CEO of https://useproof.com YC W18. Husband. Father. I have a tattoo on the inside of my mouth. Built 3 companies, but now on a mission to make the internet delightfully human. Check out my podcast, "Scale or Die" here - https://useproof.com/scaleordie
You absolutely do not need to work at an agency before starting one of your own! I have never worked in the industry at all before and just started offering digital marketing to companies a few months ago and already have 9 clients - literally starting from nothing.
You don't even need to know HOW to do the marketing like Adwords, SEO, etc, because you can outsource all of that. You just need to start by reaching out to companies with over $500k/yr in sales that have a poor internet presence, and have an average sale of over $800 and you can help them grow for sure.
If you need help, I can set you up with the contractors to outsource to, and give you some pointers on how I landed my first client 3 months ago. You can do it!
If this is your first venture, I would definitely say just pick 1. Getting even one idea off the ground will take everything you have! IF you can pull of one first, you will be able to do more down the road for sure.
In the last 45 day, I've gone from $0-$12k revenue (most of it recurring monthly) offering digital marketing consulting. It took me a few months of crazy focus on getting traction, but now that I've starting bringing in revenue, I can think a bit more about if there are some other things I'd like to weave in.
Get after it, my friend! Shoot me a message if you need some help.
The answer here changes dramatically based on your target customer.
If your company is b2b, then SEO and Adwords is most likely not going to achieve the best results. Most businesses are not actively searching for products or services at a high rate. You'd be much better off spending your resources on outbound email marketing, PR, and increasing the conversion rate of your traffic and customers.
If you are b2c, in a market where consumers are searching for you product/service then SEO is most likely your best long term strategy. The reason is because you can think of SEO as investing into your website as an asset. When you spend money on advertising, the money is gone after the ad runs. But with SEO, you are building into a website that will stay valuable for the long haul, especially if it is producing leads/sales.
You would then be wise to make the most of your traffic and it's increased rankings through a sales funnel. Make sure you give them a hook once they hit your site. The action you want them to take should be very clear, even in a fraction of a second.
For visitors who leave your site without taking the desired action, you can bring them back using a combination of retargeting and email marketing for low cost customer acquisition.
Put it all together and you'll have a customer acquisition machine that runs on autopilot! Now you can focus on the other 1000 tasks involved with scaling a business :)
Reach out to me to hear how to specifically implement customer growing techniques. Would be happy to help.
I don't know that I have any crazy "out of the box" ideas for you aside of maybe recommending a bounce house out front (those things are awesome).
But seriously, I have one word for you: Trip Wire.
You need something to get people in the door for the first time. There's something very powerful about someone converting into a customer, even if they only pay you $1.
If you price your sales funnel correctly by having easy up-sell items and profit maximizers (think: Soda, beer, fries, etc) then you can actually sell your "trip-wire" at cost or even lose money on it.
If you choose to use a "coupon" to advertise your trip-wire, make it a specific dollar amount and not a certain percentage off. "$.50 cheeseburgers for this week only" instead of "30% off this week". Don't be afraid to make it crazy. You have a lot of competition.
Then, as long as the quality of your establishment is high, you will certainly enjoy a consistent stream of repeat customers following your tripwire sale.
I would also add that some serious follow-up needs to be involved to ensure LTV of a customer is high. Make sure you have an email list - maybe even have them exchange their email to receive the tripwire deal.
Once you get a funnel like that lined up (and this works in ALL businesses), you can spend more to acquire a customer than your competition, because you'll make it all up on the backend. That's a pretty powerful situation, as Amazon can attest to.
Let me know if you have any questions! Shoot me a reply on Clarity.
The quickest path to cash is almost always consulting. Be very specific about what it is you can offer. Don't just offer "business consulting". Find a niche and serve it.
Reach out to your network, including friends and family and ask if they need or know of anyone who might want to hear about what your consulting has to offer. That will be way faster than trying to go at it from scratch or cold calling.
If you call 100 people in your network this week, you will have a consulting gig within 3 weeks.
Good luck, and let me know if you'd like advice on entering a digital marketing/lead generation consulting niche. I've grown from zero to $8,000 of monthly recurring payments in the last 40 days!
I. Love. Sales Funnels.
Your sales funnel is failing to maximize profits if you are missing one very important step: A trip wire.
A trip wire is a low cost offer that comes before your $47 offering. It's goal is to convert them from prospect to customer at a "no-brainer" price, before presenting them with your main offering. Something amazing happens when someone gets out their credit card, even if they only pay your company $1.
A great tripwire for you will be between $3-$9 and will provide a TON of value for a very easy to stomach price. You can lose money at this stage to acquire the customer, because you'll recoup it at the next stage: Your $47 offering.
Here's an example funnel that will work wonders for you:
Traffic Source > Landing page with free content bait for email optin > Immediately offer trip wire > Offer $47 infoproduct
You can use retargeting and email drip campaigns to follow up those who don't convert immediately which will fix a leaky funnel and increase conversions at a very high ROI.
Remember: Traffic is the easy part. You can buy if from dozens of sources. The real value and competitive advantage comes from building a funnel that outperforms your competition and allows to to spend loads on acquiring a customer. Take the time on the front end to make a high-converting funnel and you'll see your business grow.
Please reach out for a quick phone call if you'd like help with a custom funnel :)
My firm often structures our deals this way and we love showing ROI to our customers. The best and easiest way to do this is to ask your client what their average revenue is per sale and average profit margin, and then calculate ROI from there.
It's too complicated to get into the books and show exact ROI, but most customers are just fine using estimated internal costs to prove ROI. We don't pull the trigger on a deal unless we feel we can provide 500% ROI which provides plenty of wiggle room on either side of the deal for unexpected events.