When I started Highstoke Media in 2018, I didn’t have the slightest clue that it would evolve to become the global company it is today. If I could go back in time and tell myself anything, it would be these 10 simple tips.
Especially BAD marketing... It blows my mind to see how many businesses out there who are spending a TON of money on useless advertising like print, radio, YellowPages, Groupon, etc. If a business is already marketing, that means they HAVE the money and they understand the importance of advertising. I can’t tell you how hard it is to try to sell to someone who doesn’t want to spend money to grow their business (not impossible, but an uphill battle I’d rather avoid).
The number one rule in sales is to ALWAYS figure out your prospect’s pain points and goals. Every business has problems and they all want to grow to make more money. Problem is… they don’t know how. What you have to do is come in and see where they’re currently at (Point A) and figure out where they want to be (Point B). Think of this as a huge gap in their business that they want to “close.”
The business literally just told you about their challenges and their goals right? So position your service as the PERFECT SOLUTION that bridges them from Point A (where they are now) to Point B (where they want to be). Boom. Gap filled. For example, if a dentist told you they’re only seeing 10 new customers a month and want to increase that number to 30… which “pitch” works better? “I’m a marketing agency and can help your business with Facebook Ads” OR “I help dental practices LIKE YOURS acquire 30-50 new patients every single month.”
You can’t close deals by selling "generic" services. Believe it or not, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best at Facebook ads. Or if your funnels are out of this world. Or if your automations are better than your competitors. Always remember, you’re selling a specific SOLUTION to a specific PROBLEM. Highlight how much value you're bringing to the table and how that outweighs the tiny investment they're putting into you. If you're bringing them $30,000 worth of value, wouldn't you agree it's fair to charge $3,000 a month? I'm sure every smart business owner in their right mind would think so too.
For most businesses out there, they want more sales and customers. That's how any business stays alive. Focus on services that bring DIRECT measurable results such as Facebook and Instagram ads. It’s going to be incredibly hard for you to convince most business owners why a new website is worth $3K or why it takes 6 months for them to see SEO results. I’d rather get my foot in the door with measurable results I can get in a few days, then upsell them other services to increase how much they spend with me. Back to my last point, if I can show them how a $3K investment into us can bring them $30K in potential value… that’s a done deal.
At the end of the day, you only need 3-4 clients to reach the “magical 6-figure” mark. And you don't need to spend a single dollar on advertising to get there. We initially grew from zero to $30K/month by bootstrapping and being creative. This involved asking friends and family, LinkedIn networks, past coworkers, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, implementing a kickass referral program. We set one as, “For every person you refer to us and they sign on, we’ll pay you out a 25% commission.” Give people an incentive to think outside the box. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d gladly pay $500 to acquire a client (we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise) to spend $2K/month with us for 6 months (a total lifetime value of $12K). Your own network is often your most underutilized asset.
The best kind of revenue is recurring revenue. Don’t just land a client contract and never speak with them again. Client churn is NOTORIOUS in the industry… and it’s due to not setting proper expectations, poor communication, and treating the client relationship like a transaction. For us, we have weekly check ins, end of month reports, an open line of communication, and my favorite of all, milestone gifts! We send personalized cards, t-shirts, birthday gifts, holiday presents, bottles of wine, and occasional items to always stay top of mind. On top of providing amazing results, build amazing relationships and treat your clients like your best friend. Why? It’s really hard to fire your best friend when you have a bad month.
Once you get some steady cash flow coming in, you’ll need to create systems for every part of your process from A to Z. How do you do outreach to clients? How do you do your sales calls? How do you onboard a client? How do you fulfill the services? How do you check in with them? How do you properly offboard them? The idea is to have a solid documented process (that is replicable and scalable) where you can train someone else on and ultimately delegate when the time comes.
The biggest mistake I made when starting out this journey was feeling like I had to do EVERYTHING myself (we call it Superman Syndrome). Maybe it was ego or lack of trust, but it was hard for me to let go of certain parts of the business. Now more than ever, I believe in building your A-Team to compliment your strengths and making up your weaknesses. Also to free up your time on “low-level” tasks so you can actually focus on things that will move the needle forward for your business. Start with outsourcing your everyday admin tasks with virtual assistants around the world. You’ll need to put your business in a position where it feels like you’re climbing a ladder to the top instead of running in place on a treadmill.
This goes without saying but the minute you stop learning, you stop earning. The digital landscape is ever-changing… Platforms like Facebook/Instagram are always adding new features… Strategies are always different... Marketing needs of business owners will evolve… Hitting your goals is one of the best feelings ever. Go celebrate by all means, but make sure to reset your goals or else you’ll get stagnant and fall behind. Remember, you want to feel like you’re climbing a ladder and making progress everyday… not frantically feeling like you’re exerting all your energy on a treadmill and not going anywhere.
Obviously there’s a lot more to the business… much more than I can go in depth on a single post. But I genuinely believe this should help some of you with new ideas and shifting your perspective on how to approach things if you’re looking to start a digital marketing agency.
I truly believe there’s no better time to be getting into the digital space. Competition and market saturation are limiting beliefs because there is always going to be a business (and thousands of niches) you can help. “Not having money” is the biggest one of them all because this is literally one of the lowest overhead models out there. We started with absolutely nothing and there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t too.
Put in the work and make it happen this year.