Hi everybody, are you able to see me to hear me and see me? Let me now if you're online. I'm not sure if you are trickling in or not yet. Go ahead five me a holler if you hear me. It looks like a quite of you are in the room so. I'm hoping you can hear.
Give me an affirmative either way I'm not seeing much in the chat coming in there, but it looks like every time I talk the voice goes up. Okay, yes Carlos can hear me, Steven can hear me, great. Tony, Rosemary, Ryan, Dietmar, Paul.
It sounds like a lot of you are here and there must be some of a delay. So Jonathan, Fred, Jason can hear me. It looks like over half of you who are on of who register, that's great to see. I'm getting over a cold hopefully it doesn’t come across too much, but if there's a loud cough, sorry for that.
So that box is actually a computer that I’ve been travelling with for quite some time, and I use that computer it's an iMac and that's actually I'm talking to on, and I use it to record these videos and record everything, so that's the mystery behind the box, and it happened to be in guest bedroom right now, and I thought that it would look better to have the box. That's just the complete honest reason why I put that there just to fill in the background a little bit. Any other questions or should we get on to the real nitty-gritty stuff here?
It sounds everybody's online and listening and can hear me and everything, so that's good. A lot of you have been participating in the survey as well, basically, what we did this week. It's a beta program what we do is we're learning from what happens week to week on these calls and making them more useful. This time I decided let's just put in a survey where we can get people to answer questions a little less time-consuming then filling out some sheets. In that way it can all be consolidated in one spot.
So I think that it's easier to submit your answers or using Typeform, basically it's a form where you submit your answers. And I thought that'd be nice to compile some responses as well from several of you and several agency owners to see where you all are coming from. So it's pretty cool looking at the results.
I’ve spend some time, a few hours before this call pulling down the results, getting them ready to go. So I thought maybe we could start by looking at the results from our form and seeing sort of walking through those. And then I pull out individual comments from the people who did take the time to full up their comments and I have them in a document as well, so I'll share that with you all.
And then also there's some stuff that came in a form that was really helpful and really worth looking at. We're going to talk about business development today. And what's working and what's maybe not working as well for your agency or areas we think we can improve, basically how do we get more customers, what some ways we can do that the sharing piece here.
If we can share what's working for us, and I'll continue to share some my ideas as well and my opinion on these things and what's work for my agency as well, then we'll have some elevated knowledge at the end of this call, so let's go ahead and get into it. Quite a few people answered the Typeform, let me just pull the results.
So I think we're all seeing the same thing now. Nine people filled this out now, I'd like to see you all, I'd like to see everybody fill it out. Now if there are some technical errors, we’ll just have to work through those and see what happen, what cause it. I notice that 27 people uniquely looked at the form and 9 filled it out. For those of you in conversion optimization world, that's pretty low conversion rate. Especially for you all who are benefitting from taking this course. This is our first time doing it, maybe it will get better as we go along.
Basically, we ask these questions, the first one is what's your experience generating leads for your agency. Are you super experienced, or are you in the middle, or beginning just getting started? And as you can see, quite a few people are in the beginning phases just getting started. I know some of you are really starting your agency with this course. So right around the time of this course and probably not a lot of experience area, and some of you are more in the middle, so that's nice to see there's a spread there.
I would say I'm more on the experienced area there. So for those of you who don't have a lot of experience, just round it out with the knowledge that I can share with you as well. So this doesn't surprise me very much.
But I also think that, hopefully, by taking into account what you’ve learnt here and everything, you will have more of an opportunity in order to consider yourself to be more of a veteran at generating leads.
The other thing it's interesting is the primary person who's the resource for generating new business. It looks like most of you said yes.
So even if you're not very experienced, you are the go-to person, are you the one who is doing this for your agency? That was something that it's both good and bad when you think about it. If everybody is the primary resource and you don't have a lot of experience, then there's a lot of room for improvement, a lot of room for growth, trial and error, all that stuff.
It sounds like somebody never saw it and that might be part of the problem. It sounds like a few of you maybe you didn't see the form. But there is also an email that we sent out on Monday mentioning the survey. This is the first time we've done it, so as I mentioned, we're trying to work through some kinks and just some areas that we need to focus on. So that's good to know you're missing it, I will make sure we make this more prominent in our reminders.
I know you're getting a lot of emails from me as we go through this, there's no doubt there's a lot of email coming through, but just make sure that we want to bring it up. And yes, Thomas is saying that people are going to start filling in that wall around this call. I will refresh it as we go along. Let's see if there's any more answers, they come in. So we are getting people are filling it out.
I'm going to keep on going through the answers though, and then we'll see if we refresh it if anything changes as we go along. Thanks for your patience this is why it's beta we are working through things, but I think at the end if we have the 30 people who are part of this beta filling this out, we're going to have a really good and comprehensive results set that we can look at and we can based our answers off of. I'm going to make these survey responses available to everybody they, so you can see them as well.
Who at your agency is generating these new business opportunities? It looks like for most of you, it is the owners who are basically the people who are doing all the business development. A couple of you have account managers, one person has dedicated sales team, they also use partner agencies.
I'm surprised none of the agencies have all of employees listed, but that's sort of becomes a function of the size of your agency. If you have a small agency, we might find that maybe there's just not enough employees to consider all employees. Maybe it is just two people or it's a smaller agency, where everybody is an owner.
I would say eventually, in one of the lessons, I'm not sure if it's been released, I think it's in this week. It is about how employees can be a big piece of business development. We can give employees incentives and reasons to help you develop business that can be a nice way to get even more revenue at a good margin without a lot of cost of sale.
Moving on to the next one. What channels are working for generating leads, this is one of the ones you might find the most interested thing in this area. It looks like networking, and then referrals and partnerships are the ones that we're seeing are working for most agencies. I would agree that these things work really well. Obviously networking, getting out there, putting yourself out there, letting people know that you have an agency, and you're open for business, and then just meeting people. That can often lead to results, I've seen it works really well for myself as well.
Partnerships and referrals, I think that's really especially important as you're getting started out is just having people or partnerships sending you new business. Now I think it looks like it's a combination of both of these things. I know that in the comments, the free form comments of what's working, I know a lot of you mentioned this specifically.
And we also have LinkedIn, it seems that's working. Anybody answered this has LinkedIn and they wanted to share what they're doing on LinkedIn. I'm fascinated by LinkedIn is a lead generation tool. I've seen people tried make me a lead from LinkedIn all the time. It's pretty bad, the way they do it. So if you're using LinkedIn to your advantage and to your agency's advantage, I'd like to hear. If anybody wants to get on and share that piece.
Your website, email marketing, obviously those can work really well, SEO. Then you see these only ones inbound marketing, PPC speaking. These ones aren’t not working. It’s just not many people answering that they are working for them, so there may be lesser results when we get into that area.
I have two articles actually that I'm personally evaluating right now on LinkedIn for lead generation. I need to read through those, but I'll share those in the forum if useful for agency lead generation. There's quite a few cool stories and resources that I've compiled over the years in my newsletter that might be relevant that I can share with you guys as well if you're interested in LinkedIn.
What are your overall thoughts? I'm trying something new is like just an adjective to describe how do you feel about generating leads. I wanted to know if everybody here enjoys doing this, if this is like their favorite part of their job, or if it's just like necessary to get it done, or it's difficult frustrating how it's happening. So it's seems like it's really across the board here. It's both the challenges, it's necessary to do business, I think we can all agree with that.
It's exciting, it’s fun, but it's also difficult and frustrating stressful, sucky. A lot of different ways you have described lead generation, I think it's good. And it fits the point that it's necessary for your business to thrive. But it also is difficult, it's thrilling to get leads and also can be painful, especially for a lot of you.
I’ve read the comments and read your free form answers is that you are struggling with the process of managing all the work that you're the expert on like doing the work that you sold, and then with your limited leftover time how are you going and generating leads, and how you dedicate time.
So the number that we've been giving in the course is dedicating either 10% of revenue or 10% of time, or as much time as you can towards constantly building resources and doing business development. I think that's really how you can make this necessary thing less challenging and more fun if you can spread it out as opposed to doing a blitz where you get excited about your blog for two weeks. Do a bunch of posts and then don't touch it for two years.
It’s worse to do minimal than it is to just keep on pushing along as you go along. Because when you push these things along over time, you've built quite a few assets. You do one thing a day, or if you basically do either one post a week or you focus on one market over a certain time period. You're going to get a lot better results than if you do the blitz when you're inspired and quitting doing it. Consistency is really key in getting your marketing messages out there.
We're getting in LinkedIn a little bit here. It sounds there's some interesting thoughts there. So what do you think about these results so far? These aren't the free form answers, these are just the ones that come in from the form. I think it's interesting to see where we're at, this is based on 11 responses. Hopefully some of you who are on the call. We have 13 so we're good in there already. I think it was just an awareness problem with the survey.
For those of you who see these answers, I wonder if you're surprised, if it's not surprising, and really what you're thinking about what's going on here. One thing is surprising to me is that nobody really lists Twitter as a way, specifically, as a way to get leads. I thought that was a way that people are going out there and trying to get leads. And it doesn't seem like that's really happening right now. I think it might be a good thing. Twitter is a lead generation tool is difficult because it takes so much time, maybe it's just a function of time. You're going to run your agency, or you're going to sit and tweet all day.
So let's go over the comments now. You basically provide value and keep on bringing people to the touch points. And Thomas, I think we just said all encompassing LinkedIn. We can look in the specifics and see if anybody mentions that in there as well. Okay so it doesn't look like anybody has any comments on what they find interesting in the survey. So I'd like to do is move over to the free form answers.
How do you distinguish between whether your thought leadership is for your industry people versus perspective customer?
I think that's a good question. Because it is easy to do speeches, preaching to the choir. Talking to people who would never be your customers. For example, when I go to analytics conference and I talk about analytics. It's often talking to other experts that probably aren't going to become clients, so is that a worthwhile thing. I've got in the most leads ever for when I talked about analytics to people who don't know about analytics. When I go out there and I talk about a topic to somebody who doesn't know anything about it, more of a beginner level, I can convince them about how important it is to use analytics and how to get these things going. I think that's really a good point.
Now, it depends on how much effort you want to put in to getting speaking gigs and using Twitter and everything. Because if you let these opportunities come to you, if somebody approaches you or wants to work with you. You say yes I'm available or maybe you aren't available, and then that's where you're going to. If you're more proactive about it, you can go ahead and target the ones that you think are going to be more strategic for your organization. It really depends on how you want to go about it. I think both are valid answers.
There’s a good conversation going on here about LinkedIn. It's like do you use pulse, do you share articles, do you use their pay per click system? I found that LinkedIn pulse like republishing content seems to work pretty well, especially business orientated content, so that works for me. I don't know if anybody else has had that experience or not as well.
So let's talk about what's working for people who fill up the survey when it comes to lead generation.
So for Jaap, what's working for him is networking, just doing great work for their clients and they talk about you and they give you warm leads. That's definitely the classic way to spread your messages. To just do really good work, to be awesome at what you do, and then hope that people talk about it.
I think more of the problems that you'll is that it's hard to plant these conversations with your clients. It's hard to get them to do this consistently and hard to rely on them doing that. The reality is that you can't time when they're going to talk about you. You can't predict that they're going to be talking about you every other week or whatever that time period is.
If you're looking to make sales consistently and over time, it's not easy to predict your results when it's inconsistent with how things are happening. I think it's great but what agencies find is that it's hard to grow on this alone or hard to grow as big as you might want to grow on this alone. It's almost like it's great if our clients will tell their friends, but how do you get that to tell their friends? How do you get them to be more interested in doing that? What can you provide them? It doesn't to be incentive but what reason.
Part of it it's top of mind piece where you're staying on top of minds, that think about you. We’ll talk a lot about that in the course and just staying in front of these people. This works. I mean it really does work. Obviously networking and doing great work, but I think there's ways to extend beyond that even.
I agree with Steven saying that referrals are complicated because sometimes you get referred people who are not your ideal client, or they don't have a budget, or they're not really that good. And then if you don’t end up working with them, you might not look great in front of your clients or the person who referred, so there's always that problem if somebody gives you a lead that is not very good. You don't want to disappoint that person, but sometimes they're just not giving you good leads in the first place.
Brett says offering small trip wire product to business owners for premium listing on his website, and then this opens the door to talk about their marketing. Okay that's really interesting.
I don't know what your website is Brett, I don’t know if you’re on the call or not. If you are on the call, can you give us a little background is what your website does? So we can look at that and get an idea to what a premium listing would be. I call them a foot in the door, a trip wire is a great way to put it as well. How do you get somebody to pay you a small amount of money, relatively speaking? $297 is a lot for an individual, but for business it's not a lot of money generally speaking.
What can you offer them that they’ll pay you a little bit of money and then they're getting used to it so you can hope they're going to commit to more. So Brett has a verified builder I think on his website. Brett, do you want to get on the call and explain it to us, or do you want to to use the chat? I'm a little bit on delay, so I wait a second to see anything.
So Brett, you're a brave soul. I'm inviting you on as a speaker.
Brett: Hey Jeff!. I just dealing with Google plus issues, I think we’re good now.
Jeff: So let's talk about trip wire product you have and what you're offering to the people and how it's working now for you.
Brett: So this website and this one of my questions actually last week because I got into an issue with like you said before, picking a market that's big enough and I mentioned that this has been good and worked well to get two or three consulting customers. But it got a point where other food truck builders don't really want me to work with anyone else. The market just isn’t as the biggest I thought I had been initially.
So basically how this works, this really only works I think if you have a site that like an authority within certain market already. But basically all I've done is if you go to that start page, you can take a look at the builders there that are listed as verified builders. So all this is a directory right? This page happened to rank pretty well in Google for food truck manufactures and some searches like that. So that's kind of how people end up eventually finding out about it, and just because it's an authority site too, people like builders just end up on this page and end up contacting me from it.
So you can see there are 10 different manufacturers that have paid over the last year to be listed as verified. I've actually limited this to 10 like I could sell at least another 10. I think I'm just trying to limit it to make it a little bit more exclusive, that sort of thing. Like I said, I'm already maxed on where I can go with. Doing this one has been really easy because basically it's, like you said, $297. If someone isn't willing to pay $297 for premium listing or they're going to get some extra traffic in that sort of thing, there's no way they end up buying consulting from you. So it's kind of a way to weed out people almost automatically. And when people sign up to, I give them basically like this free website analysis for their own site too. So I do that and basically just say hey, with this, I also give this analysis because I've got the site that already performs really well in this market, I know exactly what you need to do sort of thing, and just send it out to them.
That's basically how it worked every time. It works pretty well, but like I said, now my challenge kind of trying to find a different market to get into. I tried it in like hot dog little cart builders and that didn't really work out to where I can really get anything going there. I'd like to stick for a related food market, I mean I can somehow work my way into, but I'm kind of stuck on that one currently. If you had a website already, that kind of fit this and you're getting traffic too, it's kind of popular to just lap up like a business directory. You could even email, I did this at first email the actual businesses and say, “hey, I've got this directory that's starting, sign up for free”, and that's a good way to start a conversation to.
Jeff: I love it. The people that are on the call for Minneapolis area are probably familiar with Findlaw. It does the same thing, so it's a lawyer directory, but then they also provide services to market lawyers. It’s a huge domain authority from SEO perspective, and they have this expensive directory so that all these lawyers are rushing to be part of the Findlaw directory. And they pick the top ones, the ones at the top of the process. And they turn them into leads, so then they basically have contact with all the top law firms automatically just because of their directory, and it seems to work really well for them. It works well from a lead generation perspective. Awesome. It looks like you see the ice truck as well, nice.
Brett: I don't have the ice trucks yet, but that is a good one to check out, thank you.
Jeff: That's great Brett. It is tough once you've maxed out in the market. I think you already have the right thought process to go in to the other markets to see how big it really is or think of creative ways to branch it out. The good thing is at least this website it doesn’t necessarily had to be only about manufactures like about other aspects of it, so there might be other ways to lure people in.
But you probably don't want to do marketing for individual food truck owners. Just to figure out where you want to branch it and where you can make money. I think that if there's a concentrated market of just a few builders that want to exclusivity, there is still potential, you just have to really maximize the revenue for them, you have to get as much revenue out of that manufacturers as you can, that's basically what you have to do. That's great Brett, thanks for sharing that. I can't believe this worked, I was really starting to lose faith in Google hanging out.
Brett: Thanks a lot Jeff. I’m loving the class so far, I appreciate it.
Jeff: Awesome. Thanks for sharing and everybody in the chat, go ahead and mention some of the other things you see. It cool that we have these resources that we can all rely on them and look at as well. One idea sparks other ideas. Findlaw hires tons of people and they're basically an agency and directory and everything else under the sun. Not the prettiest site but it works pretty well.
So let's move on. Tony says that agency partnerships account for a third to half of his business. Some go through partner, some are direct pass through. And even contractors they use bring work that's above and beyond what they do. So if you're a small agency rely on partnerships. What Tony is saying is that some of them are deals that go through a partner. I'm guessing some of those have a margin built in or some kind of clause or catch to go into. You might not even have a direct relationship with the client, you're just working with the partner, and then some of them are direct pass through.
They both work out in the short term, but I would say that as much as you can get away from not being able to talk to clients and as much as you can maintain those relationships, usually the better off you're going to be. We have a lesson about that, it's going to be coming out next week. It's going to be talking about that exact prospect, that exact premise of pass through work and how it affects the business. Anybody who can find a contractor or contracts that is going to push relationships through to you, that's a good starting point for sure.
Next one, this is from Dietmar. Basically saying relationships with previous companies you’ve worked with account for a significant chunk. I think that's a great way to go. Relationships through Chamber of Commerce related events have led to projects as well. I would agree with that although the Chamber itself doesn't actually necessarily give you the project. I always thought if you joined the Chamber of Commerce, people would be like lined up to work with you. That didn't really work out very well for my agency either. But did let us go to networking events where we met a lot of people. I think going to Chamber events definitely is a good way to meet a lot of people and sort of rapidly handshake.
And you’re getting leads from digital sources, AdWords. AdWords is actually pretty difficult for agencies I found. Because it's so competitive and it's so expensive that sometimes you can't really get clicks for under $10, so it can be really expensive. You’re using Reddit to generate leads, I'd like to hear about that one if you have any ideas. You say to be careful but is that something that's repeatable. It's still in startup mode, reaching out to your network to test it, and you're changing as you go along. I like that you're saying now you're starting to niche down, you’re saying I want to drive online leads to your business, I like that as well.
So Jason asked what percentage of gross do you recommend offering as referral fee.
I would assume that you're saying if it's a $10,000 contract, what is the referral fee that you offer to somebody. This is a tough one. I've seen it goes all across the board. I've seen companies for $10,000 offer 20% and then take 8. Basically, so they give 2 to the person that got the contract and they take 8,000. I wouldn't do that personally. I think that's giving away too much. I usually keep it around a 10% fee, maybe 5%, depending on the contract. If you take anything out of your $10,000, then you're going to have to have cheaper labor in order to maintain the margins of your business. So basically if you have a $10,000 contract and you give $1,000 away, now you're trying to make your margin off of 9 and you're never going to hit your labor to revenue ratio. It's not going to happen because your taking 10% out of it.
A lot of times these people assume that just giving you a lead is worth 10% sales. A lead is not the same as a sale, you need to qualify your sale, you need to work with them, you really need to do a lot in order to turn this person into a sale. So you still turn it over your resources to scope out the project to give a proposal. I think that's like the lead itself is worth 2% or 3% or 5%, the rest of it I think is actually worth the 10% that a commission is going to.
Other thing I would say about that, Jason, is I like to stack it on top. If I'm still getting my $10,000 if I bid that project, but I tell the person that I can bid it at 12 if they want to take a margin on it or 11 whatever it is. I tell them they can build their margin on top of it. If they can sell it at that price, they can take whatever differences but my price is $10,000. So that's usually how I approach those relationships. If you have a great margin structure, you can afford to give away more. I think it can be difficult to do that. The other person has to make enough money for it to be worthwhile for them to even participate, you need to consider that as well.
So Fred says that his website and referrals from existing companies are the most effective lead generators. This is some really granular data, this is really great for everybody to see. So through October, 52 prospects came in, 25 came from client referrals or from referrals. And the good thing is he's defining what a prospect is. Fred's agency is a little bit bigger than a lot of your agencies, so he's been around a while and done this. You notice he’s already saying we don't just look at raw leads anymore, we are looking at prospects. So the prospects is somebody who got the stage where they wrote and delivered the proposal. So that's interesting.
Like some of us think of 52 leads from my website, he's saying 32 prospects. Somebody gave a proposal too, I would say it’s a fairly intimate relationship, you’ve got to that point where you've actually say I want to work with this person. I had mentioned in one of the lessons that I am really stingy with who I want to work with and the proposals.
Now we're talking about 52 plus 25, so 77 people through the beginning of this year these written the proposal to, that's really impressive when you think about it. The website has a lower close rate versus referrals at a higher close rate. Now, I would say that's pretty expected as well. You can a better close rate from your referrals than you are from just random people visiting your website, but you still are going to get value in both of them.
So that's really good to see these numbers, Fred. That's really helpful for people to see that this is a funnel, that's truly a funnel. Now if you recall from a lot of these lessons, that's basically what we said you are 30% close rate. Basically the 30% close rate is that of all people come in when you put a proposal out there, you don't want to close 100% of them, you want to close a smaller amount. And actually with referrals, it seems like Fred's getting that close rate with the referrals, so that looks it's good.
Alvaro saying he's actually been doing freelance work for a few months, and all he's really done is go to networking events. And as a result, he'd love to hear everyone suggestions for the top things to do to generate leads when you're just starting off and help them to figure out his 20% of the 80/20. I'd love to see if anybody wants to help Alvaro out in the comments and give some ideas as to what you do if you were just getting started. Where would you go what would you do.
I remember I was getting started out the very first time. I just let everybody that I know I was in business, that I was open for business. And I was making website at that time. I just quit my job, does anybody know anybody who needs a website? That was what I did, it was before social media where you can just broadcast that out and do blast emails and stuff. It was like one-on-one emails. It was meeting people in person, it was like talking to family members, talking to friends. For that first year or two that I was just getting started, I ate, I slept, I breathed my business. And getting people to give me business, so that I won’t need to get a job. Basically, I did everything I could. I call that hustling.
All I could think about was making this work. All I cared about was to make this work. And it worked, I got people to pay me money and I didn’t get a job. That was nice, and I've never had to get a job again since then, basically just from that hustling.
Now, one of the hard parts, Alvaro, that you’re going to find is that it gets difficult to know whether these are good opportunities or not. So if you're hassling, if you're going out there and you're finding things, you're going to have to have some bad ones before you know what the good ones are. So you're going to have to go through some situations where things come in that you didn't really like that much, things that you thought were going to be really super easy to do or harder.
We talked about contracts and your estimate and stuff like that in the course. Make sure you would watch those videos and don't get burned on those items. You can't really do the 80/20 rule until you have enough results that you can look at it and say I did this 80 times and it didn't work, but I did this 20 times and it did work. You almost need, maybe not 100 repetitions, that sounds really crazy, but in reality you need 100 repetitions to get 80/20. You can probably do it in 10, you're not going to can do it in 5, it's not statistically significant.
I think that unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, is that you're going to have to try a bunch of things. Some of them aren’t going to work, and a majority of them are not going to work. You have to just get enough you can keep on going, and then the second iteration, the next iterations you go through are coming from a position of knowing what works and what didn't work. I'd love to hear everybody else's suggestions but that is my thought on it.
Jonathan, all of your business has come from networking of some kind. In one case, highly qualified personal connection, cold-emailed some people in the finance industry, and that connected you to somebody and produced a dozen new opportunities.
You've also had moderate success with business networking groups like BNI, and referrals from prospects that feel guilty turning us down. I'd like to hear your thoughts Jonathan on this. People invited me to do these networking groups like BNI. Basically you go in there, and then you have to refer other people out, so it's like this huge referral set up. I thought it would be nice, but then I realized a lot of other people who are looking for referrals weren't looking for services at the expense level that I wanted. So it wasn't huge revenue opportunities, just bunch of small opportunities, and it was really working with small businesses like one person businesses instead of big ones. I didn't really have a lot of success with that either. It was mostly because my target was somebody who was willing to pay tens of thousands, not hundreds and not thousands of dollars, so that was interesting. That's an insight I have I'm working with it.
Cold-emailing is not a bad idea, right? Letting people know that you're open for business, it almost sounds like I was just describing for Alvaro is that you're letting people know that you're open for business. That's really a big piece of this is that we're there.
When you think about it, how do you find these people, how do you get in front of them. It's not just one magic bullet, it's basically figuring out where these people hang out, what they’re doing, and why they should care about you. And that's been a pretty overarching theme for what we've been talking. Why should they care enough to even listen to you? Why do they need you, how is this going to affect them and how is this going to make their life better, that's really what I would say is how you want to focus on this. A good way to go about it is to get in front of these people. It might happen at random.
Tony had asked us how to get pass the hustle stage, how much revenue should you have.
When I look at hustle stage, it's getting anybody to pay you for what you do and taking on anything you can, in order to prove that this was the right choice for you. Some people have what I call anchor client, which I do recommend is to find somebody that's going to cover as much of your sale as possible, if not all of it, from your day job before you go on your own. Use that coverage to then roll out the rest of your business.
The hustle stage for me was pretty simple. Moving from that stage to a more mature stage was really easy for me. When I was hustling, I was getting $2,000 $3,000 to do a website for somebody. And I thought that was really good money, but then I realized I’d never meet my income goals if I had to make 50 websites a year. I need something that I can charge more, or I need to find people who have more money.
So what I did is I got more strategic about it and I started to look at who is in my set of people that I should go after. Since it's just letting everybody know that I'm open for business, that I can make websites for them, what can I do that will turn this $2,000 relationships into 5? What can I do that instead of being one-time project for 5 or $10,000, how do I get $3,000 a month in recurring revenue? How do I turn this into something where I'm getting money every single month for being there.
It's exactly what we're talking with Alvaro is that he's saying that he wants to do the 80/20 rule to block out the 80% that is not working go after the 20. That's essentially what I did. I did a bunch of stuff, I found out that 20% of my clients were the most profitable and the ones that I thought that made me happy and that were the future of my business. So I just wanted to focus on those. As I went forward, I found that there is another 80% that probably didn't work out, so I then withered that down to 20.
Eventually, you get your name out there and you get to the point where people hear about your results. And then you're focusing on your results when you market instead of being just “hey, I'm open for business”, you say “hey, my company is the company that gets results, and here's a case study, here's results that show you that”. Once it starts to get easier for marketing is once you've done it a few time. You just talk about what you did instead of talking about what you're going to do. And there's a difference between what and what you're going to do, that's really the process that you want to go through.
Rosemary, I like this one a lot. Rosemary created a position unique to her brand agency called Inclusively Marketing and she trademarked it. She gives presentations on the importance of connecting with audiences that clients have not typically pay attention to. They send out press releases, email blasts to keep on their mailing list, and just hoping that it gets picked up.
In some cases, people will share the press releases. They do it for high profile projects they work on using LinkedIn to amplify posts. Attend a lot of association meetings, on boards, provide consultation to nonprofits to build relationships with their board members, and then updating their website to increase engagement. There's quite a few things on here. I think these are all ideas that you can all take away. These are all ways to get people to notice. So to create a brand and trademark it, that's really a smart thing to do because you're basically becoming the thought leader in the area you're talking about.
Giving presentations, we talked about this in one of our lessons is that if you are the person on stage talking about... We talked about press releases in the last call, I have not done that much of them, so I can't really weigh in whether they work or not, but it sounds like several of these they do help with SEO in some ways, they help with getting awareness and getting out there. So I think that's a good thing for us to see how it's working. Rosemary, if you want to talk about any of these and get online, let me know and I can put you on the video as well.
I like the idea of talking to nonprofits to build relationships. Because generally that board members on a lot of nonprofits are sometimes wealthy business owners, or people with certain skills and experiences. I like that idea. I've gotten several pieces of business from exactly what you're talking about Rosemary. That is working with people who are wealthy/ distinguish business owners, working with them on their boards and helping them out, and they've brought in a lot of business for me.
How do you find people who could do a lot of good for you, but find them in environment where you can reach them. If they're really busy with everything they're doing, they usually have their guard up. There's hundreds of people trying to do coffee meetings with them and calling them and trying to add their time. If you can see them in a nonprofit setting or a setting where their guard is down, you have a lot more of an opportunity to build those relationships.
Now the hard part is that it can be a lot of time going to build their relationship, very time-consuming. I don't think you can really do that if it's something that I would recommend doing purely as lead generating. You should do it in addition to that out of the kindness of your heart, and also you're agreeing with the mission of that organization. So the thing should be around I love this organization and I'm going to do that first and foremost. If I build relationships, that's just the bonus, that’s just the icing on the cake. I think that's what you're talking about, that's exactly what you're doing.
Making your website better, that's always a good thing. I don't know if anybody's watched the agency websites suck video yet. I think that was Tuesday's video, so you might have watched it already, but that was a pretty fun one to talk about you can all update our website.
Darren says that he has referrals that come in. He networks, develops relationships with complementary marketers, try to be the resource for the questions, do presentations and LinkedIn and it seems that works as well.
Thomas says that nonprofit does not mean no profit, I agree with that. I think that's a misconception. I think there's a lot of opportunity in nonprofit, but it's more from a connection standpoint.
So Darren, basically be a resource for people, especially those who have complementary skills, people who are established. Working with people who are established and adding your expertise on top of it, I think that makes a lot of sense.
This one came in from the forum, this is from Damien. I don't know if anybody saw this in the forums, but these forums have some really good threads going on, so you should definitely check them out. He uses General Assembly and basically offers cheap or free training. He goes to sessions and talks how to do it, and then use it as a way that meet our attendees. This is a great idea.
So I teach a lot these live classes all the time myself. The students talking to each other and networking is one of my favorite piece. Because they talk about it, they answer each other's questions, they form connections to each other, and it's really great to see that develop.
So I think that, again, talking about finding people when their guard is down as opposed to finding people when their guard is up, or like trying to cold reach somebody who's unreachable. Think about it from that perspective. If somebody's in a classroom learning, they're already a little bit vulnerable, and they're in the mode to learn new things, and so you can help them learn and then use that to your advantage overall with the relationships. You're going to find relationships in that area, I think that's a good idea.
Twitter search, this is just more tactical one. You can use basically to set up an email or SMS whenever a Twit is found. I have one called mytweetsalerts.com that does something similar It's pretty cool little tool, and so I get an email every day when certain Twitter searches happen. You should look into that as well.
The measure channel on Slack. For anybody who's in the analytics, you should definitely go to join that measure channel chat. So this is more for analytics but there might be channels for your specific focus.
Meetup groups, I think Meetup groups are always good. I've been to several meetup groups. If there's a bunch of people meeting in a room and it's related to what you're talking about, or at least on the edge of what you're talking about, can be a good way to get in front of people to meet them and to talk to them.
I think some of you filled out the survey since I started, but I can't download them while I'm presenting here. Ryan gets his work from referrals relationships and networking. I didn't list them in a particular order, but I think the order is sort of the way that I use them, that's how I say. I don't know if that's the order that you should use them, but it's more of the order that I think about how I generate leads.
I like this one from Alvaro a lot is like going to hackathons, going to networking events, that is really cool. Basically being the marketing person at an event that does something else, really cool way to go about things.
Fred uses workshops, I think this is good too. If you have a space that you can host people in your office and teach them to do something for free. He does like Google Analytics on social media, all kinds of different things.
Basically, you have a very little commitment from your staff like two workshops a year for half a day like anybody can commit to that. And you're bringing people to your office who could become potential customers, and they're seeing your office, they're seeing you in your environment. The agencies will often have cool offices that they want to show off. So getting people to your cool office can be a great opportunity. Basically anything can do to humanize what you do and to be top of mind is really important, that's really smart to do that.
So yes referrals and networking work, but I think that eventually you need a bigger pool to draw from. So Fred who has an agency that's a little bit bigger, you can see how he does it, how his larger agency succeeds in this area. Thanks for sharing that Fred.
Blogging is difficult to be consistent, I agree with that. I think it's tough when everybody else blogging how you stand out as a blogger. If I were to start out again right now blogging, I think blogging alone would be difficult. I think you'd have to have some video component or some kind special uniqueness that made you stand out. Because I've noticed that blogging engagement, even in the last two years, has gone down significantly.
Almost all comments are spam. Even social media there's just so much proliferation out there, it's hard to stand out. I don't know if blogging alone is good. I think blogging is good for getting search traffic and for building an audience in many ways. I don't think it's bad, I just think it is changed over time. I think for an agency how blogging is going to affect them. I think it comes down to whether you can do it consistently or not.
Actively finding customers and outreach. I think outreach is really hard when we have tons of stuff on our plate. And then in addition to that, we're supposed to go and randomly talk to somebody that we don't know and reach out to them and expect them to care. You’re not alone Brett, it’s tough. I think that's really why we hire business development people because it's a discipline and a skill and often a numbers game. Reaching out to people, getting to know them, getting them to care, it's really like fishing. If you want your business to succeed, should you be fishing, or should you let somebody else do that?
I'll see how we can find way to talk about outreach. I think it's important. Maybe to share some articles that other people have used, that might be the best way to go about it.
Tony is saying AdWords hasn't worked really well for them, but it's part because they don't spend enough time to really blow it out. It's always the time thing. You could do AdWords for your clients and it can be great because you're going in there and spending 30 minutes to an hour a day tweaking things. Then you do it for yourself, and you turn the campaign on and you never look at the campaign again.
That's why these thing don't work for agencies. It is because we don't put the same discipline into doing for ourselves that we do for our clients. And the only answer is to give it the same discipline, to do the same thing.
He's done lead generation websites and given some leads, but they’ve been terrible prospects. I don't know I would use a lead gen agency for my agency, to bring people into my agency. It's seems that's just bottom-feeding. I don't know who becomes the lead from these lead generation websites, to be honest. Who would fill out the thing for SEO and like talk to 10 companies? But that's just me. You're not going to find the large clients, the ones that can afford to pay you, scraping from the bottom to barrel, so I think that's fair to see that.
Dietmar saying cold calling. He's saying that at his old company, he was offered number one guarantee ranking on Google, so how is he going to do that for himself for his SEO agency, I think that's difficult, it is. You can look at it as a numbers game like dialing for dollars, seeing what happens, seeing what goes out, but it's a tough sell. SEO as we talked about it in the last call, it's difficult because of the unscrupulous business out there they're doing the same thing and in a way that's not nearly as solid as you might be doing.
Fred says it's a lot easier to work at local clients and close a deal. And when he loses a web lead, it's to a local agency. That's interesting. I didn't have that problem with my agency, we didn't even have any local clients for like five or six years until I started going in-person networking events. Almost all of our clients were referrals and previous clients moving on to other jobs.
But I do think that it really depends on the service you provide. If the service you provide is high touch, meaning you need to meet with the client a lot, then I think having some local component where they're in the same city. Or you're going to travel to see them, that something I would consider as well. You don't have to necessarily be local, but how do you localize the service you offer if that's important to them.
I think that does happen with website’s stuff, I think it happens with creative agencies, I think it happens in a lot of areas. But I think search marketing, especially on a national basis maybe not even a local provider. PPC doesn't really require a local provider. So I think it depends on the type of business you're in.
Website conversions. Agency websites don't convert well already, but if you don't do much to promote it, it can be difficult to get anything out of it.
Jonathan saying just haven’t been able to do anything beyond using direct connections. That's the reality of this thing is that it's easier for your business as you're getting started and through the certain phase to just keep on doing one-to-one outreach to people. Or networking to getting business that way than it is to develop a comprehensive inbound website lead generation strategy. Its so much easier to do it that way.
But eventually once those direct connections dry up, it's difficult. Here is what I would say to that. I've been talking about this 10% of your time should go into marketing piece. If you're getting direct connections and everything, then that's 0% of your time or 1% of your time if they're already giving you that on a platter. Why don't you use the 10% then to go after your proactive marketing.
If somebody is just giving you business like you have a connection saying, hey, here's some business, then they're making that part easy on you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the rest of your marketing, that's my thought on that, is just dedicate time to it. Carve out 10% of your time doing that.
I think we talked about the time-consuming piece. Some of the problems is that it takes a lot of time, it's time consuming. You're chasing work, instead of it coming to you. The ones that do come, you have to turn it down because it's not the right fit.
These are all the reality of what we face is that. Say that you do a great job within bound marketing and lead generation, and you're getting 100 leads a month or something like that. 90 of them are going to be bad, 90 of them are going to be terrible. So you have to go through that 90 leads that are bad and find the 10 that are good. And then of this 10 that are worth talking to maybe not even good, then you have to wither down and it might be fewer than you think.
It is a lot more to weed through if you get these things coming in. But of course if you can generate 100 leads a month from your website, then you must be doing something right, or you may have a dedicated team to it. So I think it's not bad to have too many leads, but I think it's really about focusing. And maybe even applying the 80/20 rule at this point to say, okay I'm doing all these things I'm feeling overwhelmed by it. I have so much going on. But what it comes down into 80% of my results come from these 20% of things.
I would almost say pare it down to the things that are the most effective for you, that you know are going to work the best. Or the ones that you think are your future, instead of trying to do 10 things and being overwhelmed by it. Try to do, I wouldn't say two, I would say three to five things and give them your all, that's where you’re' going to see the best results.
Darren says having the problem of not even being able to pull himself out of daily operations. That is difficult as well. How do you go out and do these things when you don't have time. A lot of these things are based on phases of your business. If you are just one person fighting to survive, then you have a certain way to approach these things. If you're somebody else in a different situation, you have different approaches.
Maybe the big thing here is to figure out why operations take so much time and how that's going to play out. Is there enough money that you can bring somebody on, to really figuring out what your problem is. Basically just looking outside of your business instead of in your business, I think it's a really big thing you can do there, Darren.
Just take a breather, a weekend or something sometime where you aren't thinking about your clients at all, and then figure out where do you want this thing to go. Write it on whiteboard, map it out and start thinking about it. And then start making that a reality, that's how I would go about it.
If you can't pull yourself out of daily operations in order to even think about stuff, then there's some soul searching that needs to happen on that piece. Can I not pull myself out because I have too much business, because I don't charge enough, because it's not the right service to be offered? And there's all kind different things, and I don't mean to say that anything you're doing is incorrect. Those are the type of questions you just need to keep on asking yourself.
Does anybody have any question? I know we're going over time and a lot of people have already had to hop off. I'm here if anybody has any question they want me to answer, so just let me know.
Ryan and Thomas are talking about like free SEO tools and diagnostics. I think it's good to prospect using those. But you had to qualify it. Using an automated tool to gather the data, why not? You should always automate the gathering of the data as much as you can. But then putting some kind a value on it is really the nice way to go about it.
So our company what we would do is we have this SEO Spider Chart. We would give a rating 1 to 10 and that would make the area bigger. More full the spider web was, the better they were doing at what we were evaluating. We got this business development process down, it took less than an hour to audit our potential clients’ SEO and analytics and everything. And to give them an answer on how they rate compared to other companies we’ve worked at. It is super effective from a lead generation standpoint.
So I think auditing is really good. But I think that sending somebody audit from a tool that looks like it’s an audit that came from a tool, I don't think it looks proprietary, it just looks like you took something from a template. It just likes sending somebody a screenshot from Google Analytics versus the custom chart.
The solution I'm talking about, Thomas, that was a homegrown solution from tools. So we would do a Screaming Frog crawl. We would pull link data and everything from Screaming Frog. We would use Moz suite of tools, from back in the days, to pull in data from there. We would do even Google page rank, but then we went to Moz Rank and everything. Basically we would just go through and pull together everything we could and put in there.
Ryan, I’m not sure which tool was recommended by who I was just talking more in general. If that tool looks proprietary, it has opportunity, that's interesting to know as well.
I think auditing people's website is a great foot in the door opportunity, especially if you can do the upfront work and tell them what you need to do, I think that's a great tactic. If you can tell people what they need to do in order to do better, then you say “you can do it yourself or you can hire me, you can hire our expertise to get it done”. That's going to really push the conversation forward, as opposed to having to sniff out what the client needs. Doing a long discovery period, I think it can be difficult.
Okay. I don't see anything coming in on the chat, and there's some chat coming in but no questions for me. So it is getting late here. It's early for many of you in the United States. It's late for me I'm getting over a cold, so I think I'm going to end this call for now. So you guys can continue to chat, thanks again for an awesome call.
And you’re about a quarter way done with the class if you've been watching the video this week. I look forward to continue to learn with you. Our topic next week is talking about relationships with our clients. Look forward to talking soon.