”
Spoiler alert – he didn’t shut shop. In fact, he doubled down on the business.
Fast forward several months and he has restructured his team, started to re-define his role, and implemented a more strategic and data-driven approach to decision-making.
All this is already starting to nudge his metrics in an encouraging direction.
This is a story many agency leaders will relate to. As we ask this person about their story, we’ll talk about:
● Letting your mistakes teach you an important lesson
● The art of delegation (and not feeling bad about it)
● Accepting change and adapting to it
If you’ve ever lost your zest for the climb, this will help you reflect on whether you’re really ready to quit – or whether you just need a different route up the mountain.
IS YOUR AGENCY'S WEBSITE COPY LETTING YOU DOWN?
Do you sound the same as every other agency? Can clients actually tell what you do from looking at your website?
Let’s be honest – no one likes looking at their own website.
There’s always something that needs editing and it feels as though you’re always in the process of updating it.
He's seen HUNDREDS of agency websites – and in this session he'll share his advice on how to avoid sounding like everybody else... and find the right words to communicate what you do to clients.
“Often there’s too much emphasis on the HOW" says Roland. “But there’s not enough on WHY: the rational and emotional benefits clients get from the service.”
- He says the best websites communicate confidence – and find a way to sell that authentically to their client.
- For example, don't use the words ‘can’, ‘could’ or ‘should’ – tell your clients exactly what you do, and what you’ll do for them.
- “A really niche and nerdy article will have a smaller readership, but most likely the right one,” Roland says. “Better to have 10 fans, than 100 fairly interested followers.”
In the session, Roland will be sharing more tips and tricks.
We will discuss the steps to make your service pages sing, how to embrace a more direct and honest approach, and the best way to sharpen and streamline your messaging.
If you’ve been going around in circles trying to wordsmith your website copy, this is the perfect session for you.
Check in with other marketing and new business minds. See what the rest of the pups in the pound are thinking and doing.
This is our monthly catch-up for anybody with marketing or new business responsibility.
Sometimes we have guest speakers, but mainly it's a chance to catch up with your peers.
It's facilitated – but you are the content, so chip in where you can!
HAS LOCKDOWN CHANGED
HOW YOU PITCH?
This year might have put a few things on hold, but pitching isn’t one of them.
We’ve all had to get used to working remotely, but how have you adjusted to pitching remotely?
We all know the importance of a good pitch. They can be months in the making, and a positive result makes all that time and effort worth it.
However, when a global pandemic comes along, things have to change.
Perhaps plans have completely fallen through due to the current circumstances. You might have even had to overhaul your pitch and change your planned approach entirely to suit your, now digital, audience.
And what’s more, once you are pitching via video call, it’s much harder to ‘read the room’ - we’ve even heard horror stories of agencies pitching to a “black hole” of turned-off videos!
We’ll be talking all about your experiences of pitching remotely, the techniques you’ve used to maximise your efforts, and whether you’ve achieved success despite these setbacks. Has it taught you anything you’ll apply to pitching once things are back to normal?
Sign up to the session and share your experiences - we promise you won’t be talking to a blank screen!
RUNNING AN AGENCY PODCAST: IS THE JUICE WORTH THE SQUEEZE?
Thinking of starting a podcast? You'll hear from other agencies who've tried it – and have a tale to tell.
Podcasts. Everyone’s got one - and if you haven’t, you’re probably in the middle of developing one as we speak.
While a lot of agencies have one, does anyone actually listen to them?
The equipment is expensive, the editing is incredibly time-consuming, and that’s before you’ve commissioned artwork and uploaded it to various platforms.
And this might not be paying off if you only have a few downloads per episode.
In this session, we’ll hear from several agencies who have developed their own podcast, and ask them, how is it really going?
- Production costs - and if they’re worth it
- How they’ve encouraged their target audience to listen
- What objectives they have for their future output
If you’re interested in setting up your own podcast, or need some advice on ironing out the kinks, just like, rate and subscribe… and sign up for this session while you’re at it.
CLIENT SERVICES MASTERMIND
Don't miss our monthly catch-up for anybody with client services or account management responsibility
This is your chance to catch up with your peers and find out what's happening in your role at different agencies.
It's facilitated – but you are the content, so chip in where you can!
ZOOMED OUT: HOW ARE AGENCIES KEEPING THE CREATIVE JUICE FLOWING?
It can be hard to keep the momentum going after several months of working from home. This session will help you combat the fatigue that’s undoubtedly set in.
2020 has felt like the longest year on record.
And why wouldn’t it? We’ve been working from home for over seven months now.
With restrictions coming back into force here, there and everywhere, fatigue has definitely set in.
Understandably, this wreaks havoc on the creativity of your workforce.
- When this happens, how can you keep momentum going?
- How can you keep your team’s creative juices flowing when they’re sick and tired of video calls?
- It’s hard to keep ideas fresh when you’re staring at the same four walls.
In this session, we’ll discuss the tips, tricks and technologies that agencies are using during this time to brainstorm, collaborate and share genuinely good ideas despite working apart.
If your team feels like it’s running on empty, this session will help you put gas back in the tank.
HR & PEOPLE DIRECTOR MASTERMIND
This is a session for 'people people' – HR and people folk – to share what they're working on.
How are you finding being responsible for the people... when you can't be WITH the people?
Join this hangout for agency HR and people directors where you can ask questions, get support and share your wisdom.
We can talk Christmas parties, keeping Covid safe, and how you're keep that team feeling going when nobody can be together.
GDPR: HOW TO AVOID THE
DEADLY 'SECOND WAVE'
The GDPR is starting to cause problems for agencies. Here's what you need to keep an eye on.
In 2018 the GDPR came into force. We all stuck cookie pop-ups on our website – and that was pretty much it.
Well, GDPR might be about to get relevant again.
"There was a lot of panic – and then it all went quiet" says GDPR expert Guy Beresiner. "But there's starting to be some ambulance chasing. Lawyers are finding staring to crowdfund actions. People are getting very scary letters.
For agencies, it's often things you do for CLIENTS that might get you into hot water.
"There are some surprising precedents being set."
"A lot of brands run Facebook pages for brands. Say you share content for Kwik Fit on repairing your car, you're not using anybody's personal data - so it's considered out of scope of the GDPR".
"But recently there was a ruling that said the BRAND that created that fan page is the data controller – and IT'S responsible for causing the personal data to be collected by Facebook."
Guy is doing an Agency Hackers session where he'll run through the new implications of the GDPR – and what you might need to be aware of.
Sleep with one eye open.
WE ARE FAMILY: WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RUN AN AGENCY WITH A LOVED ONE
Is running your business with your partner or close family member a help or a hindrance?
Some people wouldn't dream of going into business with our partners or family members.
However, for some this has proven to be a successful formula for leading an agency.
“You fully trust each other and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” explains Becky Simms, CEO of Reflect Digital alongside husband, Paul. “You can support each other in being in the right role.”
However, it does come with its fair share of problems.
For one, it’s hard to get out of work mode when you’re both in it together.
“No one tells you to stop working as you are both as addicted as each other,” says Becky.
In this session we’ll hear from several agency leaders, including Angela and Becky, who have made a success of working with a loved one. We’ll chat all about:
●Sharing the same vision and values
●Using your relationship to your agency’s advantage
●Setting clear boundaries between work and home life
"Hello, thank you for connecting with me. Hope you are keeping well during these crazy times?"
"Would you have 10 minutes to arrange a quick call to find out how you could save money on llama insurance?"
We’ve all been on the receiving end of LinkedIn prospect campaigns.
While these strategies can help target and build audiences...
...they also have a tendency to burn bridges – with many deleting messages or declining connection invites straightaway.
They've seen a significant change in attitude towards this approach over the last couple of years.
“You used to be pretty much able to get a meeting with anyone. Now you’ve got to be a bit more calculated with what you do,” says Rob.
They run MeasureGrow – a lead generation agency that combines LinkedIn prospecting with other tricks like handwritten notes.
In the session we’ll discuss:
- The strategies that currently work best. (Creating targeted and tailored campaigns can be the difference between new connections or being ignored or even blocked by the people you’re trying to reach.)
- The best tips and tricks to building an audience
- How to avoid alienating people on LinkedIn
This is a great one to attend if you’re thinking about using LinkedIn to grow your agency.
Andy Budd is selling Clearleft after 15 years.
Not to an international consultancy – but to its employees.
"Clearleft will be run for—and on behalf of—all our team, now and in the future" says Andy.
"So rather than working for a company where the benefits go to a handful of individuals, they will be shared evenly amongst the team."
More agencies are doing this. Recently Quietroom and Torchbox pulled off "EOTs" – selling to employee ownership trusts.
Andy has agreed to tell us about this major change.
- What are the advantages to the owners?
- How does it work money-wise?
- How do you communicate this to the team?
- What changes culturally when your staff are in control
We're also joined by Ewan Hall from Baxendale Employee Ownership, which helps companies navigate successful employee ownership transitions.
If you're looking at exit options and you think an EOT could be something to explore, this will make sure you're fully in the picture.