I got inspired by Nathan Barry and Amy Hoy who took part in a 24 hour product challenge. Their goal was to launch a product in 24 hours and they went to work on an eBook. Amy’s book title, “Just Fucking Ship” seemed so perfect for this challenge. Recently a fellow bootstrapper, Matt Kremer took the challenge and I just came across Josh Brown doing it as well.
This inspired me to do my own, but with a pretty major twist.
I won’t be launching an ebook. Instead, I’ll be launching a full-fledged business.
I have had this idea for awhile (I literally purchased a domain for it two years ago), but haven’t gotten it off the ground due to time spent on other projects. That said, I really feel there is potential for this particular business model.
Don’t mind the pending paint job:
So in my upcoming book, Self Made Marketer, I am outlining 15 or so different lead generation strategies for an agency to acquire customers. One of the lead generation strategies I am outlining is leveraging cold email outreach.
I have done this to great success for my own agency, and actually have this lined up for Workado (and pretty much any business I start in the future).
I will be providing a service that finds a company’s target market, analyzes their domain and third party resources to find contact information. Then I will prepare an initial outreach message along with a series of follow-ups. Once I find the the leads, I will set them up into my system to send cold emails that are personalized and trigger the follow-ups every few days. If someone responds, they will be taken out of the follow-up sequence and forwarded to my customers.
In a nutshell, I will be providing hot leads directly to my customer’s inbox. This business will be a “productized service” that caters to any B2B company. I think I am going to start off by approaching SaaS businesses though, but I haven’t finalized this yet.
I have seen some various versions of this model, but not this one specifically. One’s I have seen just generate the email list for you. They don’t provide the messaging and follow-up handling and lead forwarding. The idea of my product (LeadFuze) is that it is a turn key lead generation system on autopilot for the business. The only company that I’ve seen offer something similar charges $3,800/mo to handle this process, and it’s more based around research than anything.
My pricing will probably be starting off in the $300/mo range on the low end and $1,000/mo on the high end because I have systems in place (having used this process before) that allow me to streamline things. I’ll attempt to go after bulk, versus landing a few one-offs.
The really cool thing is, I am going to build the business using this very service myself (and some content marketing).
I’ve had notes on the model for awhile, but the 24 Hour Product Challenge that Nathan Barry started has me super motivated to put this together and get it launched. I think I can do it in 24 hours, which includes getting the website up, connected to Stripe, and ready to accept customers by this time tomorrow. Since my Arizona Cardinals played on Thursday night, I don’t necessarily have to be watching football today so it’s a good day to start this challenge.
Here is what the website looks like now:
So that’s where I’m starting from!
I am going to be posting updates here on this blog every couple of hours or so. So come back and refresh from time to time to get my latest updates.
In addition, I’ll be posting to Twitter when I make updates. So if you don’t already follow me on Twitter, follow me now!
It is currently 12:51pm – so by this time tomorrow I’ll plan on having this up and running!
Ok – so after publishing this post I went to Twitter and let Nathan, Amy, Matt, and Josh know I’ve joined them in doing the challenge. I also posted it to my Facebook page.
Next, I went to MailChimp and prepared an email to my list letting them know.
I finished putting it in a couple entrepreneur forums I’m involved with as well.
So now that I’ve done all that, I suppose it is time to get to work. Though honestly, I feel like I need a nap!
Refresh again in a couple of hours for another update!
Ok – so I did take a little 45 minute power nap. Good thing though, as now I feel refreshed and ready to go.
I got a WordPress installation up on WPEngine – where I’m planning to move the new Workado website. I get up to 10 URL’s on this account and they specialize in WordPress hosting. I’m currently getting 4 months free of WP Engine so no out of pocket expense there.
I settled on this theme:
That should be the only purchase I make.
I was able to get it installed and I started the customization process. The learning curve on new themes is pretty lengthy. I’m hopeful I can continue to re-use this theme again in the future.
Once the theme was installed, I actually created a simple little logo using a font called “Lobster” and a little fire type icon to represent the “fuze” part of the name.
I did this inside Pixlr. It isn’t vector and it certainly isn’t polished. I’ll have a designer actually better this later, but it does the trick for now.
I’m going to dive into making the website something usable. Hopefully the next update I’ll have something to show on that front.
I continued to customize the website. This is going along fairly smoothly. I have it at least laid out like I want. I still need to update the content. I am holding off on including the blog for launch. I want to roll that out later once I actually have a content strategy planned.
I am working on pricing tables right now. I am sensing this is going to be a hassle. That doesn’t even include the Stripe integration at this point in time (which will be a separate beast). Good news is though, I’ve mapped out each of the tiers.
At 4:30 my son wanted me to play soccer with him so I took a break. I caught the tail end of the Seahawks/49ers game, grabbed a beer, and now it’s back to work.
I am currently waiting for my new Google apps account to be verified. I’m presented with this:
So I thought now would be a good time to provide an update.
Getting the pricing tables integrated was easier than I thought. So I mapped out all the features of each pricing tier and have those ready to go. Here’s how they look:
I still need to get the “Get Started” buttons centered, but those are the plans. I also spent some time coming up with the plan names, as I didn’t want to go with a “bronze, silver, gold” type of system.
Once I got the pricing put in place, I went and got my Stripe account setup. I created these three plans in Stripe as well.
From there, I decided to purchase the WPStripe plugin which allows me to integrate subscriptions from Stripe through this plugin. It’s still going to require some work, but it should cut out quite a bit of development time. It was worth the $49 purchase. I will probably have my PHP guy work on integrating this while I work on other things.
In addition, I started to map out several FAQ’s. Have any questions yourself that you think would be good for me to answer on the site? Let me know!
I’m off to grab some dinner now.
After dinner I sat down with the family and watched an episode of Tanked. Once that was over, I put the boy to bed and got back to work.
I was able to verify my email address through Google Apps. I got it setup inside of my unified inbox so everything funnels into one account.
I removed the Testimonials section, since I obviously don’t have any as of yet.
I put pen to paper and mapped out the “How it Works” section. I then got that integrated into the site:
I played around with the Stripe plugin for a bit, but it’s far from working. I am going to spend a little more time on it tonight and then I’ll probably move on.
The last main section of the site (aside from the pricing integration of course), is the Benefits section. Working on that next…
One last update for the night before I head off to bed.
I finished up the two benefits sections on the site. This took quite a bit of time as I needed to decide which images to show and also write the content. After it was written, I then had to shrink it all down so it would fit nicely.
I captured a screenshot of an actual lead as well as what the spreadsheet will look like.
The lead screenshot is of a lead my agency generated using this system:
The second is a screenshot of the “LeadSheet” I’ll be sending to customers. This is an example of a LeadSheet created for Workado (which targets SEO companies):
I wrote out several questions and answers for the FAQ section and added that using shortcodes for columns and toggles. I’ll expand on those questions later as I get them from prospective customers.
I then tested the contact form to make sure that a) it works and b) my email is setup properly. Everything passed.
I prepared an email to my developer to have him work on the Stripe integration. I didn’t get around to playing with it anymore, and I’m going to need to start spending my time on sign-up messages and what not in addition to the minor touch-ups I’ll need to make.
Overall I am very happy with the progress so far. The site is really coming along nicely. It’s going to be close provided there aren’t any major hiccups with the Stripe integration!
More to come tomorrow…
Just finished taking the boy to school and grabbing some breakfast. I have my cup of tea and I’m ready to go.
I woke up around 6 and worked through some things with my developer. Really the big thing left is getting Stripe integrated. I knew this would be the biggest hurdle, but I don’t think it is going to be too big of a problem.
I need to get MailChimp integrated, create my onboarding flow, register social media profiles, and tie up some loose ends.
The bigger issue is now it is Monday, and I’ll be getting peppered with various communications.
I got really lucky that the social profiles were still available for LeadFuze. I went ahead and created a new Twitter account (follow along @LeadFuze), Facebook (like it!), Google+ (I need 10 followers before I can get the vanity URL), and LinkedIn.
Setup a page and form to show on the site at the very bottom for an email capture. However, it isn’t working 100% and I don’t have any content in place for it yet anyway so I set that page to “Draft” status for now. I’ll come back to it later.
I tweaked some more website copy and added another FAQ to balance out the two columns with 5 questions in each.
My developer is still trying to get Stripe integrated.
I have about two and a half hours left! I am going to leave the rest of the site as-is for now…the last thing is just the Stripe connection. I’m going to get my email signature in place (I use WiseStamp for that) and then start creating the onboarding form with questions I’ll need answers to in order to create a great email sequence for customers.
It’s done!! With 1 minutes to spare!!
I wrapped up the email signature using WiseStamp.
I then went to work drawing up an onboarding form to send to new clients. For this I am using Google Forms. I’ll get to understand their business and that of their competitors as well as who their target market is. The onboarding form is critical as it will arm me with the information I need to craft an effective email sequence.
About that time my developer finished the Stripe integration.
I then created the Thank You page and embedded the Google Form into it. I installed mPress Hide From Search so that I can prevent this page being indexed by search engines. This way people don’t end up accessing it by accident which will wreak havoc on my conversion numbers in Google Analytics.
I then downloaded GoNative for Stripe on my phone so I can easily manage the Stripe account on the go.
I decided to look back into the MailChimp signup process. It required abandoning the default mailchimp solution that came with the theme and install the plugin. Then do some styling edits to get it to look like the theme.
I had to get the DNS updated as well. Then setup Google Analytics with conversion tracking and place the code into the theme. Once I added that I went through the images and made sure everything is calling the live URL and not the staging URL.
It was a mad rush to the finish line, but it is done and I couldn’t be happier.
Here is the URL: http://www.leadfuze.com/
What do you think???
My plan is to go full force on this for the next 30 days to see if I can gain some traction. I have some key guest blogs coming up that should be able to provide some exposure right out of the gate.
Next thing to figure out is, who am I going to target with this? I need to figure out who will benefit the most and pursue them by using the LeadFuze service that I’m selling.
If anyone is interested, or knows anyone interested, I’ll give an even better price break this week only if you agree to post a review and give me a testimonial to use for the site! Shoot me an email at justin (at) leadfuze.com if you are interested and we can work out a price.
I’d love to hear what you guys think about both the business as well as who you think would benefit the most from this service!
Will NinjaOutreach be helping with this?
Here is a business who does something similar, legendaryleadgen.com. They were also interested in using our software.
I’ve definitely been thinking whether we should forget the whole software thing and just do this instead.
Dave recently posted…Monthly Growth Report – November 2014
Hey Dave – yea, came across the founder of that business in the DC. The couple of businesses that are doing this are more interested in just working with a small group or else very large enterprisey type customers.
I have separate software built out that does the research, but I can see where Ninja Outreach could be used for that purpose.
Hey Dave, I’m dive testing your soft right now, I think there’s a need (it’s really fast and the results are great) so you can probably do both, like X/month for the tool, Y/month for the tool + implementation. Someone else is doing that but can’t remember their website right now.
In hearing from others and doing some research, there are 3 companies in this space.
1. http://legendaryleadgen.com/ who is in an entrepreneur forum I joined and has actually offered to help me sort through some things. Price starts at $1,000/mo
2. http://getprospects.co – they just offer the emails, they don’t do any of the email creation and followups.
3. https://leadgenius.com/ – To do the emailing for you, it starts at $3,800/mo. They just raised $6M in funding.
That is all I could find, though it is fairly tough to do research on something like this since you have to look up things like “b2b lead generation” or “lead generation service” and good luck from there. So ironically, I don’t think SEO is going to be too big of a strategy for me.
None of them have the system I used for my agency in place, which allows me to go for bulk with a price that starts at $300 because I’ll be able to get clients rolling fairly quickly and easily.
At the end of the day though, there also might not be many competitors in the space because businesses can’t wrap their head around it, or they don’t think it will work, or they think it’s spam. So the target market needs to be educated enough to know how effective of a channel it can be, while not being able to do it efficiently or consistently themselves.
I look forward to sharing more in future posts, uncovering which industries this works well for by evaluating response rates, signups, etc. So stay tuned. 🙂
Dave recently posted…How I Made $60k Buying And Building Travel Blogs Last Year
Congrats on your new business 🙂 Nicely done and it was good to read that you still reserved time for eating/sleeping/family.
Will you write a follow up of what happened over the next days?
I’m even tempted to sign up myself!
You bet – still trying to sort out who I feel will get the most from this. I believe it might actually be SEO agencies, but I’m thinking that is because of my background. So I’ve been diving into this a little more to determine the best market, but either way I’m going to start rolling this out today.
Quite a story! Great post and a solid service seemingly. Plenty of competition but your prices are very good so should work out. I see myself buying something like this in future for sure. Just need to make some additional marketing budget!
Good luck and keep us updated on progress of this business!
Adrijus recently posted…12 Things to Expect from Your Book Cover Designer
Thanks Adrijus! Best of luck with your business as well.
I actually work in a space where I am constantly prospecting for clients. I run a content marketing business and your service sounds like my own backend cold prosepcting system which converts at about a 30% ratio. Good luck on the business.
Nice David – cold email outreach is definitely a great source of customers and a very underutilized tactic!
So inspiring. Starting my own challenge soon. This is a great model to follow.
Craig recently posted…One Month Rails Update #2
Let me know how it goes Craig. If you decide to do it, I’d love to follow along!