15 Years In Business. Practically Zero Marketing.
Most IT business owners unsuccessfully “dabble” in marketing. They send out a sales letter or postcard, get few or no results and then swear off direct mail. Later, they might test their luck with an ad in a trade publication or newspaper. Again, no results. Then they’re on to the next “shiny object” everyone is talking about…only to test it once and throw it away when the phones don’t ring. There’s another kind of marketing that is even LESS effective: our go-to approach for way too many years of NO marketing at all.
Zog, Inc., was founded nearly 20 years ago, in 1999. The majority of my clients came from referrals and JV partners. For about 15 years, we never did any type of marketing. I simply didn’t know how. With a degree in electrical engineering and a background in technology and infrastructure, marketing was far outside my comfort zone.
Back then, Zog did have a marketing/salesperson on staff. However, since I was a champion of sales and largely ignored marketing, he followed in my footsteps. Sure, he implemented some Google AdWords campaigns that helped us acquire a few new clients, but we needed more. MUCH more.
I Knew We Needed To Change To Take My Business To The Next Level
In 2014, I went through a Google AdWords training hosted by Robin. Impressed with the training as well as her unique marketing ideas, I decided to sign on with Technology Marketing Toolkit.
It’s funny how you think a simple action like getting the Toolkit will suddenly erase 15 years of practically zero marketing. It’s not magic. If you are considering getting the Toolkit, but know you won’t be dedicated to implementing its sales and marketing strategies, don’t get the Toolkit.
For nearly two years, we haphazardly threw one marketing campaign after another from the Toolkit against the wall to see if it would stick. Without the dedicated marketing, follow-up calls and consistency, inevitably nothing stuck. What I needed was someone who would be 100% dedicated to kick-starting our marketing momentum and make the Toolkit work for us.
Introducing My Toolkit Implementer Extraordinaire
In June of 2016, I made one of the best decisions for my business. Megan Vogel joined the Zog team as my Marketing Coordinator. Fresh out of college, Megan became the high- energy marketing shot to the arm we desperately needed. We tackled the Toolkit and worked through it together.
We Broke Most Of Robin’s Rules And Wondered Why We Weren’t Getting Awesome Results
Did we start implementing the marketing strategies and initiatives in the Toolkit? YES! Did we do it how Robin wants it to be implemented? Not at all.
Mistake #1: Not learning from my past mistakes, we kind of just chose certain campaigns to run what we believed would be effective. Even though Robin presents a clear Marketing Roadmap, we carved our own path (which was curvy, bumpy and full of potholes).
Mistake #2: Megan and I implemented multiple campaigns within the Toolkit but always made changes. Looking back, I see that we inadvertently watered down the effectiveness of Robin’s proven strategies.
Mistake #3: We were not making consistent follow-up calls on any of the direct mail we sent out. Robin makes it clear that without following up multiple times using multiple media, your marketing results will suffer.
When You’re Struggling With Marketing And Sales…You Open An Office In “The Most Magical Place On Earth”
The year 2018 brought a lot of changes to Zog, Inc. One of our amazing engineers was leaving us and moving to Orlando, Florida. I was considering opening a new office in the Orlando area, so the timing couldn’t be better. Now Zog, Inc., has offices in Philadelphia and Orlando!
I felt like the father of a newborn. The Orlando office was a whole new mouth to feed. I needed more revenue that would only come from a proven marketing system, a steady stream of leads and significantly more sales!
Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop Took Us Back To The Basics
I knew something had to change in order for us to get new clients and grow the business – both in Philadelphia AND Orlando. So I decided we had to go back to the basics, and Rapid Implementation was exactly what we needed to accomplish this.
While at the workshop, we gained a whole new perspective. Suddenly we were no longer feeling overwhelmed with information. Plus, it gave us an idea about where to start. The workshop laid it all out perfectly for us and made executing Robin’s campaigns like a checklist. The weekly calls helped hold us accountable for getting our “homework” done and it was helpful to hear other members speak about their wins and what they were doing. Rapid is by far the single best program to help narrow down the firehose of information into manageable tasks.
Robin always talks about people asking her what the one thing is that they should do. Her go-to answer: It’s the one thing you WILL do. Now both Megan and I feel like we are a well-oiled machine, and we are implementing one successful campaign after another.
We Increased Our MRR From $79,778 to $101,307…Plus 33 MORE Opportunities In The Pipeline!
In the 90 days following Robin’s Workshop, we have gained 194 leads and $21,528. That’s an added $883,029 over 36 months! In addition, we’ve filled our pipeline with 33 opportunities that could mean $38,699 in new MRR!
Beyond the recurring revenue and growth in profit, Zog, Inc., is also growing internally. We have recently hired a new help-desk engineer, an inside sales representative, as well as an outside sales rep. Now, Megan can focus even more on marketing. Here are some of the marketing initiatives and campaigns we have run since the Workshop:
Defining Our Target Market. Before Robin, our target market was pretty much anyone who could fog a mirror. We targeted any and all verticals as long as they had seven to 10 computers. Today, our target market is far more specific to our needs.
First, we are focusing on organizations with 30 or more computers since they are more likely to have the budget necessary to pay for our managed services agreements.
Second, our vertical is non-profit organizations that seek us out to alleviate IT headaches and achieve compliance. We target executive directors and chairman-of-the-board roles at these organizations.
Third, the problems we solve for these non-profits include grant approval, compliance, and technology integration into their everyday needs. Their criteria for buying from us includes industry experience but mainly trust. This group is an ideal client for us because they realize they need to leverage technology to continue changing people’s lives with the least amount of financial waste.
Creating Our USP. It took a while to develop a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that truly set us apart from our competitors. We are proud of these differentiators:
We use social entrepreneurship to create an environment where we can give back to our clients through engineering time, as well as teaching how to become self-sustaining.
We maintain our core competencies in-house. We do not subcontract these responsibilities and we maintain technical expertise at all levels.
We are your single point of contact with full IT department capabilities. Everything from phones and vendor management to cabling, development services, etc. Your donors will be happy to know your IT budget is being managed efficiently.
Our QBR Process. I had meetings with existing clients and used the cross-sell campaign and QBR campaign to add considerable MRR by offering security as a service.
Shock-And-Awe Box. We have ordered Zog-branded boxes for our Shock-And-Awe box to send prospects before an appointment. Each box contains a cover letter, a Zog-branded pen, my book (I’m thinking about doing another Amazon bestseller!), a “Top 10 Reasons To Do Business With Zog” document and a business card.
Infusionsoft Implementation. We set up the campaigns with PlusThis, then created and added tags for each contact. We also implemented the Stupid Or Irresponsible two-step direct mail campaign. So far, we have sent this campaign to about 450 prospects (In FL and PA). We are still working on scrubbing a list from ReferenceUSA of over 6,000 new contacts in our local target market and adding new contacts into Infusionsoft each week.
The introduction of Infusionsoft in April this year has allowed us to grow our list of qualified leads, resulting in enough business to hire more sales positions. Now our mindset has been more focused on growing our numbers. With all of the sales letters, e-mails and phone calls we have to juggle, Infusionsoft just kind of lays it out in a way where we don’t have to think twice about it.
My Advice For Maximizing Your Marketing Results
When it comes to this program, take the leap and the net will appear. Your eyes will open to things you never knew you could accomplish. I have yet to find someone not willing to lend a hand and my group is always there when I have questions. The power of surrounding yourself with people going through similar situations and who you can bounce ideas off is very valuable.
My final piece of advice: If you can add three additional roles to your IT business, it will help you to maximize your speed of growth. First, you need a marketing coordinator who you work closely with. Second, you need someone to make the calls and follow up on the campaigns. Finally, you need someone to implement Infusionsoft. These pieces all build the pipeline and help drive new sales. The faster you commit to bringing on these roles, the better your growth pattern will be.