More Referrals and Better Clients - Shaun Buck of The Newsletter Pro - Eversprint

More Referrals and Better Clients – Shaun Buck of The Newsletter Pro

Shaun Buck, CEO of The Newsletter Pro

Shaun Buck, the CEO of The Newsletter Pro, grew his company’s revenue from $3 million in 2014 to $6.8 million in 2017, a 125% increase, and is on pace to hit around $10.7 million in 2019.  

The Newsletter Pro is the nation’s largest custom print newsletter company.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Shaun shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Forming alliances with referral partners to gain access to their clients and followers.  
  • Focusing on minimizing customer churn through relationship building and providing phenomenal customer service.  
  • Incentivizing referrals from customers and non-customers alike via cash payments and a chance to win exceptional prizes, such as a Tesla automobile.  

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Malcolm Lui:
Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Shaun Buck, the CEO of The Newsletter Pro, the nation’s largest custom print newsletter company. Welcome to the show Shaun.

Shaun Buck:
Hey, thanks for having me, Malcolm, excited to be here.

Malcolm Lui:
Shaun, you grew your company's revenue from $3 million in 2014 to $6.8 million in 2017, a 125% increase, and in 2019 you're on pace to hit around $10.7 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, absolutely. So what we do is we help people take their convert more of their prospects and the customers generate more referrals and decrease their their lost customers or their churn. Right. So we do that. The vehicle we use is actually a newsletter. And so that's that's the actual physical product. But the goals are to convert more prospects, get more referrals and lower your churn. And so the way we do this is we use a combination of calling our clients, interviewing them and then telling their story or ghostwriting that content in their voice. And we do a combination of basically a lot of relationship marketing and relationship building tactics and then specific calls to action to help them achieve whatever their particular objective is, which is usually getting one of those three things that I mentioned earlier on. And a lot of this is done, which this is the thing that people will probably be surprised about is off line, be a print newsletters. So not even we we of course have digital newsletters, but we send out over five hundred thousand physical print newsletters in the mail every month for our clients.

Malcolm Lui:
And I saw on your Web site that you did all in-house.

Shaun Buck:
We do. Yeah, we do. So I have a whole production facility here, my building, my buildings, huge. We've moved actually we grew so fast with those five times in now it's five times in three years. I want to say it was or four years. And so I. And then the last time we moved, I bought a twenty five thousand square foot building, which we're using about fifteen thousand square feet of it now we have about ten thousand to expand into. And we have a whole production facility here with, you know, all the printers and all the equipment we need to fulfill on on our product and service.

Malcolm Lui:
All right. Very cool. And your newsletters. How did they how are they delivered? Is it coming in a 8 by 11 flat envelope or is it just a nice two pager folded up in a regular business size envelope?

Shaun Buck:
So it's actually comes as a self mailer for the vast majority, I'd say eighty five percent of our clients come as a self mailer, which basically means it's a four page newsletter. So you take an eleven by seventeen sheet and you fold it in half. So loved by 17 sheet would be like if you had two pages, two regular sheets of paper stuck right next to each other. Right. That would be an eleven by seventeen sheet. And so when you fold it, it makes a little bit of a book and you have a front page, two inside pages in the back page. We actually then pulled it down one more time to make it go as a letter format and we send it as a self mailer. So we seal that piece just like that and send it out. That both helps increase the open rate and decrease the costs. So we get better results at a lower price, which is why we chose to do that.

Malcolm Lui:
Ok, so this is no envelope involved? Yes, tape up the ends and it has some prepaid postage thingy on it in the mail it goes.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Exactly.

Malcolm Lui:
Okay, great. And are these in color or are they black and white?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Full color. You know, and everything you would expect from a high quality, high production value piece to represent all matches our client's brand. So it's all custom. And so, you know, my newsletter will look different than your newsletter, than the dentist newsletter than the lawyers newsletter. Right. Cause it's all custom designed to their brand. And all the content is gonna be different because everyone has different messages and different goals. And so you've got the majority of our clients are on a custom completely custom piece as well. So.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, I did take a look at the pricing on your Web site and thinking that might one this my business as well. And I saw one where it appears like your customers or clients provide you the content. The second one where you you help them or generate the content as well. Which one's more popular between the two?

Shaun Buck:
Well, so we we don't have customers don't provide typically any content on either of the packages, one package. It's usually just how much custom content you get. Right. So sometimes they get to choose from a variety of articles if they're on some of the lower end packages. Right. So they get a couple of custom pieces and then they choose from more stock content. Or if they're on one of our full custom packages, which is the most popular package, I would I would estimate that somewhere around seventy five percent of our customers are on a full custom package. That would be where the next level would come in. So it's all about how much custom content is designed. But we. Our goal is for this to be a very, very simple piece for our clients. We don't we our average client, we need about 20 minutes a month from them and about from the actual owner. And then we usually need about another 45 minutes, give or take, from someone on their team who who we work with on the project. And then we take care of all the rest of it. If they're going with the less custom content, it's actually even. It actually takes them even less time to get done. Right. So yeah, we try to make it as turnkey and easy as possible because everyone has a job. They already have a job. Right. Running their business. So figure out how to create a newsletter both digitally and off. Figure out how to write all that content, how they edited, how they don't need to figure any of that. We just handle all of that for them.

Malcolm Lui:
So the less expansive package has has stopped stock content as opposed to custom make content. Whereas in your or your other packages all custom, is that right?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Yeah. It has less customs, so they usually get one to two articles on the the less expensive package. Right. Where they're gonna get more like four or five articles. Three to five articles depending on what they're writing about. But three to five articles on the full custom package. So yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
Writes For the less expensive window, is the content still custom made for them or is it stock content that you're pulling from your library?

Shaun Buck:
No. So what happens is, is we go by categories, right? So. So let me give you an example. If you're in a business, the business category, what's going to happen is we're gonna have a newsletter that three of the pages are all just kind of business, the business content. So it might be an article I wrote teaching someone how to generate more leads. Or it could be a sales conversion article or something along those lines in there. But you can't change those particular pieces. Then we're going to call we're going to interview you definitely interviewed for the cover article. And there may be another small article that we interview you and write about depending on your needs and what you're trying to accomplish right now, you're trying to have more referrals. So we have to interview you about the referral promotion that you're running or something like that. Right. And so, yeah, it's it's it is partially stock content, but it's not content that we have chosen and it's all niche specific. So if you're, for example, we were a lot of lawyers. So here we have a law based ones. So we know the content is appropriate for clients of law firms. Right. And so it's not just completely generic content. That's where I think a lot of people make mistakes and they try to put out completely generic content. That doesn't make any sense. So I'll give you an example. Like two months ago, three months ago, we wrote an article in our financial advisor, one which was talking about these seven money tips to teach your grandkids. So it's very relevant to the industry. It's just not necessarily completely custom for you. Right. We use that article across, you know, 30 or 40 financial adviser clients who are on that program. Let's say, you know, I

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
Don't know how many you're on it. But now if you go up to the higher end package, then you may still have an article or two that is like for example, we have a section that we put in a lot of the newsletters because it's really popular. It's I'll take a break and it's just think of the Sunday funnies. Right. I remember like back in the day, get the Sunday paper. You'd read comments. Everyone enjoys, you know, something funny, something, you know, entertaining. You know, I always say, like, who makes more money? You know, teachers or entertainers? You know, entertainers typically make more money. And so so we might have a section where we've got some really funny means that we read that we've bought or we might have some cartoons that we've purchased that we're drawn out. If that's your style, you know, you'd rather have like more of a comic strip in there. Right. You know, like whatever it happened. So you might get a piece like that in there. But then the whole rest of the everything else in not newsletter may be either researched content where we researched a topic that is relevant to your your reader and wrote it just for you or we interviewed the CEO or one of their clients or something along those lines and then wrote a wrote an article based off of that interview that we did.

Shaun Buck:
But we always write it when we do that kind of stuff where we're interviewing, yet we interview and then write in the person's voice who we're interviewing. So it would sound like Malcolm Lui would sound like we interviewed you and it sounds like it was written by you. All right. It would. They wouldn't know is written by one of my ghost writers. And to give you an example, actually. Right. I went I just got off a brief sabbatical. But before I went on that, we we got a testimonial in and it was from a client who was sharing the story that he had written a really cool article about how how great his mom is and how all the things she's done for him before Mother's Day. And it was it went in his Mother's Day, you know, or his May addition for his newsletter. Right. And he calls to tell us where he sent us in an email to tell us that his mom got the article or got the newsletter. And she she sat there and she read it in the house. And she was so touched by it that she she called him up and she was in tears crying about how special the article was. And his own mom didn't even know he didn't write it.

Malcolm Lui:
All right.

Shaun Buck:
So we have really, really good content writers and and, you know, we do our best to to not only learn your voice from day one, but we get better every single month at writing in our clients voices, so much so that we're routinely asked to do stuff that we don't do, like write books skills, write books for people and things like that. Because we have our writers are so great at writing in our clients voices.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, I saw in your packaging and your site that it's a 400 minimum for the newsletters. Is that

Shaun Buck:
Yes.

Malcolm Lui:
Right? Right. And do you get some rough pricing? Is that what comic his PAC is? Run.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. So it all just depends. Like, you know, if you're going to you can get in at four hundred newsletters, know if you're going with what we call a semi custom program, which was the first description, you know, there's they're gonna run about seven, nine, nine a month. And if you're going for the full custom, you're going to start at around eleven forty nine a month. Now those those packages as you add volume. Right. The price goes, the price starts to actually drop really, really fast. Right. Because a lot of our expenses as a company are actually in the content creation because the most expensive part of what we do, the printing and postage, is actually cheaper in most cases than the content creation side of getting the newsletter out. Right. So so as people go up and they're gonna mail. So, for example, you might be 400 newsletters might be eleven hundred dollars, but ten thousand newsletters, you know, is somewhere around, you know, six to eight hundred bucks or something like that. You know, it's seven thousand bucks. Right. So it can big starts and the price starts to drop the higher the volume because we've done all the heavy lifting of creating the content. Now we just have to send more pieces. Right.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. What's the average size of your customers in terms of the number of newsletters they send out?

Shaun Buck:
The average person sends out around twelve hundred newsletters among month and and but we've got them all over the place. We have one thirty two page newsletter, which is a huge newsletter. Most people don't need anywhere near. It's more. That's more of a magazine that we do that we send out around twenty five thousand pieces a month for that. And then like I said, we've got a lot, we've got a number of flights to send 400 pieces out and everything in between. So I think the most the largest we've ever done. I want to say was was a thirty thousand was thirty thousand pieces a month. The client was sending out for for a number of years, very long time. Unfortunately, the partnership broke up. And when the partnership broke up. Unfortunately, there there went our clients.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
So. Yeah. Yeah. That you know. Yeah. We do everything and everything from as little as four hundred all the way up to tens of thousands.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. Given the average size of a twelve hundred newsletters per month relative to you being on track to hit ten point seven million in revenue this year, it sounds like you have a lot of customers.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. We've got to we've got a we've got a good number of customers, you know. But, you know, we're always trying to. You know, I was working to hustle and find more. Right. So.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. So I've done the math here. But how many customers do you have?

Shaun Buck:
You know what? I like it, I have actually been gone since May, 20 seconds. I don't know if I know that number off the top of my head. I believe it's in the five to six hundred customer range right now.

Malcolm Lui:
And with that many customers, if one goes to a partnership, dissolving it. It's not a not that painful.

Shaun Buck:
Oh, no. No. And our churn is really, really low, like the stuff that we teach, the stuff that we teach our clients to do. We actually use internally as well. So it's not like we tell you to do it in a week. We don't do it ourselves. So to give you an example, like if you has want like a live number, I will tell you, I'm on a log in here for a second and I will tell you guys what our churn was in dollars last month. But we typically average somewhere between a half a percent a month and 1 percent a month worth of customer worth of revenue churn, which is the way we calculate it. Some people counted as number of customers, but I'm really more interested in revenue than I am and number of customers. Right. And let's see. So. So I guess I can even tell you I can actually tell you this one, so. So the way we actually already know, we'll know what September's churn number is going to be because the way our stuff's up as everyone gives a 30 day notice if they want to cancel. Right. So so anyone who was going to cancel in September has we've already received the notice. We already know they're gonna cancel. Right. So this month are revenue churn is nine thousand nine hundred sixty one dollars and eighty seven cents

Malcolm Lui:
All right.

Shaun Buck:
For the month of September. Our the best month so far this year was the month of June. We only had two thousand one hundred and forty dollars and twenty cents worth of revenue churn. So for a company that's going to do over 10 million dollars, it's pretty low churn.

Malcolm Lui:
Yeah, that is.

Shaun Buck:
We keep art. We keep our clients. Most of our clients are staying with us for three and a half or four plus years. We actually have one client. Our very first client is still a client today. In fact, I happen to just be talking to him right before this interview. So they've been on with us since ah, since we started in January of 2011 and been going with us every month since. So, yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
They on grandfathered pricing or there's.

Shaun Buck:
They are on a little bit of grandfathered pricing. I was actually just we were talking some pricing. They were making changes. And I'm like, well, let me I'm out to do some math on that because you guys have some pretty aggressive pricing. We have increased it over the years, but not nearly as yet, not nearly as much. But it's like any business when you when we first started out like we thought that we were going to. We thought that customers were going to provide content. We thought they would want to provide context. Right. We did that. So when we set it up initially, that's how we set it up. Right. Well, we quickly found out that that no customer wants to provide us content or very, very few whatever

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
Content. Right. And so. So what we do, we quickly found out that that wasn't the case and had to change our business model. But yeah, they're paying like I'm looking at their accounts. Look at their account right now. If they were to come if they were to come and sign up now, they'd probably pay about seven hundred dollars more a month and they're paying six hundred dollars. So and that's only because they're the first customer like we've and I've built a great relationship with them. So I they're kind of treading, you know, not that they know this, but they're kind of treading on the fact that they're our first customer. I really like them as people. And I'm kind of just eating at basically, you know. So but yeah, I mean, you know, it's I'm OK with it. They're great clients have been great clients. They refer a lot. So I let it go.

Malcolm Lui:
Yes, definitely. Long game basis. It's that

Shaun Buck:
That's

Malcolm Lui:
Works

Shaun Buck:
Good.

Malcolm Lui:
Out.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
So you run a business pretty fast. Three million in 2014 on track to hit ten point seven million and two thousand ninety five years later. What were the three biggest drivers of the growth over this time period?

Shaun Buck:
Sighs A couple things. One of them has been what we call referral partners. And so our firm partner is someone who has the ear. It could. It could even be someone like you. Malcolm Wright Someone who has the ear and of of a group of people, right. They they listen to what they listen to him. They learn from them. They help him. And so what we've done is we've found these referral partners and we've worked with them to get access, you know, via sponsorship or or whatever the case may be sometimes. Sometimes there's a trade involved. Sometimes there are just a cash payout when someone signs up, whatever it happens to be. Right. But we've worked with these people to to build relationships with them. And then in turn, get access to their their clients. Right. So getting that kind of endorsement just speeds through the decision making process. You know, for the end user who's going to buy from us right there. It speeds it through because they are like, hey, this third party over here who we like and trust with this third party, Malcolm, who we like and trust, is saying these are good people. You should do business with them. And so it makes a lot easier to close the deals. Those were not right. So that has been one of the reasons that we've grown so fast that we've been able to leverage other people in other people's lists. Another reason that we've grown so fast is that we are very, very we're very, very focused on.

Shaun Buck:
Sure. As I mentioned earlier, like lost customers. Right. We routinely are one of the. You'll have very, very low churn compared to my peers who are running similar similar agencies, maybe not newsletters, but they're running, you know, Facebook agency or something along those lines. Right. So we have very, very low churn and see that this is the number that most people don't track. They don't pay attention to. And they're absolutely missing out because, you know, we all work so hard and spent so much money to go out and get new clients that, you know, if we if we just did a little more to keep them, we would, you know, we would grow so much faster. But when you're when we're bringing in, you know, half a million dollars worth of worth of new business, you know, and only have one hundred thousand dollars going out in cancelations, right. Then, you know, you can grow pretty fast at that rate. But when you're bringing in half a million dollars in new business, you got four hundred and seventy five thousand dollars going out the back door. Your growth becomes anemic. And and so it's one of those things where we focus on that number. And in the what we do specifically is focus on relationship building with our clients. Right. And phenomenal customer service. So do what we say we're going to do when we say we're going to do it.

Shaun Buck:
If we have to change. I'm a big believer that if we if we're not going to hit a deadline, then we have to go to our clients ahead of time and tell them, hey, I apologize, we're going to be late. Would it be OK with you if I got it to three hours later, right? Not after the fact. Send it three hours later and then apologize for being late. Right. You know, when we make a mistake, we own the mistake. You know, we're happy to make sure that we make it right. And then we're constantly looking at the idea that, like, OK, let's say we've got to do let's say we've made a huge mistake. Right. Well, what? How would we want this to be handled? If we were on the other end? And then we just do whatever that is. Even if it cost the company money, even if we're going to lose money that month on that client, you never lose money for two months on that flight. We we focus heavily, heavily, heavily on churn reduction, which means that we have to focus heavily on user experience, our relationship with that kind of stuff. And then I'd say the the final thing is, is we get we get a incredible amount of referrals. And so we focus a lot on not in fact, like right now we're running a contest where we're giving away a Tesla.

Malcolm Lui:
Yeah, I saw that on your Web site, weren't sure that was what that was about. You were running banner ads on your site.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. No, no, we're given all that's gone off to go look at that. Maybe the messaging isn't clear. Also, check that out. But we're giving away a Tesla. You know. And and the way we've set the program up is that once we get one hundred referrals in which we should, we will be hitting that number here within the next, I would say, 60 days or so. But once we get one hundred clients who are referred and who sign up for the service, we will then take those people who all referred in and we will draw one of their one of their names. We're one of the referral. So you referred someone in, you'd go in the heart. Basically, we would draw your. If we drew your name, we're gonna then buy you a Tesla.

Malcolm Lui:
All right.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. And then on top of that, everyone who referred someone in and they sign up, even if they don't win the Tesla, we send all of them a cheque for five hundred dollars.

Malcolm Lui:
Oh, nice.

Shaun Buck:
So they get 500 bucks. Yeah. That way they didn't do something for nothing. Right. And. And then they also get the entry to win the Tesla. So I have some people out. A lot of people. One entry. I've got one woman who has 15 entries.

Malcolm Lui:
Wow.

Shaun Buck:
Her odds of winning this Tesla is pretty damn good at this point. Right.

Malcolm Lui:
Yeah.

Shaun Buck:
And we have a lot of people six centuries are five entries or eight entries. And so.

Malcolm Lui:
These are, I guess, referrals, these are referrals have become customers.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Yeah. No, they have to sign up. Yeah. We've received way. I mean, we received, you know, a lot of referred names in. But, you know, it's once a hundred people sign up for the service. Then we give away the. Yeah. Yeah. And if you and people are rising, all that's crazy. But if you actually were to run the mouth on it and think about it, I get a hundred new clients before I have to pay for a Tesla. So I'm being paid in advance of having to buy the Tesla. It's

Malcolm Lui:
Yet.

Shaun Buck:
Actually some of the best marketing you can do.

Malcolm Lui:
Yeah. Now that the revenue from one hundred planes is, that can be enough to pay for the Tesla.

Shaun Buck:
Wow. I mean, yeah, I'd be enough to pay for. So we see a hundred clients would be about two million dollars in new revenue. So I'll take it.

Malcolm Lui:
Right upfront revenue to my annual revenue

Shaun Buck:
And

Malcolm Lui:
Write.

Shaun Buck:
I got two million in the annual revenue. But you got to remember, we've been running this contest for a while. You don't remember. You don't know this. Let me tell you. We've been running this contest for our our launch was was 12 months ago.

Malcolm Lui:
Now.

Shaun Buck:
Right. So and that's why we're it's we knew would take us somewhere between 12 and 15 months to get one hundred close deals, because we understand that we're not you know, our buying cycle is a little bit longer. There's a little bit of education that goes into it. Someone doesn't find us and that a lot of people buy within the first 30 days. But a ton of people in fact, last year we sold two point one million dollars of extra annual revenue from people who had bought our list greater than 12 months before they bought. So we know that there's some you know, we know that there's there's a buying cycle there that we've got to get through and ours is a little bit of a longer buying cycle. So, yeah, I mean, we we absolutely will make the two million dollars over the course of the year. Right. But I have customers who have now been with us for 12 months. Right. They've we lost it in September of last year that we got we had a couple of people who were referred in and now they've been with us for a year.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
So, yeah, absolutely. This will this will not only be a profitable campaign. It will be an insanely profitable campaign. The basic question is, is how do we want up it now? So now we're like, well, what do we do? Like, we're literally thinking, what if we gave away? You know, what's the hot, hot topic thing right now is like student debt. But what if we ran a contest and we did the same contest, a hundred one hundred referrals in bulk, but instead we had two winners and we gave away each fifty thousand dollars to pay off their student loans or to pay college for one of their kids or pay off their debts or put on them. We don't care what they do with it. Right. You know, I mean the gimmick will be pay off your pay off your your loans. Right. Get out of debt. But we're just you know, we're really giving cash away. Right. You know what? If we do that, you know, I mean, we've kicked around. What if we bought you know, what if we had like Pell, what if we did it bigger, what, 250 clients? But we said, hey, we're gonna get we're going to pay off someone's mortgage and give him a quarter of a million dollars. Now, I know a lot of places that's not going to pay off your mortgage. If you're in San Francisco or New York, but a lot of places like Boise, Idaho and, you know, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida and Texas, that very well could pay off your mortgage. Right. So. So there's a few there's a few, you know, few ideas that we're kicking around what the next contest is going to be.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. Very cool. When you think your contest is going to end for the test, the.

Shaun Buck:
That it'll definitely it will be over by the end of this year for sure. I think it will be over by no later than the than the end of November. Our current pace. But but we're we're pushing out some extra marketing right now because of its cup, because it's coming to the end. So it's it's it's a possibility it could wrap up even faster. But but, yeah, we're pushing some extra marketing because we know we're down to like the last like twelve spots or something like that. Left 12 referrals, 15 referrals, whatever we need left. And and so we're going to push out some extra margin, but for sure easily it'll be wrapped up by the end of the year and likely a lot sooner than that. So.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, these are referrals from your existing customer base, right? Or is it wider than that?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, it's wider than that. I mean, we we have we definitely have existing customers giving us referrals for sure. But now know one gentleman who is on the curb. He sent us eight referrals. He has a group of dentists that he works with. And he's not a client.

Malcolm Lui:
Ok,

Shaun Buck:
Scott Yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
So is this different from the first driver, the referral partners?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, it is different. So so referral partners, so so referral partners would be someone like. Let me think of someone who might be like universally well known.

Malcolm Lui:
Lawyers,

Shaun Buck:
So like.

Malcolm Lui:
Business lawyer.

Shaun Buck:
Well, now think of it like I'm thinking more celebrity says. Think of someone who's who's pretty well known right now. Gary Vaynerchuk. Right now, he's not a referral partner of ours, unfortunately.

Malcolm Lui:
For

Shaun Buck:
Ok,

Malcolm Lui:
A.

Shaun Buck:
I'll just buy a lot of people know who this guy is. So I'm going to use him as an example. There's a lot of people who follow Gary. If Gary put out a video that said, hey, man, Sean, box company is really cool, you should check out newsletter pro. You know, go to this text, opt in here and he's gonna send you a free book and blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, we would be inundated with people coming to get free books, right.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
And we'd be inundated with new leads. So someone who has a huge following that they can drive. Now, to your point of a business lawyer, we would probably just put those guys up on a regular referral program like the other guy. He helps the dentists. I said that's not a client, but has eight eight referred people. And he helps dentists set up like sleep apnea clinics where they can help people with special, you know, a special mouth guard that goes in to help them not have sleep apnea at night. So they don't need to see pop and stuff. Right. So he has access to a lot of dentists. But, you know, he's not necessarily like, you know, Gary Vaynerchuk guru's style. Right. So so he would go under our Chesler referral program, the dentists. The guy who's accessing the dentist and the guy who. And Gary Vaynerchuk would go under. Ah, he would go into our partner program where we have some kind of custom deal that we negotiated with him, where he maybe gets a kickback for everyone who signs up or he gets, you know, whatever whatever the deal was that we worked out with.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. Okay. Got it. So this year is looking pretty good. Ten point seven million. Any particular things that you did differently this year versus previous years other than your Tesla promotion to.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Well, so here's one thing that we really, really focused heavily on, OK, and actually started late last year and has continued through this year. We've all focused heavily on the phones. And what I mean by that is we have a gentleman who we've hired who comes in twice a week and both listens to the calls for our salespeople and our lead generation people and stuff like that. Listen to the calls, critique some, gives them coaching and helps them with overcoming objections or overcoming, you know, whatever the issue is that they're running into at that moment and that. Focus on the phones and how we handle all of our sales calls and messaging there has actually seen a very large increase in our conversion of both leads to appointments and appointments to close deals. And so that has definitely helped us see a very robust growth this year, which will be in the know we're on we're on pace to do like 30 percent year over year growth. So, you know, it's been pretty, pretty robust growth. And I attribute part of that to to us really dialing that portion of our of our business in.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, how about from a marketing friend? Did you also ramp up additional advertising or do other sorts of marketing to bring you more leads into your process?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, I mean, yeah, absolutely, we're always testing new new marketing, new lead generation methods. We've tested a lot of stuff, some of it, you know, not right for our company. Some of it is crushing. So we've added a we've added an okay. Amount of additional social media advertising into the mix. We went more heavy on AdWords recently because the intent the buyer intent is much higher on AdWords than it is on Instagram or Facebook. We have we have actually surprisingly and actually like maybe even embarrassingly neglected, not entirely, but too much we've neglected linked in. But we're going pretty heavy on linked in right now. But that's relatively recent. So I don't I don't fully know how that's going to pan out because we're still testing and trying to figure out what's going to work. We also had we saw a book I published two years ago on referrals that that's done really well. We've we've put some more marketing behind that, although it's a more indirect path to get to us. It does work. And we you know, we do get good new business out of it. So it takes a little longer to get it. But but we're finding that on some of the social channels that that's working really well as to drive to book sale and then from book sale to some education and then and then ultimately to an appointment with us.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
So, yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
What about cold calling in, cold e-mailing, is that part of the that's in your toolkit?

Shaun Buck:
No. Were. I'm a big believer in. It's a lot easier to have people come to you than it is for you for you to go out and and come to them like it. There is so much hotter that's so much easier to sell and there's much better clients when they find. When we put out marketing to help them find us and have them engage with us as opposed to us just interrupting their day and cold emailing them or cold calling them. I know it works for a lot of businesses, but I'm a I have certain things that I'm willing to do and unwilling to do. And this isn't one of those things I'm unwilling to do. It's just it's it's never been my preferred. I've been selling for a law. I've been in sales for a long time. And although I don't sell the company anymore, like on any kind of day to day basis or anything, but I never liked it. I always, always preferred having people come to us and putting out marketing that made that happen. And so. So, yeah, that's a little more my style.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. Sure. At the very beginning, the first Scots got this business started your price.

Shaun Buck:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, but it was a lot of it was, you know, using the few contacts that I had and trying to leverage that and then building great relationships into referrals. But yeah, totally. I went. I mean, our clients are all over the United States and in four or five other countries as well. But in the beginning, yeah, I mean, I went door to door, but we also did a lot of I guess you could call us cold. But we did a lot of trade shows in the beginning as well. So and that worked out really well for us. There's there's still really good business at trade shows that you can find the right ones. You know, that's the hard part is finding the right ones. But, yeah, there's still really good business.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. So you mentioned before that your sales cycle can be quite long at times. Is there an average sales cycle for you?

Shaun Buck:
Well, look, the bulk of our the bulk of our customers, from finding us to becoming a customer happens within the first 90 days. And actually the bulk of it even within the first 30 days. But but by bulk, I'm still talking, you know, 70 percent of our sales happen over that first 90 days. The other 30 percent happened over the course of the next months and even years. Just last year, we signed up a client who had been receiving our physical newsletter in the mail. When someone signs up in their qualified, which not not as a kicker, right. Like we do verify that they're a real business and they're actually qualified in the sense that by qualified, I mean there are real business. Right. We will put them on our newsletter list to receive it for up to four years. And in fact, we just got someone at the end of last year who he was on his last month and the message he sent over. So we talked to my my sales team and then he asked to pass along a message to me, which was that was the message was just uncle. He gives, you know, and it was just because we'd been dripping on him with content and information, both physical and digital information for the last four years. Seems like finally, man. Like, I just like your stuff so good. I had to buy. And,

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
You know, we get one or two of those every year where they're like really, really long. But most of the people, you know, within the first 90 days and then after that, within from day ninety one to about year two. We'll get a ton of additional people in and then we'll get a few stragglers after that as well.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. Got it. So your follow up. Typically then it is through your newsletter, both electronic and paper printed, or are there other ways of following up that your team does?

Shaun Buck:
Oh, no, there's other ways. I mean, sometimes we'll make phone calls, will, one of the things that we're we're fond of doing so like, for example, if someone opposite and let's say they get the book right. And so I get a copy of my book and we sent it over to him. Well, if they've kind of gone cold on us for a while, we might offer them a really, really cool promo deal. We're like, we're giving out something that maybe, maybe we would normally sell for 100 bucks. But we're like, hey, if you want to get in on this, we'll give it to you for a dollar. Right, to re-engage them. You get them back reengaged. Right. So but no, we're we we're agnostic. I mean, we may have a print newsletter company, but we don't care where the you know, we don't care what the media is that we're going to use. Right. I don't care if it's social. I don't care if it's direct mail. I don't care if it's a newsletter, digital or physical. You know, whatever I've got to do to get my message out there to my customers, that's ethical, right? You know what? You know, it doesn't feel like dirty to me where I'm like, oh, that just seems like I would hate it if someone did that to me. Right. You know, whatever I've got to do, then we're going to go do that. We're gonna meet them where they are. So, so many people just they just want the easy button.

Shaun Buck:
They're like, you know what? You know, we're just going to put her up on Facebook and they run these businesses that are basically a house of cards. Right. That's their business is great. Right up until the point Facebook decides they're gonna bang on. We're right up until Facebook increases their prices or rental Facebook does X. Right. And so for us, we're all about how can we contact them as many different ways as possible. So they were like this. If I generate the lead online. My goal is to take that lead offline as fast as humanly possible, because online I'm competing with everybody. Right. Everybody. All the noise, all the distractions, all their friends. All the fun. All the video games. All the YouTube. All the e-mail. Everybody but offline. I'm competing I'm competing with the three other things in their physical mailbox. I have a pretty darn good chance if I meet them offline. I want to bring that person online into the digital world as fast as I possibly can, because I want to retarget them. I want to show them ads. I want to send them emails. Right. I want to. I'm still going to do all the direct mail stuff that I'm doing, but I want to do everything. So people will want to do one thing and then wonder why they get stuck. It's not about doing one thing. It's about meeting your prospects wherever they want you to meet them out. And people are like, oh, Sharon, this direct mail stuff, this is outdated.

Shaun Buck:
Well, that's really interesting. And that's an opinion that is up that is actually incorrect. And also, I'll give you two facts on that. First, the number one purchaser of items from catalogs. Right. Mail order catalogs are millennials. They've actually beaten out the baby boomers just as last year. Now, they're not filling out the form and then mailing it in. They're going to the Web address. They're using the coupon code in the catalog, which is how they know they came from a catalog and they're going to the Web site and ordering the product. They're ordering in a different fashion. But but the outcome still came from sending out sending the catalog. Right. The second thing is that, you know, talks about direct mail and everyone who's listening as you guys can just just mark my words on this. Right. Because I'm already watching it coming and it is going to continue to come. I just got I just got had some team members go to a conference. I wanted to go, but I was on vacation with the wife in Mexico. So I chose not to go. You know what the big thing was at this conference? The new thing that was going to disrupt online marketing, direct mail. That's the new thing. Right. And I'm seeing it more and more and more. The combination of online and offline marketing, marrying those two things together is having massive positive impact on a lot of businesses who are doing it correctly. Unfortunately,

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
Most businesses are doing it correctly, but that's why they think it doesn't work or they're outdated in there. You know, they're outdated or they're being lazy. Well, so easy to Facebook. Yeah, you're right. It's easy. You're correct. I also know a lot of people used to think AdWords was so easy. And now a bunch of us people who relied solely on AdWords are out of business.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. So. So you say you yourself run a mile to a mile tie platform all time medium marketing channels and off line and online. So what do you do? An offline site? Of course you do. Printed newsletter. What us to do offline?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, so we do direct mail. So. So just I mean. So, for example, when I say when I've talked about sending out the book. Right. I've said that a couple of times here. Right. So we don't just central book. Right. We send it in what's called a shocking all package and a shock and awe package means that you're ordering a book. You think you're just gonna get a book like you get it from Amazon. But instead comes as in our case comes this bright orange all bloke with a book in it and it's got it's got a bunch of other information and therefore you two at both educational and sales related information. So you were expecting you were expecting a book in the mail and what you got was shock and awe because we way over delivered on what it was that we sent you. Right. And so we used the we used that shock and all package we use. You we'll use regular old direct mail. We will go to trade shows. Sometimes we'll just exhibit at most the time we're going to trade shows where they're having myself or one of my team members speak at the conference. Right. And then we also have a booth. You know, we'll do we'll pick up the telephone. So we've got a lead we haven't heard from in six months, but they were interested. They've just gone cold on us now that we'll do outbound cold calling on. Right. But we don't usually just pick up the phone and call like from every dentist in the area or every B2B company in the area. Right. So

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
We'll pick up the phone. You know, we're not scared to we're not scared to dial for dollars and cents. You know, and so. So there's a variety of different things, but it's like it. But they're not silos. They're all used in you know, we try to make them all work together as much as humanly possible.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, you do all of this in-house.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, we do it all in-house. I take that back. We do have we do have one person who is a contractor who does some of our digital they run some of our digital marketing for us. And so part of that, we're doing it in-house and part of it. They're they're running it outside, but everything else is done in-house.

Malcolm Lui:
Right now, you're in Boise, Idaho. Is it easy to find people with expertise to do all the things that you mentioned?

Shaun Buck:
You know, I mean, it's like everywhere else, I mean, there's there's a million people in the metro area here. So for the most part. Yeah. It's actually Idaho is actually the fastest growing state in the union. As of right now. So the hard part is just that the unemployment rate is so good. You know, the blessings and the curse of a great economy. Right. You know, low unemployment rate, but everyone's got a lot of money to spend. So, you know, blessings and curses.

Malcolm Lui:
All right, so

Shaun Buck:
Our.

Malcolm Lui:
Finding specialists to do things so the things you talk about are quite narrow and could be very narrow and specialized, right?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, well, so we'll do a couple of things if we absolutely cannot find someone, we will train someone. So I'm I'm fortunate that I have studied and done a lot of marketing in my day. And so a lot of this stuff I'm up to speed on. But if I'm not up to speed on it, we'll find, you know, a business associate of mine, a friend, know, whoever the case may be. And we might we might fly someone else to go to one of their trainings if they're if they're hosting a training. Right. So we leverage we leverage people that we know when we need help or we need a little additional training on it. We pay for lots of continuing education, both for myself and for key employees. As you mentioned, when it's specialized stuff, we did hire this outsource person to take care of a lot of our Facebook, Instagram ads and stuff like that. Not that we couldn't have probably found someone in Boise, but we didn't feel it was quite full time work. So we we outsourced it. Right. Yeah. I mean, hiring hiring has been a challenge from time to time because we're in Boise. But it's never something that we haven't, you know, relatively easily overcome in a short window. So.

Malcolm Lui:
So would you say looking forward over next few years will be the biggest opportunity and challenge that you see? I know you talk about the marrying of online and offline marketing as a huge opportunity

Shaun Buck:
Yeah.

Malcolm Lui:
If

Shaun Buck:
He's.

Malcolm Lui:
Other opportunities and challenges that you're that you see coming up.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. So, I mean, what I think we live like in a time where, I mean, I can see opportunities both internally and externally. Pretty much everywhere I turn right now. Like the there's no lack of opportunity for us personally. It's it's product line expansion as well as we're doing more in the. A little bit more in coaching. And that may seem weird that we're doing we're going into more education, but we find that our product requires some education. And so what we're doing is we're providing in a lot of cases free or very low cost trainings to entrepreneurs to say, hey, look, do you want to get to 10 million plus do you want to get to a million plus whatever it is that you want to do? Like, hey, we're going. We will show you how to get there and we'll do it. You know where a lot of you are charging a fortune to go do that, where we're doing it very inexpensive because we know an educated customer, you're an educated prospect is much more likely to buy from us. So where we're spending, you know, in ramping up, we're spending money and ramping up time and resources to provide a lot more value from. From that standpoint, because we know that long term it will convert to more customers for us. And so. So that's a big opportunity for us as far as challenges. You know, I think that the. You know, probably the biggest challenge that that I can see is the fact that so few people are so few people seem to be paying attention.

Shaun Buck:
Just in general in business, right. I talk to entrepreneurs all the time who just want to who just want to continue doing the things that they've been doing for five years and ten years. And it's like, listen, the world is changing so fast and you are about to you're about to be left behind. And if we can't if we can't show them that they need to evolve what they're doing, they need to evolve their thinking. They need to realize that we're not going to live in, you know, the idea that all physical books are going to go away and everyone's only going to have a Kindle like they were talking about back in 2011 and 12 is just complete B.S. and it's not going to happen. And so kind of overcoming one of the biggest obstacles is overcoming the media. The media sits here and talks about business and they have no clue what they're talking about half the time unless it's big business. Right. But from a small business standpoint, they don't know they're talking about it. So they're telling everyone, you know, these these crazy headlines like, for example, I will. A few years back, direct mail was dead. Now, direct mail is a thing that's going to disrupt online marketing. Like, you know, I'm saying like overcoming people's understanding of what works and what doesn't work and having them realize that don't get bored with your own marketing.

Shaun Buck:
You know, it doesn't matter just as long as they are wise, as long as it works, as long as it's completing its objective. Who cares? Who cares if it's print? Who cares if it's Facebook? Who cares if it's Snapchat? I don't care what it is like if it works. Let's do more of it. Do not get bored with your own stuff. You know, like we. That's probably one of the bigger challenges, even though our quiet. Stay with us for three and a half, four plus years. Yes. A lot of times are not great. I just wanna try something else like this is like maybe the dumbest statement I think I've heard all year long. I want to try something else. Is it working? Yeah, it's working. But there's this new shiny object over here that someone's promising millions of dollars on. It's like that's never gonna happen. And so I guess kind of overcoming the the constant media, telling them that, you know, whether whether it's offline stuff doesn't work or only online stuff or just scares them. And then now they have, you know, paralysis because they're just scared to make any kind of move. Right. They're worried a recession may come. I'm like, you're not doing a thing because you're scared that possibly one day a recession will come. Well, one day one's going to come out. That's how the economy works. Like,

Malcolm Lui:
If.

Shaun Buck:
I don't know if that makes complete sense, but because I know I kind of went off on a little bit of a tangent on that one. But but yeah, I mean, that's where just overcoming kind of this bad information. It's that's the challenge.

Malcolm Lui:
It is a combination, right? On one hand, you must have breasts, though, what's new in in Kate McCann is likely to make an impact, right? The direct mail, for example. No, no. The hand you don't want to give up things that are working well for you just because you want to try something new. It cuts both ways.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, totally.

Malcolm Lui:
Yep. Three last questions for you, John. What message would you show on a billboard along the freeway? It's only going to be seen for six seconds or less.

Shaun Buck:
Hmm, mm hmm. What message are I showing a secret since I probably say so. So that's an interesting answer. It depends on what economy we're in. So right now, because the economy is good, my message would be all about referrals. You know what? I want to get more referrals and have better clients, you know, go to this website. Right. You know, so I would probably be pushing on towards referrals. You know, how how to have better than what they've got more referrals and a better client base. Right. If the economy shifts, our message completely changes and it more heavily focuses on, you know, reducing churn. We do. We do really well in a good economy and a slow economy. So. So we just have to adjust messaging a little bit. And luckily, our product works to solve both those issues. So if you know, it's we're in a good spot there.

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
But yeah, that's what I would know. It would depend on the economy. But right now, I'd be pushing a referral message, referral message and better clients.

Malcolm Lui:
Okay, got it. And the last two questions. Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to contact your company?

Shaun Buck:
So our ideal clients are our small businesses to medium sized businesses. They're usually doing, I'd say at least half a million dollars in revenue. If they're on the customer side, it's probably closer to three quarters of a million to a million dollars in revenue. There are doctors, lawyers, dentists, chiropractors, business, the business. So a lot of service based businesses. We do have some like retail, like 50 chain retail pet store that we do and a few online only companies like. We got a big 50 million dollar online only company that we work with and we do stuff or buy. You know, the bulk of it is gonna be your professional services, your B2B and your B2C. But not. Not as much retail, right. B2C as in more service based. And then the best way to contact us, actually, if people want to see some of this marketing that we've been talking about, they want to see that shock and awe package. I've got a really, really cool piece of technology that they should they should look at to emulate emulate themselves and we'll send them a book for free. And so all they have to do is have to text the word interview. OK. I n t r v i e w two. The number 2 0 8 2 6 9 ninety one eleven. So that's 2 0 8 2 6 9 ninety one eleven.

Shaun Buck:
Text the word interview there. And it's going to take here's what's going to happen is action is going to feel like you are texting with a live human because because they're going to basically ask you questions and they're gonna gather data during this question process. But we actually have an automated system doing this through our CRM system. And so it's going to gather data. It's going to ask you for your first name. It's going to ask you for your where where do you want us to send the book? Right. It's going to ask you those questions. Now, at no point is going to ask you for any money because we're gonna send this book out for you complimentary as part of you listening to Malcolm Show here. But. But you watch the marketing that happens just right in that little thing. And then notice that we're capturing full contact data. OK. It's really, really important. You want to be capturing full contact data as much as humanly possible in your business. Because that way when an email addresses and glad you saw the physical address. Right. If a phone number is no longer good, you can still email. You know, so on and so forth. Right. So. So when you do that and you go to you text interview to 2 0 8 2 6 9 9 111, what's going to happen is we'll send you a book the very next business day.

Shaun Buck:
So when you text at the next business, they will send a book on the mail. You're going to get the shock and all package. And then when you get that, I want you to devour that marketing unit. If you're not like I don't know about newsletters. I don't know if these things are for me. That's OK. No worries. Devour the marketing. Here's why. That book. This particular book we're sending you. This is, I believe, the third edition of it. But I originally wrote this book about six years ago. OK. And this book has been this book in this package. Again, you're seeing the updated edition, but it has been responsible for millions and millions of dollars in new revenue into my business every single year. And so take a look at it. If you're a student of marketing to study just from the standpoint of. Hold on. This is marketing. We know works. We know converts we know is growing a company. What can I learn from it? And so that would be the best way to contact us. You can obviously go to our Web site if you want to check us out, which is just newsletter, pro dot com again, newsletter, pro dot com. You can check us out there as well.

Malcolm Lui:
And how does one get onto your physical needs that are less freaky people on the list for four years?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. So when they request that book, that will also automatically put them, they'll get the current month's edition of the newsletter in with the book package. So on. One of the secrets that's gonna be in this shocking package for you. And then that will put you on the list and then you'll you'll get a monthly newsletter from me. My newsletter is eight pages that this particular one. Again, we don't charge you for this. And I basically we go through there and we give you eight pages worth of how to grow your business, how to run a business, how to hire people, how to fire people, how to train, how to all the problems that we all run into running businesses. That's what we talk about in that newsletter every single month. And so, yeah, it's.

Malcolm Lui:
Fresh new news that every month or every year would have pre written and they're just being ripped out.

Shaun Buck:
No, I write, I write, then I write new content every single month for it.

Malcolm Lui:
Very cool. And you talked before that you qualify to make sure you have real businesses signing up for these things. How are you doing this qualification process here?

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, it's simple, we just Google them. Right. So like if I Google, if I if I Google you and I can't find you, we ask for your business name and we ask for your first name. And if I Google you with your name and your business name and nothing comes up or it's like I get a Mary Kay page or something like that,

Malcolm Lui:
Right.

Shaun Buck:
I mean, we're going to send you a digital copy because we want to be congrats. You know, we promise to send you stuff. But I mean, it cost us 20 bucks to send out one of these books. So we're not you know, we're happy to do it and we're happy to even do it to as it from an education standpoint. But you absolutely have to be a real business. If we're gonna send you a physical book that costs the company twenty dollars to do. So.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. You've run the numbers, it pays off. You've got to

Shaun Buck:
Oh,

Malcolm Lui:
Know each

Shaun Buck:
Yeah, yeah,

Malcolm Lui:
Other's.

Shaun Buck:
Yeah. Yeah, I mean. I mean, we sent out hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these books every so month. And I you know, I assure you it's it's it's some of the best marketing we have run the mouth. But we did have to cut it back because we were probably sending we probably disqualify about 25 percent of the leads that come in where we just have to send them a digital book because they just there's no way they're going to be able to buy our services. And so in turn, we cannot spend 20 bucks to send you a physical book, because like I said there, Mary Kay Ralph, I mean, we get that multi-level marketing stuff. No offense. I actually one of my neighbors, not Mary Kay, but is in another MLM. And this lady makes one hundred thousand bucks a month. She's crushing. I mean, bucks. So no offense if anyone's in MLM, but that's just not our clients. So.

Malcolm Lui:
Right. All right. Got it. John, it's an awesome having you on my show today. I've really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast.

Shaun Buck:
I really am honored to be on the show. I appreciate Malcolm.

Malcolm Lui:
We've been speaking with Shaun Buck, the CEO of The Newsletter Pro, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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