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Brandon's Journey #2: After A Successful Two Year Journey, I'm Back With A *Huge* New Goal

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by motzart, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    Hey BHW marketers,

    I'm Brandon, back for another crazy journey.

    Here's what I plan on posting in this thread:

    • Any interesting marketing/business growth strategies that I discover
    • Updates on my business growth with real data and examples
    • Free advice to anyone who posts a question in this thread (Please do NOT make any one-line "great journey" or "thanks" comments. They just clutter the thread.)

    My intention is that anyone following this thread will either learn some valuable marketing strategies, take on my more "business" oriented approach to online marketing, or give me some motivation to push towards my goals.


    For anyone who hasn't met me before, here's some backstory:

    1. I created my first journey thread over 2 years ago (as a relative *newbie* to online marketing) and documented the entire process... the good and the bad... I said I would keep going until I reached my goal, and I did. It just took a bit longer than expected :) I started out with no real budget, no real experience, and taught myself online marketing skills -- like content marketing/conversion optimization/copywriting by reading + testing different strategies and seeing how they worked in real-time. I also learned a ton from all of my friends/mentors that I met along the way, thanks!
    2. Had some initial small success with affiliate marketing, blogging, and just generally trying everything until I found something that worked.
    3. I quickly realized that *almost* all of the advice given out to new marketers is counter-productive and just pushes people towards the wrong choices. (For anyone brand new to BHW reading this, my biggest piece of advice is to pretend you are building a business from the beginning, not just trying to rank a website and make some cash. Think long-term.)
    4. Started consuming awesome marketing & business books, and getting internships/jobs working for companies that had innovative marketing/sales programs. Learned a ton from my first-hand experience.
    5. ​Went back to the drawing board, after about a year and a half into my journey thread, and realized I was doing everything wrong. (Needed to focus on building a serious business asset, not just a short-term income stream like affiliate marketing. There's a reason companies are willing to pay you a high percentage commission on the front-end sale. Hint: The money is in the customer list, back-end sales, and recurring revenue.)

    Then around 10 months ago, when I was trying to find a more scalable process for marketing my own sites... I looked into outsourcing my blog content. (Because my writing was the *key* to my original affiliate marketing success. During my original experimenting, I came up with a scalable process for effective content marketing... but it took up way too much of my time.) I tried to find a suitable way to outsource high-end content... but after testing a bunch of companies + freelancers, none of them could really provide the level of work I was looking for.

    Boom! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks. "I should just stick to what I know."

    Which led to... "If I'm having such a hard time finding an authority blog writing service... I bet there are tons of other business owners with the same problem."

    And ViralBlogContent was born. It took me a few months to get the offer correct, but:

    I realized very quickly that I had stumbled upon a great idea and the foundation of a *future* huge online business...


    So that's my background... here's where I'm headed on this journey:


    • Right now I'm working on growing my online business (and in the future, my brand... I plan on having multiple growing businesses) primarily through content marketing.
    • I'm also testing out paid-traffic sources like Reddit CPM advertising, Bing PPC, and some other marketing channels... but I think in the long-run I'm going to stick to free content marketing (just because that's my "80/20" marketing channel... and I need to remember to stick to what works.) I'll be posting a ton of updates in the next few days, just wanted to get this first post out of the way... and say hello to anyone interested in following my latest journey.
    • ​Like I said last time... if one thing is for sure: "I'm in this race for the long-haul so you can expect to see this thread up and running until I make it."

    Hopefully this will turn into a valuable resource for everyone involved. I'm really looking forward to the next few months (and years) of hard work ahead of me... because now I've got the right strategy, mindset, and circle of marketing friends/mentors to tackle my goals head-on.


    Thanks!
    Brandon
     
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  2. LostConnection

    LostConnection Senior Member

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    "great journey" "thanks" "good luck" "generic comment" "horse poo"

    All jokes aside, your previous journey is still one of my favourites, because it didn't die like 98% of the rest!

    Are you planning on expanding the content services out side of ViralBlogContent? I I understood it like that, might be wrong though. Either way it's a good goal, to grow and expand business.

    Anyways just wanted to say "thanks" and share my amazingly bad sense of humour. Keep your eyes on the prize mate!
     
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  3. SPQR

    SPQR Elite Member

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    Oooh my goodness Motzart! I have been waiting for this day to come. Now you can keep us updated on current goals! Good luck man.
     
  4. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    It's all good man -- I appreciate the humor. :D

    Yeah, so I'm not 100% sure what you meant by expanding the content service outside of VBC... can you clarify that?


    Yeah man, I'm happy about that too.

    Haven't been able to share a lot recently just because so much has been going on with the business. Literally October was the biggest month for VBC ever, and there's still massive growth going on right now.

    Just about tripled the amount of inbound leads this month, quadrupled the amount of email opt-ins... etc. Things are going great... so I'll be able to share some killer marketing strategies/tactics over the next few weeks.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  5. herrgutt

    herrgutt Newbie

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    I have been waiting for this! I would love if you shared some tips on lead generation etc.
    I am thinking about starting a journey trying the 7878 route and some other stuff. Will deff. keep a look on this one! (Y)
     
  6. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    It's hard to give a good answer if the question is that vague... like there are so many different parts of lead-gen.


    Here are a couple that come to mind:

    I was able to significantly increase my lead-gen conversion rate recently by making it a 2-step process. So, first I only ask for the email, which is "low-friction," for a long-form sales letter (versus a purchase), and then it redirects to the *actual* lead-gen page (which asks for name/phone/email and other information).

    This way anyone who would have bounced or not-completed the lead-gen page -- or anyone that *does* drop off after giving their email -- gets put onto a 30-day email marketing series that (educates/builds trust and then) pushes them back to the sales page. I think another benefit from this is that people feel partially committed to the process, because they have already given you an email.

    Another similar tip: Effective lead-gen, in my opinion, is all about qualifying and disqualifying the traffic. It's very powerful to *not* put a "buy now" button on your site... and most people think that the lack of a buy now option would reduce overall conversion rates... but that's not true.

    When you build "demand" for your service on a sales page, and then say "We only take clients that will seriously benefit from our service, so you have to apply (or something like a free consultation).." it really builds trust, and pulls people in. It's a pretty common psychological factor -- we want things we can't have (and vice versa).

    The only caveat here is that you actually need to have a quality service, and *really* be solving their problem/pain point effectively.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  7. Sammyy

    Sammyy Registered Member

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    This guy knows exactly what he's talking about. Everyone should follow this journey as all of his advice is golden, I know this from first-hand experience.
     
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  8. Jet Black

    Jet Black Registered Member

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    It?s a good idea. While there is an abundance of low-quality content writing services, there are less premium quality article writing services available, so this there is potential for this content writing sub-niche. If done correctly, your content writing business can become very successful.:)

    You say that you tried a bunch of companies and freelancers, but none of them provided the work you were looking for. So does this mean you will be doing all the content writing for your clients by yourself? Since you were not able to find good providers/freelancers to write for your own needs, I am curious to know how you will get the content written, since you said that external companies/freelancers did not produce content at the standards you were looking for (if thats the case, it would be hard to outsource any writing). Or have you hired in-house writers?

    I checked out your website, and the prices for the blogging plans seem a bit high for what they offer. I am not sure what kind of quality you deliver, but there are providers that offer good content at a lower price point. You position yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum than cheap services found on freelance, fiverr, but in the mid-range, the quality is often significantly better than in the low-end cheap content range.

    What kind of clients are you targeting? IM'ers? Large businesses?

    Good luck with your journey! Hope you will build a very successful business:D
     
  9. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    Very good questions.

    The end goal is to transition all client writing work to in-house writers. Right now virtually all content is written by me. A *big* problem for me is what you mentioned, it's extremely hard to find writers that can handle this kind of work (not in terms of quality, but in terms of writing content that is engaging, valuable, well-researched, and optimized for conversions/social/search.)

    My current thought is that I'll develop a SOP (standard operating procedure) that details step-by-step *exactly* how I go about the content production (from research to writing to optimization, etc.) and make that SO specific, that I can hand that to a writer and have them follow the process without any deviation.


    Writers:

    When I originally tested in-house writers one of the issues is that I was giving them rather vague directions (the 'normal' kind, like a topic + basic requirements) -- so I take the blame, for them not delivering what I was looking for.. It's my job to be clear on the requirements.

    I have also implemented a rather lengthy survey that I give to clients during the on-boarding process which helps pull the important information from them... information that they wouldn't have realized was important for content marketing. (That's where my special 'edge' of starting out as a marketer -- versus a writer -- myself, gives me an advantage over competitors. I understand both sides of the equation.)

    If I have to, I will hire writers (or straight up marketers) and train them on my process from the ground-up. Remember, most authoritative bloggers/content marketers do *not* have a writing background, they are marketers who utilize content as a marketing channel.


    Pricing:


    The reason why my prices *seem* high (I say seem because I'm going to be increasing my prices again very soon, have way too many leads/new-clients coming in this month... not overloaded with work yet, but close) is because you are probably valuing the content the normal way.

    I'm not selling content. I'm selling a marketing service that is tied to results (the result being a return on investment).

    In fact, that's a really good learning point for anyone reading this: If you can tie your service/product to money (through increasing revenue/profit/subscribers, etc.) and a return on investment for your clients... that gives you a massive advantage. For example, if I sell blog content plainly for $100 per post... then you compare that to other writers... but if I sell a marketing service that has a guarantee, proven process, and multiple testimonials that are attached to providing a strong return on investment to my clients... people are willing to pay much more.

    The reason is the value proposition... I'm not selling writing. I'm selling targeted traffic, leads, sales, authority, etc... I just use blog content as the medium to accomplish those goals.

    Currently, my target audience is larger online business owners (ecommerce, Saas, information marketers, consultants...) with an established online presence. The reason for this, is that businesses based around online marketing have already established marketing/traffic channels that we can leverage to get that ROI from the content. (A small business with no social media following/newsletter will get WAY less value than a large online business.)

    Does that make sense? Effectively, the reason all of my clients are *more* than happy to pay my prices, is because I deliver significantly more value to them than I am asking for in return.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  10. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Pretty exciting thread, my friend.

    Actually I am still on affiliate marketing but i really want to start my own business in a niche im a know-it-all and it's my passion.

    Im still in aff marketing as a way to build money for this bigger as im dead sure it could be REALLY lucrative.

    Hehe i guess you are a step ahead of me and building a real business. :)

    Anyway man, ill be following! GL!
     
  11. Mindanao

    Mindanao BANNED BANNED

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    (Please do NOT make any one-line "great journey" or "thanks" comments. They just clutter the thread.)

    Nice Journey Mate! :D
     
  12. prab1996

    prab1996 Elite Member

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    To op,
    Are you advertising on top5seo.co.uk ?

    Did you mean that we should not post "great journey" but, we are free to post "nice journey".
    -=-
     
  13. Vic Sage

    Vic Sage Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    [​IMG]
     
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  14. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    Not advertising on top5seo... what made you think that?

    Although, I have had a bunch of conversations (over email/twitter/blog comments) with the guy who runs that site -- he's a great guy.
     
  15. jak19

    jak19 Elite Member

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    where are your writers from, are they uk based?
     
  16. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    No worries man, that's a good start.

    And don't get me wrong -- affiliate marketing by itself can be a business, but you need to have it operating a way that is measurable/scalable. There's a big difference between affiliate marketing like a top blogger/marketer and affiliate marketing like someone who is just spamming youtube/forums/blogs with content which won't really last long-term.

    Just need to have an "end game" in mind.




    Nope -- I'm from the US, so when I hire writers they would probably be US-based (or US citizens living abroad.)
     
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  17. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Pretty interesting.

    To be honest, 99% of sites i make are built for the very long term and so far only 1 site has been hit due to some random stuff i missed. xD

    Perhaps im already building a long lasting business and thought i wasnt.

    Anyway man, i am interested to watch your progress.

    So lets see how it goes for ya!

     
  18. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    Alright guys so here's a quick update on goals/priorities right now:

    Short-Term Goals: Trying to grow the VBC service. That means more clients, more revenue, and more stable growth (by reducing churn through a more valuable service, and streamlining the entire client on-boarding process).

    Right now I'm not attaching these goals to a specific revenue figure -- like in my last journey thread -- because that doesn't really make sense anymore.

    Long-Term Goals: Going to expand the 'brand' of VBC, grow the email list beyond that of clients and potential clients to a broader "content marketing" audience. This will allow for future business growth beyond the content production service -- but I'm not sure what that entails exactly right now.


    Priorities: Need to finish my marketing funnel. There are a lot of minor pieces that I left to deal with at a later date, because it wasn't the "one thing" that was important at the time. Now I need to go back and optimize the funnel. That means things like creating an 'about' page for my site, creating a much better post-optin thank you page (so I can track conversions better, as well). These will have a lasting impact on my marketing, because they'll allow me to connect better with readers/subscribers, and will also boost conversions from cold traffic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  19. LostConnection

    LostConnection Senior Member

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    Ah, sorry I didn't notice you asked me to clarify my question, my bad!

    What I understood from your first post was that you're looking to expand further than Viralblogcontent, since you said you aim for multiple businesses. Really just out of curiousity I meant that are you first expanding your current business, or do you already have a nes business up your sleeve, ready to be pulled out?

    Now this very detailed (awesome job mate) thread, you have put forward your ideas of expansion, and I see the first step is to hike the prices and figure out how to get in-house writers to produce the content up to your standards. Which you already had an idea as well, and one that may very well work I might add, if the instructions are detailed enough.
     
  20. motzart

    motzart Power Member

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    @LostConnection --

    Trying to grow them at the same time.

    Once I fully productize my writing service, I'll have much more free-time on my hands to grow the service -- but also to start branching out into more businesses.