30 Days of Agency: Countdown Checklist to Cyber Monday

agency checklist
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There’s always too much to do when you’re running an agency.

As the holiday season approaches us, you’re planning ahead for the future, delivering on holiday campaigns for clients, developing your sales funnel for new prospects, having annual client conversations, and reviewing your existing processes.

Organization remains the key to efficiency and production, but sometimes you need a reminder of the little things that can set yourself up for success.

Whether you want your agency to be in tip-top shape for new prospects or you finally have time to work on your own business instead of your clients, this 30-day tactical and practical list will guide you through the small (and big) projects that you can start in just one day or even one hour.

For many of us, it’s all about getting started. So let’s get our calendars and reminder tools out and get as much done as possible over the next 30 days.

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agency checklist

We’ve created a great little checklist that you can download as you cross each daily task off your list.

Table of Contents

Day 1 - Send out requests for testimonials

stunt and gimmicks testimonials

Source: S&G

Testimonials and reviews will be incredibly impactful when new prospects are assessing the quality of your work, the dependability of your firm, and the value of your services.

The best part? You can get endless mileage out of a good testimonial.

Put it on your website, make social media graphics, feature it in ads, and so on. 

The key is to make the ask in the first place. To save time, start with a templated email explaining that you enjoyed working with them and that you’re looking for testimonials. Then, you can personalize each email with reminders about noteworthy accomplishments your agency had with that account. 

What you can do in one hour: Pull a list of contact information from every client (past or present) that your agency has had a positive experience with. 

Day 2 - Create an intake form

If you always tend to ask the same types of questions during your first discovery call with a prospective client, save yourself some time and effort — templatize the process. 

Determine which questions you habitually ask in a sales meeting and write them down. If the list is long, narrow it down to the top 5-8 questions that you feel will help you be most prepared to give a great pitch. 

Next, think through times you found out something about a client in a Sales meeting that made you wish you feel like the meeting wasn’t a good use of your time. Do they expect free work in exchange for “exposure”? Do they expect to meet with you every day? Have a product or business that clashes with your agency’s values? List the areas of information that will help you get a precursory look at who you’re speaking with and potentially let you know if they’re a bad fit for your agency. 

Head on over to Google Forms and use it to create your intake form. When a prospective client reaches out, this is the first thing you can send them to find out a little more. 

What you can do in one hour: List every question you tend to ask in every first client meeting

Day 3 - Start a social media campaign internally

Agencies often work so hard on their clients’ marketing channels, they forget to show some love to their own. Social media can be a huge pitfall in this regard, because low amounts of engagement can stall your organic reach. 

Work on a plan to get every employee following your agency’s social media and boost that follower count. You know your employees best, so be creative and come up with a campaign that you think they’ll actually participate in. You could:

  • Incentivize those who submit screenshots of following
  • Hide an easter egg on the social profiles and encourage them to go find it
  • Host a segment during an All Hands or Town Hall where everyone gets out their phone or computer on the spot and follows the accounts together. 

What you can do in one hour: Gather the usernames and URLs to each of your agency’s social profiles so that they’re ready to share out to all employees once they receive their challenge. 

Day 4 - Identify which Sales emails have performed better than others

Auditing your Sales emails can save you time and effort down the road when you’re able to simply tweak a template that’s already known to work. 

First look back on pitch emails that resulted in a paying client. Are there any common threads? Email content? Samples attached? Client industry? Time sent?

Next look at pitch emails that didn’t result in a paying client. What are the differences? You can start with a simple list of similarities and differences, and then use this to write an MVP email template. 

Looking for some expert advice and examples of agency emails? Check out Sujan Patel’s Agency Ahead episode, “Why Do Agencies Suck at Email Marketing For Themselves?” 

What you can do in one hour: Pull up 10 successful pitch emails, 10 that got a response but didn’t convert, and 10 that got no response. Now get to reading!

Day 5 - Pull a list of prospects that didn’t convert

There can be any number of reasons why a client doesn’t end up entering a contract with your agency, and just because it didn’t work out then, doesn’t mean it’s off the table forever. They could have strategy, personnel, or budget changes that could mean they’re more receptive to hearing about your agency’s offerings. Unless there’s a reason why it was a really bad fit, identify these prospects and plan to check in with them. 

What you can do in one hour: Create a spreadsheet of lost prospects’ name, email address, and some notes about what happened in your discussions with them.   

Day 6 - Email your lost prospects

Begin emailing the contacts on the list to check in. You can ask if they still need your services, ask them how it worked out if they went in a different direction. If it’s been a while since you last spoke and you have new portfolio pieces, testimonials, etc., include them. 

What you can do in one hour: Choose 5 lost prospects and fire off emails to them. Next time you have another free hour, choose another 5!

Day 7 - Document and templatize your onboarding

Compile a list of everything you’ve asked for during client onboardings. Can this be documented and given to clients at once to save time? 

This may require digging through old emails or old kickoff meeting agendas to identify what you asked for. To create the best list possible, don’t just look at kickoff messages – also identify the one-off items you asked for weeks and months into a contract and see if they make sense to get at the beginning. 

Hack: You can use this list of onboarding questions our experts recommended in our webinar “The Operational Processes You Need to Start Your Consulting Business.” 

What you can do in one hour: Start creating your list of onboarding materials by reviewing what you asked for from your 3 most recent clients. 

Day 8 - Create a contract template

Most contracts that your agency enters will be incredibly similar, with small tweaks based on client information and the offerings that they’ve chosen. Compare some of your most recent contracts to find common elements, and use this information to create a template. It will also be helpful to identify the fields that change every time, and you can leave these blank in your template. 

If you’re not sure what a thorough contract looks like, start with this checklist

What you can do in one hour: Pull your most recent contracts and begin comparing them. If you have a version you like that’s very thorough, save yourself some time by working off of that one and editing it into a template. 

Day 9 - Mention 5-10 dream clients on social media

Are there any brands you would love to work with? They may pique your interest because you love their current marketing and think they can expand it with your help, you believe in their mission, or working with them would take your agency to the next level. 

Mention or tag the brands on your social media with a short description of why you love their work or mission. Bonus: Make it clear that it’s a series by doing it as a daily countdown and creating a hashtag for the campaign. You might get a share from a popular account or forge a real connection with the brand.

What you can do in one hour: Identify your list and document why these clients are your dream clients.

Day 10 - Send clients a token of appreciation

Clients put a lot of trust in you and they keep your agency up and running. Show them you appreciate them by sending out holiday gifts. It’s up to you to decide what your budget is, but don’t shy away from showing your appreciation even if you don’t have a lot to spare. Even choosing a gift card to a coffee shop or restaurant for your point of contact can be a great gesture, and you can personalize it by choosing a small local business near their office. 

What you can do in one hour: Figure out how many clients you have and determine what your gift budget will be per client. It may make more sense to base gift budget on a percentage of their monthly spend with you so that clients who pay you a lot are thanked accordingly. 

Day 11 - Write thank you cards to employees

You know who else makes your agency’s world go round? Your employees. If you have budget to spare, you can gift employees small tokens of appreciation as well. If not, employees should receive a handwritten note thanking them for their hard work. 

What you can do in one hour: Create a list of all employees, and spend a minute or two writing them all a quick note of thanks. 

Day 12 - Schedule year end roundtables with clients

Don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day with clients and forget to step back and take a look at your work with them. Reach out to clients to schedule a year-end roundtable discussion with everyone who has worked on their account and any interested stakeholders from their side. 

What you can do in one hour: Fire off emails to clients asking for their availability for a meeting that’s longer, more in depth, and attended by all stakeholders.

Day 13 - Review and update your QBR deck

Last time you did a Quarterly Business Review, were the insights helpful? Actionable? How much did you really look at it throughout this quarter?

Take this opportunity to review your standard QBR decks and decide what was helpful in depicting the past quarter and guiding the following quarter’s strategy, Once you’ve reviewed the content of your QBR, it will almost be time to start updating it with Q4 information. 

What you can do in one hour: Read through last quarter’s deck and determine what was helpful and what’s missing. 

Day 14 - Design graphics of your testimonials and post them on social

By now you should have received a response from a few clients you requested testimonials from. Use the copy from the testimonial to design a few simple graphics that have your agency’s branding and feature the quote text. If you’re lucky enough that you got lengthy testimonials from some clients, pick out the few most impactful quotes. You can save the longer version to post on your website. 

Post the graphics on various social media channels, accompanied by a bit of text in the post explaining that this is a quote from a client you worked with, and potentially even include a noteworthy milestone you accomplished with them. 

What you can do in one hour: Read through your testimonials and create a document with the best quotes for social media graphics. 

Day 15 - Feature testimonials on your website

Get creative and think about where on your website you want to feature your testimonials. Homepage hero image? A whole testimonials page? A carousel in the footer? Decide what makes sense for your site and don’t be afraid to test out different placements. 

What you can do in one hour: Select the testimonials you want to feature, and start taking a look at your website to find a good spot for them. 

Day 16 - Begin creating your Q1 budget

Don’t wait until the last minute amid the holiday fog to work out your budget for next quarter. Reach out to the pertinent staff that will be influencing your budget and let them know that you’re going to begin budget meetings and the materials that they should be prepared with. 

What you can do in one hour: Find a time on everyone’s calendar who needs to be in budget discussions and set the meeting for within one week from now.

Day 17 - Examine your vendors

Vendor costs add up, even if they seem negligible. Take a look at your last 2 statements and work with the relevant function areas to begin identifying any payments you’re unsure of.

 Make two lists: Vendors you’re questioning and want to check in on the ROI of in Qone, and vendors that you’ve determined should be eliminated. You can plug a lot of leaks by finding that old stock photo subscription no one’s used in a year and other similar charges. 

What you can do in one hour: Access your statements and download the two most recent months. Create a document of charges you’re questioning to bring to department heads or employees who may have an explanation. 

Day 18 - Productize your services

peak freelance productize service

Source: Elise Dopson’s Peak Freelance Community

Productizing your services will help guide your pricing, speak more clearly about your service offering, and allow you to seamlessly scale SOWs in a building blocks fashion. 

Review work you’ve done in the past and identify common elements you tend to repeat under the umbrella of a broader practice. Do you offer “SEO” but find that you always need to begin with an audit? Maybe you’ve seen a trend where clients actually have great content but need a technical SEO tune-up for their site to be crawled? These services can be productized “a la carte” and time, cost, or manpower can be more specifically tracked. 

What you can do in one hour: Not sure where to begin in breaking down your services? Head over to Fiverr Pro and see how consultants in similar subject areas have broken down their offerings to create individual products. Document any that seem to apply to you as well. 

Day 19 - Review and refresh reporting

mediasesh reporting

Source: Christina Brodzky‘s Mediasesh reporting templates.

Take a look at the reporting you present to clients. Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to help determine if your reporting is falling flat and needs a refresh:

  • Does it typically leave them with more questions than answers?
  • Is it actually actionable?
  • Are you placing a heavy emphasis on vanity metrics?
  • Do your reports display information visually in an easy-to-understand way?
  • Are your reports siloed between channels rather than presenting a holistic narrative?
  • Is the report creation project so difficult and time consuming that it doesn’t present a significant ROI?

If these questions lead you to believe your reports may need some improvement, begin updating which fields you include and how you create reports. 

What you can do in one hour: Begin looking at different customer reports and documenting your critiques. Bonus: Add an agenda item asking for reporting feedback for your client roundtables 

Day 20 - Schedule post mortems with account managers

As fun as it is to look back on your progress with clients who have stayed with you, your agency can learn the most from the clients who ended their contracts with you. 

Round up a list of clients you lost in 2020 and host post mortem discussions on each to identify areas of improvement. As you brainstorm solutions to problems that happened with lost clients, document the best ideas and ways you can implement them into your processes. 

What you can do in one hour: Pull a list of lost clients, and identify all employees who worked on that clients account. Schedule one meeting per client and invite all the relevant employees that you listed. 

Day 21 - Review opportunities to expand the SOW with current clients

Continuing to grow with current clients is the most efficient way to grow your agency.

A marketing strategy can be simple or it can be sophisticated. Do you have any clients that started off with a simple budget and marketing foundation, but have come a long way? These are great candidates for leveling up your SOW. 

Recurring underperformance for certain KPIs usually means a piece of the puzzle is missing in that strategy. Could the problem be solved by adding on one of your productized offerings?

These are a few strategies to find opportunities for expansion. Go through client accounts one by one internally and have an honest conversation about whether they’re all set with what they have, or if their strategy could benefit from expanding.  

What you can do in one hour: Using your productized list of services, begin looking at live SOWs and document where an additional service may be beneficial. 

Day 22 - Write a blog post for your own website

siege media blog post

Source: Siege Media

A blog post on your site is a free opportunity to generate leads and bolster your writing samples if you don’t have enough from paying clients yet. 

Talk about something your agency is an expert at, and keep it detailed but digestible at one500-2000 words. To give yourself the best chance at ranking, perform some keyword research for queries in your industry and use this process to write content with SEO in mind

What you can do in one hour: Determine the topic, target keyword, and section headings of your blog. Give yourself a deadline to finish developing the blog.

Day 23 - Research and commit to a course or tutorial

cxl-online-courses

Source: CXL.com

Marketing trends and technology change quickly, so don’t let your education fall behind. Commit to one course or tutorial that teaches you something new in the industry. 

Start off with this list of certifications, courses, and events that will help update your education and choose one in a format that you know you’ll be able to follow through on. 

What you can do in one hour: Choose the educational initiative you want to complete and register for it.

Day 24 - Reach out to be a guest on a webinar or podcast

Source: Traject Webinar

Having a webinar or podcast episode on the books is one of the most efficient ways to promote your brand. Because you’re just having a conversation about something you’re an expert on, it’s a fairly low amount of prep. On the other hand, you have another business promoting you and you can repurpose the finished product to maximize its mileage. 

Begin by identifying businesses that host podcasts or webinar on subjects you (or someone at your agency) is an expert on. Send a note asking to get in touch with the podcast or webinar coordinator and:

  • Ask them if they have already any topics planned that they need speakers for
  • Share a brief list of your areas of expertise in case there’s a fit

Start your research with this list of top marketing podcasts

What you can do in one hour: Identify 5 podcasts or webinars that you want to appear on, and identify how you’ll get in contact with the coordinators.

You could even apply to be a guest on our Agency Ahead podcast.

Day 25 - Write a guest blog post on another blog

cyfe-guest-post
harsh-guest-post

Source: Cyfe

Guest posting on another organization’s blog can be a great way to both drive traffic to your site as well as bolster your agency’s writing samples. 

Identify a few sites that are closely related to your marketing agency’s areas of expertise, but aren’t direct competitors.  A really great option is to reach out to marketing tool companies or marketing publications and offer a guest post. 

You’ll have the best chance of success if you’ve already done your due diligence on their blog and you make your request prepared with a piece you’ve written that fits. It may seem easier in the moment, but don’t get caught in the pitfall of offering the same generic blog to every website you can find. 

What you can do in one hour: Identify five blogs that relate to your industry that you want to guest post on. 

Day 26 - Set up a picture day

Headshots humanize your agency, and may help prospective clients feel more familiar and at ease as they contemplate sharing their expensive marketing budget with you. Request headshots from all employees that you can feature on your website or on social media. 

Headshots don’t need to be professional or cost a lot of money (especially during COVID if this is an at home picture day). Just make sure they’re clear, well-lit, against a plain backdrop, and professional. 

What you can do in one hour: Send out an email to all employees letting them know your expectations for a headshot and setting a deadline by which they should submit it. 

Day 27 - Host a virtual event with a local organizations in your community

When businesses get involved in their community, your company culture benefits, your reputation benefits, and the community benefits. Brainstorm how you can do something nice for local organizations (while social distancing of course) or how you can help amplify their missions using your platform. Host a toy drive, get submissions for a virtual art show fundraiser, play virtual bingo for a prize, anything! 

What you can do in one hour: Decide what type of event you want to host and choose a date

Day 28 - Identify 1 or 2 awards your agency can apply for

This one requires some research because you can approach it from a number of ways. First, you can start off with a highly competitive list of national marketing agency awards, like the ones on this list of the hottest awards for 2020. If you think you qualify for any of these, go for it! 

Additionally, almost every city creates roundups of “best small businesses” “hottest new companies” “best marketing blog” and similar roundups. Take the time to brainstorm and dig around the internet for ways you can apply to be featured. Feeling stuck? Head over to your competitors site and see if they have badges or press releases promoting their awards. 

What you can do in one hour: Identify 1-2 awards you’re going to go after

Day 29 - Add your agency to AgencySpotter

agency-spotter

Did you know that there’s a listing site for marketing agencies called AgencySpotter, and that more than 5,000 agencies have listings on it? Claim your profile so that prospective clients using the tool can more easily find you. Other valuable agency review sites include UpCity and Clutch.co.

What you can do in one hour: Create your profile on AgencySpotter or look at your current profile and make any necessary changes. 

Day 30 - Take a Break

You earned it. Revel in all the successful initiatives you just started so that on Day 31, you’re ready to jump back in to complete them and rejuvenate your agency’s practices. Happy Cyber Monday!

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