Sales is the lifeblood of any company. It’s the only marketing strategy that matters. The average American spends 24 hours of their week on the Internet for a mix of reasons—work, leisure, or socializing. This vast arena of social media platforms, websites, and apps is where companies can reach out to attract new customers and make more sales.
In this episode, digital marketing expert Darwin Liu imparts significant lessons on two e-commerce tactics to close more clients: partnership and outreach through email marketing. He also introduces tools to further your firm’s digital marketing efforts.
If you want to find more leads and convert them customers, tune in to the episode!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
1. Learn the best practices in email marketing from Darwin’s experience.
2. Discover the various tools used to maximize your company’s productivity and e-commerce operations.
3. How to capitalize on referral partnerships and cold email outreach programs to reach out to your clientele.
Click here to read transcript
Trent: Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast. As always, I am your host Trent Dyrsmid, and I’m here to help you figure out how to rock it in your business. And the way that I do that is I bring on other super successful entrepreneurs to share with us how they’re rocking it in their business. So you can ideally take some good notes, pick up some golden nuggets, and implement those suckers in your business the moment you finish listening to this podcast. So let’s get into it. Darwin, welcome to the show. Who are you and what do you do?
Darwin: Trent, thank you very much for having me on the show. I’m very excited. Who am I? So I am Darwin. I, I run an eCommerce focused digital marketing agency. So our agency has been live for a little bit over two years now. I would say, I personally have been doing digital marketing for maybe 14 to 16 years personally. X Agency itself though we focus on AdWords, Facebook, uh, email, SEO, affiliate marketing, anything to the game called digital marketing for any company that sells a product online. So whether it’s, and it has to be a shippable, it’s not a, you know, virtual download is not anything of that nature. We specialize in helping people sell physical products into people’s homes. So we’re focused on B-to-C, e-com or Mitt, the prize level companies. So what does that mean? Companies that do somewhere, anywhere, I didn’t know at the minimum three to $5 million a year to 150 million a year. So that’s us in a nutshell.
Trent: How much revenue did you do in your first year?
Darwin: First year. So we were, firstly, it was a half year, just to let you know really quickly. I left my company personally making somewhere I think 300 to 400 grand a year because of my salary and my own clients. But within the first half year we were at 600 something, 680,000 in revenue.
Trent: How about the second year?
Darwin: Right now. So we haven’t finished our numbers yet, but we were somewhere around 2.2.
Trent: Okay. So you’re growing like that?
Trent: All right. How do you attract all those clients?
Darwin: So as I’ve always read and have heard from the gurus and and seen over and over and over again, sales is the only thing that ever really matters. Or sales is the lifeblood of any company. So how do we do it? It’s sales. Sales, sales, right? It’s how the channels of sales, it’s our reputation. It’s what we focus on. It’s our marketing. So,
Trent: Okay, so you told me before it would came down to print predominantly two things, partnerships and outreach. And you’re sending thousands of emails per week every week we get, right?
Trent: All right, let’s dive. Cause some people are going to listen to that and they’re going to think, how the hell is he doing it? So let’s unpack your cold email outreach program. First of all, it started at the beginning. How do you develop your list of people that you’re going to? So let’s say for next week, you want to send, how many emails next week? 3000. 4,000. 5,000 how many?
Darwin: So right now we’ve actually taken a pause, but usually it’s about say 3000 emails.
Trent: 3000. Okay. That’s only because you’ve got some much clients coming on. You’re kind of drowning. So 3000 emails. All right, I need 3000 email addresses. Where am I going to get them from?
Darwin: Yup. So for us, there are actually many ways that many people can get email addresses, right? For us, we use multiple of sources. We actually have outsourcers who scraped email addresses for us. the data miners, you can get them from Upwork. We actually have a personal one that we got recommended to. They’re, they’re cheap and not that expensive. I mean, I think we pay anywhere from 500 to $1,500 per list. Uh, but the, the bang for your buck, they’re all updated. They are exactly who you want in your, your specific niche. for us it was, you know, C level execs in the eCommerce field, uh, in companies doing one to the $30 million, $30 million in revenue, you know, so you pay for these, there are other places you can do it if you don’t have the money for this. at the end of the day, go on LinkedIn, we have sales navigator, we have automated lists based on titles that we actually have going.
Trent: I mean we’ll get into that. Don’t dive into LinkedIn just yet. So these, you said you pay about 500 bucks, is that per week or per month?
Darwin: That’s basically per month.
Trent: So for 500 bucks a month, I’m going to get 12,000 emails.
Darwin: It’s 500 to 1500. But yes, it’s actually very, very cheap. And if you find the right person to data mine, it doesn’t cost them a single thing cause they use the same tools. It’s not that they have to use more manpower, it’s really just them putting your stuff, you know?
Trent: Okay. So they’re going to ask you for criteria of industries and job title and whatever, whatever, whatever. Then they’re going to come back to you with this list.
Trent: How do you verify before you start, because you’ve got to consider sender reputation. So first of all, what address are you sending from? Is it your primary domain or are you using a whole portfolio that Gmail accounts or some other domain to protect send score and how do you verify that your bounce rate is not going to be too high? Okay.
Darwin: Uh, you know, it’s great that you brought that up because when we first started doing that Trent, we never even thought like that. That wasn’t something that we actually thought of. Also. Guess what kept that? Is that right? When you actually do something like that. And again, I’ve always heard stories about, I didn’t really think that it could happen that way, but we did. Previously it was always one email based on the X Agency email to send things out. That’s, that’s not the right way, but the way you should be doing it. The other option that we took, which is also not the right way, was we use a different email address. My name in the same domain. That actually also does not work well. You need to do is you have to use a multitude of SendGrid domains and you send it to actually send it so you actually protect your main domain so that you actually do not get blackened state. I’m trying to get out of it for our main domain right now. It’s still a task in process. So just to reiterate what the, what I just said, which is use SendGrid, use different domains and don’t do it from your own building as long as a very rate variation of it, sending it out, it works.
Trent: Okay. So these other domains are very, very similar. They might have a different like a.org or.net or a.biz. And I’m assuming you’re also putting redirects in all these domains. So if somebody happens to just type one of these things in, it’s going to take them to your website. Correct. How many different, uh, alternate sending domains do you use?
Darwin: Yeah. So there’s actually two ways of sort of doing that. we used to, however, the way that you can actually do it even better is it would be a sub domain part of your domain. So it would be, X, Y, Z. Dot X Agency. Yeah. but usually if you’ve ever seen the big center list, it’s, you can put numbers, you can put whatever you want, but it’s just a sub domain of a domain.
Trent: Okay. So if I’m sending from one dot, my company.com and to.my company.com and three.my company.com. I am not, and I, and I get a whole bunch of spam complaints. I’m not hurting my domain reputation.
Darwin: Yeah. Again, the way that we’ve actually done it through that way is we don’t get bounces for the most part. That’s one. Two is, that’s also how the big companies are doing it. That’s how a lot of our guys are actually doing it too. But yeah. And everything that we’ve done and we’ve read online is even for say our marketing side of things, a sub domain is different than even quality sports on that side. It’s, I don’t know why they do it that way, but yes.
Trent: Okay. So email verification, are you using NeverBounce or some other service?
Darwin: I, we’ve never bad news MX tools as well, so.
Trent: Okay. And what are you paying for email or something like that or not even that?
Darwin: Sorry, could you repeat that? And is that?
Trent: How much are you paying per email to verify that they work?
Darwin: It’s about 10 cents. So.
Trent: 10 cents per email? Wait a minute, you’re sending 3000 emails a week. So that’s going to be, what, 300 bucks am I doing that math right in my head?
Darwin: ten thousand an per week? Just, Oh, I’m so when you say verify what it means, we actually verify it before we send it.
Trent: Yeah. Well you said, you said you’re never bounce and or MX tools because you need to verify that the email is a legit email address. So you’re paying 10 cents to use those tools?
Darwin: Okay. So, so actually let me, let me explain. the emails that we actually get from our list, uh, they verify for us. We’ve actually, again, this, these aren’t just outsourcers that we get from, say fiverr.com. We’ve done a lot of those. Uh, these are updated, verified lists from our outsourcer. So it’s not like we get it from them or we scrape these lists and we don’t trust it. We have a verified supply and these do work, you know, like in the beginning, yes. You know, we did try not to and they didn’t do anything for us in the sense that we still got flagged. but right now everything that goes out from this list, they are updated, they work, and they’re not, you know, sorry.
Trent: Okay. And so, so you don’t need to use ever, Never Bounced or?
Darwin: No but I know that’s, I think some of that’s still fair. They still have it. I just, I don’t think we really need it anymore.
Trent: Okay. And in the 3000 send, will you send them from two different sub domains and one email address per subdomain or will you send it from multiple email addresses per sub domain?
Darwin: Yup. So and again, so nice. I’d say 80% of what we did prior to these sub domains was always the mess up, which was one email address, one domain. Obviously that’s the work, right? Right now we actually use multiple emails per sub domain, but all a variation of Darwin as the CEO. but yep. Right now that that is what we’re doing at the end of the day for us, we don’t care too much in the sense that the sub domains can get refreshed. It can get, you know, we can use a new one, we can do something else. So
Trent: Yeah cause you haven’t have as many different sub domains as you could think of. Male one, male to male, three male, four meal five, whatever. How, what, so what’s the call to action in the email? Is it clicked my calendar, like in book an appointment or is it replying? Cause if you’re doing that volume of outbound, you’re going to get lots of replies in the morning. How you’re dealing.
Darwin: Yeah. we’ve, we’ve tested a bunch of things, right? So a few things. We have Academy link on every single one. If, uh, you guys know what that is, just the auto schedule. put that in onto your signatures. Now we, we’ve tested different ones. we have a sort of automated system for how we want to reach out to our, clientele. we’ve always been under the impression that the more info you give and they short and concise, the better the email sounds like. So in a lot of our reach out emails, we have basically our steps for how we want to reach out to them. The first email usually always is, Hey, we noticed that you are running X, Y, Z marketing but you are missing X, Y, Z. So, and those variables are all pasted in based on a search that we have done in Kroll based on what they’re, they’re running, right. So every
Trent: For companies that are running like Active Campaign or some app, cause you can see from their websites with their right scripts there.
Trent: You are building your list saying, okay so insert name of app here. We see that you’re running Active Campaign and we see that you’re not doing what, what are you filling?
Darwin: Yup. And it’s all so be on a spreadsheet or be like company name and I know say running this checkoff, running that checkoff, whatnot, X , Y, Z. And then that gets dumped into our tool that pulls the variables in and then it just goes off. That’s the first one. But there’s obviously four followups. Again, what I would say is, we normally to do short, we normally do personalized. However, for somehow some reason I personally got my eye caught by longer type emails. I really don’t know why. The short emails aren’t the best way to go. I wouldn’t know. You know, it’s worked for us. But are there better formats? I, I think there might be.
Trent: Well there is no perfect format. You have to test, you have to test. All right. So what tool are you using? So you said, you know, you mentioned SendGrid, but SendGrid is just a delivery system. It’s not, you’re not composing emails and inserting variables at SendGrid. So what app are you using to actually craft the email message and insert all the variables?
Darwin: Yep. So we tested a bunch. I think right now we’ve sort of settled a little bit on outreach. Uh, the IO, they are 2000 a year. I think that cheap. and not that much. So that gives you one seat. I believe you might have to pay more of your multiple people on a rich IO tool, but that helps you dump anything in that helps you do the auto schedule that you can actually connect that with HubSpot. So it uh, it works for us in Gmail. I don’t know if it works with outlook but
Trent: okay. All right. So you build a spreadsheet, like a Google sheet, you get outreach and you say, Hey outreach, talk to this Google sheet. Cause all the data you need for all the variables, the names of emails and everything is in a row, row, row, row, row, row, right?
Darwin: Almost, almost, almost. It’s actually a little bit more manual than that. Uh, we, uh, we have this Google sheet, I’ll reach Campo from the sheet. There might be a way, but it’s not, you know, straight direct. We actually get outreach and we get this sheet, uh, we actually dump it into outreach manually. So we have our own specific custom fields and columns and yeah. So it’s a manual. It’s not a, it’s not an automated.
Trent: yeah, but you’re dumping in 3000 email addresses or whatever at one time. So whether it’s one 10 email addresses or 5,000, it’s the labor is not really any different cause you’re right.
Darwin: Okay. Yup. That’s the same. Ideally at the end I would say, you know, if you have systems and processes for everything and if you can automate everything, great. That’s, that’s where you want to go. but we’re missing that piece, so.
Trent: Okay. We can talk a little bit about that. I got some, I got some idea. I got some stuff that I do. It’s kind of Ninja. All right, so you now, so we’ve got the, we’ve got the lists, we’ve got a bunch of messages queued up for, I think you said five and total. So they’re going to keep getting another one unless they, I would imagine if they reply, what, what stops the sequence of emails do they have, is it a, is it scheduling a call or is it a reply or how do you, cause you don’t want to keep sending emails to someone who’s already positively responding.
Darwin: It’s actually a reply. Any response basically stops the sequence of flows. and it could be any reason.
Trent: That’s my standard. That can be go F yourself.
Darwin: We’ve got a [inaudible] man as well, like borderline harass me, go after. So we’ll go to hell, you know, stop, stop. And yeah, any, anything stops it. And you know, I’m in the every day and you could, you know, when I was in it and you can see it and Larry, you’ll respond to it. Right. And if you do manually stop it, you redo automatically go people back in based on time based on the say. Yeah, exactly.
Trent: Ribbon spiders start hitting them again. Exactly. These people who are sending you the F off, they’re the same people who are running retargeting campaigns that are following their prospects all over the internet trying to get them to buy a pair of shoes. So I got no guilt. I mean, that’s just business today. If you don’t like it, don’t be in business.
Darwin: Exactly. That is how we’re working towards, you know, like if we’re automating everything, like, I mean, we’re going to get it. I get spam all the time. I’m just like, okay. For sure.
Trent: Yeah. Pretty deal. All right, so you are sending all these emails out, they’ve got links in them, you’ve got messages. You’re saying, Hey, we’re, you know, we’re great, or give me an a, give me an overview of what you’re saying in the, they’re all short. You’ve got four or five messages. Kind of like, what’s the gist of it? Don’t you know, I don’t need the.
Darwin: it’s going to go find it. But, but just the bit is actually usually I think any sort of standard email template is you want a signature in there first. I mean at least I have my face and stuff in there. I you want to look nice for the most part. so, so we, I have a signature, I had my candy link. So make sure you have the scheduler and how they can contact you and make sure that you look in real thing. A lot of people get stage messages now from say India or anything and you just don’t know repeatable, you know, anything you can put in here that made you any awards in 5,000, whatever it is in the, in the bottom, that’d be amazing. First one has, and we’ve tried long and short. Uh, the first email is usually the, the, we try to hit them right on the spot without wasting too much of the time. I me say something along the lines of, Hey, we noticed that you are running X, Y you are running and I’m going to use this. You’re running Google ad words, you’re running remarketing. But you are missing dynamic Newmont and usually that is a six X Rolex. So.
Trent: Let me interrupt you there. How do you, I mean I know how, you know they’re using Google ads or whatever cause you can see a script on their site, right? How do you know they’re not using the dynamic, whatever. Same thing
Darwin: we use Google tag assistant, we use the bang you would teach echo, we use the Facebook pixel hopper but it tells you exactly. So they had, they were, if they were running products it shows you on the, on the tag assistant itself. And that’s all we did. We just pull it based on what they’re running and all the info we have is on the health [inaudible].
Trent: And so what tool, cause you’ve got you, so you’ve got your scraper who’s gone out and found, you know, 3000 companies. You’re not looking at 3000 websites manually cause that work. So how are you figuring out, cause you’ve got this spreadsheet with these columns using this, not using this, not using, how do you populate all the data in that spreadsheet across 3000 websites?
Darwin: So it’s a browse and macro. I don’t know how to program these, but again, I’ve always found that there’s a lot of smart people online. You can pay someone to program exactly what steps you need into what you need. So it was always a check this if this pole here, if that pole there. So.
Trent: Okay. So let’s say browser macro. Where did you hire the guy to write that? Or the gal or whoever?
Darwin: Uh, uh, I am a frequent peruse there. Uh, uh, there’s many ways you can go, but I like really blackhatworld.com. there’s a lot of smart people there. So let’s go again. Blackhatworld.com. Yup. It’s, and I hang out there because people do think they’re, and you can hire almost anyone that program almost anything, whether it’s the grand bots, whether it’s Facebook bots, whether it’s, you know, exactly. Or you can go to the Public Channels and you go to Fiverr. I’m sure they have someone there programming macros into, this isn’t hard language. It’s just not something I do where I know.
Trent: yeah, I don’t read, I don’t read much code either. Okay. So now that’s how we figured out what content we’re going to put in. That’s how we’re going to personalize them. You’re going to send four or five emails at some point in time. So what percentage of stuff? I sent 3000 emails. How many appointments am I going to get?
Darwin: Okay, so let me see. I’m trying to remember. I can, they went out and did it. I don’t have the numbers. So every week we were, and I personally was getting about a hundred emails back. out of the a hundred emails. What does that [inaudible]
Trent: So you get a hundred replies out of 2000, right?
Darwin: Oh, $100. and, and now in terms of real appointments, because not all the replies are, uh, Hey, let’s chat.
Trent: And then you’re manually dealing with these replies.
Darwin: These are now manual is actually now manual. and then out of those a hundred, I would say 60 of them are a null, right? So out of the 60 out of that. Okay. So a hundred emails, 60 of them are a no out of those nulls uh, 30 of them are usually a no. Can you reach back out later? Which is actually a no, but they’re too afraid to say it. So, and then we dump those back. Okay. The other part is, are the people who will say F off and usually those we are actually done when they say we’re good. No. Or when they say you’re harassing me, we never put them back in. We actually, but part of that we do put beg now out of the 40. Yes. Those are manual responses. I paid her those responses really, really well.
Darwin: when I do tell her those responses, I actually pair it with this small little deck and that for the most part has also been manual. We could’ve been, we could have automated it, but for me, any cold response or any cold outreach and that we’ve gotten a response out of I think is, it’s huge because not many people respond to emails. So for me, we would spend that time, I had an assistant who would help me if we had like a little small template for a deck, would actually help me start pulling screenshots. So whatever I sent in that first email, she will put them as a screenshot into this deck and say, Hey, this is how it looks. Let’s have a chat. You know. So, and I mean, conversion rates, I always think I’m the best sales man. I mean, I don’t really do it all the time now, but it was, I think it was pretty good, for, for what we’re doing, especially since we’re starting out and we didn’t have too much history, for built up intended depth and stuff. So, yeah.
Trent: Okay. So out of those 40 yeses, how many of those yeses are turning into an appointment?
Darwin: I’d say out of those 40, I was getting about five to 10 appointments a day. That’s an undesirable week. And we find it out from a [inaudible].
Trent: Okay. So five to 10 appointments a week. And how many of those appointments are turning into clients?
Darwin: Uh, it wasn’t, it was like once a month. So if you can put that back.
Trent: So you get one client out of five out of 40 appointments in a month. Yup. Dude, that’s a pretty low closing ratio. Must not be a very good salesman.
Darwin: I thought I was, so let me ask it. This isn’t a, and when I say yes is, I mean, yes, it’s for real clients, for us. I don’t count smaller people, a smaller companies as a real, if that makes sense. I’m not selling to mom and pop shops and we’ll have something like this. I’m signed to the real corporation.
Trent: Yes. A lot of money.
Darwin: Exactly. And I’m looking for those yeses. I mean, every time we reach out, you know, how those responses, there are smaller companies that want something, but that yes. Doesn’t matter. I really don’t care too much about it. It’s more like, how do we get a real corporation to say yes to you when they don’t even know what to do.
Trent: Yeah, yeah. Cause, I mean if it’s a $20,000 a month account and you get one new account per month, you’re, you’re scaling pretty well. All right. So, anything about cold email that we haven’t talked about?
Darwin: Referrals, it’s getting referrals, during our process or for finding companies and scraping and all that stuff. you know, our, our scraper got a bunch of emails and while we were looking for clients, I realized that out of the people who were fond, that thing, a lot of those people were like, Hey, why are you bugging me for, we do digital marketing as well. We do Amazon, we do web dev, we do web design, slept that we didn’t do it. And I was just like, wait a minute. so, and this has always has changed my thought process for all this, which was when we do reach out, we do want through different campaigns with these cold emails. One is to actually reach your referral market because when you get companies that are also in your field doing different things, referring you, that is way better than a cold outreach because it’s a warm lead. Now that’s one, right? but two is the same time you’re spending to get these solo planes is the same amount of time of getting referrals. Right. And if you can actually, if you actually had all the contacts that focus on referrals, that’s a business right there. Yup. Referrals, 24 34 partners giving you clients. That’s, that’s, that’s how you go. You know,
Trent: So you are emailing closet competitors. Yeah, they have a different area of specialization than you do. So there may be, there’s like a little overlap but it’s not a huge amount of overlap. And you are saying what?
Darwin: Basically, Hey, do you want to be referral partners? We had to sort of, we have this much trying to find that word. Our clients do this while this client did this this year and this plan did that this year. And when become a partner, you get two things. One, you look amazing, but till we give a referral fee. Yep. Okay.
Trent: LinkedIn. How’s that different from this?
Darwin: Uh, LinkedIn is just about, I would say, I’m trying to think it’s the same about the process. Same of process. What I think about LinkedIn is you can’t get banned or for spam people, at least not from our end. Uh, we use an automate to, we’ve never been banned. uh, this hollow outfit. I keep trying to remember what it was because I don’t use it anymore. Hello Alfred, nice and cheap. They had a budget tools out there. There’s actually a bunch of companies right now that will automatically reach out to you on LinkedIn, someone you will, LinkedIn service who are literally just using Hello Alfred, which is somewhere around 50 below offer asks or hello? Alfred. Alfred. Yeah.
Trent: Okay. And you are using it. Are you no longer using it?
Darwin: Uh, I personally am no longer using, I just haven’t touched it. We, we stopped sales. Right. You know, so are we still, I still have it actually. but we stopped using it.
Trent: You stopped using it because you’re not doing LinkedIn outreach or
Darwin: Oh, we stopped all our reach for now. Just for now.
Trent: Just because you have too many clients and you’re drowning. Okay. So bad problem. Good problem to have. Okay. So Hello Alfred is this tool that allows you to automate your LinkedIn outreach? I’m assuming you probably have a sales navigator account. Yup. And then you’re using the search criteria and sales navigator to build a list on that list. There could be 30, 40,000 companies or people that match up to your criteria. Right. And then take it from there. What happens?
Darwin: Same day, same as if you’ve ever used a automated email, which a program hello often is just about the same same sequences. It will automatically put them in a, based on variables I sold. Same exact sort of functioning and format. It’s just about the same for the quarter interface. Say me, I would say it’s email and LinkedIn, except that I don’t think you can get banned. we, we’ve sort of hit limits before. we, for LinkedIn, the response rate for us was way higher. Right. So for us, I think they were trying to sort of recommend Hello Alfred, it actually has all these recommendations in Nepal itself. somewhere around a hundred a day max. But we were, I personally will do on one 50, 200 and I never got any sort of warnings or bannings or whatever you want to think about it as, but yeah, it limits you basically, to sort of circumvent that. You can have multiple accounts, but your people has to have a good LinkedIn address. Right. My LinkedIn profile is, there’s a lot of things going on in it, so it looks kinda, you know, it looks like I am someone reputable. so that’s why I, for the most part, I was using mine and people were using mine. But for you, if you really want to up your LinkedIn game, you can have multiple, multiple sales people on their own LinkedIn reaching out with Hello Alfred, you know.
Trent: So helloalfred.com is clearly not it. What’s the one, what’s the website for this thing?
Darwin: One seconds. Just one second. I’ll get it for you. I got it from one of those ads, again from a CEO in a sec. Whenever she responds, I’ll send it to you after that.
Trent: Want to make sure it’s in the show notes. Okay. Uh, partnerships. So was that the referrals that we already talked about or is partnerships something a little bit different?
Darwin: Well, no partners for us, I mean, when you call them partnerships, but that is something that we really are, I actually focus on.
Trent: Okay. And let’s finish up then talking about standard operating procedures. My favorite word in the whole universe, the whole galaxy, galaxy gets them SLPs and set yourself free. How are you using them?
Darwin: Yes. So unless I say this, any companies should have SLPs, they’re rounded hard, fast rules that any person coming in should be able to use. That’s how, that’s how a company runs, right? SOP run the company. That’s how it should be. Right now our SOPs basically are out the door. at the end of the day we had SOPs or a company that would have been way smaller, that would have been six or seven employees. it’s just, we’re in chaos right now and that’s what happened.
Trent: He’s doing it right now. Huh? How many employees do you have right now?
Darwin: I don’t even know the number right now. We just hired three people. We have 10, nine. I’ve, I think if you were to add them all together, 19, 18, 19 for that.
Trent: And they’re all full time.
Darwin: 11 has 60% bolt-on and they’re all full time, but not all of them are, are W2’s.
Trent: Okay. Where do you put your SOPs? What, where does the content live?
Darwin: Yup. So we have been, we haven’t turned a Wiki. Oh, it’s a, we use light.com. and what happened was Slite.com is we integrate it with Slack. So say if someone has a question on how to run marketing for one of our clients, they can either go on Slack and type in, say Google Ad Words and it pops up and they can go there and use it right. Back in the day we used to have it in Google drive and that was just sort of a mess. Everything is still in there. People can link stuff into Google drive, but everything sort of lives in Slite because it is the Slite.com
Trent: How do you spell it because I just pulled that up and that doesn’t, that’s not a website.
Darwin: SLITE. SLITE. Yeah.
Trent: SLITE. I spelled it with a G H.
Trent: Your company’s knowledge. All right, cool. Put that one in the show notes as well. So you’ve got your SOP content is living in slite.com. Yeah. Okay. It really should be a Flowster. You’d be much better off how,
Darwin: Tell me what that is after. How do you spell it?
Trent: Flowster like flow like workflow.
Darwin: Yeap. Yeap. Yeap.
Trent: S, T, E R. dot. App and disclosure. That’s my software company. So sleep, you know, a little biased, but I’ll tell you this, this inc 5,000 award, that’s over my shoulder right here. Without our SOP, there is no way in hell that we would have grown at six 1693% over three years without having an SOP for fricking everything. And Flowster is where they all live. The beauty of fluster is it’s super easy to, we, first of all, we’ve got a marketplace full of them. We’re creating more all the time. So creating SOP from scratch sucks, right? So if you don’t want to have to create it from scratch, you can go to the marketplace and you can look around and searched. It’s kind of like Amazon. You just like, there’s filters and categories and keyboards and all that stuff and you can find something and then if they’re not exactly the way you want them, just edit them and make the changes that you want. but the real beauty of Flowster from my perspective, you know, as a CEO, our job is to be working on the business, right? Going go to conferences, reading books, listen to podcasts, doing podcast interviews, getting smarter. For me when I learned a new thing, I just pull up one of my SOPs, I hit the edit button, I make whatever changes to integrate this new piece of knowledge that I’ve just acquired.
Trent: And it’s now pushed out to every single workflow, which is an every single mini project that’s based on, that SOP is automatically updated. We call them a workflow. So everyone always has all the latest knowledge, all the time in a very systematic format. And from a manager’s perspective, of course there’s an interface. It’s got a calendar. So you can be like, well, I want this person to be assigned to this task. It’s on this due date and this person’s going to be assigned to this one and this due date. So the whole project management aspect of managing all of your workflows is built right into the tool. I’m in here right now. Do you have an amazing interface?
Darwin: I’m trying to go out. I’ll be the first that I met. You know, we, we picked up Slite because it was cheap. I mean, it’s not like we had all the money in the world, so, no, I [inaudible]
Trent: it’s only 15 bucks per user per month, man.
Darwin: It’s like got us with the freemium. It was free in the beginning.
Trent: He wasn’t free in the beginning too. You know what I thought I heard the other day, someone I was talking to, he’s like, yeah dude, a couple months ago I told this big law firm about your app and now they love it. So there’s this huge law firm in Texas that is now like a massive Flowster junkie and I’m actually waiting to talk to the senior partner because I did. We’ve never marketed to law firms before. The app can be used for anything. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. So, you know,
Darwin: Can I have the iPhone app and everything?
Trent: No, there’s no, there’s no app for your phone yet. It probably will be at some point. But what we’ve found is that most times, I mean SOPs are, there’s a lot of detail, you know, and you’re usually working at a computer when you’re using the SOP because the SOP is instructing you on how to do keyword research or set up a Facebook campaign or build a landing page. Well, who the hell is doing that on their phone?
Darwin: No, the thing is funny thing is a Slite app got me and I was just saying why, how, why, what? Yeah, no, I, I, I get it was just, no, you’re right. I am this, this pulsar does actually look very cool. And if it makes it, because slite is, was meant as sort of an internal Wiki [inaudible] if this structure right, this thing’s a little bit more, this could be amazing for a minute.
Trent: when, when, when we’re done. So we don’t turn this podcast into a commercial for Flowster. I’ll do some screen sharing and stuff with you and show it to you. I’ll be cool. All right, so in case we have any e-commerce folks in my audience who want to maybe do business with you, what’s the url?
Darwin: Yep. So you guys can always Xagency.com. We actually keep in mind that website I made when I first started out, we have a new website waiting on deck. Email me at Darwin@xagency.com but yeah, amazing show. I mean, thank you for having me in front of your gastrin. I’m actually running the loss of the university on this. I’m definitely gonna check up Flowster there and whoever’s listening check it out too, cause it looks just me looking at it right now. So.
Trent: Cool. Thanks for being on the show. No problem, man.
Questions Asked During the Interview
[00:37] When did you start and what niche did you pick?
[01:44] What was your revenue in the first year?
[02:19] How do you attract clients?
[02:54] Tell me more about your cold outreach program
[03:22] How do you create your email lists?
[05:05] How do you verify the email addresses?
[05:52] How do you protect your domain reputation?
[06:29] How many subdomains do you use?
[07:26] How many email addresses do you use?
[07:53]What does the email content look like?
[08:14] How many do you send?
[10:24] What is the call to action?
[12:41] What tool are you using to create and send the emails?
[14:36] How are you handling replies?
[17:24] What parts are automated or outsourced?
[19:19] How many appointments per week does this approach get you?
[22:03] How many clients do you get using this?
[23:05] Walk me through your LinkedIn outreach and explain how it differs from cold email
[28:45] Tell me about how you are using partnerships
[29:15] Tell me about how you are using SOPs
Darwin Liu is a digital marketer who runs a very successful invite-only marketing agency called X Agency. After graduating college in 2008, Darwin googled “how to get rich online” and discovered online marketing. After many failures, he found an entry level job at a digital marketing agency. For the next 6 years, Darwin worked hard to achieve his entrepreneurial goals by becoming the fastest promoted in the company. He was then running strategy for the largest accounts for the agency, which managed over $50M in annual spending.
During these 6 years, Darwin established himself as a name within the industry. In June 2017, he left the company and started his own marketing agency, X Agency. Drawing from his experience in the field of digital marketing, Darwin focused his attention on growing his agency, which broke 7 figures in under a year and now has over 15 employees.
Darwin also founded AmericanBully.com, an online company that sells premium apparel and accessories for Bully breeds.