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EXECUTION My Journey To A $100M eCommerce Empire

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by GetShitDone, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. GetShitDone
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    GetShitDone Bronze Contributor

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    Hi Fastlane,

    I've decided to venture into the world of eCommerce.

    I don't want to simply be another drop shipper, rather I want to build an empire with a brand.

    There's been tons of success stories in the world of eCommerce and I will be one of them.

    In this thread, I will update you on my progress all the way from laying the very first brick.

    I also find this very motivating as it helps me track my progress and I can get all of your insights and advice on how I can improve what I'm doing.

    ---

    Over the past 2 weeks, I have done the following:

    - Spoken to lots of eCommmerce experienced people

    - Consumed tons and tons of online content regarding eCommerce, drop shipping, and online marketing (FB, IG, Content, Affiliate, etc)

    - And most IMPORTANTLY, I've executed into creating 2 landing pages for 2 different products + I've just recently done a Facebook ad for 1 of the products to test it's demand

    Currently, I'm a stage where I am focusing on finding the next big product. My goal is to rapid-test products via quick landing pages + quick targeted ads ($5/day marketing spend).

    Once I find the winning product that generates the most leads (I ask people to provide their email on the landing page and that I'll send them the purchase link), then I will quickly throw up a Shopify store, get a drop shipping supplier deal, and start drop shipping the product. Once the drop shipping gets me enough revenue to prove the concept, I will then buy Wholesale and SCALE. After that, I will begin to add product after product, ultimately building my brand and store.

    However, it all starts from the first brick where I will be testing these products.

    My CURRENT product test via a FB ad connecting to a product landing page has generated 6 leads within 24 hours ($5 spent, thus $0.83 per lead so far).

    This Ad and Landing Page basically tell the potential lead "Sign up with your email and we will send you a 50% off discount voucher and purchase link for the product". So it seems these 6 leads have expressed buyer's intent.

    I will continue to test this product over the next 8 days and then assess if I want to create a Shopify store for it.

    At the same time, I may test more products.

    1) Product Test via Landing Pages + FB Ads (CURRENT)

    2) Pick Best Performing Product (In 1-2 weeks)

    3) Dropship via Shopify + Supplier (In 1-2 weeks)

    4) Scale afterwards into Wholesale (Once $10,000 revenue target is hit)

    ---

    Please let me know your thoughts and any advice as I am open. Most importantly, I'm happy that I'm executing and sharing the progress with you.
     
  2. GSF
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    GSF Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Timely thread as im moving away from dropshipping and testing a new product Im manufacturing myself. Can I ask what you're using for the landing pages?
     
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  3. poseidn
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    $5/day ads still work? I remember that being all the rage back in 2015/6 - surprised you can still get valuable data from $5/day.
     
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  4. Jbat
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    Good job taking action.
    Where's the vendor? Are you importing? Why dropship vs taking control and ordering a small sample to test the quality and market for the products?
    I got most of these ideas from ecom man's thread which may be of further value to you:
    GOLD! - [AMA] Importing & wholesaling for resale on eBay.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2018
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  5. GetShitDone
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    I gave it a try, I'm just using it to get leads and its working so far. Maybe my product seems to be selling itself since it's quite unique. Perhaps $5/day doesn't work for the standard dropshipping model of every day products? Not sure.

    Thanks mate! The vendors are in Greece. The actual product is sourced from there too locally. So I'll have to speak to some vendors once I have my Shopify website up (social proof) etc.

    I'm going to drop ship first and get sales (prove the concept), then import/wholesale for the bigger margin and scale it.

    I'll look into getting a small sample ordered.. Something like 10 units you think?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2018
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  6. GetShitDone
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    GetShitDone Bronze Contributor

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    Nice! My goal is to build an actual brand that wholesales/manufactures and not just drop ship in the typical manner.

    The landing page software is LeadPages. I've also used InstaPage before. I suggest LeadPages as its best. Takes me 30-60 min max to create the landing pages.
     
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  7. Jbat
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    It depends on the price and size per item and what is cost effective I'd say a sample of 5 -20 depending on these factors.
     
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  8. GetShitDone
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    GetShitDone Bronze Contributor

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    Update:

    Facebook has unpublished my Facebook page and taken down my Facebook ads after they took a "closer look".

    They didn't even give me any reason other then "It is against Facebook's ad policy".

    My ads were doing great too with a unique product that no one else is using.

    I have contacted Facebook to ask why it's been taken down, I'll keep you guys updated.

    It is a men's fitness (and sort of cosmetic) product that is focused on making the customer look more attractive/handsome. I looked into FB's ad policies and a section involves ads about the customer's personal attributes (looks). Perhaps my ad was too in-your-face about the customer's look and FB didn't like it?

    Needless to say, I'm now awaiting FB's response to why it all got taken down.

    Bit annoying as the ads were doing well after 1 day of marketing alone and just $5 spent.

    Goes to show that I can't just rely on Facebook for marketing in the future, but I will adapt to the situation at hand after they respond.
     
  9. GetShitDone
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    Latest Update! (Segmented below)

    MARKETING

    Facebook - After the Facebook unpublishing my page issue, I spoke to support and researched. Long story short, my ads didn't follow their ad policy. In the future, I will make compliant ads. I am now making a new Facebook page and will make compliant ads in the future for both Facebook and Instagram.

    Twitter - I created a test business account with a generic name and responded to tweets/DM'd people who tweeted about the PROBLEM that my Product SOLVES. (You can do this by searching for tweets globally in the search bar). I contacted 50+ people. One of them was a famous guy with 300K+ followers. Needless to say, he messaged me and said he just "trademarked and registered the domain" of my new business Twitter Account's name. I wasn't going to use this name, but I still found it interesting.

    Instagram - I'm learning the powerful strategy of Influencer Marketing. I am going to target micro influencers in 1 specific city that I believe is the most targeted for me. Saturate it with the influencer marketing campaign, get PR, and spread like wildfire. I am targeting California to be exact.

    TEST Phase - However, I will test sell 150 boxes in my current city of Sydney, Australia initially.

    Website - I am making a Shopify store shortly to have social proof for suppliers, influencers, etc.


    SUPPLIERS

    I am currently talking to around 5 suppliers who supply this product. One has replied with a good wholesale pricing program.

    I may negotiate to lower it more.

    The issue? I want them to private label my products, BUT they say they want a "large order" to do this extra bit. I understand, but I don't know what they mean by large order so I asked them. In the meantime, I will order their minimum amount (150 boxes) and manually package my label on the boxes myself... and sell them in my "Test campaign" in my city of Sydney, Australia. If they sell, perfect. I will then enter the L.A market as I want to sell to the U.S as its a much larger market.

    My product is the first of it's kind and solves a problem that lots of people want. In fact, a lot of you would probably want this problem solved. Whether you'd buy the product or not depends on you. But I know my product is the first of it's kind and solves a general want of the population.

    Simply put: I will test campaign 160 boxes (That I package myself manually) to my home city (Sydney, Australia)... and then after that I will sell to the California market (to enter the massive US market) once I've proven the concept and processes.


    QUESTIONS

    1) TRADEMARK/PATENT - What is your opinion on me getting a Trademark or Patent at this early stage? (I know this may sound optimistic, but I am confident that my product will be copied if it is successful and gains exposure/traction)

    2) SUPPLIER NEGOTIATION - Any advice on negotiating with Suppliers to lower wholesale cost is appreciated. Thoughts?

    3) PACKAGING - Brand is everything to me. If anyone has any advice on private labeling/branding your products, let me know :)

    4) TESTING - Let me know if there's any other testing channels or methods you guys use please. I don't want to be stuck on testing too long, but I am confident this product will sell with Influencer Marketing. It is also very "news-worthy" which will gain PR.

    5) COSTS - This is more just an overview of my expected expenses for my beta launch. If you have any advice/opinion, let me know.

    My first batch of Wholesale Orders will be $1,200 USD + shipping to Sydney.

    Also, I will pay for a Fiverr design, packaging labels for the initial boxes, Shopify, domain/hosting costs, and initial influencer + social media marketing.

    All up, I estimate around $2,000 will be spent for this test campaign of my beta launch in Sydney. If it works, I'm going to raise money from my investor network and head for the California market.

    ---

    I'm progressing with getting supplier quotes, learning influencer marketing, crafting my launch strategy, making a website, testing if there's demand, and more!

    I need to begin setting goals for each day/week/month.

    Looking forward to your thoughts!
     
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  10. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    There's obviously people way more experienced with fb ads here, but after lurking on a fb ads group for awhile I saw many people with fitness related ads have problems, sometimes it's just one word causing the issue.

    Any reason you are using shopify over woocommerce? Shopify is less customisable and gets expensive when u need to add features. I've heard of people that validate an idea with shopify then jump over to woocommerce.
     
  11. GetShitDone
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    Thanks so much for your post Matt.

    It makes a lot of sense that fitness products have issues, as they make claims or focus on personal attributes. Something I've noticed Facebook Ad Policy isn't too fond of.

    I am choosing Shopify as it seems to be the flagship platform for eCommerce. But, I will look into WooCommerce based on what you said.

    I just want to make my website ASAP to be taken at a serious level with all stakeholders (suppliers, influencers, customers, potential partners, etc).
     
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  12. GetShitDone
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    Big Question!

    Guys, for my website name:

    Should I name my website the name of my Product or the name of a Shop that provides the product?

    For example, should I call it "Clothes.com" OR "RedTShirt.com"?

    The product has never been done before and it has that "ShamWow" effect to it of being an interesting stand alone product.

    But I may add products in the future. However, I don't want to dilute the brand of the product itself if I do a shop name as the website.

    Opinions?
     
  13. jcvlds
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    Hey. I've been pondering about this question as well for myself. I am a bit behind in the process compared to your progress and where you stand today, but I've been thinking about the website/domain thing for shop vs product.

    I had chosen to go the shop/brand name route for the domain and having my initial product listed and highlighted there so as to be able to later add products and create the brand image for the shop...

    However, just now in reading this.. I think it may be worth a try to buy up BOTH domains. I'm thinking you create your brand shop with your product highlighted almost exclusively (becuase it's your first/only product) but you could also create a domain exclusively for the product that may be more SEO worthy for ads or organic traffic.. a domain name with the product's name and maybe something descriptive..

    Dunno though.. What do you think? What could be the potential drawbacks for doing both? Once your brand name shop grows more you could maybe re-direct from product's domain to your main domain.
     
  14. GetShitDone
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    Hey mate, thanks for your input to the thread!

    Honestly, my goal is to create more then just a One Hit Wonder product. I want to create an entire brand and shop, which is why I'm aligning with the shop name aspect.

    What you highlighted about the product being exclusively promoted and sold on the website makes a lot of sense given its the first product..

    I'm thinking: Shop name as the domain. Also create a product domain that re-directs to the shop name from the get-go. That way, if anyone ever googles the product name and the product domain shows up, it will simply re-direct them to the main shop name website where they buy the product.

    Thus, simply having both domains active (with the product domain's purpose to re-direct any traffic from product-name google searches).

    I'm thinking from a SEO point of view as well here as well.
     
  15. 404profound
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    If you were your customer, knowing their pain points and sought solutions, which name would you be more likely to explore?
     
  16. GetShitDone
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    Well the shop name resonates more with a general name.

    The product name itself is very specific.

    To be honest, all the Influencer Marketing + PR Marketing we will do will be focused around the Product Name, it's benefits, the problem/solution for it ,etc.

    So people will type in the product name for sure.

    My marketing strategy initially is going to be Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaign, followed by PR Marketing (Free as I know how to get into publications especially with my type of product).

    The IG influencers will provide a discount code and link to my site and the PR articles will talk about the product more.

    At the same time, I'm thinking long term about the overall shop too.. and how we'll add more products in at some point to diversify, despite the First Product's massive virality potential.
     
  17. jcvlds
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    Sounds excellent. I will probably do the same :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. GetShitDone
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    So I've contacted 10 suppliers in total (This natural product is rare and only grows in one isolated island in the world).

    I've received quotes and waiting for more quotes, they all seem to be in the $0.10-$0.15/gram range. Now I'm awaiting answers on freight shipping + asking if they can do private labelling for me.

    One said to me that they'll only put my private label/packaging on IF I do a large order.

    I'm considering ordering the first $1,200 batch worth as just White Boxes... and manually stick my own packaging on them by myself. Then using that first batch as the beta launch's batch of sales.

    Hopefully I find one of these 10 suppliers to do private labelling for me regardless.

    Another thing.. a supplier asked me for my company's online profile: The issue? No website. Nothing.

    I'm going to begin Shopify or WooCommerce tomorrow. I'll link it to my domain + create a company email + flashy email signature based on my previous achievements and link to my LinkedIn which looks professional.

    Then I can start messaging Influencers too!

    Still looking at ways to test demand. I know it's there, but apart of me wants to be 100%.

    Getting paranoid about people stealing my product's idea given its so unique and no one has done it before. So I'm considering a Trademark/Patent, but maybe it's too early?
     
  19. PRO2018
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    Hey, re supplier negotiation, I wouldn't push pricing too hard with your sample test runs. Generally more volume enables them to offer more discount down the track when you are able to order more. You want them to make a reasonable profit as well, otherwise this will reflect in the level of service they offer you. So I would reserve the harder negotiations for later once you can order more product. Of course, do your due diligence and make sure you are not getting ripped off, but reserve the ace negotiation tactics for later.

    Also, always have a back up supplier or a plan B, just in case things go pear shaped. Don't have all your eggs in one basket as the saying goes. But this can sometimes be difficult, as from my experience, I previously wanted to order only from one supplier to get the maximum volume discount, however ordering from two suppliers and splitting the order would have reduced risk, as I'm building a trading relation with 2 suppliers at the same time. I wanted to be meaningful to my supplier by placing a larger order, but also wanted to minimise risk by having another regular supplier. This can be challenging in the initial stages as order volumes are lower. It is just one of those things that has to be managed until you grow where you can place a large order with 2 suppliers at the same time, or stagger them or have a second supplier ready to go in case sh*t hits the fan.

    Good to see your progress!
     
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  20. GetShitDone
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    Thanks a lot for your extensive feedback.

    I think you're definitely right about diversifying the risk with suppliers. Even if it comes at the cost of a volume discount not being there.

    Nothing seems worse then having 10,000 orders scheduled for the next month and your supplier's factory shuts down!

    I've contacted 11 suppliers now. A few have replied and are talking to me about prices. I wish I could get more suppliers, but as I said this natural product only grows in one little part of the world.

    I'm starting to speak to suppliers in a way that I seem like a big enough company that means business and wants to buy.

    Based on my research, suppliers are inundated with tons of requests everyday (mostly tire-kickers), so they filter out/don't even reply to people who they think come across as tire kickers.

    This means I've had to refine my approach as saying things like I'm apart of a global team, I'm the product manager, going to be doing a BIG marketing campaign for your product, need a trusted supplier for consistent long term, etc.

    All things to make them believe "This guy is serious and will be a money maker for us long-term." AKA Putting myself in their shoes and acting accordingly.

    --

    A couple asked about my website or online profile, so I'm getting on that ASAP. A store + my LinkedIn linked + email signature + company email = Ultimate social proof I believe for these suppliers!

    I'm also going to be contacting Instagram Influencers to test if they would promote my product after I get the website up.

    After I get the suppliers onboard, if I can get the Influencers onboard.. I am very sure I can make this product explode. All it needs is awareness as it has virality built into it due to what it does.
     
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  21. c4n
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    If it's a small niche site I would name it as the product name.

    However, if it's part of the
    vision, I would go for brandname.com/category/product.
     
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  22. Heenay Patel
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    I agree about naming it after the product if it's a small niche site. It might be better for branding since customers will instantly associate the site with a product, and you can always diversify later down the road.

    Companies like IBM and AT&T were named after something very specific but they were able to branch out. I mean, the 2nd "T" in AT&T stands for telegraph!
     
  23. PRO2018
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    Hey, have you got your company structure sorted out? Do you need an LLC and Tax ID or can you sell in L.A. with your ABN?
     
  24. GetShitDone
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    Hey guys! Long time since I updated since I've been focused on progress. Here is a BIG update:

    I'm at a stage where I've launched my website, social media (and filled with 9 HQ image), got suppliers, got a fulfilment centre ready, and testing my marketing strategies.

    Marketing - As mentioned before, I'm going to use Influencer Marketing (Instagram/Blogs/Youtube) to promote my product. Right now, I have 2 influencers with 75K followers combined who will promote my product tomorrow via an IG post I gave them. Additionally, I have a couple other influencers and I'm sourcing new high quality influencers in the Fitness and Men's Grooming niches via Ninja Outreach (an influencer platform).

    I'm taking advantage of "free trials" provided by these influencer platforms to find influencers, put them in a list, and blast them my offer.

    I am focusing on 2 methods of influencer marketing: commission-only (affiliate style) and flat fee.

    Initially for my TESTS that I'm doing to gauge market demand before I buy thousands of dollars of inventory... I will be doing flat-fee model (Traditional) to get influencers to promote me. Just paid $30 and $20 for permanent posts from the IG influencers mentioned above who will post for me tomorrow.

    At the SAME time, I'm using Refersion (Affiliate marketing tool) and ClickBank (affiliate-finding platform) to do the COMMISSION-ONLY end of things aka my Affiliate Marketing wing. At the same time, I will MERGE this Affiliate Marketing with Influencer Marketing by blasting an "affiliate offer" with my affiliate landing page sign up to the list of Influencers I find on Influencer Platforms.

    I am going to send them my PRODUCT for free ($10 cost to me) and offer a 50% commission (do-able commission for my margins) to review my product and drive sales.

    Long story short: Testing with "flat-fee" influencers now to gauge market demand before big investment. Then I'll create an affiliate army of influencers who will be paid 50% commission and sent a free product for review.

    Website/Social Media - I've launched a website via Shopify (made it within 2 hours and tweaked it after). Looking good. My Instagram has also been launched with 9 HQ photos and I also used Buzzoid to send me likes and followers to look established initially before I do the marketing. I now have around 1,000 followers and 100+ likes on each of my 9 photos. DISCLAIMER: These are all "real profiles" and not fake accounts, just foreign accounts of people overseas likely making money from doing this. Regardless, this established social proof should help when traffic is driven to my Instagram from influencers and also provide social proof to influencers. Gives me a base to work from for my legitimate traffic.

    RE my website, I have a how it works, product page, about us page, contact us page, affiliate/referral page, etc. Shopping cart + shipping aspects all work perfectly. Shopify is a god-send. Going to add Shopify apps in the future to optimise and improve the website. For now, I'm just focused on launching.

    Suppliers - I've tested the supply of my 2 suppliers and it's good. I also have a packaging company that has provided awesome pricing compared to others which I'll use too.

    Fulfilment Centre (Logistics) - I have a fulfilment centre (ShipBob) who is going to automate my entire fulfilment end of things. They'll receive the supply, provide storage, pick/pack, and ship for me. I also take advantage of their discounted shipping rates (due to their level of volume they provide courier companies).


    NEXT STEPS:

    MARKETING TESTS - This week, I'm going to execute my first major marketing testing of where everything is set up from a "front-end" point of view (website/social media) and I will get Influencers (Instagram mainly) to post about my product via flat-fee payments. I want to get ACTUAL CONFIRMED BUYERS from these tests before I throw down thousands of dollars on Wholesale (see next)

    WHOLESALE PURCHASE - My wholesale purchase price (inc packaging/shipping) $5/unit. I can order a minimum of 250... meaning my minimum wholesale investment is $1,250. I will likely do this. I am considering 500 units ($2,500 which I can sell for $10,000 of revenue at a $20 price point). It will depend on my budget (See next)

    FUNDING - I did calculations and if I ordered 250, my total costs (inc marketing, wholesale, etc) would be $2,000 for my FIRST batch of product. I can obtain this $2,000 from selling my existing Cryptocurrencies that are in profit. I already have around $15,000 invested in Cryptocurrencies, therefore I can liquidate from that. Later in the future, (since I have experience with raising angel investment capital for my previous start up) I will raise money from an investor to scale massively.. but that's down the track.

    For now, I will source $2,000 via selling my Crypto and invest it into my business. I have already spent $500 in total. Equating to a $2,500 total start up cost.

    From there, I'll sell and re-invest all profits back into the business to pump into Marketing and Wholesale.

    My business model is a subscription-model where the customer can buy a monthly supply of my product each month.

    ---

    Overall, I'm looking to leverage off existing networks (affiliates and influencers) to drive traffic, fulfilment centres (to automate fulfilment), and buying my first wholesale batch.

    First thing's first: This week is all about testing with Influencer Marketing to get CONFIRMED BUYERS before I order en masse.

    Once I get a good amount of CONFIRMED BUYERS from this week's tests, I will go all-in with capital investment (wholesale + marketing) next week.
     
    FastLaner007 likes this.
  25. jcvlds
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    jcvlds Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Hey @GetShitDone, awesome update and seems like a huge jump in progress from the last post.

    Had a few pointers to ask your thoughts on some things as well as ask what about expectations.


    - Marketing Strategy:
    - How carefully are you vetting and filtering influencers you want to work with? Looking at any other metrics besides follower count to determine if that influencer is a good fit for your brand as well as likely to bring in sales?

    - What process did you go through for choosing the 50% affiliate commission? Is this an industry standard or did you just think that was fair/incentivizing for the affiliates?


    - Sales
    - What expectations do you have for sales coming in from your 2 permanent posts from the 2 influencers, as well as expectations from the affiliate program? Do you have any basis for these expectations or looking to find out yourself?

    - You mentioned offering a subscription-model for monthly supplies. Is this something you saw the market wanted or are offering it because it provides more value and makes it easier for the customer?


    - Channels:
    - As for moving into wholesaler after you validate your initial order, what is the change in strategy that you are using now of selling direct to consumers. How do you plan on targeting other retail businesses and convincing them of carrying your product?


    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and journey with us, and best of luck!
     

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