Giving away resources and advice to grow your agency

Many agencies provide e-books, guides, or even free consultations as a way to connect with potential prospects.

These giveaways can be a good way to break the ice — as long as you don’t break the bank in the process.

Chip and Gini review some real-life examples of things that agencies do and some questions that owners have had for them recently about what to give away and how to promote it. They also examine potential pitfalls along the way.

Transcript

The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin 

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m Chip Griffin,

Gini Dietrich 

and I’m Gini Dietrich.

Chip Griffin 

And she you got your name right and you got it in the right timing. I am I am so so proud of you. Thank you little clap there. Thank you. Thank

Gini Dietrich 

you curtsy.

Chip Griffin 

And for those of you who are watching on video, we’ve tried to address some of the the video issues that we’ve had with Jenny’s feed. So let us know if this looks better than it has in past weeks. It does to me. It does to me, it seems like she’s a little less pixelated. So hopefully that will be the case when we actually publish. And and because of the different way that we’re trying this week, she can use her fancy microphone. Yes, I can read everything. So even if you’re watching this on video, if you’re listening to this, you hopefully can hear Jenny’s voice in much more professional style tones or something like that. I don’t

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah, something, though, sits tones or something? I don’t know. But yes, I can use my fancy mic now. So yeah.

Chip Griffin 

You know, and it’s fun to experiment. That’s that’s what this technology stuff is all about. We like to try to figure out what the best way is to deliver great content to you every week. But with that, let’s get into that great content, instead of talking about the behind the scenes stuff that you all probably don’t really care about. So So today, we’re gonna be talking about some lead generation tactics for your agency and more specifically, things that you might give away. And what are some of the implications of that. And this comes from two different posts that that we’ve seen recently, about this one was about free consultations that an agency was offering and the other is more about lead magnets and things that you can give away white papers, ebooks, those kinds of things that might serve as lead generation tools for your agency. And so there’s a number of topics to discuss in here. So where would you like to get started with it?

Gini Dietrich 

Um, so I think we should start with the whole idea of providing some sort of free offer. And in this case, the question was, you offer free marketing consultations to prospective clients. And one way you seed your offer is by promoting it within specific targeted groups online, which makes sense. And you include a link to a scheduling app where people can book a meeting time, great, I’ve done that we do that for Spin Sucks stuff. The question then goes on. But a business coach gets a hold of your offer, and they publish it in their private coaching group. And their members begin booking free consultations with you. still kind of great. I think that that the challenge, though I from what I can understand is on your back end, the zoom link isn’t connected properly. So you don’t know why you don’t know which link is being shared. You don’t know which one to fix without checking all 10 these numbers aren’t necessarily the type of leads that you’re looking for. You don’t know the coach who has posted the offer in their private coaching group. You spoke to them once in a completely different context with a different career. The question is, what do you think? What would you do? I think that’s a good jumping off point for this conversation, because there’s a lot in that one couple of sentences.

Chip Griffin 

There is there’s a tremendous amount in that post. And obviously, we don’t have all of the details of the situation. But it was it was something that was posted recently on Facebook by someone we know. And so it was it’s ripe for discussion here. I mean, first of all, I like you, I use free consultations and have in frankly, most of my businesses over the last 20 years, sir, I love them as an offer. Yeah, you obviously need to think them through. And I think that’s one of the things that this particular post flags is you need to think through, you know, who might be coming through that’s qualified, as well as who’s maybe not qualified. And so having some sort of a qualification around an offer, particularly where it’s one that takes your time, right, if you’re, if you’re giving away an ebook or something like that, right, let the world have it. Right. I mean, you know, but if it’s, if it’s something where it’s going to take your time, that’s different, because that’s, that’s a very finite resource that you have, and you need to be really much more thoughtful about how you’re going to allocate it.

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah, I and I think I mean, I think there’s two issues to this question. And one is the technical side of things, which that just needs to be figured out. But the other side of it is, there are there are ways that you can, quote unquote, prequalify people before you get on the phone with them. And one of the ways we do that is through I can’t remember which technology we’re using for this. Hmm. Um, there are there’s a technology that you can create a form essentially, that allows you to ask questions. So, you know, in your case, Chip, you might say, Are you an agency owner, what size is your business? How many employees do you have? You can ask those qualities Find questions. And if they pass, then they can have they get to have the conversation with you. And if they don’t, then perhaps there’s a free offer that you can give them an ebook, a white paper, a webinar, something like that, so that they’re not like, well, that sucks, like, I got rejected, and I got nothing out of it. You can give them something in return for filling out the form, but you’re not going to spend the time talking to somebody who’s not qualified for your offer.

Chip Griffin 

Right? Yeah. And the tool doesn’t matter as much as the process. Right, right. Yeah, there are lots of tools out there that you can use to ask questions, wufu, Ninja forms, web forms, all sorts of stuff that you can use calendly, the scheduling app allows you to put questions in. So there’s a lot of ways you get that information, I think the most important thing is to have the guidelines. So even if you don’t ask the question, just say it. So for example, you know, I might say, free 30 minute consultation for small agency owners. Right. And so even if I don’t ask the questions, you know, presumably, before I actually get on the phone with somebody, I’m going to Google them. And you know, when I see that they’re, you know, a plumber or a carpenter, or, you know, an insurance agent,

Gini Dietrich 

right?

Chip Griffin 

You know, that I just say, Hey, you know, thanks for reaching out, I really appreciate the interest, but this isn’t what I do. And then ideally, you have something else, whether it’s another freebie that you have or referral or some suggestion, you know, I always like to, instead of just saying straight up no to somebody, steer them somewhere. Me to yes, even if it’s fairly broad, you know, I mean, you might even say, you know, hey, you know, the SBA has the score program, and they might be able to help you in your area, you know, I mean, it could be something as generic as that if you really have nowhere else to turn, because that may be a piece of information that they didn’t have. But I think that the first thing is just to be clear about who you’re offering it to. And so ideally, that’s on your website that’s on your form. But even if let’s say you forgot to do that, and you didn’t do that, it’s fine, I think, to reach out to someone after they’ve requested it and say, Look, this isn’t really what I do. I know, I didn’t say it on the forum. I didn’t say it, you know, on the website, but it’s not what I do. And so there’s a better fit for you somewhere else.

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah. And I think you raise a good point about the insurance agencies, because I made that mistake. I said, we we do work with agency owners, and we got insurance agents, not that kind of agents.

Chip Griffin 

I get that regularly. You know, it’s fine. You know, I’m not gonna work with them, obviously, because I don’t even know their terminology. But you know, at the same time, it’s usually pretty clear to them as soon as they get to my site that this is not,

Gini Dietrich 

it’s not the right fit. Yeah, yeah. Occasionally

Chip Griffin 

still fill out forms, and they get down and maybe some of the stuff is still useful to them. You know, I’ve got various resources that frankly, be useful to any business. Sure. So maybe that’s what they’re interested in? Who knows? Yeah. Yeah. And I fine. I’m happy to help people, you know? Yes. Great. My time. Great.

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah. You don’t want to spend an hour on the on zoom with them. But for sure.

Chip Griffin 

Right. Right. And and I think that, that free consultations like that can be a really good thing in the agency space, because no one’s gonna hire you without knowing more about you. Right? It’s because this is a relationship business. You know, it’s not, this is not someone’s buying a tool or a software project or something like that. They’re there. They’re buying you and your team. And so you’re going to have to have these conversations. So to me, there’s really no downside to giving away 30 minutes of your time, because if you can answer all their questions in 30 minutes, and they don’t need anything more from you, they weren’t ever going to be a client anyway, correct? Yes. Because I know, I know, some of the agencies that I talk with say, Well, why would I give away my time they should pay for it? Well, you know,

Gini Dietrich 

I mean, you give it away from him. and business development standpoint, you don’t go talk to prospects without having Right. I mean,

Chip Griffin 

it’s nice to say that, but it’s completely unrealistic. because nobody’s going to if you just sit there and say, I’m really qualified, not really gonna tell you how we’re not going to talk about your situation, how I might fit for it. I mean, who the heck’s gonna hire you? If they hire you? That’s probably a foolish client that you don’t want to have anyway.

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah. And I will tell you, because we do that this is what how we sell, especially my my one on one coaching. And in some of our online courses, as well, it’s how we sell it. And our average conversion is about 20%. So for every 10 calls that I have, we get two clients out of it. Now it’s a significant amount of money. So it makes the it makes worth the time worthwhile. But you’re not going to close everybody, not everybody’s going to be a right fit. But you’re right. It’s it’s relationship building. They may come back later, we’ve had situations like that where people have said, Gosh, I really would like to work for you. I just can’t afford it right now. And they come back a year later because they’ve saved the money. So there there are opportunities and I know you You’re a big believer in this in general just have the coffee meeting. Okay. It’s not that big of a deal.

Chip Griffin 

Right? Well, I mean is as we talked about way back when on one of our earliest episodes, about picking your brain type meetings. And to me like this is this is a step above that, because this isn’t just someone random, this is someone who is expressing some level of interest in the service that you provide, it’s To me, it’s an absolute no brainer, because you’re right, you’re not going to close 100% of them, you shouldn’t expect to close 100%, you should want to close 100% of them. Because if you do, then you haven’t cast a wide enough net, right? You could be you could be saving more. Yeah, so or you’re not priced correctly or something. But the you know, if nothing else, you will get information, you’ll start to hear more about more businesses that that could be interested in your services, you’ll understand what their pain points are, what their budgets are. And all of this goes into the mix to help you build a more compelling offering that will make you more money. So absolutely take these kinds of things, you do have to be careful, you don’t want them to eat up all your time. Right. So in my case, I let people schedule these directly through calendly. So I don’t have to have any, you know, sort of back and forth, it saves a lot of time. But calendly does allow you to limit the number of these meetings in a day. Right? So So I have a limit on the number of those. I mean, it doesn’t usually kick in but occasionally it does. And and I make sure that I’m never allocating to larger percentage of my day to these kinds of calls. And that’s a smart thing to do to spread them out if you’re giving something away for free. And someone’s got to wait two weeks for it. No big deal. Right? I mean, yes. Great. Great.

Gini Dietrich 

Great. And, you know, I always liken this to you, you won’t appreciate this analogy, but I always liken it to a really good hairstylist. You wait six weeks to see a really good hairstylist. Sorry, Chip.

Chip Griffin 

Wow. Wow. I missed the holiday season. Jenny, I do we really have to go there. I mean, really? It’s just that

Gini Dietrich 

you’re welcome. Merry Christmas.

Chip Griffin 

But yes, you I mean, you absolutely do. And I mean, I and I also have clients who say to me, you know, I’ve got a new client who wants to start tomorrow, I don’t have the bandwidth, but I will in two weeks, we’ll tell them that. Right. Right. And if they can’t wait two weeks, it wasn’t going to be a fit anyway. And so you know, you need to you do need to set boundaries at the prospect stage and throughout the relationship to make sure that it’s working for both sides. And so that certainly goes for these free consultations. I think the other thing I would like to touch on here is this notion of, you know, someone sees your offer, and then they share it with their own list or their own.

Right. Thank you is what I would say thank you.

Chip Griffin 

Yes. Yeah, I mean, you know, so I get the potential concern, if you’re getting a flood of people that you have to say no to right. So on one level, I understand that concern. At the same time, that’s a huge opportunity. And so to me, if someone shares my offer, and I don’t really know them to begin with, or even if I do, I’m going to reach out and try to have a conversation. If it’s not someone that I know, well, okay, this is a new relationship that I can have. And it’s someone who thought highly enough of me to promote my offer, to their own audience. Now, any of us who have our own audiences? No, you don’t pull out things that you think are bad ideas, or there’s not value in it, because that reflects on you. So if you’re doing that, you’re a fourth, I’m going to assume that this individual who shared it was not a fool. They saw some value in it. But they perhaps didn’t understand well enough, the ideal client of this particular agency. So reach out and say, Hey, thanks so much for sharing this. You know, I’d love to talk to you more about what it is that we do, and find out you know, how I can help your audience. And that gives you the opportunity to discuss your ideal client. Now, the other thing this tells me is that in all likelihood, this agency is not doing a good job of framing ideal clients in their marketing messaging, right, because the that coach should have realized that it was not a good fit, or when people got to the website, they should have realized they were not a good fit. So that means you should also take a look at your own marketing materials and think about, can I phrase things better, so that my ideal client knows who I am. And as you and I have talked about Jenny, I am going through the world’s slowest moving rebrand Agency Leadership Advisors to the small agency growth Alliance. And it’s for all sorts of different reasons. And we’ll talk about that in the new year. But the salt small agency started it, that’s a pretty good indication if you’re not a small agency, you’re probably

rightly

not right. So

Chip Griffin 

you know, so I think that those are things that you want to look at there. But to me look at anytime someone is sharing something that you’re doing, that’s a win, even if they’re criticizing you, right? If someone just said I can’t believe that so and so’s do this. Take this opportunity to reach out strike up a relationship maybe there’s something to be had there.

Gini Dietrich 

Yes. Was it Who was it who was the baseball player that said I don’t care i’m gonna i’m gonna butcher that this but I don’t care how many times I get up to plate as long as they know my name when I do. Sort of that whole idea. Who was that?

Chip Griffin 

Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not familiar that. I started out in the world of politics and and politics. We said there was no such thing as bad press as long as they spelled your name correctly.

Gini Dietrich 

I mean, as a communicator, I would disagree with that. But

Chip Griffin 

well, but in politics, so much of it about name ID right turn. So just when someone gets into the voting booth, if they recognize your name, they may not even know a thing about you. But if they recognize you, that’s

Gini Dietrich 

fair. Yeah,

Chip Griffin 

in fact, you could argue that’s how we ended up with our current president. But anyway,

Gini Dietrich 

I’m almost past presidents.

Chip Griffin 

let’s not let’s not go there. Let’s not, let’s not all right, all right. Our listenership and all that kind of thing, so. But so now the other thing is, there was there was also the discussion that took place in the Spin Sucks community not long ago, also about these free offers, and what kind of success people had had with them. And this was, this was not specifically about consultations, this was more about giveaways of some sort of variety, whether that’s a quiz or an E book, or, you know, some sort of resource. And so the one thing that I think that’s important to understand with those kinds of things, obviously, you don’t have the resource constraints, right? You know, so, like I said earlier, give them away as much as you can. The trick is to make sure that those are well aligned with your ideal client. Yeah, because too often I work with agencies and I see the things that they’re giving away. And that’s, that’s not just downloadable stuff, where someone has to give up their name. It’s even the content on their blogs, and things like that. The material that you’re sharing the resources that you’re sharing have to be a fit for your actual buyer. Right. And, and more often than not, what I see is people communicating with their peers. And that’s not really what you’re in now, maybe if you’re if you’re looking to recruit or something like that there’s an element for that content. Right. But think about it in recruiting terms, not in bizdev terms. If it’s Biz Dev, it has to be the buyer of your service. And that’s where I think a lot of these offers fall down.

Gini Dietrich 

Yeah, I mean, I made that mistake early on with Spin Sucks. And it turned out to be okay, because it allowed us to build a separate business model for the agency. So I have two sides now. But if I had actually thought about it strategically, there’s lots of things I would have done differently. But that’s one of the things is I would have talked to the buyer instead of the industry, which we didn’t do, we still don’t do. But now it’s now the buyer is the industry. So

Chip Griffin 

right? I made that same mistake almost 15 years ago, when I built the media Bullseye website for custom scoop. And it was it was a great resource for bringing together communicators. And we had all sorts of great conversation about, you know, what’s going on with the early days of social media and those kinds, it was a great community. Yeah, they weren’t buyers of the online news monitoring service that. And frankly, at the time, the conversation was around a lot of the social tools. And we didn’t really cover social that well back then. Because it was very difficult to cover social in the earliest days. And so it was just it was a complete mismatch. And so we you know, we built a community. It was great community.

Great. Right bars. Oh,

Chip Griffin 

yeah. So as an agency owner, you know, you need to be thinking the same way. You know, if I’m, if I’m a travel and tourism agency, you know, the content that I want to put out is something that will speak to the Travel and Tourism directors who are potentially going to hire me. And so what are they looking for? What is the content that would be useful to them, that would help them build the relationship with my firm? And that’s different than even perhaps what you’re interested in talking about, or thinking about as an agency owner?

Gini Dietrich 

Sure, absolutely. Yeah. So I think there’s some some good advice here, you know, definitely offers some sort of free consultation 100%. But do it you know, with really targeted qualified people have something that you can give away for free, if it’s a lead magnet, you know, ebook webinar, on demand webinar, whatever, it happens to be something that you can give away for, quote, unquote, free, and then create the the funnel for lack of a better term that allows you to qualify people as they come through it. So maybe they come in and they see maybe they’ve come from this private, this link from the private coaching group, they come to the website, but instead of being able to schedule a call immediately, there are three steps they have to go to go through first. So think about that. And then it doesn’t matter who shares your link. Because you’re you’re you’ve set up a process that allows you to qualify the person when they come to come to that link.

Chip Griffin 

Yep. And I would add two additional things. So one is view all of these things as an investment. And so for sure, the amount of time that you’re spending creating it or that you’re spending doing the consultations as an investment. Yep. Understand that not not every investment pays off. So you have to become a potential risk. Reward Yes, is doing so that’s one and the second thing is anytime that someone says something about you Positive, negative, whatever, use it as an opportunity to further that relationship. And to be honest with you, I’ve had plenty of times where I have gotten into arguments with people, particularly online, it happens. But it’s turned into something because you have a follow up conversation and you start to find that there’s more commonality than you realize or that there is an opportunity that neither of you realized existed when you were arguing about something that, you know, may not even be all that correct potential. So, so always look at those things, at least if they know who you are. That’s an opening to a conversation that might take you someplace that you’d rather go.

Gini Dietrich 

Absolutely. It’s a huge opportunity, I think it’s a huge opportunity. From a business development standpoint, it’s a great opportunity for you to use inbound marketing to drive leads to your to your website, so that you can then qualify them. I’m a big, big believer. It’s something that we do for all of our clients. So you may as well do it for your own agency, too, because it works if you do it correctly.

Chip Griffin 

Right. And you just don’t know where anything is going to lead. It may not even lead where you think it is. Right? I mean, that this whole show came out of you and I just having lunch one day, down. Yep. We happen to have an opening in both of our schedules that matched up and I wasn’t even thinking about having you as the co host of this podcast. Talking about it. You said Oh, yeah, I was like, I want to do that. You’re already doing 17 podcasts. Why would you want to do another one? And yet now, what two years later here, here we are. Yeah, happy as clams. Right. Right. Just it’s all

Gini Dietrich 

happy as clams since, like an old married couple.

Chip Griffin 

Just that’s where I want to think of us. Yeah. Great. On that note, that will bring to an end this episode of the Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m old man Chip Griffin.

Gini Dietrich 

And I’m Gini Dietrich.

Chip Griffin 

And it depends, but I don’t wear depends just to be clear. not that old. Yes. Okay.

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