$1M+ Agency Founder Talks Surprising (Offline) B2B Lead Generation Tactics
In this interview, I talk with Tyler Horsley, Angel Investor and Founder and CEO of Nuclear Networking, a $1M+ marketing agency. We talk about how he grew the company from scratch to massive success using some distinct lead generation methods. Nuclear Networking has worked with the likes of Google and IBM.
Sweet, so Tyler, thank you for being on this call with me and sharing all of these tips. So first question is, how are you using Lead Generation for your company?
Sure, yeah well thanks for having me. So Lead Gen, for our company is kind of, I use the phrase taking your own medicine, because we are a marketing firm. So first things first, or kind of the basics, Search Engine Optimization, so that’s the process of making our website show up organically on Google.
We find, and this is actually industry specific, this can vary depending on industries, but we find that, the most qualified candidates are actually what’s called Inbound Leads, which basically just means people are already searching for “marketing company near me” or “SEO company” or whatever that might look like. So it’s important that we show up organically there for terms that we’re chasing after. Not every marketing company chases after the same terms. I just say that because, if you’re in a different industry, for example we’re not ranking for terms like “Denver SEO” or “SEO Denver, because the demographics that typically are drawn, and search that keyword, are not necessarily the demographics we work with.
We work with more enterprise level clients, and they’re searching different things so, we’ve kind of custom tailored that to fit our needs. Pay per Click advertising is another one, basically pay to play, right? We’re renting premium real estate on Google for those types of same outbound, or inbound search terms that people are using, looking for marketing agencies and those types of things, they’re specific services. It works really best when somebody is looking for a specific service like SEO or PPC, and we can drive them specifically to that page on our website, so they don’t have to navigate elsewhere and look around, helps our Lead rates go up.
So all those things are important, and you may not believe this but one of the most successful ways that we’ve actually developed leads in our company, and you’d think it’d be marketing first and foremost, since that’s what we do best, but it’s actually relationships.
It’s the power of, I’ve been told network, defines your net worth, and that’s absolutely true. Obviously there’s really core foundations you need to have, running any company, integrity, treating people well, providing a quality product, but I mean if you have these basics down, and you know what you’re doing, really invest in people.
Because no matter what we sell, 99% of everybody in any company, is gonna, it’s people, is really what we’re dealing with. In our example, what we’ve done as a marketing company is we’ve found other complementary verticals in companies. An example of that might be insurance agencies, another example might be web design firms. Not all marketing companies are created equal, right? We only focus on performance marketing, so just things that drive leads, that is it! We’re less about branding and storytelling, and beautiful art and creative.
All those things are really important, they help what we do look better, but yeah it’s been great. I’ve basically have just gone up to agencies across the United States, over the past couple of years, built really qualified relationships with them. Anytime that they help somebody build a website, or they’re bringing them on for business insurance, I’m now a trusted, qualified person, and they can say “Hey, have you ever thought about marketing, well here’s Tyler!”
And so, that’s been really helpful, and look there’s downsides, right? I mean, if you again, if you don’t follow those core rules of business, I’d say integrity first and foremost, people will stop referring you, because you need to treat people well, they’re putting their name on it, so it does require another level of trust and delivery. But that’s, those are the biggest ways that we’ve really generated leads for our organization so far.
Nice, I really dig what you had to say there about relationships, because I mention that, in one post, is that people can get caught up in the whole digital thing, but even when you look at Dun and Bradstreet’s industry profile for the tech industry, most of the sales, of these major sales, are being driven by personal marketing and personal selling.
What do you say to folks that say “Okay, I just want a purely digital approach” Is that possible for what you do?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say,, let’s separate a few things so the mechanics in the process of doing it. I think it is possible for somebody on our end to, manage and market and do these type of things, and kind of pull the leverage so to speak, without interface, but I’d say, most often their goal is to attract other humans to engage with their sight.
Again, they’re marketing with humans. Until we market to AI, purchase things, you’re still marketing to humans. So, I wouldn’t say as a total truth that you can just do away with humans and go full digital. And we are the most tech nerd group, that you’ll meet. We don’t do any of the branding and positioning stuff, that other companies would consider. We are still saying yeah, people are crucial man. You need to understand how they think, feel, what language they’re using when they search demographics. It’s all about people.
Nice, and speaking of getting that success and building that up, I’d love if you could brag on yourself a little bit, of what you’ve been able to achieve up to this point.
Sure I’d be happy to brag. So, I’d love to tell you the story of, with all the revenue success and more that we have seen, and we’ve seen great revenue. We have one of the healthiest EBITDAs in the entire industry, because of some core IP that we have, it’s really attractive to private equity, which we’re entertaining as well. But the other half that we’ll be kind of a shock is I’m not a person who is gonna come say “Hey, we’re a $50 million plus company and we have 800 plus employees” and by the way neither of those numbers aren’t true.
We’re actually the opposite, we’ve really found pride in remaining lean. We’ve done competitor deconstructs and pulled comps in the M&A space locally here. We’ve found other companies that are only two to three times bigger than we are, revenue wise and they have 10 times the employees. The systems, machine learning and AI that we’ve integrated here allows us to do better work, quicker, faster, cheaper, for the client on the other end. It allows us to hire based on quality, not on quantity.
So that’s something I’m super proud of, that’s probably not a common story for most marketing companies. Most people, I think it’s very, I’m trying to figure out the right word, I wanted to say blue chip industry, or old-fashioned way of thinking that, it’s like the building we’re in right now. We have this building for certain demographics of clients who need to walk around in a building and see you. . We’re from tech, man, we could all work from home.
Sure. Same with the number of employees you have., That’s the qualifier these days, it’s not revenue it’s “How many employees do you have?” It’s like, five million but I’m making a dollar.
I mean it’s just I’m a huge efficiency over public facing, it’s kinda like, back in school, the popular kids have this. It’s like, look, we’re here to make people a lot of money, make them happy, work well together, make ourselves some money in the process. We don’t really concern ourselves with some of the other stuff that the other people in the world are caring about. So,
– Nice, so talking about that, and I’ll leave with this one, what is the biggest misconception you think, people have about generating these business-to-business leads?
Yeah, so, I’ll tell you, I mean first thing that comes to mind is two misconceptions, they kind of conflict with each other specifically, the ones that I see, right? So you’re asking for an experience share from my life. I can’t speak to everybody’s industry, but I know in marketing, for example, when companies are engaging with marketers, or marketing companies like ours, the two things that we see, in terms of misconceptions are one or the other. And they’re very polar extremes.
One is, I pay you $800 and I expect to have $5 million in sales by day two of service. I mean ridiculous but, any other marketers out there, anybody who has worked in marketing, you laugh because you know that those people exist. And you’re like, so let’s time out here real quick for a short joke. If I could make that kinda ROI on any investments, do you think I’d be here? I’d be doing it for myself, man. But here’s where really, here’s why companies make it or break it.
Does marketing work? Absolutely man, but you have to have real estate expectations. I think that anxiety is cured by education. I think that if you’re working with a qualified company, they should properly educate you upfront, right? So one of our little tag lines is, “We show results in 90 days or less”. Does that mean that they’re going to be rich overnight? Does that mean they’re going to be ranking for first thing on Google, in three months or less? No, absolutely not. But it does mean, and here is the other side that I’m talking about.
The other misconception is “Oh, marketing is just bunk and none of it works at all” I mean, you’re dealing with people who have had a terrible experience, and it’s unfortunate, because if you do listen to their story, it’d be easy as a vendor to go “Oh, they’re one of those clients”, just as it is “Oh, they’re one of those marketing companies”. If you listen to the stories, though, man sometimes people get burned hard. And it’s just like “Oh, I paid these guys for three years and they didn’t do anything”. What a terrible story, I agree with you. And unfortunately, sometimes we have to go through those things, we trust people, we learn the hard way, et cetera.
But it’s also important, just like human relationships, right, whether that be a significant other, anything, you can’t put a label because, you’ve been hurt once over here, on the rest of the world, but I do think you should take that situation, and learn as much as you can about it. Do better, due diligence next time, and really heighten your standard, when you’re going to look at marketing companies.
Don’t just look at the price tag. That’s the most dangerous thing in the world to do. “Well these guys are saying they can do it for $200 a month.” Does that sound realistic? You’re gonna get what you pay for and then you’re going to end up losing money and not trusting anybody. So, really just do your due diligence, look at ratings, reviews online. And by the way, yeah you could have your friends or people write those, so, you still need to do more due diligence beyond that, but look at the negative ratings, that’s what I do.
Look at the negative ratings, look at how the company handled it. Did they just give them a brush off? Did they publicly embarrass somebody? Or did they treat it like they were running a business with integrity, you know? So those are the two misconceptions, either it’s gonna make me rich overnight, or I don’t trust any of it.
People buy marketing because it works, right? The whole world can’t be moving in that direction and you’re the only one who’s figured out, no marketing works. It works, it absolutely works, it’s just all about people again, t’s about the people you’re working with, their focus. What’s their work ethic like? Visit them at the office that they bought probably just for you, so you could walk through an office that kind of thing. The due diligence is important, so.
Awesome Tyler, well just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, and your busy, crazy, old-school office. Yeah man just want to thank you for taking the time out.
Appreciate ya, man. I’ll talk to you soon.
Thanks man, we’ll see ya.