How do you enter a crowded market, grow enormously fast, kill it with revenues, and manage to stand out with exposure and customer fandom? That’s what I asked Tom Bilyeu, cofounder of Quest Nutrition, the maker of the #1 protein bar, Quest Protein Chips, and Quest Protein Powder.
They started the company in 2010, at a time when protein bars were already everywhere. But they found close to 1,000 influencers who each had at least 100 followers and up to 1 million followers, and wrote individual emails to them.
Action Step: Think for a minute about how you can apply this to your own company. Who are the influencers in your market? How many followers do they have? How would you reach out to them?
I was so skeptical of this guy’s revenue that I asked him to show me his Stripe data. He did, and I was SHOCKED when I saw the numbers.
The interviewee is Chris Stoikos, founder of Dollar Beard Club. The revenue was $8 million in his first eight months.
Turns out, it all started with a simple post on Reddit. When the post took off, they were featured on Product Hunt. The result? 10,000 customers in their first 30 days.
Action Step: Think for a minute about how you can apply this to your own company. Where does your ideal customer hang out online--Reddit, FB groups, Instagram, forums? What could you post there about your product that would really resonate with your customers?
When I interviewed Jennifer Chong, I learned that they got their start with a crowdfunding campaign, raising $180,000 total, more than three times their goal.
So how did she and her cofounder get that kind of immediate interest, especially in a market like leather goods, which certainly isn’t new or cutting edge?
It wasn’t because of their personal connections. It was strangers on the internet who came from Styleforum, a forum on men’s style. But it all started by engaging with that community.
Action Step: Think about how you can apply this to your own business. In which forums or communities are your customers hanging out? What are they saying about their pain points and frustrations? How can you start engaging with them now, so that when you’re ready to pitch something like a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll have “shutup and take my money” buyers.