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Agora Financial's Selling Process: A Blueprint for Email Marketers
Applying Agora Financial's Methods to Email Campaigns
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes one of the most fascinating business concepts ever – ”the hedgehog” concept.
One must envision the metaphorical hedgehog and the fox to comprehend the “hedgehog” concept. The fox is cunning, constantly devising new strategies to catch the hedgehog, while the hedgehog has only one effective defense – to roll into a protective ball of spikes.
The fox attempts various approaches but fails every time, as the hedgehog's strategy remains consistent and focused. In the business context, this means finding the one thing an organization can excel at and sticking to it relentlessly.
The “hedgehog” concept rests on three things that overlap each other.
Passion: The first element of the “hedgehog” concept is identifying what the company is genuinely passionate about. It involves understanding its core values, mission, and reason for existence.
This passion is the guiding force behind every decision and action the company takes, infusing it with a sense of purpose and direction. It is the north star guiding the whole ship.
Expertise: The second element involves assessing the company's areas of expertise and determining what it can be the best in the world at.
It is wild to say that we will be the best in the world at something, but it is what reaffirms commitment.
Recognizing core competencies allows the company to leverage its strengths and deliver exceptional value to its customers, differentiating itself from competitors.
Economic Drivers: The final element is understanding the economic engine that sustains the company's profitability. Identifying the key factors that generate revenue and profitability ensures long-term viability and growth.
Good to Great has been read by more than 10 million business people; however, few are able to implement this concept in their business.
However, a company in the email newsletter industry has successfully created a hedgehog concept and earned over $1 billion in revenue. That company is Agora.
Agora -- Embodying the “Hedgehog” Concept
Agora, a prominent and successful newsletter company, exemplifies the essence of the “hedgehog” concept in its journey to greatness.
Established with a clear vision to provide individual investors with high-quality financial and investment advice, Agora has shown remarkable focus in pursuing its passion, leveraging expertise, and developing a robust economic model.
Here is a description of their “hedgehog” concept:
Passion for Empowering Investors: Agora's founders were passionate about empowering individual investors by providing them with actionable financial insights and guidance.
They believed in democratizing financial knowledge, enabling people from all walks of life to make informed decisions about their investments and finances.
Expertise in Financial Publishing: Agora identified financial publishing as its area of expertise. The company assembled a team of seasoned experts in various economic domains, including investing, trading, and economics.
Also, they have built a team with the best copywriters, marketing strategists, software developers, and media buyers with unbelieve expertise in selling online.
Their collective knowledge and ability to communicate complex financial concepts in a clear and accessible manner sets Agora apart from its competitors. Nobody has even come close to them.
Economic Model – Subscription-based Newsletters: Agora's economic engine relies on subscription-based newsletters.
Yes, you read that correctly; they don't have just one newsletter. They own more than 22 different newsletters focused on finance and health.
By providing valuable and exclusive content, the company attracted a loyal customer base willing to pay for ongoing access to expert financial and health insights.
This recurring revenue model ensured stability and allowed Agora to focus on its core mission and earn big time.
The Agora Selling Strategy You Must Copy
Several people have criticized the “hedgehog” concept since its publication in 2001. Some say it is a good fallacy, but it is not practical in real life.
However, creating a “hedgehog” concept is not about retreating with C-level executives to develop it. It has to be built at all levels of the organization.
Agora has created and polished a sales strategy that has been replicated with every one of their newsletters, and you can copy it, too!
The Agora newsletter sales strategy follows an intriguing and compelling growth model consistently employed across their various newsletters.
To summarize the process briefly, it unfolds in the following steps:
Step 1: Acquiring Traffic:
Agora employs a multifaceted approach to acquiring traffic. The first step involves generating traffic through targeted advertisements and co-promotions. It sounds simple, but it is the fastest way to grow a community.
In this case, we will analyze one of their newsletters – The Wealth Report.
They utilize a combination of online advertising, co-promotions, and strategic partnerships to target individuals interested in financial and investment advice.
Agora leverages various digital platforms such as social media, search engine marketing, and financial websites to reach a broad audience.
This strategy is brilliant because you don't have to start from scratch. Instead, you can use existing platforms to reach your desired audience.
For instance, Agora might invest in sponsored posts on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, targeting users who have shown an interest in personal finance and investing.
They might also collaborate with other reputable financial websites or influencers in the industry to co-promote The Wealth Report to their audiences.
Furthermore, Agora harnesses the power of content marketing and SEO to attract organic traffic.
They create valuable and informative blog posts, videos, and other content pieces related to financial topics.
These pieces showcase their expertise and serve as a gateway to their newsletters, including The Wealth Report.
Step 2: Video Sales Letter (VSL):
Agora Financial uses Video Sales Letters (VSLs) as a powerful marketing tool to attract new subscribers to their financial newsletters.
We could say that the majority of their effort in the whole strategy is here. It is at the core of their hedgehog concept. We will describe their VSL creation process in full detail, so you don’t miss anything.
VSLs are engaging, persuasive, and visually appealing videos that effectively communicate the value of their newsletters, piquing the interest of potential subscribers.
Some of their videos are long-form. However, you can apply the same principles to create videos or write pieces that invite visitors to become subscribers.
Here's how Agora Financial leverages VSLs to attract new subscribers:
Compelling Storytelling: Agora Financial crafts VSLs with compelling storytelling techniques. It is effortless but effective. Find a problem and offer a solution to it.
They start by addressing the pain points and challenges potential subscribers may face in the financial world.
They employ eye-catching visuals, graphics, and animations to maintain viewers' interest throughout the VSL.
Dynamic and visually appealing elements keep the audience engaged and enhance the viewing experience.
Also, they capture viewers’ attention from the start by empathizing with their audience and highlighting common financial concerns.
Building Trust: This is a crucial step in the VSL.
Agora Financial often features charismatic and knowledgeable financial experts or analysts in their VSLs. They know who they are talking to and find the right person to speak to that audience.
These presenters establish credibility and trust, showcasing their expertise and track record of successful investment insights.
The presence of a credible expert adds weight to the recommendations offered in the newsletter.
Testimonials from satisfied subscribers play a crucial role in Agora Financial's VSLs.
By sharing success stories of real people who have benefitted from their newsletters, Agora creates a sense of credibility and demonstrates the tangible benefits subscribers can expect.
Agora Financial emphasizes its newsletters' track record of success in identifying profitable investment opportunities.
They showcase impressive statistics and charts illustrating the performance of past recommendations, reinforcing the value of their insights.
Once again, they are building trust with their audience.
Furthermore, they leverage social proof by showcasing media mentions, awards, and recognition they have received for their financial expertise.
This further solidifies their authority and positions them as a trusted source in the industry.
In just one video, they touch points that increase their viewers’ trust.
Exclusive Insights: Here is when they start with the take-action process.
Agora Financial entices potential subscribers by emphasizing the exclusive and proprietary nature of the content offered in their newsletters.
They may provide a sneak peek into the type of investment opportunities and market trends subscribers can access by joining.
Agora Financial ensures that their VSLs have a clear and compelling call to action. They direct viewers to a specific landing page where they can easily subscribe to the newsletter with a straightforward process.
By employing these strategies in their VSLs, Agora Financial effectively grabs the attention of potential subscribers, communicates the value of their financial newsletters, and encourages viewers to take action and become part of their community of informed investors.
Step 3: Long-Form Sales Page:
After piquing the interest of potential subscribers, Agora directs them to a long-form sales page.
Here, they offer a free or low-priced introductory offer known as a "tripwire."
This enticing offer is an entry point to encourage people to take the first step toward subscribing. However, you don’t have to have a long-form sales page to get subscribers.
Agora Financial employs carefully designed landing pages to capture subscribers for their financial newsletters.
These landing pages are strategically crafted to maximize conversions and entice potential subscribers to take action. Here are some considerations about important aspects Agora uses that you should copy into your landing page.
Clear Value Proposition: The landing pages communicate the unique value proposition of their newsletters. Remember, you don't want just subscribers; you want people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Agora Financial highlights the exclusive content, expert analysis, and actionable insights that subscribers can expect to receive, emphasizing the benefits of joining their newsletter community.
Compelling Headline: Most people will only read some of your copy. As hard as it sounds, it is a reality.
A captivating and attention-grabbing headline draws in visitors and sets the tone for the newsletter.
Agora Financial uses persuasive language to evoke curiosity and interest, encouraging visitors to explore further.
Persuasive Copy: The landing page copy is concise, persuasive, and focused on the benefits of subscribing. You don't want to sell the whole service here. You want them to subscribe. Keeping that in mind will help you write the correct copy.
Agora Financial leverages persuasive copywriting techniques to address pain points, build trust, and clearly articulate why their newsletters are a must-have for investors.
If you did your job creating compelling VSLs, you will have all the information you need there, including visually appealing images that reinforce your value proposition.
Optimized Layout: The layout of the landing pages is optimized for easy navigation and readability. Key information such as subscription options and benefits is prominently displayed, guiding visitors towards the desired call-to-action.
With beehiiv, you don't have to worry about this issue. You can set the perfect layout for all kinds of devices with just a few clicks. We have you covered.
Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): The landing pages feature a clear and prominent CTA, prompting visitors to take action.
You can have the best landing page; but without a CTA, you won't get subscribers.
Agora Financial uses compelling and action-oriented language for the CTA buttons, encouraging visitors to subscribe without hesitation.
A/B Testing: Agora Financial continuously conducts A/B testing on their landing pages to optimize their performance.
By experimenting with different layouts, copy variations, and CTAs, they identify the most effective elements to drive conversions.
Lead Capture Form: A well-designed lead capture form is integrated into the landing page.
This is an essential, but sometimes overlooked, aspect of the landing page.
The process should be straightforward once the subscriber is ready to leave their information.
Agora Financial requests essential information from potential subscribers, while keeping the form short and user-friendly to encourage completion.
Through these tactics, Agora Financial effectively captures and converts website visitors into subscribers for their financial newsletters, fostering a strong community of engaged investors seeking valuable insights and expert advice.
Step 4: Upselling and Downselling:
At this stage, Agora employs upselling techniques to present higher-priced paid memberships or exclusive offers to those interested in the initial subscription.
Many marketers are always thinking about new brand products to increase sales. Upselling is a faster way to get new sales with existing customers.
If you are not familiar with upselling, here are three tactics used by Agora that may increase your sales:
Tiered Subscriptions: Agora Financial offers tiered subscription plans for their newsletters. Subscribers can choose from different membership levels, each providing varying degrees of exclusive content and benefits. Upselling encourages subscribers to upgrade to higher-tier plans for more comprehensive insights and specialized recommendations.
Early Access: Agora Financial may offer exclusive early access to specific investment opportunities or market insights to premium subscribers. By enticing subscribers with early access, Agora Financial enhances the perceived value of higher-tier memberships.
Free Trial to Premium Services: Agora Financial occasionally provides free trials or discounted offers for premium services. These promotions allow subscribers to experience the added benefits of premium features, encouraging them to continue with a paid subscription after the trial period ends.
Simultaneously, they may also present downsell offers to those who hesitate or abandon the process. Here are four downselling tactics you can copy in your strategy:
Entry-Level Offers: Agora Financial may implement downselling by offering entry-level subscription options to potential subscribers who hesitate to commit to higher-tier plans. These downsell offers provide a more affordable entry point, making it easier for potential subscribers to take the first step.
Discounted Upgrades: If a subscriber initially declines an upsell offer, Agora Financial may present a discounted upgrade at a later stage. This downsell offer allows subscribers to access additional features or premium content at a more appealing price point.
Limited-Time Promotions: Agora Financial occasionally introduces limited-time promotions, such as discounted annual subscriptions or bundled offers. These time-sensitive downsell promotions create a sense of urgency, encouraging potential subscribers to act promptly.
Tailored Recommendations: Agora Financial employs downselling by providing personalized recommendations based on subscribers' preferences and risk tolerance. By offering investment opportunities that align with individual needs, they increase the likelihood of securing a subscription.
Very flexible and customer-oriented, don't you think so?
With beehiiv, you can easily create personalized email sequences to automate your whole strategy of adding upselling or downselling offers.
Step 5: Relationship Nurturing and Upselling Continuation:
Agora understands the importance of nurturing subscriber relationships. Once you find someone you trust, you tend to stick with that person or company.
They continue to engage their audience with valuable content and periodically offer further upsells, inviting subscribers to revisit the VSL (Step 2) and including additional newsletter offerings.
Through this strategic approach, Agora effectively captures the interest of potential subscribers, guides them through a well-crafted sales funnel, and establishes a long-term relationship.
That is why we mentioned before that they are world experts at selling online.
By consistently returning to the core elements of the VSL and nurturing the relationship with engaging content, Agora's newsletter sales strategy has proven to be a successful and sustainable model.
It is a simple recipe you can copy into your newsletter to increase your subscriptions.
Agora's unwavering commitment to its “hedgehog” concept enabled it to achieve and sustain success over the years.
The company's focus on empowering individual investors through financial newsletters led to a loyal and growing subscriber base.
As the subscriber base expanded, so did Agora's influence and reputation in the financial industry.
By staying true to its passion, expertise, and economic drivers, Agora avoided the temptation of pursuing unrelated ventures or compromising its core mission for short-term gains.
This discipline and dedication allowed the company to weather economic fluctuations and industry challenges, remaining relevant and thriving in a rapidly changing landscape.
Agora, the newsletter company, is a prime example of how focus and commitment to a clear vision can lead to greatness.
By understanding its passion, embracing its expertise, and relying on a robust economic model, Agora continues to empower investors, exemplifying the timeless wisdom of the Hedgehog Concept.
If you want to be part of a community full of game-changers in the email newsletter industry, upgrade your beehiiv plan to have access to the very same tools that helped Agora reach $1 billion in revenue.