The marketing that made our business explode

I was 16, I had a shitty startup idea, and no money to promote it. I wanted to launch a blogging platform (didn’t know medium at the time) and give back 90% of our revenu to our users.

I had to shut the business down, but not before gaining 100,000 monthly users. The platform was called Advob and is now completely eradicated from the interwebs.

I launched Montréal News, a Facebook page dedicated to spreading stories about my home town not too long after Advob. The idea was that if I could make a couple of popular Facebook pages, I could then solve my lack-of-cash marketing problem by promoting my own stories and the ones of Advob users.

I created the page, invited my friends to like it, published a video that I stole from reddit (sorry dude), bought 24$ (CAD) of ads and Boom. 286,000 views on my first video. Not bad.

That video helped grow the fanbase to about 1000 likes in a couple days. That was probably the most impressive thing I had done in my life at that point. 1000 Likes was as good as it had gotten for me so I continued doing the exact same thing full time for a couple of months (I had already dropped out). I had my recipe (borrowing videos, buying really small amounts of ads against them and letting them do their thing).

The reach on Facebook is the number of times the publications of a page are seen in the newsfeed. Two months after I started Montréal News we reached one million people in a week for the first time.

I said “every week” when I posted about it on my personal FB but that wasn't exactly true.

We were generating a bunch of traffic to Advob, but not making any money. Our website kept crashing, was ugly and just a general mess.

While the website was being built, I was a 16 year old with no computer skills so I did what any rational person would do. I hired a Indian developer for a couple hundred bucks to make it. I would later learn that doing so was a bad idea. When we had enough traction we went shopping around for local developers to help us manage growth and add features. They had the pleasure to announce that all our code was garbage (to be expected) and that we would have to restart everything platform wise. That was going to be hella expensive.

A decision had to be taken, and because all the traction was coming from our Facebook pages (We had a couple at that point) we decided to shut the platform down. We would now spend all our time growing our audience and finding ways to extract cash from it.

Unfortunately likes don’t pay rent, so we had to get creative.

The first thing we did was to start throwing parties because a large portion of our fan base was students. We approached bars/clubs and offered to take their down-nights (Usually Thursdays). We would charge a cover at the door, and the bar would keep all the money from the alcohol.

The first time we did it, we had a decent response. We made about 2,000$ that night but it took weeks of preparation. We continued hosting parties for a couple months and got really good at it. We even hosted a party with the biggest event organiser company in Montréal and made 14,000$ that night.

At the same time we started creating and posting ads for local clients. My friend owns a shooting range (pellet guns) so I shot a really quick selfie video and posted it to Facebook.

Don’t I look beautiful shooting these pellet guns?

The video was posted twice and has been seen over 600,000 times in total. Not bad for a local business.

Most people and companies make beautiful ads that no one will share. This ad is not beautiful, but it got shared a bunch because people felt something when they watched it. In this case it was excitement, they we’re super excited that such a place exists and happy to share it with their friends.

I think Marketing and growth hacking are mostly bullshit industries because most people that say they’re marketers, will bring you little to no value.

We’ve helped a lot of startups get off the ground, and that’s really gratifying. One of the last startups we’ve worked with is a online clothing company.

In their first two months of business they’ve generated over 41,000$ of revenue. Not bad, considering that we will continue expending their marketing campaign.

So now thats what we do. We do marketing for local businesses and none-local startups.

Shameless plug: If you want me to do your marketing email me (fabrice@mtlnews.com).

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