Creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of Grace Innovation, which makes sense given they’re also founder Michael Berean’s foremost passions. The results speak for themselves in the form of trailblazing combinations of tech and creative design.
Michael has been featured in INC. Magazine, IBM Think Marketing, China Global TV and on SiriusXM Radio, and is a contributor to Digital Agency Network and Falcon.io. We’re thrilled to have him with us for a short talk.
Cloudways: Hi Michael, great to have you with us! Can you start by telling us a little about Grace Innovation?
Michael: When I started Grace Innovation, I didn’t even know I could have a business. I spent most of my life up to that point pursuing a career in the arts and working as a creative and marketing director. Once I started though, I knew it was for me. The passion captured me and that was it.
Cloudways: What do you think is the biggest skill agencies need to pick up on?
Michael: Agencies need to listen. Become a listener. Listening is not a passive activity. By listening you can learn what your customer’s challenges are and how you can position yourself to solve them.
Cloudways: What advice do you have for agencies regarding creating fresh, interesting content?
Michael: It’s a grind so develop a plan where you can consistently put out content. Even if that means focusing on one platform at a time. Have a plan. Create content that works for your audience and that gives you value in their eyes.
More than I am big on gamification, I am big on engagement. Engagement means people are at least paying more attention in a sea of constant content. Get people to engage first – that is a sure sign of moving the needle.
Cloudways: How do agencies ensure they produce engaging content for their clients?
Michael: People like a story. It’s why streaming, movies, music, and sports are so big. Your brand and company should always be writing and telling your unique story.
Cloudways: How do you ensure your content finds the right audience?
Michael: Research the platform and find your tribe. I know people using TikTok who have amassed half a million followers in a few months talking about spreadsheets and excel.
Test, try and play around. Be tactile. It’s the only way to learn.
Cloudways: How do you go about developing the right content marketing strategy for each client?
Michael: Focus on the customer. Not who you want to be. The customer and their needs dictate the strategy. You need to cater to them and provide value in your content marketing for them.
Cloudways: What do agencies need to do to make better decisions in 2021?
Michael: Data science is very key. Data is more profitable than oil today. You have to use data to drive your gameplan. Technology gives us the ability to track and observe like never before. Take full advantage of it.
Cloudways: What do you think is the biggest mistake agencies make regarding lead nurturing?
Michael: Not listening to a lead and understanding their goals is a sure way to burn the relationship. Listen, ask questions, and connect what you do to what they are asking for. You need to build trust. Once you have trust you can have room for flexibility and expansion. We are constantly testing the product-market fit. Tactics are great, but work on your product-market fit, it makes everything else flow.
Cloudways: And finally, who do you think we should interview next for this series?
Michael: Menachem Ani, CEO of JXT Group.
Thanks for the insights, Michael!
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Arsalan, a Digital Marketer by profession, works as a Startups and Digital Agencies Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves all things entrepreneurial and wakes up every day with the desire to enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs through his work!