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🌐 How Cyberleads Got It's First Paying Clients ($500k ARR No-Code Solo Business)

Learn the exact early growth strategies used by Alex West to get his first paying clients for his lead generation business.

Startup Spotlight: Cyberleads (Alex West)

Hi everyone, today I've got something fresh for you. Instead of an interview, I've put together a deep dive into Cyberleads, a lead generation business that's rocking $500k ARR.

In this growth analysis, I've spent 20 hours digging through Alex West's blog, tweets, and interviews to give you a full picture of Cyberleads early growth strategies.

So, if you're into businesses that:

  • Started small and solo

  • Began with less than $100 in monthly costs

  • Launched without a ready product

  • Skipped the coding complexity

  • That anyone could do in their own vertical

  • Can be mostly automated with offshore growth assistants

Then you're in for a treat with this case study. Let's jump into Alex's backstory.

Backstory:

Before 2017, Alex West was pursuing his dream of creating a unicorn startup.

During his university days, he dedicated two whole years to crafting a mobile app with ambitions of becoming the "Snapchat for bars and nightclubs." Unfortunately, as often happens in the startup world, this project didn't transform into a lucrative venture.

Fast forward to 2018, Alex embarked on a series of B2C product launches on Product Hunt, eventually tallying up around 20 unsuccessful launches.

However, these endeavors helped him realize a fundamental truth that he stands by today:

B2B products are the real cash cows.

In contrast to B2C ventures that demand enormous user bases to generate significant profits, B2B businesses can flourish with a select group of high-paying clients. You only need 28 clients at $3000 / m to make over $1 million / year.

This revelation set the stage for the emergence of his winning creation, Cyberleads, after two years of trial and error.

Cyberleads Revenue Model:

Cyberleads is a lead generation service for digital agencies. They hook you up with leads lists of 1,000+ companies that recently scored big funding and need outsourcing.

Alex gives you three tiers to choose from:

  1. Free Plan: You have to subscribe to his newsletter to begin receiving 10 leads every week.

  2. DIY Plan: Kickstart with 1,000 leads and receive 1,000 unique leads every month.

  3. Done For You Plan: For $2,997 per month, you unlock 30,000 leads. Cyberleads will warm up your leads, set up your meetings, and provide weekly updates – pretty much the whole package.

As you can see, his newsletter basically serves as a clever funnel to nurture his subscribers over time to go from $0 → to his $2997 / m plan.

This is Why the Business Thrives:

If you're an agency owner, you know that finding high-quality leads for cold email campaigns can be an incredibly time-consuming process. Alex West streamlines this entire process for you.

What sets his leads apart is their exceptional quality. These are companies with the financial capacity who are actively looking to outsource services and have openly expressed their need for such solution in articles etc.

For instance, a recently funded company may have been featured on TechCrunch, discussing their interest in using funds for expanding their team.

Without a service like Cyberleads, you'd need to dedicate significant time to scouring platforms like Crunchbase, TechCrunch, and various funding round reports to find suitable leads. Then comes the additional effort of using tools like Apollo to scrape accurate email addresses. Sometimes, these emails might not even be verified, which could harm your email reputation if they bounce. Alex's meticulous attention ensures that the emails are verified.

Speaking for myself, I'm all about delegation and efficiency. The goal is to delegate tasks as much as possible (never my newsletter content creation though) so I can focus on other aspects of growing my business. This is why automated lead generation and outreach solutions appeal to me. The painstaking task of scraping emails of decision makers can be a monumental time sink.

On a related note, I recently scheduled a meeting with GrowthLists leads, a similar service to Cyberleads. They offer 100 free leads per month.

Last month, I sent out a total of 889 emails for Outforce, and guess what? Almost 91.2% of those emails got opened – that's a pretty big deal! And you know what's cool? Many of these leads came from trying out leads from Growthlists, Cyberleads, and SaasyDB. (which is why i felt it was only right to make a case study on this)

I've set up a system where these personalized emails get sent automatically. It just took about an hour to setup.

So, by creating my automation / delegation systems i can spend time doing other things to grow my business, while these emails are working their magic all by themselves.

Interested in a free resource on how to setup and automate your cold email campaigns?

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Now lets look at how Cyberleads launched their product..

Product Hunt:

February 14th, 2020: Alex launched Cyberleads on a website called Product Hunt. If you didn’t know, Product Hunt is site is all about showing off new products people have made. You submit your creation, and list it for everyone to see. People can comment on it and vote for it, sort of like Reddit or Hacker News.

When Alex first tried this, he didn't even have his product fully ready! He put up a landing page without an actual product, which might sound crazy, but it can actually be a smart move. It helps him figure out if people are really interested in what he's offering without risking a lot of time or money.

Alex does this a lot. He launches on Product Hunt to test the waters and see if people are interested in his idea and goes from there.

When he first launched, his Cyberleads service was very undervalued at $29 per month (now it's more like $297+). And on his first day, he made $87 just from the launch

He had to work his ass off the rest of the month while working his 9 to 5 to get his lead list ready for the month, sort out some of his automation etc, basically worked it all out after launch and ended up with $290 MRR at the end of the month, all while running $79 in costs for his services which helps him gather the data at the time.

You can successfully launch on Product Hunt but it’s not a long term solution to bring in new customers every week. Let’s dive into his winning growth strategies..

So what was Cyberleads early growth strategies?

When it comes to B2B, it's a game of building connections with the right people and referrals. And that's precisely the game that Alex is playing through relatable and viral content. He's using various tactics like sharing his journey on Twitter, creating viral content, responding to comments, writing on his blog, doing interviews.

Here's the deal: If you're running a B2B business and you're not into building connections, being genuine, and offering value for free, it's going to be really tough to make it big. Sure, you can use cold outreach and paid ads, those methods can work. But the real magic happens when you focus on creating quality content and building a strong genuine connection with your followers.

Alex didn't just stick to one approach. He experimented in multiple growth strategies like SEO, sponsoring blogs, sharing on Reddit, engaging on Quora, tapping into his personal network, and reaching out on LinkedIn before he doubled down on his main growth channel Twitter.

Now, you might wonder if Alex's 769 Twitter followers back then made any difference. Did his blog readers who had been following his journey since 2020 help boost the hype for his Product Hunt launch?

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Let's take a closer look at the growth channels he experimented in:

Alex struggled to find the perfect distribution channel for his product for 2 months after launch:

His growth strategies were always broken up into Pomodoro sessions. 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of rest.

1. Blogging - 25 min

2. Quora - 25 min

3. Outreach - 25 min

4. Outreach - 25 min

5. Reddit - 25 min

This was his current Pomodoro sessions in April 25th but it changed over time.

Side project marketing - Since launching on Product Hunt was such a successful strategy. Alex want to experiment in relaunching every few months on Product Hunt.

It was international women’s day, so he built a small website and report on "women in tech", from all the data on funding he gathered those past two weeks.

This project went to number 6 for the day but the strategy completely flopped for him with 0 new customers from this launch.

Reddit - Alex experimented in Reddit. This is a tough platform to promote your projects as subreddits have strict rules and will get banned if you seem like you promoting your product.

Basically sub-reddits want you to give free value without promoting your products, especially if it is intended to make money.

Cyberleads was generating 100s of visits to his site through Reddit but none of them resulted in any customers.

Alex believes that he gave away too much free value in Reddit and also wasn’t in right subreddits.

Quora - Seemed like the best ROI as there are many questions on Quora on how to find funded startups and you can just straight up answer them without worrying about Reddit restrictions.

Alex only answered 5 questions and abandoned the strategy.

Linkedin - Alex experimented in cold outreach, the goal was to send 25 messages a day to his target audience.

He seemed to get responses from his connections but they faded over time and he struggled to execute a sale, as he was often afraid to pull the trigger.

Main Distribution Channel (Twitter):

Alex mastered the art of creating viral content on Twitter. Before he even launched Cyberleads he knew how to make a great tweet..

I looked at his Follower growth stats and compared it with his content he posted at the time and mentions of new sales,

Here’s what i found:

A year before the launch, during the period of Feb 19 - Feb 26 2019, Alex gained 121 new followers. This was his first spike of 100+ followers in a week.

It came from this tweet below with a CTA to his Product Hunt launch. This is one of the first times he successfully announced the Product Hunt launch in combination with a viral thread.

This viral post contributed to a #4 place product of the day on Product Hunt.

Following that tweet, Alex's growth on Twitter started to slow down. He was occupied with trying out various other methods to grow during that time.

Now, take a look at his tweet on the day of the Cyberleads launch. Notice the hashtag he used, '#indiehackers'. While not a significant thing, it certainly played a role in boosting early engagement within that community. This hashtag is one of the few that still actually works in driving engagement.

It's likely that his launch tweet received several upvotes from those who liked the tweet. (In my case, I would have messaged each person who interacted with my tweet, expressing gratitude and kindly asking for their support through an upvote.)

I've tried using the #buildinpublic hashtag in my tweets, like this one, and I've seen more people getting interested and engaged. Especially when I...

  • Ask questions (It's a great way to boost engagement in a post – who wouldn't like a free backlink from a blog or newsletter?)

PS*- I still share these projects in my newsletter every week.

  • Growth Milestones - Announce every little achievement you’ve accomplished. (Followers, newsletter subscribers, sales etc)

Lots of these actions resulted in more people signing up from the "build in public" community.

Back then, with only 769 followers, I would've messaged each of them about the launch. I've done something similar to grow my newsletter, adding 10-15 new subscribers daily.

It's easy to forget, but it's crucial to remember that getting in touch with your existing followers should be your main focus after launching something new. They're following you for a reason, and usually, they'll be interested in what you're sharing.

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April 19 - April 27:

During this period his first post went viral and resulted in a significant sales boost, Alex's growth primarily resulted from his Product Hunt launch and various other experimental growth strategies I mentioned earlier. At that point, he had around 10 customers.

Alex believes that the client who closed the $50/m deal might have come from sources like Reddit, Quora, or even his Product Hunt launch.

After Alex shared his achievement of reaching $50/m in revenue, he gained an additional 893 followers and attracted approximately 10,000 visitors to Cyberleads. Insane numbers!

“The last two days have been surreal. My twitter exploded unexpectedly from a random tweet. My Twitter followers doubled. My MRR doubled.”

Why would a simple tweet like this go viral?

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See you next week!

- Cameron Scully (@cameronscully

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