I had the honor of being interviewed by Lane Houk from Quantum Newswire on his Podcast – The Marketing Center of Excellence.

Join us as we do a deep dive into our journey to overwhelming success in the agency and discuss how we are now on a mission to help 100 agency owners grow to 7-figures in their agency over the next 5 years!

Best Practices Discussed:

** Agency Model – Project Based vs MRR
** The UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
** Knowing your audience and what they really want
** Belief systems on how much to charge
** Generalist vs Specialist – Target a Niche
** Expert Positioning & Omnipresence

About The Marketing Center of Excellence

The Marketing Center of Excellence (MCoE) is a centralized hub of marketers and agency owners that collaborate and provide leadership, best practices, research, support, training, software and digital technology to help community members drive performance and scale their agencies.

Our podcast focuses on interviewing experts in the industry to glean best practices, strategies and mistakes to avoid for agencies and marketing executives.

Lane Houk

Hello everyone, I want to welcome you to the inaugural podcast episode of the Marketing Center of Excellence. My name is Lane, how can I am your host of the MCoE podcast? Before I introduce our very special guest for this inaugural podcast episode, I want to quickly share the purpose of this podcast. So what is a center of excellence? Well, the wiki on it says a center of excellence is a team, a shared facility, or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research support, and or training for a focus area. So the core purpose of the Marketing Center of Excellence is to provide leadership and best practices for those in the marketing industry. Whether you are brand new to the marketing industry, a seasoned vet, or a aspiring to start a marketing agency, the Marketing Center of Excellence promises to be a wealthy resource for you. So on that note, let’s transition and I want to introduce our special guest today, Josh Nelson. Josh, how are you today my friend.

Josh Nelson

I’m doing great, honored to be on here and excited about this new podcast, you got launched.

Lane Houk

Awesome. And thanks for just being on this inaugural episode, it was my special request to have you join us for this first episode. So thanks a lot for your time. I really appreciate it. And I want to attempt to provide our listeners with a proper introduction of who you are because we’re really super blessed to have you with us today. So for everyone listening and maybe if you’re going to be watching this, Josh is the CEO of Plumbing & HVAC SEO, which is an Inc 5000 company many years running. He started his digital marketing agency about nine years ago in 2011; and during that time, they’ve grown from a startup with zero clients to the point where they now bill over $370,000 per month or over $4 million per year and growing but he says that he was not an overnight success, and we’ll get into that a little bit more in a moment. He’s also one of the most sought after experts in internet marketing and SEO. He is known for helping plumbing and HVAC contractor contractors increase their sales, grow their revenues and dominate their local competition by marketing online more effectively. As the CEO of plumbing and HVAC SEO, Josh has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of contractors across the US and internationally, helping them go from virtually no presence online to the point where they now dominate the search engines in their market and receive hundreds of calls each month directly via the web.

He is the author of the newly released book “How to triple your triple your sales by getting your internet marketing right for plumbing and HVAC contractors.” His articles on internet marketing had been published in plumbing and mechanical magazine, contractor magazine, and HVAC Insider among others. During his presentations, he shares proven strategies and techniques for getting better placement online, more inbound leads or calls and greater profitability via the internet. More than that, and I’m not done yet. He’s also the founder of Seven Figure Agency where his mission is to help 100 digital marketing agencies grow to seven figures and beyond over the next five years. And if all that wasn’t enough, Josh is also a husband and the father of two amazing boys. So Josh, that’s a phenomenal list of accomplishments. First off, congratulations. Wow.

Josh Nelson

Thank you very much. And thank you for that glowing introduction. I don’t think I’ve ever had an introduction like that. So really, really appreciate it.

Lane Houk

Well, it was absolutely due if you hadn’t gotten one like that before, overdue.

Excellent. You’ve told me before and I’ve heard you let’s kind of get this kind of punted off here. I’ve heard you say it several times in our mastermind group. I’ve seen it on your website, that you weren’t an overnight success. And yet you here you are today doing over 4 million per year and your plumbing and HVAC SEO business, which alone is a phenomenal achievement. But then on top of that, you’ve also started seven figure agency and now you’re helping hundreds of other agency owners grow their agencies. But you know, to get to this point, like you say it wasn’t an overnight success, and it’s the journey of yours, the success and the best practices that you learned along the way that I’d love to talk to you about today and maybe just pick your brain and have you share some of those things that you’ve learned along the way.

Josh Nelson

Absolutely. Yeah. No, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s an overnight success for anybody. Right? As you’re looking at entrepreneurship, if you look at anyone that’s grown to a level of success or significance, you know, they’ve had their struggles. They’ve had their failures. They’ve stubbed their toes along the way. And so, you know, my first foray into this internet marketing world was back in, like 2000, I decided I was going to start my own web design and hosting company and borrowed some money from my dad to do it. Did my best I did what I thought was right, building websites and doing SEO doing hosting and trying to get good or whatever I thought was right, and I was charging wrong. I had the wrong model. I wound up working nearly 40-60 hours every single week, just to make enough money to cover the expenses of the business. And you know what? After a period of about two years, wound up having to shut that business down, you know, tell my dad that I couldn’t repay the money. And that was my first my first pass. Right? And I think a lot of times we look at those situations and we think, I must not be cut out for this, and I remember thinking that like, that was my thought process. I was like, I guess I’m not you know, I’m not I would love to be an entrepreneur, but I don’t have it in me. I don’t have the right skills. I don’t have the right attributes. And fortunately, I continued learning you know, I listened to, I’m a big audio book guy I don’t know about you Lane, do you listen to a lot of audiobooks?

Lane Houk

I do more reading of the books. I like I’ve went from kind of transitioning with the old paper books. I still got a you know, a bookshelf full of them, but I went to now to reading it on Kindle versus audio books. I can focus my attention more but I’ve been definitely a big reader for sure.

Josh Nelson

Yeah, so I was reading Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker and the E myth revisited by Michael Gerber. And you know, Think and Grow Rich and all these books. And for the most part, they all said, you know, to succeed, you got to start your own business, you have to create wealth, you have to invest in assets. And so I knew I knew, like I wanted to figure out how to be successful in business. And so fortunately, I decided to kind of continue down the journey of entrepreneurship. And one of the books by T. Harv Ecker the secrets of the Millionaire Mind, he talks about, you know, to be successful in business, you don’t necessarily have to go start the business and figure it out all on your own, right, there are businesses already succeeding at what you want to do. One of the, you know, one of the things you could do is go get a job at a successful company, right and work there and figure out what they’re doing. And so I took that nugget, I was like, Okay, let’s, let’s see, like, who’s doing good and internet marketing right now. And this was this was back in like, 2008 ish. And so I looked around, I came across reach local, I’m sure you’ve come across them. You’ve heard of them. You know who they are. And they were at the time they were doing about $250 million per year in revenue. Um, you know, obviously doing something, right. And so I said, That’s it, I’m going to get a job with this company. I’m going to see what they’re up to. And I worked there for a couple years, I learned a lot, right? I learned how to sell I learned how to position I learned kind of what the right model was in terms of charging monthly recurring fees instead of just one time. And armed with that information, I was like, Okay, I think I’ve figured something out here. I’m gonna go start my own company. I was a little frustrated with the results the clients were getting at the time and, you know, all along, I did want to build my own agency. And so in 2011, I said, Okay, I think I’ve I think I figured this thing out. I started my my agency, Clic Inc. We grew from zero to seven figures in two years. And like you said, you know, the rest is history. Or my company, Plumbing & HVAC SEO we’re doing over over $4 million per year now and it’s just been a blast.

Lane Houk

Awesome. So what was the essence of what you learned in that switch between the first agency that failed? You went to went to reach local, you said, you know, you learn a bunch of things. But when you then went and applied what, you know, what was it that what was the core of the success the second time around that that launched you?

Josh Nelson

Yeah, that’s that’s a great question. So there’s a couple things. The first I would say is that is the model, right? That’s probably the most important thing, right? The model of what I was doing before was I’ll sell a website, a one time project at a low fee, like $1,000 max. You know, I think I got 1500 dollars once, and I was charging like 50 bucks a month or less to host just then I thought, eventually that would snowball. Eventually, I’ll sell enough websites to make money. And the money math just doesn’t work out.

Lane Houk

Right. You’d have to sell so many projects, right? And even a month after month after month. It’s like churn. That’s the hamster wheel. Yeah, yeah, you couldn’t sell enough.

Josh Nelson

With projects, you’d still have to sell that every month that to catch up. And so what I saw they were doing and what I’ve seen to be successful was, instead of selling one time projects, you sell recurring fees, right? So every month, you’re gonna pay me x, you know, and in their world, there was at least $1,000 per month, you know, usually between 1000 and $5,000 per month was kind of what what, you know, local businesses were paying. So that was a big shift, just instead of doing project work, charging monthly recurring. The other big shift was the value proposition. So in my first business, I was kind of a web design company. And so the whole concept was brochure-ware all you need a website, you need to be online. And so I’ll build a website for you for 1000 bucks, and that really added no value to the clients I serve. It’s like, Okay, you got a website. That doesn’t make you any more money. It doesn’t generate any more leads for you. It’s just a it’s just a website, where, you know, the shift was still like, look what what they want… it’s results, they want more leads, they want more sales, if you as as as a service provider can help businesses either generate more revenue or keep more profit. That’s why you exist. And so the shift to instead of just doing websites to actually generating leads through, you know, what I call online direct response marketing, getting websites ranked in organic running paid search, and really making it rain for them justifies a monthly fee. Right? So that was a big shift.

The other was what, like, what people would pay for these services. So as I was thinking about restarting an agency at some point, I was like, Okay, I’ll get a monthly fee that would be cool. In my mind, the most a local business and you have to find it, we could have been the local roofer, the local AC contractor, the local dentist, the local chiropractor. The most they would pay would be like 250 bucks a month, at least in my mind. I was just I couldn’t get my mind to stretch beyond that. Yeah. And so working at reach local and seeing thousands of sales reps selling dozens of clients every single month at $2500 to $5,000 per month, day in and day out. My belief system changed. Yes, there are businesses that will pay these fees on a monthly recurring basis. And so, I would say, you know, that was the the, the biggest thing was that right it was, if the right model, choose a monthly recurring fee, you know, be confident and don’t sell for less than $1,000 per month. And then the biggest thing that I think really accelerated our growth was instead of being a generalist agency serving everybody, choose a very specific vertical get really good in one particular market for us plumbing and HVAC contractors. you prove the results in that space, develop a very specific model and then position yourself as the expert; really position yourself so that anybody in that space would look at you and say, Wow, that company knows what they’re doing. They’re the thought leaders. They’ve got the case studies, they’ve got the examples. And it really just accelerated the growth of the business to where we’re at today.

Lane Houk

Whoo, that was awesome. All right, I got five things that I was taking notes while you were talking. They’re often some of this I’ve heard before, but this is good. So I’m gonna repeat it here because I think it bears repeating and then we can dive into a few things. Number one, get the model right. If you’re an agency owner, and you’re struggling, number one, look at the model. Is your model wrong or is it right and if you don’t know that’s, you know, hopefully you can learn some things from today’s episode with with Josh but number one, get the model right monthly revenue monthly MRR monthly recurring revenue versus project based only. Number two, the UVP has to be right like your unique value proposition in the marketplace as an agency has to be right or it’s going to be very hard to sell and just get momentum in sales. Number three, I heard you say understand what your audience really wants. I think this is a critical thing, because a lot of people make the mistake of selling websites, or selling SEO, or selling advertising. And that’s not what a business owner wants. If they think a website will get them more business, which is what they really want, then they’ll buy a website. But what they really want is the phone to ring more, they want more money in their bank account. And that seems so simple and easy. But as you get into the crux of talking about websites, and SEO, and you can get so bogged down in talking about all that stuff, that’s tactical, and you’re just completely missing your audience, which is, hey, just Can you help me make the phone ring more? So that’s a really big point…  Number four, you can always charge more so change your belief system. I remember that too. I remember when I started my my legacy agency back in 2010. I remember like the most I could think of charging for a website was $1,000. I was like, you know, just you know, and then people were like, you need to double that, like you need to triple that. And I was like, really? Like, Will anybody pay that? You know, and then I hear about people, you know, making website companies charging 60 million for a government website or a city or, you know, some of these government projects and the crazy money. Honestly, I still can’t even figure that out. But anyway, number four, you can always charge more I know you’ve preached on that sure. And then lastly, number five, niche… niche your agency and then once you find a niche position yourself as the expert in that niche, so that’s five or six things here.

What taught you the lesson about get the model right the monthly recurring What was it that you look back in your journey and you go, alright, this, this is what I knew I had my model wrong and this and it was this lesson was solidified because of this.

Josh Nelson

Yeah, so I, in my first agency, I was, I was doing I was actually doing a lot of sales. Prospecting or cold calling 50 to 60 times per day, sitting in BNI meetings, sitting at Chamber of Commerce meetings, and I wouldn’t be able to get like five or six clients in any given month, which is not bad, right? And five or six websites. You know, that’s that’s hard work, right? That’s something that’s, that’s an accomplishment. But no matter how hard I worked, no matter how many clients I landed, I would only generate enough money to like to cover the expenses of the business because I and I was paying for leads, and I was paying for tools. And I had, for whatever reason, a little office that I rented, and I just, there was literally no money to pay myself. And so, you know, I would be sprinting as hard as I could and then you know, get the client and then we’d hustle to do the work, and we wouldn’t be able to pay ourselves. And so it was just completely evident that that model, there was no way to make it work. And the saddest part was, at the time, I didn’t see it. I didn’t understand it. Like I didn’t have the information or the knowledge to understand, well, you’re not going to make money that way, right? There’s just not enough. There’s not enough meat on the bone. You’re just learning to trial and error. Yeah. And and you know that all of that effort all of that time, I, you know, it was useful in retrospect. But if I hadn’t had the right service model, you know, I could have I could have really had a flourishing business even back at that, you know, early stage in my business. And then again, you know, you asked what solidified it, it was just just being at reach local and seeing all of these clients signing up paying monthly fees. And seeing that that number, you know, let’s say you sell five clients per month, that number can really snowball. Luckily, right. If you do the math, if you can land five clients per month, and they just pay you 1350 per month, you have a million dollar agency or seven figure agency over the course of one year, right. And so when I started to realize that, oh, my goodness, like, of course, this is the way to do it.

Lane Houk

So signs and symptoms that you may have the model wrong in your agency. So if you’re an agency owner, I think this is, you know, I mean, I’ll fall back on some of my medical days where, you know, we have signs and symptoms and we triage, right? And so triage is that process of, you know, assessing the degree or the, how dangerous the signs and symptoms the patient in front of you was exhibiting and deciding what, what what needs to be done and how quickly. So, you know, if you want to triage your agency, and you want to look at what are the signs and symptoms in your agency? What I heard Josh saying is some of the signs and symptoms of a model that wasn’t right was a lot of activity. But it was like a constant struggle every month. So if you’re in an agency, and you’re feeling like you’re just having a struggle every single month, that’s definitely a sign or symptom that you may have the model wrong. It may not even be the revenue model per se, it just might be at the model in some way, shape or form is wrong because you’re just struggling to create momentum. I see. And that’s what you think you learned from reach local was the momentum. I just heard you say that as you get more and more monthly recurring revenue that momentum snowballs. And that’s when you can really, really take off or sell. So look for signs and symptoms in your agency if you if you know if you feel like you might have the model wrong and what are some other things, Josh that you know your experience signs and symptoms of that you may have the model wrong in your agency.

Josh Nelson

If there’s not enough money, there’s not enough money to go around, right? I mean, if you’re working and you’re doing your work and there’s not enough money to if you can’t pay yourself and there’s no profit left over that’s a massive symptom that that something’s not right in your business, right because our second business so like like just contrast here, first business, worked hard as can be couldn’t make enough money to pay myself I literally never took a dime out of the business, not even a paycheck, nothing, I would have made a ton more money if I worked at McDonald’s or something to my second business. We didn’t take out a loan to start Clic Inc. –  it was funded by clients that we landed, and we were able to pay ourselves from day one, and it’s been profitable from day one, right? So if you’ve got the right model, no, the money shouldn’t be a massive concern for you.

Lane Houk

Any other signs and symptoms model if you’re not not making enough money, not paying yourself if you feel like you’re just lots of activity and you’re not getting momentum, anything else?

Josh Nelson

I think another sign, you know, there may be an issue is if there’s not consistent flow of new clients in your in your business, because it could be that the big, big sign there, if you’re not getting new business on a consistent basis, then it’s probably just relying on one advertising mechanism, probably you hustling on the phone, right? And if you can diversify your marketing strategy, right, by being in a specific vertical, so you’re doing direct outreach, you’re involved in association of some sort, you’re putting out content, a consistent basis, you’re doing some type of direct marketing to generate leads and sales for your own agency. Um, you know, there should there should be consistent new deals every single month. It shouldn’t be I got a referral this month and I got nothing next month. You know, that’s a massive symptom that something’s wrong your business model when there’s no consistency to it.

Lane Houk

Which I think leads into the other one of the other best practices you shared, which is about niching. You know, I mean, you went from being kind of a generalist agency and the first first company that failed, going to reach local then coming out and starting Plumbing and HVAC SEO. So let’s, let’s talk about that, that that, you know, that you were just talking about if you’re not, you don’t have that constant flow of new clients into your business, right? Yep. And I think that’s oftentimes a sign and symptom of a generalist agency, right is because you’re not positioning yourself as the expert because you’re not diving deep and you’re not the subject matter expert in that niche. And you’re trying to be a master of all trades, right? It’s hard to create momentum. So maybe talk about your, your journey into picking the plumbing and HVAC SEO niche and, you know, maybe some best practices or things you learned after you know, picking the niche and going deep into the into the industry.

Josh Nelson

Absolutely. So, so just got to talk through the genesis of this and kind of how I wound up with it. So at reach local, I did get the chance to see sales reps selling lots of services and a lot of different verticals right because reach local basically sold to anybody, everybody. And you know, from Home Services to legal to ecommerce and everything in between. I started to notice there was there was pockets that did really well. And there was a couple representatives that had gone vertical specific. So there would be like one of the top reps was dealing with auto dealers specifically. And they had kind of become known in that space. They’ve gotten some clients and it started to grow quickly for that Rep. And there was another that was like a specialist, believe it or not in plumbing and she had just grown really, really effectively in plumbing. I said, Well, that’s kind of smart, right? If you’re if you’re in a niche, then you can kind of get known and little pockets within that vertical and you make life easier. Um, so that’s kind of when I started thinking about it. And then as we started Clic Inc. the agency, it was actually a generalist agency. We were serving anybody we could get our hands on, we’re just going to kind of figure out how it went. What we did say, let’s get vertical specific. And we said, okay, let’s go after plumbing. I think that’s one that could be good. Let’s go after roofing. I think that would be good. Let’s go after I doctors, I think that would be good. And so we set up some, some like little feeders, and we just saw what was going to be most efficient, what was going to be most effective, what was going to flow most naturally to us. But what we found was everybody wants to deal with the expert in their type of business. Right? So we would get a lead from an eye doctor, for instance, and the eye doctor would you know, give us the time of day, but before they say yes, it’s a like what other eye doctors have you worked with? Can you show me some examples of the work that you’ve done for them? And, you know, if you don’t have the examples, the case studies, the proof, your sales ratio is very low, where if you’ve got one or two slam dunk case studies, and you can show what this is what I did, you can feel free to talk to this client that we served, you know, this is the results that they’re getting. It just becomes a no brainer. People were just like, yeah, I want to do business with you, because you’ve got experience in my type of business. So it helps from a sales perspective. from a marketing perspective, you can go extremely deep. So being a generalist, none of the marketing strategies that are available make any sense, like, you can do webinars, but what you’re just going to do a webinar on internet marketing or SEO, that speaks to the general business population. That’s such a saturated piece of information that nobody’s interested in it, right. But you take that down to a vertical like eye doctors and you create webinars for eye doctors on how to get ranked on page one and how to generate more leads and how to tap into the power of paid search. The eye doctors will see that and be like, wow, this is subject matter expertise. This is for me, right? So your marketing, you can really position yourself as the expert and get people to come to you so it’s easier to close the deals. It’s easier to go deeper and become known in a small pocket as opposed to a large pocket. And then I think the biggest benefit of being niche focused that most people don’t realize until they get to a certain level is the fulfillment aspect. And the ability to systematize your business in a niche is so much easier. So like, you can get extremely good at knocking out a park or one particular vertical, you can build systems and procedures and have a like a proven roadmap here. Here’s what you do with the website. Here are the key words, here are the phrases that tend to convert best. Here are the directories that are most popular to get them ranked. Here are the like the types of ads that run best, they get the best click through rate, right? You can get really good. Yeah, you can get really good at generating the results. And then, you know, you can also make it easier to hand it off. Because if you’re in a general agency every time you get a new client, it’s a new can of worms. How do we set the website, what keywords, what pages should we have lots of creative thoughts… When you’re in a vertical, you can have thought this through, you can have dialed it in. And then you can create a project plan and you can hand it off to a team. I find a lot of people in generalist agencies, they have to be with their hand on just about every client that they get. We’re in a niche agency, what we were able to do is go out position ourselves, as the expert get clients to come in, and really have it systematized where we don’t have to do the work and the fulfillment, and it still gets done to a world class level, and it still gets tremendous results for our clients. I think that’s one of the biggest benefits that the people listening need to really hone in on because you mentioned, you don’t really see this until you achieve a certain level of growth and revenue in an agency. Right. But then as you get bigger, you start to really see the efficiencies of that systemization and the profitability that then drives to the bottom line because of those efficiencies and the ways you can automate all that through your systems.

Lane Houk

And that’s not something you actually you’ll never find or see in that dynamic in a, you know, in an agency with 10 clients or 20 clients, right? I mean, you just, you don’t really need efficiencies and systems at that level as nearly as much as when you have 100.

Josh Nelson

Right. Absolutely. Exactly.

Lane Houk

I know that you talk about positioning yourself as an expert, once you’ve got that niche, now position yourself as the industry expert in that niche. I’ve heard you mentioned in our mastermind group of the you know, the concept of be omnipresent in your niche, right. Talk a little bit about that, because I don’t know anybody who does it better than you. I mean, seriously, I cannot compliment you enough on the content that you put out the quality of that content, the frequency of the content, you are truly omnipresent in the industry. I’m shocked if any agency owner in the industry today doesn’t or hasn’t heard about you or know you in some way, shape or form because you’re so omnipresent, but talk about why you believe in it so deeply.

Josh Nelson

Yeah, so, um, the presence becomes possible only in the concept of the niche, right?

You know, you can’t be you couldn’t afford to put out content to be on on somebody’s radar in a general market. But just in plumbing, for instance, what we want to do is we want to work with the larger Plumbing Companies, the ones doing $1 million to $5 million plus per year that have 10 to 15 trucks in the field that have financial resources to invest in online marketing. So I want to be known in that space by everybody at that size. And there’s there’s probably about 7500 that are really ideal prospects for us. And so what we want to do is be omnipresent in their world, and this is what you want to do in any niche that you enter. First of all, you want to get a list of the people that you want to go after, right? You have to have their name, phone number, email address, contact details. Yep. So that you can you can connect with them, you can reach out to them and you want to touch them on a lot of different channels, right, you want to touch them via email via phone via your direct message on social platforms via direct mail. But you also want to be showing up where digital marketing should show up, right, you want to be showing up in search, you want to be showing up in their newsfeed, you want to be showing up online. And so like what I found to be the best way to establish omnipresence in your space, first of all, join the association, right in any vertical, there’s an association, a National Association, a Local Association, sub associations. By joining the association, you get a really good list of legitimate business owners in that space that take their business seriously, that are active; and you have the opportunity to draft on some level of affinity. So affinity meaning you can reach out to them and say, Hey, I’m reaching out because we’re members of this association as well. So it’s almost like you have the permission to reach out at that point without being spammy and obnoxious. So you join the association draft on the affinity really be aggressive with your outreach, like let them know that you’re there, right, reach out via phone, reach out via email, offer to do training webinars for the association. The other opportunity that you get in an association is the ability to be live and in person, you know, it’s tough at this exact moment in time. But the reality is, these Association groups get together multiple times throughout the year for continuing education for networking events. And so you’re having the opportunity usually to have a booth and sometimes speak at those events. Yeah. So that now you go from being you know, in their mailbox, in their email box, now to being also live and in person where they see you and they interact with you. And so, you know, you want to put strategies in place to you know, to have access to the list introduced to the list and someone will have affinity with the list, and then be constantly putting out good information, right, be prolific in your space. And so there’s really three pieces of authority content that are really powerful. The first is Case studies, probably the most powerful, right? Anybody can talk about SEO, internet marketing, Pay Per Click, how to generate leads. And that’s useful, but more persuasive is, here’s a client that we worked with, here’s what’s happened for them. Here’s the results they’re getting. And here’s how we get it. Right. So that’s the first kind of content, you want to get out into that space with Omni presence. The second is, is value added content. And so for me, that’s webinars, like I’m a big believer, if you can do one webinar per month on new topics. You can drive a massive amount of value added content, because you do a webinar today on how to set up your plumbing website for conversion. And then you promote it out to your list and you promote it out on social media. And then you do the live webinar and then you record it and you upload it to YouTube and you syndicate it on iTunes and put a blog post on your website. You did one piece of content, you sliced it up a variety of ways. And now you’re extremely prolific in that story.

And then the third piece of content is to have some type of published authority. I think one of the most powerful assets that we can all use is to publish a book. Because the expert, the unquestioned expert, is the person that wrote the book. We’re speaking at the front of the stage. Yeah, right. So, you know, the, our book now is called How to triple your sales by getting your internet marketing right for plumbing hbas and contractors. And, you know, we wrote it, it gives us tremendous authority, we use it to get speaking opportunities within our space, and we get it out in the hands of those 7000 prospects, you know, as as freely as you know, as proactively as possible, like we’ve mailed it, we offer it free plus shipping, and we just want to get it in their hands. And you know, when you do this in one, one niche, like you do one webinar per month, you kind of put out new case studies on a consistent basis. You put out new content on a consistent basis, you’re active in the events you become it’s another to present.

At that point, yeah, you become omnipresent. And the byproduct of that is people look at you, and they say, wow, these people know what they’re doing, they have experience in our space, and clients start to come to you pre positioned to buy, instead of you having to go out and chase them down, and try and get them to give you two seconds of your time. They’re raising their hand saying, hey, how much is it gonna cost to have you do this for me?

Lane Houk

So you you walked right into one of my, one of my questions was, you know, content, right? I mean, in order to be omnipresent, you have to have the content. And that’s, that can be very, very challenging. I know, you know, just putting out quality content is not easy. And you nailed it on the second piece of putting out monthly content, which is your webinars, you know, just You’re right. I mean, you just do a webinar and you record that. I mean, if you have just the mp4 recording of an hour long webinar, I don’t know how many articles of content it is, but it’s probably about 10 articles of content easily, just from the recorded, you know, transcribed content, and then you get all sorts of ways you can slice that I know you do that, well maybe you have a sequence or best practices you have around webinars and just that content creation process because that is I think for a lot of agency owners that that that idea or task of I have to put out all this content is really intimidating and also like how am I ever going to have a time to do it?

Josh Nelson

Yeah, yeah, hundred hundred percent so the first thing I would say is, you know, these types of webinars aren’t your sales webinar that you learn from Russell Brunson, or one of these others. There’s a place for that but this isn’t a direct sales webinar. It’s content. So you take the information that you learn and we’re if you’re watching this, you’re listening to this, you’re a student of the game. So you’re out you know, at traffic conversion, you’re reading the blogs, you’re listening to Search Engine Journal, like you’re getting got a pulse on what’s happening. And all you do is you take that and apply it to your to your space, and you’re just giving information. Here’s how, you know Roofing Companies can use this information. Here’s how plumbing and HVAC companies can this information. So that’s the first thing, don’t feel like this has to be a like, you know, 19 stack sales pitch, all you’re doing is giving information. And at the end saying, hey, if you’d like some help implementing this, we’d love the opportunity to talk. So. So that’s the first thing. The other thing is why I you know you can create a tremendous amount of that content on one webinar per month. So I don’t do like six webinars, you know, per month, I do one. And the best way to do it is just to map out a quarter at a time or a year at a time. If you’re if you’re kind of more experienced, you can think along those lines. And just start with the most obvious stuff that you just can actually talk about without even have to think about it. So start with how to set up your plumbing website for maximum conversion, right? How to Get your website ranked on the first page for the most important plumbing keywords, how to get ranked in the Google Map and the three pack, how to tap into the power of you know, paid search and Google AdWords, right. Let’s just use those three. And what you would do is you set the webinar up, you send out a couple emails to list to your prospect list. I’m gonna do this webinar live, whether anybody shows up or not, you show up, you push the record button. And you talk about that, right. And maybe you’ve got 10 or 15 slides to drive that process. And as you’re talking, you’re creating the content, you’re creating the videos, you’re creating the blog posts, you’re creating the podcast episodes. And it’s just one, again, like you said, sliced up 10 or 15 different ways, and you can get massive that that sense of massive content engine that’s happening within your business.

Lane Houk

I think you made a really, really key point right at the beginning about the way it’s positioned and the in the way you conduct that webinar, it’s not a sales webinar. It’s an informational educational webinar. You’re you’re sharing knowledge you’re adding value you’re not selling at all right?

Josh Nelson

Uh huh. Absolutely.

Lane Houk

I think that’s a big it’s a big difference. And I think you know, it tip number one, it takes off this pressure like you have to like do this great webinar and you have to get all these results from it. If you just take the pressure off yourself as a beginner and say I’m just here to add value, I’m here to share my knowledge with the industry with my niche and help you guys then number one, you take the pressure off, but also it’s received so much differently by the audience versus if they’re on you know, a Click Funnels landing page or in my funnel, and, you know, I got the Oto and the upsells here as soon as you opt in, and it’s like, do away with all that just add value to your niche right?

Josh Nelson

Hundred percent. Yep, hundred percent.

Lane Houk

So this might be a great point in our conversation just to transition over to seven figure agency. So you’ve had this journey, you’ve achieved massive success with your partner at plumbing and HVAC SEO and then I don’t know exactly when a couple years ago, I remember it’s probably been three to five years, right with a seven figure agency, how long ago.

Josh Nelson

It’s about five years now. Yeah, so about five years ago.

Lane Houk

You’ve got this vision to help other agency owners realize this same level of success that you’ve had. And in order to do that, you also I think, had the vision to help shortcut that because it was a journey for you. And I don’t know about you, but I know for me, I always love shortcuts. I mean, shortcuts are great, whether you’re driving for shortcuts, or if it’s the cliff notes version to learning something great. And so with the seven figure agency, I know you’ve just taken everything that you’ve learned through this journey, and just put it all into a seven figure agency. Give us a little bit of background or a little kind of overview of seven figure agency.

Josh Nelson

Yeah, absolutely. So like you said, about five years ago, our agency made it to seven figures. And I’ve always been a big student of the game. So like, if there’s ever a course that comes out about internet marketing, or how to do SEO better, how to get results for clients, or how to build your business more successfully. I’m all about that, right. I buy those trainings, and I soak them up. I was in a lot of the groups and I noticed, you know, there weren’t a lot of people getting past like 10 to $15,000 per month, they were just kind of circling around that level. And, you know, my business was at seven figures, and people were coming to me and be like, how did you how did you make this transition? Like, how are you playing at this level? And, and I was just like, you know what, this would be a perfect time for me to share what’s worked for me, right? While it’s fresh, while I’m just kind of getting to this level. And I created the course at the time called seven figure agency blueprint. And it was exactly what we did like the steps to choose the niche and position yourself as the expert to get clients coming to you prepositioned to buy. And it’ll, I’m a big believer that you should learn something, you should do it right and prove that you know how to do it. And then you should, then you should show others how to do it. And that’s the true circle of mastery. And in the process of teaching others you actually become better at it yourself. Sure understanding of it becomes deeper. And so you know, I think I’ve really enjoyed showing other agencies teaching them what worked for me kind of helping them shortcut the process. And, you know, as I was doing it, you know, there were some agencies that broke out, right? If you look at Alan Hillsberg at the time he joined it when he was struggling at like that $10K per month, he chose funeral homes for his niche, and, you know, just rapid ascent to you know, now he’s a high seven figure digital marketing agency serving that niche. And that’s awesome. But there were also some others that, you know, they got the information, but they didn’t put it into play. And so what I realized is just the course really doesn’t do the trick, really, what you have to do is you have to give the information, you have to create the community where there’s support, and then you also have to hold people accountable. You have to kind of baby step them along the way. And so that’s where the seven figure agency training and mastery and coaching program was birthed.

Lane Houk

So you made it You made a really good point there about you know, just having the course and the knowledge and all that, that he kind of took into your journey and your brain and all the things you learn and you put it into a course, which is I guess, you know, on your website, right, you have all that online, but that that there was still a gap there for for people, you know, who were just getting the course and access to it, the knowledge alone wasn’t enough.

So talk a little bit about, you know, how  you bridge that gap with the mastermind or with just going from only an online course into the community. Yeah, so I think now we’re, you know, you mentioned before, we’re like our our true mission at seven figure agency is to help 100 digital marketing agencies grow to seven figures over the next, over the next 5 to 10 years. And when I first set that vision, it sounded like crazy talk, but we were seeing a lot of guys move up the ranks and hit seven figures and now, you know, even the seven figures, it has to be a higher target, but we’re blessed to have a great group, to have agencies that are playing at a high level that are really implementing this stuff that are serving their clients well that are growing on a consistent on a consistent clip. And so really I think it comes down to plan tools and and help right and so what we do with the with the plan is we help agencies get clear on where they’re at right now, what the goal is where they want to get, and really simplify the process, get rid of the the roadblocks and accelerate through those roadblocks so they can get to where they really want to go. And then what we do is we provide the tools. So we talked about the right business model, running webinars, publishing a book, all of that stuff, you know, we’ve taken it and kind of given it a very easy swipe and deploy process. And I think the biggest part is the help right, the accountability and the support. And so we’ve developed a mechanism where there’s masterminds that gather on a consistent basis to exchange best practice and to hold each other accountable. And while we’ve got a team of mentors as well that are running seven figure agencies showing, really helping our members implement these ideas in their business and help them get the results that they’re after. So, um, you know, it’s a passion project for me, and I’m super excited to see agencies growing and accomplishing their goals and getting through the stages of agency success.

Lane Houk

I 100% agree with you know, the, the principle that had being in a community of excellence just pulls you up, if you’re, you know, wherever you’re at, right and one of my mentors from you know, over 10 years ago once told me, he said it all the time, but he’s like, you know, “Lane, who you will be in five years will be determined by two things: the books you read, and the people you hang out with. I’ll never forget that and he repeated it over and over because it was, but I 100% agree. We talked about reading you know, listening to audiobooks early on in our talk today. Just you know, consuming knowledge and learning and growing, you know, and then who you’re around the community of people that you’re around. And I can tell you, I was blown away when I went to not only the roadmap event, but then the mastermind event in January/February, just that community of excellence is amazing. The agency owners in your mastermind group, and just the level of excellence, the quality of the people, great people, not just great business and entrepreneurs, but great people. To me, that’s the gap. Like there’s so much knowledge out there. I mean, we live in the internet age. I mean, you got Google. I mean, you can go to Google and type in anything about find information about just about anything. So information and knowledge is readily available, but how to take that and actually implement it as a blueprint into a business and then have the accountability and the community of excellence to help you along. That’s that’s the gap or the bridget for me for sure.

And so, um, well, I want to wrap it up here. And I know you’ve got you’ve got a busy day ahead of you here as well.

What is your advice for agency owners who are kind of in this weird time right now? And we’ve talked a lot about this in the mastermind group, but for those who aren’t in the mastermind group don’t have access to that or haven’t invested yet, what advice would you give them while we’re in some weird times as an agency?

Josh Nelson

Yeah, I’d say probably the most important thing is to keep your mindset right. You know, right now there’s a lot of bad information. There’s a lot of bad news going around and there’s there’s a crisis happening in the economy around us. And if if you focus on negative if you focus on watching the news, whether it’s CNN, NBC, Fox News, you’re gonna hear bad, right? You know, people are dying. There’s a pandemic happening. The economic crisis is here, it’s going to stay, things will never go back to normal. If you let yourself stay in that zone, you won’t be productive, you won’t be resourceful, you won’t get things done. And so I really think the most important thing you can do is like kind of limit yourself to like less than 10 minutes of news per day, and focus on what you want, right focus on if your goal was to grow a business that provides financial abundance provides freedom provides, you know, a feeling of impact and that you’re doing good work in the world. That’s what you focus on. Now, the other thing I would say is, you know, don’t feel like now’s the time you have to go abandon ship and try and do something completely different. Right? This too shall pass every single one of the verticals out there. Whether you’re working with dentists, roofers, restaurants, these all are going to come back to work. They’re all going to need help. They’re all going to need support. And so I highly recommend, stay focused on what you want. You wanna stay on the track that you’re on and just keep productive, keep pressing forward, you know, keep striving towards your goals.

Lane Houk

If agency owners listening to this wants to be a part of the community or even want to check out your community, I pulled up your Facebook group here, you want to tell people a little bit about your Facebook group and maybe your roadmap events?

Josh Nelson

That’d be awesome. Yeah, so I’ve got a free group called local marketing agency success. There’s several thousand digital marketing agencies in there. I curate this so that there’s legitimate people that run agencies and I keep it very onpoint. And that’s just a great place to connect with me, Lane, other successful digital marketing agencies, I share some of my best ideas and strategies in there. There’s lots of great q&a that happens in there. So if you want to get to that you could go to seven figure agency comm slash group, and that will redirect you or you could go straight to or you can just go type in a search local marketing agency success on Facebook, and we’ll get you added to that group right away. Just to grow… it’s a way to further connect. So two, I guess two other resources laying that I’ll share. Yeah, I have published a book called The seven figure agency roadmap. And it’s kind of everything that I took from my course on how to land clients deliver results, retain and scale. And I’m giving that book away for free right now, all you have to do is cover the shipping. So if you were to go to https://www.sevenfigureagency.com/book – all you have to do is give me your mailing address, cover the $7 shipping handling, I’ll get the book in your hands right away. That’s probably the best place to start. Right, get into that book, get the information and insights kind of get plugged into to this whole process. And I think that that’d be a great place to start.

Lane Houk

So local marketing success Facebook group and to get a free copy of Josh’s book go to https://www.sevenfigureagency.com/book.  I’ve talked to several people at the last roadmap event who read your book, and then decided to go to the roadmap event, you know, before we shut down everything, and they were raving about the book, how much it changed there, literally they said it’s changed my agency life. So for those of you listening, get the book – can they get it on Amazon or searching, search it on Amazon searching on audible.com?

Josh Nelson

It’s the agency roadmap, you can find it, you know, any of those, any of those sources.

Lane Houk

Awesome. Well, I want to really thank you again, for your time today, Josh, just in sharing some of your insights, sharing the journey, the success you’ve had, and also the lessons you’ve learned along the way. I’ve got, you know, two quick pages of notes here about some of the best practices that you shared with us today that I’ll kind of follow up with my notes to this session as well. But really appreciate you really appreciate how much you give to the industry, how much you’ve impacted my own life and my businesses.

Josh Nelson

For sure. Appreciate that.

Lane Houk

And really thank you for spending the time with us today.

Josh Nelson

Well, thank you. I’m really excited about this podcast. I know you’ve got great content that you’re going to be rolling out. I love what you’re what you’re doing here. I don’t know if I can give a little bit of a plug for quantum Newswire and how that’s helped our business or if this is not the place.

Lane Houk

Sure, go ahead. That’s fine. It’s all right. We want to help agencies…

Josh Nelson

So yeah, I mean, so so you know, being you know, being doing what we do here we serve several hundred plumbing HVAC companies throughout the country. And one of my constant struggles and one of my constant stresses is how do we get our clients better results? How do we get them ranked higher? How do we move the needle for our clients? And I was fortunate enough to come across Lane and Quantum Newswire a couple… How long has it been out Lane? probably less than a year? Eight, nine months? Yeah. And so, you know, we’ve always been a company we do blogs for our clients on a consistent basis. But the blogs weren’t really moving the needle. It’s like we were just putting out content.

Lane gave me the idea, gave me the tool to take your blogs, push them out on Quantum Newswire, build links, build citations, through through the content you’re already producing. And we beta tested it for a little bit. And we’ve since moved to doing it for all of our clients every single month. And it’s had tremendous impact in our business, because it makes our clients get more links, which gets them better results, which makes our retention rates higher, which means we make more money as a company. And it also is a great activity metric to show the client Look, here’s what we did. Here’s the impact of that. And so I know this isn’t the you know, the purpose of this session but if you haven’t checked that tool out and you run an agency and you want to get better results for your clients, that’s a complete no brainer, you should be looking at it and you should be doing that for your clients on a very consistent basis.

Lane Houk

Awesome. I appreciate that. That shameless plug for me and quantum Newswire, but really appreciate it. It’s been awesome to work with you and your team at plumbing, HVAC SEO, it’s also been a real blessing to be a part of the seven figure agency group. For those of you who are listening and will watch this, I can’t say enough how much I would encourage you just get plugged into Josh Nelson in the seven figure agency, whether it’s the Facebook group, whether scheduling a strategy session with him reading his book, or all the above, would highly recommend if you want to have that same journey and albeit maybe a shorter journey, because he shares with you so much of the secrets and the things that he learned along the way those shortcuts definitely get plugged into Josh, Josh, thanks again for your time, and we’ll look forward to the next episode of the Marketing Center of Excellence.

Josh Nelson

Thank you, man. It was a pleasure.

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