How to grow an agency/services to 20K recurrent per month.
Let’s look at this as a startup digital agency looking to secure their first paying clients. But the good news is that it works for existing digital agencies as well, the pricing and deliverables just need to be reviewed to fit your specific business existing COGS.
This is a simple business model, it works, it can be frustrating but it’s highly lucrative. WARNING It is NOT SEXY, this is a dirty business model called cold email outreach. Ive seen this work time and time again where businesses double down on this and go from nothing to something, it works.
Fun Fact: I worked at an agency where we had a team of 4 cold callers and 3 cold emailers who would gather, assess and then reach out to a database of potential customers. This team had to contact 1000 businesses per week as a KPI. They needed to sign 6/1000 as a KPI. They would average between 14-16 from 1000 successful conversions from cold calls and cold emails. I used to help them automate database scraping having a pool of over 6 million businesses for them to work through.
Here is the process of cold email outreach
You will be sending two types of emails
Email 1 is a value offer for your services that gets sent to a large number of businesses.
Email 2 is clever well researched and well crafted email dialled in for specific businesses that could be big clients.
We will look at email 1 where you send 300 individual emails per day. Period. (nothing else, nothing more)
Put the effort, put the hard work, 300 per day.
Warning: Boring, it sucks, not romantic, anti-sexy, literally a horrible experience for the sender and receiver.
Learn how to create email setups that can work and keep you safe when cold email blasting. Just firing emails all day can get domains blacklisted and you in some hot water with local spam laws. This method of using different domains keeps you safe.
Your goal is to get at least 6 answers that are saying “Maybe” per day so its 96% failure rate.
Your goal is to book 5 calls from those 30 weekly maybes per week.
From this pool of 30 potentials, you just need to close 2 clients to be a success per week.
The money: If you charge $2k per month minimum, in 1 month you have 8K recurrent revenue
This is where it gets interesting, In month 2 you should know what emails perform better, you can tweak the email copy, make the subject lines better and really start getting test data on open rates, feedback and have a good idea if your product sucks or just needs a small adjustment in the positioning of it to a cold contact.
This should help increase your conversion rate by 1% if you do better keep testing and tweaking it.
Also, you may land one of those Email 2 prospects as well to come in at whatever your rate is for bigger service packages let’s say $5-8k monthly retainers for the bigger clients. You now have some serious revenue coming in.
Rinse and repeat this.
Now to further improve this and what to do when not cold emailing. I believe in becoming the master of your craft in whatever you do even unsexy email outreach.
Start by studying the best salespeople in the business, and study the pricing models and hooks others use. Heck, my guys used to even study the mail-out catalogues from established brands looking for the language used, positioning of products and feature value.
I am not the sales master by any longshot, but there are some absolute masters of craft on YouTube:
– The Futur (Chris Do) YouTube Channel
– Jeremy Miner (this guy is a machine) – Instagram account
– Kévin Moënne-Loccoz content on Linkedin
That’s the crux of it. Stop posting on social media, stop replying in Facebook groups and stop overthinking, Nike said just do it. Do it so much that you wear the letters on your keyboard out. Thats how you grow. This is a grind.
Recipe for Success by Hustling
One of my buddies has a secret recipe just like the KFC Herbs and Spices. It goes like this
He often helps new startup service providers learn how to go from zero to 10k revenue per month fast.
Here is a breakdown of his teachings:
- Decide on what service you can offer that both 8 years olds and 70-year-olds can understand its value
- This product / service can be yours or something a competitor does that you can replicate
- Productise it so it’s repeatable and scalable
- Know your COGS inside and out
- Price this service so its affordable but still profitable
- Buy a domain name
- Setup a landing page
- Option A go to Y Combinator – find startup founders and contact details
- Option B Scour Yellow Pages or business directories – find contacts and emails
- Prepare your value offer email template that you will be sending to these contact database
- Know that you will have 98% failure rate from email, sending 50-60 emails per day
- Your goal is to make contact with 300 people per week and to automate the funnel as much as possible
- You will get 298 declined offers this is a standard in cold email outreach
- You just need to close the 2 potential contacts, if you do 10-12 of these a month its momentum
- Do this for 6 months and start presenting upsells to the clients that you have signed up
Thats your playbook from zero to $10k that anyone can do from right now. Cold email outreach is NOT SEXY at all its gross, its rude and you will be insulted more than once if you do it right. But it works and businesses book millions of dollars from cold outreach.
Its not that difficult but it requires persistence. Just do the maths saying that your service is cheap at $1000 per month, you get 10 clients a month that’s $120,000 per year business for a 1 person business with no complex skills required to get started.
NOW the real interesting part is what if you take your digital agency skills, your team, your resources and back the method with account managers, call center, trained to upsell sales people and a full delivery of the service. This becomes a powerful product.
*Your COGS will change having a larger workforce but like I said know your COGS. You just built a business that can scale.
Types of Digital Agency Leaders
In business, it doesn’t take long to build a successful business. But it does take a long time to be the person that decides to do it.
There is so much I would, I should do in the online business space, hustle separates the men from boys (figure of speech).
The ones in business crushing it are those who are obsessed with the game that they play in. The ones who are not crushing it is the ones making videos on TikTok, and YouTube, the ones posting all the time on social platforms. The hustle goes in and the deals get done quietly away from the spotlight of social media.
I see 3 types of Online Digital Agency Owners
- The: I do this because I hate working for someone else and need freedom
- The: I do this because I want to build special work with my partners and build a real team of talented people
- The: I do this because they are trying to prove their abilities and eventually status to friends, family and circle of peers
The first is the hustler, always prowling for deals and opportunities
The second is usually the conference whore at every event, trying their hardest to get speaking gigs, trying to get their way into any deal to build their portfolio of associated businesses.
The third is so determined to succeed that they wouldn’t be reading this, messing about on social media and likely to be securing a deal right now and is booked into another deal-closing meeting in 40 minutes from now.
You get the picture. It takes all types to run the business and each type creates their own opportunities and dealflow by the natural personality.
Every agency leader is good raw talent, even if polished through courses, seminars, training and hours and hours of knowledge upskill they still need a second in charge behind them helping to push the team, helping to clean up the contracts in detail, and to help organise the rest of the team and work that needs to be done.
It isn’t hard to get deals that boost your agency book, not in today’s market. You just need to know how to find deals, put in the work and follow up and close those deals.