Learn the basics of James Steadman's 9 Revenue Raisers in this comprehensive overview article. You'll understand what it is, who should use it, and why.
The 9 Revenue Raisers (9RR) is a modular marketing system that helps build marketing-driven businesses.
The 9RR system works as an amplifier, increasing the results of all your marketing activities.
You can implement a Revenue Raiser module at any stage and in any order if you have an existing business. However, by applying all 9 of the Revenue Raiser modules in the right order, you'll have a complete, cohesive marketing system that runs largely automatically to bring you new leads.
If your business is new or a startup, then following each module linearly, from 1 to 9, will give you give the greatest chance of success in our increasingly hard and competitive global business environment.
When talking about the 9RR and applying it, it's most commonly referring to optimising a specific product or service within your business - known as the offer.
If we consider any business as a portfolio of different offers - i.e. a business is made up of all the things it sells to the public - then we can apply the 9RR to each offer individually for the greatest effect.
And, once one full cycle has been completed, that is, all 9 modules have been applied, you can either move onto a new offer in your portfolio or repeat the process again on the same offer.
This illustrates the cyclical nature of the 9RR.
For the most part, the 9 Revenue Raisers focuses on effective and efficient use of marketing to bring consistency and predictability into your lead gen activities.
It does this through a hybrid marketing method called 'brand response' - a fusion of traditional 'brand' marketing and the hyper-accountable, conversion-focused direct response marketing which has exploded in usage thanks to online advertising.
The 9RR should be used by anyone looking to create consistency and predictability within their business.
This makes the 9 Revenue Raisers perfect for:
If you're someone who deals with contstraints such as:
... then the 9 Revenue Raisers will also be good for you and your business.
Initially, this system was created out of necessity. I struggled to generate leads for my freelance copywriting business, and having limited time and money, I needed something that would work reliably and affordably.
As I refined the system, I began testing it with my own clients and after seeing positive results, realised it worked for a range of business types and industries.
Typically, those who've seen the biggest changes in their existing businesses were doing anywhere from $500,000 - $2 million in revenue annually when I first starting implementing the 9RR system with them.
I've also successfully implemented the 9 Revenue Raisers with pre-revenue startups and completely new freelancers doing less than $50,000 a year, so don't think this only works for 'bigger' businesses.
There are likely more to this list, but for the sake of space, let's agree that it seems to work for basically any business you could think of. So, the question then becomes 'why is that the case?'
Because it's a system based on principles.
Rather than the usual 'flash in the pan' fad, the 9 Revenue Raisers looks at the primary building blocks of successful marketing-driven businesses and reformats them in a way which can be applied to any medium or format, for any business, in any industry.
It starts with the most important and foundational aspects of a successful business which are:
Once these crucial steps have been completed, every module afterwards becomes 'supercharged' from this directed focus.
Too often I'll see in businesses before I start working with them that very little thought goes into the foundational aspects of their business. Instead, focus is placed on relatively benign things such as what their ad needs to look like, what tech they need to use, what their website needs to look like etc.
Because there's no clear focus as to what you do, who you do it for, and how you tell people all this, many businesses bounce from promotion to promotion without making any real progress or money.
They begin to see marketing as an expense rather than an investment, because that's what it becomes to them.
And, unfortunately, little to no return is increasingly common for those who aren't already experts or can't afford to hire experts.
That's why the 9 Revenue Raisers works so well for businesses of seemingly any size or any industry. It's providing a clear focus to everything you do, and everything the public sees from you.
And, with the implementation of all 9 Revenue Raiser modules, you end up with a business that has a fully functioning, cohesive marketing system designed to not just make people aware of your business but compel them to become a customer too.
That's the heart of 'brand response' marketing.
It doesn't just drive awareness, as most traditional brand marketing does; nor does it just convert those ready to buy, as most direct response marketing does. It does both - building awareness then channeling those aware prospects to convert, all in the one marketing system.
Let's look at each Revenue Raiser module now, briefly.
The most important module, Revenue Raiser 1 (RR1) defines the one ideal audience segment you'll focus on for this implementation cycle.
It's important to remember that the 9 Revenue Raisers sees the business as a portfolio of offers, and we look at each offer individually through the lens of these 9 modules.
It's here we identify who we're helping - who we're solving a problem for. Because that's what successful businesses do: solve problems for specific people.
For those not familiar with marketing theory, this concept can seem strange, but the core idea is that every offer solves a problem a prospect has.
So, while an accountant solves the obvious problem of doing your taxes, the problem an expensive luxury watch solves, apart from telling the time, may be a bit harder to explain.
Some possible 'problems' a person wanting a luxury watch may have could be:
With the corresponding solutions from the luxury watch potentially being:
As you can see, these are deeper, more nuanced solutions to deeper, more nuanced problems. These deeper problems also play a pivotal role in building a unique business based on deeper solutions.
But the key point here is that we're identifying who you can help the most using either the products or services available to you. What big problem can you solve for people?
This ideal audience of prospects also need to fulfil a few other important criteria, such as:
If the answer to these questions is largely 'yes', then it's an 'ideal audience'.
Now you need to create a persona document and identify any major demographic or psychographic traits this audience shares in common.
You can go about this a million different ways, but my favourite is the humble interview. All this will be covered in detail in the module itself.
With this essential information to help drive our future decisions now collected, it's time to move on to RR2: Irresistible Offer.
RR8: Key associations (KAs) are those people, companies, organisations, or movements which can help you get in front of, persuade, promote, educate, or sell to your audience.
KAs are an important, yet often overlooked, part of all businesses, and there are many powerful ways in which this Revenue Raiser works to help grow your business.
An important and direct way to use KAs are to have them promote your offers to their audience as affiliates.
Whether this is through channels such as their email newsletter, social media accounts, events, publications, presentations, podcasts, videos, blog content, salespeople, and so on, doesn't matter - the important thing is that they're bringing your offers in front of their audience often and clearly.
The more they do this the more money you'll make. This is why it's important you're able to incentivise KAs to go out to of their way to sell or promote your offers often.
As this is a directly sales-focused application of RR8, it only makes sense to reward and thank these KAs. A simple and proven reward is some form of commission.
There isn't a definitive figure as to what your commission split should be, but let me leave you with an important principle I use to guide me.
Make your commission as high as possible, but no higher than what you could pay to find your own customer yourself.
(There are nuances to this as you'll see in RR9: Lifetime Relationships)
Too often I see businesses implement a referral- or commission-based affiliate payment program and they make the rewards unattractive and the process hard.
They try to 'save money' because they think of the commission as an expense or a hassle rather than seeing it for what it really is: maintaining cash flow and backloading your marketing spend!
Let me explain.
Commission payments on confirmed sales are your best friend. This is especially true of businesses who are new or rapidly expanding, for those with high marketing costs, or those where competition is particularly fierce. It's in these businesses where cash flow is often needed most and where avoiding upfront marketing costs can mean you're able to pay staff, suppliers, rent, and bills first - a point not to be ignored.
Through commission payments, you're effectively paying your marketing costs after you've made the sale, not before.
When considering how much it costs to acquire a customer through their own marketing efforts, most businesses don't complain, understanding it's a normal part of operating. Yet, when considering commission payments, it's often seen as an expense to be reduced or avoided.
The reality is that they're the exact same thing! Your commission payment IS a marketing cost; all falling under the umbrella of 'customer acquisition costs' i.e. how much it costs you to get a new customer.
So, now understanding this, which would you prefer: paying costs before you get a customer or after?
You can use the revenue received from the new sale to pay the customer acquisition costs, maintaining a positive cash flow the entire time.
This is what I mean when I said you were backloading your marketing costs. You're paying on the 'back' of the transaction, not at the 'front', which is how it's normally done.
Don't get greedy here seeing how much 'extra' money you could make if you paid less commission, because you very well may have been paying more if you were to do it yourself. Which brings me to my next point: how to encourage referrals and sales from your KAs.
By correctly incentivising your KAs, you'll increase the chances of them promoting your offers. Rewards and incentives don't necessarily have to be monetary either and for you as a business owner, finding non-monetary equivalents which work is an excellent way of 'having your cake and eating it too'.
An example of this is from Hotjar, a popular website screen recording tool used by some of the biggest businesses in the world. They have two strong incentives which promote sign-ups - one monetary and the other non-monetary.
Another way to encourage KAs to continue promoting and selling your offers to their audience is through frequent reporting of results and reminders of the rewards available to them.
You should be sending an overview report of all commissions or rewards earned at least every month, and for high-volume KAs or during launch periods, weekly or even daily reporting is more appropriate. This is important for three main reasons