How Agency Hackers got 120 industry leaders in the same room

Agency Hackers gives people who run agencies (such as creative, PR, and marketing agencies) the chance to meet up and talk business in a unique setting.

Ian Harris, CEO at Agency Hackers:

I started the company 18 months ago, emailing a few agency owners on LinkedIn and asked if they’d be interested in buying tickets for a meetup. The response was great. Since then it’s become more and more popular, and today I have about a thousand people in the network who are queuing up to attend the latest event.

Finding the right prospects

From the very start, I knew people would be interested in coming to my events if they knew about them, but the challenge was finding the best way to get the word out.

A key reason Agency Hackers has succeeded is how we’ve been able to bring the right people together, so it’s essential from the beginning that we’re reaching out to the right person.

For that reason, I only approach the CEO or founder of the company, who I usually use LinkedIn.

I realized that if you’re connected to somebody who is part of my target audience, then chances are you’re probably also part of my target audience. If you click on someone’s profile you can see a list of all their connections.

I used a bot to scrape all their connections, which I gave to somebody on Fiverr to find the email addresses and put them in a spreadsheet for me. (This was pre-GDPR – before anybody sues me!)

This worked well but had one major problem.

I ended up getting people like their gardener or their kid’s teacher, people who weren’t relevant at all.

To get around this, I started by finding one prospect who I knew was right for me, then I’d extract all their connections. I’d then find a second person who was also in my target audience and I’d extract all their connections too. Then I’d put the two exported lists together and take out anybody who only appeared in one list. Anybody who those people both knew was very likely a good prospect for me.

I haven’t done any Facebook, I’m not on Twitter, and I don’t really use LinkedIn, yet over 18 months Agency Hackers has become well known in the industry. Nothing else has worked as well as cold emailing people who would be interested in being part of an event.

Grabbing your prospect’s attention

When you’re cold-emailing someone, you’ve got to have something more interesting than them doing their work. Most people are bored at their job, so I try and keep my messages short and to the point.

When you have an event it’s easier to get their attention.

You’re inviting people to something, so they’re generally happy to hear from you. People can quickly see it’s a targeted message and they’re happy to be involved. I also run some free events to get people in my funnel, which has worked well.

I want them to see these events as an opportunity, so I’ll put on a nice dinner in a very unusual place. For example, I’ve hosted events at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London, complete with flamingos walking around, or I’ll put on a dinner in an old clock tower.

From the first sentence, I’ll be inviting them to something very interesting, so straight away they can see this is worth reading. I get really good reply rates because I’m careful about only approaching the correct people and bringing them something that’s intriguing they’ll want to come to.

Cold emails were the number one channel for selling tickets, but I was struggling to scale them. I’d always get too busy, or bored, and the results would suffer.

That’s when I found Reply.

The right tool for the job

Using Reply was great. The emails would go out on schedule and next thing I know I get lots of pings on my phone from Stripe, saying I’d received payments. It was just like magic.
It’s like having an engine that’s always running in the background, regularly bringing you new people. You can set it and forget it. If people don’t reply to your first email, you can have it follow up automatically as well.

I particularly like their new feature, where it suggests it’s people who haven’t replied but have still opened the email a lot of times. Then you can proactively reach out to them, confident there’s significant interest.

The interface is nice and easy to use. The support was very responsive as well; if you ask them a question they’ll get back to you in like a couple of minutes.

Most of all, the results have been great for the business. Any time I send something out, I know a lot of the prospects will end up opting into my email list.

My motto is ‘always be emailing.’ That’s the number one thing that drives the business, which is why Reply is an essential part of my workflow.

I just hosted a big event at The Ned, in London. We had about 120 people there, all bosses of very big agencies. Most of them were there in the room because I’d emailed them through Reply. I didn’t know any of them beforehand and they were all there because of Reply.

Head over to Agency Hackers to learn more and be notified about their upcoming events.

If you’d like to see how Reply can help you nail your inbound and outbound sales, check out our features and sign up for your free demo today.

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