[Live Training] 9 Strategies to Build Recurring Revenue in your Digital Agency

Putting the Pedal to the Medal

Motion blurred car on road

Being prepared in business means nothing unless you dare to act and give it all you’ve got. Last time, I introduced you to the 5th A in the 5 A Framework—Acquire. I designed the 5-A Framework to help you become a specialized, customer-focused agency. Last time we explored the first three steps to revving your marketing engine. Here is a quick recap:

  1. Find a gas station. (Identify what kind of traffic you want.)
  2. Fill up the tank. (Use awareness events to bring people to your site.)
  3. Turn on the car. (Convert visitors into interested leads.)

Now that your engine is full, it’s time to take action. Today, we will discover the final three steps in the 5th A—Acquire.

  1. Put the Car in Drive and Hit the Gas—Set Appointments and Make Sales

As you start to find traction with your fuel sources, awareness events, and conversion drivers, you’ll need one more piece—a way to generate appointments. I call this a “conversation mechanism.” Yes, conversation—be careful not to misread that as “conversion.” A marketing engine creates conversions that drive conversations. If you can’t talk to a prospect one-on-one, your secondary goal should be to contact details. Conversations need to be your absolute priority.

  • Automate your conversation scheduling.As you scale your activities, you won’t want to do the back and forth with people to book an intro call. Having a conversation to figure out when to have a conversation is a waste of your time. Get an automatic scheduling system in place, and that will free you up for the actual sales conversations.
  • Schedule strategy calls, not sales meetings.A strategy call isn’t your average “get to know you” introduction chat. Instead, it’s a particular type of meeting that serves a specific purpose within your sales funnel. For a typical business, the sales process starts when a potential customer fills out a lead form or picks up the phone. But for the company with a marketing engine in place, awareness events have usually moved that prospect all the way from unaware to solution aware.

That means that the first conversation between business and lead can go deeper than it usually would. How to conduct a strategy call is beyond this book’s scope, but the main job with a strategy call is to identify the pains and problems your customer is experiencing and their desired outcomes. You want to find out their goals, objectives, and dreams. You’ll then determine if you can solve their problem, and if so, you want to make an initial pitch. From there, you can overcome objections or schedule additional time for other decision-makers or stakeholders to get involved.

  1. Check Your Direction by Measuring Results

Once you’ve built your marketing engine and it’s starting to run, don’t forget to monitor the results it’s producing. To keep things simple, you should track no more than three to five simple measures—one or two is sufficient for each part of your engine.

Here are some examples:

  • Traffic sources: ad dollars spent, guest posts written or published, guest podcasts booked, conference keynotes booked, and so on
  • Awareness events: webinar attendees, lead magnet pageviews, attendees in the audience, etc.
  • Conversions: opt-ins to your email list, contact form inquiries, etc.
  • Appointments and sales: strategy calls booked, revenue generated, number of clients earned, and so on

Metrics matter because they empower you to stop focusing on “everything”—and concentrate only on adding fuel to your engine and keeping an eye on your gauges. In other words, once you know things work, you only need to do awareness events and check in periodically to make sure they’re still leading to sales.

  1. Optimize Your Engine

Once you have a productive and profitable marketing engine in place, it’s better to tinker and scale than build another machine. It’s tempting for agencies to set something up and move on. That’s because a lot of them do the same type of work for their clients: create websites, landing pages, or marketing funnels. Then start up the next one. The problem with that approach? It tricks them into building more and more engines for themselves—but never actually putting one of them to proper use and getting results. They get stuck in “build” mode, not “fuel” mode.

  • Don’t build multiple half-built marketing engines. I see a lot of people with a bunch of unproven and non-performing marketing engines. The advice I always give them is that the goal should be to build fewer, higher-performing engines—not more lower-performing ones. You don’t need to build something new and shiny. Instead work on scaling engines that are already successful.
  • Why we resist “repeating ourselves.” Building marketing engines is the comfortable part and trying and failing at different fuel activities—wasting money on low performing ads or getting rejected by publishers—can get uncomfortable. But while scaling a single-engine demands laser-like focus and no small amount of discomfort, continually building new funnels creates an enormous sunk cost.

Learn more about applying the 5-A Framework to your business in my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, order here.

When you find something that works, that means you can ignore all “shiny objects” for the next couple of years and instead enjoy a more predictable, less sporadic business. You can focus on optimizing the engine and building momentum. I recommend that you finish setting up your marketing engine and then focus on driving it “full out” and seeing how much you can get from it.

Marketing engines will go through five distinct stages on the path to scale:

Unproven: This is where all marketing engines start. You have an idea of a strategy to market your business. You’ll invest some time and money to set up your engine and get traffic flowing.

Proven: If all goes well, you will generate your first lead—ideally a booked appointment on your calendar.

Repeatable: After your first lead, the next threshold to clear is whether you can generate a second lead from the same marketing engine.

Predictable: Once you’ve been able to repeat your success, the next stage requires you to get an idea of how many leads you’ll generate from a given investment of time or money.

Scalable: The final stage of a high-performing marketing engine is being able to double or triple your inputs of time and money and get a matching increase in the outputs from your engine.

At some point, almost all marketing engines will find some upper ceiling when additional investments of time or money fail to get further results. Only once it won’t scale any more should you consider building a new one. After all, you have in front of you an open road—and you’ve built a powerful “driving” machine. Does it make sense to get out there and give it all you’ve got?

I created this simple framework for one reason—to help you own your market and get rich in the deep end. If you would like to learn more, I’d like to invite you to check out my new book, Get Rich in the Deep End, where you will get even more details on the 5-A’s and how you can own your market. I look forward to connecting with you again soon!

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