How an 8-Figure Agency Created a Successful Referral Program

By Jason Swenk on February 3, 2020

Are you looking for a way to grow your agency but don’t know where to start? Does it feel like your current marketing approach is failing to bring in enough referrals to help your agency grow? Referral programs and agency events are a great way to bring in new clients and engage with the ones you already have. The good news is, you don’t have to be a big agency to see big growth.

In today’s episode we’ll cover:

  • 3 keys to rapid agency growth.
  • 3 keys to creating a successful referral program.
  • Why even small agencies should host events.

Today I got to talk to Michael Mogill, a good friend and former client. Michael is the owner of Crisp Video, a digital agency who works exclusively with law firms to help them differentiate their firm and attract high-value clients. In just a few short years, Michael took a $500 investment and turned it into a $20 million agency. Discover how big risks, radical ideas, and hard work has paid off big for him.

3 Keys to Rapid Agency Growth

It’s not often that someone is able to create a multi-million dollar agency out of basically nothing in just a few short years. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. Since founding Crisp Video in 2012, Michael has been able to double the agency’s size and value every single year. So just how did he do it? Michael says there are three key things that led to his agency’s rapid growth.

  1. Have a clear focus: We’ve heard it before — discovering your niche is one of the best ways to grow your agency. When you have a clear focus and can excel at what you do, clients will begin to see you as the go-to agency in the industry.
  2. Be prepared to place big bets: Taking chances is hard, especially when you’re starting out and don’t have a lot of funds. But the best way to see a big payoff is to make a big investment. Don’t be afraid to take chances and invest in yourself. People are more prone to invest in high-risk assets like real estate and stocks but are more hesitant when it comes to investing in something they can actually control — themselves. So what’s holding you back?
  3. Hard work pays off:  At the end of the day, you won’t be able to grow your agency if you don’t put in the work.

3 Keys to Create a Successful Referral Program

Michael earned a lot of attention when he announced Crisp Video would be giving away a Tesla as part of their referral program. Sure he could have given away an Amazon gift card, but that doesn’t really get people’s attention. It all comes back to being prepared to make big bets. With such a big promotion, Michael learned a few things along the way.

  1. Have one person dedicated to the promotion full-time. Referral programs take a lot of work. Clients won’t usually just give up their time to send you referrals, they need a little guidance. For Crisp Video, this meant reaching out to clients, drafting referral emails, and developing a comprehensive campaign.
  2. Make sure you have a big enough client base. You need to consider your client value and how many potential participants you have. You won’t see a return on investment if you offer a $77,000 Tesla to 20 clients. The first time around, Michael saw a one in three participation rate. Take big chances but make smart choices.
  3. There’s more investment than just the grand prize. When you consider how much you are willing to spend on a referral program, you have to think about the actual cost. The cost of the Tesla was only $77,000, but with marketing and tiered prizes, Crisp Video spent about $100,000 on the promotion.

Why Even Small Agencies Should Host Events

When it comes down to it, you just have to get started. When Michael hosted his first agency event, he didn’t know what he would say or what he would do. He set a date and sold tickets. The rest came later. It doesn’t matter if you have 500 clients or 50. If you can’t get on someone else’s stage build your own. Soon, you’ll discover, confidence grows. The more risks you are willing to take and the more you invest in yourself, the bigger the payoff.

Referral programs and agency events are a great way to meet new people and grow your agency. But if you want people to bet big on your agency, you have to be willing to bet on yourself.

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