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Johnathan Dane is the founder of KlientBoost, a hybrid PPC/CRO agency that's grown from $0 to $300K MRR in less than two years, all through their own content.

He's fanatical about simplicity and running experiments that show the fastest ROI in the least amount of time. In other words, his agency's approach to growth proves to be incredibly effective for his clients.

In addition to running his agency, Johnathan is also an international speaker (who will join us in LA for GrowthHackers Conference) who's known for interactive presentations, humor, and random gifts.

You can follow him on Twitter: @JohnathanDane.

He will be live on April 25th starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • JM

    Jacob McMillen

    over 2 years ago #

    You've mentioned that content marketing was the key to your growth. Would you say the growth came mainly as a product of volume? As in, you increased traffic by such a significant number that the statistics worked out? Or were there specific types of content that you found attracted the higher payment clients your agency works with?

    Also, what percentage of your new clients in 2016 came through your blog versus content-based JV's with other sites?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Not at all haha!

      If you check slide #5 here: https://www.slideshare.net/KlientBoost/croday-sujan-patel-johnathan-dane-6-ways-to-seriously-drive-conversions-with-your-content

      Then, we were focused only on volume, trying to get out 3 posts/week, but basically regurgitating our content and nothing happened. So things stayed very flat, even as volume was high.

      We then started publishing only once/week, but then went extremely deep on the topic and focused much more on promotion, and that was our catalyst.

      In regards to specific types of content, it's honestly all over the place. There are certainly some posts that have more conversion volume than others though, but nothing to be actionable about :)

      In 2015, almost all our clients came from guest blogging, in 2016, it was mostly our own content. We basically piggy backed off other site's domain authority until we established ourselves.

      3 Share
  • SP

    Sujan Patel

    over 2 years ago #

    How to do hire and retain good talent? Can you share how your team is structured.

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Intent and honesty are the two biggest things.

      We have a lot of fun, but it's not your usual obnoxious agency crap. Everyone here knows exactly how much revenue the company is making and has a very transparent path to promotions and salary bumps. I share the tough times as well and ask our team for feedback so everyone feels like their contribution is more than just the day to day.

      I think the intent and honesty of the owner is vital too. I want to be the most predictable person in the world so people know how I react to any good or bad news we get, and when that happens, people feel empowered to put out their own flames or bask in their own glory, which is how it should be :)

      Lastly, I think the upside we're having and our growth obviously gets people excited + our new business plans.

      8 Share
  • RS

    Ross Simmonds

    over 2 years ago #

    Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA Johnathan - Couple quick questions:

    1) What's something you've learned about running an agency in the last few months that you wish you knew when you first got started with KlientBoost?

    2) How can a paid media agency ensure relevance for the next 10 years with the rise of automation? Or do you think automation will never get to a point where it competes with what media agencies offer?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      What's up, Ross! Thanks for the questions!

      1) Focus. As a guy who wears a million different hats, we could grow so much quicker than we have if I dedicated my time to the bigger needle movers around our growth.

      If you look at my calendar, there are so many small one off things that steal my momentum. So I wish I was tougher on my own time constraints and better at saying no :)

      2) Become the Uber of agencies. Start with human power and then try to put yourself out of business with automation. That's where we're going ;)

      I think that the numbers, media buying, tracking etc can easily be done by a robot, but the creative side will take a little longer to automate, which is why we have our CRO offering too.

  • KH

    Keith Hanson

    over 2 years ago #

    I'd love to hear a story on your biggest sale in your first year; how did you get the prospect interested? What were their challenges and how did you get around them? How big was it and did they get an ROI?

    Tell us how your growth strategy for KlientBoost itself has changed from starting up to now. What do you attribute to figuring out successfully "what to do" at each stage of your monster growth? What specific techniques can other growing agencies apply?

    Do you use sales people for your agency? If not, how do your (B2B and potentially complex) closes occur? Who handles inbound sales today?

    Do you offer bespoke services for customers or strict packages they can't veer out of?

    If you do offer custom services, how do you anticipate scaling that, or do you care about scaling much?

    How big do you want your agency to grow (people and rev)?

    Do you plan to exit, or have a forever sort of business asset?

    Has running an agency been everything you hoped and dreamed? What were the eye opening moments for you?

    How do you find your talent? Do you have apprenticeships and training? Or do you look for the best of the best? Or a mixture of both?

    If you had to start a different sort of agency, what would it be and why? What's coming around the corner that you see?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Lol, dang Keith! I need to like mentally prep myself for all these questions.

      Our biggest sale in the first year was actually a magazine publisher that we closed around $15k/mo, and the crazy part was that the sales process was less than a week. They're still our client today.

      Their biggest challenge was lowering CPA, but more than that, they weren't able to tie revenue down to the keyword level. Once we did that, everything became insanely more efficient. They doubled their revenue potential in less than 6 months with us.

      Our growth strategy hasn't changed since day 1. We know exactly how many clients each account manager can manage, and we know the revenue manager per account manager as well. So since day 1, we've just been copying and pasting :) The only technique we have is Skyscraper Technique'ing everything, no matter what we do :D

      I still do mostly all our sales, and because of our content, our sales happen very quickly.

      We don't offer bespoke packages, because we know exactly how many clients each internal person can handle, changing this would screw things up.

      We're moving into our new office this Friday that can hold 50 people. After that, we're going into new cities, so no end goal really or plans of an exit. We love the journey and have too much fun as is :)

      Running an agency hasn't been that tough when you cut away 99% of the unnecessary BS that a lot of agencies deal with. We don't have a lot of different people working on one client, we have one person working on one client. And we simplify the crap out of everything, and continue to work on that.

      In regards to finding our talent, it's becoming increasingly more of an issue for us. We recently decided to start bringing on junior level people so we can grow them into account managers quicker. We do have people move from other states to be with us, so our goal is to bring bigger PPC/CRO people to be with us, and groom our own as well.

      I wouldn't start a different type of agency, we've found the best one - and the simplest one too. We're going to be working on automation next, which can be an entirely new business in and of itself :)

      3 Share
      • KH

        Keith Hanson

        over 2 years ago #

        THANKS!!!!

        RE: Your exit strategy: Sounds like you may have a forever sort of business on your hands :D

        RE: Simplifying and knowing managerial limits: brilliant. As a 100% custom services agency, I am insanely jealous :P

        RE: Talent
        That's exactly what we have to do. We created an apprenticeship program where they start at very affordable hourlies, and then we bump them up $3/hr every quarter for 1-2 years, converting them to salary at a reasonable point for everyone.

        I've found my best people this way, and separated out the hustlers from the wannabes quickly and cheaply :D Highly recommended!!!

  • JQ

    Jason Quey

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan! Thanks for doing this AMA.

    What do you believe are the core components to starting and managing a successful marketing agency?

    What do you believe is not necessary, but valuable to scale efficiently and quickly?

    What do most people overlook/forget to do when creating an agency that often results in disaster?

    Thanks in advance!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey man :)

      I think the biggest core component is charging your clients enough so you continually have a great profit cushion even when you scale. Because as your agency grows, you'll eventually have to stop n' go between hiring and bringing on new clients, which is a big momentum killer.

      Revenue and profits fix everything, so that's our biggest component :)

      In regards to what is not necessary, but helps you scale quickly, is a training program that you can literally take anyone off the street, put them through it, and have them be up and running in less than 3 months. Now you have something that traditionally isn't scalable (an agency) to something that is.

      The thing that most people forget when creating an agency that leads to disaster is lead gen for themselves. Most agencies start off with their own network and referrals from current clients, but that dries out quickly.

      And when an agency owner knows that, they get timid on scaling and hiring (which is understandable). That's why we wanted to achieve success via what we thought was the toughest channel to get right but also the most scalable one, content marketing.

      :)

      4 Share
  • RW

    Rob Wormley

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan - thanks for doing the AMA! Big fan of the KlientBoost blog. I have 2 somewhat related questions that I'd love to get your thoughts on:

    1. How do you find and keep the best employees? The marketing industry is a pretty competitive space in terms of finding and securing talent. Where do you start when you're looking to add a new member to your team, and how do you build loyalty and culture at your agency?

    2. How do you find/land clients as an early-stage agency? What are the most important actions other aspiring agency-builders should take to experience early growth and continued success?

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer questions here!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Rob, and thanks man! :D

      1) We've actually groomed our best employees and have a pretty deep rooted culture of camaraderie. So we're never concerned on paying a lot of money for high talent and have them bounce.

      I also challenge the crap out of the team here. So not only do they make good money for being in Southern California (dang expensive), they also feel like there's a never ending path to learn and get better and their craft.

      2) We actually gave our services away for free in exchange for case studies early on. And then used that as proof to close other business :)

      The biggest action I would recommend for new agencies is being different from day 1. Some examples from us:
      1) Not many agencies do both PPC and CRO as well in combination as we do
      2) Not many agencies care about their own design, illustrations, and first impressions. We put heavy emphasis on that and shows when people say they saw our gifographic and want to work with us right away.
      3) And lastly, but most importantly, make your client money. If something is preventing you from making them money, add that as a service. That's what I thought about with PPC. It wasn't enough by itself, we needed to be able to influence the conversion rates too.

  • NK

    Nadya Khoja

    over 2 years ago #

    I have a question about LinkedIn ads- recently read this article of yours https://klientboost.com/ppc/linkedin-ads/

    I understand that LinkedIn ads are much more expensive than other platforms, such as Facebook, but I wanted to know if you think it's worth advertising on this channel if the product being advertised has a relatively low price point (20-50$).

    Is it worth trying to get conversions from LinkedIn? Would it be more beneficial to go after leads? From your experience, what is the average cost per lead or cost per acquisition from LinkedIn?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I don't think so to be honest, unless that product leads to a higher LTV.

      There's not as much nuance to LinkedIn Ads as Facebook, so many advertisers are stuck with quicker ad fatigue and smaller audiences compared to AdWords Display or Facebook.

      In regards to averages, any answer I give you would be worthless. You wouldn't be able to do anything with that info, just like average conversion rates are worthless ;)

  • RA

    Ramin Assemi

    over 2 years ago #

    What's generally the best platform (& ad format) to get started with paid advertising when it comes to lead generation (e.g. opt-ins for free ebooks) for a B2B SaaS company? I realize there are a lot of "it depends on X, Y & Z" factors in there, but if there's one thing you'd pick as "default #1 thing to look into", what would that be?
    (Thanks for doing this AMA, Jonathan!)

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      If it's opt-ins for ebooks, then go Facebook. If it's bottom of the funnel, high intent conversions, go AdWords Search and use landing page optimization to increase conversion rates to offset higher CPCs.

      But as you said, it does depend :)

      3 Share
  • JW

    Jeremy Wick

    over 2 years ago #

    Do you have any predictions for how the PPC/CRO industry will change/evolve over the next 5 years?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I think PPC will become more and more automated for non-creative optimization, but CRO will take much much longer.

  • JS

    James Scherer

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan!

    Klientboost puts a serious emphasis on design with its content, from your gifographics and blog content to monetization/lead-gen Few questions:

    - What role does visual content play in your inbound strategy? How much of your content's success do you think can be ascribed to design?
    - What does your content team look like? Do you have a dedicated designer for your inbound team?

    Thanks so much for doing this AMA! Love what you guys are doing on Klientboost.
    - James

  • JK

    Joel K

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan!

    I'm wondering - if someone is at the starting point you were at some time ago, looking to start a CRO-based agency out of... well, nothing, what would be the three things you'd tell them to do first?

    Also — how did you make decisions about when to hire others? How did you get past the worry of keeping that person busy/employed over time?

    Cheers!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Dude! I can't wait to meet you in Vancouver haha. Thanks for the Qs!

      1) Don't worry about being a master CRO person. Many people will tell you that best practices don't work, that insane levels of research need to happen, etc. But many times, the client is executing so f*** poorly, that using a orange button actually does work wonders.

      2) When you're negotiating prices, ask the client what a lift of, say 20%, to the conversion rate would do for their revenue, and then charge them less than that. That helps with your price anchoring and helps you figure out how to under promise and over deliver. Now you just have to deliver :)

      3) Simplify your strategies. For lead gen and SaaS companies, we've found that using our Breadcrumb Technique (https://klientboost.com/cro/breadcrumb-technique/), we're able to quickly improve conversion rates by at least 25%. No need for copywriting or research to begin with. Then we go deeper and use tools like Hotjar for future tests.

      For the hiring question lol, I waited way too long. I still care more about profitability than growth, so that's why I waited so long on purpose. But consider to opposite:

      Doing work in your business vs on it, is what will keep you too comfy and won't help you grow anything.

      As a solo person, I could probably make $40k/mo by myself, but then once I'm filled up, then what? So you should start making friends with your potential hires from day 1 so they're ready to go and know your business :)

      3 Share
      • JK

        Joel K

        over 2 years ago #

        Such a good response. Thanks so much! Appreciate how thorough you were.

  • RF

    Ryan Farley

    over 2 years ago #

    PPC campaigns can get pretty unwieldy pretty quickly for a lot of businesses - ie any business with a large product offering or a website with lots of local intent. What tips do you have to simplify these campaigns? What tools do you reccomend?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Single Keyword Ad Groups for search, and Single Product Ad Groups for shopping campaigns :)

      Granularity that leads to control is our main goal for all PPC campaigns. With it, we know that we can exhaust all our options quickly to focus on bigger needle movers afterwards.

      3 Share
  • AC

    Andy Crestodina

    over 2 years ago #

    What the one thing about running an agency that surprised you? That you weren't expecting?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I honestly didn't expect people to cry during our Christmas party. That was a positive shocker for me. Our team was so appreciative to be part of KB that that surprised me.

      We're now at the point where voluntary leave is extremely low, and I've never been part of a company/agency with such low turnover as us. And I think it stems back from the intent and honesty from the top.

      I know things would be tough and sometimes a rollercoaster, but that's to be expected with any new business :)

  • AG

    Amanda Gant

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey, Jonathan -

    As your company grew and you expanded your optimization services....

    1. What advice would you give to other companies trying to do the same?

    2. What would the team look like (copywriters, analysts, designers, UX)?

    3. What are the most important skills needed on this team?

    4. What's the one thing you'd advise against doing?

    Thanks for AMQ'ing! (answering my questions)

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey hey Amanda! :D

      1) Start doing things. Stop trying to learn. And exhaust everything you want to get to work.

      2) I challenge our PPC people to know everything there is to know under the PPC sun, the same thing with our designers too. So they're tasked with becoming copywriters as well. It gets too complex having that many people with hands in the cookie jar, UNLESS you have huge retainers, which most agencies DO NOT have.

      3) Problem solving and curiosity to get better. We have a 10 point scale on all skills a person needs to master for their position. So during our quarterly reviews, we review the progress and expect them to improve their copywriting skills for example.

      4) Stop reading stuff (like this AMA lol), you don't have time. Start doing.

      Do do do do do do do do do do do and you will grow.

      3 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Johnathan - awesome to have you on for an AMA!

    How do you manage keeping your team on the same page with so many changes and evolutions in today's marketing channels?

    With your company's focus on PPC/CRO, how much of your work involves activating users, retaining them and then getting them to refer their friends? How do you help your customers understand the value of improving marketing spend ROI through deeper funnel experiments?

    Lastly, who are you most excited to hear from at the GrowthHackers Conference?

    Looking forward to reading your answers!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      The fundamentals of marketing haven't really changed much at all, even with new rollouts from the big advertising/marketing platforms. It's all the same stuff, just with a different coat of paint :)

      Most of our efforts are around activating users, the retention and referrals are on the client. Just like regular sales are on the client.

      We always tell our clients that what we do doesn't matter if we can't make you more money. So if our PPC and CRO efforts don't increase conversion rate or closing/sales rate, then fire us. So we track things holistically and all the way through, but we don't get involved inside of the actual product that we're promoting :)

  • SM

    Shanelle Mullin

    over 2 years ago #

    I'm so pumped you're doing this, Johnathan! Thank you.

    What has been the hardest part of scaling an agency from $0 to $300K MRR? How did you overcome it?

    What do you think will be the hardest part of scaling an agency from $300K to $600K MRR?

    Does PPC follow a process similar to growth / optimization? Can you explain it?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Haha thanks, Shanelle!

      The hardest part has been those months or quarters where you're just treading water when it comes to MRR. And no matter how much your company is making, any increase of revenue becomes the new norm and the new baseline lol. Which is frustrating as crap, because you're never truly satisfied.

      In regards to our next goal of getting to $500K, the hardest part will be new internal roles. Our Director of PPC and Director of CRO can't oversee that many clients, so we're going to have to change up our internal structures a bit. I'm not too concerned with our ability to hit the revenue, more so about the internal accountability and responsibilities lol.

      And I think PPC follows a similar process to growth in general. It's experimentation. And the ability to get quick data feedback allows for a test tempo in testing in general.

      3 Share
  • AD

    Amanda Durepos

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan! So excited to see you doing this.

    I've got a question for you about agency life. Do you typically have to educate clients about CRO/A/B testing or do they tend to already know about it? Do they need to be sold on it?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Amanda! :)

      In the early days, many people think they only needed PPC management, but overtime we've seen more and more people understand the importance of CRO.

      The quickest way I tell them why they NEED CRO is with the sentence:

      "Don't fix the sink, if the well is broken"

      The sink is the PPC account, the well is the landing page. It's easy to get traffic, but much harder to get them to convert.

      Most people won't argue with that ;)

      2 Share
    • AD

      Amanda Durepos

      over 2 years ago #

      How about landing pages? ;)

      • JD

        Johnathan Dane

        over 2 years ago #

        95% of what we do is custom landing page building on Unbounce.

        So apologies, I use the term loosely, even though CRO is the umbrella term and landing pages is one part of it :)

  • CH

    Cara Hogan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan! Excited to hear answers to all these questions. Here's one from me:

    What advice would you give to someone who is trying to start their own agency? What do you wish you had known when you first started KlientBoost?

    Thanks!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Skyscraper Technique everything you do.

      - Make your outbound emails more zainy, weird, and packed with value.
      - Make your blog posts extremely deep, actionable, and well designed.
      - Make your branding different from all other agencies, invest in this.

      We had a marketing meeting yesterday, and literally discussed the idea of hiring a Mariachi Band to show up at a potential clients office and sing them a custom song around why they should work with us at KlientBoost.

      Lol no joke.

      Be weird, be different.

      If you think about it, what other option do you have? If your lemonade stands look the exact same as all the others, how can you expect success?

      3 Share
  • DK

    Devesh Khanal

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan? What did you differently in your content marketing that increased traffic and leads vs. when it wasn't working for you at the beginning?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Promoting it like crazy :)

      Slack channels, Facebook/LinkedIn groups, Facebook ads, email list growth, GrowthHackers, Inbound.org, etc.

      Eyeballs and vanity metrics like social shares actually matter in order to grow your content marketing snowball.

  • ML

    Mark Lindquist

    over 2 years ago #

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    $300k MRR is really impressive for 2 years of being in business. I'm curious what your client acquisition strategies were at $0 MRR, $50k MRR, $150k MRR, and now. I know you focus on inbound, but that's obviously something you had to build over time, so I would imagine even that looked different a year ago vs. now.

    I'm also curious as to how you promoted your content before you had an audience. As an agency that (obviously) works with business owners, tons of traffic from whatever sources isn't real valuable if the people reading aren't your customers. I'm curious about how you got your content in front of the right people early on.

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks man! :D

      Funny enough, our acquisition strategy has always been the same: 100% content. Nothing has changed. We're now closing $50k/mo on average and about to be at $400k by mid year.

      The problem we have (not to brag) is that we can't hire fast enough for us to invest in other marketing channels. We can't keep up with the current inbound demand.

      For our first $10k MRR, we did do this: https://klientboost.com/cro/funny-cold-email-template/

      See above answer for the promotion tactics/channels. But it wasn't well thought through. We didn't care who saw it, as long as it was remotely relevant of an audience, we went all out :D

  • JH

    Jen Havice

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan!

    I'd love to know how you decided what your best-fit clients would be and if that has changed over time. What is your onboarding process like and how have you been able to scale it while you've grown?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Oh man, YES!!!

      We used to sign everyone and their cat if they were willing to pay. Now, my intuition is so solid that I can smell a pain in the a** client from a mile away. So I politely turn those people away.

      Our onboarding has largely stayed the same. We send a Google Form questionnaire to the new client before our kick off call. That questionnaire has all the answers we need to actually never speak to the client to get things up and running.

  • TM

    Tom Morkes

    over 2 years ago #

    How did you develop your pricing / structure for reaching your first $10k MRR and did anything change on the road to $10k MRR?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Honestly no math to it :)

      Luckily we have "monthly ad spend" as an indicator of what to charge. We have a minimum we will no go below, but the upside could be great if the ad spend, product, and margin of the client has wiggle room.

  • DW

    Dustin Walker

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan! Looking forward to this.

    What are your thoughts on establishing revenue-sharing agreements with clients? This seems to be a fairly polarizing topic among agencies.

    Any experience with revenue-sharing models at KB? If so, any advice for other agencies considering going this route?

    Thanks in advance!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I hate it lol.

      I want consistency. So if the revenue share is ON TOP of our minimum, then I'm cool with it :)

      We are planning on building an affiliate division within KB where we're dedicating people to focus on doing just that. But it's outside of our core focus for now.

  • BH

    Benji Hyam

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan,

    In the early days were you managing campaigns yourself? How many clients did you take on prior to hiring your first PPC manager?

    Then how did you manage to grow clients equally to bringing on more in-house resources?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I was at about 14 I think.

      I wanted enough profit before bringing on the first person. It was also a test for me to see what I could manage efficiently with client volume so the expectation was similar for our team.

      But since then, we've moved that number way down lol.

      2 Share
  • KL

    Katherine Lisciani

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan! Super excited about this.

    How did you land your first top paying client?

    What did you have to change to reach that goal?

    What did this experience teach you about scaling up?

    Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers—Kat

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Haha thanks, Kat! :)

      Our first top paying client came randomly through our content. So I wish I could give you something actionable!

      We started writing deeper content and writing exhaustive pieces around a focus keyword and then promoting it much more aggressively.

      For scaling, it taught us that there are no shortcuts. Do the work, be patient, and the results will come.

      2 Share
  • JS

    Julia Spano

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan!

    We've got a few questions for you:
    * How should brands reconcile differences in attribution between GA and Facebook analytics?
    * What are the most important KPI's to consider in your branded adwords campaigns
    * What are some red flags that indicate you are wasting money on specific ads
    * In a world dominated by branded keywords (specifically in B2B) do you have any suggestions on how to penetrate a market that is owned by a select few?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Dang, Julia! Hitting me with a tough ones lol.

      *The biggest thing we recommend is shortening the conversion windows on the two platforms IF (and this is a big "if") the time lag shows that conversions happen from first touch within a short time frame. If your conversions have a LONG time lag, then you have to be okay with the overlap attribution issues as both platforms can help each other out.

      On a side note, the attribution model depends on the business itself. Which one allows you to be the most actionable? That's the question to figure out.

      *Because of the control we have as an agency, we look at the CPA and conversion rate difference when we can control the landing page of branded traffic vs going to the homepage. Then you have other KPIs like cost per sale, CLTV, etc that we get feedback on to then adjust.

      *If you focus on micro metrics around your optimization that aren't near or close to revenue, then you're shooting yourself in the foot. We're okay to sacrifice certain metrics in order to achieve the more important ones.

      The other thing is that some campaigns "assist' others and never get the conversion credit. So stopping those could strangle overall performance, which goes back to attribution again.

      *For this, I would focus on some of these things:
      - Bid on those competitor keywords with dedicated comparison landing pages
      - Work on top and mid funnel lower threat offers/CTAs, but have a method to move people to next step with email and retargeting (you need a good amount of traffic for this though). So focus on bringing more value than the bigger 800 pound gorillas.

  • GF

    George Featherstone

    over 2 years ago #

    Great to see you here!

    Question: What did the MRR graph look like over the last 3 years? Like 100k year one, two and three? Or more like - 1k year one 99k year two, and 200k year three?

    And when that MRR graph spiked (if it wasn't steady) what would you say was the single biggest driver of that growth?

    Thanks!

  • TK

    Taavi Kalvi

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Johnathan,

    You're the man! Klientboost has grown a lot in a few years and you've done a really great job. Unfortunately, did have an opportunity to meet you in person last year if you're in Estonia but hopefully, we'll meet in the future. :)

    My 2 questions:

    1. How do you motivate your team? (Do you organize regular events where all the people come together and have fun or what kind or tricks to you use to motivate people who have worked for you less and more than 1.5+ years?)

    2. How does the bonus scheme look like in your company? (Is it just based on results? Is it realistic to earn 50% more just because you've done a really great job (reached your goals) and your clients are happy? :)

    You rock! Keep up the good work Johnathan.

    Cheers,
    Taavi

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      We definitely will :)

      1) We have a pretty self regulating business. Every week, we tell the client what we're doing for them, so the incentive from the team member is to get that done as fast as possible so they can go to Disneyland or have fun. The adult policy is the motivation and the freedom and autonomy they get with that.

      2) Our bonuses are based around revenue managed per person. Once a person is over that threshold, they get a % in addition to their salary.

      Thanks man! :)

  • BJ

    Ben Jacobson

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan. They say that hindsight is 20/20. What were some of the biggest mistakes you've made while scaling your organization? Some things can only be learned by experiencing them firsthand, but what would you advise others to do differently so they can be exempt from some of the challenges that KlientBoost has had to overcome in the past couple of years?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I think the biggest thing was not being a horny sales guy like I was lol.

      1) Set expectations from goals you're trying to achieve for the client and get them to agree to that. Don't leave this part vague, ever.
      2) Make sure the client isn't a dick - goes back to your gut/intuition.

      That's my 20/20 :D

  • DD

    Darren Davis

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA, brotha man! Mad ❤️ for what you are doing over at KB. 🚀

    1.) What does KlientBoost' sales process look like from the time you get a lead, thru the point of closing the sale?

    2.) How do you articulate to clients how you incorporate CRO into your service offering and what tools do you use?

    3.) How do you do CRO on an Ecommerce client vs lead gen?

    4.) Scalability of pricing -- you guys seem to have this part down pretty dang well. So how do you scale your pricing for clients while you see success for them and they are spending $30k+

    5.) What did your pricing models look like before it is what it is today?

    6.) While doing outbound sales. What is a strategy that is working like crazy to bring in new accounts?

    7.) What does your process look like from on-boarding a brand new account to the point of launching anything with them?

    Finally, and most importantly:

    8.) What is your favorite kind of coffee and/or beer? ☕️🍺

    Thank you again, very much for taking the time to do this AMA and answering all these! 😃👊🙏

    All my best!
    Darren

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      What's up Darren! :D

      1)
      Proposal request from our site >
      Qualify them (are they spending enough/have enough employees?) >
      Evaluate/audit their PPC accounts >
      Put together their proposal with goals and starting action plan >
      Close

      2) It's almost a given these days. We use Hotjar/Unbounce/Optimizely mostly.

      3) It's much tougher since it's more dev work and the current tools like Optimizely and VWO don't recommend changing many things at once. So lead gen/SaaS clients have the luxury of using Unbounce and build it from scratch (drap & drop, no dev work needed).

      4) It's a mix of ad spend + growth potential + low hanging fruits + margin of product. I give them a goal that we can achieve within 3 months, and then set our pricing less than that extra revenue they'll be making. So some clients pay us the equivalent of 5% of ad spend and some pay us more than their actual ad spend lol.

      5) Exactly the same :)

      6) Haven't even dipped our toes yet. But I'll let you know when our Mariachi band idea is kicking ass lol.

      7) From first day to launch, we have new campaigns, ads, and landing pages done within a week.

      8) Honey vanilla latte or Amstel Light ;)

      • DD

        Darren Davis

        over 2 years ago #

        Jonathan!

        Dude thank you for taking the time to answer. Really cool. ;)

        Looks like we use a lot of the same stuff which is really cool and I agree these are the top tools and pretty much a given ha.

        So #4 makes total sense. I'd love to hear more about when they pay you more than the Ad Spend! LOL. That's crazy cool. Especially because you're bringing them in results so they should pay up a lot and not value your service to ad spend.

        ✌️,
        Darren

  • HD

    Henneke Duistermaat

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan

    Great to see you on this AMA. There's too many great questions already asked, so just a quick one: Do you have any tips for using Amazon's Marketing Services to advertise Kindle books (on Amazon)? Or have you come across a good guide?

    Thank you for doing this AMA!

    Cheers.

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Henneke! :D

      I wish I have! Most of the stuff we do with Amazon are for bigger ticket items, or at least not Kindle books.

  • BB

    bill burns

    over 2 years ago #

    We do local PPC.

    Google is takaing over more and more of the first page in SER

    Now they have their own 'Home Advisor" type listing on the top of page in areas on the west coast of US.

    "Guaranteed by Google"

    How do local service providers use compete PPC to compete with that?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      You don't niche down as an agency.

      There's nothing special that an agency that only works with plumbers or other specific industries knows that an agency like ours couldn't pick up in a second.

      Diversification of different client industries is a pillow that allows me to sleep soundly at night. At least for the time being ;)

  • DK

    Dale Kim

    over 2 years ago #

    What are some top strategies/must-haves for conversion rate optimization on mobile e-commerce websites?

    In paid search, which targeting holds more weight, demographic targeting, or intent-based targeting?

    Thank you!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      I wish I had silver bullet answer, but I don't :/

      Intent based targeting on your second question, how could it not? If a 20 year old and an 80 year old are waiving money in your face, take them both.

  • NR

    Namrutha Ramanathan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan! Thrilled to have you on this AMA :)

    What is the one advice would you give an online education start up? I have just moved to a B2C role (after spending 4 years in B2B) and it seems to be a different ball game. What is the 1st thing you would do if you were me?

    Thanks in advance.

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Rejoice that you now may have higher traffic volumes, more data, and shorter conversion cycles to work with :D

      B2C moves quicker in optimization work from what we've seen since the speed of our efforts are dictated around traffic volumes.

  • JP

    Joseph Putnam

    over 2 years ago #

    Yo JD,

    Two questions for you:

    (1) What would you say are the most important parts of a successful PPC lead-gen campaign that most people get wrong or don't pay enough attention to and that offer the highest return when done right? For example, CRO as compared to bid adjustments.

    (2) Is it true you used to ball for the Denmark Horsens back in the day?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      1) Because there are so many acronyms and buttons to push within the PPC world, most content around the web is written around things that can only make micro improvements.

      Does a focus on changing your quality score for 4 to 5 have as much revenue impact as increasing your conversion rate? Of course not.

      Too many people are stuck in the analytics and don't give any attention to the creative side: the copywriting, the design, the layout, the details.

      Which also leads me to the point I say a lot: most marketers suck at marketing themselves. How is that even possible?

      2) You just made me dig in the archives :D Peep the guy with #17
      http://imgur.com/a/v3nTn

  • GC

    Guilherme Costa

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Johnathan!

    I'm a huge fan of KlientBoost. Thanks for doing this AMA. I have some questions about starting and milestones.

    How did you start selling Adwords and what price you used to charge?

    How many account you handled by yourself before starting your own company?

    From KlientBoost, what's in included in the services you provide now? I'd read somewhere that you delivered design for a client that didn't pay for it but you've detected that need... and delivered it for free.

    Thank you!
    Guilherme

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks, Guilherme!

      AdWords was always the first item on the menu for us :) Same pricing we do today as day one since we charge enough to never charge extra: https://klientboost.com/ppc/agency-growth/

      I had around 14 clients that I was managing myself before hiring our first account manager.

      And you're right about the free design work. If you think about your agency having the only goal of retention, then you should do everything you can to a certain degree to get that client results and retain them - free design or not.

      That's why we treat all clients completely white glove style. We won't charge them extra if they need to launch on a new PPC platform. Especially since we know that launching on a new platform can help them make more money = better retention for us.

      Great questions btw! :D

  • TL

    Thomas Lopez

    over 2 years ago #

    How did you develop such a beautiful and high percentage jump shot?

    Thanks in advance J!

    -Thomas

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      All credit goes to my dad and having me perfect my form with a volleyball until I was strong enough to use a regular basketball 😂.

      Weren't expecting a serious answer like that, huh? 😉

  • SS

    Sarge Scott

    over 2 years ago #

    How do you organize and label your ppc campaigns and ad groups?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Campaigns are created by themes.
      Ad groups are created around single keyword ad groups.
      Ad sets are created around audiences.

      :)

  • UA

    Utkarsh Arora

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan,

    Thanks for doing AMA, really exited for this.

    I would love to know your thoughts on how can I manage my clients efficiently?

    I have tried many ways but still stuck with, for how long I should plan when starting work for a client? How can I differentiate the schedule for reoccurring marketing tasks and growth strategies?

    Thank you so much!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Utkarsh :)

      I would recommend figuring out the things that give you the biggest performance change impact and focus on those first.

      If you're being honest with yourself, ask yourself what you do reoccuringly that could be de-prioritized.

  • JN

    Jeff Nolan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan, Been a while since we first chatted back in mid-2015. Glad to see that your success and influence have grown. My question is simple, and probably redundant. But I'll ask it anyway. Are you offering, or planning to offer PPC courses?

  • DK

    Daniel Knowlton

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan, I have a question for you...

    If you could time travel back to day one of KlientBoost and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you've acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heart ache, what would you tell yourself?

    Looking forward to hearing your answer!

    Cheers buddy,

    Dan Knowlton

  • TP

    Ted Parry

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan,

    I've been following you for a while and I'm super impressed with what you've built.

    A lot of users have asked about getting the clients and acquisition side.

    I would like to know once a client has shown interest, what process do you use to 'get a done deal' so to speak e.g. do you have a go to format for proposals, anything you do here that is different to other agencies?

    Love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Ted

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks man, appreciate it :)

      I've heard from clients that other agencies take a long time and make things more complex than they need to.

      It goes something like this and usually takes no more than a week to close:
      proposal request > qualify them > audit them > set goals and send proposal > kick off/close

  • SR

    Susan Rawlings

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Johnathan, Obviously you've seen a lot of success come from good content. How much pre-planning went into your content, and how have you sustained the quality and volume?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      We're horrible at research when it comes to content. We just look at what we haven't written about yet, look at the competing posts, and then write a version that's bigger, better, and sexier.

      We also look to write content that's evergreen and stands the test of time. Nothing we write is really news-worthy. We just want to own the post that's exhaustive and bookmark worthy.

      As in, you won't have enough time/patience to read one of our posts from start to finish in one sitting.

  • AC

    Aidan Coonan

    over 2 years ago #

    Johnathon, thanks for doing this AMA.

    As an agency in a very specific niche, most non-technical business owners. I often find myself using very broad content and use it's for my niche by adopting the main strategy and adding a Case Study or Step by Step guide for my niche clients to make the need for doing PPC or FB Ads relevant and easy to understand.

    Have you any advice on the best ways you have seen to show the benefits of PPC/ FB Ads to an audience that are not necessarily tech/ Social Media savvy but can benefit massively from driving traffic to their sales funnel from PPC / Social Media.

    When I cold email potential clients I give free advice on how to change their Sales Funnels on their website, that is easy to explain, what's not as easy to explain is exactly how spending money on PPC or FB Ads is a MUST to a niche market that all traditionally believe that social media ads and PPC is just for Tech/ SAAS & Shopify stores and not them???

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      When you reach out, but don't attract, then you'll always be facing an uphill battle of trying to convince.

      With our content, we've earned the trust before they reach out to us, so we try to establish ourselves as the thought leaders and the captains of the ship so there is no teeth-pulling when launching FB for example.

      So for you, it comes down to being to attract rather than using your cold outreach.

      And to answer your last question, just show them examples of competitors spending money on PPC. Any logical person can understand that people don't voluntarily through money in the trash, there must be something around PPC that's working for them.

      And then just be conservative with the amount of money you're asking them to spend. Hope that helps!

  • MK

    Michael Karavolos

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Jonathan,

    Read your seminal post on SKAGs via the Unbounce page:
    https://unbounce.com/ppc/doing-adwords-wrong-make-it-right/

    Then restructured our campaigns to match your advice with great results! Thanks!

    The number of campaigns continues to grow and the account is beginning to feel very big and complex. Any suggestions on how to organize at the campaign level and how to structure the naming conventions to make it easier to handle?

    Thanks!

    Michael

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Start using filters or scripts to help with the confidence levels around ad testing and the bidding adjustments you need to start doing at scale. We're coming out with a post on this soon.

      SKAG names will just be the name of the keyword. Campaigns are structured around themes like:
      - Brand
      - Competitor
      - Generic
      - Product
      etc

  • DO

    Dylan O'Neil

    over 2 years ago #

    Johnathan,

    You talk a lot about PPC temperatures and how understanding them is key in particular to achieving success with things like Facebook & GDN.

    How do you guys go about deciding which types of content / lead magnets to test in these channels in the beginning? What are some that YOU particularly love or have had great success with?

    I'm particularly interested in this for service company lead gen, but any examples would be helpful!

    Thanks,
    Dylan

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      The types of content are prioritized in order to what's already ready to use :) So we sometimes help our clients repurpose content they already have in the form of an ebook, quiz, etc.

      We try to focus on speed first, and then we can readjust the content to become another type of CTA later.

      Is your service company an emergency home service like plumbing, flooding, fire damage? If it's not, then you're in luck. Any thing that isn't an immediate need from a customer perspective, you can get very creative with.

      Check page 13 here for more ideas :)
      https://www.slideshare.net/KlientBoost/the-ppc-traffic-thermometer-why-you-should-care-about-ice-cubes-lava

  • ML

    Marc Levesque

    over 2 years ago #

    Great AMA Jonathan! In reply to Jason Queys question, you mentioned that having a 3-month training program helps to quickly scale and onboard new employees. Can you share a little of what that process looks like? Curious to know how specifically you get new hires up to speed quickly.

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Definitely :)

      There are different parts to it that we roll out like this:
      1) Internal stuff like payroll, benefits, culture, etc
      2) AdWords
      3) Facebook
      4) Landing Page/CRO
      5) Client Communication

      So they go through those training programs in that order :)

  • IA

    Imran Alam

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi,
    Name top 20% of technical tools that are being used 80% of times.

  • DG

    daniel gold

    over 2 years ago #

    What were your best performing sources of free traffic?

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Nothing is free :)

      Our blog/Google is our best performing source of "free traffic" that isn't free lol.

  • BL

    Ben Levesque

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Jonathan,

    Thanks for doing this! I may be late to the party but...

    What percentage of KB's MRR comes from Facebook Ads management? Would love to know more about how you service and structure that part of your business, along with the challenges you've faced along the way.

    Thanks ahead!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Ben :)

      We do everything hybrid style, so if we do AdWords for a client, we usually do their FB as well, and the other way around too.

      So we try to control everything - allows us to get results quicker when the left hand knows what the right hand is doing :)

      The biggest challenges to date have come around hiring, and still is a pain in the butt for us!

  • BC

    Ben Carew

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathon
    I'm late to the party being down here in OZ. My question is:

    We are currently trying to master elements of the Google Display Network and some of your webinars and blog posts have so far proved invaluable in helping us to do that. But we continue to struggle with the layered targeting despite feeling confident that our landing pages, ad copy/artwork and general targeting ideas are sound.

    Given the myriad of options in Display targeting, have you found any combinations in layered targeting that perform consistently well when used together? eg. keywords layered with topic targeting etc. And should we limit ourselves to a certain amount of targeting layers as a general rule as I've heard that too many layers is not a good idea.

    Thanks in advance!

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      There's no one size fits all. You should be able to get by with one layer of targeting IF (and this is important) your offer/CTA is attractive enough.

      You should be able to achieve quick traction with display when you have a war chest of offers, not targeting layers.

      If you want to reply back to this with your landing page, then I can give some better ideas :)

  • FS

    Freyja Spaven

    over 2 years ago #

    Seeing as most of my questions have already been asked....

    You spent the early stages hiding out in Starbucks

    Now that you have the shiny new office are you still venturing out or have you invested in an onsite coffee machine/barista for the team!? :D

  • DC

    David Campbell

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Johnathan,

    What has been your biggest win with KlientBoost and why?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • JD

      Johnathan Dane

      over 2 years ago #

      Creating an environment of having fun and building a place where people can feel like they're always making progress, regardless of money or status.

      :)

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