Neil Patel is a digital marketer that I have a lot of respect for his marketing acumen. In fact, I pretty much read every blog post he sends out — and he sends out a lot. He is a rare professional that does two things normally never done: (1) H tells his trade secrets. My guess is that he realizes he can tell you them, but executing on them is fairly complex and most people would rather pay someone else and that’s where he comes in; (2) He puts his proverbial money where his mouth is i.e. he’ll tells you something that time will either prove out or not–usually he’s right.
In March 16, 2015, he let his rather lengthy distribution list know he was going to do something I simply could not believe. He was going to take a subject he knew nothing about and grow it into a business that generated $100,000 a month on a run-rate basis. I read that initial post, which can be found here , with complete disbelief.
He ended up (after his distribution list voted) starting a business in the nutrition industry–something he knew little about. Every month I looked forward to his updates and each seemed very authentic or un-fabricated. At the end of the challenge, which just recently concluded, he not only reached the goal of $100K but he surpassed it with over $120K a month. Along the way I learned a lot.
I’ve decided to validate (or not) his challenge. I mean the whole premise of his challenge was that he wouldn’t spend a lot of money and that anyone could do it. Well he didn’t state that exactly, he did say his knowledge and ability would make the site grow to an amount where he could monetize it for that much a month, but underneath that he was implicitly stating — you can do this too with my direction. I want to test his premises and determine whether they work — and I’ll be you wouldn’t mind seeing whether someone else can do it too. With a little luck, he’ll post to this blog to point us all in the right direction when I misinterpret what he wrote, which we know will happen.
Where I stand so far:
- I looked for a domain name that was created many years ago and untarnished. Neil actually had a bit of trouble with this but I learned from his mistakes and my new domain seems to be fine so far. My domain is NapaWineClub.com and it was originally created in 2003. I paid a little under $500.
- To create the site I used Word Press and Woo Themes as he suggested, but to completely replicate his theme I asked my developers which theme they thought he used and they stated Hooray, which can be found here. This cost an additional $120–I’m not sure how he did this for free but I believe him. I also needed a developer to modify the theme appropriately, which cost about $400 using Upwork. Again, I’m not sure how he could have created his site without these expenses but he may have expertise that I do not and I tend to believe him. Also, my $400 development cost included a few things: (a) the Sumome plug-in that allows you to collect emails. You’ll also need some kind of email repository, which I used MailChimp. They’re really good and affordable in my opinion — I use them for my other businesses too. (b) an automated post to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. (c) an automated email blast to those who sign-up to the site when I post a new blog (actually this cost me another $75). I really suggest getting developer to do all this because that way you know it will work properly rather than make a mistake.
- I have posted three blogs, so it doesn’t look like there is an empty page.
- I setup my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Plus accounts. I also want to add Buzz Feed because that really helps with the social media dissemination.
- I am paying $10 a month on Host-gator. I initially tried an AWS competitor that I won’t name since I don’t want this blog to be about negative marketing but they really stunk. I was hacked within 2 days! When Neil did his site, he hosted it on his own servers. Not everyone can do this. His servers loads his sites extremely fast and I haven’t been able to replicate this yet using Host-gator. This could be a problem because I believe that is factored into Google’s search algorithm. Neil used his own servers to save money but the whole point I thought was to replicate what anyone can do and clearly that is not what everyone can do but that stated Neil was very honest and upfront about this. Speaking of which:
- Neil uses Google Analytics to measure how his site is doing–and then provided that data in his monthly blog updates. Getting a new Google Analytics account is easy, it can be found here. After your done with that, you can go to the crown in the upper right corner, which is your SumoMe plugin. — assuming you’re using SumoMe for capturing emails and what have you. The select the Google Analytics button and the rest is easy. I’m not trying to push that service, I’m just doing it the way that Neil did it, which makes sense and is super easy.
So that’s where we stand. I’ll do exactly what Neil did (as best as I can) and post my progress once a month. If I’m nearly as successful as he was I’ll be doing back-flips and you’ll know you can do the same. If not, you’ll know what’s possible from us near mortals. My guess is that there were a lot of things behind the scenes that he didn’t share but that’s exactly why I think this blog can be valuable. Also, Neil is an expert at writing content, so his content creation skills (despite the ideas he’s given are honed through experience so keep that in mind). To me this is a test of some of his techniques but to have the same success as him you’d probably need him to do the work.