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Why Blendah? You will read articles on Inbound Marketing, SEO, CRO, Email Marketing, Video Marketing, Customer Development, Lean Startup, and Product Management. -- Helping grow BuySellAds and Formula DRIFT.

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October 5, 2013 at 8:58am

5 Undercover Growth Hacks, You Should Have Thought Of!

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We have all been there. Brainstorming and looking at data on how we can grow our business. 

By now we have heard the term “growth hacking" quite a bit. 

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The key take away from growth hacking to me is quick and decisive actions a business can now take to accelerate growth. 

This criteria challenged me to find some great growth hacks that I wish I had thought of. 

1. Buysellads.com - Here’s a test try searching google for “cpm calculator" see what pops up in the first 3 results.  

That’s right cpmcalculator.com with a nifty little calculator to help out prospective buyers and sellers of online ads. 

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Why is this brilliant you might ask? 

How about up to 9000 qualified leads each month that flow right to your door.  (full disclosure I just joined the team at BSA)

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2. Picking a fight with Goliath - Uber / Lfyt / Sidecar

This one is more of a PR/Growth hack but don’t be fooled the technology behind these companies allowed them to disrupt an archaic service industry.

Every time that Uber/Lfyt & Sidecar get’s sued or has an injunction placed on them, they get TONS of free press hence accelerating mass adoption. 

These guys are also the kings of newsjacking

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3. FollowGen.com / Hackernews pub 

Myles made a very provoctive post basically asking for Twitter to shut him down.  Well they haven’t and that post really helped drive some short term growth. 

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4. GoPro Camera Facebook GiveAway

GoPro has lead the way in terms of how grow a brand online. In 2011 GoPro had only 50,000 fb fans.  They now sit at almost 6,000,000 rabid fans that share, comment and post all things GoPro. 

Everyday GoPro gives away a camera via a contest on their fb fan page. This is not only a great way to grow the brand but an extremely efficient way to acquire new fans. 

p.s. Last summer GoPro received a $200mm investment from Foxconn at a valuation of $2.25bn.

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5. Canvas4life - Discount Social Hack

In the crowded space of canvas printing. Canvas4life creates a delightful user experience. First it starts with an easy and intuitive import tool for your photos.

A very complex set of order options is made virtually painless.  Once you arrive to the checkout screen. They make it super easy to "like" them and the best part you get a $1 off. 

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Do you know of any undercover growth hacks?  Do tell!

photo credit: to Evgeny Tchebotarev

June 5, 2013 at 11:28am

Reblogged from pudjam666

Mass-Unsubscribe From Junk In Gmail →

pudjam666:

Here’s a clever way to mass-unsubscribe from spam, marketing emails, newsletters, and other stuff you don’t want clogging your inbox.

  1. In Gmail, do a search for “label:inbox unsubscribe OR email preferences OR subscribed OR newsletter” (without the quotes)
  2. Select (checkbox) the emails you want…

May 28, 2013 at 10:02am

Clarity.fm will be your Startup’s BFF!

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I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about how disruptive Dan Martell’s new startup Clarity.fm

Dan has amassed the most influential and sharpest experts in all areas of business. I mean seriously.. Eric Ries, Dave McClure, Brad Feld, Noah Kagan, Josh Elman and Andrew Chen the list goes on and on. 

So how exactly can a startup truly take advantage of this service? Think of your dream advisor board with real time availability. This is seriously a disruptive service that I don’t think people have actually figured out how to properly maximize the benefits from. 

The relationship side of things is probably the most powerful aspect of the service. Think long term and build relationships with these experts and have them be there as you build your business. 

Recently Clarity launched another great feature called "Team Calls" 

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This is going to be a killer feature that I think a lot of bootstrapping startups are going to take advantage of. This recent GigaOm article articulates some of the advantages in the current startup ecosystem for bootstrapping.  

After seeing the amazing success of Angel List, I would not be surprised to see Clarity have the same type of influence a year or two down the road. 

photo credit - Ian Gonzalez

May 21, 2013 at 1:30am

Reblogged from brycedotvc

Path Intelligence from Superla.tv on Vimeo.

brycedotvc:

Nice piece on one of our more under that radar companies- Path Intelligence

The team is doing some amazing work with passive tracking and the underlying analytics that are generated thanks to the ubiquity of mobile phones.

They have a large and growing customer base that is using their technology to adapt and iterate in physical space with the same measurement that marketers use on the web. And they’re seeing very real world results.

May 7, 2013 at 1:32pm

Craigslist Shut Me Down :(

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Last week I receieved a cease and desist from the attorneys of Craigslist.  I can’t say I’m suprised, I knew there was a good chance of that happening. 

Some might expect a bitter attitude on my part, but to be honest I wasn’t really that distressed about the situation. I learned a ton in the couple of months that CL Alerts was active.  I went from 0-800 users in under 3 months with no marketing budget. 

I successfully managed the development through Odesk with a great developer I found and I managed to do it for under $500.

I am thankful for two services in particular, Odesk and Mailgun. Without them I would not have been able to build the solution to the problem that I knew many Craigslist users have. 

So what’s next? My day job is in the automotive culture scene where I am the project manager of Formula Drift’s webcast product called DRIFTStream

While working with sponsors and and our media partners I started to realize that there was a gap in connecting brands with these smaller niche media sites.  

Soon… I will be launching The Automotive Culture Ad Network.  Once again this opportunity would not have been possible even a couple of years ago but with the help cloud based platforms I can develop a vertical ad network.

My inspiration came from The Deck Network.  A vertical ad network in the design niche that only allows certain publishers in it’s network and screen’s advertisers. The focus on the end user’s expierence by allowing only one ad per page and not a very big one at that. 

Remember "It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." - Bill Gates

December 12, 2012 at 9:01am

How a Rookie Got a Top Google Ranking: The Holy Grail - Part 1

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A mere two months ago I launched my Craigslist Notifier App without much fanfare.  

See I am lean startup disciple so I used the first two months to get feedback from our users on how our service could delight them. It’s still a work in progress.. for that matter I guess it will always be. 

Fast forward to the early morning hours of 12.10.12 as I was getting ready for bed I was checking to see why I was getting a consistent amount of signups for the last two days. 

So I googled "craigslist alerts" to see if there had been any changes.  For the past month or so.. I had been holding steady at the top of the second page.  During that time I implemented a well rounded content and link-building strategy. 

This was a strong keyword to rank for as you can see below. 

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I knew that if I stayed consistent and disciplined I would get on the first page of the Big G eventually.  As a point of reference I owe much of my success to Jon Cooper’s PHENOMENAL Link Building Course! (Go buy this course now!)

Here is the thing though.. The way that I developed an inbound marketing strategy is I acted like Google didn’t exist. Hear me out, I knew from that keyword research that a good amount of people were searching for a problem that I could solve. 

So my goal was to go to them and present my solution to their problem. Here are the key points that helped me get a top search ranking in under three months. (Thanks to what appears to be algorithm update from Google).

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I will break down my inbound marketing strategy into three categories. 
  1. Past 
  2. Present
  3. Future
In this post I am going to talk about the "present" inbound marketing strategy I used to get to the first page of Google. 
  • Twitter search: I comb Twitter search once a day and find relevant tweets that I can interact with.  This is a good sniper technique and has been effective in driving traffic but is not easy to scale while still being personable. 
  • Personal Blog: On Dec 1, I started blogging about my experiences building Cl Alerts.  Topics have ranged from how I went from 0-20,000 email alerts sent in two months to link building to creating a demo video for $5 and finding early evangelists. In seven days I had over 3000 visits and made it to the front of page of HackerNews, inbound.org, StartupRev and PandaWhale  I submitted all posts to Reddit, Buzzfeed,Digg and Stumbleupon.  This was by far the best driver of traffic and what I think was mostly responsible for my meteoric rise of the search rankings.  The best part was the content creation was based on what I have been learning throughout the past two months. 
  • White Hat Comment Hack: It’s super simple and it drives traffic. 
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Stay tuned for part two where I discuss how video played an important role in my search rankings and a how I am using a service called Spinnakr to help build traffic. 

(Main Photo: Roy Razanski)  

December 6, 2012 at 9:01am

Lean Startup Hack: Finding Early Evangelists

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If you’re a disciple of of the Lean Startup methodology you know who Early Evangelists are. You also know that they are a key ingredient to success for a lean startup in the pre-product market fit stage. The tough part is finding them in an effcient manner. My lean startup mentor Noah Kagan really stirred up my creativity after watching these 3 videos on how to find customers.

(Stop reading and go watch NOW!

That was awesome wasn’t it?

Ok here is where it get’s really good. 

Even though a lot of the principles that Noah discusses are really simple they are also creative at the same time. You have to be able to think at a very micro level when it comes to developing a customer profile. 

This lead to my eureka moment as I was trying to find potential early evangelists for my Craigslist Alerts App. I had to find users that were currently using a similar service.. but where?  

Itunes has a plethora of Craigslist App’s but I couldn’t glean any user data from the reviews. So I ventured over to the Google Chrome store and found this treasure trove potential early evangelist’s.

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The amazing part of this hack is that most of these reviews are linked with Google+ profiles.

So I simply followed the links over to Google+ and reached out personally via a message.  Here is an example of message I sent to a potential early evangelist

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Not only was I able to reach out in an efficient manner but I could also pre-screen potential users before I ever sent a message.  I could tell what type of hobbies and things they liked what type of jobs they had and if they were natural cheerleaders for brands.  

The end result was about 25 early evangelist’s that really helped refine our service.  Not only that but they also help spread the word about our service.  Which has led to very healthy usage so far

How do you customer hunt?

(Photo Credit: Francisco Cribari)


December 4, 2012 at 9:27am

Mastering the Art of LinkBuilding: By a Rookie

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Being a solopreneur is challenging to say the least. I not only have to be the product and the customer development guy but I also get to wear the marketing hat as well.  

One of the best investments I have made so far in my quest to become a link building master is the Point Blank SEO Link Building Course. You’re probably thinking… Prove it pal.

Ok you got it…  Jon Cooper the brains behind this amazing course clearly and effectivley unfolds an effective “white hat” link building strategy from scratch. 

First order of business: Competitor research - Jon laid out a simple strategy that works. He even offers a free tool that is exclusive for users of his course to do link analysis on competitors. 

In my research I have noticed that there are a number Craigslist Alert Apps out of business.  This was a no brainer… there had to be tons of links to these sites that were dead. 

So I plugged in the expired url’s into Jon’s nifty little tool. I then sorted the results by Mozrank (Similar to Google Page Rank)   Check out the screenshot below

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I then studied the sample email templates Jon provided in his course for reaching out to bloggers and webmasters. I came up with what I thought was a relevant and personal email pointing out some broken links on her blog post as well as a tip for an awesome article she wrote on responsive sites.   

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Not bad eh?  You’re thinking big deal.. let’s see some results pal. BAM!


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How’s that for a confidence booster!  That is just a small sample of the success that I am having through Jon’s course for my new Craigslist Notifier App.

Lesson Learned: Be helpful 

(Main photo courtesy of abbas alsffar)

December 2, 2012 at 9:01am

How to make a $5 demo video for your startup: 

The key to a successful animated demo video is the script. I would highly suggest studying other successful demo videos to get a good idea of how a script should read. 

  1. First head over to fiverr and find a voice over talent that you think would work best for your needs. 
  2. Sign up for the free trial over at Powtoon.  Devote the next 2-4 hours to editing.
  3. Upload to Youtube 
  4. Use the Youtube edit tool to cutoff the Powtoon 5 second outtake at the end of the video.

(Full disclosure) I have signed up for Powtoon’s monthly service for other gigs I am working on. 

(Source: clalerts.org)

December 1, 2012 at 7:21pm

The Journey Starts Here

Oct 1 Cl Alerts soft launched.  A little over 2 months later and we have sent over 22,000 Craigslist alert emails. Most importantly we have started to refine the product to our user’s needs. 

Craigslist Alerts Growth

It all started out about 3 months ago when I was using IFTTT to subscribe to Craigslist gigs for some potential consulting gigs.  I landed 2 contracts off the service and thought to myself there must be others that aren’t as web 2.0 savvy that would love a service like this. 

IFTTT is a great tool to get Craigslist alerts BUT it’s too difficult to setup and to maintain.

I started doing more research and noticed that there were a number of competitors in the market.  One would think that this would be a detriment but it actually helped me validate this idea quicker. 

I wanted to create a service that was super simple to use and at the same time really flexible.  Our MVP focused on these two points.

  1. Our bookmarklet doesn’t require an account, just a simple email subscription that can be edited and stopped directly from the email. 
  2. Users simply search for the thing they are looking for on Craigslist.org and then bookmark it via our bookmarklet.  This allows users to use special search query’s on Craigslist and use CL categories. 
With the help of some talented peeps from Odesk I was able to go from concept to working demo in about 2.5 weeks.  Cl Alerts was built on top of Mailgun, Launchbit and MagpieRSS.  

Can you guess how much it cost for development?  Go ahead and guess below!

My next post I show you how I spent a whopping $5 to create our demo video 

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