In this episode of Inbound Agency Journey, Andrew interviews Phil Singleton from Kansas City Website Design and SEO about growing his agency and the book SEO for Growth which he co-wrote with John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing.
Phil's experience includes living in Asia, running a start-up abroad, and owning a successful web design and SEO agency in Kansas City.
Here are the main takeaways from the interview:
Educated the Prospect
Phil uses his agency web design services to drive leads and then upsell them into a marketing retainer.
The realization of "I need a website" is generally far more common for many small and mid-size business owners than "I need digital marketing services", especially if they're completely new to the online world.
There's a wide variety of website pricing out there depending on the type of agency. This can be overwhelming for a lot of business owners who primarily focus on their own businesses and not keeping up with changes online.
Phil spends time with prospects going in-depth on what's important on a website and what's needed.
This conversation naturally leads into discussing SEO and driving traffic and generating leads online. Several sales tools Phil uses is full transparency and avoiding the snakeoil salesman feeling that many SEO and digital agencies give, showing up to a meeting with the book "The Art of SEO" which is over 1,000 pages long, and also showing the top 5 biggest companies on Wall Street which are Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft to demonstrate to clients the important of the online world and where Wall Street is putting its money.
By taking this approach and not going for the straight SEO retainer sale, Phil is able to build rapport and trust.
The other piece that he uses to educate is discussing the importance blog strategy and what they'll do for clients with it.
He educates them on the importance of an integrated approach and then gives them the bright shiny object that this content can then be used to produce a Kindle book which can then be sold and will also help position the business as a thought leader in the space.
This approach is tangible for a lot of buyers rather than tactical SEO jargon, and it has helped his agency close a lot of business.
Know Your Pricing for Growth
Phil delivers some advice on the balance between pricing and scaling to grow your agency. He discusses the fact that generally larger retainers will mean growing a bigger team in order to accomplish the goals of the client. They are generally paying you as an agency the salary of a middle or high level person at the company and will expect results to match this expense.
On the other hand, super low pricing will result in a lot of poor fit clients with high churn.
Phil says the sweet spot for his business is between $1K-3K. This is rate enough to produce results, hire a team, but also be able to accomplish all the work without the expectations of a larger retainer. This price range makes it simple to work with 50-200 clients, have a good profit, lower churn, and still have a small team do all the work.
It's important to consider the pros and cons of the lifestyle and agency you want to be running when determining agency pricing.
The Power of Your Network
Phil discussed how becoming a certified Duct Tape Markeitng consultant was the best investment he's ever made.
The Duct Tape Marketing consulting program includes in-person summits and a chance to network with a lot of other certified individuals that can help you grow your business. For Phil, it totally changed everything. He developed a relationship with John Jantsch which then made it easier for him to approach John with the idea of writing the foreword or co-writing the book he was working on SEO for Growth and launching a business off it.
John chose to build the business with Phil.
John's powerful network helped the book generate a lot of buzz and was able to build a new busienss while also letting Phil build his credibility in the marketing space due to both writing the book and being connected with John.
There are several of these programs that exist out there. Getting into these programs as a consultant can be expensive, but there's the benefit of connecting with other individuals as well as the person who runs it.
If chosen wisely, paid networking opportunities like this can be absolutely worth it if you put in the work to help bost your own busineses while also giving back.
Phil's online marketing experience and insights are valuable for agencies of any size and can jumpstart new ideas for agency owners to consider.