How We Improved Our Messaging And Grew Revenue To $40K/Month

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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name is Alan Silvestri, I'm the founder of Growth Gorilla, a content promotion and distribution agency for B2B SaaS companies. We help Software companies that are already publishing quality content, get the word out to acquire backlinks, and increase traffic and signups.

Since the last update, we’ve grown to about $40,000 per month in revenue with around ~10 clients at any given time. We haven’t grown as fast as I would’ve liked but that’s because I took some time to focus and improve our positioning and processes + value proposition.

Covid has paused some of my travel plans but it didn’t stop me from enjoying life with my girlfriend and my Delorean DMC-12 in the (sometimes sunny) UK.

growth-gorilla

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

As mentioned above, the business went from $20k to $40k in monthly revenue with around 10 clients. I purposefully wanted to pause for a bit, and reevaluate our positioning and process because I could tell that was what we needed if we wanted to stand out from the pack of other link-building agencies and vendors out there.

I started working with an agency coach, Dev Basu, who helped me improve our messaging, positioning, and process. The goal here was for Growth Gorilla to become more of a “trusted advisor” for SaaS companies rather than an “order taker/vendor”.

The way that we accomplished this was to:

  • Remove the term “link building” from our marketing and sales as much as possible and replace it with “content promotion”. This has attracted a more educated audience.

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  • Add multiple offerings to our pricing and packages. We now have 3 main pricing plans tied to how many campaigns (pages) we work on each month for the client. The more pages a client publishes per month, the more campaigns we can run for them.
  • Add intentional interaction touchpoints with the clients to stay top of mind. We added mid-monthly and monthly reports that we send to clients and quarterly review calls. This has helped show our clients that we are not just there ready to take orders from them, but we are investing our time in the relationship long term.

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  • Add a strategy component to the whole process. We now start every client engagement with a Roadmap document. This is a plan of exactly the pages that we are going to work on for the next 12 months. The way that we come up with this roadmap is also very intentional. We combine backlink analysis with the client’s analytics and conversion data to target the pages that have the highest potential to rank higher in the shorter term.
  • Add 12 Months' contracts. We went from month to month to only taking on clients if they agree to sign a 12-month contract. This is great for the business as it gives us some insurance revenue-wise but it’s especially good because it contributes to getting both us and the client committed to the long term. And everybody knows content promotion takes a long time.

On Dev’s advice, I also started a “networking” campaign to form partnerships with other agencies, marketers, and freelancers in the SaaS space. I’ve also been on a few podcasts and will try to get on more moving forward.

Here are some of the ones I’ve done recently:

These have been great for lead generation as well as for brand awareness and to showcase my expertise in the niche.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I’ve probably learned more this past year than all the years before. I guess the main thing is that we were going through a transition period where a lot was changing quite fast.

I’ve had to let one of our longest-term employees go due to a lack of fit with our values and conflicting personality. This was one of the hardest things for me to do but the results have been great. We hired someone else who is a much better fit and I can tell the vibe within the agency has improved tremendously as a result.

The lesson here is, to hire for personality fit, not so much for skills. Everyone can learn almost anything, but personality is typically very difficult to change.

A few other lessons are:

  • Clients need to feel engaged - adding intentional interactions taught me how sometimes bad clients are bad just because they don’t feel engaged enough. As an agency, we must stay top of mind and show them that we can both get results and that we are also constantly working and growing with them.
  • Control the sales process - the most important thing is to be in control of the sales process from the very beginning of your interaction with a client. Show them that you have a (tried and tested) process to do this and they’ll not only agree to stand by it, but they will also respect and value you more. This means having a workflow for how each interaction moves and what the next steps are. Don’t leave anything to chance.
  • Create a more for more relationship - most clients are not afraid of spending more money with you IF you show them how you can give them more value.
  • Protect your time at all costs - Many times I get clients who come to me and ask for “a quick call” or to “pick my brain”. The first thing I tell them is “I’d love to do this, but I’m fully booked for the next X days” (even if that is not true). You must “train” them to know that your time is valuable (that’s why they pay you so much in the end) and then give them what they want on your own time and calendar.

The last lesson and probably the most important here is to ask for help if you’re stuck and always be learning. Working with my coach Dev has been the catalyst for all of the lessons above and I’m glad I decided to take the plunge with him.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Now that I feel our positioning and process are solid enough, I think we are ready to get back into “growth” mode. I set a pretty aggressive goal of an 86% revenue increase in Q4 of this year.

Having clarity on what we value helps us steer in the right direction for our business and life to get what we want out of them.

The way I plan to do this is by upgrading some of our legacy clients to the full price and process + acquiring new clients through cold email outreach, podcasting, and content marketing.

I’m excited to see some of our clients having success with our service and wanting to upgrade to the bigger packages. I see this as a sign that they are growing with us and we are in this together for the long term (which was the main goal).

This is also exciting for us because it’s a way for us to experiment and scale our processes and systems up in ways that we haven’t done before. It will also give us the confidence to seek to work with bigger and better clients (with bigger expectations) moving forward.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

My favorite book of the past year has probably been “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” by Eric Jorgenson. It’s a collection of the Naval’s thoughts on wealth, health, and mindset.

Some great points in the book which expand on Naval’s famous viral tweet on getting rich without getting lucky.

As for podcasts I’ve tried to stick with longer podcast episodes on broader topics that I typically listen to on my runs.

I prefer to avoid shorter, more tactical episodes or shows.

My favorite ones (similar to my last update) have been:

  • The Art of Manliness
  • The Daily Stoic
  • The Tim Ferriss Show

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

If you feel stuck or if you’re just starting your own business, take a moment to pause, reflect and ask yourself the following questions:

Why do I want this? - Assume you're successful and are reflecting on what you have accomplished. Visualize what you have and ask yourself “why do you want this?” This helps give you clarity as to what it is that you want and why.

What am I uniquely good at? - take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Then dive deeper and ask yourself:

  • How can this strength of mine work for me AND against me?
  • How can these weaknesses of mine work for me AND against me?

We often don’t realize how strength and weakness have both sides of the coin. For example, If your strength is that you’re great at coding, maybe that strength can also work against you in the sense that you are an introvert and are not good at sales.

What are my values? - I took this exercise from a post by Julian Shapiro - It’s very important to always keep asking yourself this question and write them down on paper (or keyboard). Having clarity on what we value helps us steer in the right direction for our business and life to get what we want out of them.

My values (in order of priority) are the following:

  • Knowledge
  • Exercising Talent
  • Tranquility
  • Freedom
  • Leverage
  • Money
  • Human Connection
  • Adventure
  • Power

Also, don’t just do this once and forget about it. Keep reassessing your values every 3/6 months and evaluate the projects you are working on based on them.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We might be hiring more link prospectors as well as more outreach managers (the 2 main roles in our team) very soon as our clients start to scale up their campaigns.

If you want to apply please email me at [email protected].

You can read more about our basic process here.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Alan Silvestri, Founder of Growth Gorilla

Growth Gorilla has provided an update on their business!

Over 1 year ago, we followed up with Growth Gorilla to see how they've been doing since we published this article.

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