Please note, this blog series is something we stopped doing in 2015.
Welcome to a new series I’m calling Path to Profits where I document the LeadFuze business from behind the scenes.
The business officially launched on December 15th and you can read how it came about on my personal entrepreneur blog.
Turns out, mid December is NOT the ideal time to launch given the holidays and all, but I did manage to get things off the ground.
Path to Profits: Revenue
I had interest from 5 people early on, which all wanted to wait until after the new year. I had one customer come onboard on Dec 18th though for a discounted rate to get things going.
Then I followed up with everyone on the 5th and had a couple more deals come in.
In the first 30 days of the business, LeadFuze has gone from $0 to $1,101/mo in revenue.
Furthermore, I have not yet had a new customer signup that I have NOT spoken to on the phone.
This leads me to believe I need to put a phone number on the site to talk with more prospects, but I’m just not sure if I’ll have the time for this yet. I would definitely want to get a business line dedicated to LeadFuze first before just putting up my cell phone number, that’s for sure!
What I Did to Get Customers
I started off by offering free accounts to some bigger name brands or companies I have a lot of respect for in order to get testimonials going for social proof.
Of the five I reached out to, surprisingly only two responded and only one of which did I have any real communication with (thanks Bidsketch!). I probably won’t try this approach again now that I have some revenue trickling in.
Ideally I’d like to get more than just a testimonial out of it going forward. Maybe a guest post if they have an established blog already or maybe a joint venture/rev share sort of partnership.
I worked out a separate trade out to get some advertising in a local networking newsletter:
It went out to about 25,000 networkers here locally. Not always my target audience, but it did lead to a face to face meeting here locally with a prospective customer that has committed (though not yet signed up).
Additionally, I’ve posted about this every where on social media (LinkedIn groups, Twitter, Facebook, my two entrepreneur membership forums, etc).
Just last week I began the actual blog here on LeadFuze. I plan on writing two posts per week (and hopefully more here soon).
In addition, I started reaching out to some marketing agencies using my own LeadFuze platform which led to a deal.
Ultimately, I have actually had to turn away more people than anything that just weren’t good fits. I really want to work with companies I feel LeadFuze will be able to move the needle for. People that are currently doing email outreach and know the pains are a really good fit as well.
They weren’t good fits because they have a very specific type of contact or some very thin target markets like “accelerators” or “grant makers”. I wouldn’t be able to provide enough leads for them to make it worthwhile.
Results for Customers
I’ve been able to generate hot leads for every customer thus far. One account has gotten over 10 ‘Hot Leads’ on the 300 leads per month plan.
For the most part my 5 to 10 Hot Leads per 300 seems to be right on target. Obviously, it largely depends on what the service is and what they offer.
Getting emails like this that I forward to customers feels good!
Note: A ‘Hot Lead’ is a person we emailed who responded with interest in our customer’s service.
What’s Happening Now
I wanted to use my old software for as long as I could until I could determine if this business would be viable.
Since things appear to be heading in the right direction, I’ve decided to work on redeveloping the software so that users will have a dashboard and I can use a queue (amongst several other upgrades to automate more of my process).
Right now I’m manually triggering the searches every few days for clients. I’d like to have this streamlined. I’m also needing to go with a whole new interface.
As you can see, it isn’t pretty right now:
This got the job done for me on a personal level, and is getting the job done behind the scenes. No way would I let this be a front end that users see though.
Work has begun on this rebuild, but I’m not expecting this to be finished for several months.
I’ll be starting the guest blogging trail here soon on various sales related websites. Content is going to be my primary form of marketing going forward.
Right now I’m working through how to handle a white-label / reseller arrangement. I feel this would work well for companies are currently providing marketing and/or lead generating services already.
Another thing I’m trying to work through is how I can continue to bring value to customer relationships. One thing I do not know yet is how long customers will be around. I wont know this until things mature a little more, but I’d like to have a strong relationship with customers so we can ensure a longer and more mutually beneficial relationship.
Ultimately it comes down to if leads are being generated or not. Luckily, that hasn’t been an issue as of yet, but I’m still rolling out a new feature where we’ll use a company email address (versus a gmail address) to make it more polished for the leads we are contacting.
The next thing to figure out is who I am going to go after as a target client. Planning to target accountants next and I’ll be working on a dedicated landing page specifically for that audience as well.
I’m also leaning towards pursuing SaaS companies if they have a price point of $49/mo or higher. Only challenge is, my LeadFuze software can’t target SaaS companies since you don’t find them in a business directory per se. This means I’ll need to manually perform the search and outreach.
Another thing I’ll consider is raising prices to $500/mo based on value as well as the added time I’m spending on each campaign currently. I want to continue to get customers in the door and listen to questions/feedback first before making any pricing changes.
I’m starting from $0 and this is completely bootstrapped. I don’t honestly have any goals yet for this business like Groove originally had with their goal from $23k to $100k in revenue.
I was originally thinking I’d be happy if this gets to $10k/mo in revenue, but I feel that there’s a lot more potential than that. I’m probably going to wait until after 90 days to really evaluate what kind of longer term goal I should set. What do you think I should set as a goal to hit??
In the short term, I’m going to try and get to $2,500/mo in revenue next month. I have a couple of commitments already and so I think it’s reasonable, even though it’s a little over 125% growth. That said, I really don’t know what to expect at this stage.
I plan on documenting the journey here on this blog. The few companies that do this sort of transparency don’t do it right from launch. They usually do this well after product/market fit and/or they have some stable revenue.
This is for obvious reasons, as no one wants to look like a failure when the business goes up in smoke.
That said, I still believe there are a lot of lessons to be learned even when a business fails. So I’m going to be sharing everything here on this blog, along with different sales strategies and lead generation tips. Subscribe to the blog below if you want to follow along.
As you can see, still quite a bit to figure out. I hope you enjoy the transparency and will join me for the ride by signing up below!