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How to Launch a Million Dollar Business in 27 Days – Day 10: Developing a list of marketing channels


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This is Day 10 in our Zero to Launch in 27 Days series.   

Today we’re going to look at some potential ways to get clients.  Yes it’s a bit early in the game but I wanted to show how we approach marketing for local businesses.

Some folks think you can just throw up a website, plug in Adwords, and pull up the Brink Truck to deposit the mountains of cash that comes piling in.

That’s not how this works.

Reality looks more like this:  An all out effort (think 40 hours per week) to drive qualified traffic from as many sources as possible and turning that traffic into customers at a high rate.

So here are the sources of traffic we go after when launching a local service business. I’m not going to go into details on each one (that would turn this post into a book), so see this as a high level overview of how we approach things.

Let’s get moving!

Friends and Family


Friends and FamilyCostEffectiveness
Email everyone in your inbox a personal messageFree7/10
Post on your own Facebook page once per weekFree6/10
Text everyone in your phoneFree7/10
Call close friends and let them know what you're up toFree7/10
Invite a group of friends to coffee and ask them to share your storyFree8/10
Give business cards to friends that they can give outFree7/10
Message friends individually on FacebookFree7/10
Offer Free cleaning in exchange for a reviewFree or $$$10/10
Ask Friends to share your site on their Facebook pageFree6/10
Type up an email and ask friends to email it to their friendsFree 7/10

I’ve seen folks overlook this for some reason or the other.

Not us. When we start, we start from our inner circle and then move outwards.

Tell everybody.  Friends, former bosses, close family, distant cousins…you name it.  If that person knows I exist, I let them know about my business.  Even if they’re not in my service area, they may know someone that is.

No one escapes!  Your real friends will shoot an email out on your behalf, or retweet something for you, or help in some way.  A business that nobody knows about isn’t a business!

Social Media


Screenshot 2015-10-06 14.17.18

Social MediaCostEffectiveness
Follow and interact with folks on TwitterFree7/10
Twitter advanced Search to find local service intent mentionsFree6/10
Post Images on InstagramFree5/10
Follow and connect with folks on InstagramFree6/10
Post in Local community Facebook groupsFree7/10
Post contests and fun content on your Facebook pageFree7/10
Partner with an apartment complex to post on their pageFree8/10
Get youtube review of your serviceFree or $$$6/10
Post discount codes with strong call to actions Free or $$$8/10
Create a share-to-enter contestFree or $$$6/10

So social media is a great start to get things moving and luckily you can do a lot without spending a single penny.  Make sure you choose a name for your company where the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram page for that same name is also available.

Claim them early, and get to work making things look lively and great.  Social is a little bit tougher for local businesses but there is business there.  Share a discount code, follow and interact with people in your city, run contests…the opportunities are endless.

Review Sites

Screenshot 2015-10-06 14.08.20

Review SitesCostEffectiveness
YelpFree or $$$9/10
AngiesListFree or $$$8/10
ThumbtackFree or $$$7/10
HomeadvisorFree or $$$7/10
Google PlusFree8/10
Yahoo LocalFree7/10
Facebook ReviewsFree5/10
City SearchFree or $$$6/10
Insider PagesFree or $$$6/10
Yellow PagesFree or $$$6/10

So this is where we start to get into the meat of revenue generating efforts.  Of course the things that work best, also often come at a cost.

But hold up!

That cost isn’t advertising money.  Not yet at least. That cost is getting reviews.  And getting reviews may cost you giving out free or discounted cleanings and other hustle type moves.

This part of our efforts is a real chicken-egg problem: You can’t get jobs without reviews, and you can’t get reviews without jobs!  Giving away or heavily discounting jobs at the onset (To folks that have solid accounts on these review platforms) is one way to approach this problem.

Paying Yelp for advertising without any reviews is a complete waste. You could as well take a lighter to that money. So first efforts here is around building a solid profile (pictures, logos, folks in your tshirt etc.) and then scraping to get at least 10 good reviews.  Things will pick up from there.

Local Media

Screenshot 2015-10-06 14.11.55

Local MediaCostEffectiveness
Offer free service to bloggers in exchange for reviewsFree9/10
Get local bloggers to host a multi-blog contestFree8/10
Get bloggers to post before/after pictures of serviceFree8/10
Share articles from local publications and tweet the writers to build relationships Free7/10
Follow local blog/newspaper social media accounts and build relationshipsFree7/10
Attend local blog meetups (
Attend local startup events and build relationshipsFree7/10
Find local blog networks and purchase advertising$$$7/10
Host a local foodie bloggers event$$$8/10
Do a giant blog roundup post on your blogFree 8/10

So this is one that folks often neglect: Building relationships with local media.

In my case I built a local blog and connected with other bloggers who helped me along the way with contests, sharing posts, etc.  I really think that if you’re going to create a blog, a blog about local happenings/things to do etc. goes a much longer way than a blog on the best sod to use on your lawns.

Folks may disagree with this (and I do get that there are seo benefits with blogging about lawns, if you are a lawncare company), but I just have not seen the returns from these efforts like i’ve seen from a more generalized local blog.

Either way, the efforts at this point is around building relationships with local bloggers/writers/newspaper columnist and seeing how you can get featured. Twitter is a great place to get that initial introduction going.

Paid Media

Screenshot 2015-10-06 14.13.59

Paid MediaCostEffectiveness
Google Adwords$$$7/10
Facebook Ads$$$5/10
Yelp Ads (provided you have at least 10 reviews)$$$8/10
Angies List Ads$$$7/10
Local Newspaper Advertising$$$3/10
Radio advertising$$$2/10
Tv Advertising$$$3/10
Reddit Ads$$$1/10
Thumbtack Quote requests$$$7/10
YellowPages Book Listings$$$1/10

So at this point after social media is set up, you have a few mentions on the internet, some reviews on the Yelps and Thumbtacks of the world, you can start looking at paying for traffic.

The reason I wait a bit is so that money isn’t just wasted.  Very often folks land on your website, leave and search for reviews, and then come back to schedule service.  We want that when they leave, they see some excellent reviews and mentions to increase our chances.

Tip: Find ways to show reviews on your site so folks don’t leave in the first place with Groove Kudos from Groovejar (My newest project).

Search Traffic


Search TrafficCostEffectiveness
Google OrganicFree9/10
Google Local ListingsFree8/10
Yahoo OrganicFree3/10
Yahoo LocalFree10/10

Search traffic will end up being the source of most of your traffic over time.

Problem is, this can take a good 6-12 months to really kick in.  Thus all of these additional efforts and sources of traffic I mentioned above are needed.

I don’t typically do specific SEO targeted efforts, except to make sure that our site speed is good, our page headers and titles mention our main keywords, and our site is awesome and friendly to the visitor.

The days of throwing a trillion keyword-heavy links at your website and ranking well are over!

Google is hip to that game and will gladly eat you alive with a site penalty if given the chance. Our goal instead is a slow and steady process of building up traction, getting online conversions, showing a good service reputation online, strumming up social media activity, securing relevant mentions on solid websites, and doing things the slow and steady way.

Google catches up with time, and then the floodgates open.

This is how we approach building long-term sustainable businesses, and not ones that are one site review away from being relegated to page 500 in search : -)

Referral Traffic


Referral TrafficCostEffectiveness
Customer Referral ProgramFree or $$$9/10

Referral traffic can be super powerful in driving business. People are far more likely to act on recommendations from a friend than anything else.

I use Launch27 referral program to get the word out. How it works? Refer a friend and get a discount off your service, and the friend gets an instant discount as well.

Win. Win. Win!

Strategic Partnerships

Screenshot 2015-09-09 12.18.56

Strategic PartnershipsCostEffectiveness
Find a complementary service provider and exchange leadsFree9/10
Partner with another service provider to provide a discount to each other's email listFree8/10
Parter with apartments to run contests on their Facebook pagesFree3/10
Partner with Realtors to provide discounted serviceFree10/10
Partner with Home Inspectors to exchange leadsFree4/10
Partner with Moving companies to exchange leadsFree7/10

So the cool thing with running a local business is that over time you will start to connect with other business providers in your area.  They’ll see you in the search results, or on social media, or hear about you from a friend.

These folks can be a source of a lot of business if they are in a complementary non-competitive market.  You send them business, they send you business.

Note that we keep an eye out to build relationships with competitors as well.  Do this, and guess who they’ll call to take jobs from them when they are overbooked?

You. That’s who!

So at the end of the day, a sustainable local business will really get to the next level if you build some solid relationships with key folks in the community!

It’s not a 100% internet play, by any means.

Content Marketing


Content MarketingCostEffectiveness
Write articles on your own blogFree9/10
Guest write for other blogsFree8/10
Post articles in local Linked In GroupsFree3/10
Post articles in local Facebook GroupsFree10/10
Post articles in local subreddits on redditFree4/10
Create your own hyper local website Free or $$$7/10

So this one is pretty predictable and really boils down to creating solid content and getting it featured on local sites.

This is an awesome way to build credibility and position yourself as an authority in your field.

It’s going to take some hustle but business itself is hustle!  Here’s a recent post I found on how folks were building local listserves and hyperlocal publications and making a killing!



Facebook retargetingFree9/10
Google retargetingFree8/10
Services like Perfect AudienceFree3/10
SEOFree or $$$10/10

This is some more advanced stuff you can implement as you start to get traction and figure out your customer acquisition costs and lifetime values etc.

In a nutshell: person comes to your site, you attach a cookie to their browser, and they then see ads for your company as they browse other websites. Super effective for some industries, not as much for others.  So this will have to be something that has to be appraised on an ROI basis, to see if the numbers work.

Email Marketing


Email MarketingCostEffectiveness
Email capture tools$$$9/10
Limited Time Discounts$$$8/10
General Newsletters$$$3/10
Cart Abandonment Tools$$$10/10
Drip Marketing$$$10/10

Emails are the bread and butter of email marketing.  There is no single source of revenue that is more predictable than a well nurtured email list.

My advice: Start collecting emails from day one.  You’ll be able to market to folks over and over again and really build  your business if you have a strong and growing email capture/nurture system.


So this is a pretty long list of things, and it’s still by no means exhaustive.  Today however, I wanted you to see the level of effort this will take to build up traction.  I could tell you that this is easy, but the facts are, nothing in life worth doing is easy.

However, with the right effort, and with a focus on working efficiently and making smart moves, this is all doable!

And I know that because I’ve done it. Several times!

Stay tuned for Day 11 and fire away with any questions or comments below.  I respond to all of them!

Rohan Gilkes is the CEO & Co-Founder of Groove Living Startups, LawnTribe, Launch27, and WetShaveClub. He loves building stuff that matters and crushing fools in table tennis! :-)

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