The new SharpSpring Agency Growth Series features an awesome curated lineup of the top influencers in digital marketing. We simply could not be more excited about the group of great minds we were lucky enough to pull together to make this agency-focused series happen.

The free series is made up of 14 unique web sessions, all with a livestream Q&A segment, and all focused on helping agencies accelerate their growth.

Sessions feature digital marketing superstars speaking candidly about the industry topics they know best and are most passionate about. And we want to make sure to share the love – so, in addition to providing recordings of the sessions and live Q&As, we’ll also be posting key takeaways here following each session.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite insights from our first Agency Growth Series session. Enjoy the advice from industry icon Neil Patel!

Neil Patel on his favorite marketing channel

“My favorite channel is a blog because you can then control your own destiny and you deal a little bit less with algorithms. … I think the Web has really moved to omnichannel, in which you’ve got to do the YouTube, you’ve got to do the podcasting, the Instagrams, the Facebooks, the blogging, SEO, the paid ads. You’ve got to do a little bit of everything and when you’re small, start with one or two channels and then eventually expand into more and more.”

Neil Patel on improving conversion rates

“The big mistake I see agencies making is they’re not doing multiple things to boost the conversion. What I mean by that is you have the correct landing pages, and adjust the copy for the people coming to the page. Are you tracking each user specifically, assuming you’re following GDP rules and whatever laws the U.S. or other countries have, and adjusting what you’re showing the person and personalizing things?”

Neil Patel on marginal gains

“There’s a British cycling coach called Dave Brailsford who won the Tour de France with his team many times. And everyone’s like, ‘Hey, what’s the secret of winning?’ And he’s just like, ‘Look, it’s all the little stuff that adds up. It gives you marginal gains.’ And what he means by that is, you know, everyone’s training hard. But if you’re not comfortable when you’re pedaling that bike, you’re not going to do as well. If you didn’t get a good night’s rest… It’s the little things that add up. The pillow, the shoes, the seat. It’s the same thing in your business. You’ve got to do all those little things.“

“When you’re optimizing for conversions, try to get those marginal gains. Usually when you find a winner, typically you want to keep digging there because you’ll find more gold. But if you keep digging too long, there’s much, there’s really high diminishing returns.”

Neil Patel on winning content

“The big thing that you need to end up doing is, how can you go out there and create better content than anyone else? And all these search engines and social sites are optimizing for user experience now, not just, ‘Hey, how many backlinks do you have?’ You know Google is releasing a page experience algorithm in the future in which, ‘Hmm, do people actually find this page valuable?’ Because it’s not just about a robot. Does a robot look at social shares, backlinks, keywords? But what about the person? And if you optimize your content for the person, and the easiest way to do that is Google or any keyword you want to rank for and look at the top 10 results. Look at them and be like, what are they? What are they lacking? What are they missing? How can they make the page better and more actionable? And if you go and you create content that’s five, 10 times better, you’re going to be much more likely to win in the long run.”

Neil Patel on email engagement

“What’s crazy is most people think the bigger your list, the better off you are, too. And it’s like I always tell them you need to scrub your list as frequently as possible because these solutions from outlook to Gmail to Hotmail, they’re doing it where they see that you’re sending e-mails to a lot of people, but they don’t even open it and they just keep skipping it. Eventually, those e-mails, even if they don’t delete them, archive them, mark them as Spam. If they don’t even touch them, eventually, the algorithms for the e-mail preference are just pushing them into the spam box or the promotions tab. And because it’s like they’re realizing that the engagement’s low and that goes back to what we’re talking about, which is experience. Put the person first.”

Neil Patel on creating more useful emails

“So first-off, create e-mail that educates. If they can help people when they can read it and say, ‘Oh, I now know what to do and I have the steps, one, two and three and I can go implement it.’ Your e-mails are going to be much better off and they’re much more likely to read your next e-mail…

The second thing is, is your content … conversational? What I mean by conversational is, using the words you or I within your email, make it much more conversational…

The third thing is, is short, casual subject lines. Your friends never end up sending you subject lines that are all capitalized and professional…

I would start there and then with your e-mails. A lot of people like using fancy e-mail designs and there’s nothing wrong with that – and every once in a while, you should use them and test them out – but we find that text-based e-mails, in most cases, are amazing and much better deliverability and less chance of them going into the spam or promotions tab.”

Neil Patel on winning with SEO

“We’re really seeing most agencies and practitioners and people, what they struggle with is, they’re doing SEO for the sake of being listed. Because, okay, as a company, you want to rank for these keywords. Let’s just build content, build some links instead of thinking about, ‘What did users who are in this industry, what did they want to see? How can I create a better experience than my competitors? How can you create better content, better product, better service?’ And if you can change your mindset to that, you tend to do a lot better in the long run.

Neil Patel on optimizing for relevant traffic over conversions

“If you want to rank organically and get those visitors, you gotta first put out content that educates, and then from there you can focus on the conversion stuff by doing things like having sliders, pop-ups, call to actions within your text that drive people down your conversion funnels – collect emails, and then you convert them then indirectly. But having your content focused mainly on conversions when you’re trying to rank organically is going to be really tough. Because what Google is trying to rank is more educational-based and less conversion-based content.”

Want even more insights like these from industry icon Neil Patel? You can find the full recording on our website.

If you missed our series kickoff hosted by marketing guru Jay Baer, check it out here. Plus, check out the rest of our Agency Growth Series. You can catch other influencers like Ann Handley, Rand Fishkin and Seth Godin!