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Joel Kaplan Review: What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?

March 11, 2024

Joel Kaplan went from zero to seven figures through his digital marketing agency, Atlas Digital. He helps beginners start and agency owners scale their digital marketing business through Agency Lab. Joel has created several courses in the past, such as 7 Figure Agency, Bulletproof Agency, and Agency Flywheel. Joel does no longer sells any courses but gives it away for free. This marketing technique is used to promote his done-for-you marketing agency services, such as the Agency Scaling program and AI Appointments Machine. A digital marketing agency can be very profitable if you have the know-how to effectively get and retain clients.

Joel Kaplan reviews have been highly positive, with many praising the free courses and the impressive guarantees that the done-for-you service Agency Lab provides. There are tons of client testimonials on the Agency Lab website however, none of them show any proof of earnings.

In this article, you will learn who Joel Kaplan and what Agency Lab is and what they offer. Additionally, the article delves into Kaplan’s 7 Figure Agency course and his array of previous digital marketing courses. Concluding the review, readers will gain an understanding of the viability of digital marketing agencies in 2024 and discover recommended business models.

What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency is a business that focuses on creating, implementing, and managing marketing campaigns for its clients in the digital space. These agencies typically specialize in various online marketing services, such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and more.

How Profitable is a Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency can be quite profitable if you can overcome the difficulties of getting started. New agencies with no proven client results may find it hard to get clients. New agencies may need to operate at a deficit for the first months while building credibility. You may need to offer services for free for testimonials for your first clients. It will cost several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars to start a digital marketing agency. This initial investment will cover the legal and administrative fees, branding, etc. It will also cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars a month to pay for the tools, payroll, ad campaigns, and more.

If everything goes smoothly, a small agency can make a net income of $50,000 to $200,000 after the first few years. Larger agencies might see profits ranging from several hundred thousand to a few million dollars. Your profits will depend on the location, services, and scale of your agency.

Who Is Joel Kaplan?

joel kaplan review

Joel Kaplan is a digital marketer, entrepreneur, and mentor from Denver, Colorado. He is the CEO of Agency Lab and the founder of Atlas Digital marketing agency. After a consultation with famous marketing expert Alex Hormozi, he sold his marketing company, Atlas Digital, for an undisclosed amount in 2021. Joel is the creator of the 4-day 7 Figure Agency course, which he gave away for free in 2023.

Before entering the digital marketing industry, Joel tried his luck with a couple of ventures that didn’t go too well. Some of these projects include a social media company called “Mazoof” and a healthy drinks company. It wasn't until meeting his business partner, Marcos Rosenkjer, that he was able to find success with digital marketing.

Joel's Venture into Digital Marketing

Joel Kaplan founded Digital Atlas in 2017 with his business partner, Marcos Rosenkjer. After leaving his 9 to 5 to devote himself completely to Atlas Digital, Joel also put out his course, which helped people scale their own agencies to six or even seven figures. The course was called 7 Figure Agency, and that’s what really put Joel on the map with entrepreneurship. It also allowed him to write for Forbes on the ‘Mistakes Early Founders Make, and How to Avoid Them’. He also got a big endorsement from businessman and author Kevin ‘Mr. Wonderful’ O’Leary himself. Joel made his first $10k month helping chiropractors grow their businesses through his digital marketing skills. According to Joel, the reason he made it to 7 figures is due more to a change of a mindset than a change of strategies.

Covid-19 Pandemic

When things started going downhill throughout the US in March 2020, though, Joel and the agencies of all of his students started getting serious hits. Something had to be done, and Joel came up with the ideal solution: a course that would allow his students to keep their clients during the Covid-19 epidemic. With completely new tactics and alternative approaches to signing new clients, the Bulletproof Agency Course was released to solve some of the most pressing problems that the new state of affairs had brought around.

joel kaplan review

What Is Agency Lab?

Agency Lab is a digital marketing consulting company that has helped over 100 businesses scale to 7 figures. The Agency Scaling program creates done-for-you digital marketing agencies from scratch and fills it up with qualified client appointments. The Agency Lab closing team will close at least 10 guaranteed deals for you. Additional services include client fulfilment.

Agency Labs also offers the AI Appointments Machine implementation program that fills up a client’s calendar with qualified appointments using the AI Outreach System that can send 100,000 personalized messages per month to prospects. The implementation is completely done-for-you with a guaranteed 100 booked appointments. With the program, you get a placed VA, access to the Agency Lab coaching program featuring hundreds of coaching calls every month, and a library of over 1,000 hours of video resources. The Agency Lab team will also handle onboarding and training your team on the program.

joel kaplan review

What Is the 7 Figure Agency Course?

7 Figure Agency is a comprehensive digital marketing agency course that Joel Kaplan made free in 2023. The course is both for beginners and current digital marketing agency owners. Average time for completion of the course is 4 days. Previously, the course costs about $9,800. The training revolves around the 4 pillars for building a 7 figure agency. Besides the main training, there are tons of extra resources as guides, templates, documents, scripts and more. There are also tons of bonus mini courses and how-to lessons.

Pillar 1 - Setting Appointments

The first pillar includes 25 masterclasses on lead generation and appointment setting using organic outreach, paid Facebook ads, cold emailing, sales funnels, and more. The lessons also cover the use of VAs for lead generation and appointment setting. Pillar 1 masterclasses are as follows below:

  • Organic Outreach Masterclass
  • Paid Ads Masterclass
  • 60 Appointments Masterclass In Two Weeks With Isaac Ruble
  • Advanced Facebook Ad Strategies For Your Agency
  • Cold Email Masterclass
  • Slybrodcast Voice Mail Drops
  • Proven Agency Ads
  • 2 Comma Club Funnel
  • How To Get Clients With Facebook Groups & DMs
  • How To Set Up Your Agency Lead Form Ads
  • Client Acquisition Funnel - Email Nurturing Templates
  • Client Acquisition Funnel - Text Message Templates
  • Referral Program Masterclass
  • 50 Weekly Video Message Strategy
  • How To Pack Your Calendar With A Facebook Profile Funnel - Victoria J. Kennedy Masterclass
  • How To Scale To 100K Months With Power Partners
  • How To Get An ADDITIONAL 10-15 Appointments/Week With Email Blasts
  • How To Squeeze The Juice Out Of Paid Ads
  • How Do You Scrape Every Email + Phone Number In Your Niche?
  • Isaac Ruble's Voicemail Training Call
  • IG DM Masterclass
  • LinkedIn Masterclass - James Viola
  • Organic Facebook Outreach Masterclass - Victoria Kennedy
  • Follow Up System SOP
  • Cold Messaging + Converting to $ales Masterclass

Pillar 2 - Closing Appointments

Pillar 2 is all about sales training for closing appointments and signing up new clients. There are 20 masterclasses that cover the breakdown of sales calls, transition and flow, doing follow-ups, increasing closing rates, and more. The training also covers the use of VAs to close appointments and do follow-ups. Pillar 2 masterclasses are as follows below:

  • Qualifying Call Masterclass
  • Demo Call Masterclass
  • Example Training Session With Our Sales Team
  • Building Out Your Demo Presentation
  • Breaking Down/Refining Demo Presentations and Q&A
  • Sales Training Masterclass and Q&A
  • Going To Deeper Into Sales: Transitions, The Flow, And Q&A
  • Follow-up Training / Q&A
  • Sergio Tavarez - The Anatomy Of The Intro Call/Demo Presentation Breakdown
  • Sales Training and Q&A - Sept 28th, 2019
  • Sales Training & Live Intro Call - October 3rd, 2019
  • Follow-up Masterclass - Oct. 31, 2019
  • Reviewing Daniel Lizarazo's Demo - November 14th, 2019
  • What To Do When You Have Some Down Time
  • How To Increase Show Up Rates
  • How Atlas Digital uses High-Level to reactivate old leads + Q&A
  • Building Out The New Demo Deck - 2020 Version
  • Appointment Setter Masterclass
  • Eddie Maalouf Sample Intro Call
  • How To Sell High Ticket Masterclass

Pillar 3 - Systems & Scaling

The 3rd pillar is a collection of 29 classes that teaches you how to scale your digital marketing agency using proven systems to increase productivity and reduce costs. The lessons cover the processes of an agency, creating SOPs, KPIs, account management, paying employees, and more. You will also learn the various tools you can use to manage and scale your agency. Pillar 3 classes are as follows below:

  • A to Z Agency Process
  • SOP Masterclass
  • Onboarding and SOP's on Asana
  • Simple KPI Training Part 1
  • Simple KPI Training Part 2
  • Retention Masterclass
  • Account Manager Masterclass
  • How To Create A Job Ad On Indeed For Account Managers
  • Zapier
  • VA Masterclass
  • The 100K/Mo Agency Team
  • Launch Call Masterclass
  • Supermetrics
  • Integromat
  • Payouts
  • Request Desk
  • Client Expectations Agreement
  • How To Set Up Slack
  • How To Pay VA's
  • Disabled Business Managers
  • Business Manager Setup
  • Atlas Digital Job Funnel
  • Monthly Check In Meeting Presentation
  • Initial SOP Video
  • How To Set Up Your Sales Commissions
  • The Client Performance Spreadsheet
  • The 7FA Tracker
  • The Facebook Compliance Masterclass

Pillar 4 - Client Results

The last pillar is about delivering results to your clients. There are 11 classes that cover topics like setting up your client portal, setting up and optimizing your client's ads, designing ads for any niche, and more. Using tools and VAs to automate the process is also covered. Pillar 4 classes are as follows below:

  • How To Set Up And Optimize Client Ads
  • How To Find Winning Ads In Your Niche
  • The Proven Email Campaign That Gets Your Clients 30-50 New Google Reviews In Less Than A Week
  • Real Estate Masterclass
  • Facebook Ads Optimization Complete Training
  • Running Local Facebook Ads A-Z Training
  • Quiz Funnel Ads Training
  • 2 Way Automation Training
  • Research Ads For Any Niche
  • Client Proven Ads & Funnels Swipe File
    Portal Training

Bulletproof Agency Review

This is one of the very few courses that tackles issues that have arisen, especially under Covid-19. It's chock-full of the ways Atlas Digital and his students' agencies have dealt with the problem successfully. Through this program your agency should be able to save some clients who are planning on pausing or quitting using your agency's services all together. Bulletproof Agency came with a Covid-19 info pack that agencies can use for their sales pitches, a retention masterclass with over 30 hours of videos, Zoom calls, informational material, and the Niche Calculator.

The course focused on 4 main pain points that have appeared for all marketing agencies during the past months:

  1. New objections about the recession coming up during calls.
  2. The influx of refund requests from panicking clients.
  3. Clients pausing or cancelling services altogether.
  4. Tackling the rise of Click per Lead in clients' campaigns.
Bulletproof Agency comprised multiple comprehensive "Masterclasses" that covered specific aspects of a marketing agency.

Bulletproof Agency Masterclass List

1) Retention Masterclass Part 1 & 2

Joel Kaplan, of Atlas Digital, showcased his agency's success amidst the pandemic, highlighting 170 clients, a monthly retainer income of $250k, and a retention rate over 90%. He recommended agencies earning under $50k monthly to focus on client acquisition to enhance niche expertise, improve ads and relationships, and boost their product with more funds.

Kaplan's client retention strategy, the 80/20 of Retention, encompasses building solid client relationships, taking responsibility for clients' ROI, setting clear expectations, maintaining consistent communication, particularly during challenges, offering appealing referral incentives, and continually innovating in service delivery.

He highlighted how crucial the first month is for retaining clients, by emphasizing the need for a smooth onboarding process, managing expectations effectively, and actively engaging with clients to sustain their interest. Kaplan also provided practical tools, including email and text templates, to facilitate communication and recommended the strategic use of referral programs and apology gifts to strengthen client relationships.

2) Cold Email Masterclass

In the Masterclass, Joel Kaplan tackled the rising costs and increased competition in Facebook advertising, presenting a case study of a Facebook ads agency that escalated its monthly revenue to $65k without using paid ads. Kaplan achieved this by implementing an extensive cold email strategy, sending 500-1000 emails daily, which led to 3-5 weekly appointments and the acquisition of new clients at no additional cost.

Kaplan, renowned for his cold emailing skills, outlined his unique approach with the “cold emails 10 commandments.” These guidelines focus on warming leads, crafting concise and engaging emails, prioritizing volume, and avoiding bulk emailing software for a more personalized touch. The process begins with collecting email addresses using tools like Local Scraper and D7 Lead Finder or purchasing lists, followed by verification and compilation into a master list. Last steps include dispatching succinct, template-based emails in small batches, centralizing responses for efficient processing, and arranging calls with potential leads.

3) Coronavirus Press Release Parts 1 to 3

Atlas Digital's press release featured a three-part video series and a press-kit, including the "Corona Business Strategies Cheat Sheet." This essential guide provided clients with targeted outreach strategies during the pandemic, such as promoting safety protocols, allocating specific hours for vulnerable groups, special offers, long-term payment plans, limiting client numbers, and offering online paperwork and at-home services.

The strategy centered on adapting agency growth tactics during COVID-19. This included innovative advertising approaches like phone consultations for medical professionals, at-home visits for chiropractors, and enhancing brand awareness for sectors unable to operate normally. A critical aspect was leveraging the reduced competition in advertising during the crisis to create ads relevant to the ongoing situation.

The latter part of the lecture explored methods for retaining and gaining clients in these challenging times. His strategies emphasized direct communication with clients, adapting services to the current climate, focusing on resilient niches, building brand visibility, maintaining client relationships, and introducing flexible service options. Kaplan's core message highlighted the importance of adaptability and innovation for entrepreneurs to thrive post-crisis, encouraging his audience to devise creative solutions to keep their agencies afloat during the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges.

4) Launch Call Masterclass

This Masterclass emphasized effective client onboarding, focusing on setting realistic expectations and easing buyer's remorse. Key features included a referral system where clients earn rewards for referrals and a "Simple 5 Step Success Formula" for lead conversion, highlighting prompt responses and consistent engagement. Kaplan differentiated referral leads from Facebook marketing leads, noting the importance of targeting a specific segment for conversion. The process concluded with a routine for reassurance and collaboration, emphasizing a 90-day period to showcase strategy effectiveness, offering a streamlined guide for lasting client-agency relationships.

5) Sergio Tavarez's Downsell Training

Sergio Tavarez, a successful student of Joel Kaplan and founder of Rolling Revenue, has been effectively aiding roofers in the U.S. with FB ads, particularly during the pandemic. His training emphasized a proactive approach to keeping and gaining clients amidst the crisis. Key strategies included reaching out to clients via various communication modes, crafting pandemic-aware ads, leading proactively, training teams for objections, and reminding clients of the power of reaction over external events.

Sergio advocated for educating clients through courses on selling in recessionary times or offering services virtually, keeping course prices low and contributing to coronavirus research. This approach not only aided clients during tough times but also builds long-term loyalty and goodwill, positioning the agency favorably for future opportunities post-recession. This strategy fortifies client relationships, enhances agency reputation, and ensures sustained growth.

6) The Hybrid Model Masterclass 1 & 2

The "Hybrid Model" adapted to the financial constraints businesses face. This model diverges from the traditional monthly retainer model of FB Ad Agencies, catering to clients unable to afford high project costs. It combined teaching clients to handle their marketing needs through courses designed for "broke clients," and offers various combinations:

  • Done-For-You (DFY) Agency with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) course.
  • DFY setup with Done-With-You (DWY) Coaching.
  • A more intensive DFY Agency with DWY Coaching.

This model allowed for downselling and keeping clients who might leave because of high costs. As agencies scale, they can choose between continuing the DFY or Hybrid model or developing a high-ticket, full-program DWY coaching.

The proposed course includes a 6-12 week program, an online course, an initial onboarding call to identify problems, followed by a welcome video, and three types of coaching calls. The pricing strategy involves offering discounts to initial clients, then gradually increasing the price. Post-course, a monthly fee applies. This lower-tier, affordable model presents a viable alternative for clients during the pandemic and economic downturn, appealing to those seeking budget-friendly DIY courses.

What Is the Agency Flywheel Method?

The Agency Flywheel Method was a course based on a system that leveraged automation and freed up time for the CEOs of the ad agencies. Joel himself has written that: 'Of all the agency growth models I've seen and even tried myself, this is probably the most powerful because It gives you the ability to reap the financial and lifestyle rewards of owning an agency that attracted you to the opportunity in the first place, it’s simple for any operating agency to implement, and you can scale fast working only 3-8  hours a week.' 

Essentially the course is built on three pillars that keep on feeding each other and it touches on a point that had been made in the Bulletproof Agency lectures that making your clients gain from your referrals bringing you more clients in the same niche Usually the lack of success, according to Joel, happens because the ad agency is locked in what he refers to as the Agency Doom Loop, where one depends from second hand information bought from a 'guru'.

The first pillar focuses on appointment setting, featuring an Organic Prospecting Mechanism, cold emails, voicemail drops, and direct messaging strategies to engage decision-makers. It also includes daily coaching calls with a successful copywriter and additional benefits.

The second pillar is dedicated to closing appointments. It provides techniques to attract ideal clients and repel unfit ones, offers live sales call recordings, access to internal sales training, guidance on hiring commission-based closers, effective presentation methods for high conversion rates, objection handling, and more.

The third pillar addresses systems and scaling. It outlines the client process, metric tracking for success, simplifying the creation of scalable systems, retention secrets often overlooked by gurus, an Account Manager Masterclass, and strategies for automating 80% of operations. This aspect of automation is highlighted as crucial for agencies that have reached a growth ceiling, enabling them to scale further.

Is a Digital Marketing Agency Business Worth It in 2024?

A digital marketing agency business is worth it in 2024 if you have the skills, time, and capital to invest in it. Beginners will probably have a harder time getting started in an industry where clients prefer more established agencies with proof of success. Joel's 7 Figure Agency course is a great resource for beginners to learn digital marketing for free. You can also apply to join the Facebook group so you can discuss with other students and ask Joel's team questions. With everything you have learned for free, you can create a digital marketing agency yourself or have Agency Lab create a done-for-you agency for you. for those who are short on time, you can even hire them to run the business for you. Hiring Agency Lab will cost you as much as $10,000 to $49,000.

Create Sustainable Passive Income With Local Lead Generation

Local lead generation is my recommended business that creates sustainable passive income. Using free SEO tactics to rank a website on Google to rent out to local businesses, you receive predictable monthly income. It cost as little as $500 in initial investment to get started and $30 a month to maintain. You can earn $500 to $2,500 a month from one local lead generation site. It costs a lot to run a digital marketing agency as you need to pump a lot of money into ads. A digital marketing agency business also needs a lot of success proof in order to get and retain clients, as you will be competing against more established agencies. With local lead generation, you only need to outrank a handful of websites in the local area. The ranked website is proof enough of your effectiveness.

A website can stay ranked on Google for years before needing an update. This means once launched, a local lead generation site basically creates income hands-free. With a digital marketing agency, you need to constantly look for clients and test and run ads. You need to deliver significant results consistently or lose your clients. Scaling a digital marketing agency is also difficult as you need to outsource the work, which can be costly and chaotic. To scale a local lead generation business, you simply need to repeat the process of ranking and renting out a site. There is no limit to how many sites you can rank and rent making local lead generation the best sustainable passive income business to create time and financial freedom.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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