My business has had many influences: my parents, my wife, employees, Arlin Sorensen (HTG), and many teachers such as Paul Dippell, Gary Pica and Arnie Bellini, but the person responsible for the last three years of our company’s exponential growth is my coach, Robin.
I’m honored to share with you the story of how I’ve more than doubled my business over the last three years and in the process have gone from a tech-minded business owner to the growthminded CEO of our now very profitable MSP.
My Business Desperately Needed To Grow Without Breaking The Bank
Although I had purchased the Toolkit nearly seven years ago, it wasn’t until just 3 years ago that I got serious about marketing. Prior to that I wanted to grow, but I really didn’t have much interest in learning about marketing. We did grow, but getting to $2.3 million in my business was painful and expensive… mostly accomplished via costly acquisitions. I was generating zero leads via marketing, relying solely on sporadic word of mouth referrals and potential new business acquisitions to grow the business.
Luckily, during one of our HTG peer group meetings, Mike and Sitima Fowler showed us their tremendous growth and success using marketing. I was fascinated with what they were doing and wanted to add predictable growth in my business. Sitima told me to give Robin’s team a call. Of course, I already had the Toolkit. It was gathering dust on my bookshelf. I needed more to implement the Toolkit, so thanks to her referral, I was able to skip ahead direct to the Producers Club! It was here that I was introduced to my new marketing mentor, Charles Henson, developed my new “Robinized” website, completed a new book and started to execute on some marketing campaigns such as the Aspirin letter.
Adding One Campaign At A Time
One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the last three years is that you don’t need to do EVERY marketing campaign that Robin develops. This was an extremely important lesson to learn. My high school football coach taught us to get really good at executing on a handful of plays and doing them really, really well. I’ve repeated this strategy with my marketing and not only has it simplified our execution, it’s also forced us to become experts at the things that we do and to execute them over and over until they are consistently producing predictable results.
We started out by getting really good at both a single prospecting campaign, the three-letter Bad Date campaign and drip marketing via monthly TechTip postcards and our monthly newsletter. Three “simple” plays in our growth playbook. After running these “marketing plays” over and over again, improving them every time out the door and getting them to a point where we could predictably rely on their performance.
Then last year, while continuing to send our monthly newsletter to customers and unconverted leads, our monthly TechTip postcards to everyone on our farm list and the Bad Date campaign as an introduction to every new prospect from our scrubbed list, we added Robin’s Sitting Duck campaign to introduce our security offering to clients and prospects and joint venture partnerships to get out and speak in the community about cyber security.
We also implemented Mike Michalowicz’s Pumpkin Plan concept that I had learned from last year’s spokesperson, Charles Henson. Thanks to our marketing success in bringing on new clients, we were able to confidently trim back (or “Pumpkin Plan”) our lowest margin clients, either letting them find a new provider OR getting them on board with our MSP plans and converting them into highly profitable clients.
Lastly, we stepped our game up by implementing a true CRM in our business (Infusionsoft) to automate our marketing workflows, run more campaigns and really focus on mastering our marketing success.
Just a few strategies or campaigns (not more than three per year) is all that we’ve needed to grow. Just pick your “plays” and run them over and over and over again both in practice and during the game until you are experts at them.
Monthly Newsletter: We religiously mail 12 monthly newsletters to all our unconverted leads and customers. We continue to put our referral program details in each newsletter. We will give any customer one month of free service for every prospect that signs a new agreement with us. Our customers love the articles and participate in the trivia questions that we put in the newsletter. Currently we mail approximately 275 newsletters each and every month.
Monthly TechTip Postcards: We send 12 monthly TechTip postcards to our farm list every year. Currently that is over 700 postcards each month. We average 3.67 landing age forms filled out each month from the TechTip postcards. 20% of our new customers in 2017 filled out a TechTip postcard landing page. This drip marketing campaign cost us approximately $575 per month to run and we received $9,600 last year alone in new MRR as a direct result. For an annual cost of $6,900, we secured $345,600 in service revenue over the next three years. Additionally, there will be project and hardware revenue and the possibility for cross-selling revenue.
Joint Venture Partners: We worked with three JV partners last year for three speaking engagements around cyber security. The first was a local bank that brought us in to speak to 37 business clients. Of those 37 we had three appointments and closed one agreement for $1,650 in MRR. The second was our insurance agent that brought us in along with a cyber mitigation lawyer and an FBI agent to talk to customers. We also help fill seats by sending emails to all our clients about the event. There were 62 people at the event and only six of them were our existing customers. We had four appointments and closed two deals totaling $7,700 in MRR. The third was a speaking engagement at the Kansas Bankers Association end-of-year annual meeting in December. We did not get any appointments directly from the event but we did get a membership list and have been working on some new campaigns this year to target the banking vertical. We did not have any costs at these events as our JV Partners provided the room and filled the seats with their customers.
Pumpkin Plan: We successfully implemented phase one of our Pumpkin Plan based on Mike Michalowicz’s book “The Pumpkin Plan”. By utilizing this strategy, we increased our MRR by $8,000 and reduced our client count by seven. This allowed us to focus more resources on the customers that agreed to the price increase. Now we have fewer clients to support with more money to the bottom line.
Other Campaigns And Strategies
In addition to the above, we also utilized the following marketing strategies in our business over the last year:
- Bad Date Campaign
- Done For You book
- Sitting Duck Campaign
- Infusionsoft Broadcast emails
- Online Shock & Awe
Overall, our marketing efforts brought in 21 new clients and $49,869 in new MRR. The Pumpkin Plan process added $8,000 in MRR with net LOSS of seven clients from this process (unprofitable clients!). We had a net gain of $57,869 in MRR with a net add of 14 customers.
Back To Back Million Dollar Increases In Our Business
Our simple approach to marketing has paid off big time. During our second year with Robin and Producers Club, we added $1,290,663 in top line revenue, $60,266 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and added 39 new recurring revenue clients. Then last year, we added another $1,085,345 to our top line revenue, increased MRR by $57,869/month and increased profits by another 27%. In just three years, we’ve increased MRR from $72,000/month to $240,000/ month and have gone from zero first time prospect appointments four years ago to 120 last year alone. We’ve transitioned our business from an unhealthy “larger than average” MSP to a thriving, growing $5 million company with aspirations to hit the $8 million mark this year and cross the seven-figure per year mark in net profit for the first time.
I could not be prouder of what we’ve done the last three years at Choose Networks. We’ve already surpassed my wildest dreams and we’re now just getting started!