My client acquisition strategies

Our consultancy is averaging $ 60k profit per month right now since COVID began – all without spending a dollar on ads. We’ve mapped out exact client acquisition process for you, including every lead generation channel we use + cost per lead per channel + lead volume per channel

Along the way, we experimented with a dozen different client acquisition strategies. Some worked great, some were a total waste of money, and some in-between.

I figure I’d write out my own experiences so that anyone here who is building somewhat of a similar business can avoid mistakes that we’ve made.

Important Note: We sell a high-ticket offer that ranges between $ 1k to $ 5k depending on the tier. The strategies I mention here are MUCH more suited if you’re in this ballpark as well. If you’re lower-ticket than this, there are probably other approaches that would work better.

Top Performing Channel: Facebook Organic

Organic Facebook lead generation has been our top performing channel. It makes up roughly 60% of our total lead flow.

The process has a few steps.

First, we optimized Facebook profile and aesthetic to clearly articulate the story and value prop. This means a total upgrade to your pictures and content on your wall, plus appropriate links to your external site and content.

Then, you joined Facebook groups that specifically had an audience similar to your ideal client profile. Facebook now has groups for almost every topic/theme out there on the market, even B2B groups. It’s a big misconception that Facebook is only B2C. We are entirely B2B and Facebook is our biggest money maker.

Once we were in these groups, the mission was to share QUALITY educational content. But just as importantly, NON-PROMOTION oriented content. The purpose here is NOT to sell yourself or your services. It’s purely to help that community with your knowledge.

We did this across 30+ groups consistently, every week. This led to a massive number of people DMing us, sending us friend requests, and engaging in the comments below.

This is how leads enter our funnel. From there, we can have a quick convo in the DM’s and soon after, move to either phone call and discovery/demo.

We are now getting those people inside our group, so it becomes fairly easy to get someone to also opt-in to a call because we’re constantly sharing even more helpful content, providing links to webinars, hosting giveaways, and running the community.

This strategy give us around 15 to 20 high-quality leads per week.

Our primary spend here are the few tools that we use to manage our content posting and Facebook group. Each month, these tools cost around $ 40.

We also have an assistant who manages a lot of the actual content sharing and DM conversations for us, and we pay them a few hundred per month.

Overall, our CPL here is around $ 5. Primarily, the expense is that it takes time to write great content and then managing follow up conversations.

Second Best Performing Channel: Linkedin Organic

Linkedin generates around 30% of our total lead flow.

Like Facebook, the first step is to optimize the Linkedin profile so that it resembles a sales/landing page rather than just a janky online resume..

But the cool difference between Linkedin and Facebook is that it’s way easier to proactively find your ideal customers on Linkedin.

The way we do this is we have subscriptions to both Apollo and Sales Navigator. Both tools help us utilize highly specific search criteria (company size, employee count, industry, job title, seniority, funding, miscellaneous keywords etc) so we can locate our exact decision makers.

Once we have a list of a few thousand quality contacts, we import it into our Linkedin automation tool. This enables us to connect with 75 new people on Linkedin every single day, using a multi-step campaign. Volume matters, after all, outreach is still a numbers game.

However, the important thing to know about Linkedin outreach copy is that it shouldn’t be overly salesy. Linkedin as a channel is great for outreach because it isn’t super saturated, but people there REALLY HATE getting pitched.

Instead, keep things conversational, friendly, and more dialogue oriented. Instead of setting your automation up so it’s pich after pitch after pitch, set it up so it’s curiosity and question driven. Aim to start a dialogue, and once the prospect replies, manually carry the conversation through to a point where it’s logical to suggest a meeting.

Good metrics to aim for is a 35% and up acceptance rate, 10% reply rate, and 5% meeting booking rate. Our best campaign has actually been 45%, 16%, and 10% respectively (on those above KPIs).

However, Linkedin doesn’t just end at outbound messaging.

Just like Facebook, it has an inbound, content-driven element as well.

In fact, it’s EASIER for your content to go viral organically on Linkedin, than on almost any other social media platform.

This is because Linkedin is still in its infancy when it comes to content sharing. Most people don’t do it. As well, Linkedin hasn’t really turned into a pay-to-play model yet, meaning you don’t have to spend money on ads in order to get eyeballs (Facebook and IG have already evolved into a heavily pay-to-play model).

So when you share epic content on Linkedin, share consistently at 3 to 4 times a week, and utilize some nifty behind-the-scenes Linkedin growth hacks to spike your content engagement (ie. capitalizing on the 1-hour algorithm spike, collaborating with other well-known influencers to borrow their reach, and many other hacks), you can actually have your content reach TENS OF THOUSANDS of people completely free.

This type of reach is really hard to get on Facebook, Instagram, and most other channels.

And by getting this reach, you’ll see your own follower count and inbound DM’s spike.

Linkedin generates us 7 to 12 high-quality sales demos per week.

Primary expense here are the two tools we use for Linkedin automation and list-building. Collectively, they cost around $ 150.

We also have our assistant helping here as well to handle the DMs and content engagement.

CPL for this channel is around $ 8. There is a time expense however when it comes to building lists and content creation. However, it’s not that significant.

Supplemental Channel: Referrals & Partnerships

Referrals and Partnerships make up 5% of our lead flow.

This is quite straightforward.

If you do good work for your customers, they’ll refer you to friends.

And sometimes, you can even incentivize your clients to make referrals to you by giving them a 10% finders fee.

Just make sure you only bring it up if that particular client enjoyed the experience with you. It’s pretty awkward to ask for referrals from a customer that didn’t see value from your services.

Just like podcasting, this has been a pretty passive strategy for us. We don’t proactively go and find referral partners. Usually, we just stumble on them at networking events, or during my outreach, or we’ll even get hit up by people wanting to collaborate.

However, if you want this to be a cornerstone strategy, you can proactively build a list of dream partners, and outreach to them explaining how a partnership can be mutually beneficial.

We usually give a 20% referral fee to dedicated referral partners to incentivize them.

We typically get 1 to 2 demos a week from referrals and partnerships.

The expense here is that we give 10% to 20% of closed revenue to the referral partner. However, it’s purely variable, so we can accept that.

Important Note

It's critical to NEVER try to implement multiple new strategies simultaneously.

It's hard to make any new channel to work. You have to set it up, measure, iterate, etc…

We always try to crack the code on one channel first, and make it highly profitable and mostly automated before I move on to adding another channel.

Otherwise, you'll have multiple underperforming channels that you never truly get to work.

To Wrap It Up

We’ve tried over a dozen channels since we began our consultancy. These worked the best, bar none.

If you’re selling high-ticket and want to have absurdly high margins, these organic methods can be game-changing.

Try them out, and let me know how they go! If you have questions or thoughts, just leave them in the comments. I’m always open to networking and meeting you all. Cheers!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Plaid CEO touts new ‘clarity’ after failed Visa acquisition

Yesterday, we spoke with Plaid CEO and co-founder Zach Perret after news broke that Visa no longer plans to buy his company for $ 5.3 billion.

The deal was heralded in early 2020 as a sign of the growing importance of fintech startups. Then it failed to close, eventually running into a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice. A few months later, the acquisition was dropped.

Sentiment in the market changed since the transaction was announced. As TechCrunch reported yesterday, there’s a good deal of optimism to be found amongst investors and others that Plaid will eventually be worth more than the price at which the Visa deal valued it.

What follows is a summary of our conversation with Perret, digging into a number of topics we felt most were pressing in the wake of Plaid’s unshackling.

Now what?

First and upfront: it does not appear that Plaid is racing to the public markets via a blank-check company, or SPAC, a question several readers asked on Twitter. Our impression from our chat regarding near-term liquidity via the public markets is that those with their hopes up have them up a few years too early.

TechCrunch asked Perret how it feels to be free from his erstwhile corporate boss.

He said that the last few years have been a “rollercoaster,” adding that when they made the choice to sell, it made sense at the time from mission, and delivery perspectives — Visa wanted to accomplish similar things and could give his company access to a wide network of potential customers.

Startups – TechCrunch

TravelPerk’s ‘NexT’ravel plans: Spanish startup eyes to strengthen its foothold in US with this acquisition

Spanish startup TravelPerk, which is one of the largest global travel management platforms just announced the acquisition of NexTravel, a US-based business travel platform. Notably, this is TravekPerk’s second and largest acquisition after the integration of Albatross, a risk management startup in July 2020.

Why this acquisition?

With the acquisition of NexTravel, the Spanish company will be able to fuel its ongoing expansion strategy in the US. Travelperk will also take over NexTravel’s customer base, employees, technology, inventory and US market expertise.

NexTravel was founded in 2013 by Wen-Wen Lam and Alexey Pakhomov in Santa Monica, and launched in 2015 from Y Combinator. It has over 700 business clients in the US. These clients book, manage, expense, and report employee travel. To date, this startup has processed more than 300,000 trips. By acquiring this company, TravelPerk will be able to significantly increase the volume of US-based travel spends on its platform and help consolidate its position as a leader in the industry and emerge strongly from the pandemic.

Avi Meir, CEO and co-founder of TravelPerk, comments, “The US has been an important market for TravelPerk for some time, but we’re now more committed than ever to growing our presence here. The acquisition of NexTravel will accelerate our growth in the US, doubling the size of our team on the ground and adding significantly to our clientbase and in-market expertise. This is another important milestone in TravelPerk’s global growth and we are excited to bring our combined offering to market.”

Wen-Wen Lam of NexTravel says, “NexTravel and TravelPerk share the same core mission: giving travel managers and travellers worldwide a unique travel experience. By joining forces with TravelPerk, we’ll be able to bring a world-class booking experience to our customers and extend their international capabilities. We can’t wait to continue the great work alongside their team in setting new standards for the industry.”

Partnership with Southwest Airlines

Besides this, the Spanish company is announcing a game-changing partnership with Southwest Airlines in the US. This is another push it has taken to provide the best business travel management experience to the customers in the US. Eventually, TravelPerk will be able to access the company’s full inventory to book domestic flights in the US.

Eyes to overcome a health crisis

The prime focus of TravelPerk is to overcome the health crisis by offering innovative solutions for travel in the post-pandemic world. In 2020, the company spent time in increasing its customer base and future-proofing products that help users navigate the travel environment that had come to a grinding halt by the pandemic. To be precise, the company has been continuously improving its products such as FlexiPerk and new ones such as TravelSafe API that ensure to provide real-time data on travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 available to the travel sector.

The NexTravel acquisition is a part of TravelPerk’s strategy to get stronger and acquire other companies and integrate their expertise and talented teams to build long-term growth.

About TravelPerk

TravelPerk is the next-generation business travel platform pioneering the future of business travel. The company has the world’s largest travel inventory alongside powerful management features, 24/7 customer support, state-of-the-art technology and consumer-grade design that enable companies and organisations worldwide such as Share Now, Algolia, GetYourGuide, The Robbins Company, Glovo, USA Wrestling and Lightspeed, to get the most out of their travel.

Last year, in July, the company acquired Albatross, a startup that offers an API for structured information on travel restrictions and local guidelines to travel applications.

TravelPerk founded by Avi Meir, Javier Suarez and Ron Levin in 2015 is backed by world-class investors like Kinnevik, Target Global, Felix Capital, Spark Capital, Heartcore, LocalGlobe, Amplo, 14W—investors in some of the most disruptive companies in tech including Zalando, Slack, Trello, Twitter, Farfetch and Delivery Hero.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Former CEO Alexander Klöpping bids farewell to his digital news aggregator Blendle, 6 months after acquisition: Check out this article to know why.

Blendle

Last year, Netherland-based digital news aggregator Blendle was acquired by its French competitor Cafeyn for an undisclosed amount. Soon after the acquisition, Alexander Klopping stepped down as CEO and took a seat on Cafeyn’s board to further develop Blendle’s journalistic vision.

Bids farewell to Blendle

In a recent move, Alexander Klöpping, co-founder of Blendle, bids farewell to his digital kiosk as he wants to focus on new things. 

On his official Medium page, he said, “This month will be my last month at Blendle. After almost eight years, I’m ready to move on.”

Klopping adds, “I’m not sure yet what’s next. But I knew that I first needed to take the hard step to leave because I care too much about you and this company to be able to truly think freely about what’s next for me. My curiosity tends to lead me in all kinds of directions. I think I’ll manage less and build new things. But we’ll see”

“My heart belongs to Blendle, so quitting is not easy. Even though I’ve been preparing mentally, it’s still a wrench to let go of my baby. It’s also very hard for me to take a couple of steps back and comprehend what I’ve *really* learned over the last years. What I’ve *really* appreciated. What I’ll *really* miss. It’ll take time to fully appreciate the depth of this big adventure. …”

iTunes for Dutch newspapers

Founded by Alexander Klöpping, and Marten Blankesteijn in 2014, Blendle allows readers to pay for individual articles from major publishers, instead of having to pay a monthly subscription. 

Till date, the company has raised €7M in funding from various investors including INKEF Capital, Nikkei Inc, The New York Times, and others.

With the acquisition, the Cafeyn Group of companies now offers more than 2500 newspapers and magazines and serves over 1.5 million active users across Europe. The company brings the best of both companies and apps together into a unified experience.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Orange Bank expands its banking empire with acquisition of French fintech Anytime; here’s why

Orange

France-based Orange Bank has announced the acquisition of Anytime, a French neobank dedicated to independent professionals, small businesses and associations, enabling the former to address the professionals and small business market. The financial details of this deal have not been disclosed.

Aim of this acquisition

Orange Bank claims that the acquisition enables it to support the banking group’s client footprint and is fully aligned with the “core multi-service” strategy of Orange.

Anytime – now a 100 per cent subsidiary of Orange Bank, will benefit from the strength of the Orange brand among SMEs and SOHOs to scaleup its commercial reach and enhance its range of solutions for professionals. Orange Bank will work with the current management team to accelerate the development of its subsidiary.

According to Orange, it already serves millions of professional and business customers in France, who may also potentially be interested in Anytime’s offers, including startup entrepreneurs, freelancers, the self-employed, and small businesses.

Speaking about the acquisition, Damien Dupouy and Thierry Peyre, co-founders of Anytime, says, “This latest development recognises the strength of the Anytime business model, the first business-focused neobank to be profitable since 2018. This merger with Orange Bank will enable us to offer a greater range of business services (loans, insurance, payments, expert advice etc.) and benefit from the powerful Orange brand.”

Anytime’s offers will initially remain available online and will be gradually extended to other Orange channels, including its network of stores and its business salesforce. Starting in France, services will also be rolled out across Orange Bank’s other European countries.

Everything about Anytime

Founded in 2014 by Dupouy Damien and Thierry Peyre, Anytime is a neobank specifically designed for the independent professionals and small businesses market (SME, SOHO). The company claims to offer fully digital and mobile-compatible business accounts, a user-friendly and functional interface, a support hotline and clear pricing without any hidden clauses. 

As claimed by the company, Anytime is one of the top three neobanks in France which has been profitable since 2018.

The current solutions provided by Anytime platform includes creating quotes and invoices, automatic account updates, enabling customer payments via a mobile or credit card, managing unpaid invoices and optimising cash flow. The company believes, with this acquisition, Orange can help them further develop the company to build a comprehensive solutions platform to help business customers manage their finances more efficiently.

“Our mission is to revolutionise access to banking services by providing everyone with a banking offer that is flexible and without constraints and that, thanks to the large range of services we offer, can adapt to anyone’s needs. Professionals, individuals, everyone finds their perfect account! For professionals, we have purposefully built Anytime in Banking-as-a-Service mode on an open API system which gives companies the capability to innovate. A strategy which radically sets us apart from all the other Fintechs on the French market,” explains Damien Dupouy.

Back in 2016, the company had raised €5M in a fresh round of funding from Seventure Partners.

About Orange Bank

Founded in late 2017, Orange Bank is a bank launched by French telecom company Orange. It claims to be one of the world’s leading telecommunications carriers with a turnover of €42B in 2019.

In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions. Additionally, it also plans to launch its banking services in all of its European markets by 2025.

Orange Bank currently boasts about 1.1 million customers (as of 30 September 2020) with the majority of them are from France. Its services were also launched in Spain in late 2019 and in Ivory Coast in mid-2020. Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

Startups – Silicon Canals

For those who have sold, what was the acquisition process like for you?

Hey everyone, long time lurker here and found a lot of the information in this subreddit helpful during my startup journey. With that said, 3 months ago, I was fortunate enough to have my 1st startup acquired after a grueling 5 years. 😵

I started talking to other founders who got acquired and realized their experience was different from mine. So I wanted to share what my acquisition process was with you all, and am hoping to hear from others as well. 🙂

  1. Larger player in our space reached out to us asking to speak to us about partnership opportunities. We got a lot of these, so we either ignore or take the call depending on if we see any potential synergies in taking a call with them.
  2. We jump on a call and ask what they had in mind. Lots of small talk and demo showcasing, and then I remember them saying they would be open to anything and they mentioned partnership or selling. Said we would think about the best option moving forward.
  3. Founders discussed that selling should be considered seriously. Reached back out, saying that we would be open to selling, not a partnership as we were approached a lot by other companies around that. Things started moving fast here. They asked for some high level financials, which led to discussing what the purchase price might be.
  4. Negotiating a purchase price to get LOI. Lots of back and forth here, lots. They came at a number with us initially, we refused saying we were worth this much, etc. We eventually settled on a non-binding number and exclusivity period of 90 days – this took a solid 2 weeks of back and forth.
  5. Due Diligence time! This whole process took about 2.5 months. We were provided a giant excel sheet that requested items from us on legal, technology, financial, operations, HR, etc. This is very time consuming, so if you have your stuff together, it is easier. Once you provide that information, the buyer starts auditing and brings in experts to assist. Essentially, you get grilled on every little detail about your business. 😵
  6. Lawyers time! I thought DD was brutal, but when the lawyers come in, it is even more brutal. They decided to change the deal terms on us last minute… but after weeks of debate, we reverted back to what was in the LOI with discussions around indemnification in the legal documents. This took another 2 months, well over our exclusivity period but at this point, everyone is pretty much invested into the process. The number of times I heard, "This is our final offer." 😉
  7. Closing. Assuming you get this far, you review, do some meetings, and you chase all your investors/shareholders to get signatures. We had good investors so this was easy, if you had bad investors, this could really delay things. This took us about 1 week. Once all signed and handed over to the lawyers, the money is then wire transferred over to you.

This is all very high level, there are so much little details, but I hope this helps you all to some degree!

In any case, for those who have sold, what was your acquisition process like?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

If Acquisition cost per user (for my app) is between 0.15$-0.20$, would you consider this as very good?

very innovative – helps gamers to find true friends for hanging out online and playing together that's all.

I know that lifetime value of user / average revenue per user is what actaully matters…but beside that;

Generally speaking if Acquisition cost per user is between 0.15$ -0.20$ while most of the users are coming from North America and EU is this something really good?

(this is my first project of this kind and I would like to hear somebody's general opinion)

Thank you!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Belgian fintech company Unifiedpost Group on acquisition spree after September IPO; here’s why

Unifiedpost Group, one of the leading European fintech companies has announced the acquisition of 21 Grams, BanqUP, and AKTI. With these acquisitions, the company intends to develop its one-stop-shop platform and expand its activities to 20 European countries.

Besides growth, Unifiedpost Group is eyeing a focused buy-and-build strategy. The company has announced the first wave of acquisitions soon after its recent funding round.

Hans Leybaert, CEO and founder of Unifiedpost Group, says, “Fully aligned with the thoughtful M&A-approach of Unifiedpost Group, I am convinced that with these acquisitions we set the right steps to further create a pan-European platform for documents, identity and payment services.”

Expands into the Nordics

Talking about the acquisitions, 21 Grams is headquartered in Stockholm and operates in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Post-acquisition of 21 Grams, Unifiedpost Group, gets the opportunity to expand into four countries. Notably, the company has been a leading provider of mission-critical outbound mailing solutions in the Nordics since 2004.

The company has extensive multi-channel digital and paper invoice delivery capabilities and offers integration with a slew of ERP solutions to the Nordics. Annually, 21 Grams is claimed to process over 80 million documents.

Approximately 70 staff are employed at 21 Grams, which will result in an FTE-growth of nearly 10 per cent for Unifiedpost Group. “21 Grams reported a proforma revenue of €77.6M in 2019, of which €21.6M was generated from their multi-channel delivery platform (gross margin 27 per cent), which is identical to the core documents revenue of Unifiedpost Group. A further €56.0M in revenue was generated from document and parcel logistics (gross margin 11 per cent). The planned EBITDA of 21 Grams for 2020 is stated at €4.6M,” says Unifiedpost Group in a press release.

By acquiring 21 Grams, Unifiedpost Group will be able to provide 21 Grams’ solutions in its one-stop-shop model. And, access the Nordic SME market with nearly 1.25 million SMEs. Regarding the terms of the acquisition, the company acquired 100 per cent share capital of 21 Grams. The valuation was based on a multiple of 7.5 x EBITDA of 2020. It will finance 7 per cent by share and 93 per cent by cash. The transaction will be completed in January 2021.

Growth in Poland

By acquiring Belgium-based BanqUP that operates in Poland, Unifiedpost Group will bring more open banking and data analytics capabilities to its SME customer base. With BanqUP’s capabilities, the Unifiedpost platform will have access to open banking ecosystems enabling analysis of combined banking and document data, which can be used for cash flow forecasting and other purposes. This will enable the group to cross-sell and up-sell payment and financing solutions.

The acquisition of BanqUP will be completed 50 per cent by cash and 50 per cent by shares. The valuation was based on a multiple of 7.5 x revenue of 2020. This deal will be completed during January 2021.

E-commerce solutions

Unifiedpost Group will acquire AKTI, which is a Belgium firm with annual revenue of €0.5M. The cloud company offers SMEs with e-commerce and commerce solutions such as invoice processing and order management. Unifiedpost Group will be able to bring these services to its large SME customer base.

By acquiring the company with 85 per cent shares and 15 per cent cash. The valuation was based on a multiple of 3.9 x revenue of 2020. The parties have expressed their intention to complete the transaction during January 2021.

About Unifiedpost Group

Founded in 2001, Unifiedpost Group aims to become the leading cloud-based platform for SME business services built on “Documents”, “Identity” and “Payments”. It claims to operate and develops a 100 per cent cloud-based platform for administrative and financial services that allows real-time and seamless connections between Unifiedpost’s customers, their suppliers, their customers and other parties along the financial value chain.

It has offices in 15 countries throughout Europe. It claims to have processed over 350 million documents in 2019, reaching over 400,000 SMEs and more than 250 Corporates across its platform today.

Listed on the regulated market of Euronext Brussels – symbol: UPG – Belgium-based Unifiedpost Group claims to have registered €69M in 2019 Pro-forma turnover. It also has over 750 employees throughout Europe.

Startups – Silicon Canals

Amsterdam-based MessageBird announces €28.6 million Pusher acquisition, to boost its cloud communications portfolio

Amsterdam-based MessageBird, a leading omnichannel cloud communications platform, has today announced the acquisition of London-based real-time web technologies company Pusher. The approx. €28.6 million deal opens up a host of new tools and features that will help MessageBird’s customers talk to their customers in even more ways than before. The acquisition comes less than two…

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