How This Lead Generation Agency Hit $50k MRR From Building In Public

Case Study

Content Marketing

Deep-analysis into the growth methods of a lead generation business that specializes in generating leads for agencies. '1,000+ handpicked companies that just raised millions and are looking to outsource. In your inbox. Every single month.' Read below

Case Study

Cyberleads - Alex West


In this growth analysis, I've spent 100s of hours digging through Alex West's blog, tweets, and interviews to give you a full picture of Cyberlead's early growth strategies.

So, if you're into businesses, that:

  • Started small and solo
  • Began with less than $100 in monthly costs
  • Launched without a ready product
  • Skipped the coding complexity
  • That anyone could do in their own vertical
  • Can be automated with offshore growth assistants

Then you're in for a treat with this case study. Let's jump into Alex's backstory.

Backstory:

Before 2017, Alex West was pursuing his dream of creating a unicorn startup.

During his university days, he dedicated two whole years to crafting a mobile app with ambitions of becoming the "Snapchat for bars and nightclubs." Unfortunately, as often happens in the startup world, this project didn't transform into a lucrative venture.

Fast forward to 2018, Alex embarked on a series of B2C product launches on Product Hunt, eventually tallying up around 20 unsuccessful launches.

Alex West's Product Launches
Check out his list of failed products here


However, these endeavors helped him realize a fundamental truth that he stands by today:

B2B products are the real cash cows.

In contrast to B2C ventures that demand enormous user bases to generate significant profits, B2B businesses can flourish with a select group of high-paying clients. You only need 28 clients at $3000 / m to make over $1 million / year.

This revelation set the stage for the emergence of his winning creation, Cyberleads, after two years of trial and error.

Cyberleads Revenue Model:

Cyberleads is a lead generation service for digital agencies. They hook you up with lead lists of 1,000+ companies that recently scored funding and need outsourcing.

Alex gives you three tiers to choose from:

  1. Free Plan: You have to subscribe to his newsletter to begin receiving 10 leads every week.
  2. DIY Plan: Kickstart with 1,000 leads and receive 1,000 unique leads every month.
  3. Done For You Plan: For $2,997 per month, you unlock 30,000 leads. Cyberleads will warm up your leads, set up your meetings, and provide weekly updates – pretty much the total package.

As you can see, his newsletter serves as a clever funnel to nurture his subscribers over time to go from $0 → to his $2997 / m plan.

This is Why the Business Thrives:

If you're an agency owner, you know that finding high-quality leads for cold email campaigns can be an incredibly time-consuming process. Alex West streamlines this entire process for you.

What sets his leads apart is their exceptional quality. These are companies with the financial capacity who are actively looking to outsource services and have openly expressed their need for such a solution in articles, etc.

For instance, a recently funded company may be featured on TechCrunch, discussing their interest in using funds for expanding their team.

Without a service like Cyberleads, you'd need to dedicate significant time to scouring platforms like Crunchbase, TechCrunch, and various funding round reports to find suitable leads. Then comes the additional effort of using tools like Apollo to scrape accurate email addresses. Sometimes, these emails might not even be verified, which could harm your email reputation if they bounce. Alex's meticulous attention ensures that the emails are verified.

Speaking for myself, I'm all about delegation and efficiency. The goal is to delegate tasks as much as possible (never my newsletter content creation though) so I can focus on other aspects of growing my business. This is why automated lead generation and outreach solutions appeal to me. The painstaking task of scraping the emails of decision-makers can be a monumental time sink.

On a related note, I recently scheduled a meeting with GrowthLists leads, a similar service to Cyberleads. They offer 100 free leads per month. 

Cameron Scully - Growthlists


Last month, I sent out ‌889 emails for Outforce, and guess what? Almost 91.2% of those emails got opened – that's a pretty big deal! Many of these leads came from trying out leads from Growthlists, Cyberleads, and SaasyDB. (which is why I felt it was only right to make a case study on this)

Outforce email campaigns


I've set up a system where these personalized emails get sent automatically. It just took about an hour to set up.

So, by creating my automation/delegation systems, I can spend time doing other things to grow my business, while these emails are working their magic all by themselves.

Now let's look at how Cyberleads launched their product.

Product Hunt:

February 14th, 2020: Alex launched Cyberleads on a website called Product Hunt. If you didn’t know, Product Hunt's site is all about showing off new products people have made. You submit your creation and list it for everyone to see. People can comment on it and vote for it, sort of like Reddit or Hacker News.

When Alex first tried this, he didn't even have his product fully ready! He put up a landing page without an actual product, which might sound baffling, but it can be a smart move. It helps him figure out if people are interested in what he's offering without risking a lot of time or money.

Cyberleads Producthunt launch


Alex does this a lot. He launches on Product Hunt to test the waters and see if people are interested in his idea and goes from there.

When he first launched, his Cyberleads service was very undervalued at $29 per month (now it's more like $297+). And on his first day, he made $87 just from the launch.

He had to work his ass off the rest of the month while working his 9 to 5 to get his lead list ready for the month, sort out some of his automation etc, ‌worked it all out after launch and ended up with $290 MRR at the end of the month, all while running $79 in costs for his services which helps him gather the data.

You can successfully launch on product hunt but it’s not a long-term solution to bring in new customers every week. Let’s dive into his winning growth strategies..

So what were Cyberlead's early growth strategies?

When it comes to B2B, it's a game of building connections with the right people. That's precisely the game that Alex is playing through relatable and viral content. He's using various tactics like sharing his journey on Twitter, creating viral content, responding to comments, writing on his blog, doing interviews, etc.

Here's the deal: If you're running a B2B business and you're not into building connections, being genuine, and offering value for free, it's going to be tough to make it big. Sure, you can use cold outreach and paid ads, those methods can work. But the real magic happens when you focus on creating quality content and building a strong genuine connection with your followers.

Alex didn't just stick to one approach. He experimented with multiple growth strategies like SEO, sponsoring blogs, sharing on Reddit, engaging on Quora, tapping into his network, and reaching out on LinkedIn before he doubled down on his main growth channel, Twitter.

Now, you might wonder if Alex's 769 Twitter followers back then made any difference. Did his blog readers who had been following his journey since 2020 help boost the hype for his Product Hunt launch?

Let's inspect the growth channels he experimented in:

Alex struggled to find the perfect distribution channel for his product for 2 months after the launch:

He always broke his growth strategies up into Pomodoro sessions. 25 minutes of work, followed by 5 minutes of rest.

1. Blogging - 25 min

2. Quora - 25 min

3. Outreach - 25 min

4. Outreach - 25 min

5. Reddit - 25 min

This was his current Pomodoro session on April 25th, but it changed over time.

Side project marketing - Since launching on Product Hunt was such a successful strategy. Alex wanted to experiment with relaunching every few months on Product Hunt.

It was International Women’s day, so he built a small website and reported on "women in tech", from all the data on funding he gathered those past two weeks.

This project went to number 6 for the day, but the strategy completely flopped for him with 0 new customers from this launch.

Reddit - Alex experimented on Reddit. This is a tough platform to promote your projects as subreddits have strict rules and will get banned if you seem like you are promoting your product.

sub-reddits want you to give free value without promoting your products, especially if it is intended to make money.

Cyberleads was generating 100s of visits to his site through Reddit, but none of them resulted in any customers.

Alex believes that he gave away too much free value in Reddit and also wasn’t in the right subreddits.


Quora - It seemed like the best ROI as there are many questions on Quora on how to find funded startups and you can just straight up answer them without worrying about Reddit restrictions.

Alex only answered 5 questions and abandoned the strategy.


Linkedin - Alex experimented with cold outreach, the goal was to send 25 messages a day to his target audience.

He seemed to get responses from his connections, but they faded over time and he struggled to execute a sale, as he was often afraid to pull the trigger.

Main Distribution Channel (Twitter):

Alex mastered the art of creating viral content on Twitter. Before he even launched Cyberleads he knew how to make a great tweet.

I looked at his Follower growth stats and compared them with the content he posted at the time and mentions of new sales.

Here’s what I found:

A year before the launch, from Feb 19 to Feb 26 2019, Alex gained 121 new followers. This was his first spike of 100+ followers in a week.

Cyberleads Twitter

It came from this tweet below with a CTA to his Product Hunt launch. This is one of the first times he successfully announced the Product Hunt launch in combination with a viral thread.

Alex West's Viral Tweet #1


This viral post contributed to a #4 place product of the day on Product Hunt.

Following that tweet, Alex's growth on Twitter started to slow down. He was too occupied with trying out various other channels to grow during that time.

Now, take a look at his tweet on the day of the Cyberleads launch. Notice how he followed the same tweet format 'for the first time ever..' and used the same hashtag, '#indiehackers'. While not a significant thing, it certainly played a role in boosting early engagement within that community. This hashtag is one of the few that still actually works in driving engagement.

His launch tweet likely received several upvotes from those who liked the tweet. (In my case, I would have messaged each person who interacted with my tweet, kindly asking for their support through an upvote on Product Hunt.)

I've tried using the #buildinpublic hashtag in my tweets, like this one, and I've seen more people interested and engaged. Especially when I...

  • Ask questions (It's a great way to boost engagement in a post – who wouldn't like a free backlink from a blog post?)
Cameron Scully buildinpublic tweet
  • Growth Milestones - Announce every little achievement you’ve accomplished. (Followers, newsletter subscribers, sales, etc.)
Cameron Scully Newsletter Growth

Lots of these actions resulted in more people signing up from the "build in public" community.

Back then, with only 769 followers, I would've messaged each of them about the launch. I've done something similar to grow my newsletter, adding 10-15 new subscribers daily.

It's easy to forget, but it's crucial to remember that getting in touch with your existing followers should be your focus after launching something new. They're following you for a reason, and usually, they'll be interested in what you're sharing.


April 19 - April 27:

Cyberleads Twitter Growth on socialblade

During this period, his first post went viral and resulted in a significant sales boost, Alex's growth primarily resulted from his Product Hunt launch and various other experimental growth strategies I mentioned earlier. At that point, he had around 10 customers.

Alex believes that the client who closed the $50/m deal might have come from sources like Reddit, Quora, or even his Product Hunt launch.

After Alex shared his achievement of reaching $50/m in revenue, he gained an additional 893 followers and attracted approximately 10,000 visitors to Cyberleads. Insane numbers!

Alex West First $50/month client tweet

“The last two days have been surreal. My twitter exploded unexpectedly from a random tweet. My Twitter followers doubled. My MRR doubled.”

Why would a simple tweet like this go viral?

The tweet's success came from a few things:

- First, It made people feel happy for him and inspired by his achievements. It connected with fellow entrepreneurs, indie hackers, and people who run their businesses. They know how tough it can be to find new customers when you're just starting.

- There was most likely a group of followers who followed him from the Product Hunt launch and all the previous failed launches. When they saw his tweet, they jumped in to spark the engagement.

- Talking openly about the sales he was making and how things were going for his business was a big deal. Not a lot of people were doing that on Twitter back then as they do now, so it stood out and people were interested in his growth.

- Tweeting about MRR just simply get's so much engagement. I've seen countless of people grow their businesses MRR, just by sharing their MRR openly, it's insane.

- This tweet also caught the attention of small business owners from all the engagement, exactly the kind of people who want more leads. Resulting in more sales.

This will not be the first time his sales explode from a viral tweet like this. Let’s take a look at the rest of his content that went viral...

May 11 - May 18:

Following his viral tweet from April, he mentioned that he hit $1k MRR

How Alex West Hit $500 MRR

This tweet brought 256 new followers, and thousands of visitors to Cyberleads with free subscribers and new paying customers.

This tweet is also a relatable experience for many entrepreneurs and business owners. It motivates people to push through the ups and downs that their business might be going through, too.

To top it off with a graph adds a layer of authenticity to his message. So it helps convey the story more effectively, making it more likely to be shared.

As you can see, sharing you wins in public is one of the best growth strategies you can do on Twitter and this is what he doubled down on as his early growth strategies. It’s weird, post MRR update = more MRR.

July 27 - August 3rd 2020: 953 followers gained

Alex West Viral Tweet

“A great day. A tweet of mine blew up, kind like the one about my first $50/mo customer!”

Aug 17 - Aug 24 2020: 291 followers gained

Alex West $2000 MRR Tweet

Sep 14 - Sep 21 2020: 426 followers gained

Alex West Lifestyle Business

Nov 2 - Nov 9 2020: 607 followers gained

Companies That Have Recently Raised Funds

Dec 7 - Dec 14 2020: 871 followers gained

Alex West Viral Tweet

As you can see, Alex never had a massive Twitter audience when he first started..

His audience exploded the more he started sharing tweets about his new customers, MRR updates, ‘quitting the 9to5’ and the development of his business.

Personal Blog:

Alex has been building his personal blog since 2020, where he wanted to share his thoughts, his plans and his project journey on a daily.

This can be a smart method to build up a personal relationship with his readers, build trust and a strong community to follow his updates through his successful and unsuccessful launches can be an actual growth method people use to get sales for their projects too. It's similar to what he does on Twitter, but it’s more personal.

Similar to how Vincent got his first sales from the community, he built up from years of writing his blogs.

Even though Alex doesn't directly mention that his blog brought him lots of sales, it played a big role in keeping him focused on his goals and mentally prepared. It's like having a daily reminder to stay on track, which is important, as he had many ups and downs with all his projects.

Mistakes From Launch:

The launch did well, but let’s look at some of his mistakes:

1. Alex received some negative comments from people who wanted a refund because they didn't receive the initial list immediately after signing up.

2. The site did not have a sample list that could show potential customers what kind of leads they could expect and how the data would be presented.

Cyberleads negative reviews

3. There wasn't a free plan to help nurture potential customers and lead them towards the paid offerings.

Cyberleads Pricing Plan

4. Initially, Alex didn't narrow down his target audience to agencies only.

When you don't narrow down your target audience, your marketing efforts become scattered, making it harder to tailor your messaging and value proposition effectively.

5. It's also worth noting that the typical strategy for a Product Hunt launch involves gathering emails and feedback from platforms like Twitter before actually launching the product on Product Hunt, especially when you've built a decent-sized audience to support your launch.

Alex did the complete opposite, but still managed to get it moving, which, I guess, validated the idea even more.

Despite these initial challenges, like any business, there's always room for adaptation based on user feedback.

On a positive note, some subscribers were genuinely impressed, even though one was initially skeptical due to the low fee (which it was).

Business Development:

Here are some of the recent strategies Alex has used to continue to grow his business..


As you can see, Alex likes to share his clients' wins now and then on Twitter.

Cyberleads Client Success Story


When Alex shares success stories about his service, it proves that it works well and can be trusted. This makes more people want to try out Cyberleads. People enjoy hearing positive stories on Twitter, especially when they see a huge ROI.

Also, see how Alex is using his name to talk about his business. That's better than just using the business name. People like to connect with real people, especially when you're only talking about one thing.

I just think It's a smarter move nowadays to use your personal brand to get more people interested and paying attention to your content.

“Even though it's not a sellable asset, I'll build CyberLeads with my personal brand. I believe personal brands are the future anyway, even in B2B.One viral tweet of mine can bring in more customers than my 12 months of working on SEO.”

The Done For You Plan

Alex introduced this Agency subscription model plan, and this when growth became really serious.

Cyberleads done for you plan

This plan is now how he makes the bulk of his $500k / ARR

Cyberleads Done For You Service

He claims that his main client acquisition strategy was funneling his existing newsletter subscribers who were on the ‘free’ and ‘Do it yourself plan’ into this new service that does everything for them.

Adding this service side to the business was a great move. The value of someone warming up leads and scheduling meetings for you is insane. Especially with the amount of revenue agencies bring in per client.

SEO

Another thing that helped Alex is his SEO strategy. In 2021, he talked about how he tried out SEO for a whole year and got 10 customers from it.

Check out the list of tweaks he made back then here

Lately, it seems like he's getting even more views from programmatic SEO. He's creating company pages using the ones he already has saved in the archive for CyberLeads.

Cyberleads SEO vs Twitter results

Podcast Interviews

Podcasts interviews is also a recent growth channel he started participating in more that’s driving free subscribers and sales.

Here are some of the podcasts he was featured in:

Oct 9, 2020: Bruno Talks

Jun 7, 2022: The ChoubeySahab Podcast

Aug 17, 2022: Pete Codes Podcast

Jul 06, 2023: First Million Podcast Episode - (Mentioned) This brought a lot of traffic and free subscribers for Cyberleads.

getcyberleads.com
getcyberleads.com

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