Robb Bailey went from the painful experience of shutting down his agency Page Ladder to building an entirely new niche Facebook ad generation that gives him the lifestyle he wants.
His new Facebook ads agency, FitClub Accelerator, focuses on lead generation and sales for independent gyms.
Here are the main takeaways from the interview:
Build an Agency You Want
We have a lot of agency owners on this podcast sharing their stories about the business they’ve built. Often as a listener, it can feel that everyone has it figured it out better than you, is more successful than you, and is making more money than you. Agency owners will usually sugarcoat what’s happening on the inside.
Robb lets down the mask and shares what was going on behind the scenes with his agency Page Ladder. It had all the markings of tremendous success. It had fast growth, high paying clients, a growing team, beautiful offices, and high revenue. But behind the scenes, the profit margins were small. There was high overhead. Robb and his partner were burning out, and it was taking a toll on their personal lives. They decided they needed to shutter the doors and start from scratch. They realized they had spent all this time building an agency, but they didn’t have a direction for what they were building. It wasn’t aligned with the life they wanted for themselves. They went through the tough decision of shutting down the entire business. It was a dark period for Robb to feel he had failed and see everything he had worked so hard for disappear.
In the months after closing his agency, Robb went back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong, see where he wanted to go, focus on his own goals, and reached out to others to get an understanding of what went wrong and what his next step should be.
He took time to break down what worked and didn't work at his agency as well as the profitability of the services. What he discovered was that the smaller micro services they offered had the best margins. He saw that these services were easy to deliver and scale, provided a lot of value to clients and that if he niched down on these services and focused on a niche, he could build an agency where he wouldn’t be wearing all the hats. He could profitably scale a company he loved to run. One where he wasn’t doing all the work and was less stressed.
An agency where he could take care of him and his family first without worrying about having the money to care for everyone else.
Riches in the NichesThis is something that every smart agency owner knows. By niching down and focusing on an industry or services, you can become more profitable as an agency than if you’re saying yes to everything.
Robb’s old agency had a large variety of clients. Now at FitClub Accelerator, Robb works only with independent gyms and offers lead generation services with Facebook ads. And that’s it. He has niched down his service and productized it. He knows the ins and outs to make this process repeatable and simple to deliver, and he has his reputation and case studies in the niche. By making his agency so focused, Robb now has an agency that’s far more profitable and growing more efficiently than in the past.
You may have to test out different niches, but once you find a service and industry that works for you, you’re well on your way to building your dream agency.
Go Deep Not WideThe other benefit of going deep in an industry or niche is that you can refine the process thoroughly and ensure smooth delivery and results for clients. Often, agencies will talk about being creative, and that’s why they can’t get so concentrated. Robb believes this has more to do with ego than anything. Creativity is overrated in the agency world. Businesses want you to be the expert on a solution and consistently deliver the results they’re looking for. They aren’t paying for fancy; they’re paying for results.
If you go deep, you can create a replicable process that can pretty much guarantee results for your clients and at the same time, make your life much more simple as an agency owner. With FitClub Accelerator, Robb has the process so refined that it’s mostly intellectual property now the campaigns they run. They know they can run these campaigns over and over in their niche and get results. This makes the model almost a franchise where they can turn and deploy the process each and everything and have it running like a well-oiled machine for clients.
Focus on What Matters
This is the big takeaway from the entire interview. You need to focus on what is important. This applies to you as an owner as well as the services you offer for your clients.
With customers, Robb focused on independent gyms niche and lead generation in this niche. Why? Because he knows that the sales cycle isn’t long in gyms and he can quickly get results for clients. He can consistently generate business for these customers and have an impact from the first month.
Clients want results, and Robb focused on lead generation which means that he quickly makes his agency invaluable to a gym. They see the results and impact of his work and are less likely. This is a big contrast towards marketing for clients that may take awhile to see the fruits of your labor. Clients want results, so by focusing on what they can understand and feel the impact of quickly, Robb can easily scale his agency.
By focusing on lead generation, he also noticed the gap in sales ability that many indecent gyms struggle with. He knows that improving clients sales skills will make the results even better he gets for his clients and will be easy for them to understand and feel the impact of, Robb began offering sales training as well as part of their service. Once again, they focus on what matters to the business and will have an immediate impact on the bottom line.
Finally, focusing on what matters also means focusing on what's important to you as an agency owner. This could mean building a powerhouse agency that’s featured in publications, or it could mean creating an agency that gives you the lifestyle to do what you want with your family and have low stress.
At the end of the day, you’re building the agency, not anyone else, so build it around your goals and what matters to you. It’s easy to get caught up seeing what everyone else is doing, but taking the time to dig deep and explore what you’re building and why will give you the direction to build an agency you love.