Hey everybody, welcome back to episode number four of the early stage founder show, the podcast for B2B SaaS founders looking to accelerate their growth. I’m your host, Andy Baldacci, and every Tuesday I’ll bring you a brand new interview with startup founders, venture capitalist, consultants, anybody who has been there before and can provide actionable lessons to help your startup get to the next level.
Today I’m talking with Johnathan Dane of Klient Boost, a PPC agency that works with SaaS startups to get them more trials and demos. Unlike other PPC agencies, Klient Boost understands that the conversion doesn’t happen when somebody clicks an ad, the conversion happens on the landing page, so they go the next step by creating highly optimized landing pages to get their clients the results the need.
In this episode, Johnathan shares the common mistakes he sees SaaS startups making with PPC, how they can fix it, and the fundamental trait startups need to resist in order to succeed.
If you think Facebook ads are dead or don’t work for B2B, then you need to listen to this episode so Johnathan can set you straight.
Andy Baldacci: [00:00] Johnathan, thanks for joining me today.
Johnathan Dane: [00:02] You're so welcome. I'm excited to be here and flattered for the invite. Thank you.
Andy: [00:07] Of course. You work a lot with SaaS companies through your PPC agency KlientBoost, but I know you're a bit different than most other PPC shops out there. Can you start by just saying exactly what you do for your clients at KlientBoost?
Johnathan: [00:21] Yeah. As far as what we do, that isn't different from a lot of agencies, but the how we do it. I'll get into that after. Basically, we are a PPC and landing page shop, we understand the value of making sure that when you're driving traffic, the conversion doesn't happen on the ad click, it happens on the landing page.
[00:38] We don't control both aspects, you're limiting yourself with hands tied behind your back. Because of that a lot of plateaus happen more often than they should, and so we have account management team and a design team in house that works together on our clients to make sure that we can keep making progress and showing results. That's the non sexy version.
[00:59] The sexy version of why we're good at what we do, of course I'm biased, is because we go very granular and very detailed in our approach. Meaning, a lot of this is not to bore anybody SaaS agencies, they have growth teams, perhaps, if they are lucky enough to do that, or just a digital marketer, and what happens is, this person is tasked to do everything to know everything that's possibly, Craigslist, PC, organic, SEO, social, whatever.
[01:28] What we do, we come in and we make things are very easy and structured, regranulate everything. Meaning if you bid on a large amount of keywords, there's a good chance that your search terms are completely a mess, so we make the discrepancy less. Again, this is nerdy details.
[01:45] We actually pair the buckets of the intent of that traffic, meaning if your PC traffic comes from search, social display, or video, to pair it with an offer, a called action on a landing page, that matches. As a SaaS company, you might have the end goal of generating trials or demos. What happens is, people who come through returning or display or social might not even know who you are.
[02:08] If you expect to brute force your offer of a trial or demo with all your channels, it's not going to work.
[02:14] What we come in doing, we help figure out, let's create multiple channels, multiple funnels of different offers, where we can eventually get all your people, who might start at different entry points in your funnel, to eventually get to the bottom where you care that they are going to be. We create gated content guides, things like that, and then we created the landing pages, too, to match that.
[02:37] Your regular, steady AB testing stuff that everybody knows about. That's pretty much it. We execute at a faster and a better level than I think what you can do in house. For a lot cheaper too.
Andy: [02:49] Do you refer yourself as a PPC agency? How would you even brand the type of work you do?
Johnathan: [02:56] Oh man, I [inaudible] .
Andy: [02:57] You said PPC and landing pages, what is the…?
Johnathan: [02:55] Yeah, I don't think there's a word for a hybrid agency yet. But I feel like we are a hybrid agency. Again, the challenges I think a lot of…if you ask yourself this too. Of the marketing agencies you know, which ones are very, very well known for being good at everything? The answer's none, right?
[03:18] Even if you did content marketing for your agency and you did like, "Hey, we're going to write about SEO and PPC," you can't be a thought leader, you just can't. There's no room for you to be a thought leader.
[03:28] We were careful about saying, "Well, should we just focus on a vertical?" We're really good at SaaS and startups, which would suck crap for us because if you think of the mentality behind some SaaS companies, they're like, "Go, go, go, go, go," and that doesn't necessarily bode well for PPC, even though you can get quick traction with it.
[03:47] But it's not…
Andy: [03:48] Is that because there's only so much traffic that is…?
Johnathan: [03:52] That, but also their expectations of execution speed. They can be a pain in the ass and like, "Whoa, slow up." We're not going to go as fast as you want. We're not going to build Rome today. It's going to take some time.
[04:02] That’s why you can also say that there’s a great [inaudible] . He once said, "Don't create another PPC blog, that's already done. Don't create another conversion blog, it's already done. Focus on something specific, focus on PPC for e commerce or PPC for the healthcare."
[04:20] I'm like, "That's crap," because then I just pigeonhole myself and I can't…I have two goals in life, make a lot of money, and…More than that, my business goals are make a lot of money and be famous. That's what I want to do.
[04:33] No, I know I don’t have a broad appeal. [laughs] I know I can't get the broad appeal if I focus on like, "Yeah, we are the PPC agency for pest control." Again, I wouldn't be on stage giving a talk and something like that if that was the case.
[04:45] I just derailed on the question, I don't even remember what we were originally talking about. Oh, you were asking why…
Andy: [04:54] How do you call yourself? Seems like you don't want to pigeonhole yourself like that so you're trying to…
Johnathan: [05:04] At the root, we're a PPC agency. We do have some clients that only do landing page work with us. But the bulk is PPC. I would just call us a hybrid agency.
[05:16] We care a lot about our branding ourselves, and I think a lot of people can vouch for that. Saying there's no barrier to entry to what we do. Not like in a SaaS company where you have to have the development in place. You have to have the actual product in place before you start going.
[05:30] We just say that we do PPC and then boom we could set up shop tomorrow if you want us to. What we try to do differently is saying, "What can we do to become thought leaders? What can we do to have our concept be the best that it can be, and what can we do to get opportunities to speak at conferences and stuff like that?"
[05:46] That's what I've been focusing on more because then we start differentiating ourselves even though we still might be a PPC agency.
Andy: [05:53] To get into the nuts and bolts of it a bit, to get into the PPC, the landing page conversion, all of that. Although the easiest question is going to be something like what are SaaS companies doing wrong with how they approach PPC? You've covered so many different things. It's just that usually too much for them to handle if they don't do it well or what problems do they usually have when they come to you?
Johnathan: [06:15] Two major things that come to mind right now is they had this spaghetti on the wall approach, meaning the shotgun approach. They say, "Let's just launch this. Let's just be fast about this." That's a common quality of SaaS companies I feel like, and that's good. It's good that they're fast.
[06:32] But not that you need to do a lot of research. A lot of people would bore you to say, "You need to do a QR research, you need to do a bid analysis." I'm like bullshit. That's not true. You don't have to. You know what keywords you're going to bid on and the market is the market.
[06:44] When you launch your ads and you say that the cost for clicks are too expensive, either you suck at converting that traffic or you need to up your prices. Easy, those are things you’re going up against. The second thing is people don’t know what is actually making them money. With the spaghetti against the wall, there [inaudible] sticks.
[07:02] They don't have an idea of what…They might be tracking sign ups and trials but they're not tracking what's making them money. That's a challenge for SaaS companies who have a long sale cycle where that Google click IP for example or that conversion pixel from Facebook might expire by then. There's a good chance that they can have it in there.
[07:20] Their CRM or their backend tool that they're keeping track of everything. They can see which key is responsible for this lead and then in the future, every month they might run a report in saying, "OK. How many trials or how many leads turn into paid customers and from them, can we see where they came from?"
[07:36] Not just that they came from PPC, not just that they came from AdWords or Facebook. Not just that they came from some campaign, but what key did they come from? What happens is once you start getting that granular with your data, you can see keyword one and two might have the same conversion rates instead of AdWords or, these two audiences might have the same conversion rate instead of Facebook.
[07:57] But when we look at the sales rates, the closing rates of these trials or conversations turning into sales, it's remarkably different. Meaning some just have a higher intent to close faster and at a higher rate. They might be more enterprise level, they might be small business level.
[08:14] Once you have that data, now you start seeing what is making you money and you're going to be smarter about your allocation of budget and also be OK having the thought of being OK to pay more per conversion. Because you know that those type of keywords or that type of audience or that display placement on the display network is performing a lot better for you.
[08:36] A lot of people put a blanket approach in saying, "Yeah. We just need to get a CPA of X and we're happy." That's BS because we're going to figure out really quickly that some of these don't make any sense for you and some of them do.
[08:47] The worst thing is that people who are running ads or campaigns through different PPC channels, they will have the initial conversion of a trial for example and the problem is they don't see that those are quality trials or not. They don't go positive because inside of AdWords or Facebook, they treat them all the same, which isn't the case.
Andy: [09:10] That's one of the things where as you look deeper into metrics, it's not like you have a single trial conversion rate or lead to sale rate. It's not like you have a single metric that applies to every single channel and every single keyword to all this. It's all different.
[09:24] When you look at it at too high of a level to say we need to hit this number no matter the channel, no matter whatever. You're going to be losing money because most of the time those things fall like a power law in the sense that some channels just don't provide leads that are 10 times better than others. Someone else doesn't matter how many leads they throw at you, they're never going to turn into customers.
Johnathan: [09:46] Exactly and the thing is too, a lot of SaaS companies are smart enough than the average business out there, where they'll have UTM parameters and stuff like that. The problem is if you Google the Iceberg Effect KlientBoost, I haven't been able to rank for just Iceberg effect by itself. I'm trying to coin that term like the skyscraper technique. It's not catching fire like I'd hope it to but, maybe in the future.
Andy: [10:09] I'm put them in the show notes so you get some extra SEO juice.
Johnathan: [10:13] Sounds good. What happens with that is even when they're really, really smart and as a SaaS company, you might be doing UTM tracking. Through analytics you have your dashboard analytics and you're seeing, "Oh, we have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and we can see where all of these are coming from."
[10:26] Again, they're just attributing it to the source. Some might go as far as doing it to keyword level, but what happens with…When you think about the Iceberg Effect, what that really means is that even when you're bidding on keywords, the search terms that you're paying for are completely different from your keywords.
[10:41] Even if you're thinking you're doing a good enough job tracking keyword level sales, if you took it that far, if your discrepancy ratio between a search term to keyword is 50 to 1, meaning like for every keyword you're bidding on, you're actually paying for 50 different search terms, you're screwing yourself because now you still don't have a good picture.
[10:57] That's another reason why it's hard to explain. It doesn't sound sexy at all other than what differentiates us.
[11:02] When you do and you have what we call a Single Keyword Ad Groups for example, and you lower that ratio to be more equal, now you can be sure that what is making you money is actually what is making you money, so to speak.
[11:14] It's just about being very nerdy and the problem is, it takes a lot of time to do that and that's what as a growth team or somebody who's a lone digital marketer at a SaaS company doesn't have the time to do because they got 19 other things that are going on in the kitchen.
Andy: [11:29] It's one of those things where especially for early stage startups where you don't have a big team, everyone's trying to do everything, if you're balancing this you're going to be missing a lot. You could probably have a positive ROI from giving you like a good enough effort but you're leaving a ton of money on the table without going deep.
Johnathan: [11:46] Absolutely. The thing is and I think anybody can agree to this, every single marketing channel works. It does. Like you can do bus ads or I'm trying to think like putting your SaaS company name on your own face.
Andy: [11:59] Direct mail.
Johnathan: [11:57] It's still alive. The thing is it's about attention obviously and seeing where you can actually get the ROI when you're tracking it. It's about exhausting what you're doing and your opportunities with that certain channel to get to that sweet spot that you need.
[12:13] Within any healthy company, even SaaS for that matter, it's like how good are the ads differentiating their incoming growth platforms like PPCs, SEOs, social, bus billboards, regular billboards, things like that.
[12:27] The thing is like you said, they might launch and do just fine, but they can do so much better and actually know too that they can put more money behind it because they know what works and what doesn't at a more granular level of what's actually making them money.
Andy: [12:41] I like how you said that you need to exhaust it because that's the thing where is that if you have one person trying five or more different growth channels and PPCs is just one of them, it's not that it's going to take them five times as long to exhaust it because when you're balancing that many things mentally, you're not just only 20 percent as effective, you're less than that.
[13:01] You're way less effective because you can't. You're focusing on so many things, there's context switching. There's so much else going on so it's not even like a simple arithmetic problem like that.
Johnathan: [13:12] You are preaching so hard right now.
Andy: [13:15] [laughs] But so, one thing that, to get into some of the common myths about…I want to talk about the nerdiest level, I'm kind of geeking on that. One of the things that I've heard all the time is that people have moved on beyond the Facebook ads are dead things. It's hard to keep preaching that even though everyone's telling you to hear it.
Johnathan: [13:34] Wait. Who says that? Who says that?
Andy: [13:35] I think they're moving beyond Facebook ads. It's not becoming as much of a meme as it used to be where years ago it was nonstop, like you would keep hearing something about that. People have wised up that they're clearly not dead, especially with Facebook keeps posting record profits like someone's giving them these ads.
Johnathan: [13:56] Sorry. Not to cut you off but it's like, one, it's sensationalism where the whistle blower mentality, "Oh, you need to do…" You're an OK guy for advertising. Just to give you an example, or just the fact that it is like Facebook is still like…I consider Google AdWords and what that does is such a reactive advertising method which is great because you may have a high intent.
[14:19] It can be more expensive. Sure. But don't cry about it like that, again, it's just the market. It's Web 1.0when it comes to ads. Whereas Facebook just keeps coming up, and like Instagram stories now and stuff like that. They're just chipping away at it and like you've seen, I think was it 12 out of their 13 quarters, they've beaten expectations from Wall Street every single time?
[14:40] Obviously, it still works and wipe your tears and just get better at what you're doing instead of crying.
Andy: [14:47] For sure. The hard thing that I'm still curious about with Facebook ads is that with search, it's clear, there's intent. The mindset a lot of people would say, "Well, people don't go to Facebook. They go to Facebook to get away from work." Selling B2B, selling SaaS, it's really hard on Facebook. How do you overcome that?
Johnathan: [15:11] It's so simple. When you think about being in different mindsets and I was on stage in Estonia, like last month making an entire presentation about this. I call it the Ice Cube and Volcano. Actually, that's a lie. The "Ice Cube and Lava Scale of Intent." Meaning because you have people…Let's say they are your target on Facebook. Now they're going to have a higher intent because they actually already know who you are. You might get by getting them to do that. Sign up for a trial or whatever.
[15:37] But if you hit them cold, the intent isn't there. They're not looking for what you have to offer unless your audience targeting is so specific and you're targeting a group of 40 people, which is obviously way too low. You can't even get by with that. But you're so specific then you can have a more threatening offer.
[15:53] What I say is, when you have ice cubes, you have like display traffic, meaning somebody just seen your banner ad on a publisher's website because Google thinks it's contextually relevant to what they're reading in that article, that is very, very low intent. You can't ask for your most threatening offer which is low on your funnel as far as a…
Andy: [16:11] What would you consider a threatening offer?
Johnathan: [16:15] Anything that actually requires multiple touch points of personal information. So name, phone number, password, stuff like that that requires effort, it requires attention, things like that. If you change that and you're OK with saying well, "I'm OK using Facebook but I'm going to have a lower threat offer."
[16:32] Meaning, I'm going to ask them to do less. I still want to get them on board and I'll be starting with saying, "Oh, read this blog post."
[16:38] If I get enough people to read this blog post and I can go on Google Analytics and create a custom audience that says if they came from Facebook and they spend at least two minutes on this blog post, I got their interest. I got their attention. The next thing I'm going to do is create a retargeting campaign that has the next thing up that is more threatening.
[16:54] Meaning, they're now going to download a guide and they're going to give me their email addresses.
[16:58] As you progress closer to increase the threat of your offer until you actually get to the trial, your audience size is going to shrink obviously. It's just going to go right through the funnel. The problem is, do you know and do you again exhaust your options of asking yourself what gated content can I create that progressively gets them closer to where I want them to be?
[17:17] I can't be a very, very horny marketer that I am with brute force and think that I'm going to get everybody to sign up to a free trial today because they're completely cold. Let me educate them, let me nurture them, let me show them my thought leadership. Let me give them value, let me scratch their back.
[17:35] It makes sense when you bring it down that low but not a lot of people will think that way. Because they are like, "Oh shit, like Facebook ads are dead," or "My targeting is crap." It could be. It could also be most likely your offer.
[17:45] You can get to like…A perfect example. We have a client that does not SaaS but it's a good example. You're going to get it. They sell mouthpieces for snoring. There is an audience level interest where you can target wives that are interested in sleep problems, or snoring problems funny enough, and we got a 60 percent conversion rate for it but guess what we're doing?
[18:13] We were giving them the chance to win a free pillow, people love that shit, they just do. And they had to sign up for a newsletter on learning what they can do to get better at helping their husband we made sure they were married, we were targeting women that were married to stop snoring. Because again, it affects them.
[18:29] They have the incentive to figure this out, not the husband, the husband sleeps soundly. The females don't.
[18:35] What happened was, again, we lowered the offer. We might have even sprinkled too much sugar on top because we gave away free pillows, too. But if you did that, now you understand that the ultimate goal is to sell these mouthpieces. But you can't even get them onboard.
[18:49] If you can't get their foot in the door into your physical store, so to speak, you're never going to make the sale anyways. Focus on getting them in first, and then care about doing it.
[18:59] You're not going to get somebody who is cold walking around the mall, doesn't even know what your store is, but just goes in there, goes straight to the cash register and says, "I'm going to buy." That doesn't happen. It doesn't happen online either.
Andy: [19:10] Regardless of whether it's B2B or even B2C, you still see a ton of these flick ads where they're just trying to sell you something directly. For lower price things, I'm guessing maybe it can be enough of an impulse buy that it could work.
[19:25] But with B2B, there's a trust element involved especially when it's related to business, especially when it's related to all that and a higher price point. You're more just saying, "You need to start earlier in the relationship and truly nurture them, and keep hitting them again, move them down the path."
Johnathan: [19:42] Exactly. Like you said for B2B it is different. The audience is smaller, and the sale cycle is always going to be longer. It just is. That's a fact, too.
[19:50] It's just like content marketing. You start off, you might get a couple people hitting your blog and reading some stuff, but don't expect any fireworks to happen. It's just like a regular dating relationship. Again, what can you do to first approach the person? Get their name, get their number, then go on a date, then go to the movie, then, you know how the rest goes. Go down the path. And so that's how you have to approach it. The same thing with the PPC side.
[20:18] One thing that is very important is understanding that you need to have the plumbing on the back end figured out, too. As you get people to opt in to your low threat offer, shoot, if you're not keeping track of who did and who didn't, you're not going to be having an easy time getting them to the next level.
[20:30] You're targeting audiences, making sure that you're excluding from others and things like that are going to be highly important. Again, once you get there it's really addicting. Once you get the first couple examples of ideas coming through. Even if you do lower the threat, and you give a guide or something like that, understand too that the context of what you're trying to give matters.
[20:49] If you're on Facebook and you give an e book, I think there are stats out there that say that even people who download e books don't ever read them. Or 70 percent don't read them. Or if they do, they read the first two pages and that's it.
[21:01] What can you do to make multiple offers that are in the same threat category that you can test with?
[21:08] I did a webinar with Kissmetrics on the display network where we talked about 30 different offers that you can mess with. You can test out yourself to get to that level of figuring out what works and what doesn't.
Andy: [21:23] When a SaaS company comes to you, and they say, "Hey, let's make this work." What is your process of working them?
[21:30] Do they already need to have the content prepared? I know you said you create some of that, but what if they come to you and they're doing no content marketing, they're doing nothing. How do you work with them to get them to a point where this can be profitable?
Johnathan: [21:44] To create gated offers like guides for example, we ask them to write the content. They are the best at it anyways. We might pretty it up, we might actually put it in the PDF form and build the landing page and the image ads that are associated with it and that's it.
[21:58] Before we do that, if they are already doing PPC, we do an evaluation and audit with them. We say, "Here are all your low hanging fruits."
[22:06] We give them all those ideas. This is just us when we have them of the phone, we say, "Feel free to do this yourself if you can. We just don't think you're as good as us to execute it."
[22:16] We give them all our free ideas of what we would do, and then most likely they'll say, "Let's move forward. What you guys are saying is correct."
[22:24] We take care of the foundational stuff meaning making sure that you actually have a strong, solid foundation from your account perspective, that you're not letting anything slip through the cracks that's bad traffic, irrelevant traffic, things like that. Then we start doing the stuff that's further up the funnel.
[22:40] If we can't get trials because people are looking for them on Google and they have the intent, we'll start there. That's how you guys are going to make the fastest money. That's how you're going to pay for us the fastest too, and that's what we care about.
[22:49] Obviously they would care about that, too. Then we move up the ladder, so to speak, up the funnel afterwards. Then we discuss other opportunities.
[22:57] It gets pretty crazy because then you have Facebook, Twitter, you have carousel ads, canvas ads. You have Gmail sponsored promotions ads and apps, smart display data. I can almost have the longest scroll for you of options.
[23:12] It's a lot of fun because once you can get them to perform in a predictable manner, now you then move on to the next thing and you keep building on top of it.
Andy: [23:22] I was browsing over some of the content in your blog and there's one of the posts about the Gmail sponsored content ad, but I haven't even thought about those. I geek out reading about this stuff and I was like, "I knew those existed, but it didn't even jump up on my radar." The rabbit hole goes pretty deep once you can set up the funnel that works.
Johnathan: [23:43] KlientBoost hasn't even been a business for two years, but I've worked with clients for over five and the chance of a plateau is so far out. Meaning there's always stuff that we can do which is crazy.
[23:57] Once we get to the half life of a client or the lifetime that they stick with us, either we keep giving them value and showing them because we have so many tricks up our sleeves.
[24:09] This is what they don't like sometimes, is me being honest. If you are a really smart agency, you're like Apple.
[24:15] Meaning I already know that the iPhone 8 is going to be like, but I'm not going to tell you about it because let me tease you. Let me keep giving you value, obviously, and show you the performance. I might not tell you what we're going to do six months down the road because again, it might change as far as our opportunities because we want to tackle something else at that time.
[24:32] Or like a new beta comes out, who knows? But we always have a really strong master list of saying, "Oh, OK, we exhausted this. The impression shares are maxed out. What's next?" And so that's something that we keep ourselves entertained with, and the clients, too.
Andy: [24:46] Because that was something I was going to ask was, "What kind of results can companies get?" A lot of them, they might play around with Facebook ads just themselves and if they think they have the perfect audience and it's small and so they're like, "Well, this isn't worth it to even figure this out."
[25:05] What you're saying is that's just the beginning. Figure that out there, but then you're going to go wide. Like you're saying at this point, it almost doesn't plateau.
Johnathan: [25:13] No. If you think about it, not that you have the money of hotels.com or the ad budgets, but there are companies out there that are like, "Hey man, we saturated digital. Let's just buy impressions." I'm like, "What the hell?"
[25:30] That is where you eventually where you want to get to, but it didn't start that way for that company. They started and just got really good at figuring out how do we conquer display, search and social one by one and figure out how to do that?
[25:43] It's just a matter of, again, don't be romantic about it. Just know what your equations are. Know where you math is. Then saying, "What can we do to say now we're in a mode where things are…"
[25:53] I never say, "Print money," because I hate that because it makes it sound easy because it's not. But literally it is just…what the frick is the word I'm trying to find? It is predictable, that's what I'm trying to find.
Andy: [26:06] You know that it will take work to get there but you can put in a dollar and get back more than that.
Johnathan: [26:11] Exactly.
Andy: [26:12] Are there any companies, SaaS or otherwise, that you think kill it in the PPC space?
Johnathan: [26:20] As far as specific names of SaaS companies?
Andy: [26:23] Yeah. That you can just look at.
Johnathan: [26:25] I don't know. I can know from a 30 foot view, Domo out of Utah for example. They were the biggest spender of LinkedIn ads forever.
[26:33] Do I think that they are just crushing it on a performance side? Probably not. I actually know the guy who is running it for them too, so I wouldn't say so. But there are a ton of companies that just have unlimited amounts of money.
[26:46] You can use your regular search spy tools like SpyFu, SEMrush, and use display tools like what runs where. TrackMaven, that's more for organic, like social.
[26:57] You can see how wide these companies go. Maybe not deep, but pretty wide.
[27:04] As far as somebody "crushing it" I haven't gotten the approval to show some of our sexy SaaS companies for a case yet. But as soon as they are there I will do another podcast and I can tell you.
Andy: [27:17] Yeah, we'll talk about that. It's funny because you talked about how SaaS companies, especially the VC funded ones that just want to go fast, it's, "Go, go, go." But, in the other podcast we did you're not that different. In your agency, like you said, is two years old, you've blown through over a million dollars recurring revenue a year with great margins.
[27:37] You're not that different so what are those accelerating growth plans for you?
Johnathan: [27:43] As an agency, you mean?
Andy: [27:44] Yeah.
Johnathan: [27:45] I have been like…is it Chip and Dale? The two chipmunks from Disney?
Andy: [27:51] Yeah, they are.
Johnathan: [27:52] Where they hoard their nuts, basically? That's a weird analogy, but that's what I've been doing. I have just been saving cash.
[27:59] I was part of another agency before where we put every single dollar that we made back into the business, and it's funny because on the SaaS side you have…this is my Danish background completely limiting me on certain words right now…market share, there you go.
[28:15] That's the word. In SaaS world, you have market share to attack pretty quickly. In agency world, there is really no market share. It is humongous and clients leave agencies and go sign up with agencies all the time.
[28:28] I feel like it's like the universe expanding because people just…
Andy: [28:32] It's not so much of a land grab.
Johnathan: [28:35] No, there's not much land grab. When I was thinking about it, it didn't make sense only for our own obsession of growth as an agency to say, "Oh, yeah, let's get to 15 employees in the first year and say that we did it without any funding and then we can write a media post about it." That's bullshit.
[28:50] I don't care about that. I care about buying my own house, things like that. That was my first goal.
[28:56] I thought to myself, "What is the hardest marketing channel that we should conquer?" If we can conquer that, it makes everything else a lot easier.
[29:05] The funny thing is we spent no money in PPC ourselves. We put all our money and marketing dollars in content because I know content is the only medium I'm not just saying blog posts, but video and all these other things or channel where you can get value first.
[29:19] It doesn't really happen that way with PPC. People then go back to Google, click on the next thing, and then they fill out that form, and they see who has the best deal sometimes.
[29:29] I knew that wasn't how I wanted to compete. That being said, what we're doing ourselves is we're actually doubling down on content. We're coming out with more webinars.
[29:38] I'm pretty aggressive on the speaking side now. I got invited to go back to Vancouver for the Unbounce Call to Action Conference for their all star lineup, and I was like, "Hell yeah!" That was my first time speaking, I was so pumped. That is awesome.
[29:54] That plus our own PPC we're definitely going to do. What we preach, we're going to practice ourselves. It's just a matter of what can we do to spread out. Outbound cold marketing campaigns, plus PPC, plus content. I think that's the health of a company that can grow fastest. Now they're predictable, so that's what we have in line for the rest of this year.
Andy: [30:16] Thanks. Anything exciting in the next, in shorter term. For the rest of the year, you have that. Is there anything you're excited to release? Any new content coming out?
Johnathan: [30:24] Yeah, so there’s a big…two things. We’re doing AdWords master email training program course which is seven days long. We got some pretty heavy hitters that are very well known with the PPC space. I purposely put myself in there obviously. [laughs]
[30:39] There are six others, like Brad Geddes, Fred [inaudible] . I feel really bad, but I forgot the other names, too. What happens is, you finish reading the email. At the end of the email, you take a quiz. If you got all the answers right, you earn a sticker that's a tool. We call it the "AdWords Tool Belt Course." You get a hammer for that day.
[31:00] The next day, you might get a file, or a screwdriver, or whatever.
[31:05] If you get the answers wrong, you get to re take it, but not until you actually tweet that you were on this course. It helps with the morality. Again, this is all in my head. I don't know how it's going to work, so we'll have to see how good it is.
[31:19] At the end of the day, a person who goes through the entire course, again we have their attention. That's what I care most about. When they finish, we'll mail them a custom little envelope that looks like a tool belt with the sticker tools in there saying, "Thank you, you're awesome." That's it.
[31:34] All I care about is building brand equity and fans. That's all I care about. The other thing, and this is the sticker idea, came from this year's Call to Action conference in Vancouver, where I told everybody the whole speech, so to speak, was about the PPC poop emoji scale.
[31:54] We custom made a regular poop emoji that looks sad, a gold poop emoji that was like "Eh," and then a diamond poop emoji that was really happy. I told everybody, "Let's go through these five secrets that I have, and let's rank yourself. Be honest with yourself. Where are you on the PPC poop emoji scale? Are you diamond shit, or are you just regular shit?"
[32:15] At the end, I told everybody, "I have a secret for you. Before you leave today, I want to make sure that you remember this. I want to make sure that when you go home, sit down in front of your desk, open the computer, and look inside the PPC accounts, that you know exactly what to do to take it from regular crap to diamond shit level. Because of that, I want you to look underneath your seats. Stand up, please."
[32:34] I got them all to stand up, and then they reached underneath. There was a little envelope, and in that envelope, the envelope had little toilet roll things on them. Inside there were stickers of those poop emojis, and people just went crazy.
[32:46] I manufactured my own standing ovation. I'm going to say they did it just because they loved it, but I had a hand in it, obviously.
Andy: [32:54] That's clever.
Johnathan: [32:54] What happened was, we got such great feedback. I got third place out of all speakers, like 25, which was tremendous. I beat Ali Gardner and Grant Fish, and I was like, "Fuck yeah."
[33:08] No, I love those guys. They've been in the game for a very long time. We're going to make a webinar about that, and it's going to be a slot machine style landing page where people can go through, and then they can sign up for a webinar.
[33:19] It's a way for us to do lead gen and say, "Hey, now that we've shown you this, let us do an evaluation. If we find nothing, or if we do, we'll send you these stickers ourselves. I don't know how valuable it is to the minds of people, but it's different, and it's funny. I think we're the only PPC agency that cares and is OK with not being politically correct all the time.
Andy: [33:38] That's awesome. Honestly, Johnathan, I shouldn't have asked that question, because now I have a thousand other things I want to ask you. What we'll do is, when you get those case studies approved, at some point in time we'll have you come back and we can talk more about the quality of the shit, if it's diamond quality or whatever.
[33:57] We'll wrap up for now by just asking you, if listeners want to get more of these PPC tips, if they want to see the quality of their PPC shit, where can they go to do that, and follow you, your agency, and your story?
Johnathan: [34:11] Klientboost.com. It's a very weird spelling, it's with a K. It's client as in customer, and then boost as in rocket boost. Very cliché, I know. Klientboost.com, that's where we have our stuff. We only post about once a week. Once we post, it's pretty great stuff.
[34:25] We're actually going to up that, and we're hiring another content person full time on staff. That's it. From there, whatever else fancies your boat, or whatever you say. Twitter, you can do that too.
Andy: [34:41] Johnathan, I want to say thanks again for coming on the show today.
Johnathan: [34:43] Thank you. Thanks for having me.