Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Roger Bryan, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Roger started out online 22 years ago and is known as an expert in starting, scaling, and selling digital businesses.

He’s spoken on the industries largest stages: Traffic & Conversion, Underground, and multiple years at SEO Rockstars.

He’s built five seven figure businesses and sold three of them (an agency, an ecommerce business, and a digital publishing business).

He’s also written a best selling book on Data Driven Marketing that case studies a project his team ran with Microsoft to generate $56,000,000 in sales pipeline for Microsoft Partners in a single year.

He’s run SEO Campaigns for some of the world’s largest companies including Microsoft, Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, and Medstar (a $7B Healthcare Network).

He’s raised over $150,000,000 for non-profits online in the last 20 years. He’s made INC Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies 3x’s.

His passion and focus today is helping agency owners to build their business into a machine that supports an amazing life while making real money.

Please feel free to ask anything related to running and scaling an agency.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s success and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

How do you see SEO moving along in the near future? Also do you think Schema is going to grow in the future as well?

We see SEO as a dynamic traffic channel that will require continued testing and adoption of new strategies.

Leverage the data you have to design tests and then track the results.

Focus on TODAY over everything else and things are much easier to handle.

My agency is in the mid 6 figure range. Mostly built on referrals of one sort or another. And our market is often white label support for other agencies with lead gen websites, complex custom functionality sites from ecomm to custom subscription sites to totally custom software like online tools and apps. I like these kinds of challenges. We have the team and processes and systems to scale now, but I don’t really have clarity on how to pump up the sales funnel outside of our referral network. I would love to hear how you sort of approach it since you’ve succeeded in so many avenues.

This is a ceiling nearly every agency hits and there is a one exact strategy for getting through it.

If you’re firm is stuck in the $250k to $500k range about 90% of the time is it because you don’t have dependable, predictable, scaleable lead flow for your firm.

That happens when you’re a referral based firm.

The great part is it is easier to get from $500k to $1m than it was to get from $0 to $100k so you’re in great shape!

Start a ‘client getting campaign’ in your business.

Put all of your time and energy into a single funnel that delivers you hot prospects every day.

Now it isn’t easy to get this right BUT if you can deliver results to your clients all you need to do is treat your agency AS A CLIENT and you’ll figure it out.

In the firm I sold it took me 2.5 years to hit $1m in sales.. but then only 1 more year to hit $3.5m in sales.

The big difference was the lead flow. In that firm we focused on working with non-profits and found that we could best find, connect, and close them by sponsoring their national conferences.

Each niche and solution requires a different approach.. but the same focus… dependable predictable scaleable lead flow.

I got into the agency world just because I enjoy the work, but i’ve been thinking more and more about what it takes to sell an ‘agency’ so I could move to the next thing. What are the metrics that potential buyers look at? I was told it’s recurring revenue, and built in processes. And how can one price an agency? But, it baffles me because I feel like i wouldn’t buy an agency outright, since clients and workers can leave on a dime – so there’s no guarantee!

Why do you want to sell? A couple things here.

BRAVO on building a business to sell.. that is the best way to approach every aspect of business (even if you never do sell).

The exact same agency will be worth different amounts to different buyers based on their WHY.

When I sold my agency I sold it to a firm that needed the supply that came from my campaigns and NOT the revenue from the clients.

How was I able to sell it? Here are a few things:

– clients on average had been with us 3+ years

– we had a 95%+ retention rate over 5 years

– sales were growing more each year

– I had managers in each division so I was not needed at all (it was turn key)

– It had decent margins at 22% (my firm now runs at 62% for 2018)

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The best way to approach this

– get clients that stay with you

– watch your margin

– you have to build a machine that can run without you

The biggest mistake people make

– thinking it is all about gross sales (instead of net)

– thinking that contracts will solve the retention issue in the eyes of a buyer

That is an overview of a two day conversation in most cases.

Whats your thoughts about medical industry startups in Cleveland?

We’re a JumpStart Company with offices in Bounce so we’re in the accelerator community.

I love anything that brings people to Cleveland and the surrounding areas.

We did a little work with Blockland last year as well.

How can I be part of the startup community? It’s there a way that I can email you or something regarding the medical startup?

JumpStart, TechPint, Bounce.. reach out to any of those organizations to find the best road in.

I run my firm and participate in their events.

I don’t do much beyond that.

The great thing is there are a TON of resources locally to plug into.

What do you think would be the most important on page and off page factors to focus on for the SEO of an online retail store? Budget friendly tips would be great.

What are the sites doing that hold the top spots for your primary keywords?

I would debate that. Start by looking closer at what those sites are doing.

You’re not in a competition with google when it comes to ranking a site.

You just have to be better than the sites that rank above you.

The best campaigns leverage competitors data FIRST and create a strategy SECOND.

Would you recommend buying relevant niche expired domains and redirecting them to your website for relevant SEO juice? Also, finding old content pieces of these expired domains that had gone viral to redirect specific pieces of archived old content for a more elaborate direct effort.

Have you tested this? Does it work? I’ll most likely defer every technical question back to running a test.

Have we done successful domain redirects in the past – yes

Did we do them to try to pass link value – partially

Was that the ONLY reason we did them – absolutely not

I can think of three cases recently

– a client had a competitor destroy their brand (long story and not related to SEO) so we needed to create a new branded site while trying to leverage the four years of SEO work we’d done.

– a client wanted to move each of their locations (6 of them) to individual sites because they were splitting the company into those brands.

We wanted to try to pass back from the main site any juice we had to the new sites.

– a healthcare provider wanted to take content from a handful of their system sites and redirect them into regional sites under specific specialties.

Per the cases above we did it because it served a business purpose not because we wanted to pass SEO value.

1. Digital Agency: When prospecting should I use a video presentation as a cold calling/emailing tool to peak interest and generate a meeting? 2. Pricing: I have noticed that in NEO, that generally prices for digital marketing/SEO are really low comparatively.: What do you feel is a good metric to gauge fee structure in this area? 3. E-Com: Affiliate or Own website? I am building a site now as a e-com portal, but I need quick income. I want to use any affiliate income generated to bolster my personal brand/site. Do you think that is feasible, or should I just focus on my personal site?. 4. When looking to scale organically how many blog portals and posts per blog/profile and SM platforms should I generate per cycle:(Day, Week , Month…etc…). 5. In your opinion is Content/Copy still king? I think so but, but again I am just getting started.

1- Test

2- Test

3- Focus my friend.. you can either do one thing well or many things terribly

4- None

5- Can you deposit my opinion in the bank?

Now a little more info…

1- Focus on solving a problem. When you do that the medium you use matters much less.

2- Pricing is determined by the value of the problem you solve and not the market you solve it in

3- Most people fail to develop ‘quick income’ because they want to do it quickly.

Focus on building a business that solves problems and you’ll never go hungry again.

4- I would never try to scale through blogging or social media posts.

I’d get a paid traffic campaign dialed in and then max out every credit card I have once it is locked in.

5- To many people think amazing copy is the solution to a bad product.

Solve a problem for people and then copy will matter less (it’ll still matter but it’ll be easier to articulate).

When you said “paid traffic campaign” , you mean Google Ads or/and Facebook Ads?

It’s faster than SEO but normally 4x more expensive.

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It solves the instant gratification problem many campaigns have.

It proves an offer, its assets, and helps define the best keywords.

My clients still see their best CPA from organic traffic.

When building your clients’, customer buyer persona. What tactics to you use to map out that persona, so you’ll be able to generate a campaign that will attract and convert them?

Great question. We’ll approach this a little different for each client depending on the traffic source we want to leverage.

They all start with the pain they are feeling first and then dip into demographics.

We’ll leverage a few different traffic sources based on what we think will deliver the best results:

Outbound (buying a list) we’ll use criteria that will help us best acquire contacts that meet certain demographics.

Facebook we’ll want to concentrate on interest groups and some demographic information.

Adwords/Bing we’ll use competitive analysis for search terms that successful competitors are using.

Relational Capital Campaign we’ll look for organizations already serving an audience that has the pain we solve for.

How do you think new products like Google home and Alexa will affect SEO? As more people get into IOT, there will be less searching by manual typing and more search through voice. Do you think SEO tactics will need to change to account for this, if at all?

Is your question “How will voice search change organic ranking methodologies”?

First I don’t think there are “SEO Agencies”. I think there are marketing agencies that leverage organic as a traffic source.

I feel like that shift happened circa 2015.

Now you can still make a TON of money ONLY doing SEO but change your through process to be a ‘marketing’ agency instead of ‘SEO agency’.

We did a recent study in the healthcare market where we talked with 1000 consumers of healthcare services about how they make appointments or research healthcare services online.

Of the 1000 only 2.3% mentioned voice search in any regard.

That was a little surprising.

The data shows that google adopted these longer tail question based search quires starting back in 2017.

Featured snippets are proof of that.

With that being said it should already be part of your optimization efforts to accommodate for more inquisitive and less broad keyword based search terms.

What do you recommend for moving the needle in local SEO and organic SEO for local businesses? What strategies are your favorite for their lead gen?

That’s a BIG question… The simple answer is having a single campaign strategy that you master.

That one go to market strategy that you can deploy to any client at any time.

Test it over and over and over again until it’s near perfect. They sell the hell out of it.

I answered this way because what we do for an Urgent Care is totally different than what we would do for a Non-Profit.

I typically like to get results fast so AdWords or Facebook to test the offer and potential before I start into anything SEO related.

If you can be a little more specific about your exact niche I might be able to guide you a little more.

For SEO organic, PPC, and Facebook Ads, if a client only has budget to go one, which one you would go?

Every client is different. It depends on their offer.

If you have a specific one in mind I’d be happy to walk you through how we decide.

How do you brand and promote your company and services when every 2nd person is doing the almost same?

I ask people if they want help solving a problem.

When they say yes I show them the results I’ve delivered other people in their space.

I never try to sell them.

Where did you find buyers for your companies and where do you advertise them as for sale?

Two of them came to me after we won INC Magazines Fastest Growing Companies.

The third we hired a broker.

Considering all the marketing channel opportunities and nuances, what are the core offerings you do in house VS outsource? I.e. do you run all your clients PPC ads or do you have that outsourced.

Everything is done by our full time team members.

From time to time when we scale one of our campaigns we’ll bring in an additional agency but all client work is done by our staff.

How do you know exactly what keyword your article ranks for? So for example let’s say you wrote an article on: How to be motivated when you feel down. Most of the time google ends up ranking the variations of the keyword. How do you check to see which keywords that article ranks for?

SEMRush. Run the URL and it’ll tell you all the keywords the page ranks for.