Case Study: Advertising Agency

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 10/04/22 •  4 min read
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How the power of story helped us grow an advertising agency over 500% during the height of the pandemic…

In March of 2019 I partnered with an advertising agency that was doing just under $175k/year in revenue, and the founder wanted desperately to grow.

You see… year after year for the past ~5 years he had gone through the cycle of going from feeling good about what he was doing, to wanting to just burn it all down and get a job. 

The fluctuations in revenue were like a rollercoaster. Some months it felt like things were heading in the right direction, then the bottom falls out and he’s struggling to keep the lights on.

I have seen this in many business owners over the past 22+ years – it’s a pretty common story.

The overwhelm, frustration and stress can eat away at the best of us.

Anyway, he reached out and connected with me, wanting to give it one more shot, and I agreed to do what I could to help.

We were making good progress then, in January 2020, the pandemic hit.

Seeing businesses all around us fail, companies reigning in their spending and no longer investing in marketing, and this was causing advertising agencies to shut down left and right…

I knew we had to do something different just to survive.

That’s When I Had the Idea…

There is a unique strategy that I learned from my “crusty, old direct response marketing” mentors (I say that with love and respect, and they know it) that I used for my own business – and it worked like gangbusters for me.

But I had never tried it for anyone else.

Would it work?

One way to find out…

So I put together this “Success Guide” for the agency. Really it was just my 3-step storytelling system to connect, persuade, and sell in pdf form.

When I was finished it was 45 pages long and its purpose was to share with every prospect – in story form – “our methodology, how we work, what we do, and how we help grow & scale your business!”

When they booked a call they got the Guide. We sent the Guide out to anyone who had contacted the agency before, even if they hadn’t become a client. We sent the Guide out to prior clients. After the strategy call, we sent them the guide, pointing out specific sections in it supporting what we had spoken about on the call.

This Changed EVERYTHING.

The slow and steady growth (that I’m known for) was quickly overtaken by a sharp upturn in clients. We were looking at how to grow the team. How to deal with the sudden growth. How to receive referrals from other agencies who couldn’t support their clients anymore.

All of this was scary stuff during these uncertain times. 

But we went for it anyway!

Even our Facebook rep was shocked and said, “other agencies are failing, but you guys are one of the very few small agencies who are growing right now – what are you doing different?”.

We hadn’t changed anything else.

I already had the systems setup.

The only thing that changed was creating and telling our story in the “Success Guide” then sharing it with people.

And the company booked the biggest year on record.

Looking back on the math, by the time we were finished, and even during the height of the pandemic, the agency revenue grew by a mind-blowing 500% and was on a trajectory to at least double that in the next year!

THAT is the power of telling your story.

Let us help you tell your story:
Little Shop of Copy

Lee Collins

Lee Collins is a former Air Force Network Systems Engineer and Fortune 500 Corporate VP - who is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. He has over 24+ years experience running operations for multiple multi-million dollar marketing, software, SEO, financial, and business coaching companies. When Lee isn't helping his private clients solve big (and small) marketing and operations problems, Lee is most likely heading up into the mountains in his fully-equipped Jeep Gladiator. Or just gone fishing.

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