Should Your Agency Niche Down?

Last updated: Jun 28, 2023

This video discusses the importance of niche specialization for SEO agencies and how it can lead to higher close rates and larger deals.

This video by The Blueprint Training was published on Apr 19, 2023.
Video length: 30:53.

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of niche specialization for SEO agencies.

They explain how they realized the need to focus on a specific industry, in this case, law firms, in order to improve their sales close rates and attract more clients. They also highlight the benefits of specialization, such as easier pivoting and gaining attention within a targeted market.

The speaker shares their experience of reconfiguring their services and building a new brand to cater specifically to law firms, resulting in a significant increase in qualified leads.

  • Low close rates for sales indicate a lack of specialization.
  • Specialized agencies have a competitive advantage.
  • Feedback from prospects shows a preference for specialized agencies.
  • Specializing allows for higher close rates and larger deals.
  • Law firms were chosen as a niche due to specific pain points and needs.
  • Specialization allows for easy pivoting in and out of SEO.
  • Specialization leads to a higher volume of qualified leads.
  • Specialization allows for a more focused and efficient marketing strategy.
  • Specializing in a niche market can lead to higher close rates and larger deals.

Should Your Agency Niche Down? - YouTube

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Importance of niche specialization for SEO agencies

  • Close rates for sales were low for Weber's agency, while close rates for RhinoStone Consulting were high.
  • One hypothesis for low close rates was the lack of specialization.
  • Specialized agencies have a competitive advantage over general agencies.
  • Feedback from prospects indicated a preference for agencies that specialize in their industry.
  • Specializing allows for higher close rates and larger deals.
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Choosing a niche for the agency

  • Examined different industries and settled on software, law firms, and e-commerce.
  • Considered the potential for higher pricing in these industries.
  • Decided to focus on law firms due to their specific pain points and needs.
  • Understood the saturation in the legal industry and the challenges law firms face in client acquisition.
  • Took several months to reconfigure services and offers for the chosen niche.
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Benefits of specialization

  • Specialization allows for easy pivoting in and out of SEO as needed.
  • Specializing makes it easier to get attention and target a specific audience.
  • Building a targeted email list and podcast becomes more effective.
  • Specialization leads to a higher volume of qualified leads.
  • Specialization allows for a more focused and efficient marketing strategy.
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Should Your Agency Niche Down? - YouTube

Overcoming concerns about specialization

  • Some agencies worry that specializing will limit their potential client base.
  • Specializing actually allows for more flexibility in adapting to market changes.
  • Getting attention becomes easier when targeting a specific audience.
  • Building a smaller, targeted audience can still generate significant results.
  • Specialization leads to a higher quality of leads and better conversion rates.
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Deal size and close rates

  • Deal size needs to increase in order to sustain a low close rate.
  • Charging more or closing more deals are the two options to increase deal size.
  • Simply raising prices is not always effective, especially in competitive markets.
  • Lowering prices to compete on price is not a desirable business model.
  • Specializing and offering a more specific type of service can allow for higher pricing and impact.
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Specializing in niche markets

  • Specializing in a niche market can lead to higher close rates and larger deals.
  • Smaller law firms are a good example of a niche market that requires marketing services.
  • By focusing on lead generation instead of just SEO, agencies can differentiate themselves from lead gen firms.
  • Building a brand and reputation through content and client relationships is important in a competitive market.
  • Specializing and offering a unique value proposition can justify higher pricing.
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Increasing close rates

  • Increasing close rates can be achieved by improving the offer and being more competitive on pricing.
  • Driving more leads can also help achieve client goals with a lower close rate.
  • Building a better offer for a specific market can allow for higher pricing and impact.
  • It's important to be patient and take the time to do things right, even if it means moving slower.
  • Condensing the process into a short conversation can overlook the time and effort required.
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Choosing the right approach

  • Decisions are often based on what is easiest and most efficient.
  • Putting content on a subdomain may be a practical choice to save time and effort.
  • Choosing the right approach depends on the specific circumstances and goals of the agency.
  • Considering the long-term impact and sustainability of the chosen approach is important.
  • It's okay to take the time to make the right decisions and not rush the process.
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Section 1: The decision to niche down

  • People tend to overthink the decision to niche down.
  • There is no right answer, just make a decision and go with it.
  • Building a subdomain or a whole new domain depends on your company's goals.
  • SEO should not be the main focus for agencies with less than $5 million in revenue.
  • Focus on social media and other models to generate interest and leads.
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Section 2: Making decisions and taking action

  • Don't get held up on decisions that don't make a significant difference to your business.
  • Focus on doing and figuring things out along the way.
  • Sprints exist as a sales tool, relationship tool, and a way to productize and operationalize your business.
  • Sprints can improve sales, client relationships, and internal operations.
  • Be creative and see what the market needs for your agency.
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Section 3: Combining different models

  • Consider combining different models, such as retainers and Sprints, to suit your agency's needs.
  • Format contracts as retainers to justify the number of Sprints and payment over time.
  • Operate on a Sprint model while still showing clients how their contract is built.
  • Position the first Sprint as a two-week period, followed by payment based on completed assets.
  • Scope out the number of content pieces and links needed during the sales process.
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Section 4: Contract and payment structure

  • Recommend a contract length based on the desired results and payment options.
  • Split payments over a specified period, such as six months, to make it more manageable for clients.
  • Offer month-to-month options after a certain amount of work is completed.
  • Switch to output-based payment, where clients pay for completed assets.
  • Allow clients to opt-out if they are no longer interested in the services.
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Retainer Model for Clients

  • The Blueprint Training uses a retainer model for their clients.
  • The retainer fee is split up over a certain period of months.
  • Clients are comfortable with retainers because it aligns with how they operate.
  • If clients prefer one-off services, the agency may offer that instead.
  • The amount of work done for clients differs based on their needs and preferences.
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Understanding Client Business and Operations

  • Specialization involves understanding the client's business and how they operate.
  • It is important to understand the client's cash flow and how they want to work with agencies.
  • The Sprint model is an operational model that keeps the agency organized and on track.
  • The model can be used in different ways, such as a contract model or an offer.
  • Specialization requires having conversations and understanding the client's preferences and needs.
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Focus on the Right Audience

  • Metrics and follower counts are not as important as reaching the right audience.
  • Having a smaller audience of the right people is more valuable than a large audience of the wrong people.
  • Building a following of ideal clients is more important than having a high number of followers.
  • Having 5,000 followers or 200 followers doesn't matter as long as they are the ideal clients.
  • Focus on attracting and engaging with the exact target audience.
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Research and Learning from Discovery Calls

  • The agency started conducting Discovery calls to learn more about potential clients.
  • The calls provided free research and insights into what matters to clients.
  • Even if the agency doesn't close the clients, they gain valuable information to refine their approach.
  • The agency is in the process of hiring a salesperson to handle the increased demand.
  • The main goal of the initial Discovery call is to build rapport and establish trust with the client.
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Qualifying Leads

  • Many solo law firms don't have the budget to afford SEO services.
  • 60-70% of leads are solo practitioners who can't afford more than $5,000 per month.
  • Marketing and messaging now pre-qualify leads based on budget.
  • Language used in ads and messaging targets multi-lawyer firms and internal marketing personnel.
  • Understanding the nuances of each industry is important for effective qualification.
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Understanding the Industry

  • Talking with potential clients and understanding their language and needs helps refine the agency's pitch.
  • Feedback from lawyers has helped improve copy and messaging.
  • Using industry-specific terminology in marketing materials helps connect with prospects.
  • Learning about the legal industry has helped the agency provide expertise and build trust.
  • Refining the pitch and understanding client needs leads to higher close rates.
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Providing Insights and Analysis

  • During the discovery call, the agency qualifies the lead and gets them to buy into the traffic projection analysis.
  • Insights from the analysis are shared with the prospect, showing them why they're not performing well and what they could be doing differently.
  • Proposals are reviewed with the prospect ahead of time to ensure they're comfortable with the cost.
  • Qualifying questions include asking about current lead generation, close rates, and average case value.
  • Doing the math with the prospect on the call helps position the agency against other competitors and justify the cost.
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Proposal and Closing

  • For every 10 leads, only 2 make it to the proposal call.
  • A templated proposal is created and presented on a call with the prospect.
  • The agency aims to close the deal on the proposal call.
  • Qualifying leads and understanding their needs helps improve the closing rate.
  • Paid search experience gives the agency confidence to speak to numbers and results more aggressively.
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Section 1: Challenges of Sales Calls

  • Getting ghosted and losing out on potential deals.
  • Close rates can fluctuate, but the size and value of deals can increase significantly.
  • Specialization and refinement through more conversations can improve the sales process.
  • Sales calls can be exhausting and time-consuming.
  • Difficulties in determining whether a potential client is a good fit.
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Section 2: Importance of Niche Specialization

  • Niche specialization can lead to higher close rates and larger deals.
  • Being highly educated about the agency's expertise can attract more qualified leads.
  • Specialization in a specific niche can differentiate the agency from competitors.
  • Specialization allows for better understanding of client needs and tailored solutions.
  • Specialization can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness in sales and operations.
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Section 3: Challenges of Sales as Agency Owners

  • Sales can be a bandwidth suck and drain energy.
  • It can be difficult to say no to potential clients who may not be a good fit.
  • Some potential clients may change their minds or have unrealistic expectations.
  • Agency owners may have to juggle multiple responsibilities, including sales, operations, and marketing.
  • Sales can become a bottleneck for agency growth and scaling.
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Section 4: Benefits of Hiring Sales Reps

  • Hiring sales reps can free up agency owners' time for other important tasks.
  • Agency owners can focus on scaling, analyzing metrics, and improving marketing efforts.
  • Sales reps can handle lead qualification, follow-ups, and closing deals.
  • Having a dedicated sales team can increase lead flow and potential revenue.
  • Agency owners can focus on their areas of expertise and add value in other aspects of the business.

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Should Your Agency Niche Down? - YouTube

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