Today's episode is a show recap highlighting the top takeaways of Q2, featuring interviews with Adrian Savage, the Founder of Deliverability Dashboard, Digital Marketing Agency Coach and Advisor Jason Swenk, Solutions 8 Founder Kasim Aslam, and Shaun Clark, the CEO and Co-Founder of Go High Level.
Cleaning your email list with Adrian Savage 1:05
Getting your agency to summit in six stages with Jason Swenk 5:25
Cheating and picking the winning horse with Kasim Aslam 11:25
Improving customer retention by selling SAAS with Shaun Clark 17:05
Joe Troyer 0:57
So I know that best practice people talk about cleaning your list all the time, right? Talk about what that means and why it's important.
Adrian Savage 1:05
So cleaning your list can be one of a number of things. But the most important thing here is focusing on the engagements. I know you know, when we when we spoke before the show, then you know your guys really worked out that engagement is really, really important. And when you're when you're keeping your email lists clean, the best thing you can do, the way you can help yourself the most is just to identify who has opened your emails recently, and just focus on them. If someone reaches say 90 days at the very most, then by that point, you must be considering whether you're gonna keep them on your list, or get rid of them. And in most cases, you're going to get rid of the only reason you might keep them on their list on your list, if they've been if they've been unengaged for 90 days is if they're a previous customer was something like that. Otherwise, you might send them an email saying, hey, you still want to stay on my list, it looks like you haven't been reading my emails, and then maybe a couple of reminders. If they ignore all of those, they're out of here. Simple as that.
Joe Troyer 2:00
Yeah, that's really interesting. So about once a year, I feel like my personal email deliverability at Digital triggers just takes a crap, like, once a year. And it seems like every time with just a couple of tweaks, right? I can take my engaged list and just super engaged them for two weeks. And then it seems like my deliverability like fixes itself. And then it's like all well and good again, Is that normal? Is that like something I should be thinking about doing more proactively instead of reactively?
Adrian Savage 2:37
That's an interesting thing. So by that you're saying you actually focus on the engaged people for a while, send the emails to them, and then everything kind of improves for a while after that. So yeah, what I would tend to do is I would, I would make that a much more regular practice, because the more you focus on the hyper engaged people, the more that's going to boost your reputation on an ongoing basis. So what I tend to recommend to people these days, is even though 90 days might be the cutoff, don't send all of your emails to the people in the last 90 days focus on the ones that have opened much more recently, you know, it might be 30 days, it might be a bit different to that. But what I've been doing with my own list is I've been I send emails pretty much every day now. And those daily emails, I'm only sending the people that opened in the last 30 days. And then maybe once a week, once every two weeks, something like that, I'll open it out, and I'll send something to the zero to 90 day people. But is that the tighter you manage that engagement, the better it's going to work on an ongoing basis.
Joe Troyer 3:38
Huh, that's really, really, really interesting. I've always found that like, doing some, something kind of shocking, giving away a free course something like that getting massive engagement, getting replies back to the email as well. Seems like it's always worked really well. But yeah, I've I've kind of, I've seen my open rates fall, I'd be at, let's say consistently 20% plus open rates. And then like, I don't do a promo where I don't mail for a week or two. And then I start mailing again. And it's like it just tanks. It's like, you know, 7% 5% Okay,
Adrian Savage 4:12
we need to do something there then. Because, I mean, my list is not particularly huge. I've only got a few 1000 on my list. And when I was mailing not every single day, I was getting 40 50% open rates. When I started mailing on a daily basis, it dropped down to about 30% an occasion girlfriend's 3538 but the reason for that is because I'm managing the engagement so much. But the thing to bear in mind as well is that the mailbox providers love consistency and they hate change. So if you're not mailing on a regular basis, then you are going to find is more of a challenge when you pick things up again. So you know consistency is really really important here. You know, I know that we might talk about mistakes later on. But the one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they send one email a month and then they send You go into full on crazy launch mode, and they send three emails a day. And guess what, that's what spammers do. So Google started treating like a spam and your emails end up in the spam folder. So it is all about being consistent and just sticking to a particular rhythm. You know, if you want to do daily daily emails for launches, then you need to kind of ramp up to sending more frequently than once a month before you do that.
Joe Troyer 5:22
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. For sure.
Jason Swenk 5:25
At the end of the day, even if that if that company blew up, you know, my, my whole my North Star is just being a resource I wish I had when I was running an agency. And that's why we do everything, you know, at Jason Swank COMM And with our podcasts or videos, and because, you know, we're always at different levels, and I'm a big mountain person. And I always think that, you know, there's kind of six different levels of actually making it to the top of the mountain or the summit. And so my, my whole, my whole goal is like, how many agencies can we get to the summit or to their summit? Whatever it is, because some agencies don't want to grow to 100 million or 20 million or whatever, whatever number? It's, it's different for everybody. That's awesome.
Joe Troyer 6:09
Can you talk us through high level what some of those steps are?
Jason Swenk 6:12
Yeah, sure. So at first, you know, the first one is really kind of a staging. Right? This is kind of when you're starting to think about starting the agency, right? Like, you're kind of starting to survey around of going like, what do I? Who do I actually need to go after? How do I gain that clarity, right? How do I decide on my niche that I'm going to go after my core offer? And really, at this level, you really need to focus on lead generation, and sales, but you're kind of spraying and praying. Right? Right. So that's kind of why you're at the staging. And then the next level up is what I call base camp. And a lot of times when you'll know, when you're at base camp, you're kind of always thinking about, like, what do I need to focus on. And what you need to focus on is really kind of automating your lead generation, and starting to close more sales at a higher rate. And in order to kind of graduate, you really have to really start kind of generating leads on a consistent basis and closing them consistently. And then the next level up, you start getting into a steeper terrain, right. And I call this the climb. And this is where a lot of agencies are, and you'll know when you're there, because you'll be like, you know, how do I get further ahead, but it just seems kind of bumpy. And a lot of times when they the train gets tough, a lot of times are like man, why can't I just go back to, you know, like the fun stage. And some people go down to Basecamp. And this is really, when you're at Basecamp, it's really kind of you and some contractors, right? And you're just but everything's tied to you. But on the climb, you have multiple team members, you may have, you know, one manager and there may be a project manager, that kind of stuff. And in order to kind of graduate from that you need to think about because you're doing all of sales owner is doing all the sales, how can I bring on a salesperson that can take over my sales part, because in the base camp, you're all focused around marketing in the climb, you should be all focused in sales, how can I convert that? And then the next level up is called the crux. This is kind of where you're trying to figure out what's your footing. And rather than focused on, how do I get further ahead, it's like, how does my team get me further ahead? Because you start adding an operations person in there, maybe some directors, and it's all about when you get to the crux, it's about how can I build the right team in order to start really focusing on other things. So if you go back to Basecamp, member, Mark, Bo is around a marketing system. The climb is a sales system. Now the crux really focused on in operations system, right in order to make sure everybody's in there. And then in order to graduate there, it's really about how do I lead the team to take over the stuff that I used to do in the business? Yep. Right. So now it's like, you figure out the what you figure out the how I'll just tell you where I want to go. You guys can figure it out. Any questions so far? Before I go to the last?
Joe Troyer 9:25
Jason Swenk 9:26
Okay, cool. And then the next layer up is the crest right? So if you're looking at the mountain, like you start seeing some peaks, but you're not at the summit, but there's something like really jagad and, and really what you're focused on now is is how does my team, get ahead? So remember, at the crux, we're talking about, like, how does my team get me ahead? Now, it's like, how does my team get them themselves ahead, right. And at the craft, we're really becoming leaders, you know, to the team, and it's all about Like our biggest challenge is finding the right talent. So like in our mastermind, for the top, you know, for the people in the craft, the biggest thing we're focused on is building a recruiting system to find all this talent, because we have the marketing dialed in, we have the sales dialed in, and we have the operations dialed in. But now we need more people. So it's all about recruiting. So when you can actually onboard your leadership team, now it like for marketing for sales for operations, we get those three, now you can kind of graduate and get to the level of the summit. And then the summit, it's all about, you know, how does my team get further ahead? rather than how does my team get me ahead? How does my team get further ahead? And it's all about growing leaders. It's about, you know, scaling the leadership systems. And it's about really becoming the chairman, or right of like, and being able to kind of step away if you want, and do other things, because your team has everything there. And so those are really the six stages. Yep. And so you what we what I do a lot of times is I help self identify where they're at, they're like, well, cool, you're at this stage, well, this is what you need to focus on. If you're at the climb, hey, you need to focus on a sales system. If you're at the crest, we need to focus on the operation system. So you know,
Joe Troyer 11:25
I got a little quote here from Eduardo, our Podcast Producer, as you know, we do our research and Eduardo said that he heard you say, in one of our interviews, or one of your interviews, that when it comes to driving traffic, you're not really that much better than everybody else, and that you just cheat and pick the winning horse. So first off, I love like, I love the honesty in that statement. I just gotta I gotta pull that out and comment on that. I absolutely love that you just like threw yourself under the bus? I love the honesty in the statement. But I'm really curious, what the heck do you mean by that statement?
I feel like so we're definitely in the top 10 percentile as far as proficiency is concerned, right? Like, there's no question that we've got the data to prove it. Once you're there, though. All things are pretty much equal. Right? Like a good PPC managers good PPC, I don't have any buttons, other people don't have, you know, like, we're all in it. It's not like I've accessed information people don't have like, it's all pretty much out in the open. So it's an even playing field, the thing to do there is to make sure that the campaigns that you run have a greater, higher likelihood of success. The first thing we do, I've got three salespeople on staff, the very first thing to do is what we call a viability study. So you call solutions and you're like, hey, I want to give you money, we're gonna say, No, let's walk through this process. Tell me about your numbers. What what are your margins? What what's your lifetime value of a customer? Are you in a consumable space? Is there any recurring revenue, let's look at what we think the competition is spending or, you know, what's your, what's your competitive market looks like etc, etc. and if we get to the end of that, and it doesn't look like we're going to be successful, we don't take you as a client. And it's not as being petulant. Here's the truth, and everybody in the especially in the paid space, but in the agency space probably knows this. We're not profitable in the first 90 days, that first 90 days is a mad sprint, of trying to make this campaign work. And statistically, Google's own statistic is 50% of all Google Ads campaigns fail in the first 90 days. So if I took on everybody, half of my clients wouldn't stay. I can't afford to do that. Now it's, you know, I'm losing money. So we have to take the clients that we know we're going to be successful. And the model of vetting their business has proven not only to be really profitable for us, but but the customers love the honesty. Like if I hop on with you, I'm like, Hey, man, you don't have the margins to support paid traffic, like you can't I it's incalculable the number of people who have gone Oh, my goodness, thank you so much, like, thank you for and then they get to go beat that up. You know, like they get to go figure out a different supplier or figure out how they can improve their process or figure out an ascension model or, you know, turn into a subscription or consumable, and then they come back. So there's my favorite thought, you know, the whole world is a guy named Jordan Peterson. He's a clinical psychologist out of Toronto, and he says that one truth is the most important thing of all, like human construct, and two is long as you tell the truth, whatever happens afterwards is the ideal outcome, regardless of whether or not you like it in the moment. And I have found that to be true in our business. We're just hyper honest with our customers manage expectations really well. And on the other end of it, we end up with these really high performing campaigns. So yeah, how's that for an answer? Joy? I hope I didn't like hop on a soapbox too heavily. Whatever there was.
Joe Troyer 14:37
No, I love it. And I love Jordan Peterson too. We might have to edit that out though. It's a little controversial. So yeah, no, just kidding. Word Up. Um, no, I love I love that mindset. I feel like so many agencies are starved for revenue, or that's how they act. Even if they're not really starved live, they'll take on any client. Even if they know that they're going to turn out the other side in 90 days, even though they know that The statement that you just said is completely true, which is they're not going to be profitable in the first 90 days either. Right? Which is kind of an asinine statement. Because it's like, I'm accepting the money. I know, I'm not going to get to keep and I'm not going to make any profit from. It's like, then what? Why are you in business? That foresight, most people in the agency space, I don't feel like have for some reason?
Well, I did. I mean, Joe, these are hard earned lessons. Here's the thing, dude is I didn't like wake up and, you know, figure all this out, I failed over and over and over and over and over again. And I'm super hard headed. But you know, like a petulant child who keeps putting his hand on the stove, I slowly learned, like, hey, this hurts. So I mean, I made those mistakes so many times. And I remember papering up clients, I remember sending docu signs to people and just knowing this is horrible, this is going to, I'm going to hate this. They're, they're not a right fit, they're going to be a pain in the hindquarters, I shouldn't be doing this. And I just gotten better at kind of listening to that, you know, and so it's a harder lesson. But hopefully, somebody out there can just learn from my mistake and not have to go through the crucible themselves. And once you get there, it's crazy to this is, you know, talking about coming from acting, I was watching this documentary called the guy from that thing, and they interview all these working actors that you'd never you don't know their name, but you've seen him everywhere. And one of the things that a bunch of them said was, you didn't start really getting gigs until you started turning gigs down. And I found that to be true in my acting world. Now, I see that to be true in the agency world, like, we didn't really start cooking with oil, like clients didn't really start seeking us out until we started turning clients down. And then all of a sudden, we were elevated from, you know, service provider begging for business to like strategic consultants, you know, those those guys are, they're good, though. They'll tell you, they'll shoot you straight. They'll be like, dude, I've got Google reviews right now from people I've never worked with, like, you know, hopped on a sales call these days, they let us know what was wrong with our business and told us that they wouldn't take our money. So I think it's a good place to be and everybody can do it. It doesn't matter what service you're offering, you can tell somebody you know, before you go build their website, hey, I think that this is a flawed model. For these reasons. I'd like you to make these improvements before we take you on as a customer.
Joe Troyer 17:05
When it comes to customer retention for agencies, we've hit on it a couple of times, but what do you what do you see your, your most successful agencies doing in terms of customer retention?
Shaun Clark 17:19
You mean, how are they How are they retaining? Are the people who retain their customers retaining the best? I mean, yep, they're selling, they're selling sex. They're selling technology, our highest or lowest churn customers, our highest margin customers, our most profitable customers, they they always have software as part of their of their offering. Because it what, here's what, here's what I find, I think that a lot of the talk in the agency space is about like performance, because it feels good. It feels like it should be the right answer, like, Yeah, I did a good job, or I didn't do a good job. Isn't that the way I should be judged, but I think that people miss, the fact that they're not selling to robots and computers are selling the humans who are driven by emotion. And a lot of the time the price point of services is just high, it's just going to be high. And unless you know, and there's definitely a divide here, there's definitely people where, you know, if you provide a ton of different services, and you have a $5,000 a month retainer, and you're doing everything for that business, that's that's definitely a way to go. But for people who can't jump to that level, or haven't gotten there yet, you got to realize that if you're, if you're hitting someone with a $3,000 bill every month psychologically just feels expensive. They're not going to say, well, but for my three grand, I'm actually getting 100,000 in revenue, they're just not going to do it. They're going to get to a place often emotionally, where they're like, it's just too much, I just don't know and busy, I'm overwhelmed. I'm gonna pause, quote, unquote, and you get that phone call, like, you're not a bad guy, Shawn, but we're just gonna pause for now, we're just not sure. And that's a really nice way of saying you're fired. And the problem with that is, as soon as you are fired in, you're done, you're gone, you have no service for them, you're no longer a vendor, it is very hard for them to then come back two months later, when they realize that actually I was a big mistake. So the customers that we have to do the best, they've sold software that they have a $300 minimum a month software recurring revenue stream coming in, and that never gets cut. It's incredibly sticky. And then the services Come on, and then they come off, but then they can come back again, a lot easier. So those those are the real techniques. It's software plus service. Those are the stickiest agencies by one mile.
Joe Troyer 19:32
Yeah, I can definitely see that. I mean, the pain of disconnect to stop using a white label version of high level once it's integrated, I mean, would be astronomical like there's nobody that would say like, I want to cancel I don't want to pay that 300 bucks. I hate
Shaun Clark 19:46
those free leads coming in. I hate my higher Google ranking. I don't like I want no more five star reviews for my businesses. I'm done. No one ever says that. But they will say, Ah, I don't know what I'm getting for those Facebook ads. I'm just not quite sure