Originally posted on medium here.
I launched my bootstrapped startup Mokumax five years ago and growth has been slow. It’s been a windy road.
As a startup, especially starting off as a solopreneur, it’s been tough. I’ve poured my heart and soul into building several Twitter marketing automation and analytic tools. I have some pretty cool apps and tools to show for the hard work and as a bonus I’ve learned a lot.
I have also poured tons of time (thousands of hours) and a boat load of money (thousands of dollars) into Mokumax. I spent the money on freelancers, press releases, advertising on Google, Twitter, and Facebook, and even bought some cool startup swag. Again, all bootstrapped.
The last 5 years have been a wild ride. I have hit more brick walls than I care to remember. I’m not alone. Each new wall seemed higher than the last and harder to climb. I told myself I wouldn’t quit. I knew most of the people standing next to me at the wall would turn and walk away. That kept me motivated and still does.
That was the first 5 years.
I can’t change the past but can guarantee 2016 will definitely be different.
Here is how I’m going to grow my business by 10,000%.
Step 1: Blog on Medium once a week
It’s no secret that a viral post on Medium can generate some serious traffic to your website or product. Quite frankly it’s the best tool on the market for writing and it’s free so it’s a no-brainer.
Monday mornings will include a fresh cup of coffee and writing a weekly update on the status of my plan. As simple as it seems it will take 1–2 hours.
My schedule is pretty jam packed so I am adding every task to my Google calendar. You can write it down on a piece of paper if that works for you. I need reminders.
- Go to https://calendar.google.com
- Create a new calendar just for this
3. Add the weekly task — I set mine to early every Monday morning until Dec, 31, 2016. Select the new calendar you just created. Give yourself some hints on what to write about in the description. I also enabled email notification as a reminder. (A few months ago Google removed SMS notifications and I’m still bummed about that!)
When the rough draft is finished I’ll forward it to my copyeditor/growth hacker Dylan. He spends a lot of time on Medium and is amazing at keeping the topic on point and in the proper voice. If you don’t have a “Dylan” then ask a trustworthy friend or do some research and hire a freelancer to do it for you.
After the post is good-to-go I will publish it on Tuesday at 8am EST. I chose Tuesday because in my experience more business people are online from Tuesday to Thursday. So that I don’t forget, I added it to my calendar with a reminder.
That’s all we will do with Medium for now. I’m hoping to post more than just weekly summaries… if I have something to say and time permits.
Step 2: Post a summary article with the link to the new Medium post on the Mokumax Blog
In the wild west when people stumbled upon a ghost town they didn’t stick around long. The same is true for businesses with abandoned blogs and social media accounts.
I’m responsible and guilty of having a “ghost town” for a blog. My solution is easy. Instead of coming up with new content each week for our Mokumax blog I’ll summarize (500 words or less) my Medium post and share the link to the full article. I’m basically curating my own content.
I might eventually move the entire blog over to Medium at some point, but this is how I’ll be doing things for now.
I will do this first thing on Wednesday morning. I added this to my calendar as well.
We have our blog integrated with MailChimp so that when we post new content it will automatically send out a summary with a link to the post. MailChimp looks for new content and then sends it out the next day at 4am EST.
I updated our campaign to send out at 7am EST instead of 4am. I want our email to be at the top of a person’s inbox when they wake up. Sending the email at 7am should keep it close to the top.
This is easy to setup. As you can see we have a little over 1,300 subscribers. Not a lot but we didn’t do much to get them. They are all organic. We’re going to focus on building and actually using our list this year.
If you don’t have a MailChimp account, go create an account now. It is one of the easiest ways to manage a list and it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Step 3: Interact on Quora — establish myself as an expert
I have always cringed at the word “expert” because I’ve been in so many meetings with so-called experts that knew far less than me.
Regardless of your feelings for the word, the fact remains… you get “skills” from putting love, time and passion into something. Use those skills to help people by giving them good advice and helping them solve their problems. If you give good advice that works, you will be perceived as an expert.
I have scheduled Wednesdays at lunch time to dig into Quora in search of questions about Twitter, growth, social media, customer acquisition and brand development.
I added all of the topics I want to answer questions about to my feed on my Quora. I’m not sure if this is the best way to go about doing this, but it seemed like a good starting point. Click “Edit” beside Feeds and then you can enter what you’d like to follow.
Step 4: Interact with blogs and forums in my industry
This year is all about sharing the value of Mokumax with business owners and agencies. I know how they can benefit from using Mokumax but I haven’t done my best in really selling it yet.
It’s time to break out of my comfort zone.
Step 4 has two parts but can be done once a week as well. The first part is gathering a list of blogs and forums that are geared toward my niche. Specifically I’m looking for business owners and agencies — social media, marketing, etc.
And the most important part is posting comments and answering questions on these blogs and forums. I’ve done this in the past and it generated traffic to our site. Once again, I was the problem. I failed to be persistent about doing it.
To solve my persistence problem I’m scheduling this for once a week. By the end of the year I will have become a known and trusted voice in multiple communities.
Step 5: Cold email 30 agencies per week
I get emails like this several times a day. Most are from sales folks. I don’t like them. I usually block them. So why am I going to do this over 1,500 times in 2016?
Because if it amounts to just a 4% conversion rate it will mean over $37,000 in revenue for the year which equates to about $24 for each email I send.
My email recipients will be super targeted in hopes to get a higher conversion rate. I’m going to make my emails sound casual and personal to also get more people to convert.
Hmm, maybe I should double the emails that I send this year.
This is what my week is looking like so far. Keep in mind that I’m doing all of this on top of my regular work. My goals is to limit all of these tasks to 7 hours or less. Initially I know it will take longer.
Step 6: Rewrite and publish my Twitter Marketing Guide
A few years ago I wrote The Insider’s Guide To Becoming a Twitter Marketing Pro. It was intended to help businesses understand Twitter and the proper way to go about marketing to Twitter.
I can’t say it was a bestseller but it did help me establish my expertise in the Twitter marketplace.
I’m giving myself the month of January to finish a rewrite and rebrand of my Twitter marketing guide.
This step will require 2 major things from me (and a minor update).
- Rewrite and rebrand of my Twitter marketing guide.
- Setting up a landing page that will capture the user’s email address. Once they confirm their email with MailChimp an email will be sent to them with the file (or a link to the file).
- Add link to landing page on all Medium posts
If this proves to be an effective way to grow the email list then I’ll update my 2016 plan to include more guides and downloads.
Initially I had another handful of tasks I was going to include in my 2016 plan for increasing our business by 10,000%. I chose to stop here and see how it goes.
Plans are never set in stone so look for updates as the year progresses.
Let’s do this!
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