How One Agency Switched Their Focus and Redefined Their Value

Issue 51

When Zac Gregg and Julia Ahumada launched the digital agency Vital in 2001, their focus was branding, print advertising and collateral, and web design. But ten years later, Vital found itself at a crossroads.

“What they realized was that our agency is great at building websites,” Getman says. “It made sense for Vital to make that our focus, but we had to get it right.”

Proof of Concept

For the agency, ‘getting it right’ meant the new websites had to make a measurable impact for their clients.

“We came at the problem from a business angle,” Getman says. “We wanted to provide something that could demonstrably help clients grow their business. And we’d seen it work with our own website, when we focused on ourselves and did our own digital marketing, we had to figure out ways to measure our own success. That gave us the experience to better help our clients.”

Getman plays a key role in establishing those tactics and measuring their success. “Having the right processes in place and being good at documentation allows us to provide better service for our clients.”

That includes helping clients see the opportunities they’ve missed by not using automation.

“There’s a level of accessibility with MailChimp that other software doesn’t have. ”

Activating Automation

“When we get a new client, we start by figuring out their goals and work backward,” Getman says. “Then we perform a marketing audit. One thing we find when we audit compnaies is that they’re trying to use automation, but aren’t getting its full potential. They got sold on a product that they don’t really know how to use, so 80% of the platform’s abilities go unused.”

For clients, this is obviously a frustrating experience. In some cases, these platforms can be very expensive but end up doing very little in practice.

“We try as much as possible to educate people on the tools they’ve purchased,” Getman says. “But we also suggest using MailChimp. There’s a level of accessibility with MailChimp that other software doesn’t have. It’s very intuitive, and hard to get lost. The product serves the client.”

You Snooze, You Win

If there’s one thing Getman has learned about automation, it’s that it isn’t exactly a tough sell.

“Everyone wants to make money while they sleep. Well, automation allows you to market while you sleep,” Getman says. “That’s especially true for clients who have a lot of leads to nurture. Automation can perform at levels that an actual sales team couldn’t keep up with.”

Getman’s team also thinks through processes and workflows ahead of time to determine how a lead will move through the system in a way that still feels personal.

“Good nurture emails should be very friendly and knowledgeable,” Getman says. “Some of the best leads we get from nurture campaigns come from people who responded because it has a very human voice.”

These strategies don’t just work for clients. They’ve also contributed to Vital’s success.

“We’re big on eating our own dog food,” Getman says. “Anything we recommend is something we’ve tried. And we play the long game. If we’re helpful, and we’re good, and we can build a relationship with someone, we can gain a loyal customer — even if it’s years down the road.”

3 Steps to More Nurturing Campaigns

Automation is ideal for building a long-term relationship with future clients — if it’s used well. Here are 3 steps you can take right now to make sure your campaign hits the mark.

Step 1: Offer something of real value.
If you want to build a more nurturing campaign, give serious thought to the value of the content you’re sending. Is it useful? Informative? Entertaining? “We’re always trying to offer value and consultation,” Getman says. “And that prompts people to respond.”

Step 2: Find opportunities to be human.
Automated emails should have personality, voice, and all the things that make human beings connect with one another. “Our nurtures are not hard sales pushes,” Getman says. “They’re an opportunity to introduce you to our company and the things we care about.”

Step 3: Respect your reader.
You can’t trick someone into making a purchase, but you can convince them to unsubscribe if you don’t respect their time and attention. “People aren’t idiots,” Getman says. “They can tell when you’re only after a sale.” Offer your subscribers value, be human, and show them respect.

This first appeared in MailChimp’s newsletter for agencies. Sign up for the newsletter here.