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28 Comments

Dec 2019 revenue - $3,898

In terms of marketing and sales, we totally focused on direct sales -- which we learned from Nathan Barry of ConvertKit.

His story inspired us to focus solely on this method. More specifically we used direct email outreach, and when people responded to our email, we offer to do a live demo call.

Fast forward to December 2019... for this month our revenue is $3,898.

  1. 4

    Congrats on the milestone! Also thanks for sharing your tips and lessons from Nathan Barry. I have read some stories on how they built ConvertKit, it's truly amazing hustle against big incumbents like MailChimp, Unbounce and other big bulk email players.

    What are your next steps moving forward or other things you plan to test on?

    Cheers, Darren

    1. 1

      At this time, we're still doing cold email outreach.

      We also have new customers coming in via word of mouth. An important thing I underestimated was how crucial a good product and good customer service is when you want people to refer you (without using their affiliate link).

      1. 2

        Thanks for the reply and insights. Wishing you all the best in the world. Truly, Darren.

      2. 1

        How do you not get blacklisted by email servers for cold emailing?

  2. 2

    Awesome progress and appreciate you sharing your insights! Some questions:

    1. what tool do you use for direct email sales? there is just so many... its confusing
    2. where do you find their emails? linkedin? is there a marketplace one can buy a list? i just got burned by findemails.com and bought a list and it won't download!
    3. can you share your campaign flow? like you send the first email, then you wait how many days for a followup? etc.

    Thank you!

    1. 1

      1/ We used to use Lemlist until last month when we switched to Mailshake. Lemlist is a bit unstable and their customer service is poor -- if you're curious why we switched.

      2/ We manually searched sites that are relevant to the niche we're going after. No marketplace. No scraping of email addresses. Just old fashioned Google searching and using tools like similar sites, similar web, and feedspot to find related sites/blogs.

      My suggestion is not to buy email addresses as they're typically very poor in quality.

      3/ Initially we had a 4 part email series, each with a 5 days interval. Now we only have a 2-part email series with a 10 day interval. When a lead replies, the series would stop and I'd manually take over and answer their reply.

      1. 1

        Hi wellymulia. This is awesome. Is there any change you are willing to share the style and tone of your email as templates. Wanna really learn how to do cold emails effectively.

        1. 1

          As previously shared in one of my replies to the comments, I use a bit of humor + a simple "Is there anything frustrating with the current email marketing tool you're using?"

          For the humor part, I'm not sure if I can share the exact template since I bought Jon Buchan's templates and swipe from there. You can do a google search for his name if you're interested in the templates.

          1. 1

            Thanks @wellymulia, I googled for Jon Buchan and got some decent ideas. Will give it a shot.

            I’ve made a mental note that I need to get good at cold email marketing.

            1. 1

              So did you purchase Jon Buchans templates? How are they working to break the ice?

            2. 1

              Sure thing! Best of luck!

  3. 2

    Hey thanks for sharing!

    I'd love to know more about your process:

    1. Did you have any previous experience with cold outreach/ direct sales?

    2. Where did you learn the process?

    3. How did you find your leads? What kind of copywriting did you use in your email?

    Cheers,

    1. 3

      Thanks Kevin!

      1/ No, this is my first time doing cold direct sales. I was initially focused on marketing, but I learned from Nathan that when we don't have any budget for paid ads, and our brand is not known yet, it's better to focus on direct sales rather than marketing like content marketing, podcast, etc.

      2/ As stated in the post, I learned from Nathan Barry of ConvertKit. You can see how he lays out his process in this article:
      https://nathanbarry.com/sales/

      3/ Basically I did what Nathan did -- going after leads on a niche by niche basis. Copywriting-wise, same like what he did too. Asking questions like "what is your frustration with brand X?"

      Later on, I'd add a bit of humor too in the emails and I find that people are more receptive and forgiving when you include humor. Also, make sure to always put the lead front and center in the email, instead of always about you.

      Most cold email pitches intro like this:

      --
      Hi John

      My name is Welly. I work with brand X and we create bla bla bla and we're the number 1 bla bla bla
      --

      This is all about you and not about the lead. People are not interested in how good or cool your product is in a cold email. So always put them first before you mention anything about your product.

      Make sure you earn the right to pitch your product. And the way to do that is to make the intro engaging enough for the lead to continue reading the next line of your email.

      1. 3

        Hey congrats on reaching a new milestone and thanks for sharing your insight. Can you give an example of your own mail. How you pitched to consumers and how you added humor?

  4. 1

    Good stuff there, but it's March, curious why this is something you're posting about ~2 months later. How has sales been since then, are you still doing direct sales or have things shifted?

    1. 2

      Just realized it's dated EOY, but showing up as being posted today... IH gotcha... still interested in hearing how the last 2 months have been

      1. 1

        Yeah I'm newt to IH. I created a product a few days here on IH and was updating the product timeline. Had no idea it would show up as today.

        Jan revenue was almost 4.9k. Feb revenue was down to 3.6k. There are still fluctuations here and there.

        1. 1

          Hmm, why such a non-trivial downward fluctuation?

          I am also running a SaaS. In my experience, month-to-month downward fluctuations rarely exceed 1%.

          Also, you posted an update half a year ago about switching to direct sales. Has that been a good move?

          Any way, all the best!

          1. 1

            I guess it's because we quite a number of people signing up for the yearly plans, which contributed to a larger income for one month and then not paying again till next year. Another factor is churn, which is something that we need to improve upon.

            Switching to direct sales is definitely a good move. I'd attribute 90%+ of sales came because of direct sales.

            Another interesting thing to note is that even though someone might see our cold emails and they don't join, they might refer someone later on who joins.

  5. 1

    Where did you learn the legal aspect of this business? I know there are many rules on email spamming, and I'm not sure where cold email outreach could fall into email spam.

    1. 1

      I searched through Google and several good results came up regarding this topic.

      Here's a good one that you can read about:
      https://prospect.io/blog/cold-email-illegal/

  6. 1

    Thanks for sharing! Do you have any unique insight that is different from Nathan Barry's method? What has worked for you and what hasn't?

    Also, how much revenue has direct sales driven? Is it all of the $3,898?

    1. 1

      I basically copied his approach.

      Then I added in a bit more personalization.

      So I'd say I came across your site [insert yourdomain.com]. As a [insert niche] expert, is there anything frustrating with the email tool you're using?

  7. 1

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