Trapped In A Lifestyle Business For 15+ Years
I started my IT business before I was even ready to start a business. I figured I would work in corporate America first, learn a little and then be ready. But I was just 27 years old, and God had other plans. In 2002, Net A Corp Technologies was born.
After growing up in a family where money was scarce, I was suddenly seeing $150K a year and thought, “What the hell is this?” Being the guy attracted to the shiny objects, I would invest my profits in real estate and other business ventures. But NEVER back into my business. Young and naive, I ran my LIFESTYLE BUSINESS for far too long.
I Thought Marketing Was A Black Hole
Marketing? For years we did nothing. Nada. In fact, I thought marketing was a black hole that you throw endless amounts of money into. To me, marketing was an art, not a science. I purchased the Technology Marketing Toolkit back when it came in a black embroidered CD case, but because I still didn’t believe in marketing, it gathered dust on the shelf. So, we continued living off of the unpredictable, up-and-down roller coaster that was referrals. I was running myself ragged.
At conferences, I would see peers I had followed for years. Their MSPs were steadily growing while mine was not. Finally, at the age of 38, I was like, “I don’t want to be 50 and doing the same crap. Something has to change. I have to change!”
My first step toward purposely growing my business was cleaning house and investing in a more capable team, beginning with our IT Services Manager, Angel Rodriguez, who has now become my right hand. Then I decided to cut my salary down to $52K – something I had never done prior. Both of these set us up for success in getting our marketing plan implemented.
2 Major Actions That DOUBLED Our Revenue In One Year…
Then DOUBLED IT AGAIN The Next Year!
In 2020, our revenue was at $517,595. It was that year that we took TWO IMPACTFUL ACTIONS to transform our small, four-employee operation into a multimillion-dollar MSP with 14 employees.
ACTION #1: We focused intensely on a vertical.
ACTION #2: We finally started marketing.
First, we got intentional and specific about our target market: K-12 private schools in South Florida with 250 to 800 students. We had been encouraged by Robin to pick a vertical and focus on it in the Rapid Implementation Workshop back in June of 2020 – and it was a good decision that paid off. In 2021, we nearly doubled our revenue, and we closed 2022 more than doubling our revenue again!
Second, in being intentional about marketing (and deciding to finally get serious about growing my business), I knew we needed someone to fully manage our newly formed marketing department. My nephew and godson, Frank Garcia, had been interning with us while attending Florida International University, studying economics. When he graduated, he joined us full-time as our marketing manager. Next, Frank joined us at Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop, attended all accountability calls and began managing our marketing initiatives. The following campaign successes are a result of Frankie and his team’s hard work.
Our First-Ever Multistep Marketing Campaign
Frank here to continue the story. Our very first direct mail campaign was Robin’s Aspirin campaign. We started off sending out 25 mailers a week, then began to increase that as we got our systems in place. For each Aspirin campaign that got sent, we followed up with three phone calls. Let me be clear: the follow-up calls ARE the deal. Each call is critical. That is where the magic happens!
Unfortunately, I was originally making those critical calls. After I’d reminded Julio for the hundredth time that I HATED making those calls, he finally agreed to hire a full-time sales development rep. (Thank God!) After getting advice from the TMT team and training the SDR, we started generating serious traction. Then we upped our delivery to 50 and even 75 mailers a week.
How We Added 9 New Customers And $17,300 In MRR
With Our Unique Funding Campaign
After sending the Aspirin campaign and talking with these schools for many months, we discovered that many schools in South Florida have either an in-house IT department or a computer teacher in charge of IT. Robin Robins’ Co-Managed IT campaign (Marketing Example #XX) better spoke to those positions and assured them their jobs were not in jeopardy. So, we started mailing the Co-MITs campaign. As a result, we’ve landed a few K-12 clients who need our co-managed IT services!
If it were not for picking our niche and starting with the Aspirin campaign, we wouldn’t have learned this information – and that led to us creating our most successful marketing campaign. Without a doubt, it is our EANS campaign (Marketing Example #XX). The Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools is a program from the American Rescue Plan resulting from the pandemic that allotted $2.75 billion available to governors to aid private schools.
Our first plan of action was to register our DBA IT for Education and website www.ITforEDU.com as an approved EANS vendor. Next, we became a member of www.ClassWallet.com, a portal through which schools pay for technology. Finally, we replicated Robin’s Aspirin campaign with our EANS-focused messaging, using the same approach and steps. In the letter, we educate private schools on applying for this technology grant and inform them that we’re an EANS-approved vendor.
We kicked off 2022 with the Co-MITs campaign and in April we began our most successful campaign to date, the EANS campaign. Our goal was to land 100 raw leads, 80 qualified leads, 20 appointments and 17 new customers closed. Currently, we are at 119 raw leads, 55 qualified leads and 25 appointments. To date, we have closed nine new clients for $17,300 in additional MRR from this campaign alone!
We Doubled Down On
Our Funded Technology Campaigns
While the EANS funding program ends in 2024, E-Rate funding is an ongoing program for schools that has been around since 1996. E-Rate helps ensure that schools and libraries can obtain high-speed Internet access and telecommunications at affordable rates and keep students and library patrons connected to broadband by providing a discount on eligible services. We became an approved vendor for that program as well and have a dedicated E-Rate campaign (Marketing Example #XX) that we expect to also win us new business.
Sweetening Up The Shock-And-Awe Box
To Target Our Dream 100
To increase our closing rate and win more clients, we have relied on our customized Shock-And-Awe box. Then we asked ourselves: “What can we do to make our Dream 100 prospects say, ‘Wow! These guys are different!’?”
First, we made the Shock-And-Awe box a bit more generic by removing the “Open Immediately – Important Materials For Your Upcoming Meeting” messaging. Then we included our marketing materials, along with several logo items. But the true WOW factor is that we hand-deliver them, along with a box of Bundtinis from the Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise (Marketing Example #XX). Teachers go crazy when you bring them a box of sweets!
Establishing Our Role As A Trusted Advisor
I would say that our four most instrumental marketing initiatives have been the EANS campaign, Aspirin campaign, Shock-and-Awe box and our Cyber Security Weekly Drip Tips. When Julio walks into a school, he often gets feedback from them about our Cyber Security Weekly Drip Tips. It is just one more campaign that helps establish us as a trusted advisor.
Creating An Online Presence Through
We recently revamped our website, www.ITforEDU.com, which informs educators on accessing funding for technology. In addition, we have signed up for TMT’s Prospect Hopper campaigns and send out two e-mails each month that link to our new blog posts. Plus, our social media posts help keep us top of mind.
It Took 8 Months To See Results And We ALMOST Gave Up
(Don’t Make THIS Mistake!!!)
Julio here to finish the story. You’ve read about Robin’s members who go through her Rapid Implementation Program and – BOOM – their MRR and revenue immediately jump. That wasn’t us. For the first eight months, I was like, “My money is going away, but nothing’s happening!” Little did I know that all that time, prospects were NOTICING us and CONSIDERING us. Then…gold mine!
That’s why it’s important to trust the process and stick with it. If I made a commitment to doing this program, the silliest thing would be not doing what is asked of me and following the steps.
It’s also key to remain teachable. A lot of the process we’ve gone through is reliant on self-growth. I can’t be the same owner of my business at $500K as I will be at $1M and $2M. I must evolve by remaining teachable. Two years ago, I was in the weeds 90% of my time. Today, I can’t even remember the last time I serviced a ticket. Both Frankie and I have remained teachable and have grown as a result.
Anyone Can Do This!
When I review our numbers with Frankie, I’m still in awe. In 2020, our revenue was at $517,595, with $33,014 in MRR. Then Frankie, Angel and I went through Robin’s Rapid Implementation Program and committed to the TMT program. In 2021, we nearly doubled our revenue at $1,033,815, with five new clients and $56,146 in MRR. And last year, we did DOUBLE our revenue at $2,167,167, with five more new clients and $95,944 in MRR!
There are three keys that made this happen. First, having a DEDICATED marketing manager like Frankie is an absolute must. Second, giving that dedicated marketing person the time and resources that Robin and TMT asked of us was important. Third, finally focusing on a very specific target market was huge for us. So, hire a marketer, give them Robin’s marketing playbook and go after your target market with a vengeance. And you too may double your revenue!
Additional Resources: Sign up for our Marketing Strategy Brief for more MSP marketing tips by clicking here.