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Jack Pires, a highly successful entrepreneur and CEO, joins us on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local podcast. He is the founder and owner of SocialJack Media, a digital marketing agency that has achieved remarkable success in 5 years, growing into a 7-figure business. Jack’s expertise lies in business development, marketing strategy, and leadership, which he has demonstrated through his accomplishments.
Jack’s vision for SocialJack Media is to offer top-tier digital marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses, comparable to those enjoyed by large corporations. To accomplish this, he utilized a technology platform that works harmoniously with the industry’s best marketing vendors and experts. By assembling a talented team of creatives, strategists, and business development professionals, Jack exceeds clients’ expectations and maintains an excellent reputation and client retention rate for his agency.
Before starting SocialJack Media, Jack held positions as the COO and Executive Director for various hospitality brands, where he refined his skills in operations, management, and customer service. Leveraging his extensive experience and knowledge, he has assisted numerous businesses in achieving their digital marketing goals and enhancing their online presence.
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Building Trust and Scaling Your Digital Marketing Agency
Jeff: Welcome to the Conquer Local Podcast! Our show features successful sales leaders, marketers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs who will inspire you with their success stories. Each episode is packed with practical strategies, as our guests share their secrets to achieving their dreams. Listen in to learn the highlights of their remarkable accomplishments and get tips to revamp, rework, and reimagine your business. Whether you’re a small business owner, a marketer, or an aspiring entrepreneur, the Conquer Local Podcast is your ultimate guide to dominating your local market. Tune in now to take your business to the next level!
I’m Jeff Tomlin and on this episode, we’re pleased to welcome Jack Pires.
Jack Pires is a successful entrepreneur and CEO who has made several contributions to the digital marketing industry. As the founder and owner of SocialJack Media, Jack has scaled the agency to a 7-figure business in just 5 years, demonstrating his expertise in business development, marketing strategy, and leadership. Jack’s vision for SocialJack Media is to provide premier digital marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses. He achieved success by leveraging a technology platform that works well with the best marketing vendors and experts in the field. Jack has assembled a formidable team of creatives, strategists, and business development professionals who consistently surpass clients’ expectations and are responsible for the agency’s stellar reputation and client retention rate. Before founding SocialJack Media, Jack served as COO and Executive Director for several hospitality brands, where he honed his skills in operations, management, and customer service. With his extensive experience and knowledge, Jack has helped numerous businesses achieve their digital marketing goals and elevate their online presence.
Get ready Conquerors for Jack Pires coming up next on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast.
From Hospitality to Digital Success
Jeff: Jack Pires, good to have ya. Welcome to the “Conquer Local Podcast.” How are you doing, man?
Jack: Hi, great to be here, man. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to on here, and I’m doing great, no complaints.
Jeff: So we just went through a little bit of your background in the intro, you were in the hospitality industry back in 2017 when you made the decision to take the plunge and start your own digital marketing agency. Talk to me a little bit about that. So you know, what was the driver for you to take the plunge, and what was it like in those first little while getting up and going, getting off the ground?
Jack: Yeah, thanks, man, so I pretty much was born and raised into the hospitality industry, the restaurant, and nightlife, you know, world. My grandparents, they started in, I’m second generation, so they’re Portuguese American, and when they came over, my grandfather came over, he was about 16 years old. The first thing he did was start a bread delivery service. That did well, then he ventured into a small bar and restaurant, and that did well, and then it became bigger and bigger, and you know, my mother, his daughter, and their siblings, they took over the business, and then they ran it with him, so I was, I literally grew up in that life, you know, all the kids running around-
Jeff: Entrepreneurship in your blood, in your blood.
Jack: Just in the blood, man, you know? And so, I kind of followed suit. Yeah, I followed suit, and just, it came natural, and of course, I wanted to work for the best, and so I worked with Starwood, I worked in Marriott, Hilton, Biltmore Estate down in North Carolina, and it got to a point where I wanted to go off and kind of start independent restaurants, that was really my passion, and so at that point, just prior to 2017, it was at a really nice seafood restaurant that I helped build, and social was still up in the air. I was still doing all the marketing and the easy stuff, I would say, but I was getting solicited by website designers, graphic designers, content developers, SEO, digital ads, right, all these calls, all these companies every given day, and it became overwhelming, and I said, if I’m overwhelmed, there’s business people that are definitely overwhelmed with all that’s available, and so, you know, I was always very creative, and I knew how to start a company or see how well-oiled operations run.
Jack: I said, well, you know, There’s an idea here to figure out how to bring everything together, bring it all in one place so the business owner can handle it. They can adapt, and they can, you know, things change, they can maneuver and go to market well, so my first goal was as a systems guy, my first goal was to figure out who has the system that I could use to bring this together and go to market? And so there were a few months there searching for, you know, a vendor that could help me launch this, so Vendasta ended up becoming that vendor who met all the right criteria. It was all about innovation, ’cause I knew we would have to keep adapting and innovating no matter what, things were gonna come into the market, and I was like, okay, I have the tool, I have the system, now, I gotta take the plunge, I have to see if I can get customers and leave my cushy salaries.
Jack: And so yeah, I’ve started, we started with, you know, how most startups do, we ask some family and friends, folks who had businesses test me out, let me dry run this with you, and it didn’t last more than I think two months before I was confident enough the results were speaking for themselves, and I left that world and really went all in on SocialJack Media.
The first 5 years
Jeff: You know, it doesn’t matter what type of entrepreneur I talk to, from any type of business, they all say the same thing. “God, those first five years are a bitch.” And it’s like, it’s just really… it’s a battle, it’s a brawl. How long did it take you to, ’cause you’re 2017, you’re kind of in that range now, you’re five, six years,
Jack: It’s here, we’re here.
Jeff: And how long did it take
Jack: Yeah, five-year anniversary.
Jeff: You to get to… Did you get to a point where you felt, all right, things are clicking? And if you have, how long did it take you to get to that point where, yeah, we’re solid?
Jack: Yeah, it’s five years and counting, man. We’re still in there.
Jeff: Rock and roll.
Jack: No, but I think, looking back, I think by year, the first year’s scary as heck, right?
Jeff: Oh, terrifying.
Jack: Like it’s, it was scary. It’s, you know, you’re just everything to the wall, something sticks, you’re taking any client, it didn’t matter, you know? And I’ve just been very blessed that by year two, two and a half, you know, I was able to grow enough to bring on some really important people within the organization, you know, Michelle, who leads strategy, she’s terrific, Michael leads creative, David, who does all the photo, video sales work for our firm. I mean, I really was lucky enough to bring on some really talented people that helped me scale this thing, ’cause it’s very hard to do on your own, and I think if I kept going that route, I probably would still be looking at year 10 and in the same position.
Jeff: Yeah, so you mentioned, like, you know, in the first year, you gotta take almost, you know, any type of business you can, you gotta be really scrappy.
Jeff: And you know, it’s probably why, you know, there’s a large number of businesses that don’t succeed in the first five years, because it takes a certain type of mentality, hey? And it’s scrappiness. Talk about that a little bit, like, you know, when you’re in trenches?
Jack: Totally, it takes hustle.
Jack: Yeah, it takes hustle. You know, you’re looking for opportunity in any area, pretty much 24/7, you’re trying to leverage your friends and family, you’re trying to leverage referrals, trying to leverage your client, best customers, if you can, if you were allowed to, you’re looking at, something that really, really did well for us was we were looking at who’s hiring, right? There are companies hiring for positions that, you know, services that we offer locally, so who’s hiring for a content writer? Who’s hiring for a social media manager? And we find out the hiring person, typically, in a local environment, it’s gonna be the owner, right? It’s gonna be the business admin,
Jack: So that was like a sweet hook that we got in the door, we had a couple of meetings, and we proved, we showed what we could do, and they trusted us, and they kind of scaled from there.
Jeff: Nice, scrappy tactic. You know, I-
Jack: Yeah. Do what you gotta do.
Building Trust for Long-Term Client Relationships
Jeff: You do what you gotta do. You know, I read here that you onboard all the clients, and you’re still onboarding all the clients today, is that right? All your new clients?
Jack: Yes, sir.
Jeff: That’s a pretty important touchpoint. Talk about that, like why do you make sure you onboard them all when they come through right now?
Jack: Well, I still believe that I’m the face of the company, right? And my name’s on the company, obviously, and I think it’s an important touchpoint, especially speaking on, you know, we’re targeting and trying to support local business that the local owners, they have a trustworthy source. They have a point person that they know, you know, we talked about what you were gonna do, you’re gonna, you know, now, I know you, this is a handshake type of deal, right? I feel like we didn’t wanna be that agency that’s too large, that becomes out of touch, that you don’t know who your clients are. I never wanted that, and looking at some of our legacy clients, you know, they’re operating in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and they still are high touch, so it’s just a matter of having the right system in place and ensuring people that, you know, who you signed up for, you’re gonna get us, you’re gonna get me. It’s important to me. It really, it’s an X factor for us, I think.
Jeff: Yeah, so I mean, trust is so important to building long-term relationships, right? And so, you know, how do you approach that, and how do you create trust to ensure that you’ve got a long-term relationship there with your client?
Jack: Yeah, trust is everything. I like to say we’re a handshake away, you know? Like a lot of these companies, they’re… They’re depending on us to do our job well so that they can feed their families and grow their business, and we don’t take that lightly. You know, we build it by one, onboarding process, we ensure that we collect everything possible from them, and share that collaboratively with them, so, you know, they know, they feel that they still own, which they do, they own all their information. We’re simply the extended family, right? The extended team from them. Our process is, I would say, the systems we’re using helps build the trust, right? So, when we’re all connected, they’re seeing results in real-time, they’re getting the notifications, they’re getting, you know, they’re seeing calls come in, they’re getting the recording, so they’re all in the know, there’s no funny business, right? We’re trying to prove everything we do, and that helps build trust, and then we try to generally meet once or twice a month either via, obviously, video, or if they’re super local, I still, you know, either it’s myself or David, they’ll go out and meet with the client, review some of the reports, see what they need, helps us try to upsell a little bit, too, but, and see how the business is doing, and we try to meet them on a monthly basis.
Real-Time Updates: Meeting Client Expectations
Jeff: You talked about the importance of a system, and real-time updates and stuff, one of the things that I’ve talked quite a bit about is the idea of having sort of a Domino’s Pizza tracker in the agency world, because up until, you know, a little while ago,
Jeff: That there hasn’t been such a thing, but people’s expectations change now. You know, they expect to see an order coming through, they expect to see the work in progress, and you know, they’re used to seeing their pizza that’s… It’s going into the box, and now, the driver’s taking it out. You kind of wanna see the same thing when they’re building a website, or they’re having any type of service work done. Do you feel the same?
Jack: Totally, I mean it’s, you know, it’s communication, right?
Jack: If you take on a project, right, it’s a high ticket project for them, it could be whatever dollar amount it is, but for them, it means something, they’re investing in you.
Jack: Usually, they want an update on how things are going, they wanna be in the know, right? So keep your clients in the know, and the tracking system would be great, that’s actually Domino’s, they’ve really killed it in that space. Yeah, it’s important.
Scaling Strategies: Niche Focus and Grassroots Tactics
Jeff: So talk a little bit about scaling your business. Now, you don’t have a massive sales force right now,
Jack: No, not at all, yeah.
Jeff: You’re doing a lot of the sales. How do you in a smaller organization, how are you approaching scale at your business?
Jack: Great question, and it’s scale is everything, I go back and forth on it. I’d love to be able to say we’re gonna onboard 150 new clients in a month, and then the other side of me goes back to my core vision, and say, no, no, no, keep it, keep it niche, stay boutique, do five, five clients, bring them on, make them do all the things you do well, and do it well, execute. So I go back and forth, which, you know, is good and bad, but for us, thankfully, now, we can be selective, so we do the same grassroots tactics that got us here, right? So we’re looking for companies who are hiring, and then we do our outreach, and we try to set up our discovery calls. You know, we depend, not necessarily depend, but we rely on the referrals, you know, we’re doing great work for our clients. Every so often we’ll ask, “Is there anyone else “that you like that we could talk to?” And we get those. SEO is a great play, man, for us. We’re investing a good amount in it in the past two years. That leads to some really good lead opportunities. We’re going, and the way we approach it is we don’t look to be a one type of service agency, right? We’re like, we wanna say, Michelle will like this, we like to be the Swiss Army knife, you know, you come to us
Jack: For one problem, right?
Jack: And we solve that problem, but then there’s this, this, and this that we can also do, right? ‘Cause we listen to you when we talk,
Jack: So we apply all those things. So we go for, you know, the core things, the website design, the lead generation for contractors, and those types of markets. Those are our kind of low-hanging fruit that we bring on, and then we expand on all the services that we can do.
Targeting Untapped Markets and Building Strong Client Relationships
Jeff: It makes sense being able to provide a lot of different services. All the research that I’ve read lately is that more and more small businesses are trying to consolidate how many people that they work with, and so having the capability to expand your customers, earning a dollar from an existing customer, or a new dollar from an existing customer is a lot cheaper and a lot easier than getting a brand new dollar from a brand new customer, so that makes a lot of sense to me.
Jack: Five times so. Yeah, definitely.
Jeff: So how are you approaching, you know, differentiation, and standing out with other agencies that might be out there that you’d be competing with?
Jack: Yeah, I mean, I was just having this conversation with a group of friends. There’s plenty opportunity out there for everyone to, you know, to do well, and to compete, right? There’s so many business owners and companies that still haven’t adapted to digital marketing or any of these services, so that’s one market whether it’s a startup, or really hyper-local companies that just haven’t figured it out yet, or trust anyone to do it for them yet, that’s one segment that we go after because that’s what, you know, that was the staple and the foundation of why I started it.
Jack: We found success in the contractor construction space, and this lead generation space for these types of firms, these B2C clients, so we’re re-tapping into that type of market, and that, we can do nationwide, right? We don’t need to be stuck here based in Jersey, we can service them anywhere, and then another family-run business, big success for us are our B2B clients, legacy clients. They’ve been family-run businesses for a long time, and they kind of have to hand down, and the next generation is taking over, and if we get in our foot in the door we’re paving the roadmap. We’re very good at blending ourselves as part of their organization, and basically being like a chameleon, and saying all the right things, putting out the right brand messaging, and the brand tone across all these platforms, so, that’s been a very good sweet spot for us. They typically have the larger spends that we can go to market the right way, because they’ve been in business for so long, and either they’re looking to redevelop, refresh their brand, or go after new markets, so that’s been a really good thing for us.
Jeff: Awful important to have the right people in your team, like to make sure that, you know, you maintain your brand
Building a Winning Team: Entrepreneurial Mindset and Client Focus
Jeff: And your brand promise. How are you finding the right people and making sure that you’ve always got the right team?
Jack: Yeah, Jeff, you nailed it, it’s both, it’s team, it’s having the right people, and it’s having the right, you know, SOPs, and the systems in place to execute everything you can do. I’ve been lucky, I mean, most of my core teammates have been referral people from when I first started.
Jack: And what they all… I look at it as I’m a big sports guy, so it’s kinda like building a team, right? The game doesn’t change, right? The rules don’t change, you still have to play the game, you’re gonna, we’re gonna do our best marketing efforts, we’re gonna do all that, but the organization and how you set the culture up, that wins championships, right?
Jack: As the “Last Dance” documentary said.
Jack: So one common characteristic that I found between all of our core staff here are they’re all very entrepreneurial themselves. Yeah, and they all really care about putting out the best product possible, whether it’s the website developer, or the content writer, the strategist, right, the account management, they all care, and it’s so hard, I would say, it’s challenging to find people like that just off the cuff without doing some research or having a very good interview process, but so we look for entrepreneurial, like-minded individuals who are both kind of like that Swiss Army knife, that creative/business mindset, that they have the mindset of client first, we’re gonna give the best quality possible, doesn’t matter how long it takes, we’re gonna get it done, that type of mindset, they’re kind of like athletes, in a way, right? They’re gonna train themselves on their own, they’re gonna make sure that they’re ready to play the game properly, and then they’re rewarded when they do, right? The system is here, the organization’s in place, we do the right things, we all take care of each other, we’re dependent on each other. Whatever system’s needed, we’re gonna get it,
Jack: So they’re gonna have the right tools, they’re gonna have the right equipment, they’re gonna have the right technology to do their jobs at the highest level, and then it’s on them to execute.
Jeff: Do you have a distributed team? Or are you finding all your people local in Jersey?
Jack: No, most, my core people are in Jersey, but we’re all, you know, we don’t have a… Technically, since COVID, we don’t have a headquarters,
Jack: Right, so we’re still remote, we’re hybrid. So the challenge is also in the hybrid model, and how do we keep this culture without seeing each other every day, physically? So implementing our group chats, our team meetings, our daily check-ins, extra communication all the time, quarterly outings, that all helps, but that’s been in scaling, not just scaling clients, but in scaling talent, that’s gonna be the next challenge for me, is how to keep that culture
Jack: Without, you know, sacrificing that service mentality.
Jeff: Hey, speaking of culture, and this is just a side story, one of my… I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a little bit over the years, and travel for work, and one of my favourite memories was on a trip that I had in New York, and one night, you know, I was down across the river, and stumbled into an old Irish pub, and there was just one guy up on stage with an acoustic guitar, and he started playing “Living On A Prayer,” and everyone in the bar started singing, and their arms are around each other, and they’re swinging back and forth, and this is my vision of Jersey that I have in my head, and I could imagine that you’d have an amazing work culture, and office culture when you had the office, and anyways, maintaining that is magical. Anyways, it was like a special memory that I had, and I think about that any time I go back and visit Jersey and Manhattan.
Jack: That’s still the case, man, it’s still all-time high, that’s playing track in New Jersey, every bar you go to, you’re gonna get that at some point of the night.
Start Strong: Research, Systems, Team, Patience and Success
Jeff: It’s good stuff. Hey, man, what, if you were gonna give one piece of advice for someone that was starting out like you did in 2017, what’s that advice now?
Jack: Oh gosh, anyone starting out? Do your research, right? Like, understand what services, what’s the client that you’re gonna go after, one, what’s their pain point, and then how can you best service them. So do the research and making sure that you’re gonna be able to deliver on anything you promise. You know, set your business up the right way from the ground up, have everything, have your systems in place ahead of time, have the technology you want to use ahead of time, and really look to bring on, if not one, maybe two good people to help you kind of scale things a little bit faster than I did, and learn from podcasts, and people who have done it before. I think that really helped me in the beginning, was reaching out to, you know, a good friend of mine, Jack Muhlstein, who has had several companies now, sold them, a few of them off, and now, he’s retired, but picking their brains, and saying, “Hey, what got you there, and what mistakes did you make, “so that I don’t make those mistakes, “and how can I get there faster?” That’s kind of my athletic mindset.
Jeff: I can totally buy that, team, and picking, you know, partners in the beginning, those first like we were talking about, the first couple years are really hard, and it’s good having people that you can lean on and share some of the stress, and the workload, and the early wins, and celebrate with you. Super important putting the right team together in the beginning.
Jack: I’ve said that we live in a time where you’re one platform away from seeing people, quote-unquote, “Who are millionaires,” who are scaling to, you know, millions and millions of dollars in revenue, every day, with an agency they’ve done overnight, and success doesn’t happen overnight, you know, and you have to work for it. You have to build up to it, and I would just I’d recommend not having the mindset that you’re gonna get rich quick, and I think if you have that kind of mindset going in, you’re already one step ahead of failure.
Getting in touch with Jack Pires
Jeff: Well, with that, that is a fantastic note just to put a punctuation point on. That’s a great note to end on. Jack, it was an absolute pleasure having you on the show here, and thanks so much for taking the time to spend a few minutes with us here in the Conquer Local Podcast. Hope you’ll come back and join us again, and share with us a little bit more about what it was been like five years plus, five, six, seven, eight. Wishing you all the best of success, man.
Jack: Thanks, Jeff, really appreciate it. I’d love to be on, appreciate the opportunity, and we’ll chat again soon.
Jeff: Oh, and as we go, if any of our listeners wanna reach out to you, how do they reach you?
Jack: Oh, great, yeah, you connect with me on LinkedIn, simple, Jack Pires, or you can email me at Jack@socialjackmedia.com. Happy to open a conversation with anybody, that’d be great.
Jeff: Jack, you’re one of a kind. Good to see you, buddy.
Jack: Thanks, man, enjoy your day. Appreciate it very much.
Jeff: What a good guy! I’ve really enjoyed my conversation with Jack. His success in building a digital marketing agency that supports local businesses is based on a combination of innovation, trust-building, and adaptability. He was able to develop a reliable system for managing clients’ online presence, while also offering a range of other services, such as SEO and website design. To ensure that his clients remain satisfied and informed, Jack and his team meet with them regularly and keep them updated on their progress. To build a strong team, he looks for entrepreneurial-minded individuals who are willing to train themselves and work together to achieve shared goals.
Pires’ agency places a high value on building trust and providing personalized service to its clients. By focusing on the unique needs of each client and offering a range of services to meet those needs, the agency is able to expand its business while also maintaining a close relationship with its clients. To ensure that its team members are committed to the company’s values and goals, the agency looks for individuals who share its entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to work together to achieve success. By investing in the right tools, technology, and training, the agency is able to scale its business while also maintaining its culture and values.
If you’ve enjoyed Jack’s episode discussing Building Trust and Scaling Your Digital Marketing Agency Keep the conversation going and check out some of the older episodes: Episode 300: Building Trust with Customers with Jim Tracy. Or episode 527 Scaling your Business with Jason Herman.
Until next time, I’m Jeff Tomlin. Get out there and be awesome!