Several years ago, we were really struggling to survive as a firm.
The revenue we brought in didn’t come close to covering the expenses we had going out. We were a flimsy house of cards being kept together with Elmer’s Glue.
I recently reviewed my year-end numbers for 2014, and in comparing them against the past three years, we have more than tripled our revenue since 2012. Tripled. And this was after being in business since 2001.
(Insert happy dance here.)
There were some key factors that attributed to this growth. And because I have been so blessed in my journey to get here, I am going to share them with you with the hope that they might help you too.
A first step in making a change was asking those around me for recommendations on what to read. (More on that in a former post. You can read that here.)
It was then that my dear friend Jon Toy gave me a book a mentor of his had given him. It was Dan Kennedy’s “No BS Direct Response Marketing Book.” In a few days, I had devoured it and started putting it into action.
1. Positioning: I had to change my position to in-demand instead of “in desperate need.” I needed to stop competing in a crowded marketplace of local “full service” marketing agencies that could do everything for everyone. I had to stop being a commodity… commodities competed on price with the cheapest one winning. This is what working really hard for free looked like and I couldn’t survive this way any longer. I had to become THE expert in my industry so that when prospects came my way, I was the only firm they were going to talk to and it was more of a privilege for them to meet with me versus the other way around. This wasn’t all smoke and mirrors of course. I am THE expert when it comes to direct response social media marketing with a high ROI. There is no other person with the same expertise as me.
2. Pricing: Being the cheapest wasn’t paying the bills and so this needed to change. I slowly started to increase my pricing with new clients. Admittedly it wasn’t until two years later that I finally raised my pricing with some of my long-term accounts. A lot left, but some stayed even though their monthly services fee was triple what it was when they started. This gave us less clients but more profit and since those who stayed were still making money on the work we were doing (now that we could measure results!), everyone was happy. Our minimum monthly fee to work with private clients is now 10x what it was when I started this process. Being fluff-free is very profitable.
3. Target market: Local brick-and-mortar businesses in my community couldn’t afford to pay me what we needed to earn in order to survive or for the level of service they really needed to get tangible results. My target market had to grow beyond the five-mile radius of my office and to a national and international stage in order to reach those who understood direct response marketing and were hungry to expand to the digital marketplace. Thankfully, we knew the media channel well that could reach a larger audience.
4. Media: First, I needed to use media. Up to this point, my marketing centered around my hand reaching out to someone else’s as I shook it. I owned a marketing company, yet grew my business by prospecting personally. In fact, it was all person-to-person and I needed to scale quickly. I had to grow my list to include those I was targeting and to go beyond who I knew. I started in a channel I was most familiar with, LinkedIn, and then moved on to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In one year of doing this strategy, our list grew from 1,055 people to over 21,000.
I wish for you a smooth journey on the path to continued success.