I was at my kitchen table having breakfast and scrolling a bit through Twitter when I almost choked on my cereal while reading “at 21, she’s set to be the youngest-ever self-made billionaire”. Who were they talking about? Kylie Jenner, of course. The young famous-for-being-famous cosmetics queen. Like so many other people, reading that Forbes thinks she’s “self-made” didn’t sit well with me. She’s from a wealthy and globally famous family, a reality-TV star with a huge social media following. That’s not really “self-made”, is it? At the same time, saying that she’s “self-made” kind of chips away at the achievements of people who didn’t have a head start in life, who actually pulled themselves by the bootstraps and managed to turn their passion and time into a business. “She was rich and got richer” isn’t the type of story I find inspiring.
My favourite type of story is one in which someone figures out what they’re actually interested in and what they love doing and they turn that into a business or a profession. It doesn’t matter that they’re not billionaires, they’ve achieved something amazing and whatever piece of advice they might have, I’m more than willing to listen and apply.
That’s exactly what happened to Mark Herro, the man behind Sharpologist.com. While in Las Vegas for his wedding anniversary, Mark got a traditional shave with a straight-razor at Art of Shaving at the Mandalay Bay and he was blown away. His skin was smooth like never before and stayed like that for longer than ever before. His days of using an electric razor were history. He started learning to use an adjustable safety razor but it was a difficult process as there wasn’t much content online about it. That’s when it hit him! He could create a few videos to show people how to shave using a brush and a safety razor. Men were interested. He then figured out he could create a website where he could share with people what he was discovering about wet shaving and that’s how Sharpologist.com appeared online.
200,000 Page Views/Month Based on Free Traffic
For his passion-project, Mark Herro was doing content marketing before we came up with the name for it. He didn’t have a lot of time to write content, so the pieces he did end up writing needed to be exactly what men who were interested in traditional shaving were looking for and he managed to offer them that even when he only wrote a few blog posts per month. In a recent podcast interview he said the website is currently receiving 200,000 page views each month and that his email list is 10,000 people long. Because the website is getting so much free traffic, it can generate over 1,000 conversions each month – products for which Herro receives an affiliate commision. He also makes some money from advertising. These two income streams combined are making him a full-time income out of something that started as a passion project.
Getting Free Traffic, The Sharpologist Way
You don’t have to be Neil Patel to see what Herro is doing right in terms of SEO and content marketing, but here’s a rundown of the things you too could implement, you know, so you don’t get to say you haven’t noticed them and miss out on traffic:
1) Leverage Questions in Your Headlines, Page Titles, Offers
One of the pages that constantly brings in free traffic and generates sales is one dedicated to “what’s the best shaving cream”. Herro does his best to review products in an unbiased way and write an article that Google would love to show those searching for an answer. No matter your niche, people are searching for answers and you should know what their top questions are and answer them the best way you can.
Also, the super smart thing this online entrepreneur figured out is that when you’re an Amazon affiliate, for example, you get a commission no matter which product your website visitor eventually chooses from the list you’re presenting.
2) Don’t do a hard sell if it’s not your style or the niche isn’t right for it
In the same podcast interview, Mark Herro revealed that once someone subscribes to their newsletter, they get into a 4-month onboarding drip campaign in which they receive one email per week without being asked to buy anything. He does this because he knows that is what works for him and his business. That’s how he manages to get a 40% open rate and a 10% click rate, by educating and not pushing products right away.
3) Don’t spend too much time on social media but constantly publish new content
Every visit counts and there are too many set-it-and-forget-it automation tools available for you not to constantly publish new content on your social media account linking back to the website or landing page you want to promote.
4) Know your niche’s Facebook Groups, even if they’re tiny
A 4,000 people Facebook group is a grain of sand compared to how massive Facebook is, but it’s a great place for you to find out more about your target and to get feedback on your sales pages and content.
5) Run your own tests
Every content marketing and digital advertising guru has their methods and advice to offer, but you should be the one to know what happens in your niche better than anyone else. You should swap up your CTAs and your headlines from time to time, change the type of message you post when sharing your landing pages on Facebook, add and remove content from your web pages. Always keep an eye on your competitors and on what your ideal customers are saying online.
When you find the right angle or the right type of products for the right type of client or when you’re such a good listener that you know exactly what people want to see when they open a landing page, traffic will come. People will pass the link to your web page from one to another. Knowing who your ideal client is and what they want to hear to be sure you’re having the right solution to their problem is what will help you get free traffic and make money.