Three weeks ago we launched our new series about our journey to $100K a month. Today, I want to share with you how we attracted our first 5,000 users without a dime in advertising.

Before I dive into the details, I want to let you in on a little insider secret:

I didn’t decide to start a SaaS in the process management space on purpose.

In fact, the entire thing was kind of an accident.

The Market Told Me What It Wanted

Here’s how it happened:

As a result of the super fast growth of my Amazon reseller business, I got invited to speak at a conference.

The audience for this particular conference consisted of approximately 500 other Amazon resellers. The speech that I gave was all about how I had to focus 100% of my effort on two things.

Thing #1: I created documented processes for every repeatable process. Most of these initial processes were for sourcing new products.

Thing #2: I hired a small army of virtual assistants to follow my processes and do all the work.

At the conclusion of my talk, the audience made one thing very clear: they wanted to buy copies of my business processes.

Suffice to say, I didn’t see that one coming!

It didn’t take me long to see the merit of turning my processes into a salable product. In the first release of this product, we sold $400K worth in just 5 days!

That was more money than I’d every made in a week and as you’ll soon discover, it was a week that changed the course of my life.

We Started Building Flowster

As you might guess, I quickly realized that we were onto something, and so I decided to launch Flowster.

As I wrote about in here and here, in the early years of the company, my focus wasn’t on marketing Flowster.

Instead, my focus was on increasing my influence in the Amazon reseller space and selling the playbook I’d created for this niche.

Truth be told, I didn’t do any market research before deciding to launch Flowster and I honstely didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

I simply looked at the $400K that my first product launch brought in and thought: “Yep…gotta do that again…and again…and again!”

In other words, Flowster wasn’t born out of my genius or my ability to predict what the market would pay for.

Instead, my preparation (running a fast-growing Amazon reseller business) crashed into some luck (getting to speak at the conference), and Flowster was the result.

Flowster’s First 5,000 Users

To date, we’ve sold approximately 1,000 copies of my Amazon reseller playbook. If that’s your jam, you can get it here.

So how did we attract another 4,000 users without a dime in advertising?

That is what I want to share in this post, because the things I did are actually pretty easy to copy… and I hope that’s exactly what you decide to do!

1. The Bright Ideas Podcast

Over the last 10 years, I have published hundreds of episodes of my podcast.

When I first started out, I thought having a podcast would help me to build an audience…and to a degree, I was right.

Sidebar: That said, there are far better ways to build an audience, but there aren’t too many better ways than a podcast to engage your audience.

Based on my personal experience, there are two main reasons to host a podcast.

The first reason is that a podcast allows you to make yourself look smart by leveraging the credibility of your guests.

The second reason is that a podcast is the single best networking tool I have ever discovered!

Allow me to explain….

Ask Smart Questions

When you host a talk show like mine, as the host, you get to ask smart questions…and then your guest will do most of the talking.

This makes creating great content pretty easy!

Plus, the “smarter” your questions, the smarter your audience will think you are. In addition, as the host, it’s also ok to add your two cents to your guest’s answer.

Done correctly, this adds to your audience perception that you are smart.

Powerful Networking Tool

When it comes to cold emailing a complete stranger, I have yet to find an approach that works better than sending an email that says “would you like to be a guest on my show?”

Simply put, most people like having their ego stroked.

As a podcast host, you can use this to your advantage and open doors to new relationships with people that otherwise might ignore you.

In my case, that is how I have had people like Jay Baer, Rand Fishkin, Tucker Max, Mike Stelzner, Marcus Sheridan, and many others on my show.

Expand Your Influence

As the host of a podcast, one of the smartest things you can do to expand your audience is to interview people who already have an audience.

That way, once your episode is published, your guest will very likely share the episode with their audience.

When they do, some portion of their audience will become your audience because they like your style.

Once people are in your audience, thy are going to be far more likely to buy whatever you are selling.

In my case, my show gets around 10-12K downloads a month and that means 10-12K people are going to hear about Flowster every single month.

All without a dime in ad spend.

Plus, the fact that these people listen to my show on a regular basis only increases the likelihood that they are going to try Flowster at some point.

Check out our podcast workflows here.

2. Facebook Groups

If you host a podcast, you’d be nuts to not have at least one Facebook group.

Over the last few years, thanks largely to my podcast, I have become pretty well known in the Amazon reseller space.

To ensure that I capture as much engagement as possible in my little corner of the Internet, I also have a popular Facebook group for Amazon resellers.

To drive awareness for this group, I mention it in every episode that I produce.

As of this writing, the group has just over 3K members and we add more almost every day.

While I can’t tell you exactly how many people have signed up for Flowster from this group, I can tell you that it is a meaningful number.

And the best part is that I don’t have to spend a dime to get my message(s) out to this audience.

Check out our workflows for Facebook marketing and group management.

3. YouTube

I have been active on YouTube for almost 10 years.

Truth be told, I’m actually not very good at it relative to many.

With that said, YouTube has still been a very effective distribution channel for me.

How do I know? I regularly ask new users how they found Flowster and many of them tell me they found my videos on YouTube.

Over the years I’ve been on YouTube, I have produced dedicated videos that are targeted at relevant keywords.

In addition to these videos, I have also made a habit of publishing my podcast interview videos.

Between these two types of content, I have grown my channel to just over 34.5K subscribers and my top video has been viewed over 4 million times since I published it back in 2010 – and yes, I have aged some since then!

One of the things I like so much about YouTube is that it is a very popular search engine and therefore a great way to get your message out.

Check out our workflows for YouTube marketing and channel management.

4. Email Marketing

If you’re going to produce content, you’d be nuts not to simultaneously build an email list.

As with both podcasting and YouTubing, I don’t consider myself a rockstar at this by any stretch.

With that said, my email list has served me extremely well over the years.

The web is already full of highly-detailed posts about how to build an email list, so I won’t cover that here.

All I will say is that building a list is incredibly important!

My advice here is to leverage your podcast, YouTube channel and Facebook group to build your email list as fast as you can.

Regardless of what you read, in my experience, email is still an incredibly effective marketing channel!

And just like your podcast, YouTube, and Facebook group, email is pretty much free!

Check out our workflows for email marketing.

5. Webinars

Done correctly, a webinar builds trust and engages your audience like few other marketing activities.

Over the last 3 years, I have sold millions of dollars worth of my playbooks via webinars.

In fact, webinars are by far my most effective tool for customer acquisition.

That said, as powerful as webinars are, they won’t do you much good if you can’t get people to register for them.

Hopefully, you’ve already realized that I produce all the content that I do primarily to grow my email list.

The bigger and more engaged my email list is, the easier it is to drive traffic to my webinars.

And the more traffic I can get to a webinar, the more users I can drive to Flowster.

Check out our workflows for webinars.

What’s Next?

Like every other startup founder on planet earth, I make plenty of mistakes.

Next week I’ll go into detail about the 5 biggest mistakes that we’ve made so far and how each of them has cost us dearly.

We’ll cover:

  • How hiring the wrong VP Marketing cost me $50K
  • The impact of not repurposing our content
  • How I’ve been using social media wrong
  • Letting distractions delay our success
  • Sky-high churn

If you’d like to follow me on this journey, be sure to subscribe using the form below, as well as follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Need Some Custom Workflows?

We’ve just launched our SOP Concierge services, so if you would like to speak with me about that, click here.

Sound interesting to you? I’d would love it if you left a comment, shared this post, and/or signed up to receive email alerts of future posts.

If you have a collaboration idea, please connect with me on LinkedIn.

Thank you so much!