Josh Nelson, CEO and founder of Plumbing and HVAC SEO talks about the importance of niching down, which led him to doing close to 5$M in sales in the last 12-months.
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Here are some questions that the video had covered:
00:17 What is Plumbing and HVAC SEO and how does it work?
01:16 Why niche down is a good thing for your agency?
02:00 How many team members do you have today?
02:50 How many clients are you servicing today?
03:52 What does your pricing model look like?
05:53 What are you seeing average CPC or a CPA?
08:00 What was the number one needle mover that generated you the most revenue and got you the most clients?
08:52 What’s the best thing that I can do to niche down and become an influencer?
09:42 How do I actually sign up clients who want to work with my agency?
11:34 What are you doing actually to pick up new clients from the paid ads?
13:19 What software do you use to manage your project management system?
13:46 What CRM system are you using?
14:00 What does your sales process look like?
15:30 How much revenue have you guys generated in the last 12 months?
16:46 Where do you see yourself in the 12 months from today and what do you need to get there?
17:50 What is the one piece of advice that you can give to new agencies?
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What’s going on everybody today, we have Josh Nelson from Plumbing and HVAC SEO all the way out of Miami, Florida, local to us. Josh, what is it that you actually do and how do you generate revenue for your agency plumbing and HVAC SEO?
So we’re a full-service digital marketing agency, and we’ve chosen to focus primarily on plumbing and HVAC companies across the country. That’s our, that’s our niche, that’s our vertical. And we’ve got a full-service program that would bring to the table. So as opposed to doing piecemeal, usually we’re coming in new website, SEO getting them ranked for the most important keywords in their service area, running paid traffic, and then helping them track and measure the return on investment. So really just helping them maximize their lead flow in their particular markets so they can grow their businesses and take things to the next level. And that’s how we generate revenue.
The gate asking the question, cause you always hear agencies in the space talking about niching down, and obviously you’ve done that successfully. Why, w w let’s give a piece of advice because obviously a lot of agency owners watch our show. Why niche down? Why not let the doors to Narnia open up and let every single customer come in? Why niche? What’s the reason behind it?
Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. I think, first of all, it makes you a lot more attractive to the prospects, right? Everybody wants to deal with an expert in their type of business. I ran a general agency serving, you know, the plumbers, the roofers, electricians, the dentists and everything in between. And every time I’m sure you guys have all experienced every time you get the dentist, he says, well, what other dentists have you worked with? Can I talk with one of those clients? What, you know? And so it makes selling a lot easier. But the other side that a lot of people don’t think about it is it really helps to systematize the fulfillment. Right? If your objective is to grow a business that provides money and freedom, where you have the flexibility not to have to do it all yourself, you have to build systems, you have to have a program. That’s what I found is being niche, made it easier to sell, but it also needed a lot easier tip of Phil and systematize our offering for our, for our client base.
Makes sense. And how many team members do you have today? And what’s just a really quick breakdown of that team.
Yeah, so we have 30 full-time employees, all in our office here in Doral, in Miami, Florida. And then we’ve got a handful of like freelance internationals as well on the team.
Awesome. And what are the break really quickly in like 30 seconds break down the team? How many sales reps do you have? How many guys you have doing fulfillment? How many project managers or QA people do you have on staff?
Yeah. So usually when you hear that kind of number of people automatically assume they’re all salespeople in our, in our world. I have one full-time sales person. All of our leads come in from inbound. The rest of the team is fulfilling, right? It’s web designers, SEO people, content writers, account managers, very critical role to people talking to the clients, managing those relationships pay-per-click management team. So it’s almost entirely operations fulfillment for the clients that we serve.
Makes sense. And how many clients are you servicing today that are active with you paying you monthly?
We’ve got about 176 clients plumbing, HVC companies across the United States and a couple international. Great.
And obviously plumbing and HVAC, I would assume, or your, your, your two niches that you go after. And it says SEL for those of you guys who can see and watching the YouTube it says SEO, but I’m assuming you do more than just SEO, right?
Yeah. So we’re, we’ll full service. It started out as an SEO company. Cause that’s what we like. That’s what we wanted to do. We soon realized SEO is critical, but you have to have other mechanisms to generate leads. So it’s it’s website, SEO pay-per-click the whole, the whole nine year standard
Agency services. Right. For the most part.
Yep. Awesome standard agency services in a packaged format. Right. So it’s not like, Oh, you want a website? We’ll do that for you. Oh, you want some pay-per-click we’ll do that because we want to come in and really help them fully execute and generate the best results possible.
Let’s dive deep into that. What is, what is your pricing model look like? Let’s say I’m a plumbing company and I’m really looking to grow my, obviously for those of you guys who are listening, if you are in the, because we, in our agency, social agency, we also focused on home services. So that was our niche. We didn’t dive super deep into just plumbing or just HVAC, which I really liked your model. Obviously they have a successful model and we’re going to go into those metrics here in a minute, but we did home services, not guys, these home service businesses, they don’t have storefronts where you can walk in and say, Hey, I need some plumbing down and you walk into a local storefront. Right. They need to be found online. So what are the actual packages and what does the pricing models look like? If I, as a plumber, wanted to get some services done?
Yeah. So, so our, our core program is 24 90 per month. And that includes setting up a website that’s built to convert. We find most of these plumbing, HVC companies, the website just doesn’t have the right elements. It doesn’t have the personality, the authenticity. Then it includes creating pages for each of their services pages for each to their city. So we can do the SEO effort to get them ranked organically for their most important Tiki words, putting a reputation management system in place to help drive online reviews from their true customers and the real service area. And then running Google ad words, predominantly Google ads to generate leads from people, looking in their service area and then putting, putting the tracking in place,
People that are going th that people are going to be thinking about this, that 24. He said it was 24, 50 or 24 90. What was
That number? 24
Nine again, so let’s say 2,500 bucks. Okay. is that including ad spend or does the plumber have to pay out, spend on top of that and what do you actually require as a minimum for ads? Because home service CPC campaigns, they’re not
Cheap. Yeah. It’s an important distinction. So the, the that’s our management fee, the spend is completely separate to that on top of that, that amount. And honestly, if they’re not going to spend at least $2,000 in spend, we say, it’s probably not a good fit. They’re probably not the right client. They’re not going to generate enough clicks and enough leads to justify doing any of it.
Now I know obviously every campaign is different. Every location is different. What are you seeing? Average CPC or a CPA. And I know obviously these guys, most of them want, I’m assuming phone calls, right. What’s the average cost to get one of these guys or gals.
Yeah. So it really, like you said, it depends on market. Depends upon how well-branded they are on average for plumbing. It’s going to be somewhere between 25 and $30 per lead HPAC, somewhere between 35 and $45 per lead. And so it’s kind of in that, in that territory,
What about Google guarantee? I know that’s affected that space a lot. Has it affected you guys? Cause Google guarantee essentially they’ve made it in a way where you can almost like operate it as your own. You don’t need to have that maintenance company attached and that really affected a lot of agencies. So what’s your, what’s your hotel to that?
Yeah. So a hundred percent it did impact it significantly. The, the great part is the way we’ve positioned our agency is that it’s not just SEO. It’s not just paper, click it’s what’s come in and take a comprehensive approach and figure out how to maximize your lead flow. So what we’re able to say is, look, if you’re able to get these leads for local service ads for $25 per lead, and they’re, they’re high quality let’s run with that, let’s shift our budget towards that and we’ll help facilitate. So yes, it is a like a self-service platform, but there’s lots of little logistics that have to happen in the background. Getting background checks.
That process is a headache. Cause we do that in our agency as well. Sometimes it takes like a month or two just to get somebody through the whole approval process. I know sometimes they want to do screen cast with you or, or, or like phone calls with you, especially if you’re in like some really shady companies out there. I know like a locksmiths or people like that where it’s hard, really, really hard to get those guys approved. So I can definitely understand that Josh, if you could strip away everything in your agency and how long has he been open for going on nine years, nine years. Okay. So strip everything away. If you could find the one thing that you did in nine years, that was the biggest needle mover for you that generated you the most revenue got you. The most clients really pushed everything forward for you super fast. What would that one thing be?
So one, one thing that that’s kinda, you know, it’s, it’s kinda, kinda, kinda categorized it as like a couple of very basic things. Choosing one niche, positioning ourselves as the expert at getting clients to come to us, pre-positioned to buy. So when we shifted from chasing cold calling, chasing people down to positioning ourselves as the best in the space clients started to flock to us login and really come to us. Pre-Positioned too. I think that was the thing that accelerated our growth more than anything else.
Peel the onion back on that really quick. What, obviously you are in a niche where people probably know of you by now, especially if you’re a plumber or an HVAC person, right. Let’s say starting off as a brand new company, brand new agency, what’s the best way to position myself to niche down. Do I go and do I start a blog? Do I go and do I write a book? Do I, do I create a podcast? What’s like the best thing that I can do to niche down, become an influencer. My space.
I think the very best thing you could do is get at least one climb in that space and prove results, right? The very first thing is get a client, prove results, then document it, that success and the content that comes out of that. Write the book, do webinars, create case studies. I think that’s the best place. Get a client, knock it out of the park, documented, and then you’re not just blowing smoke, but you’re able to point to, this is what I’ve done and continue to build more and more case studies and proof. Okay.
Okay. That sounds good. Let’s talk about sales really quick. You said inbound leads. Let’s let’s dive into that really quick. Where are these leads coming from? How are they finding you? I mean, think about the agencies that are watching this. What are, what can they do to, to pick up clients? That’s the number one struggle in the agency space. How do I actually sign up clients to want to work with my agency? Right? How do I get that monthly retainer on contract? What do I need to do
A hundred percent? So the first thing, obviously you need a list of prospects, right? You have to have that list in your space. The second thing, I think one of the biggest shortcuts is the join the association, whether it’s the locksmith association, the dental association, that way you’ve got access to that list. And a little bit, a bit of affinity, but I’m not a huge fan of cold outreach, but if you’re going to do cold outreach, at least you’re saying, Hey, I’m reaching out to you because we’re members of this association. And then like lead with value, come out with your case study, look, here’s the client in this space. This is what we did. This is the results that they got. This is exactly how we did it. And you do that with a book. You do that with webinars, you do that with case study documentation, the more you’re feeding valuable information to your space, to that vertical, the more interesting you’re going to be, right. And of course, as you put that content out, the call to action is, Hey, look, if you’d like me to do this for you, click here to schedule a time, right? And then bring them into your calendar, take them through a consultative sales process. And then you can really get clients coming to you pre-position to, right.
Are you running any paid ads for your, for your agency? And if so, are you, you know, cause you want to be at the point where, especially at the scaling most agencies, when they start out, they’re trying to get their first handful of clients, but you’re over a hundred clients. You need to be able to turn the dial up and down as, as clients are needed to make sure that your fulfillment team, right. Cause it’s, it’s a logistical game. Especially if you have a backend fulfillment team, I can definitely relate. We have dashboards is over 60 employees right now. And a big portion of that is also fulfillment, right? So it becomes a logistical nightmare if you don’t have it down pack. Right. So do you see yourself as you needing more clients throttling up the ad spend, if you’re doing ad spend, where are you spending your money, Facebook ads, Google ads. What are you doing to actually pick up new clients from, from the paid ads side?
Yeah. So a lot of, a lot of Facebook ads, predominantly two to two different things are free book, right? We’ve got a book, the complete guide to internet marketing for plumbing, HPAC contractors. We, we send that out for free as much as we can, that kind of leads them into a, a funnel where they schedule in with us up case studies. We’re constantly rotating our client successes opt in for that, watch the case study scheduled on the calendar. And then other than that it’s and believe it or not a lot of direct mail, like you said, if you’re in a very specific niche, if you’re, you can attract prospects through Facebook ads, but the reality is your best prospects, which in our case, or the company is doing a million, $5 million per year in revenue. They need a little bit more proactive approach. So like we’ve hand selected our dream prospect list, any given month, any given quarter we’re dropping stuff in the mail to them, we’re calling, we’re trying to get them on the calendar. So it’s a little bit of a little bit of chase, but from a very a very selective approach.
Now you said over, I think you said over 170 clients that you guys are actively servicing today. What is your project manager to client amount look like? Is it one to 51 to 25? How high touch are you on that?
Yeah, so our account managers in our world handled between 30 and no more than 35 clients. And their main function is literally just monthly check in with that client, go through the reports, explain what we’ve done, explain what we’re going to do next, to answer any questions and then communicate back and forth with our team that actually does the pay-per-click campaign. Does the work behind the scenes? I found that after 35 the quality of service starts the ability. Yeah. The ability to retain the client relationships
Software. Do you use to manage your project management system? What are you using?
So we’re big on teamwork. All of our stuff happens in teamwork and then customer communication for the most part is happening in in Zoho CRM.
Awesome. And obviously teamwork chat for the internal for the internal team. Right.
We, we should probably use teamwork check. We use Slack and then we have team work for all of the, all of the project management
Teamwork. Chat’s great. We use that internally. Let’s see. What about CRM? What are you guys using for CRM to get all your inbound leads? Where are they going? How are they being tracked?
So marketing CRM happens predominantly in go high level. I’m a massive fan of that software. And the fact that you can do email, text message, voice drops all within one one conversation queue.
Yeah. Got you. Okay, cool. And what is your sales process look like when you’re G you got, you got lead in the pipeline. He wants to jump on a phone call. Are you doing a zoom call or you’re doing a phone call, you’re doing discovery. What does that process look like in 30 seconds is walking me through that really quick
30 seconds. We qualify on the front end to make sure they’re a good fit, have to be doing at least half a million dollars to qualify to even potentially hire our services. How long did we take that calls? Like five minutes or less. Okay. Couple questions, goals. You know where you’re at. And then the sales process is very consultated. So we jump on a zoom session. We have done due diligence prior to that, where we’ve run keyword lists and we’ve looked at their website, we’ve got a ranking report to show where they’re up, where they’re not. And it’s very much, you know, initial thoughts about your company, your goals, what you’re doing, what you’ve tried then, Hey, this sounds like we could help. Here’s what we found in our due diligence process. Here’s where there’s problems. Here’s what we can do. And then here’s like examples of the clients we work with, the results they’ve gotten and then ask for the business.
Yep. So it seems like you’re also leveraging a lot of your case studies because you have them, you shouldn’t be doing them right. There’s you see that that is a big winner, like, is that the big thing that pushes people over the edge when they see like the other local plumber in there, you know, two cities away from them, a ranking number one, or getting their cost per lead at $20 a call or whatever it is. That’s what pushes people over there.
It’s definitely a big, a big part of why somebody would choose to do business with us versus somebody else.
Fair enough. Fair enough. And in your company, plumbing and HVAC SEL, let’s put, I know you have some other stuff that you’re doing as well. Some other companies, how much revenue have you guys generated in the last, let’s say 12 months.
12. So we’re, we’re going to do like just shy of 5 million this year,
A million dollars. And what are you saying? Is it, do you have any upsells? There’s like 24 50. It’s like, that’s the package that you’re in and there’s nothing up. There’s nothing down.
So there there’s, there’s always going to be, you know, a higher package and a slightly lower package, depending upon what they’re looking to do, what their goals are.
The value. Is it considered value ladder though? Or is it just, Hey, these are my, because most companies, what they’ll do is they’ll do two. What I’m, when I’m seeing trending is they have one or two things they have, okay. Come into my value ladder. Let’s, let’s get your website. Then we push out. We do some SEO, push up, go to PPC, push up, right. Or it’s like, Hey, these are my three core offers. Take the middle one. It’s usually what I’m going in with. Or you don’t like that let’s down sell, or you need more than that. Let’s upsell where
Ours is. Ours is definitely on, on the, the latter of what you said there. Right? It’s more, these are our three programs. We’re not going to sell you the little thing and then the next little thing, and then move you up. But we do have upsells as people grow and they expand locations and things like that. Gotcha.
Awesome. And what, what do you think fast forward 12 months? Let’s say you’re doing almost $5 million annually for the most part. If we do it an ARR or just an annual gross sales where do you see yourself in 12 months from today? Where would you like to be
In 12 months? The target is to get the 5.5,
5.5. Okay. Healthy growth there. And what do you need to do to get there? Because creating a jump like that, more clients, bigger team what, what are some of the things that you see within your company right now that need to change?
Yeah. So the big thing is just continuing to be aggressive with our business development process. Continue to expand that dream. 100 prospect list. You know, as we grow, we’re really looking to expand our team international. So we’ve got 30 full-time employees at our office in Miami, our spaces completely maxed out. And so we’re going to keep our project management, account management local, and then tap into the Philippines and other international resources to, to keep our costs down. As we continue to provide world-class service to our clients
Of it in, for new agencies that are coming into the space. What is the one piece of advice that you can give them to save them the most time? Right. What’s the one thing that they can do to just skip over, save a year, two years of just trying this whole thing out. Like what, what, what would that be?
The number one thing is get to get to serving clients quicker. Right? I think a lot of agencies spent so much time there trying to put all of their ducks in a row. They’re trying to figure out what their pack package is going to be. They’re trying to build websites for themselves. They’re trying to write books for themselves. Like the first thing you need to do is go on land a couple of clients, right? Get results for those clients one way or the other, and then build all the rest of that stuff. Don’t spend a lot of time doing the behind the scenes work. That’s just going to delay. It’s going to delay your experience. It’s going to delay your progress. It’s going to delay your cashflow. Love it,
Gentlemen, you heard it. First. Josh Nelson on the marketers mindset podcast with plumbing and HVAC SEO all the way out of Miami, Florida doing close to $5 million in revenue for his agency. Big wins coming in here. Josh, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate you brother. And we look forward to having you on another episode here in 12 months as you hit your $5.5 million.
Awesome man. Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.