How to Build a Lead Gen System and Fuel Multi-Million Agency Growth
Have you built a scalable lead gen system to boost your agency’s growth? Most agencies start with referrals. But eventually, you need a reliable lead generation system to keep your pipeline full. Today’s guest found himself at that point when his agency reached $80K in revenue, at which point he realized the agency needed to step up in terms of lead generation to reach multi-million in revenue.
Jeremy Moser is the co-founder and CEO of uSERP, an SEO agency that earns SaaS companies high authority backlinks on the most coveted websites. When it came time for his agency to outgrow the referrals model, he turned to several strategies that helped his agency exponential growth. He now reflects on the lessons he learned about agency growth, the process to building his lead generation system, and why he picked Twitter as the platform to build a network and brand.
In this interview, we’ll discuss:
- Going beyond cold emails to get past the $80K mark.
- Why Twitter is a great place to form connections.
- Podcasts as useful tools for SEO.
Sponsors and Resources
E2M Solutions: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by E2M Solutions, a web design and development agency that has provided white-label services for the past 10 years to agencies all over the world. Check out e2msolutions.com/smartagency and get 10% off for the first three months of service.
Helping Build an Agency Before Becoming an Owner Agency
Jeremy landed a job right out of college at a general marketing agency and web development firm. During his time there, he got to see a massive transformation after the founders split and went on to create separate agencies. Jeremy ended up staying with one of them and spent five years witnessing its growth, from being the only employee to being one on a team of 30.
During this time, he got to see the highs and lows of building an agency, seeing it go from a project to an actual company with organization and structure. Helping build the agency and witnessing the trials and triumphs, and what worked and didn’t is what helped him decide to eventually start his own venture.
Figuring Out How to Build a Lead Gen System
Up until about the $80K mark, Jeremy’s agency grew pretty much on referrals. He was tapping into his existing network, approaching past clients from his previous job by offering new services. It proved to be a good growth path for the early stages of the agency. However, they realized it just wasn’t sustainable if they really wanted to continue growing and reach multi-million in revenue per year. It was time to be intentional about lead generation by being active and aggressive about it.
However, referrals aren’t scalable. So a lot of agency owners at this crossroads decide to hire a lead gen agency. Both Jason and Jeremy disagree with this strategy.
Jeremy says hiring a lead gen agency to do cold emails for your agency won’t work without brand awareness first. It’s very unlikely in the early stages of your agency you’ll find high-profile clients simply by sending cold emails. As a result, he put his efforts into the long game with social media and organic content. For Jeremy, this worked better than the alternative of hiring a lead gen agency. It was a good way to build connections with founders and marketers at different companies, and it was one of the major drivers for them to scale past $80K per month.
Using Twitter to Make Real Connections
When he turned his attention to building a following on social media, Jeremy focused especially on Twitter. When he joined he didn’t really see much potential there to actually connect with people. However, at some point, there was a big shift in the algorithm and the platform’s users.
He started posting what he was doing for his agency; sharing their wins and losses helped him build connections with other agencies and brands. He realized many of his Twitter followers were working at big companies. He decided this was the right platform to reach them on a personal level rather than someplace more transactional like LinkedIn.
While LinkedIn is always more sales-driven, with people trying to build connections on that basis Twitter was a more organic way of meeting people.
2 Strategies That Helped Build the Agency’s Brand
Other strategies that helped boost his agency’s growth included creating content for third parties and an acquisition that led to their foot-in-the-door offer.
- Guest blogging: Try being an expert contributor for industry news outlets. Jeremy is a writer for Search Engine Journal, a top SEO publication. In the long run, this was a good lead gen strategy in the long run. They write detailed articles about SEO and link building that their potential clients could be interested in. This in turn gets them a lot of articles linking back to them or referencing them and ensures people searching for this information find uSERP.
- Acquisition and the FITD: Jeremy’s agency acquired a SaaS company which they had a relationship with their as a customer. A lot of SaaS companies – their ideal clients – used it as well. It provided a way for them as an agency to start building a relationship with potential customers. It created a good entry-level foot-in-the-door offer where a SaaS company could pay $200/month for this software. They actually ended up closing a good amount of deals from this acquisition.
The Positive Effect Podcasts Have SEO for Your Agency
Podcasts are a very useful tool when it comes to SEO for a number of reasons:
- When you are a guest on a podcast, you almost always get a link back from doing it. Those natural links are always important. Whether they publish it on their site, social media, or their blog it has residual effect on your SEO.
- You also get the opportunity to repurpose content. If you’re writing about a subject you also recorded a podcast on, you can transcribe the recording and optimize it.
- Adding a podcast or video to existing content increases the value of that piece as a whole. By adding audio or video you can appeal to different types of learners because not everyone is going to want to read your super-long blog post.
Lessons in Agency Growth
One big lesson for Jeremy in his growth journey was investing in good talent. It may be hard to hire great talent right from the start because you just don’t have sustainable cash flow. However, once you get to a certain point with your cash flow and have a good client roster it is definitely something you should invest in.
Jeremy finds any time he feels uncomfortable with the amount he was paying for a seasoned senior hire it ended up being the best decision. It frees up a lot of time he redirects to focus on other aspects of the business. When he does that, revenue climbs aggressively.
Now, he makes it a point to always think about things he is doing that somebody else could take over.
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