Posted by Clayton Johnson | February 9, 2016
About 10 months ago I wrote a post called “10 Business Growth Lessons from 10k Users” – At that time, we were pretty proud of what we had accomplished.
It took us 4 years to get to the first 10k users.
It took us less than 10 months to get to 20k.
Here’s what you need to know to do the same in your business.
Before we get started, I just want to point out that we are NOT a venture-backed startup. We don’t have the luxury of resting on a huge pile of cash to wildly spend.
The HOTH started in 2010 as a bootstrapped startup literally running our “backend” off of a spreadsheet and using our own laptops in my friend’s apartment.
This growth came from within for us, and it can come from within for you too.
Secondly, while we were searching for answers, I remember reading what seemed like hundreds of posts about “How we acquired 10 million customers without spending a dime or lifting a finger!” or “How we 103X our revenue in 2 days by changing 1 thing”
The articles were pretty outrageous, but they didn’t actually help me understand what to do. In fact, I think I felt discouraged because it all seemed so easy for everyone else.
What I wanted to see is what actually happened behind the scenes, and I’ll tell you what:
For every “massive success” blog post there are 30000 “oh shit” failures that they don’t tell you about.
For example, in our own journey to 20k users, we’ve had our fair share of failures:
- Had our Facebook ad account banned
- Had our Adwords account banned
- Spent months developing and making proposals for a product that not a single person bought
- Launched campaigns to a 200k person list where the lander didn’t work
- Spent tons of money on new traffic sources that didn’t convert
- Wasted time re-doing things we thought were already done
In the end, none of these failures mattered.
By the time we fail at something, we are already speeding on to 3 other new things and now I EASILY forget our failures.
Failure is your friend. Failure just means you’re TRYING. You’re learning. Keep going.
(By the way, we solved all those problems too – got our FB ad account back, got our Adwords account back, changed our product offering, fixed our landers, etc)
Now that that’s through, let’s get into how you can double your business this year:
1. The Big Mindset Shift
In Grant Cardone’s book, The 10X Rule, he says that you need to set your goals 10X higher than you think, and you need to put in 10X the effort to achieve those.
At first, it may seem pretty daunting, but when you start doing that you’ll see that it won’t be harder to grow, and in some cases it becomes way easier.
The reason it seems like “work” at first is because you haven’t achieved the extraordinary level of success that turns work into passion. Once you start to see the success, you will be addicted.
Everybody has the exact same 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week. Richard Branson has the same amount of time in the day as you.
You’re going to spend those hours one way or another. The only difference between what makes you really successful and what keeps the status quo are the actions you take during the day.
When you understand what you really want, and what it’s going to take to get there, it becomes clear what actions you should be taking during the day (and what you shouldn’t!).
Set goals that would make a massive difference, then ruthlessly cut out the things that do not matter and focus on the actions that will get you closer to where you want to be.
2. Understand Your Business Math
You want your business to grow?
Don’t treat growth like the lottery, trying random things and hoping something works.
Get your numbers down. Without knowing your numbers, you have no real business.
This is put very well by Justin Brooke from IM Scalable.
A million dollars in ad spend may sound “expensive,” but the only thing that matters is ROI.
If you gave me a source that for every $1 we put in we consistently got $2 out, we would put in as much money as we could possibly get our hands on.
You don’t have to be confused by CPC, CTR, CPM, CTC, VTC etc. Those numbers can help down the line, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the following:
1. How Much It Costs To Get A Targeted Lead
Find out where a big pool of your audience lives / hangs out. We started with Facebook Ads because everyone is on Facebook.
Here’s how it works:
We run an ad that says something along the lines of “Get this free download of the best SEO Tools.”
We target people that like SEO stuff, like SEO software, SEO news publications, SEO conferences etc.
When they click on the ad they go to a lander that asks them to put in their email.
Here, we offer them value in exchange for their permission to market to them (permission marketing).
When they put in their email, their email goes onto our email list and they get the PDF download.
With Facebook’s tools (conversion pixel), we can tell how much it costs for us to get an email address. (Usually between $2-$4 or so).
2. Figure Out How Much That Lead Is Worth Over Time.
Once the leads are on our email list, we deliver massive value (and build our authority at the same time) by answering all the questions people have about SEO.
During the course of helping them with our value based articles, we also weave in promotions for our products.
For instance, here’s a good example of how we sell HOTH Guest Post:
We basically show people how to get white hat links (our process) and then at the end, we let them know that we can just take care of the whole process for them.
During this process, we use tracking software like Improvely to see how much that lead on average is worth over a 1, 3, 6, 12-month timeline.
Usually, we make all our money back from the ad spend within the first month or 2, then from that point forward, it’s pure profit.
3. Scale That Source
Once you know how much your lead costs, and how much they bring in on your timeline, then you can scale your ad spend.
You don’t have to start with a billion dollars. You can start with a relatively small amount.
We saw the results and it was obvious that this was profitable for us. So we doubled the ad spend and measured again. We just kept repeating the process over and over.
Once you have something that works consistently, POUR ON THE GASOLINE.
Make that fire IGNITE and you will see MASSIVE growth in your business.
3. Put Your Marketing On Autopilot
The days of old school marketing are dying. Cold calling should be a thing of the past. What is “in” is HELPING your customers and attracting them to you.
We try to attract everyone to our email list so that we can deliver the most value.
We write this blog that has popups everywhere so we can get people on our email list.
We run Facebook ads so we can get people on our email list. We run Adwords so we can get people on our email list. We do everything to get people on the email list.
Once people are on the list, it automatically delivers everyone value and sells each one of our products – on autopilot – building our trust, authority, and sales, every day.
We have a 23 email sequence that every customer gets and they love it. I had multiple people come up to me when we were at Pubcon and SMX and tell me that they really enjoy the emails we send.
This all results in a marketing system that consistently produces growth. We don’t rely on random tactics or hoping and praying for a post to go viral.
We have a Marketing System that can scale at will.
When we set our sales goals, I can see predictably more or less what we’re going to need to hit those goals.
4. Create The Value Ladder
It’s going to be difficult to really get your max ROI from your lead generation if you only have 1 solution to sell to them.
People have vastly different problems and budgets, even in the same niche.
Just a few years ago, the highest priced product you could buy from us was $250. Then we added a $475 bigger version and someone bought it.
Then we came out with a new product, and we made a package that was worth $875, someone bought it.
Then we made our newest and best solution yet which is a killer combination of a bunch of our products plus extras – The most valuable thing we’ve ever created – It costs $4,000. People bought that too.
For every $4k product we sell to one person, we have to sell more than 60 of the $60 product.
Let that sink in for a minute.
If you have more things you can help your customers with, more products, more offers you can create – DO IT. There is someone out there looking for the solution. We still haven’t found the limit.
5. Test Your Limits
If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. – Mario Andretti
Once you have your head wrapped around what you want to accomplish, test your limits.
Treat everything as it is urgent. You HAVE to get it done. You have to implement NOW.
In the past, we had a schedule of releasing a product every year or two.
In the last 6 months we have more than doubled our product lineup. Everything is running smooth.
We don’t stop with just new products, or pouring the fire on paid traffic, we’re 10Xing everything and aggressively testing what works and what doesn’t.
We did 3 huge conferences last year to connect with our customers face-to-face.
We have thousands of HOTH Swag Packs going out to show our appreciation for our customers (and stand out from everyone else).
You probably can too, and it will make all the difference in the world.
6. Your People Are Everything
I’m a huge believer in systems. We built the HOTH on systems. It’s what allows us (and every other successful business) to deliver quality products to their customers and scale at a rapid pace. You have to have systems in your business for everything.
With that said, at the heart of those systems is great people. We are so fortunate to have the amazing team we have.
We have amazing guidance from the partners Marc & David (they push us to do the uncomfortable).
We have amazing account managers (Greg & Joe) that care about our customers and are on the phones, even after hours, taking care of the needs of our customers.
We have amazing production and support staff (George, Will, Betsy), keeping our products quality and top notch, looking into any kind of issue or question that may arise, quickly resolving it and improving our process.
We have an amazing development team (Sergey, Ed, Alex) that help us create new products, push updates, and improve our systems to make the experience better every day for customers.
We have amazing managers that help us with all of our projects (Sarah, Adan, Randy) to keep the train running smooth.
We have an amazing 500+ person distributed team that helps us produce all of the products, from writing content to production and more. We like to think of this group as our HOTH ARMY.
I’m so thankful that we have this team. It is a testament to what good people can do for your company.
Building your team full of quality A+ players will skyrocket you into success.
These are the very simple ideas that helped us add millions of dollars to our revenue.
All you need are these very simple ideas. Once you understand that, you have the power inside of you to figure out the rest.
If your business is NOT growing, all you need to do is change your mind in one instant. You are not stagnant. You are capable of change. I know your new year’s resolution said you wanted to make more money this year.
This is it.
If this post helped you or inspired you, please share the love!
What other lessons have you learned in your business? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments!
COO @ The HOTH