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How to Grow a Digital Marketing Agency (with Coaching Services)

Differentiating yourself from the competition requires a transformation that, in the end, will have your clients seeking your praise and approval — instead of the other way around.

How to Grow a Digital Marketing Agency (with Coaching Services) Blog Feature

Paul D. Grant

Director of Content, 20+ Years of Publishing and Content Marketing Experience

October 6th, 2021 min read

Perhaps you're looking at your current service offering and thinking you’re really not all that different from most of your competitors – your services are very similar to other HubSpot partners.

In fact, you fear you’re falling into a sea of sameness.

Your work is OK, but you need to do something to make your services great and stand out. You’ve got client turnover and you’re not getting the results you were hoping for from your inbound marketing program.

And … you're nowhere near as profitable as you'd like to be.

You might even feel like you and your team are servants to your clients. You’re trying to keep your clients happy for fear of losing them – and their revenue. You’re feeling burned out and overwhelmed.

Something needs to change.

As a digital marketing agency, we’ve felt your pain

We’ve seen lots of agencies go through this. Heck, we’ve gone through this ourselves. At one time, we here at IMPACT were a typical HubSpot/inbound marketing agency, and like most agencies, we felt the same pain. We weren’t happy with the work we were doing, we weren’t happy with where we were, we weren’t happy with our lead magnets, so we had to make a change for ourselves and for our potential clients.

We looked around at the HubSpot space and on social media platforms to find financially successful small businesses that were having incredible client results.

For IMPACT CEO Bob Ruffolo, seeing the work Marcus Sheridan was doing with his clients was eye-opening. Marcus’ model was different. He had a coaching and training philosophy versus running an agency that did whatever the client wanted.

Fast forward a bit: While working together with clients, Bob and the rest of the team at IMPACT got to see how Marcus approached his client relationships. And it was very different from how HubSpot was training agencies to work with clients, and it was very different from how we at IMPACT or any of our peer agencies were working with clients.

Marcus had every one of his clients doing their own marketing work, without any pushback, and seeking his approval. He was absolutely in control of the relationship instead of feeling his agency had to please his clients.

Rather than showing his clients work that he hoped they would accept, it was the other way around. Marcus’ clients were trying to impress him, wanting to show him their work and hoping he would accept it, hoping they had done it right, the way that he showed them for the good of their business. Plus, Marcus never let his foot off the gas, continuing to pressure the clients for their own good.

And because of that, the clients all did amazing things.

Soon, Bob and Marcus had merged their companies. And over the last three years, we’ve completely ditched doing inbound marketing services for clients the way HubSpot taught us. It took us a while, but we worked hard to replicate Marcus’ approach to the best of our abilities, hiring coaches and training them so they could coach clients at the same level Marcus was.

We learned a lot during that process.

We also completely rebuilt our service offerings, packaging them together to provide coaching and training that offers an incredible amount of value to the clients — an approach that has financially served IMPACT well.

You’ll become a world-class digital marketing coach

As you may know, at IMPACT the core framework we offer is They Ask, You Answer. It’s part of our mission to have businesses all over the world thrive with They Ask, You Answer. Marcus’ book by the same name is very popular, and a lot of companies are implementing it and having incredible success with it.

We want to pour rocket fuel on that.

But we know we can’t do it alone.

We’re passionate about helping agencies, and we know we can help agencies implement exactly what we’re doing that’s transformed our company – and we know it can transform agencies all around the world as well. We truly believe that this can be the second coming of the HubSpot partner channel.

Earlier this year, we launched our certified coach program to help you implement a coaching model service offering into your business. This involves training you and your team to have the coaching skills you need to incentivize your clients to try to please you by doing the work that they need to do that’s in the best interests of having incredible inbound marketing results.

We teach you how to be a world-class coach.

We also help you implement the They Ask, They Answer framework for your clients. As part of the program, you get certified as a They Ask, You Answer coach and you have all the rights that go along with being able to provide They Ask, You Answer as a service offering for your clients. And you also get access to all the same training materials that we here at IMPACT use with our clients, including all the courses and community of IMPACT+, which you would resell to your clients and earn a commission on.

Switching from an inbound marketing agency model to a coaching and training model has transformed our agency in so many great ways, especially improving the pride and the development of our people. We’re able to pay our people more. Our people are significantly happier because they love the work they are doing. The results we’re getting from our clients are just out of this world, and it’s a much more scalable model for IMPACT.

Here’s a real-world example of how coaching helped an agency grow

When our first cohort of two partners went through the program, we had incredible success with it right from the start. In particular, Nick Burrage, the managing director of The Ambitions Agency in the United Kingdom, completed the program and had a great deal of success in a short period of time.

“Over the years, I have done a lot of training of various types, but nothing even comes close to the power and effectiveness of the They Ask, You Answer certified coach training,” Nick says. "On a professional level, it has given me a set of skills that allow me to maintain much more stature and power in client relationships, it has also meant that team conversations and potentially tough one-on-one conversations are now so much more productive.

“The certified coaching program has revolutionized my approach to clients. Gone is the old subservient attitude and clients leading us around that always follows that. From presale to engagement, the client now sees us as expert advisers. It has therefore massively improved our mental health by giving us all confidence and self-belief.

“All of these things translate into improved profitability and less wasted time, which are, obviously massive benefits.”

Not only do we encourage you to learn more about our certified coaching program, but we truly believe that if you implement this model in your business, you too will want to ditch the traditional inbound marketing agency model.

Ready to get going? Talk to an advisor to get started

How to become a digital marketing coach

Make no mistake, as with anything worthwhile, becoming a certified coach isn’t easy.

“I’ll be honest,” says IMPACT Coach Chris Duprey. “You’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to learn how to be a great communicator. You’re going to learn to be fearless. You’re going to have to learn how to teach and coach and train people in a way that you might never have done before.”

Great initiatives can stagnate or lose momentum without an outside expert to guide progress and maintain accountability. We hear time and time again from clients that started They Ask, You Answer on their own and found they needed a coach to help them.

Certified coaches keep their clients focused on four key principles:

Simplicity: Adhere to the 10 straightforward concepts that apply to every industry and can be mastered by your client’s organization.

Trust: By openly answering customers’ questions, your clients will be seen as the voice of trust and authority in their industry.

Alignment: Your client’s marketing and sales efforts will be unified, with common goals and objectives.

Education: Using the right content in the sales process gives your clients better-fit, ready-to-buy customers.

For complete details, download our free coaching guide.

Benefits of becoming a certified digital marketing coach

When you become a certified They Ask, You Answer coach, you’re joining a winning team and a worldwide movement. Plus, you’ll get:

  • An exclusive license to sell and teach the They Ask, You Answer framework to your clients.
  • A listing in our public Certified Coach website directory.
  • Enrollment in a five-day workshop, where you’ll begin your journey learning fundamentals and preparation to guide clients.
  • Proven communication training that will drastically differentiate you from the competition.
  • Promotional They Ask, You Answer digital certification badge.
  • Monthly training sessions to keep you on track and tackle your biggest coaching challenges.
  • Access to the IMPACT+ affiliate program for revenue share.
  • Access to IMPACT's certified coach Mastermind group, continuing education, and exclusive insider content.
  • As a They Ask, You Answer certified coach, you will participate in ongoing education and training included in the IMPACT community.

You will also reap these benefits:

Enhanced knowledge

You’ll learn the proven digital sales and marketing business philosophy, and how to provide the tools to drive value and deliver results for your clients.

Increased revenue

You’ll learn how to increase client retention time to 18-24 months, on average, while creating a training services revenue stream without adding additional headcount.

Lead change

Master a unique set of tested communication skills that will allow you to influence and lead profitable change in any organization.

What to do next

Here at IMPACT, we’ve guided hundreds of businesses to inbound marketing success, whether they build software, design boats, or fix roofs.

Because They Ask, You Answer is a principle-based framework, it applies to a wide variety of industries. We’ve guided clients to incredible growth in a wide spectrum of industries, including home services, healthcare, financial services, real estate, software development, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and more.

Coaches who guide clients to They Ask, You Answer success can work with businesses of all kinds, teaching the 10 core concepts that build trust and drive revenue.

What you can do next:

  • Schedule time with a program coordinator and apply.
  • Complete the certification training.
  • Become a coach and watch your clients grow.

Want more information? Here are all the details on how to become a certified coach.

Want to get started? Talk to one of our advisors right now!

Related resource: They Ask, You Answer Video Resource Library

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