If you’re here, it’s likely, you’ve been thinking about internet marketing and how you can use it to start a business or grow an existing one. You may have come across courses on Youtube, on Facebook, or various other places online that teach you how to start a digital agency, and many of them are suggesting that you can earn thousands of dollars per month, quit your job, and have more lifestyle freedom when you rank client websites and rent them out to local business owners.
The good news…
The rank and rent method works!
With the explosive growth of the internet, there has been a growing demand for local businesses to get online. They see competitors who are using the internet and taking larger and larger market shares as a result, so internet marketers who can help them have a really lucrative opportunity. The rank and rent method is one way to tap into the growing demand.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to do the rank and rent method, and course creators who teach the methods are charging exorbitant prices, many act very arrogant, and often they under-deliver when students have a genuine interest in understanding what to do. It’s not surprising to see prices upwards of $15,000 for little amounts of content and possibly no customer support besides a Facebook group or something. People like:
Teach people how to start and run a digital agency, but you have to:
- Listen to the bragging about how they use their money on cars, houses, fast food, and on and on…
- Deal with unethical sales tactics (like how they’ll tell you that you’re on a live webinar but you’re not or they try to pressure you to buy quickly or else…)
- You have to deal with billing issues when you can’t get them to stop pulling money from your card!
- Or, the prices are much more than you want to (or can) spend
If you’re paying premium prices for something, you should get premium service, and not have to deal with all of some of the things these course creators are doing nowadays–that’s my opinion. I personally think that startup entrepreneurs or those considering this business model should be able to get a good training program and very good support, so they can get a high return on the investment of their hard earned dollars, and many course creators don’t seem to be offering that. As a result, I created this post to give you:
- A sound explanation of how the rank and rent method works
- To direct you to some high return on investment resources and support
- And, so you can build your business with confidence using this method
What is the Rank and Rent Method and How Does it Work?
So, you’re probably familiar with how you can build a house or office building and rent it out to people who want to use it, right? This is very common.
What most people don’t know is websites are digital real estate that go on your balance sheet and can be built to offer comparable value as physical real estate. What makes a website valuable is the traffic and monetization of it–there are several ways to build traffic and monetize a website.
If you want to know about traffic and monetization methods, my #1 recommended training to learn many ways of doing that is Wealthy Affiliate.
When people refer to the “rank and rent” method, they’re usually talking about:
- Choosing a niche
- Building a website
- Getting traffic using search engine optimization or search engine ads
- Tracking the leads
- and, Negotiating sales with clients
As a result, that’s what we’ll be talking about here, so if that sounds interesting to you, let’s get started…
Choose a Niche
When you’re using the rank and rent method, it’s important to choose a niche that has businesses who would be able to pay you, and it also works well to choose businesses who have a short sales funnel. If you choose businesses who get paid $50 or less per sale, then you’d have to negotiate a lower cost per lead, which means less revenue for you overall.
Instead, if you find services that get paid hundreds or thousands for an average sale (with significant profit as a result), they’d be happy to pay you reasonably if you can guarantee you’ll bring them consistent leads. Think about it, they’re getting thousands per sale, you suggest you can bring them more, why wouldn’t they want more of that, right?
Some good guidelines to follow to find good niches are:
- Find niches that have high volume keywords with low competition (ideally greater than 100 search volume and less than 100 competitors)
- Local Suburbs (for lower competition)
- Have a high cost per sale
- and possibly consider emergency services over non-emergency services
Emergency vs. Non-Emergency Services
Emergency services tend to have short sales funnels, so it’s quicker to get your return on investment from your lead generation business, from your website, and from each deal. Emergency services are the ones that customers look for when they’re in a panic and need someone to show up right away. Some examples of emergency services include:
- Emergency dental
- Emergency surgery
- Emergency plumbing like leak repair or so
- Emergency legal assistance
- Towing services
- Emergency roofing
- and, by now, you probably get it…
With emergency services like this, customers don’t ask alot of questions before making the sale. It doesn’t require alot of trust building, sending white papers, reading reviews, and other things that would stretch out the time between driving the lead and converting the sale.
Also, since you’ll be renting your websites to local business owners and not training them in sales, emergency services are better because it’s not as contingent on high-quality salesmen (like buying houses, selling high-ticket training, or something).
In contrast, with services that are non-emergency, it may require several calls, and lots of backend work on the part of the client to convert the lead into a sale, so they may not want to pay you as much for the lead because they’ll feel like they did more of the conversion work. Sticking with emergency services usually helps because the clients only want to focus on delivering their technical skill, they get paid well to do that, and you can get paid well to help them–it’s a win win.
Other Ideal Niches
Other ideal niches where the rank and rent method would probably work well include:
- Medical niches – Examples: Rhinoplasty, Cardiology, Immunizations, etc.
- Car repair
- Body work
- and, there are many more…
Some niches you Probably Want to Avoid
Niches you probably want to avoid include those with low-cost goods, those people don’t typically search for online, and those who wouldn’t have profit margins wide enough to pay you well. Some examples include:
- Many Retail Stores
- Fast food
- Dry Cleaning
- Car washes
- Barbers and Salons (unless they have high-ticket services)
Build a Website
After you have chosen your niche, then it’s time to build your website. Your website will remain as your property unless you sell it, and it’s going to be the location where you’ll attract people to. Everyone with problems in your niche within a certain demographic should be able to visit your website and be referred to a solution–that’s the end goal.
Choose Your Website Name
You want your website to have:
- An authoritative sounding name
- A nice trustworthy appearance
- Be relatable to your target audience
- and to be highly relevant to what the searcher would be looking for
Some examples would include:
San Antonio Rhinoplasty
Dallas Emergency Dental
You can brainstorm and come up with ideas. I recommend using a tool called Jaaxy to find out the search volume, the # of competitors for the keywords, to see if the domain names are available, and to determine the likelihood of your ranking your website. Here’s a video walkthru of the software, so you can see how it works:
Here’s Jaaxy! You can test it out for free right from here, so kick the tires and try it out with some of your keyword ideas:
Purchase the Domain or Set One up Free Here
Once you’ve chosen a name and tested out some keywords, then you’ll want to purchase your domain and install your content management system. I’ve seen it’s most common for people using the rank and rent method to use WordPress, Weebly, or Squarespace. I recommend WordPress as the content management system of choice because of the customization options, so I’ll be teaching you how to do that here using Wealthy Affiliate as the domain registrar and hosting company.
I recommend Wealthy Affiliate as my #1 website registrar because of the amazing service and tool suite they offer. You’ll have everything you need to run your business including:
- Website hosting (which I’ll explain in a few minutes)
- The keyword research tool (Jaaxy)
- 1000’s of hours of training
- My unlimited private message coaching
- and community support so you can learn from others.
You can learn more about the pros and cons on my Wealthy Affiliate review (which includes a video walkthru) here.
To set up a website on Wealthy Affiliate, you’d simply:
1. Choose the domain name you want
2. Check the availability
4. And, 1-Click install WordPress
Within 30 seconds, you can literally have your site up ready for customization! My video walkthru of Wealthy Affiliate will show you how easy it is to set up a website. It literally takes seconds.
Alternatively, if you’re financially strapped right now, you can set up a free website on a (dot)Siterubix subdomain, get it ranked, and transfer it over after you have sales coming in. Here’s where you’d create your free website here:
After your website is set up, then it’s time to start doing the work to get visitors to your site. In an offline store, you can’t make sales without having people stopping by, and it works the same way online.
The major difference is…in an offline store, you physically go outside, interact with people, place signs, hand out flyers, and do offline activities to get people to your store. When you’re driving traffic online, you’re interacting with bots and alorithms to get them to bring traffic to your site.
Free Traffic Generation
Google, Youtube, and Social media are some of the main places that drive online traffic. When you want to get traffic from them, you have to optimize your site for their users and for the bots that detect internet activity to connect you to them–this is called website optimization.
In the case of Google or Youtube, you’d do:
- keyword research
- Create content that addresses the keyword in a helpful way
- and, you’d post the content to your website for rankings
Some sites using the rank and rent method don’t have many pages, but that’s only the case if there’s very little competition in the niche. If there’s little competition, then it’s possible to rank without lots of content (and possibly even with a 1-page lead generation site). You’d have to do your research to find gems like that though.
In many instances, you’d need a lead capture page, and some posts that build the authority of the website. A lead capture page is a page on your website where the customer would learn what services you offer and how to contact you for service. If you find you have competition that requires more content for you to outrank, then you’d also need to create content that solves problems for the niche, and redirect visitors to your service for more help. Some common content types include:
- Written blog posts
- Social media posts
- Reviews and Testimonials
Paid Traffic Generation
Search engine optimization usually takes 6 months or more to really kick in, so if you’re starting from scratch, it could be awhile before you’d be able to offer something of value to the local businesses in terms of ranking and traffic unless you use a little paid traffic. To stabilize the traffic or to get the wheels moving before the SEO starts to kick in, you could use paid traffic. These are some common methods for getting paid traffic to a website:
- Social media ads
- Search engine ads
- Banner ads
If you want to learn these advanced methods for driving traffic, my #1 recommendation would be Wealthy Affiliate’s premium membership where they teach you about Facebook ads over-the-shoulder, Youtube ads over-the-shoulder, Google ads, Bing ads, and more. I’d recommend you learn the SEO method first free here, and if that’s really helpful to you, consider going premium where you can learn all of the other traffic generation and monetization methods that aren’t included with the free starter account.
Set up Tracking and Billing
Once your website is ranking and getting a steady flow of traffic, then it’s an asset to you and to others because it can drive leads to whoever you choose! Unfortunately, if you drive leads without tracking it, you wouldn’t have a way to know how much to charge or to prove you sent any customers.
Tracking is going to be paramount to the growth of your business because your customers are paying for results, so you need to be able to get results, and prove you got them.
The top tracking methods used to verify digital agency leads have been sent are:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Link tracking
- and, Call tracking
Google Analytics is a free software that gives loads of information about the visitors to your website, where they came from, and where they went when they left. Using it, you can know what content and searches attracted your visitors, and verify for customers the traffic volumes and responsiveness of those coming to your site.
Google Search Console
With Google search console, you can track your rankings, and continue growth hacking your search results. It will tell you what ranking position you hold and how many people are clicking on your site from that. The data in Google search console is important because Google increases or decreases your ranking position based on how their users are interacting with your posts. While no one knows the exact Google algorithms, we do know…
High click-thru-rate to your site = Climbing higher in the ranks
Higher satisfaction on your site = Climbing higher in the ranks
As a result, it’s important to understand Google search console, so you can see how you’re doing and continue to tweak that to improve your results in the search results.
Call Tracking and Link Tracking
Once you have a smooth flow of traffic and you’re able to convert the traffic to a call or to click over to a client optin, then it’s time to place tracking in place. With call tracking, you’ll be able to create a phone number that will record calls and forward the number to your clients.
Call tracking will ensure you can count how many leads you sent and there won’t be any disputes between you and the customer about whether or not you upheld your end of the agreement. Added to that, if the customer disagrees about the lead quality, you can go back and listen to the phone calls, and observe what went right/wrong to offer suggestions for how they can improve their results even further.
Link tracking goes the same way. If your client wants leads sent to an optin form or something like that, you can set up link tracking to track how many people you sent from your website to the client.
For billing, you can either forecast based on previous trends of how many leads you’ll send for a set rate, or you can charge per lead and calculate the totals later. Each service is different, so to come up with your pricing, generally speaking, you’ll want to know:
- The lifetime customer value they have
- Their normal customer acquisition costs
- Try to price within range of their normal customer acquisition costs
- and, also leave plenty of room for them to profit and have a nice lifetime customer value after your work is done
Overall the better off their business is by working with you, the higher lifetime customer value you’ll have, so you need to be considerate of their overall marketing costs and make sure you’re offering them an advantage over their other advertising and marketing options (when possible). Here are some great articles to give you some insight on pricing your services:
- How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Costs
- Average cost per lead by industry
- How The Best B2B Lead Generation Companies Price Their Services
- How to Calculate Cost Per Lead
Either way, you’ll need to send out an invoice and have the customer pay for your service. You can use an invoicing software like Freshbooks (link to my review) or Quickbooks (link to my review) to send monthly or recurring invoices to clients, and they can pay directly on your invoice. Both, Freshbooks or Quickbooks will make sure you’ll have your money in your business account quickly once you’ve set them up right–it’s just a matter of which has the features you like best.
With everything set up on your side, it’s time to get the customers rolling thru–this means you have to make sales. There are two common methods digital agencies use to get local business sales, and that’s thru irresistable foot in the door offer and thru guarantees. Let me explain…
Foot in the Door Offers
Foot in the door offers is when you suggest an offer to a customer with a very little risk associated. This means in exchange for very little risk, they’ll recieve something valuable. Once they see you can deliver on one thing, it builds the trust, and makes them more likely to work with you on something else. You don’t want to go straight for the $1000 service sale when they barely know you even if you have lots of testimonials or street credibility.
Instead, you make an irresistable freebie offer or a low-cost offer that can get your foot in the door. For many course instructors using the rank and rent method, they”re offering to send leads to a client for a limited time free, then if it works well for them, they’ll negotiate a contract afterwards.
Alternatively, if they feel like there could be a mutually beneficial deal from a sale, some people will offer something like:
- An audit of their current marketing strategy
- A whitepaper or report of some sort
- An SEO audit of their site
- Or, another low-cost, high return on investment service that could get their foot in the door.
The risk for the customer drastically goes down when you give a guarantee and you back it up. For example, when you say, “try us and if you don’t like it, we’ll give you your money back”, it takes the risk away from the customer, and makes them more likely to try your service. Of course, you don’t want to make the guarantee too off balance where it doesn’t protect you in the transaction, but guarantees can be powerful addons to an offer that make it easier to get your foot in the door.
Of course, one of the major components of a service based business is following thru. You can have the skills and phenomenal sales skills, but if you can’t actually deliver what you’ve promised, it can ruin your reputation FAST. Make sure you don’t exaggerate about what you can do and you don’t use any unethical or shady sales tactics. Instead, be honest, and follow thru with the promised results, and you’ll be on your way to building a very successful digital marketing agency using the rank and rent method.
Hopefully, this article helped to answer many questions for you about the rank and rent method. If you have questions about this, leave them in the comments section below. If you’d like:
- My help and advice to build your Digital Agency
- Advice from a community of 1.4 million+ others who are growing businesses in multiple different models online
- Tools like a noteworthy domain registrar, reliable website hosting, and a keyword research tool that will give you all you need to know to rank websites online
- Ongoing live training with Q&A
- 1000’s of hours of training on internet marketing including multiple traffic generation strategies, multiple monetization strategies, and multiple business model options…
Then, I’d recommend you join me at Wealthy Affiliate in their premium membership. Rather than paying the $1k or more you’d likely spend in other programs who offer a fragment of the value, you could get all this and more for $19 for your first month, and you can try it out for free (with no billing information required). Test out the Wealthy Affiliate platform for free, and get my coaching free for 7 days, and my course “Intro to Lead Generation” without exchanging any billing info! Join me here.
Here’s a full breakdown of what you’d be getting: for free or when you go premium…
Still have more questions? Check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review (and video tour) here.