Our Secret Sauce That Has Tripled our Growth

By November 20, 2019 No Comments

If you told me 21 months ago that we will be one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in South Africa (with offices in the richest square mile in Africa), I probably would have laughed and said: "Sweet, whatever."

I would definitely not have believed you considering the competitiveness of the industry and the fact that our beautiful country is in a recession.

However, yet, we've beaten all odds and today I would like to share our secret sauce with you!

That's right; I'm spilling the beans, and I'm going to share with you the exact strategies we've used to grow at the rate that we have!

It's really simple actually.

In fact, most people will read the following sentence, and most probably leave the page immediately thinking that they know exactly what the rest of the article is going to say.

To those individuals I say, cheers, good luck growing your business!

For the ones that want to stick around, I say: "Are you ready?"

Here we go...

The number one thing that has lead to our growth over the last 21 months is creating intent under customers vs selling service to people who have intent.

You might want to read that again slowly.

Let me explain.

Today, most digital marketing agencies will tell you that Google Search has more than 9 million South Africans on the platform every month and that a large number of them are looking for a product or service like yours.

They will then convince you that you need to spend money on Google in order to compete for that attention!

Even though they might be right, what they won't tell you is that those people are only a tiny percentage of your actual market. They also neglect to tell you that even though the percentage is small, it's by far the most competitive to advertise to.

Every single competitor is bidding for their attention due to the fact that they are expressing intent.

Now, at any given time, only 4-5% of your target market is actively busy looking for product or services like yours on a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, etc. which means it's a matter of supply and demand.

The more companies bid for their attention, the higher the demand.

Considering that 5% of the market is searching, we need to understand that it is not a lot, so the supply is low, which in turn drives up your marketing costs.

It's similar to aeroplane tickets from JHB to CPT over December.

The ticket prices skyrocket due to an influx of demand while there are only so many airlines and routes to CPT available.

Knowing this, we need to ask ourselves, if only 5% is actively searching for a solution, what is the other 95% doing?

The reality to that question is, nothing, they are most likely just scrolling through their just chilling on social media, which means, you have fewer competitors competing for their attention.

The above is the main reason why we've spent the majority of our marketing budget on social media instead of Google.

On Google, the average cost per click for "digital marketing agency" is between R30 to R80.

Yip, that's right, up to R80 and sometimes more just for one click.

As a small business, we need to ensure that we are as wise as possible when it comes to our marketing dollars. It's essential to ensure that we get the best bang for buck.

With that said, the average cost per click on Facebook for people who are small business owners are R3 to R5.

That's 6 to 16 times cheaper than Google.

Some will argue that it's worth paying the R80 because the person clicking has a lot more intent to actually becoming a client.

Even though this might be true, I say, I can create the same amount of intent under the person who owns a small business at a much cheaper price.

If I can create the intent, it means that I can get 16 times more people to our website than a competitor if we spend the same budget on advertising, and potentially, 16 times the amount of customers.

How to Create Intent

Social media allows you to target individuals with specific job titles and interests, unlike Google where you have to wait for someone to express interest.

So, here is what we did.

We focussed on running targeted LinkedIn ads to sales executives and marketing managers offering them a chance to download an eBook that is going to help them overcome some of the biggest hurdles today that's preventing them from increasing their sales and revenue.

See what we did there, we added value to someone's life! For FREE.

Now many digital marketers will say: "We know this strategy, now that you have their details you can email and phone them to buy your services!"

To them I say, you couldn't be more wrong!

In fact, we do the complete opposite!

After they've signed up for our eBook, (and you can offer anything you want here that adds real value to your ideal customer's life of course), we kept adding value to their life by sending them more tips and tricks to help them improve their sales and marketing strategy!

To some business owners, this might seem counterproductive.

Why would you give your potential customer everything they need for free? What do you have left to sell?

Well, there are two reasons:

The reality is that we know no-one will be able to execute on our ideas as well as we do, no matter how many tips and strategies we hand out.

And the potential customers who have downloaded the eBook and who are receiving our valuable tips soon start to realise this themselves, which in turns creates the intent we are after.

And two, in a world that's so noisy, the last thing you want to do is shout louder than your competitors. All that is going to do is drive up your marketing costs.

Instead, what you should be doing is to find your ideal customer and build a relationship with them. You need to gain their trust and build credibility for your brand (especially if you are small).

I promise you if you do this the sale will come at a much lower price!

I bet you think that this sounds like an excellent strategy for companies who sell business to business products and services, but what about if you are a brand selling directly to consumers?

Facebook and Instagram work amazingly well for consumer-facing brands, and if you are selling a product, then you can still utilise this strategy. You just need to find your own unique angle.

It all comes down to adding value to someone's life. That value will, in turn, build credibility and trust, which will eventually lead to a sale!

So ask yourself, what value can you add that will supplement the product you are selling? E.g.
If you are selling cosmetic products, a form of value would be to send someone additional ways to help them take care of their skin.

After a few straight-up value emails, you can start mixing in some of the ingredients within your products in your communication and educate them on what makes these ingredients so unique.

Because you now have their attention, and because you have built some credibility with them, they will start to trust what you have to say.

This will eventually help you get a purchase from them.

Now, with trust comes great responsibility!

So, you must treat that trust with respect. Don't turn into a snake oil salesman!

This all sounds like a lot of work, right?

How the hell are you supposed to email all these people and keep track of the conversation, etc?

I haven't told you the best part yet. You can automate all of this!

By using tools like:

Hubspot (
SendPulse (
ActiveCampaign (

These tools will help you automate your communication and outreach.

All you have to do is ensure people download your eBook (or leave their details for any other form of value you are offering).

This simple strategy has allowed us to lower our cost per acquisition and triple our growth over the last 12 months.

Instead of competing with all the competition for the 5% of people actively looking for your products or services, we find people who fit these criteria's, and we create interest under them!

Now, I'm sure you have a ton of questions on how to go about setting all this up...

Because it will be literally impossible for me to write a blog post containing all the information you need to go about setting this up yourself, I'm offering a free 30-min Digital Marketing Growth Session for anyone that's interested taking me up on the offer.

No obligations, 100% free, 30-min you, me, on a call, or our boardroom if you are close to Sandton 🙂

All you have to do is click the button below and leave your details!

Jandre de Beer

Author Jandre de Beer

In a nutshell... I'm an online marketing expert with an appetite for #entrepreneurship! I'm the Managing Director of Version Eight and a contributing author to Entrepreneurs Mag SA and SME.

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