This article is reprinted in full with permission from the original author Colin. I kept all images and links intact. I originally read this over on Reddit and thought it was a great example of how to build an internet business strictly based on great content and low-cost advertising. Note that this is not a "How To Make Money Fast" post. Colin busted his chops for 12 months to get his "overnight success". Read, learn, take notes and please help us and Colin out by sharing this all-over social media.
What’s up everybody?
My name is Colin, and I am the founder Bullymake.com. My background is in Finance and Economics – although internet marketing is now my passion.
One year ago, I decided to start my company, Bullymake. When I started, I had no clue what I was doing.
That means I had ZERO marketing experience, ZERO web experience, just ZERO experience as an entrepreneur.
But I knew I wanted to build a business, and I wasn’t going to stop just because I didn’t know how to do something.
First, I taught myself how to build a website.
Then I taught myself how to acquire customers on a consistent basis.
I acquired my first customer in September of 2014 and was giddy like a little school girl. Then I learned how to get better and better at it.
And let it be stated that this company was COMPLETELY BOOTSTRAPPED. I didn’t have any money to risk when I started building it. I had no money to invest (at least, not a significant amount at all - like a couple hundred bucks.)
So, let’s jump into what’s worked and how I went from scrub to building a $17K monthly recurring revenue business (and growing quickly month over month)!
1. Picking a huge market and focusing on a specific problem.
Bullymake first started when my wife and I bought a little Bulldog. Originally, it started as a business where I wanted to sell collars, harnesses, and other items for the Bulldog breed.
From there, I pivoted. I then realized he was destroying every toy in site, and that toys would be a good idea!
As I learned more about internet marketing, I realized that continuity (monthly recurring) businesses are really sweet. The lifetime value of a customer can be super high if the customer is happy.
So, I set my focus on a subscription box – and not just for Bulldogs, but for all power chewing breeds!
Problem was that a subscription box business for dogs is not a new concept. In fact, there is competition EVERYWHERE. But this can be a good thing – it means the market is huge.
But by creating a company slightly differently from the rest and focusing on a specific problem, I can tap into a massive market. This is where the inherent value for Bullymake is!
Take what your competition is doing and either A) slightly differentiate yourself or B) do it better… Or both. No need to reinvent the wheel.
2. CONTENT MARKETING
Yes, I put that shit in all caps 'cause it's important.
Content marketing literally built this business and now we’re gonna talk about how to do this from here on out.
The pieces of content you develop are the TOP OF ANY SALES FUNNEL.
This is where I initially found my first trickles of traffic. I wrote blog posts.
I started by writing “evergreen” type posts looking for traffic from the search engines. Noob moves for my niche.
Those posts are boring, unoriginal, and have no chance for virality.
Posts such as: “Why a Harness is Important for Your Dog.” FUCKING YAWN.
I then started writing posts that connected with people and their interest. Such as “21 Things Only a Bulldog Parent Would Understand” that utilized a lot of imagery from Instagram. Boom!
These posts are a hit and get shared like crazy – bringing me lots of traffic.
They get shared over and over by readers, and it exposes my brand to a larger and larger audience.
If you make a quality post and target correctly, a little bit of money on Facebook can go a long way. And I mean a loooooonggg way.
As you can see above, I had only spent ~ $50 to market that post. I got 1,135 clicks from that post at $.044 cents per click. That’s less than 1 cent per click.
Check the other metrics – an 8.46% CTR, and a 10/10 relevance score.
And that doesn’t include the organic traffic from the shares.
This piece of content would be the top of my sales funnel. It’s where people first come to your site and familiarize with your brand.
And once that happens you move on to RETARGETING these people.
3. Custom Audiences & Retargeting
And that brings us here. Custom audiences are the SHIT. They do everything for you.
Whenever you make a blog post, immediately make sure you build a custom audience for any traffic that hits that page.
A custom audience is simply an audience of people that have visited a specific page on your site, or any page on your site.
Facebook puts these people into this audience for you to retarget later. We have hundreds and hundreds of custom audiences.
This is a very basic step for building an effective Facebook sales funnel.
Then write another blog post which targets the traffic that’s already been to your site! Guess what the results are?
That’s right. Lots of organic reach which means tons of shares, traffic, and leads. It’s because they already know you and your brand. Now you’re starting to build authority and trust with these people.
And for those individuals who have already reached one of the product pages, they get re-targeted much more aggressively within Facebook and other social sites.
I build ads that remind them to just straight up buy our Bullymake Boxes.
These ads are effective because we target the users (and this is the KEY) who have already been to the product pages and looked at the actual product we sell. Therefore, they are much more likely to buy.
One thing I constantly see is so many people who just build a BMS ad, throw a bunch of money on Facebook, and wonder why nobody converted.
A BMS ad is a “Buy My Shit” ad. It’s not good and it doesn’t work on Facebook in particular, ESPECIALLY when targeting cold traffic.
You’ll be so ROI negative and out of business so quick. Don’t do that. Warm your audience up with engaging content first.
4. Email Marketing
Now, with all this traffic we’re driving from our social media properties, it’s important to realize that the majority of them are going to bounce (aka leave your website).
However, what’s absolutely imperative is that your pages include an e-mail capture popup.
Yes, popups are the devil. But yes, they are necessary.
By doing this, I’m able to capture 30-150 emails a day depending on my advertising spend. The image below is from yesterday.
On my best days I’ll capture 150 e-mails +. But it really depends on the amount of traffic that rolls through - which depends on my ad spend (usually).
Sometimes I'll be spending $20/day on a piece of content, and a super influencer will share it and I'll get a HUGE surge in traffic.
What’s more? I target SPECIFIC dog breeds through the content I’ve made.
If you’re on a post about Great Danes,
you’ll see this popup:
Reading content about American Bulldogs?
You’ll see this popup:
And this has led to pretty solid email conversions. Considering we average about 3K unique visits per day, you can see how our e-mail list builds quickly.
5. Nurture your E-mail Leads
Now, once people are on your e-mail list you should never just sell to them.
What you want to do is send them… You guessed it. Relevant and engaging content.
This allows for your e-mail list to get more of a feel for your brand and consume your content. It will also boost your open and click through rates in your e-mails so that when you do sell, people actually open the message!
A sales blast every once in a while, isn’t a bad idea. I do it once a week to my list. But if you do it too much, you’ll kill your list and lose leads.
6. Calls To Action Placed In Blog Posts
Sometimes (actually, lots of times) people end up coming to the content I’ve created, seeing the ad I’ve placed at the bottom of a blog post, and converting from there.
You should be placing calls-to-action in your blog posts to make your visitors do what you want them to do!
For example, I’ve been dropping this at the bottom of every single blog post:
It gets people curious after they’ve read our content, and they start clicking around to the homepage and beyond.
Another trick you can do is put an e-mail opt-in inside of your content that basically expands your content for their e-mail address. I don’t do this, but many of the best marketers do.
Where Bullymake Is Going
There are still things we are improving on.
Logistically, order fulfillment is an absolute pain. We are using software but it’s still not easy. We are placing more time and money in our fulfillment process to improve this area.
Our box branding is also getting upgraded into a more branded experience. That’s being implemented this month. Prior to this, we have slapped a label on a box and called it good. Goes to show that a pretty box isn’t crucial for sales, but it does help.
Higher ad spend and scale – it’s taken close to a year to nail our funnel down. We are going to be scaling our ad spend up and bringing in even more sales.
I hope this helped … Or inspired!
If there is interest, I’d like to write about my Pinterest funnel, Twitter Funnel, and Instagram efforts in the future. I’ll also dive deeper into e-mail marketing and SEO.
Keep in mind though that I’ve built this business ENTIRELY through utilizing paid traffic. SEO is important, but it’s not critical if your funnel is built nicely and you’re seeing a positive ROI.I will be posting regularly over at www.hatzmarketing.com to update our progress on Bullymake, our clients’ businesses, and overall growth and marketing strategies.