Josh Nelson, owner of Plumbing & HVAC SEO down in Miami, divulges some of his best secrets and strategies for building a seven-figure agency. I’ll review those below.
But first, ever considered an anti-agency model? Where you own and control everything; get paid passively; and don’t have to answer to anybody? Here’s what I mean:
Josh started his first agency right out of high school. He offered web design and hosting, did everything wrong, and, two years into that venture, could barely pay his bills.
He shut it down and did the whole Corporate America thing for a while. After bouncing around a bit, Josh landed a sales gig at ReachLocal. There, he was able to lean what he had done wrong in his first business, and gain valuable insight into marketing and selling digital services.
Armed with new knowledge, Josh eventually stepped away and gave entrepreneurship another try. He niched-down to plumbing and HVAC, worked like a dog, and grew that agency to multiple seven figures in revenue over the next several years. Today, he’s got about 35 employees and the company does roughly $4.5 million annually.
Nelson also has a partner in that business, who’s been with him since day one. If you’re going to go that route, look for someone who adds synergy to your skillset; someone who’s strong where you’re weak, Josh says.
Specializing, like Josh did, is key too. A roofer, for instance, is more likely to hire you if you can show that you’ve been successful helping other roofers in the past. Not only that, but specialists can charge more than generalists.
Another advantage of staying in one lane, is you develop systems as you rinse and repeat. If you’re doing SEO for audio and video companies, for example, you start to go, “Okay, each website needs these pages, these keywords, and I can go and get backlinks from these places.” (As opposed to relearning everything every time you go into a new niche.)
What about pricing? Well, Josh talks about this in-depth in his book, titled The Seven Figure Agency Roadmap, but the short answer is, he found $1,000 to $2,500 per month (or more) to be the sweet spot. That’s what you need to charge on a recurring basis in order to scale.
If you do that, and you pick up an average of 2-3 clients per month, by the end of year one, you could definitely have a million dollar agency.
As far as your offer, Josh typically builds clients a new website that converts better than the one they’re using. He also does some paid ads (usually Google AdWords) to get them some leads right out of the gate. Then, in the background, his team’s busy doing search engine optimization for the long-haul.
A tangible, measurable return on investment is the name of the game. If you can’t prove your worth with numbers, you’ll struggle.
And if you think there aren’t enough businesses out there that will throw down four figures a month ongoing, fix your mindset says Josh.
Sure, if you go after the one-man-show types of businesses, that’s a lot of money for them. But there are millions of businesses doing $500,000 to $1,000,000 or more a year. They got that big by investing in marketing and advertising. And they’ll happily pay $1,000 to $5,000 per month if you can outperform what they’ve done in the past.
Branding: pick a name that speaks to the niche. Set up a website that says, “Hey, I help this industry deliver these results.”
On landing clients? Cold outreach. Value-add content. Join organizations and associations, and then speak at their events, cohost their webinars, etc. Also, keep an eye out for joint venture deals. (Bryan Harris from Growth Tools has a good webinar on this.)
In terms of closing deals, Josh is a big fan of hosting a live webinar each month (and making the replay available for those who can’t attend at that particular time).
The most powerful “lead magnet” you can create right now is a case study. “How Eddie’s Epoxy Flooring made an extra $7,500 in profit last month, thanks to my Facebook ad service.” (Pitch that to other epoxy flooring companies and they’ll opt-in to your funnel for sure.)
Now that you’re getting clients, of course, you need to put efficient processes and a strong team in place. Each client should be onboarded, launched, updated and supported in the same exact manner.
Not hitting your goals? Focus! KPIs. How many strategy calls are you doing each week? How many of those are you closing? It’s just math. Look at the numbers and adjust accordingly.
Watch Josh’s full interview with Clicks Geek for more 7-figure agency tips and tactics.