Dave tells us how he launched Ninja Outreach with two co-founders he has never met in-person, and how to use marketing tools to stand out online.
Today’s guest, Dave Schneider, is cofounder of Ninja Outreach, a new and innovative Blogger Outreach CRM. It’s a way for marketers and small businesses to find bloggers and reach out to them for content marketing and influencer marketing purposes.
In 2012 Dave quit his corporate job to travel the world with his girlfriend. To help fund the trip, they started a travel blog that, at its height, made five figures a month. Together, they visited over 40 countries across Asia, Europe, and Australia, and have been earning a living entirely online. In 2014, Dave founded NinjaOutreach with two co-founders, and they have been bootstrapping the company ever since.
We’re going to learn how Dave launched Ninja Outreach (with two co-founders he has never met), why good promotion is a key differentiator in a sea of web content, and how to effectively use split testing to grow business revenue.
- 4:25 – Dave and his girl friend first started working online to cover travel expenses, beginning with starting a travel blog
- 5:15 – When they left, the two of them had been blogging for over 6 months, and they started to attract advertisers.
- 5:40 – Ninja Outreach is an entirely bootstrapped blogger outreach CRM. It’s a way for marketers and small businesses to find bloggers and reach out to them for content marketing and influencer marketing purposes.
- 6:50 – The travel blog income stream dried up in early 2014 due to Google algorithm changes – “I wanted something that I thought was more stable so that I wasn’t going to be repeating the lesson that I learned over the last two years, which was about what it means to build a sustainable business that has customers, recurring income and a product that provides real value.”
- 7:35 – When starting a more sustainable business, Dave looked to software. “We were online marketers, we knew marketing, we wanted to build software for people like us … We saw an opportunity for a tool that combined prospecting and outreach, because most of the tools did one or the other, and an affordable price like $19.99 a month.”
- 8:45 – The early stages of launching Ninja Outreach:
- Ideation phase – What would the ideal software look like to help with content marketing and content promotion?
- Idea Validation – People looked at the idea Dave presented, but he got feedback from prominent bloggers saying they were looking for a blogger outreach CRM. “Maybe it wasn’t exactly my own itch, but it’s what the market was telling me it wanted.”
- Research – After deciding that the market wants a blogger outreach CRM, they looked at what competitors were doing. What are their products? Features? Prices? Dave and his co-founders were trying to establish what the minimally viable product was.
- Development – One co-founder developed the app while, simultaneously…
- Marketing – All about generating buzz, customer development and early sign-ups.
- 13:05 – Dave and his co-founders have never met. Because Dave has no intention to stop traveling, this was essentially a requirement for him. “For me, the risk of the unknown kind of outweighed the risk of what was in the known, so we decided to go work together.”
- 17:45 – A few years ago, there weren’t that many people creating “great content.” Creating good content used to be a way to get noticed, everything was about writing great content and no one was talking about promotion. Nowadays, a lot of people are putting out good content. One differentiator can be how much effort you put in to promote it.
- 20:30 – Before an article is even written, in the ideation phase, you should already be thinking about promotion.
- 21:15 – After you have an article, how do you identify the people to promote it towards?
- It might be people who have shared or linked to another article that was dominant in the space before yours, or one that inspired yours.
- Using Ninja Outreach, you can search for a specific article and see who shared it, and soon you will be able to see who linked it. You can also search by key terms, like Google ranking factors, to see who is in the space.
- Always reach out politely, and don’t press people who decline linking to your article
- 23:05 – Ninja Outreach is unique because it incorporates the outreach aspect of promotion. The tool assists in finding contact information, and you can turn that information into a direct email outreach campaign. Ninja Outreach also provides the analytics to track your campaign. “It’s supposed to be the whole process in one tool.”
- 24:55 – The analytics you track will reflect the goal of your campaign – many people are looking to basically build links to their article. Ninja Outreach will track open rates, click rates, reply rates, and other outreach indicators that will let you know if your list is targeted, relevant and eye-catching. It helps you hone your process.
- 27:30 – A few weeks ago (at the time of the interview), Ninja Outreach used VWO to conduct a split test on their pricing page, and the results are impressive. “We wanted to see, if we doubled our prices, what would happen to signups and conversions?” What they found was that the number of people that signed up at the higher prices was not very different from the number of people signing up at the lowest prices. So, they increased their prices by that amount. “For the past month or so, it’s been exactly the way the split test predicted. People continue to sign up at relatively the same quantity, so we just added a ton to our future bottom line.”
- 29:05 – What are the pros and cons or posting articles on your own blog or company blog vs industry blogs (Medium, LinkedIn, etc.)?
- “There is the possibility of posting the content in both places, and I don’t think there’s a major SEO problem with doing so,” if you use a canonical link and point to where it appeared first.
- The attractiveness of posting guest blogs is higher the smaller your audience is. When you’re just getting started and don’t have many visitors per month on your own website, then posting on your own website doesn’t have a lot of benefit.
- 33:35 – Quickfire Q&A
Grab our new e-book – “10 Apps You Can Use to Maximize Your Productivity!”
Maximize your productivity with our new ebook! Click here to download it now.
As an entrepreneur, time is your most valuable asset and you need to maximize your efficiency and productivity. And technology can be really helpful in doing that.
So I’ve outlined the 10 apps that help me to increase my productivity, and I’m sure they’ll help you too.
So head over to goandgrowpodcast.com/productivity, grab my ebook, and start being more productive today!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ninja Outreach
- VWO – split testing
- Ahrefs – backlink checker
- Moz – backlink checker
- Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (affiliate link)
- The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco (affiliate link)
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- Steve Jobs, “I just need to speak to him and learn about his journey first-hand.”
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- Intercom, “we use it for our customer support. It’s really the background of our customer support and our on boarding, and I just think it’s really, really powerful. Can’t recommend it enough.”
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- Dave speaks four languages: Russian, Spanish, French and English.
- What is your favorite business book and why?
- What is the top characteristic or trait that you look for in people you work with?
- Having a good attitude
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- “I actually do think that there are such things as Get Rich Quick schemes … I do think that there are opportunities out there for people to earn a lot of money that don’t require much effort at all. I’ve done it… but those don’t tend to last forever.”
How to contact Dave:
Thanks for listening!
We appreciate you spending your valuable time with us!
If you enjoyed this episode, and we hope you did, please share it using the social media buttons to the left.
Also, please leave a rating and review on iTunes and Stitcher. It will help others like you discover the show more easily, and we’d be really grateful! If you’re not sure how to submit a rating and review on iTunes, check out this blog post for instructions.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them in the Comments section below or email me.
Thanks again for listening and now go and grow your business!