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EXECUTION Building Architecture B2B & B2C Service

Charnell

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As promised in the "What will you accomplish in 2019" thread, here's my progress thread for my current project: a B2B endeavor in the architecture and design industry.

What I will accomplish: I'll grow my current project to help 500 firms each month as ethically as I possibly can.
How I'll do this:
  • Start a progress thread February 1st. That way I have some data to share & accountability.
  • Never stop prospecting. I've already double-downed on my efforts by hiring a man to bring me 100 targetted potential customers per day.
  • Be customer-centric. Service didn't live up to your expectations? Here are three months free, see if that works for you. Still not working? Where are you located? Oh, that is a tough market...here's a year for free, see if that works for you.
  • Have fun. This is enjoyable for me because I've actually found an industry I can speak the language & apply what I enjoy doing: website building, marketing, & sales.
If you want to skip to the end of the post I have my history since joining this forum. This project was started as a supplement to a position I held which I have since quit. Recruiting, architecture & design. There you go folks, that's the niche. Not a new concept, some would even consider it a dead industry. I know firsthand how wrong that is. I don't want to share the URL now only because I don't want my data skewed.

Had a whole load of shit typed up here, deleted it. Offering a freemium service to help firms in smaller markets, larger markets, and recruiters.

Moving forward, I'm only going to be doing what I consider my strong points/what I actually enjoy: website development, content strategy, and email marketing.

What we have done so far
  • The website/service is 99.9% built. There will always be things to work on, but can't spend all day every day tinkering with pixel placement. No longer tinkering aimlessly, only when someone brings something to my attention.
  • Hired a lead gen guy. Fired that lead gen guy. He brought me ~1600 lukewarm contacts from ~1000 companies for ~$350. The last few days he was getting very sloppy with what he was bringing me. Going to work with what I have for the time being until conversions stop. I say lukewarm because they're using a similar service so I know they're in the market. Not cold, but not exactly warm.
  • Built out an awareness campaign using AgileCRM for cold emails I'm still refining. As of this writing, I'm getting 20% open rates, of that 20% click to the website, and 20% of those people sign up on the first touch. The second touch is 15%, 15%, 20%. Started January 1st.
  • (Re)used a content service for this project. Spent $1062 on a few dozen thousand words to bring in the B2C component. Also writing what I can from what I know.
Social media sticking with Twitter as my big one. Architects love their "architecture porn" and although Instagram is image heavy, I've had success using a pretty kickass Twitter automation tool. Like, 6k clicks/month on autopilot (not for this project).

January: 29 businesses being helped/using my service

Have a call soon with one of the largest architecture firms in the United States (top 9).

Tools I like to use:
Missinglettr: social planning program
AgileCRM: will be switching to Mautic soon
IFTTT: automation for a lot of thangs

That's about it.

Backstory/Autobiography
:
I was fresh out of the military in January 2014 and had ~7 months between DD-214 and 1st semester. 5 years of bullshit in the Marine Corps kind of makes you want to chill for a bit and do your own thing. A search for "how to make money online" led me to a whole lot of money chasing.

When I first joined the forum, it was outsourcing ebooks to foreign writers and self-publishing on Amazon & Draft2Digital. A whole lot of adult fiction (read: erotica) and career skill non-fiction (think interview skills, public speaking, and resume building). Peaked out at around $4,000 and I thought I "made it" so I slowed things down thinking that would continue forever ... it did not. The books continue to sell to the tune of $50-100 a month.

Skills gained: managing freelancers, copywriting, market research

February 2016, I created my first website for the sole purpose of making money. Before, any website I made was either my terrible personal blog or made to supplement the pen names created for my ebooks. The website was created based off a consistently selling ebook that didn't really have any other websites in competition. October 2016 I sold that website.

Skills gained: WordPress, affiliate marketing, digital product creation, minor outreach finding affiliates to sell my product

Yada yada, a few minor websites from there but nothing substantial. Got into a bit of PoD in my time between classes because graphic design is fun. Blah blah blah, graduated, moved to NYC, moved back to work on my own stuff, relationship terminated, oh shit it's lonely all day I want to be around people.

My friend & roommate is a pretty successful recruiter, so I tried that out. The task: recruiting architects. The execution: 60-80 cold calls per day. That's a good way to get good at cold calling.

Skills gained: all kindsa sales: cold calling, cold emailing, overcoming objections, the whole shebang

I'll be sharing anything I know/answering questions about WordPress, content strategy, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, or sales.

As far as updates to the website, I'll get those up on the 1st.
 

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Charnell

Charnell

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January 2019
We'll start off with some charts and number porn.

January site traffic.PNG
Started this bad boy off at the end of December, that last Monday was my first cold email campaign. I wish I had the stats for the number of emails I sent out the whole month, but unfortunately, when I deleted my first campaign it took the stats with it. Estimated between 3-4k.

Emails were sent M-F initially, then changed to M-Th here moving forward due to poor results from sending on Fridays.

organic january.PNG
SEO is a part of my strategy overall, however, it is not a key component. Starting to gain some consistency, and I'm looking forward to how this progresses months down the line.

17 total articles created at 20,612 words. 1213 words per article average.

organic january ugc.PNG
This is the organic traffic from user-generated content. So the articles aren't ranking just yet but UGC ranks quick, within a few hours of creating. Exciting stuff.
_______________________________________​

I'm still in growth mode. Here are a few of my tasks this month besides my daily objectives:
  • Going to be migrating my CRM from Agile to Mautic+Amazon SES this month because I'm a big fan of open source software (and SES allows 62k free emails per month + $.10/1000 after).
  • Fleshing out my cold email campaign since I won't be so limited in the number of nodes in my sequence.
  • A new campaign for b2b users as a way to get feedback & let them know what I'm doing on my end for them.
  • Video walkthroughs for b2b users starting with questions I've received. Streamline the process as much as possible by creating a repository of information.
✌
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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On managing daunting tasks.

The biggest hurdle I had when migrating from Agile CRM to a self-hosted CRM was dealing with one technical aspect: cron jobs. If you've never heard of them before, don't worry because I didn't know about them either.

The thought of majorly wrecking something (which I actually did at one point, unrelated to the CRM transfer) made me keep putting off the execution of the migration.

Until I broke it, as we used to say in the Marines, Barney style.

Everything is a process, a checklist, steps to take to complete a given task. And step number 16 out of 20 was preventing me from doing the other 19 steps.

So Sunday I said F*ck it, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Low and behold, it was nothing more than typing out a file path and configuring the frequency to run each update. 10 days for 10 minutes. And the company gives you exactly what you need to input.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't let one scary looking step prevent you from even starting.

Now onto building out drip awareness campaigns.

✌
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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February
Howdy folks.

February was frustrating.

It turns out Mautic needs a specific port opened up (2587) to work well with Amazon SES, and took all month up until last night to finally figure that out.

But firms still found my service, signed up, and started using it.

38 businesses are now up in it, up from 29 without outreach.
Revenue is up a smidge too, which is cool.

What's going down this month:

  • This weekend: Finish migration from what I thought was a VPS to a VPS. Then I can open that single port and start my email campaigns again.
  • Manual prospecting. Back to the grind. Paying for prospects is easy, but the quality can be less than ideal. I want to make sure I know exactly who I'm reaching out to.
  • Hiring a graphic designer to turn some of my popular articles to infographics.
  • Conduct outreach to journalists for potential PR. There are a few big industry news publications/websites as well a ton of smaller ones. Gotta get the name out to respected sources.
Feeling really good about this.

After the migration, technical things should be complete (read: 95%) and it's all marketing, sales, and public relations from then on out.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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March
After spending too much time and money, I gave up trying to get Mautic to work and have gone back to my old CRM. Which works.

Got back to sending those cold emails. It turns out people are very responsive & don't mind cold email when they're targeted and relevant. I may get 1 spam complaint every 2500 emails sent.

Revenue is also up about 1500%, which sounds nice until you hear that Feb was less than the cost of a steak dinner.

Went from 38 businesses on board to 86.

Very cool. Also, revenue came out to $213.40.

What's happening this month
  • Paid adverts. I'm going to take 60% of revenue and start those AdWord campaigns. May split with Bing as well, just to test the waters.
  • 40% of revenue is going towards additional content creation. Had around 75k words initially for the B2C side, going to focus on the B2B side now. They're going to be used in a welcome email when firms register to help them out.
  • FAQs, video style as well as written. There are many repeated questions so I want to try and answer as many as I can at once rather than one on one. Have a call scheduled with a firm that will more or less serve as the starting point.
  • Continue my prospecting, but probably going to switch up as far as volume goes. Instead of going for an hour or two every once in a while, I going to find 20 of the right people per night. Nothing outrageous, and I'll more often than not go above that.
For once I don't feel like I'm money chasing.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Sending out a request here.

If anyone on the forum is or knows someone who can do WordPress/WooCommerce development (not design) I was thinking of a custom checkout process and am wondering if it would be possible to create and a quote.

Additionally, if anyone kicks a$$ at cold emailing, I want to talk about this new outreach I'm starting. I would pay for a half hour consultancy call.
 
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Charnell

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Another request, based on a message I just received on the website:

Anyone a graphic designer or know someone that does graphic work? Someone asked about a portfolio creation service. Anyone looking for leads and projects?
 

MJ DeMarco

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In your original posts, is there a reason why all the 1s are linked to your YouTube channel? We just had someone report this and I just noticed it.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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In your original posts, is there a reason why all the 1s are linked to your YouTube channel? We just had someone report this and I just noticed it.
Yeah, I was trying to do something funny with them. Almost like Easter Eggs. Apparently, I'm the only one who thought it was a good idea haha

I can remove em if it's a big deal.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I can remove em if it's a big deal.
I don't mind you linking to your channel if it is relevant to the content your sharing in your journey. You've contributed much here.

If you link to your channel, just link it with the appropriate words, not a 1.

Thank you!
 

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Charnell

Charnell

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Stumbled upon a new product for the website.

One article is killing it as far as traffic goes and should end up around 1,000 visitors only three months after it was published. The buyer intent is there because it's about templates people can use to craft their portfolio.

Initially, it was linking out to other people's templates for that small affiliate commission. I can see that people are purchasing, so it's time I offer a version.

The problem: I don't know how to use Adobe InDesign, which a lot of Architects & designers use for their portfolio.
The solution: Found a student of architecture freelancer that can do it for me! $200 to create 20-32 pages which are a variety of sexy layouts with stock photos and lorum impsum text.

Onward.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Last night I got the finished portfolio template back when I was already in bed reading. Instead of waiting until today to put the product on the website, I hopped out of bed to throw together a description and edit it into that article. BTW, the description is less than stellar, but as I was reading my book (The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy) I got a great idea for how to flesh out the description and really sell it.

Lo and behold, what do you know.

EDIT: removed image of sale at a whopping $12.50

This came in at around 5:20 when I was driving home from work. If I would have waited until today to piece it together, I would have missed out.

For those wondering about the discount, in the article I have a coupon right next to the link that reads something like "If you're a student, use coupon code "student" for 15% off." A nice incentive to purchase, it's tailored to the audience that generally is looking for a product like this, and it's a few dollars less expensive than others on the list.

Now I'm off to refine the description.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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April
Per my last posts, the B2C side has produced revenue. March, the B2B side produced revenue. Now that that's figured out, I can focus on what's working.
125 businesses on board, up from 86
That's cool. Very cool.

Paid averts are a bust at this point. I'm very inexperienced in them and was basically throwing money down the drain. Postponed until further notice.

Big shout out to @MHP368. I asked about cold emailing and just going back and forth with him a bit opened my 3rd eye, so to speak. The ticket, for me: asking for feedback in the email. Legitimately. When 5, 10, 15 people email you back with the same piece of feedback, that's something you have to work on.

I've decided to go back to basics, back to what has been working, and back to being "lean." Putting on hold prospecting because I have over 10k contacts to work with. Freelancer contracts are paused, sans one who's wrapping up a project for me. Improving my cold emailing based on a few things I read in The Ultimate Sales Letter. Putting in place followup emails, abandoned cart emails, etc. And working on the feedback I received.

What's happening this month:
  • Everything I've been doing, better than I usually do it.
 

MHP368

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Big shout out to @MHP368. I asked about cold emailing and just going back and forth with him a bit opened my 3rd eye, so to speak.
glad I could help your brain to storm the problem!

keep going!
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Got a pretty great notification on my phone a few moments ago. An order was placed for a listing by a pretty well-known company. It's the first name you think of when you think of coffee. And I ain't talkin about Folgers.

Social proof moving forward with cold emails? Possibly part of the equation.

EDIT: he just double downed. Very nice.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Friday night party night!

JK, going to eat food and work on a new sales/landing page for the template I got back, and make it so future templates can be added to the page.

That way, I can get to work on the content strategy and instead of the CTA going to 1 product's page, it goes to the "store" page where users can pick which one they like the most.

One thing I have to consider is how aggressive the language is. The value add is the time-saving aspect of starting with a template vice starting from scratch, and have to nonconfrontationally say "is your time worth more than $5/hour? If it is, buy this."

The content strategy is using Answer The Public for questions frequently asked and the Keywords Everywhere plugin to gauge where to start the process.

Interesting results are incoming.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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The landing page has been built and is seeing people visiting and I woke up to another sale. Even if I only make a sale a week, I'll recoup the cost in a few months.

I'm looking to amplify that, so I placed an order for 20 quick hitting articles answering 1 specific question someone who is in the market for a template would ask, with a call to action at the end going to the landing page. I don't see them driving massive amounts of organic traffic, but if I only get 100 additional people visiting a week and 2% convert, the cost is small compared to the return over time.
 

jcvlds

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Hey man, it’s been interesting reading your progress, thought process, and updates.

What kind of templates specifically is it that you’re selling or marketing on your site?

Keep it up and hope it continues to move nicely for you


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Hey man, it’s been interesting reading your progress, thought process, and updates.

What kind of templates specifically is it that you’re selling or marketing on your site?

Keep it up and hope it continues to move nicely for you


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Portfolio templates.

It started with affiliate marketing to other offers, but I'm starting to phase those out for my own products after did a bit of research in how they're converting.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Just got off the phone with one of the largest architecture & engineering firms in the US.

This might be growing faster than I anticipated, and may need to hire a developer to integrate with a few software solutions and be on standby in the future.

In other news, revenue reached a monthly high on the 3rd. We'll see how the rest of May goes.
 

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Charnell

Charnell

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So I'm sort of in a limbo state, the desert of desertion so to speak. Waiting for marketing initiatives to have enough data to tell if they're working, scalable, etc. Not giving up, the actual work has slowed to where I don't feel like I'm doing enough in a day/week.

So I downloaded the Adobe Suite ($20/month) again and bought an advanced InDesign course on Udemy from an Adobe certified instructor for $12. I will be able to create my own templates, media kits, etc. Right now there is 1 portfolio template for sale, I want to get that to 3 to give people more options, but not so many that they have way too many options. The one right now is contemporary, I want to make one that's more minimal and one that's more eccentric. The one I outsourced can also be expanded with additional layouts.

On top of that, I plan on putting the products on marketplaces but price them based on the fees taken. So if I sell one for $15, and a marketplace has a 30% fee, I'll place it for $21.50. Can reach that larger audience, as well as promote the website into the product either through the documentation, previews, or actual product.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Used GTMetrix to figure out what was slowing down my site, and started implementing changes. The good news: it about halved my site speed. The bad news: people couldn't log in or sign up because of the cache interfering. Figured out what I messed up just in time this evening because 15 minutes after I was done troubleshooting someone placed a $150 order. Will definitely find a dev next time.

In other news, with that order, I made enough from the website (before taxes) to cover my rent and phone bill from this website alone.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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May
So I'm happy with the progress made last month. Put a few more things in motion, primarily a demo/free download version of the template created as a lead magnet, then wrote up an email sequence that goes out to people that download (the paid or free version).
  • 1st email is a link to 3 posts to help them get started
  • 2nd email is a link to 3 posts to help them figure out how they want their portfolio to look
  • After the 2nd email, the sequence checks if they're tagged with the name of the paid version.
    • If they are...well I haven't come up with anything yet as an upsell or otherwise, so they complete the sequence. I've been thinking a review service
    • If they aren't, they get one final email with a coupon code to buy the "full" version
Super simple stuff, I just didn't have a product previously to tie it all together.

As far as revenue goes although ~90% of traffic is organic, 90% of revenue came from direct or referral traffic. 90% of website sales were from the B2B side and 90% of revenue were websites sales and not affiliate. Around $850 overall.

What's happening in June?
  • Reduction in B2B side options. Businesses are either using the free option or the most expensive options, and the two middle ones haven't been touched.
  • Research Woocommerce plugins or development to add options to the checkout. Right now it's 4 SKUs (soon to be reduced to 2) on the B2B side. I would like them to be able to upgrade with a checkbox and add additional options as well.
  • Revamp my distribution plan for content. Reading Content That Converts by Laura Hanly that's giving me a boatload of ideas.
  • Expand the template lineup with another piece. I don't want to go too crazy with options, but want three to give people options.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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Things have been up and down this month.

The down, first. I asked for feedback from the B2B side...not looking good. We just aren't well known enough to be a decent option for businesses. So I'm toning down the outreach and letting that go organic for a bit.

The plus side is focusing on the B2C side of the business, which are products that we are able to fulfill.

With that, came a quick website redesign to focus more on those products as well as buying AutomateWoo & it's referral add-on. Following @AllenCrawley's insider thread on email marketing really set the foundation for my email marketing campaigns. Check it out here AMA: Email Marketing, How To, Best Practices

The referral program is going to be incredibly generous, maybe even downright ignorant. Still looking for major growth vice major sales at this point.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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After reviewing my older content, I realized I had articles that were getting great traffic but had no call to action. For example, this month one article has gathered over 700 page views, has over 5 minutes time on page, and the highest exit/bounce rate at 90%.

Because I didn't have a second step for the person reading. The information is great, it's what they're looking for. So far it's been pro bono, but let's get a bit quid pro quo up in here!

I realized this after I placed a 2nd large content order.

So, earlier this week I took every live article and placed them in 4 categories for what vertical they fall into.
  1. Product type 1 (template)
  2. Product type 2 (template)
  3. Action type 1 (post job)
  4. Action type 2 (look for a job)
This weekend I get to go through and make sure every article has a CTA. The articles are already in place, better have them work for me.

This will also help with future content marketing, planning and executing with a purpose.

In addition to the CTAs, interlinking will be updated as well.

Good times ahead.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

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June
6 months deep
Now with pictures​
traffic.PNG
Growth. Most of the large peaks are from email outreach. That May spike was from me thinking I had an email send limit of 500/pay with my CRM, it turns out that was a lie. Wanted 500 to go out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. 1800 went out instead.

Dip at the end of May/beginning of June was from my tracking code suddenly not recording organic traffic.

Whack.

6 months.PNG
Revenue. Average order value is skewed from free downloads.

growing barely.PNG
Template sales. Expanded the line, really waiting for it to level out tbh to start testing improvements. Green is product #2.

Word Count.PNG
Content marketing. How many words I'm publishing every month for my content marketing efforts. Some are long for that SEO magic, some are shorter that were created to include in emails.

aa.PNG
Familiar faces.

The month ahead:
  • I have about 10 more articles in a draft or being written I'll be publishing soon.​
  • Going back and creating internal links to the boatload of articles published & making meta descriptions "better" and in some cases just writing them.​
  • Content strategy for a sister industry. As they say in Thailand, "same same, but different."​
  • Finish reading Breakthrough Advertising and revamp some of my product copy & landing pages.​
Onward.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Oct 12, 2014
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July
Lucky number 7​
Monthly highs all across the board: people visiting, revenue, "valuation", all the above. Feeling good about everything, cranking out meta descriptions and internal links. One thing I've also started is creating videos starting with my most popular articles.

They're super simple, I just create a PowerPoint presentation from a template I made, plug in a few key points from each subheading, and then read the article and record it. I've done this before with other websites with results that made it worth it. The intent is not to do the YouTube thing, but use it to reach another audience, dominate SERPs, and flesh out my content by including them in the articles.

I think July is the dip on the B2C side of the business, but I believe it will bounce back in September and the big months being December/January and May/June. It's going to be tied to the graduation cycle of universities.

One thing I'm implementing along with everything else this month is Ezoic. The website is a free service with the option for paid options, and the intent was always to monetize with ads. Even if the result is an additional $100 a month, that's a few new articles that can be included to feed into the machine.

Paid advertising is back on. Monitored, tailored to paying B2B customers. I want to keep them happy and continue using the service. IDC that it's around $4 CPC.

//

On a personal note, I'm around 46 hours into a 72-hour water fast. You end up with so much more time in the day when you don't eat.

Onward.
 
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Charnell

Charnell

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 12, 2014
890
2,284
561
South Dakota
Ezoic was scratched because it wouldn't implement properly, going with regular-a$$ AdSense. I don't mind the terrible RPM (around $2.50), because I know that's rock bottom: can only go up from here.

Right now there is one company that's really going hard on the paid aspect of the job board. Going to do a little digging into the company more so I can target similarly sized, comparative yearly revenue, and the number of job openings at any given time companies. If I can find 10 companies with a need like theirs that's $5k-10k "MRR" (in quotations because it's not subscription-based so there is a bit of variation).

Also done a bit of experimenting with Reddit advertising. Pretty low CPMs ( $3.50) and CPC ends up sub $.5. Targeting specific subreddits.

Also, moved into my own place. No more roommate or dogs causing background noise in my recordings.
 

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