Lead Flow Strategy: What to Outsource and What to Keep In-house

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Chaz Edward, Cofounder of Make My Business Boom (Hanover, Pennsylvania), a client digital marketing agency focused on driving customers to its clients’ physical locations or websites, explains the marketing strategies and funnels his company sets up and uses for finding and qualifying people who might need his company’s services, turning these cold prospects into warm leads, transforming them into hot buyers, and closing sales. Make My Business Boom works with larger-sized local and regional businesses, multi-location companies, and e-commerce sites.

Chaz explains the multi-pronged strategies outsourced Virtual Assistants can use to feed contact info into outreach funnels

1) Look for potential “foot in the door” opportunities, e.g.:

  • Companies spending for AdWords whose websites are not on Page 1
  • Websites that don’t have SSL installed
  1. Create a value ladder, place service offerings in ascending order of value and price. Offer free content (lead magnets) a website visitor can download in exchange for his or her email address.
    1. Use a lead scraper to collect semi-targeted cold leads
    2. Provide incentives for existing clients to give you referrals
    3. Management can develop manual prospect search procedures, write SOPs, create training videos, and then outsource manual prospect search activities to Virtual Assistants.

Outsourced Virtual Assistants can help qualify and strengthen relationships with potential clients by:

  1. Remarketing prospects through emails that provide value
  2. Retargeting prospects by tracking Facebook blog consumption to determine areas of interest
  3. Segmenting prospects based on responses and refining free content as relationship develops

In-House staff should be used to convert cold prospects to warm leads by:

  1. Monitoring Facebook Ad interactions and website pages accessed to determine prospects’ levels and areas of interest and readiness to buy
  2. Placing an exploratory call to define needs and establish a preliminary budget.
  3. Preparing a “customized” proposal using standardized modular components
  4. Placing a call, screen sharing, or visiting the client to present proposal. Try to close.

Some parts of Fulfillment can be outsourced, some can’t.

Client Management should always be in-house and is critical for reducing client churn. After the sale, follow up with biweekly or monthly phone calls to discuss KPIs, past activities, and plans.

Contact Chaz Edward through his Facebook page, on his company’s website at:  makemybusinessboom.com, or by phone at: 855.356.4161.

ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk, and I am excited to be joined today by Chaz Edward, Cofounder at Make My Business Boom, based in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Welcome, Chaz.

CHAZ: Thanks for having me, Rob. It’s a pleasure to be on your podcast with you, and I’m excited.

ROB: It’s fantastic to have you here. You know a lot. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about Make My Business Boom and about what the company is great at?

CHAZ: Sure. Make My Business Boom, we launched in around 2009, so we’ve been around for about 9 years now. Obviously, we’re a client digital marketing agency. We handle everything from SEO to content marketing to social media strategies for business. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we can help position our clients to succeed online.

I actually come from a background as a small business owner, and I had to learn how to make the transition going from a phonebook to online. That was a long time ago, and I’ve done it for multiple of my own companies. I took what I learned from doing it for myself and now apply that to help other companies succeed online.

ROB: Neat. What is a typical client, if there is one for you? Is it a local business owner like you were, or is there a broader range? Tell me about the customer mix.

CHAZ: The majority of our clients are larger local and regional businesses. We do a lot with multi-location, whether it be doctors or dentists who are trying to expand regionally, and part of our client mix is also in the ecommerce field as well. There’s a lot of activity there. Everybody’s moving ecommerce rather than storefronts now, so we’re seeing a lot of growth in that sector as well.

ROB: For these different clients, how do you define success? For ecommerce, is it return on ad spend? Are there further up-the-funnel metrics that are also valuable for them? And how do you define success for maybe those larger local clients as well?

CHAZ: Let’s start with the local. That’s all about visibility, for local. It’s customers in the door, butts in the seat if you will—if you’re a dentist, let’s say, getting people in the chair. It’s actually getting people to the location. That’s the real metric of success there: how many more clients we can bring into the local business.

We use every strategy at our disposal for that. Sometimes it’s local ads, sometimes it’s SEO. The combination is what’s powerful to get the business more local exposure.

Then as we develop their business into new markets and new locations, obviously we look at things like how much of the market we have in this new location, the online search percentages, what’s going to our client. Again, at the end of the day, it’s all about driving clients to their business.

On the flipside of that, ecommerce is all about driving people to the website. At the end of the day, it’s not only people, but then qualifying those and turning cold traffic into warm traffic and then warm traffic into hot buyers, and doing that through various funnels and marketing strategies like that.

So there’s really two different metrics. One has the offline mix where they need the real clients, whether it’s phone calls or clients in the door. The other is delivering a customer value journey from somebody that doesn’t know the brand to somebody that’s going to buy on their website.

So it’s really two different metrics there, but that’s how we do it. That’s how we define the success and results for those two different clients.

ROB: It seems like it would be tricky, then, to actually be able to link digital marketing initiatives through to someone in a dentist’s chair. How do you connect those upstream activities all the way through to real world, physical business, feet through the doors?

CHAZ: Working with a practitioner owner and their office managers, getting base metrics to begin with, finding out what their base is. Like how many clients do they get per week right now? We work with the real numbers that the business supplies us, and then, as time goes on, we come back every quarter and reevaluate where those real numbers are.

If a doctor has X amount of patients at the beginning of the campaign, in the first quarter we reevaluate and see where the practice has the patients at now. That’s the only way to do it. It’s nice to show ranking increases and website traffic increases, but the real metric is how many new clients they’re getting into their practice or into their business.

And then setting up systems, if they don’t have systems, to monitor and track that effectively is another good important aspect of it, too. We help with that as well.

ROB: So you can perhaps show an AdWords ad with a trackable phone number. You could even perhaps put up a digital billboard with a trackable phone number.

But it sounds like you’re then able to take a more holistic approach and partner up with the business and look at the overall lift in the business more broadly, rather than trying to pinpoint attribute every single foot through the door back to some deeply trackable digital channel. Is that a fair statement?

CHAZ: Yeah, absolutely. It’s all about establishing the KPI, to begin with, that’s appropriate for each and every business. Every business is going to have a little bit of a unique KPI, which is going to be what is the most important for them.

Then it’s all about designing the system that will allow us to track the results for that from the online activities, and then correlate that to offline results. Every business is a little different there, but it’s about developing that system for your client.

ROB: I think that’s a healthy lesson for clients, too, to look at, sometimes, the benefits of being so transparent. I think people can sometimes be a little bit hesitant to let somebody outside their business get in so deep, but maybe—to link back to earlier—maybe it helps that with the local businesses, you have been in their shoes.

Normally I’ll ask guests what led them to start their current business, but I’m going to go back a little bit further and ask, what led you to go and start a local business? And then connect that, and when did you feel like your knowledge and desire in digital marketing was strong enough that you decided to switch gears and leap into that world?

CHAZ: My family are entrepreneurs. They’ve owned local businesses, so it kind of came naturally to me. Combine that with my love of things in private security—I launched a local security and locksmith agency probably in 2001, maybe. We grew that very successfully into a regional player with multi locations and all that.

Then we ran into a point where—typically we were using phonebooks, we were using newspapers, referral marketing, stuff like that—well, our primary method was the phonebook and the newspapers, and that just stopped being effective.

There was a time when, literally, we got zero return on it. We were losing money on those types of ads because the internet came along, and more and more people were going online and searching for what they needed. We had to make that transition.

I experimented with different providers in the marketplace, some of the very big national companies, the early YPs and Yellow Books and stuff like that when they made that transition. It was hard to see an ROI from that. There wasn’t a lot of transparency there. The reporting wasn’t the greatest, and the return was really hard to identify.

But instead of just giving up online, I decided to learn it myself. Again, I had the luxury of being in the office rather than in the field. I did know the importance of being able to step out of working in the business and being able to work on the business.

Instead of working on developing the next referral marketing campaign, I developed the websites, and then when Local Places came out, I developed that. I started building all the links and I started doing everything myself in-house for my brand. Basically, from trial and error, I learned what worked and what didn’t.

High level conferences and trainings and digging through all the information that I could discover was literally what allowed me to build a very successful—I made it a very successful—transition from offline marketing to online marketing.

It succeeded so well that I was even able to step out farther from those businesses, and then I developed different verticals. I went from private security to commercial hardware to locksmithing, and I developed multiple verticals.

I was working with so many different websites and brands and online campaigns that I started helping other people, too, some other people in the local area that knew what I was doing and the success I was having from my own companies. I began helping them, and that led me into being able to launch an agency.

ROB: Very cool. What have been some of the key transition points in building that agency? You go from knowing all these different toolkits that you need to do and knowing to execute on those things to having to bring other people into the business that you trust your clients to, and you trust the name and brand of your agency. What have been some of the key growth transitions that you’ve had to pick up along the way?

CHAZ: The biggest one is probably hiring the higher level project manager. Initially I didn’t hire that

person fast enough. I didn’t make my first hire fast enough. I was hesitant to let go of a lot of control just because I wasn’t able to outsource any of that. We were doing everything in-house, and I was afraid that my project manager wouldn’t be able to handle everything from paid ads to the SEO to local SEO and everything in between.

So, I actually waited a little bit too long to hire a project manager. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve hired my project manager a lot quicker. That’s probably one of the most important hires an agency can make because it literally allows you to—let’s just say I can manage 25 clients a month comfortably. I hire a good project manager, they should be able to handle 25 clients comfortably. You just doubled the amount of clients your business can handle.

It’s definitely scary giving up control, having to rely on your project manager to handle these clients with silk gloves, whether it’s getting on an emergency call on a Sunday or just relinquishing that control—you have to find the right project manager to do this. I think that’s the big transition. When you hire your first, you can effectively double your capacity for clients.

Then, what that allows you to do is start bringing on sales staff. You can really start increasing the prospecting that you’re doing, because you have the volume at that point. When you go from a single, where you’re managing everybody, to actually having a project manager that manages half of them and then you manage the other half, you now have the capacity to start bringing on salespeople and instituting a lot of aggressive prospecting and campaigns to really increase the lead flow.

It becomes a snowball effect. It goes from project manager to sales staff, probably another project manager, and then you’ll probably want to look at a sales manager. It’s that process that literally compounds as you grow the agency from a single person—or in our case, it was a partnership; I was a cofounder, there was another—but to be able to hire the extra people.

There’s another stage then where you get to be at a certain point in-house where you’re like, I need all these people building links to managing PPC campaigns in addition to managing the clients. Then you have to start looking at outsourcing as well.

That’s kind of the next transition: learning what you can outsource, what you can white label and outsource, and what you have to keep in-house based on your SOPs and stuff that you have.

ROB: It sounds like you, perhaps more than many agencies that we’ve talked to, have a more robust understanding of building a sales organization. Are there any tools you find helpful in thinking about building a sales organization? And why do you think it is, perhaps, that you may have more strength in building that team than some other agencies out there?

CHAZ: I like to use a multi-pronged approach to sales—well, let’s say, to prospecting. We do use tools. Some of the tools we use are basically Lead Scrape or stuff like that, or popular ones like Lead Kahuna. There’s a few other ones on the market.

Get a good lead scraper. You can teach a VA to do that. You don’t have to waste your time. Literally you’re bringing in a bunch of semi-targeted cold leads and you basically put them into an outreach funnel.

The next thing is doing manual research as well—again, using VAs. What I would recommend is you do it first and you learn it, and you create an awesome SOP and training videos. Then you go out and find the VA that can do this.

You’re looking for the companies that are spending for AdWords but their website’s not on Page 1, or any of the other criteria that you identify that could be a foot in the door. Right now, one of the big ones is probably websites that don’t have SSL installed. It’s a foot-in-the-door approach. So have a foot-in-the-door approach, or have multiple foot-in-the-door approaches.

It’s like a value ladder. It’s also called a lead magnet. Have your lead magnets. It’s a very low-barrier to entry, and you can have VAs that can go out and look for these things. Create the lists, and then, again, you put them into a funnel—which I’ll talk about in another second.

And obviously existing clients, incentivize them to give you referrals. You’d be surprised at how many of your existing clients will go out of their way to give you great referrals. Then you take those, and again, you put them into this funnel.

When I talk about a funnel, this is something you can just set up for some of the different lead magnets you’re doing and some of the different prospecting you’re doing, but a lot of it can be duplicated with just minor tweaks and adjustments. Then you can just let them run.

One of the tools I like to use is ActiveCampaign. Email is super strong, especially at the early stage where they don’t know your brand. You’re just introducing yourself. Get them on the email list and start segmenting them based on the interactions that they take.

Combine that then with remarketing tactics. Multiple touches, too. When I’m talking about email campaigns, it’s not email them once and try to sell them a $3,000 a month digital marketing package. It’s email them with a link to a post that’s specifically going to help them, whether it’s the importance of SSL on a website or whatever it is. Make it relatable to the whole prospecting campaign.

But you have to have multiple approaches, multiple touches that provide value, and then you start retargeting these people. My preferred platform for retargeting is Facebook. Anybody that goes onto and reads one of my prospect blogs, I’m going to be front and center for them when they’re on Facebook, too. They’re going to see me again, and I’m going to offer them another piece of value.

Eventually you’re going to take and develop that cold prospect into a warm lead, because you’ve interacted with them so much and you’ve provided so much free value to them. Then it’s a certain point of—based on their interactions with my Facebook ads and how they go back to the website, have certain pages that once they hit those certain pages, I know that they’re interested in the offer. That’s when I give an offer that’s going to lead into a proposal and hopefully a close.

These funnels, it’s multi-step and it takes a while to set up, but once you set it up it just runs by itself all the time. All you have to do is have a VA feed in on the frontend. Feed in the contact info once they gather that. It just runs by itself, and at the other end it’s going to produce clients for you.

ROB: Right. You are, I think, in rapid succession but subtly making some excellent points here along the way.

One thing you said right upfront was to do this task of finding these customers yourself first and learn it, and then find the VA. I think one of those virtual assistant mistakes that people can make is to try to ask a virtual assistant to figure it all out. It’s going to be a struggle for there to be a process there.

We actually have some virtual assistant help even on this podcast. There are things around editing the podcast or scheduling it or releasing it that I’ve done, and I know how to do them, and I could do them tomorrow. I’m not too good to do them, but I know there’s a process around it that makes my time better spent in smaller ways.

I think you mentioned some very clever foot-in-the-door tactics around noticing that some business doesn’t have their SSL certificate set up, and you can articulate to them what’s going to go not well for them if they don’t do that.

Or probably more recently, around some of the email validation protocols, the requirements around SPF and DKIM. I think there’s another opportunity there. Maybe if someone’s doing international, you can even bug them about their GDPR compliance, I don’t know. There’s a lot of neat little tactics in there that I think folks should probably go back and listen to.

What are some of the things, then, that you feel should not be handed off to a virtual assistant or are best in the hands of people such as yourself and maybe some of your in-house team?

CHAZ: Once they get later into the sales stage, when it comes time to do an exploratory call with them, obviously you need your sales team to do that. You define exactly what their needs are and you have to figure out what a preliminary budget is, because without those two things, you can’t make a proposal that’s specific to their business.

You have to also figure out what their #1 product or service is that makes the most money. Maybe a customer lifetime value. So you need some certain facts and figures, and typically it’s a phone call that does that. You can’t hand that off. You have to have that in-house.

When you’re a small agency, you’re going to do it yourself. As you grow, you’re going to have your sales manager or sales staff do that call. The next stage of that would be after you have that information, the proposal gets created.

You want to create a proposal that looks custom, but that’s quick to put together. Everything we do is a template. We have these huge, awesome templates for every aspect of digital marketing you can think of, and based on the specific needs of the client—e.g., they need Facebook ads and they want to do SEO.

We just plug and play. Then we change based on the specific needs and the templates that we’re going to use. It looks personalized and customized, but it’s really more of a plug and play system there. You don’t want to outsource that. [laughs] You want to keep that in-house. Again, that’s something either you or your sales manager is going to handle.

Then, the closing call. That’s the next thing. The closing call is when you actually present your proposal to them. Don’t create a proposal and send it out. Get on a call with them and present it. Get on a screen share and present it to them. If they’re local, better to schedule a meeting with them at their office and go to their office and give it to them. Then you can go over the proposal in person.

You also try to close them right there, too. Don’t let them think about it. You’ve already built trust up with them. You’ve discovered what their needs and wants are. You’ve presented your best option to them. They’re going to try to say, “Oh, I need to go talk to my partner.” “Do you really?”

ROB: “Let’s go.” [laughs]

CHAZ: Yeah, absolutely. “Can we get him on the phone to talk about this? Because we’re serious about growing your business.” That’s part of the prequalification, too. By that stage, closing should be pretty easy at that point. Close rates should be 30%+, easy.

So the later sales stage you can’t outsource. But the initial stuff where you’re just getting the prospects into that funnel, you can outsource all that and hand it off to your sales team if you have one. If not, you’re going to be handling the sales aspect of it.

Then the fulfillment part of it, parts of that can be outsourced, obviously. Some of it can’t.

The actual client management of it, the monthly client management I would never outsource. It’s super important to be able to jump on either a biweekly or a monthly phone call and be able to talk to your client. Whether it’s you or your project manager, again, it’s in-house. Be able to talk about KPIs, what we did this month, the wins we got, the plans for next month. You’re going to reduce client churn the more often you can do that stuff, too.

After we land a client, we have a whole process of multiple touchpoints. It involves emails, a personalized little video, marketing reports, two phone calls a month. It’s all about reducing client churn at that point and keeping your client happy and showing the wins that you get, that you’re having success and meeting the KPIs that you set together earlier.

ROB: Again, so many interesting little nuggets in what you just said there. You’re talking a lot about how to use process—to not have to personalize things that don’t need to be personalized, but also how to use process to personalize at a better scale.

I think you’ve got a lot of great little sales tips. It’s probably worth rewinding and re-listening to just to hear the importance of—one of our previous guests was Jason Swenk, who talks a lot about not sending the proposal because the problem is, you don’t have a next step. If you send a proposal and you just shoot it over the wire, there’s no next step in the sales process that’s been agreed to. There’s no next meeting, there’s no next conversation.

But especially by leveraging being in person or at least a call, then you’re in position to set the next step in the sales process. So I think there’s a lot, a lot, a lot of wisdom all tied up in there.

Chaz, when someone wants to get in touch with you and Make My Business Boom, how should they find you?

CHAZ: The easiest way to get in touch with me personally is probably on Facebook. [laughs] Just search for Chaz Edward on Facebook. You’ll see me. I’m on there all the time.

Make My Business Boom, obviously if you just go to makemybusinessboom.com, they can see the site.

We have an 800 number on there; they can contact us that way.

Most of our clients are referral-based at this point, just because once you get a client—this is our kind of philosophy. We paid once to get a client. We get them through this funnel and we get them signed up and on a package. Then we have a whole lot of stuff we do on the backend with a client. We really incentivize them to give us referrals. Our close rates on referrals tend to go through the roof.

Then you figure out, what’s the 80/20? Where does most stuff come from? You reach a point where you’ll be able to scale back some of this cold prospecting and you’ll actually be going right into warm prospecting because you’re going to be talking to people that are almost already sold on your service because their friend uses us, or one of their family members uses us, or one of their business associates.

We really incentivize that referral marketing.

ROB: That’s great. You are I think, quietly, also a student of the sales game, and that is borne out in the growth of the business. Thank you, Chaz, for joining us today.

A special thanks to Mark Luckenbaugh from Web 20 Ranker for this introduction. We love introductions and referrals to other good guests. Thanks so much, Chaz. Great to talk to you.

CHAZ: Thank you for having me, Rob. It was a pleasure.

ROB: All right, take care.

Thank you for listening. The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast is presented by Converge. Converge helps digital marketing agencies and brands automate their reporting so they can be more profitable, accurate, and responsive. To learn more about how Converge can automate your marketing reporting, email info@convergehq.com, or visit us on the web at convergehq.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaz Edward, Cofounder of Make My Business Boom (Hanover, Pennsylvania), a client digital marketing agency focused on driving customers to its clients’ physical locations or websites, explains the marketing strategies and funnels his company sets up and uses for finding and qualifying people who might need his company’s services, turning these cold prospects into warm leads, transforming them into hot buyers, and closing sales. Make My Business Boom works with  larger-sized local and regional businesses, multi-location companies, and ecommerce sites.

 

Chaz explains the multi-pronged strategies outsourced Virtual Assistants can use to feed contact info into outreach funnels

1) Look for potential “foot in the door” opportunities, e.g.:

  • Companies spending for AdWords whose websites are not on Page 1
  • Websites that don’t have SSL installed
  1. Create a value ladder, place service offerings in ascending order of value and price. Offer free content (lead magnets) a website visitor can download in exchange for his or her email address.
    1. Use a lead scraper to collect semi-targeted cold leads
    2. Provide incentives for existing clients to give you referrals
    3. Management can develop manual prospect search procedures, write SOPs, create training videos, and then outsource manual prospect search activities to Virtual Assistants.

 

Outsourced Virtual Assistants can help qualify and strengthen relationships with potential clients by:

  1. Remarketing prospects through emails that provide value
  2. Retargeting prospects by tracking Facebook blog consumption to determine areas of interest
  3. Segmenting prospects based on responses and refining free content as relationship develops

 

In-House staff should be used to convert cold prospects to warm leads by:

  1. Monitoring Facebook Ad interactions and website pages accessed to determine prospects’ levels and areas of interest and readiness to buy
  2. Placing an exploratory call to define needs and establish a preliminary budget.
  3. Preparing a “customized” proposal using standardized modular components
  4. Placing a call, screen sharing, or visiting the client to present proposal. Try to close.

 

Some parts of Fulfillment can be outsourced, some can’t,

 

Client Management should always be in-house and is critical for reducing client churn. After the sale, follow up with biweekly or monthly phone calls to discuss KPIs, past activities, and plans.

 

Contact Chaz Edward through his Facebook page, on his company’s website at:  makemybusinessboom.com, or by phone at: 855.356.4161.

ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk, and I am excited to be joined today by Chaz Edward, Cofounder at Make My Business Boom, based in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Welcome, Chaz.

 

CHAZ: Thanks for having me, Rob. It’s a pleasure to be on your podcast with you, and I’m excited.

 

ROB: It’s fantastic to have you here. You know a lot. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about Make My Business Boom and about what the company is great at?

 

CHAZ: Sure. Make My Business Boom, we launched in around 2009, so we’ve been around for about 9 years now. Obviously, we’re a client digital marketing agency. We handle everything from SEO to content marketing to social media strategies for business. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we can help position our clients to succeed online.

 

I actually come from a background as a small business owner, and I had to learn how to make the transition going from a phonebook to online. That was a long time ago, and I’ve done it for multiple of my own companies. I took what I learned from doing it for myself and now apply that to help other companies succeed online.

 

ROB: Neat. What is a typical client, if there is one for you? Is it a local business owner like you were, or is there a broader range? Tell me about the customer mix.

 

CHAZ: The majority of our clients are larger local and regional businesses. We do a lot with multi-location, whether it be doctors or dentists who are trying to expand regionally, and part of our client mix is also in the ecommerce field as well. There’s a lot of activity there. Everybody’s moving ecommerce rather than storefronts now, so we’re seeing a lot of growth in that sector as well.

 

ROB: For these different clients, how do you define success? For ecommerce, is it return on ad spend? Are there further up-the-funnel metrics that are also valuable for them? And how do you define success for maybe those larger local clients as well?

 

CHAZ: Let’s start with the local. That’s all about visibility, for local. It’s customers in the door, butts in the seat if you will—if you’re a dentist, let’s say, getting people in the chair. It’s actually getting people to the location. That’s the real metric of success there: how many more clients we can bring into the local business.

 

We use every strategy at our disposal for that. Sometimes it’s local ads, sometimes it’s SEO. The combination is what’s powerful to get the business more local exposure.

 

Then as we develop their business into new markets and new locations, obviously we look at things like how much of the market we have in this new location, the online search percentages, what’s going to our client. Again, at the end of the day, it’s all about driving clients to their business.

 

On the flipside of that, ecommerce is all about driving people to the website. At the end of the day, it’s not only people, but then qualifying those and turning cold traffic into warm traffic and then warm traffic into hot buyers, and doing that through various funnels and marketing strategies like that.

 

So there’s really two different metrics. One has the offline mix where they need the real clients, whether it’s phone calls or clients in the door. The other is delivering a customer value journey from somebody that doesn’t know the brand to somebody that’s going to buy on their website.

 

So it’s really two different metrics there, but that’s how we do it. That’s how we define the success and results for those two different clients.

 

ROB: It seems like it would be tricky, then, to actually be able to link digital marketing initiatives through to someone in a dentist’s chair. How do you connect those upstream activities all the way through to real world, physical business, feet through the doors?

 

CHAZ: Working with a practitioner owner and their office managers, getting base metrics to begin with, finding out what their base is. Like how many clients do they get per week right now? We work with the real numbers that the business supplies us, and then, as time goes on, we come back every quarter and reevaluate where those real numbers are.

 

If a doctor has X amount of patients at the beginning of the campaign, in the first quarter we reevaluate and see where the practice has the patients at now. That’s the only way to do it. It’s nice to show ranking increases and website traffic increases, but the real metric is how many new clients they’re getting into their practice or into their business.

 

And then setting up systems, if they don’t have systems, to monitor and track that effectively is another good important aspect of it, too. We help with that as well.

 

ROB: So you can perhaps show an AdWords ad with a trackable phone number. You could even perhaps put up a digital billboard with a trackable phone number.

 

But it sounds like you’re then able to take a more holistic approach and partner up with the business and look at the overall lift in the business more broadly, rather than trying to pinpoint attribute every single foot through the door back to some deeply trackable digital channel. Is that a fair statement?

 

CHAZ: Yeah, absolutely. It’s all about establishing the KPI, to begin with, that’s appropriate for each and every business. Every business is going to have a little bit of a unique KPI, which is going to be what is the most important for them.

 

Then it’s all about designing the system that will allow us to track the results for that from the online activities, and then correlate that to offline results. Every business is a little different there, but it’s about developing that system for your client.

 

ROB: I think that’s a healthy lesson for clients, too, to look at, sometimes, the benefits of being so transparent. I think people can sometimes be a little bit hesitant to let somebody outside their business get in so deep, but maybe—to link back to earlier—maybe it helps that with the local businesses, you have been in their shoes.

 

Normally I’ll ask guests what led them to start their current business, but I’m going to go back a little bit further and ask, what led you to go and start a local business? And then connect that, and when did you feel like your knowledge and desire in digital marketing was strong enough that you decided to switch gears and leap into that world?

 

CHAZ: My family are entrepreneurs. They’ve owned local businesses, so it kind of came naturally to me. Combine that with my love of things in private security—I launched a local security and locksmith agency probably in 2001, maybe. We grew that very successfully into a regional player with multi locations and all that.

 

Then we ran into a point where—typically we were using phonebooks, we were using newspapers, referral marketing, stuff like that—well, our primary method was the phonebook and the newspapers, and that just stopped being effective.

 

There was a time when, literally, we got zero return on it. We were losing money on those types of ads because the internet came along, and more and more people were going online and searching for what they needed. We had to make that transition.

 

I experimented with different providers in the marketplace, some of the very big national companies, the early YPs and Yellow Books and stuff like that when they made that transition. It was hard to see an ROI from that. There wasn’t a lot of transparency there. The reporting wasn’t the greatest, and the return was really hard to identify.

 

But instead of just giving up online, I decided to learn it myself. Again, I had the luxury of being in the office rather than in the field. I did know the importance of being able to step out of working in the business and being able to work on the business.

 

Instead of working on developing the next referral marketing campaign, I developed the websites, and then when Local Places came out, I developed that. I started building all the links and I started doing everything myself in-house for my brand. Basically, from trial and error, I learned what worked and what didn’t.

 

High level conferences and trainings and digging through all the information that I could discover was literally what allowed me to build a very successful—I made it a very successful—transition from offline marketing to online marketing.

 

It succeeded so well that I was even able to step out farther from those businesses, and then I developed different verticals. I went from private security to commercial hardware to locksmithing, and I developed multiple verticals.

 

I was working with so many different websites and brands and online campaigns that I started helping other people, too, some other people in the local area that knew what I was doing and the success I was having from my own companies. I began helping them, and that led me into being able to launch an agency.

 

ROB: Very cool. What have been some of the key transition points in building that agency? You go from knowing all these different toolkits that you need to do and knowing to execute on those things to having to bring other people into the business that you trust your clients to, and you trust the name and brand of your agency. What have been some of the key growth transitions that you’ve had to pick up along the way?

 

CHAZ: The biggest one is probably hiring the higher level project manager. Initially I didn’t hire that person fast enough. I didn’t make my first hire fast enough. I was hesitant to let go of a lot of control just because I wasn’t able to outsource any of that. We were doing everything in-house, and I was afraid that my project manager wouldn’t be able to handle everything from paid ads to the SEO to local SEO and everything in between.

 

So, I actually waited a little bit too long to hire a project manager. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve hired my project manager a lot quicker. That’s probably one of the most important hires an agency can make because it literally allows you to—let’s just say I can manage 25 clients a month comfortably. I hire a good project manager, they should be able to handle 25 clients comfortably. You just doubled the amount of clients your business can handle.

 

It’s definitely scary giving up control, having to rely on your project manager to handle these clients with silk gloves, whether it’s getting on an emergency call on a Sunday or just relinquishing that control—you have to find the right project manager to do this. I think that’s the big transition. When you hire your first, you can effectively double your capacity for clients.

 

Then, what that allows you to do is start bringing on sales staff. You can really start increasing the prospecting that you’re doing, because you have the volume at that point. When you go from a single, where you’re managing everybody, to actually having a project manager that manages half of them and then you manage the other half, you now have the capacity to start bringing on salespeople and instituting a lot of aggressive prospecting and campaigns to really increase the lead flow.

 

It becomes a snowball effect. It goes from project manager to sales staff, probably another project manager, and then you’ll probably want to look at a sales manager. It’s that process that literally compounds as you grow the agency from a single person—or in our case, it was a partnership; I was a cofounder, there was another—but to be able to hire the extra people.

 

There’s another stage then where you get to be at a certain point in-house where you’re like, I need all these people building links to managing PPC campaigns in addition to managing the clients. Then you have to start looking at outsourcing as well.

 

That’s kind of the next transition: learning what you can outsource, what you can white label and outsource, and what you have to keep in-house based on your SOPs and stuff that you have.

 

ROB: It sounds like you, perhaps more than many agencies that we’ve talked to, have a more robust understanding of building a sales organization. Are there any tools you find helpful in thinking about building a sales organization? And why do you think it is, perhaps, that you may have more strength in building that team than some other agencies out there?

 

CHAZ: I like to use a multi-pronged approach to sales—well, let’s say, to prospecting. We do use tools. Some of the tools we use are basically Lead Scrape or stuff like that, or popular ones like Lead Kahuna. There’s a few other ones on the market.

 

Get a good lead scraper. You can teach a VA to do that. You don’t have to waste your time. Literally you’re bringing in a bunch of semi-targeted cold leads and you basically put them into an outreach funnel.

 

The next thing is doing manual research as well—again, using VAs. What I would recommend is you do it first and you learn it, and you create an awesome SOP and training videos. Then you go out and find the VA that can do this.

 

You’re looking for the companies that are spending for AdWords but their website’s not on Page 1, or any of the other criteria that you identify that could be a foot in the door. Right now, one of the big ones is probably websites that don’t have SSL installed. It’s a foot-in-the-door approach. So have a foot-in-the-door approach, or have multiple foot-in-the-door approaches.

 

It’s like a value ladder. It’s also called a lead magnet. Have your lead magnets. It’s a very low-barrier to entry, and you can have VAs that can go out and look for these things. Create the lists, and then, again, you put them into a funnel—which I’ll talk about in another second.

 

And obviously existing clients, incentivize them to give you referrals. You’d be surprised at how many of your existing clients will go out of their way to give you great referrals. Then you take those, and again, you put them into this funnel.

 

When I talk about a funnel, this is something you can just set up for some of the different lead magnets you’re doing and some of the different prospecting you’re doing, but a lot of it can be duplicated with just minor tweaks and adjustments. Then you can just let them run.

 

One of the tools I like to use is ActiveCampaign. Email is super strong, especially at the early stage where they don’t know your brand. You’re just introducing yourself. Get them on the email list and start segmenting them based on the interactions that they take.

 

Combine that then with remarketing tactics. Multiple touches, too. When I’m talking about email campaigns, it’s not email them once and try to sell them a $3,000 a month digital marketing package. It’s email them with a link to a post that’s specifically going to help them, whether it’s the importance of SSL on a website or whatever it is. Make it relatable to the whole prospecting campaign.

 

But you have to have multiple approaches, multiple touches that provide value, and then you start retargeting these people. My preferred platform for retargeting is Facebook. Anybody that goes onto and reads one of my prospect blogs, I’m going to be front and center for them when they’re on Facebook, too. They’re going to see me again, and I’m going to offer them another piece of value.

 

Eventually you’re going to take and develop that cold prospect into a warm lead, because you’ve interacted with them so much and you’ve provided so much free value to them. Then it’s a certain point of—based on their interactions with my Facebook ads and how they go back to the website, have certain pages that once they hit those certain pages, I know that they’re interested in the offer. That’s when I give an offer that’s going to lead into a proposal and hopefully a close.

 

These funnels, it’s multi-step and it takes a while to set up, but once you set it up it just runs by itself all the time. All you have to do is have a VA feed in on the frontend. Feed in the contact info once they gather that. It just runs by itself, and at the other end it’s going to produce clients for you.

 

ROB: Right. You are, I think, in rapid succession but subtly making some excellent points here along the way.

 

One thing you said right upfront was to do this task of finding these customers yourself first and learn it, and then find the VA. I think one of those virtual assistant mistakes that people can make is to try to ask a virtual assistant to figure it all out. It’s going to be a struggle for there to be a process there.

 

We actually have some virtual assistant help even on this podcast. There are things around editing the podcast or scheduling it or releasing it that I’ve done, and I know how to do them, and I could do them tomorrow. I’m not too good to do them, but I know there’s a process around it that makes my time better spent in smaller ways.

 

I think you mentioned some very clever foot-in-the-door tactics around noticing that some business doesn’t have their SSL certificate set up, and you can articulate to them what’s going to go not well for them if they don’t do that.

 

Or probably more recently, around some of the email validation protocols, the requirements around SPF and DKIM. I think there’s another opportunity there. Maybe if someone’s doing international, you can even bug them about their GDPR compliance, I don’t know. There’s a lot of neat little tactics in there that I think folks should probably go back and listen to.

 

What are some of the things, then, that you feel should not be handed off to a virtual assistant or are best in the hands of people such as yourself and maybe some of your in-house team?

 

CHAZ: Once they get later into the sales stage, when it comes time to do an exploratory call with them, obviously you need your sales team to do that. You define exactly what their needs are and you have to figure out what a preliminary budget is, because without those two things, you can’t make a proposal that’s specific to their business.

 

You have to also figure out what their #1 product or service is that makes the most money. Maybe a customer lifetime value. So you need some certain facts and figures, and typically it’s a phone call that does that. You can’t hand that off. You have to have that in-house.

 

When you’re a small agency, you’re going to do it yourself. As you grow, you’re going to have your sales manager or sales staff do that call. The next stage of that would be after you have that information, the proposal gets created.

 

You want to create a proposal that looks custom, but that’s quick to put together. Everything we do is a template. We have these huge, awesome templates for every aspect of digital marketing you can think of, and based on the specific needs of the client—e.g., they need Facebook ads and they want to do SEO.

 

We just plug and play. Then we change based on the specific needs and the templates that we’re going to use. It looks personalized and customized, but it’s really more of a plug and play system there. You don’t want to outsource that. [laughs] You want to keep that in-house. Again, that’s something either you or your sales manager is going to handle.

 

Then, the closing call. That’s the next thing. The closing call is when you actually present your proposal to them. Don’t create a proposal and send it out. Get on a call with them and present it. Get on a screen share and present it to them. If they’re local, better to schedule a meeting with them at their office and go to their office and give it to them. Then you can go over the proposal in person.

 

You also try to close them right there, too. Don’t let them think about it. You’ve already built trust up with them. You’ve discovered what their needs and wants are. You’ve presented your best option to them. They’re going to try to say, “Oh, I need to go talk to my partner.” “Do you really?”

 

ROB: “Let’s go.” [laughs]

 

CHAZ: Yeah, absolutely. “Can we get him on the phone to talk about this? Because we’re serious about growing your business.” That’s part of the prequalification, too. By that stage, closing should be pretty easy at that point. Close rates should be 30%+, easy.

 

So the later sales stage you can’t outsource. But the initial stuff where you’re just getting the prospects into that funnel, you can outsource all that and hand it off to your sales team if you have one. If not, you’re going to be handling the sales aspect of it.

 

Then the fulfillment part of it, parts of that can be outsourced, obviously. Some of it can’t.

 

The actual client management of it, the monthly client management I would never outsource. It’s super important to be able to jump on either a biweekly or a monthly phone call and be able to talk to your client. Whether it’s you or your project manager, again, it’s in-house. Be able to talk about KPIs, what we did this month, the wins we got, the plans for next month. You’re going to reduce client churn the more often you can do that stuff, too.

 

After we land a client, we have a whole process of multiple touchpoints. It involves emails, a personalized little video, marketing reports, two phone calls a month. It’s all about reducing client churn at that point and keeping your client happy and showing the wins that you get, that you’re having success and meeting the KPIs that you set together earlier.

 

ROB: Again, so many interesting little nuggets in what you just said there. You’re talking a lot about how to use process—to not have to personalize things that don’t need to be personalized, but also how to use process to personalize at a better scale.

 

I think you’ve got a lot of great little sales tips. It’s probably worth rewinding and re-listening to just to hear the importance of—one of our previous guests was Jason Swenk, who talks a lot about not sending the proposal because the problem is, you don’t have a next step. If you send a proposal and you just shoot it over the wire, there’s no next step in the sales process that’s been agreed to. There’s no next meeting, there’s no next conversation.

 

But especially by leveraging being in person or at least a call, then you’re in position to set the next step in the sales process. So I think there’s a lot, a lot, a lot of wisdom all tied up in there.

 

Chaz, when someone wants to get in touch with you and Make My Business Boom, how should they find you?

 

CHAZ: The easiest way to get in touch with me personally is probably on Facebook. [laughs] Just search for Chaz Edward on Facebook. You’ll see me. I’m on there all the time.

 

Make My Business Boom, obviously if you just go to makemybusinessboom.com, they can see the site. We have an 800 number on there; they can contact us that way.

 

Most of our clients are referral-based at this point, just because once you get a client—this is our kind of philosophy. We paid once to get a client. We get them through this funnel and we get them signed up and on a package. Then we have a whole lot of stuff we do on the backend with a client. We really incentivize them to give us referrals. Our close rates on referrals tend to go through the roof.

 

Then you figure out, what’s the 80/20? Where does most stuff come from? You reach a point where you’ll be able to scale back some of this cold prospecting and you’ll actually be going right into warm prospecting because you’re going to be talking to people that are almost already sold on your service because their friend uses us, or one of their family members uses us, or one of their business associates.

 

We really incentivize that referral marketing.

 

ROB: That’s great. You are I think, quietly, also a student of the sales game, and that is borne out in the growth of the business. Thank you, Chaz, for joining us today.

 

A special thanks to Mark Luckenbaugh from Web 20 Ranker for this introduction. We love introductions and referrals to other good guests. Thanks so much, Chaz. Great to talk to you.

 

CHAZ: Thank you for having me, Rob. It was a pleasure.

 

ROB: All right, take care.

 

Thank you for listening. The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast is presented by Converge. Converge helps digital marketing agencies and brands automate their reporting so they can be more profitable, accurate, and responsive. To learn more about how Converge can automate your marketing reporting, email info@convergehq.com, or visit us on the web at convergehq.com.

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