JC Hite knows PPC and SEO—but he admits he’s not a sales guy. So Hite Digital started as a white label company. But in December of 2020, a mentor sold JC on the idea of franchising. So they pivoted from white label and dove into franchising. They centralized their systems and products and now have independent agencies throughout the world.

They had 110 white label partners in December 2020. In one year, they added 19 franchises and lost all but 3 white label partners. They have about 175 team members (last year they grew by 100+ team members). They doubled their revenue. They’ve hit eight figures this year—not including franchise revenue. In this conversation with JC, you’ll discover how he built and exited a multiple Seven Figure Agency and now runs one of the TOP agencies in the country.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:09] Learn more about Hite Digital[4:00] Why JC chose to franchise his model
  • [7:03] The services Hite Digital offers clients
  • [9:34] How Hite Digital finds and retains talent
  • [16:51] JC’s pivot away from his original agency
  • [21:11] What JC’s original agency operated like
  • [26:52] Who’s the right fit for a Hite Digital franchise?
  • [31:16] Hite Digital’s model for landing clients
  • [39:50] How Hite Digital fulfills world-class services
  • [44:55] How to hire for your digital agency
  • [47:10] Monitoring churn rate to leverage retention strategy
  • [56:04] The account manager communication strategy
  • [1:00:18] The growth model for Hite Digital
  • [1:03:14] JC shares some amazing resources for agencies
  • [1:05:07] What are you committed to?

The services Hite offers clients

When Hite Digital started, they offered PPC, SEO, and Facebook ads. They recently launched “Hite Creative” which offers brand books, websites, logos, etc. Hite is about to become the largest Storybrand certified agency in the world. They’re about to acquire a company that creates swag. They’re also looking to acquire a traditional agency that does radio, TV, and billboards. They’re morphing into a full marketing agency. The goal is to work with big brands, like their latest client—Texas A&M.

Hite Digital’s strategy for sourcing and retaining talent

JC emphasizes that you have to be able to recruit and keep talent. It’s everything. So they try to hire the best and most influential people they can. If you don’t know SEO, you have to hire an SEO expert. You don’t know how to coach, train, or mentor them. So you have to bring on people who know what they’re doing. That means you have to recruit from other agencies. They’ll help you retain clients in the long run. Hire the best person you can and make them prove themselves.

JC prefers to hire people whose values match the company’s. For example, providing education for his team member’s families is important. They recently secured a deal with a Christian college in Arkansas. If a team member works full-time at Hite Digital for five years, their child can get a full-ride scholarship to get a bachelor’s degree. They create a culture where people want to stay. They even offer daycare for their team. It’s about what people really care about and adds value to their life.

99% of Hite Digital’s staff is based in Nicaragua. They promote people from within whenever possible. They were the fastest-growing company in Nicaragua in 2021. JC lives in Nicaragua, building the business. He chose Nicaragua because he’s passionate about the country. The average education in the country is only 4th grade. A dictator is in power. It’s a complex and dangerous country to be in. Yet JC believes he has the opportunity to bring stability to the country.

How Hite Digital is a step above

JC used to work for one of the fastest-growing PPC companies in the US. They were a premier partner of Google. They were making money. They had a sales team of 85 sales guys and 1,500 clients. Google would give them $50,000 a month in free ad spend just to market themselves. They got a million dollars in kickbacks every quarter to just grow. Most people don’t realize that Google and Microsoft do that for large agencies.

All of the ownership was young. No one knew what they were doing. They weren’t religious. One time, someone from Google walked in, and they quickly had to erase a whiteboard because the top sales guys’ prize was strippers. JC joked that Wolf of Wall Street had nothing on them. One of the owners didn’t care about anyone. If you didn’t make him money, you were out. JC and his wife were pregnant and they knew they needed to get out. So JC started his own agency in Nicaragua.

Hite Digital’s model for landing clients

Hite Digital is THE only company that Dave Ramsay talks about in the digital agency world. Can you imagine having someone of that stature singing your praises? Associations are another strategy that they use to drive leads. JC promises franchisees that if they follow his model, they’ll have three clients by the end of a month. He calls it the “Lowe’s strategy.”

If you go to Lowes at 7 am, you’ll see all of the local plumbers, carpenters, etc. driving in. Write down their name and number and connect with them. Offer to buy them lunch. They’re your local audience. If you do that every day for 30 days—and talk to 10 people a day—that’s 300 relationships. You don’t even have to try to sell them in your first meeting.

Share that you want to get into the industry. Ask to learn from them and they’ll want to learn from you. The people that grow the slowest are those that aren’t comfortable doing those things. If you have quality conversations with business owners and they don’t end up asking what you do, there’s something wrong.

How Hite Digital fulfills world-class services at scale

JC refers to his team members as engineers. When they hire an SEO engineer, they’re trained on the Hite model for four weeks before they ever touch an account. Each client has an account manager that acts as the go-between the client and the engineers. They are the relationship builders.

On the product side, they have a 90-point checklist of what the structure of an account should look like. Before it’s launched it goes to QA. They pull in data from analytics. Throughout the lifetime of the relationship, if performance decreases by a certain percentage, it triggers a QA. If anything is off, it creates a task for the engineer to fix it. If that engineer doesn’t do the task, the manager gets notified. It continues to escalate up the line until it eventually gets to JC.

How do they handle training for a team that they’re scaling quickly? How frequently do they communicate with their clients? Learn more in this interview!

Who’s the right fit for a Hite Digital franchise?

Hite Digital is big on faith and family. They donate a lot of their profit and invest in education. It’s a Christ-Centered approach versus profit for the sake of profit. If you’re not cool with that, it might not be a good fit.

It’s also a better fit for agencies doing between $10,000–$100,000 MRR. They franchise to scale faster and build a team. It’s also built for people who want to sell their business. A McDonald’s is far easier to sell than a local burger shack, right? An investor wants a machine. That’s what you get with a franchise model. If you’re interested in becoming a franchisee, learn more at Hite Digital.

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