You’ve heard those ads for a jewelry retailer: “Now you have a friend in the diamond business.” If you run a marketing agency, wouldn’t you like to hear the same thing from somebody who can help you with your business? Shaun Clark wants to be that guy.
“We’re partnering with agencies to make something magical,” Shaun says of his all-in-one marketing platform company, HighLevel. More than 7,000 agencies are signed on for the magic, Shaun says, “and because agencies share us with other agencies, we’re able to multiply our efforts to help clients grow.” Sounds like you have a friend in the platform business.
Rise Grind Repeat Podcast
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| Rise Grind Repeat 083 |
Recognizing that the marketing agencies actually this really great professional that comes into a small business and helps them do something that they can never do for themselves. Kind of like an accountant comes in. You know, there’s lots of businesses probably try to do their own books around bookkeeping. But you know, ask any bookkeeper or accountant, they’ll say, you know, it’s a huge mistake, and you’re just gonna mess it up, you’re gonna cause yourself problems. I think the same thing works for marketing. So
today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, we talked to Sean from HighLevel talks about how his software is helping marketing automation become more accessible, small business. Let’s dive right in. Sean, thank you so much for joining us on another episode of Rise Grind, Repeat, I’m I’m excited about this been diving into your tool for you know, over a month now and just kind of getting my hands dirty. And and I’m excited. But before we get too into the nitty gritty about what what you guys do, I’d like to learn just more about you and kind of what your background is prior to, to creating go HighLevel?
Sure. Yeah. So I’m a software engineer by trade. So second time, SAS founder, a third time company founder, so always been an entrepreneurial sort of guy. So yeah, just but mostly on the software side, technical background, that kind of thing. Cool.
And how did HighLevel just get started? What were you going through? What what pain points were you feeling that made you you know, what, I didn’t create a tool that helps me or my team,
I’ve heard these founding stories before my mind. Never mind is is such a straight line. I feel like it’s some others. So, you know, for us originally, so I had a prior SAS company, I was selling to small business owners, I was helping them out with their accounting. And I kept and once I felt like, I solved that problem, I just asked like, what else do you need, you know, what are the things you want? And also the same thing, like, Oh, we want more more customers, more business, you know, that kind of thing. And so for us, you know, we, we thought I thought, Well, once would that visit got acquired? And so then after that, I was like, Okay, great. Let’s do this. Let’s help small business owners grow. Yeah, let’s, you know, let’s bring software to the table. Let’s make it happen. So he wrote all this software. And I, of course, I had an existing customer list. So I called a couple of them. And I got like, 30 people to sign up. And they looked at the demo, and they’re like, this is amazing. This is fantastic. You know, here’s my money. And I’m like, this is it. We’ve done it. And then two weeks later, they all call basically and cancelled. And I was like, Oh, crap, I’m like, Wait a second. I’m not the type of guy to take this type of stuff sitting down. So I was like, why don’t you cancel? He said, It was amazing. They’re like, Well, okay, here’s the thing. It is amazing. But we don’t have time to learn it, set it up, get it going all the stuff. Because we’re small business owners are super busy. And so right there a HighLevel look like a big failure in the making. And we’re pretty depressed. And then all of a sudden, an agency owner showed up at a marketing agency and said, Hey, we heard you’re working with our clients, we’d love to see this thing. So I showed it to them. And I remember the time just thinking, like, What a waste of my time. Why am I bothering this guy? And we showed it to him. He’s like, Oh, this is amazing. And I’m like, Yeah, I heard that before. But he, and he’s like, he’s like, Oh, I want to buy this for all my customers. Like, yeah, I heard that too. But fine. All right. That’s, that’s cool. So we sold to him for, like, 10 licenses or something. And, you know, two weeks went by and he just like, kept talking to us. He didn’t cancel. And we’re like, Wait a second. And he’s like, Oh, yeah, no, 13 other agencies that would love this. And then some other guys like, Hey, I got a 40 person mastermind and presenting to you next week, would you fly down to San Diego. And so we just kept, you know, it’s like just pulling the string. And so you know, as much as I’d like to say, like, I woke up one day, I realized there was a problem, I solved the issue. And here we are, it was more like, Hey, we were fumbling around in the dark. We were looking at, you know, looking into failure. And lucky for us, someone came along and saved our day. So as as cool as that. And if you want the real story, that’s the real story. And, you know, but but you know, we’re happy to be here. We’re excited. excited that we found the mission and now we’re on track.
No, I love it. So I mean, it’s and when did all that happen? When did kind of that that
two years ago. Okay. Yeah, so that was really our sort of initial founding, we always wanted to help small business owners we still do. It’s just that it was, you know, it’s funny how you think, Oh, well, you know, Mike’s like, the middleman and, you know, go direct and all this other stuff. And reality is, is your goal is to take software applied to a small business, but you have to realize is that that is a tool, right? And a tool is awesome, but you better better be giving the right tool to the right person for the right job. And what we realize with small businesses is that they are really good at doing what it is that they do. But marketing is a whole vocation. And so initially, I think I gave it the I didn’t give it the respect that it deserves. And I think that’s where I made my mistake. So it’s recognizing that the marketing agencies actually this really great professional that comes into a small business and helps them do something like that. They can never do for themselves. Kind of like an accountant comes in. You know, there’s lots of businesses probably try to do their own books around bookkeeping. But you know, ask any bookkeeper or accountant, they’ll say, you know, it’s a huge mistake, and you’re just gonna mess it up, and you’re gonna cause yourself problems. I think the same thing works for marketing. So once we understood that, then we are see what the mission was. And so that’s what we’re focused on it today. Cool. No, I
love it. I mean, at the end of the day, you guys built an awesome tool. And at the end of the day, it’s I mean, huge Gary Vee fan. And he talks about I mean, a basketball, what’s the ROI of a basketball and LeBron can use that tool a little bit better than I
love that example. That’s fantastic. Exactly. You give a basketball to a guy like me, I’m, you know, I’m probably gonna just gonna, like, you know, try to dribble, it’s gonna fly out of my hand, and I’m gonna look like an idiot. So yeah, totally.
Yep. And we’ve been talking about this tool and this automation and all this for quite a bit. I mean, from a high level, I mean, what would you say that are the biggest benefit benefits or features that your app or tool offers that I mean, help small businesses, still these days, it depends
on who we’re talking about. But I would say that the, the core thing, I wish everyone would use it for more than anything else, is taking leads and turning them into customers. And, you know, again, in the context of an agency, every marketing agency is in the pursuit of creating more customers for their customer. And if they’re not that they’re doing something wrong. And I think a lot of times, the reason why agencies don’t get the credit they deserve is because they don’t focus on that end goal. And I think it’s a lot of the times because they don’t have tools to really service that information and also affect the outcome. So you know, if you’re an SEO agency, and you’re driving a lot of traffic to my website, like, That’s awesome, that’s probably getting the more customers maybe, but how do you prove it. And so that cultural like HighLevel, you can capture all of that data, and capture all of those leads, and then you can do the next thing. And the next thing is the most important thing, every small business owner, every small business owner does not follow up quickly enough with their leads, and consistently with their leads. And that is why almost all of them lose leads and lose potential customers, not because they’re not doing great things, not because they’re not talented, not because they couldn’t deliver, but because they don’t respond fast enough. And the consumer of that, that that service, or that good, they move on, because they’re in need right now. And our tool really is about speed lead, get back to that lead within five minutes or less, and automatically follow up with them until they respond. So for me, it’s all about lead to customer.
Now, I love that. And I think, you know, reaching out too late as quickly as possible. That’s where there’s there’s so much lost opportunity or money left on the table. What I got back to him in 20 minutes, but it’s like, well, in today’s world, 20 minutes is is way too long. It’s too late.
Do you have any? Say Honestly, I think 20 minutes is I think that might be what people say. But in reality, the data would say a six hours later, it’s the next day. It’s you know, people love to give themselves more credit than they deserve on the responding time. But it but it’s just so critical, because it’s really all that matters. Because when a human is selling is something else for another human. It’s about that connection. And it’s about showing them that you care and showing them why you’re different. And a lot of times that’s just paying attention to people because they don’t know on the other side, like how do you know that’s a good dentist or a good lawn care person or a good plumber? Like you don’t know anything about the act of what they’re doing. That’s why you’re hiring them. But what you do knows, wow, that guy got back to me quick, wow, they’re consistently keeping up with me, okay, maybe in other ways in their business, they’ve got things together, so I can trust them with the work I need done.
And then the biggest thing is it helps build that trust. And I mean, to your point, that’s the the beauty about, you know, the app they’ve created is you get from a marketing perspective, there’s nothing more frustrating than we’re driving leads, we’re driving high quality leads, these are the people that are engaged, but it’s taking you guys 24 to 48 hours to even reach out and by then it’s no wonder why no one’s answering or they’ve gone on to your competitor and whatnot. Do you have a little like golden gem or an awesome case study of kind of just the numbers behind what you just mentioned, where maybe? Well, you know,
my favorite one to talk about actually is one that I think is accessible to everybody, which is the MIT leads. So if you go on Google right now, and you type in MIT lead study, you’ll find a study that was done by MIT where they looked at millions of web based leads, and they they followed them from the time they were captured, to the time they are close to sale, or they were abandoned. And they try to figure out mathematically scientifically, what what you know what, what is this all about? Right? Is it? Is it the talent of the salesperson is the price point of the good? Is it the time of yours at the time of day, like? These are some very sophisticated folks. And it was funny because at the end, ironically, what they found is none of that really matters. It’s literally two things speedily, and consistency of follow up. So do you get back to that lead faster than anybody else? And if you do, your likelihood of close goes way up. And then from there, if they don’t close right away, are you going to follow up with them? 20 touches 40 touches, if that’s what it takes to get them to close the people who do those two things. Well across every product line, when and in fact, even product lines where there’s no competitor. So even if let’s say you’re Tesla, and someone comes to your website and says, Hey, I want to buy a Tesla, at the end of the day, they still only have so much time in the day to evaluate that purchase decision. And if you strike quickly, the likelihood of close will still go up. Even though there’s no actual alternative. They still have other things that are pressing in their lives that will distract them and keep them from completing the purchase. So it doesn’t even matter if you have a competitor, competitor, which everyone has a competitor. But even if they’re literally looking for your thing, they still complete the transaction if you can’t do speed to lead and consistency of follow.
Yep, no, I couldn’t agree more. And when it comes to speed to lead, I mean, I, what does the the go HighLevel offer? I mean, it’s everyone thinks of just email as soon as a lead comes in, we’re gonna email but to me, they’re less
email isn’t personal. It’s also it’s an, it’s an overused channel, you know that the question I always loved to ask is, Hey, would you like some more email? Are you Are you suffering from lack of email? And no one says Yes, right. So I think it’s a multi channel world. So I mean, today, HighLevel does, texting, voicemail drops, live phone calls, which were four styles, and an email. And we can even do other stuff, too, like we get to, like, send out postcards and do some things that are a little more delayed. But as far as like, traffic come to your website leads coming in the door, it’s about immediacy of contact, right? So for us, it’s about hitting them across multiple channels, letting them know we’re here, letting them know that we care, and then honestly helping them take the next step. So you know, the classic example is, you know, Hey, thanks for registering for this amazing offer or coming to my website, in order and most of the time to take that next step, you need to get an appointment on the books. So what we love to do is say, Would you like to book an appointment? And then at that point, let’s say the person texts back and says, like, sure that that works for me? Well, we have machine learning and AI that looks at that response and says, aha, that’s positive. So then we can automatically respond on behalf of the business owner and say, Great, here’s our calendar, grab a time that works for you. Or we can even conversate the booking and say, Oh, great, would you like a morning or afternoon appointment?
take afternoon. Great, we’ve got tomorrow at four o’clock and six o’clock, I’ll take six o’clock. So we can conversate the whole booking but the point is, is that we’re getting that appointment on the books for that small business owner without the agency or the small business owner ever having come in and take a conversation.
And at the end of the day, that just helps the overall profitability, one the agency doesn’t, doesn’t have to discuss, hey, we’re not driving leads, we’re driving leads. And at the end of the day, you don’t say, hey, business owner, we’re driving these leads now you got to increase your sales force by 200%. To to then get them to come in here that Yeah. And so moving on, from really the the nitty gritty of what what the tool can really do. And there’s a lot more than even what we discussed. But something that’s been really catching my eye that you’ve been discussing in the community group is that agencies need to create some sort of SaaS model. Yes, love to kind of just hear your thoughts. What What do you mean by that?
So that so this is the future of marketing agencies. So if you hear nothing else from this presentation, this is the thing I’m gonna spend the next five years on probably until, until it’s like no duh. But you know, the reality is, if you think about what a marketing agency really is, there, again, back to being a professional in their craft. And if, as a professional in your craft, if your goal is to get a certain outcome for your client, so in this case, you want to help your client, create more customers more business, you need to bring all the tools to the table. And if you think about that, realistically, it’s services and technology or software at the same time. Today, that’s not how the market works. If you think about it, as small business owners sort of thrown out into the world and left to their own devices to go and sign up with this software brighter or that software provider. And then an agency comes in and they try to come, maybe they have some tools they use, and it all kind of gets cobbled together, and it’s terrible. I think the agency of the future is going to do both. So you’re gonna walk through my door, I’m gonna say, hey, Shawn, here’s the thing, you’re going to average over here for this, we’re going to build a landing page over there for that. And oh, by the way, you’re going to use web chat on your website, you’re gonna need to a text messaging. So you can be messaging back and forth to your customers, you’re going to use reputation management and reviews because you need to grow reviews for your business. Oh, and you know what, as part of our agency, we not only provide those services, but we also have a platform that does this that we will actually charge you for on a monthly basis as a software product. And so HighLevel enables agency to do both we provide the technology as well as the services and since we white label it, that means the agency’s brain is on all over it. No one knows HighLevels here where your technology partner in the background, and we’re providing your agency a way to not only drive additional revenue, but also the sticky factor. So the ability for your customer to stay in there month in and month out. Even when the ad campaigns get turned off. Even when they don’t like Facebook ads anymore and they want to move over here they want to work on SEO, the software stays constant and that keeps revenue through the door at the agency It’s awesome when the sticky factors through the roof so it’s all about agencies becoming software providers and service providers all in one as a one stop shop
now, and as an agency, I can’t thank you enough for that. I mean that literally the last two years, it’s it’s, we got calendly over here we got Zoho for the CRM we got this is just the tech stack has always been the hardest thing one to manage. And even then it’s it’s, oh, by the way, you’re gonna have to pay for it. And then you run into cost. It’s your what you’re creating is definitely the way I think agencies should go. I mean, how has that evolution happened? I mean, obviously, there’s an aha moment wants an agency agency came in, but how things kind of evolved? It sounds like you guys are about to launch the whole SAS model. Yeah.
So I spent two years working the last few years working with probably 10,000 agencies and what I, what we care about more than anything else is I’m work. We’re an agency only platform. What that means is we don’t sell the small businesses directly, we never will, because we believe the agency is the right answer. And so every time I, every day, I wake up, I’m like, Alright, how do I make the agency owner more money today? How do I help them stay longer with their client today, right? And as talking to agencies, I was like, well, what’s your what’s your problems in life? What do you run into, and I ran into two big ones. One was, I don’t keep my customers long enough. And or I keep them for a long time, but I can only charge so much money. And when I looked at Well, why why is that right? And ultimately, the people who kept their customers longer, they traditionally provide a lot more services, they traditionally tend to be local digital agencies that can go out and see their clients. So they create a lot of goodwill there. But that, you know, I don’t care how many services you add to the menu. At some point, the customer is just gonna say, Yeah, I got my I’m doing my marketing. Right. So that’s the share of wallet issue. The bigger issue, though, is the retention issue. So a lot of people are like, Yeah, I’d love to sell these other services. But man, I can’t keep my clients longer than four months. And so I kept looking at this problem, this problem, this problem, and I kept building tools for the agency to use. And I kept thinking, well, just we just added yet another tool, agency owner would pick that tool up, they would know what to do with it, they would go out and do something amazing. And man, the client would see the difference, and stick around forever. But the reality was, after making about every tool, I could imagine it just at some point stopped being effective down that road. And as I as I looked out into the world and asked myself, Well, wait a second, what are things that small businesses buy? And keep forever? And the answer was right in front of me the whole time, it was software. So and what I mean by that, by the way, for anybody who’s listening is go look at a provider like podium, Podium.com. They they are $100 million in revenue, and a 10,000 single location businesses, and they have a 2% churn rate every month, they lose almost none of their customers, and they charge 400 bucks a month on an annual subscription basis. It’s like, Oh, my gosh, how in the world? Are they able to do this? What amazing software must they provide? Well, I hate to break it to you. It’s two way text messaging, its reputation management, and its web chat. That’s it. It’s because that that communication becomes so sticky for the client, because every day while their website, they see that web chat widget, they click on it, they chat with the business owner, and now that business owner has these free leads coming in every day. So it just becomes irreplaceable. And this is where the agency needs to come in and take over. This is where the agencies need to say, Hey, listen, yes, you need that software, we’ve got it, don’t worry about it, you can pay us for it. Oh, and by the way, when you’re ready, or in addition to let’s add the services and take it to the next level. So that’s where I really think agency goes in the next couple of years. Now.
I love it. I mean, definitely what what you’re saying and what you’re speaking to, I mean, is music to my ears, because it’s just gonna make every everyone’s lives that much better. In terms of now we can have more productive calls around how do we actually evolve strategy to drive more new customers and increase that lifetime value of a customer? Overall, rather than Alright, well, what’s the next best tool that’s gonna solve this problem? And overall, you’re just making the world a lot more productive place?
Well, and you’re not and you’re not losing.
I mean, I think that the the enemy here really is the traditional software company, if you go out and look, I mean, all of us know this, right? We’ve met these software companies that have hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, they don’t really care about us, but you know, they, they like to call agencies a sales channel. And I have to tell you, that’s a really nice way to say we come in, we use you to steal your customers and get them on our platform. And then we could care less what happens to you at the end of the day, right? That’s what a sales channel is. And maybe there’s some compensation in the middle. And, you know, maybe we try to give you an affiliate commission or something, but really, at the end of the day, we’re here to protect our our brand stamp it on your customer. And then if you say great, if you go, that’s fine, too, because either way, we’re still gonna win here at the software company. To me, that’s just the wrong answer. And then even if you even if you haven’t had that experience, these other software companies that are selling to your customers, they’re selling these very limited experiences, because we all know the small business owner only has so much time and energy. Why is the agency not there? Why are they not involved? It’s because there’s no money in it for the software company. So they try to cut you out. HighLevel is about bringing the power of the software and putting it in the hands of the agency owner so that they are just this feature complete box that makes them unstoppable in the minds of their clients and allows the agency to say, Oh, you had a software company call you about x? Don’t worry. Boom, gotcha. Right. That’s my goal. That’s my vision. That’s what I believe is the right answer for the small business owner, but also for the agency, because I think it’s a win win for everybody. Nope,
I couldn’t agree more. And I mean, you talk about the features that just kind of check the boxes. Really, I, you know, one of the biggest struggles that we have is he kind of hear whatever tools we’re using, you look at the product roadmap, you have all these cool things outline, you kind of start brainstorming how you’re going to use them, and then all sudden, they get pushed back and back and back. How do you I guess, deal with that? I mean, that that that’s tough, because you got agency owners that are starting to pitch it and create strategy around it?
Well, not as hard as you think. Because we only focus on agencies, right? So is there are there definitely priorities that we have to deal with? Absolutely. But if you’re an agency owner, the biggest problem is anytime you use a HubSpot or Sharpspring, or whoever the heck, ultimately, you’re, you’re just a number like your customer, 1,200,057, right. They don’t care about you, you’re not interesting to them, they just want that they’re happy to take your money, but you’re not their customer. I think the fundamental difference with HighLevel is agencies are our customers. So we wake up every day and just talk to agency owners. I don’t talk to lawyers, or doctors, or dentists or lawn mower guys, right? I’m just talking to agencies. And so our feature set revolves around the needs of the agency, which is what streamlines us and makes us really on target and why we’re the best agency platform out there today. And I think we always will be because all these other big companies, you have to realize that they raise hundreds of millions of dollars. And the moment they do that, that means that the people who are hidden that money, they want a 10 x return, right? You give me a billion dollars, my friend, and you get it for me ASAP. Otherwise, you don’t get any more money and you go out of business. Well, that’s not the game we play. We’re not venture backed or bootstrapped or profitable, and we’re focused on one customer base. So they said a lot easier for us to come up with the features you need and focus on.
Now, it’s so refreshing to hear that because you hear so many just ask companies that are that we need that capital, we need the finance, we need the cash flow, because it’s gonna solve all the dream all the dreams that we have. But then all of a sudden, you got a whole other stakeholder that you have to appease. And now you kind of lose focus on why you even built this tool for the people and problems that you’re solving. Rather than trying to make this person that people don’t keep the
lights on anymore, you have to realize every every software company that people know and use most of the people out there that are using a software product, you got to realize you’re not actually paying the bills. Ultimately, the bills are being paid by a venture capital firm or private equity firm. And so those people are the customer as far as the CEO of that company is concerned. And if they have to choose between you or them, they’re going to choose them and not you every time. And I think that’s the wrong answer. But we’re trying to do at HighLevel’s different. We’re trying to partner with agencies to make something just magical. And we we love our customers, we’re focused on them. And you know, even if that means that we could we maybe maybe if we took venture funding, we can be 10 times bigger. That’s okay, by me, I don’t mind if every day we just get come to work, serve the right person, do the right thing, change the world in a positive way. If we there’s still a lot of money for everybody on the table and everyone’s happy. Like that’s the world I want to live it.
Yep. And one one big question. Because I mean, I saw you guys looking at almost as outbound automation and all that but then start realizing there’s some CRM functionalities. How would you guys classify yourself? I mean, there, there’s so many different tools? And
that’s a good question, I would say we’re, first and foremost a marketing automation product. And we’re also I think, a CRM product. Now, I think that we always think about this as there’s a sales and marketing aspect of every business be at an agency or a dentist’s office. And then there’s the operation side will always be the sales and marketing side. And it’ll always be in operations here. And again, I think that speaks to the fact that there’s also fundamentally two different roles in that organization, right? The dentist is the last person, you know, when we sit down in the dental chair, if that dentist said, Hey, you know what I’d love to tell you about this amazing funnel, I just thought, Oh, I’d love to tell you about this lead nurturing automation thing that I’m doing. You would be like, what? Hold on, wait, you got to drill in your hand, man, are you sure. And you know, that’s the last thing you want to hear from your dentist. And so I think the best small businesses, the ones that thrive, are the ones where the dentist sits on. It’s like, Hey, I went to this really cool conference on how to like, do fillings at twice the speed and half the pain and 10 times the quality. That’s the you know, where you’re like, Yeah, right, buddy. That’s so interesting. I can’t wait here. Like that’s what you want to hear from your dentist. But you know, what you want to hear is, you know what, I actually spent all my time on dentistry because that’s what I’m great at. But because I know my business needs to thrive. I was also smart enough to hire this amazing dental marketing agency that’s helping bring new patients like you through the door so that I can show you the skills that I have. So for me, it’s about serving the sales and marketing function of that SMB. So Yes, we are a CRM system. And we will be a great CRM system for sales and marketing. But we’re not going to try to replace, you know, the thing where you say, hey, what cavities are on which tooth, right? We’re not going to be the operations CRM.
Now, it’s definitely a great representation of the differentiation between it between the two. For sure, and you guys are working on a ton. I mean, whenever you go and look at the pricing page, there’s a lot that I mean, even in the the Facebook group, there’s a lot that’s about to come out this month, and, and even q1, and next year, I mean, looking into the next 30-60, I mean, even 90 days, that’s a little bit far out. But I mean, what are you most pumped for, that you guys are currently working on?
Yeah. So I mean, by the end of December, I would say we will be feature complete with any major marketing automation and CRM platform that you can throw at. It doesn’t have every little feature and milk and cranny. But all the beta features, you know, you’re like, Oh, I want to be able to do a visual workflow. Great. Got it. First Class, email marketing that’s out already today, you know, all of you, I want you to great CRM, cool sales pipeline tracking system, great, you know, automated nurture campaigns that are multi channel, great, you know, all of these things are done. And so what I’m excited about most is moving the focus back to the SAS model, and making sure that we’re focused on products that agencies can sell to their clients. Because this is really where we go from here is, let’s build out the product set. So that every time you add something new, we’re saying, No, this isn’t for the agency, this is for the agency to sell to their customer, and either have the customer use it directly, or use it in concert with the agency. So like, for example, you might have a done for you newsletter service that the agency runs. And normally, that’d be super expensive, because you’d have to go out and let’s say you’d have to have bespoke newsletter content created for every single customer. But what if instead, you can have a really nice, generic newsletter for that vertical created once, and then you can easily push it up to 30 clients like you can with high level, all of a sudden, you can take $1,000 newsletter, and you can take it down to a $200 newsletter, the customers still happy, the customers, clients who get the newsletter still think, wow, this is professional, I’ve learned something, it’s great. And now the agency just added additional revenue. It’s just such a win for everybody. So for me, it’s about focusing on those products, could be coupons, could be referral management, could be newsletters can be, you know, can be lots of things. But it’s really about creating products that the agency can sell to their clients.
Have you seen coupons used with with HighLevel there’s a there’s a restaurant segment we’re trying to reach and really a free appetizer, whatever it may be, you redeem it, it shoots back over?
Yeah, you know, the guy who’s done this best that I personally run into is Matt Platt, and he’s totally automated this with HighLevel. What we’ll do on our side to help facilitate this again, in q2, and q3 of next year, is what we will end up adding coupons, I think it’ll be big for lots of people natively in the platform. Today, we’ve got an open API, we have a zap. So I think there’s some, you know, some external coupon software people work with, which is awesome. But again, I don’t want to drive people out of house, whether it’s the client, or the agency owner to say, Oh, no, we’ve already got that for you. It’s right here in the platform. But this is the fun thing about this, like, today, we’re almost at 7000 marketing agencies, as we continue to add more and more agencies, we’re able to do more and more for every single one of you. So as you come into the platform, you know, it’s like, awesome, we’re taking every last dollar of revenue, and we’re putting it all in the same place engineering. Because we’re a bunch of engineers, we want to build more things for all of you that like that’s our that’s what gets us up in the morning. And because we’ve created this amazing partnership, we don’t have to go out and raise venture capital, right, because agencies like you are willing to go out and share us with other agencies, you know, we’re able to multiply our efforts and long term, I think we can take every marketing agency on the planet, put them into the to the app, and all of you can go out and provide amazing products and services for your clients and not end up paying a tax or a toll to some huge, massive software company whose whole motivation is raising another round of venture capital, instead of being give back to what matters is helping the client actually grow.
No, I absolutely love it. I mean, you’re helping make it more accessible to the small business while also helping agencies become more profitable. And when that happens, I mean, you’re just able to serve more of those small business clients, and essentially, you’re just making the world a better place. Which I think if you can do that, and then your day to day, I mean, that’s that that’s happiness.
Totally Great. Well, and you know, I’ve seen some amazing success stories today. I mean, we I won’t mention these folks, because they told me this stuff in confidence. But you know, the most people don’t pay a dime for most people, because of the SAS model are actually making money. I mean, I know 10 agencies right now that are doing $100,000 a month in SAS revenue alone. So take all their service revenue and get rid of it. Just look at the software revenue and you’re talking 100 grand or more. I know a guy doing $3.2 million a year in software revenue today. Selling to doctors online. It’s amazing. Our platform is about making agency money, not costing the agency money. Who else can say that?
No, I mean, it’s, there’s something that we always discussed internally here. And it’s don’t go after the fish go after the fishermen. And that’s essentially what you’re doing. I mean, it’s, it’s the small businesses of the fish, they didn’t see the fishermen. And by by going out to the fishermen, you can serve, you know, a lot more of those fish. And that’s, I think,
smarter. I love it, because it creates a partnership, right? My interests are aligned with your interests. You know, if you lose a client, I’m gonna lose you. Right? So you and I are both on the same page. Let’s keep that client. Let’s keep them happy. Right? Let’s keep them paying us more as create more value for them. Every single day we wake up and we’re fundamentally working on the same page.
Yep. No, I love it. And kind of a selfish question on the the app and the white labeling and all that what what does that look like in terms of the exit? That’s something we’re discussing internally, trying to build an app to where we can have Data Studio reports essentially show the the ROI, we’re very ROI focused, and, and really having an app to where you can see that that ties into our project management tool so the client can see when things are getting done, how robust is the app that you guys are creating?
Well, I mean, I’d say it’s fairly robust. I mean, our our goal, on our side is to focus very much on one thing, which is revenue, right? We want to show the client Hey, look, yeah, we’re doing all this cold marketing stuff over here, a lot of which you probably don’t understand, to be honest, because we’re the professionals. But one thing we do know you understand is money, and customers. So the big focus of the app isn’t, you know, here’s how many likes or clicks or registrations or leads or any of that stuff, it’s how much revenue did you get? Right? How many paying customers walked through the door? How much money did they pay you? Right? And what’s your conversion rate on all the leads that we’re bringing into the system? That’s the first thing on the dashboard. And for us, that’s actually what we think agencies should focus on. I mean, we’ve all seen those huge reports, or those really sophisticated reporting tools. And a lot of that data is super useful as a marketing agency. But as a business owner, you just want to know the bottom line? And how do you determine you know, am I gonna? Am I gonna let my marketing agency go this month? Or no? Right. But what really matters to us it is, can I see the 40? page report? No, you just want to know, like, how many customers you got me, man? I feel like Oh, look, we got you 100 customers and $100,000 in new revenue, like, Oh, my God, that’s amazing. That’s incredible. Yeah, great. Let’s keep you. Sweet. sold. See you next month. Thanks a lot, right. That’s the goal here. That’s what we focus on. So do we have all kinds of other great reports we do. We even have attribution reporting, which, which I’m super pumped about, it’s the ability to track revenue all the way back to the act. So I can tell you look, inside AdWords, inside Facebook Business Manager, here’s how much revenue you generated for this client off this ad, or this ad set or this campaign, which as a marketer is phenomenal data, right? But you know, again, I just caution that’s for the marketer or not for the small business, we just care about how much money do we make that small business owner?
Yep, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the giving end of that 40 page report and page two through 30 or two through 40. Or just a call. I just want to know how much money I made.
Right. Thanks for the pretty graphs. never read these. Okay.
Yep. No, this has been great. And as we kind of wrap up, I mean, there, there’s so much good that you’re doing and I’m, I’m happy that I found you guys before and I know you you’re really catering to the agency for that agency that’s really looking to really find new new revenue lines, and really just narrowing the tech stack without having to balance all of them. I mean, what’s the biggest thing that that you could say to them as they’re going down that path of exploration?
Yeah, so I mean, just realize, like, as you scale, you know, how are you gonna keep it all going? Right? So if you if you’re, if you’ve got six or seven apps right now, and you’re stringing it together with Zapier, like, how are you gonna grow? Like, how’s it gonna work? Like, what is it gonna look like when you have 50 clients, you’re gonna be either you’re gonna be killing yourself, or you’re gonna be spending way too much money on like staff to, like, manage all of this, like, how about the whole idea is to it’s multi tenant, you can have multiple clients and bring it all into one. I mean, that’s the whole idea is designed to help that agency scale up. It’s designed to help them save on all those different tools that they’re trying to glue together. It just works better. And at the end of the day, it’s simple. We’re not the only person waking up tomorrow, thinking, Okay, how can I make that marketing agency scale? How can I make them more money? How can I help their clients stick around longer? We’re the only people out there doing this. And I think that that’s part of the right platform for your agency.
Awesome. So if you’re a small business and have questions can reach out to me but for those agencies that are out there listening, Shaun, how can they get ahold of you to to get a demo? And
yeah, so absolutely. So we’ll hopefully you drop your affiliate link somewhere in this because we, you know, we wouldn’t be here without our customers. We do run an affiliate program. And it is a huge it’s really the only way we grow. So in general, I’d say have them reach out to you and ask questions because you know better than I do, but if you really want to go check stuff out, obviously go HighLevel.com is the website. I highly recommend the YouTube channel. We put all of our stuff out there. very much about transparency and just showing everybody what we’re doing and really working with our customers to create the next version of the app. You know, once you buy, you’ll get access to all this 9000 person, Facebook groups. So lots and lots of really great resources. And again, all just marketing agencies that, you know, you can come and learn from it, and help and it’s a great community.
Yep. Now, Shawn, I can’t thank you enough for your time. This has been great. I mean, I’m pumped to learn more about to how to how to use HighLevel and so I’m sure that that group is phenomenal. There’s so many great resources in there. I mean, just that’s honestly what kept me in the, the, you know, got a got a blinder on and and found a tool. But I mean, just some of the ideas and stuff that are coming out of that community. I mean, are are super helpful that we’ve been able to apply to our clients, and I’ve seen some wins. That’s awesome.
I’m so happy to hear that. Yes. It’s what I love about it. It’s like it’s not about us. It’s about all these different marketing agencies helping each other help their clients, it’s so cool to watch.
Awesome. Well, I can’t wait to continue to watch the growth and I’d love to have maybe a check in sometime middle of next year and the next year is to be great. Thanks for having me.
Cool. Have a great rest your day, Shaun.
You too. Bye.
Where To Find Shaun Clark
Check out the previous episode of Rise Grind Repeat featuring Pat Curran of Curran Media Company, a sports branding agency that works with professional athletes, media, and brands. Watch the episode here!