Ryan DravingFortune/Inc 500s + Silicon Valley Lead Gen

Senior Partner at Muhl.co | "...helped Comcast Business achieve significant gains." | Lead Generation, SEO, PPC, and Sales Coach for Fortune 500 CMOs, Banks, Inc 500s, and Silicon Valley Startups | "..instrumental in more than doubling our average customer value." | "...provides consistent, critical improvements to our lead generation..." | "...brilliant strategist..." | Co-Founder of eight figure companies | Raised Funding 2x | Senior Marketing Methodologist at Philly Marketing Labs | Vice President of E-Commerce at EmpireCovers.com | Executive Director at VegVine (acquired by HSUS) | SEM / PPC, SEO, B2B Sales, Analytics, Marketing Automation, Pardot, Marketo, Salesforce, Partnerships, Viral Marketing, Lead Generation.

Recent Answers

You need a transitional CMO that brings people in and allows your results to close the sale. If these are typically $500+ creative projects, seek someone with B2B experience. Otherwise someone with ecommerce experience is still ideal.

I've helped several businesses (including an HR consultancy) transition from local to nationwide clientele. If you already have a base of clients already, testimonials, client brand names, and case studies will help establish trust with remote prospects.

For long distance sales and marketing, partnerships are the best option - hands down. Identify complementary business models, and reach out to them. Offer a generous commission for any referral which turns into a sale (I tend to provide 20% for the lifetime of any referred client, although many people feel that is too generous).

In marketing, our best partners are web design firms - companies which make websites, apps, and graphics. They can build the world's most incredible website or app, but without successful marketing their clients won't see any bottom-line results. Once I walk through our system to build trust and rapport, we sign a contract and dip our feet in the water with their first referrals to us - then ramp it up to full speed.

I can help you get a system in place and running. It would take about 3 hours of phone calls - spaced out about a week apart between each call. Feel free to schedule something if you want to talk in depth and get it going. www.clarity.fm/ryandraving

Add service agencies (Marketing, Creative/Branding, etc) and B2B sales teams across the board. Starting list looks good. I would suggest the highest value (and level of competition) would be in legal, finance, and general B2B sales.

It's unrealistic to expect anyone other than personal connections to consider your offer at this stage.

I don't recommend any advertisers at this point.* Building traffic should be your only priority. An ad-free site is more likely to gain traction in the early phases - so focus on that. The time wasted seeking advertisers now will just steal time and progress from your efforts to build an audience.

If you want help building the audience, let me know - www.clarity.fm/ryandraving

*If you are committed to pursuing advertisers, offer free ad spots to big name advertisers in order to show social proof to other prospective advertisers you pursue at full price. Bonus here: if the trial advertisers see high ROI (relative to the full price you waived), they are likely to renew at the full price. Additionally, you can offer guaranteed pageviews at a cost that is a fraction of what they are paying now. However, you are so new that most advertisers are not going to take the risk that your site never reaches that volume of visitors.

Get a job in Silicon Valley, make the transition, build up assets, and then launch your business once you have a financial foundation and have made some connections. SV is hiring good programmers like crazy. Train yourself in programming, a skill you'll be glad to have once you start your own startup (using resources like Lynda.com, Udemy.com, W3Schools.com, and books) and then start applying to actual jobs. Don't take the plunge without the resources though - it's a recipe for disappointment. The blood rushing through your veins is critical, and once you have some working capital and a community around you you'll be able to start satisfying the craving for your own startup adventure.

If you want help, I can get Marvin Weinberger (founder of patented tools company InnovationFactory.com) on a call - I won't charge extra, since I'll just be facilitating the conversation. Let me know if you want me to set that up.

In terms of prototyping, it depends on the product. If you let me know on the call I'll follow up with resources. For example, if you need a simple, small prototype, you might be able to build it yourself in a local facility (ie: NextFab in Philadelphia). If it's more advanced, there are prototyping resources out there, but they vary based on the type of product.

Start with your needs. Do you need a subscription service, or just the ability for people to pay one-off? Do you need fast and easy, or robust and integrated into an uncommon business accounting software? Is the product digital download or a physical product you're shipping out of a warehouse/store?

I've worked with over a dozen of the leading ecommerce payment services, and will walk you through the best options if you set up a call where we discuss your needs.

Think about how other low cost offerings emphasize the discount level. Fiverr, for one. Cheap is a ticket to failure. For many, cheap means "easily breakable, unreliable junk." Although Google guards the information with its life, I also suspect that Google devalues the word cheap from an SEO perspective. Even the most successful three domains with the word "cheap" in them have a fairly low page ranks - between 4 and 6 - and receive a less than impressive amount of visits per month (estimated with Compete.com).

I can help you choose a more effective domain name that communicates the same message and is more relevant to search volume, but I need more info on your business.

Investors on the East Coast and West Coast are polar opposites. It's a generalization, since there is variation within those regions as well, but here are a few generalizations to help you play to your audience.

BAY AREA: Big ideas (with some foundation under them) win, the kind of ideas that can produce 1000x+ returns. If the space is going to be owned by whichever company gets to market with a good product first and/or the value will be in billions if they own a huge market (think SnapChat).

PHILLY/NYC/ETC: Great for biotech. For SaaS and other tech, focus less on "hottest" innovations and more on how to displace industry leaders in big markets (like SalesForce) with something that is simpler and solves a major pain point in a way that the industry leaders do not.

IMPORTANT: Regardless of which region you plan to raise funds in, ignore what's "hot" and focus on where you have unique insight and experience. If you are an engineer, try Internet of Things or a startup catering to some engineer-heavy industry you're familiar with. If you're a doctor, don't try to start a social network for teens - start one for patients and their family/friends (another hot space), or something else highly related to your experience. If you have credibility in your space, your odds of success are MUCH higher, and therefore investors will be more eager to invest in you.

If you want help identifying the right investors and creating a pitch deck that doesn't get thrown in the trash, schedule a call and I'll sign an NDA if we end up getting deep in the idea together.

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