Why did you get into marketing?
I initially developed my thirst for sales and marketing in my first corporate job when I was just 16. It was a slow start, but I had a dedication to mastering the craft.
It was not long before I became an expert in cold-calling and I became the company’s top salesperson.
While I was studying, I worked at a digital agency selling Google AdWords.
I was asked by a prospect if I could get their business on the left-hand side of the page, otherwise known as ranking organically, and my enthusiastic nature overpowered me and I committed to delivering the solution.
The only problem was I didn’t even know what search engine optimisation was, I just wanted to make the sale. My manager told me I had better figure out how I was going to deliver – so I did.
I dove deep into research about SEO and I was soon offering SEO services within the business he was working for.
However, I recognised that I could do a better job selling and executing the digital services than the agency I was currently with.
I ran and sold a number of successful ventures (and a few failed ones too!) before I realised no digital agency in Australia was open to discussing return on his investment with their clients.
With a service so measurable, I just couldn’t understand why agencies were hiding behind vanity metrics like impressions and click-through rates.
So, I decided it was time to shake the trees and call out the digital cowboys by starting the first full-service digital agency in Australia that focused on ROI and guaranteed results.
King Kong often refers to ‘vanity metrics’, what do you mean by this?
Vanity metrics are figures that make agencies look good.
They can be impressive and are used to justify spending money with the agency, but they do not actually demonstrate whether the digital marketing campaign has been successful or not.
For example, you could have a campaign that has a high number of impressions, but if they do not convert to sales then what is the point?
I believe that you need to create a campaign that actually works, delivering a real return on investment. And that’s why King Kong has been successful.
What should businesses look for when engaging a marketing agency?
Avoid the sell. Check the agency can demonstrate actual return on investment, in terms of business growth for their clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Make sure they align with your business, that they understand your values and goals. You want to work with an agency that is actively engaged.
How should businesses ‘sell’ to customers?
With advertising, the majority of the people that you’re going to be advertising to don’t know, like, or trust you – what we call ‘cold tinder traffic’. They’ve just Googled a search like ‘accountant Melbourne’.
This is where 99% of businesses get it wrong. They approach their prospects with a full frontal assault. No wining and no dining! They are walking into a bar and asking a stranger to marry them!
Businesses need to understand their ideal client. This goes beyond the usual demographics such as age and gender, you need to know what they think, feel, what makes them tick?
Don’t expect someone to browse your website for two to three minutes and then make a purchase. You can’t expect to convert more than 1-5% of your leads unless you build trust first.
You need to effectively buy your potential customer a free drink – through knowing them and knowing what questions they are asking.
Then you can offer value.
Our proven method is to use eBooks and free reports to package up a valuable piece of content and then give it to your potential customers to further educate them along their journey.
You are giving them value well in advance before ever trying to move on to the sales conversation.
What is a customer pipeline and why is it essential?
Typically there are only 3% of customers that are active buyers in the market. And most companies are targeting them.
If you target the 97% of the market that are not yet active buyers you will be building a pipeline of future customers. And that means a long-term business and one that will grow.
By making regular, informative contact you are building a relationship. And, when it comes to the time when they are ready to buy, they’ve already bought into your company, your vision, and what you want to be doing.
They will be confident and secure in their choice to purchase through you and you have the best chance of a satisfied, paying customer.
Has digital media changed over the past few months?
During lockdown, there was a 40% decrease in the cost to reach 1,000 people on Facebook and Instagram.
There were more eyeballs on these platforms than ever before, while at the same time, advertisers were fearful and pulling their ads down.
Both of those factors opened up a whole bunch of inventory that had not previously been available. It’s important to market more when there is a crisis or downturn.
Your business has grown fast and you do things in a unique way. Are there any other businesses doing what you do?
King Kong is unique in that we guarantee results for our clients.
In six years, King Kong has been transformed from a one-man operation into a digital powerhouse valued at $30 million with a three-year growth rate of 314 per cent and 65 staff members.
There is no one else that operates like us. It’s one of the reasons we are Australia’s fastest growing digital marketing agency.
If no one else is doing it and you are getting such high returns, are your methods completely legal?
When people aren’t able to get impressive results, it is easier to throw stones and question rather than to look at their own methods.
The way King Kong works is unique, that’s why we are successful. I have developed a method that really works, and my clients are growing their customer bases because of it. And it is definitely legal!
Do you often get questioned about the legitimacy of your methods?
Yeah, it’s funny because I have actually been asked a couple of times. I am flattered that people are so impressed by the results that they seem unbelievable.
And look, if we didn’t we didn’t have such a strong client roster, that includes billion-dollar brands and many of countries fastest-growing companies – that have been featured in the AFR Fast Starters…I would understand their questioning.
But to think there is something ‘shady’ or even illegal about how we grow companies is lunacy.
And believe it or not, I’ve even been asked by a reporter to swear under oath that our methods for growing businesses is entirely legal – after she saw that we took home building start-up New Sensation Homes, from zero to $18 million in 18 months.
I mean I don’t blame people for questioning these results, because they are outrageous. But 100% legal none-the-less.
What is essential to business growth?
Not being afraid of the challenge. In business, we’re often faced with difficult, complex or challenging tasks. While we might be tempted to ignore them, we know that in the long term, they will lead to success.
If we can learn to appreciate the hardships and challenges and see them as an opportunity to improve, then facing them becomes just another day at the office.
I’m the first to admit that I have made many mistakes throughout my career. Every single time I’ve made a mistake it’s been when my gut instinct has lost the battle, and I’ve chosen the easier path.
Over time, I’ve realised that if you constantly choose the path of least resistance, you will inevitably lose over and over again. Your gut instinct is always the true champion, so listen to it.
Failure is often the route to success, so a solution is to build failure into your business model. If you’re planning to fail, then you’ll be prepared when you do, and you’ll no longer be scared of it.
What are the other things companies can do to help with their growth?
There’s a myth that business success comes from putting your customers first. That might work when you’re a start-up, but if you want your business to grow, your team is the most important thing to get right.
Hire good talent, treat them well and give them a reason to be happy when they step into the workplace and they will look after your clients for you.
Productivity is key. The biggest determinant to someone’s productivity is their emotional state, and if you don’t foster an environment that really creates a good emotional experience and support network for that team member, the quality of the work that they produce is going to be severely impacted by that.
Everything comes back to the culture of the company. It is imperative that you do not hire only based on the resume. Qualifications and experience are great, but if they are not the right fit, it won’t work.
Always take the time to consider a hire, because one wrong hire could cost a lot more time in the end and could risk losing some of your existing team.
And celebrate the wins. It is all too easy to be heads down and concentrating on making the business succeed, but it is vital that all the small wins along the way to the big wins are celebrated together.
Sabri Suby is the founder of Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency, King Kong, and author of international bestseller Sell Like Crazy. Having originally founded King Kong in 2014 from his bedroom, Sabri has bootstrapped the company since day one and in under five years has successfully built a team of 63 specialists and a company valued at $30million with a growth rate of 312 per cent. As a pioneer in the digital marketing arena, his business has impacted more than 250,000 businesses in 42 different countries and has generated in excess of $1.3 billion in sales for him and his clients.