I’m not one to gloat, but as has become customary as the new year rolls around for most people, I wanted to take some time to reflect on this year and look back on how far our company has come.
As business owners, we often kill ourselves constantly chasing a definition of success that’s more about shifting goalposts rather than what we originally set out to achieve.
I’ve been a prime offender of this, often to the detriment of my personal life far too often these past 3 years.
So as the year draws to a close, I thought it would give me a good sense of perspective to look back on what Magnet Monster achieved as a team and how bright our future looks.
At the beginning of the year, we had 5 team members (myself, Andy, Helen, Eric and Valeria).
I did all the strategy; Andy built the emails; Helen managed the projects; Eric wrote the copy, and Valeria did all the design work.
We’re finishing the year with 16 people in our team, and with a 17th person on trial, spread across the UK and internationally.
We now have two separate ‘teams’ built out that handle all the clients on our roster, with a third team on the way.
I’m still involved in a little bit of strategy (can’t help myself as I love to stay sharp), but my role has largely evolved to become more focused on team building, finding and attracting the right talent, and doubling down on sales and marketing (my core strengths).
We’ve even recruited a COO this year to help streamline the day-to-day operations of the company, something that has become critical as we scale up our capacity to serve clients.
We even found time to fit in two in-person events this year in the UK!
Launch of our new site & Newsletter
In April 2021, we launched our new website. This was a painstaking process that took around 5 months to complete, but we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
This cost us a lot of money at the time and was a significant investment we deliberated over for a while (we spent so much time faffing about with the website in the early stages of our business which was largely wasted time).
However, results have fully justified the investment.
Traffic is up 150% year-on-year as well as time on site, and our new Newsletter coincided with the launch which has been a huge success.
We’ve gone from 0 subscribers on our Newsletter to over 700, with open rates averaging over 50% and Click Rates between 10-15%.
It’s been a resounding success and makes the massive amount of time and effort we put into content creation worth it.
Growth of our Newsletter year to date!
I don’t want to share our exact financials but we’ve also managed to more than double our revenue as a company while profits have stayed healthy!
Managing a service-based business is an extremely tough balancing act of knowing when to hire in order to serve more clients (which is intrinsically tied to your operational efficiency), but we’ve been fortunate to find the right people at the right time to compliment our growth here.
They say sales solve a lot of problems in business, which is true. Increasing (profitable) sales primarily allow you to hire better people and take more risk in marketing, two levers which we’ve pulled at the right time this year.
Speak to any agency owner and they’ll emphasise the importance of processes in growing a service-based business.
There’s a reason for this: so many digital agencies are set up and grow based on the owner's deep knowledge within a chosen field.
As you grow, however, this becomes a major bottleneck and point of pain unless correct systems are documented along the way.
We’ve spent the majority of this last quarter investing in migrating to ClickUp from Trello, refining our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and building out our very own “Magnet Monster University” so that we can onboard new staff efficiently in the future and set them up for success.
As we go into 2022, this is a pillar of our business we’re determined to double down on and consolidate.
The most satisfying part of this business is having had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many other amazing people, not least our incredible clients, who it’s a true joy to serve each day.
Yes, admittedly, sometimes they can drive you crazy, but that’s business - people have high expectations, and if you’re in services, it’s your duty to manage them and deliver results.
I don’t want to single any particular client out here as I know most agencies focus on their biggest clientele, but I truly love the fact that we’ve worked with everywhere from solopreneurs to organisations with over 150 people in, doing anywhere from $500,000-$200,000,000 per year (that’s actually what our clients have varied from this year in terms of size!).
You can get a glimpse into some of our work here (we’re committed to beefing up our case studies next year!).
The future of D2C eCommerce
A lot has been said about the recent changes to Facebook Ads and Email Marketing with iOS updates this year.
The truth is, whilst these changes have presented serious challenges for many D2C brands, it’s hardly the death knell many have made it out to be. We have plenty of clients who have been absolutely fine and their businesses have continued to perform well this year, even in spite of supply chain issues and increasing uncertainty during the pandemic.
TikTok, Google Ads, Youtube, in addition to more traditional forms of advertising are all still around and can perform well, and yes, Facebook still works, but probably not as well as it used to.
The best advice I can provide as we round out the year is this: it’s not enough to sell a product these days if focusing on launching D2C. You need to build a community, create a media-like entity, and have strong margins to prosper.
The days of blitzing Facebook Ads in return for quick millions may well be on their way out, but the opportunities to create a brand for the ages is still as present as ever. Invest in a long-term strategy, create an omnichannel experience beyond siloing D2C as your only distribution channel and you can compete in a thriving marketplace.
Personally, we’re more excited than ever about the future of eCommerce, as the barriers to entry lower and the rise of entrepreneurs entering the space increase. We think this is a great thing for healthy competition and look forward to supporting the brands we work with going into 2022.