Unleashing Success: The Remarkable Rise of Hustler Marketing to $230k/month

In your own words, what does your company do?

Hustler Marketing is a fully remote marketing agency for e-commerce stores. Early on our main focus has been on Email and SMS Marketing (retention), but over time we’ve been slowly expanding our services, to offer a one-stop 360 marketing solution to our clients.

The most recent services added to our repertoire are Ads Creative (UGC) Content and Strategy, and Ads Management. We’re now expanding it to Conversion Rate Optimization and potentially Recruitment.

Most of the stores working with us are US based, although we do have a few in Europe and Asia, and some others operate globally. Our headcount is 71 people at the time of writing this, and our mission statement is as follows:

As one of the world’s leading back-end marketing agencies for e-Comm, our mission at Hustler Marketing is to enable eCommerce businesses to grow through our holistic offering of responsible, delightful, and personalized communications with their prospective and existing customers.

Powered by our talented, experienced, and caring team, and a hands-on, personalized approach we go beyond the mandate and become an extension of the brands we help succeed.

📈 Monthly revenue: Ranges from $170,000 – $230,000

📈 ~% Churn: Around 5%, but it varies month over month considerably

📈 ~% Net profit: 20-30%

📈 Funding: We’re fully bootstrapped, so not applicable.

📈 Initial cost/investment to start the company: It grew organically, most of the initial investment went into mentorship, acquiring the first clients (lead generation), platforms, and software. It would be around a few thousand dollars initially, but most of the initial investment was time and energy.

📈 Number of team members: Currently 71 full members + 13 translators.

📈 Number of founders: 1

📈 Started: 2017, November

How does the company make money?

💰 Email Marketing (ongoing): We take care of the entire back-end setup, integrating the email platform with the client’s store, and we then develop a comprehensive strategy in accordance with their own goals and agenda – once this is done we implement it with automated flow sequences and ongoing campaigns. The entire marketing strategy, as well as copy, design, and setup, is provided for by us in this process. This includes creating, growing, and maintaining the clients’ email list (customer retention), nourishing said list and increasing CLV, sending out regular promotional and informational emails, assisting with product launches or events (e.g: Mother’s Day Sales), and continuously A/B testing and optimizing our automation (Welcome and Cart Abandonment sequence, etc).

💰 Email Marketing (one-off setups): We also offer the same service as a one-off package, it can either be flow setups, or campaign packages (e.g. Black Friday promotions, product launches, etc). Just as above, everything is provided for on our end.

💰 SMS (ongoing): As the name suggests, we send out regular SMS campaigns to our clients list. In this case, everything is done by us as well.

💰 Ads Creatives (UGC): We plan, create and edit short-form video content to be used with our client’s ads.

💰 Ads Management: We are rolling this one out on a smaller scale, but we do manage the FB and Tiktok ads of some of our clients fully.

💰 Consultations: Ranging from anything marketing and strategy related, to operations. Essentially focused on how to help scale our client’s business, including sales, HR, processes, etc.

3 strategies that have worked to attract and retain customers? 

Referrals: Plenty of our new clients come from current or past ones, which is not the most scalable long-term solution, but it is, however, a great indicator of the value we provide to our customers. If weren’t truly good at what we are doing, or if we weren’t bringing in the results expected of us (even exceeding them at times), there would be no referrals.

Cold Email: We have a rather optimized and extensive in-house cold email funnel, which has brought us plenty of new leads.

Facebook ads & LinkedIn prospecting: Adding these two together since, for the time being, they are rather small in comparison, we are nevertheless pouring resources into scaling them over time – so far results have been promising enough.

3 things that you’ve learned about hiring and retaining great talent?

Screening and assessing deeply: This one is crucial, we usually go through hundreds of applicants for each vacancy. The process of applying with us is quite lengthy and often intense, with several interview rounds and assessments to be overcome. This can be disheartening at times, and it causes plenty of applicants to lose patience and drop out (which actually makes the process even easier for us). This sounds harsh, and it is also quite resource intensive on our end, however, this is the only way we have found to ensure finding the right fit for each position. There is no point in recruiting someone you are unsure about, as the saying goes “It’s either a ‘hell yeah!’ or a ‘no’” – there is no in-between. And each time (or most of the times) we have settled for the “maybe’s” it turned out to be much more costly than simply doing a thorough job during the assessment stage.
It’s really hard to stress this point enough, making sure to get the right people on board is key and it can definitely make the difference between success and failure of an enterprise.

Going the extra mile for the Team: Once you have the right people on your side, it’s easy to fall into thinking that they now work for you, when in fact, it’s the other way around – in a way, you as the manager/ director/ owner, work for them at least as much as they work for you. If you keep that in mind it will make your approach to making decisions (both business and team-related ones) a much more calibrated one. If you have done such an effort to find the right people, and you have been fortunate enough to succeed in this endeavor, now it’s on you to retain them and keep them engaged, and trust me, it is worth it.

The way this will look for you and your company will depend on many factors, it’s not all about monetary compensation (although, yes, this is undeniably a big part of it).

It will depend on the size of your company, and the benefits you can offer, but it will also depend on the person in question and what makes them tick, not everyone has the same goals or preferences – the point here is to develop the inclination to explore this, to dig into the matter, get to know your people well and make this one of your priorities.

I could probably rant on this for hours, but to close this part with a few practical thoughts, here are a few things you can (and should!) do:

  • First, the obvious one, attend to your people and treat them with respect. Don’t assume that you know everything, because if that were to be the case, you wouldn’t need them in the first place, it’s good to drop the “top-down” approach at times. Make sure everyone has a voice, no matter what position they might occupy, everyone has a unique perspective which can be valuable and should be treated as such. Also, no one would enjoy working in an environment that makes them feel like a faceless number, you are dealing with people here.
  • Find ways to check in with your team regularly. This can be done via meetings or feedback forms. You need to develop a good insight into your team’s pulse at all times – both in general (the team as a whole) and individually. This serves two purposes, on one hand, you need to be able to anticipate any potential issues/ discontentments that might be brewing up among your team – you might not always be able to solve everything immediately, but at least, no issue should catch you by surprise. On the other hand, your people need to have a place to bring up constructive criticism, concerns, worries, and feedback (even if mostly positive at times). They should clearly know where/ whom to go to for what kind of issue they might be dealing with, and they should know that you care about whatever they might have to bring up (depending on the scale of your business, you might obviously need somebody to help you processing, filtering, and attending to all of this – however, as the owner/ leader/ manager you should always be in the loop of the general sentiment).
  • Explore different initiatives your team might enjoy, and find ways to connect them to each other beyond just the day-to-day work. This is a tricky one, I’ve seen many places just go for the stock “top 5 fun activities for teambuilding”, if that’s you then my advice would be to rather do nothing instead. If what you’re doing seems forced or isn’t authentic to your company and your culture, then it will just remind people of their school years and all those “fun” activities nobody really ended up enjoying. This can breed resentment, and it will make it seem like you don’t care (and the truth might be that you don’t care enough, in which case, revert back to the first half of this point). The truth is, there is no readymade or stock activity you can just Google and then try to plug into your team, you will need to sit down and explore this deeply – find something that resonates with your people (maybe even ask them), think about things that are aligned with your culture and that could be developed and engrained organically – test different things, and start small. If they work well, you can think about how to incorporate more of those activities, or how to scale them and make them even bigger.
    An example from our side: we have this thing called the Hustler of the Month/ Quarter (also a reference to our name, we also at times call our people hustlers… anyway). It started out as this small thing, where someone would just give someone else a shoutout on our team calls, and over time it became this big thing where people can submit a “nomination”, which then gets assessed internally, we then have our designers create funny banners of the person nominated, which then gets presented on our Quarterly Team call, the person nominating the person gets to say a few words about them – and in the end, the entire team gets to vote. We even started including monetary bonuses (used to be gift boxes) where now the Hustler of the Month gets 0.5% of our quarterly profits, and the Hustler of the Quarter a full 1%.
    You get the idea, but again, this has to come from within, so 1) develop interest and curiosity and 2) try different things, see what resonates, and then scale it.

Attention to Details Matters (a lot actually): This one goes both for recruitment and retention. When it comes to recruitment, it also goes both ways – on one side there’s you (your company, or the people doing your recruitment), and on the other side there are the people being recruited. 

From your end, showing attention to detail says something about you and your company, the way you present yourself when writing a job post, or an email, are you going to make sure to avoid typos? Will you use the right subject lines, CC the right people, etc? When inviting someone to an interview, are you going to be punctual? Will all the links work? 

The same goes for the onboarding process, are things clearly laid out, do people know where to find what material, and so on and so forth? Those early interactions are crucial since they will determine how you (or the people representing you – and therefore your company) will be perceived – if you want to work with the right talent, slow down and pay attention to those details. In a nutshell: Don’t be sloppy.

When it comes to screening applicants, you should hold the people who apply to work with you to the same standard – if they can’t even be bothered to write an intro email that is free of typos and wrong punctuation, how can you expect them to handle a 6 or 7 figure client?

Actions speak louder than words, and the devil is in the details or as someone once told me “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”. 

If on paper everything seems great, but your “A Player Candidate” is late for the interviews, doesn’t correct their spelling mistakes when writing you, or doesn’t follow the instructions given in the assessment, you can be almost certain that this is exactly how they will approach the work with you and your clients (sooner or later). But it doesn’t just end with recruitment, it’s also important for retention as I said in the beginning – although here it plays out a bit differently. Yes, you still want to make sure that your emails are well written, and so on, but things are usually more casual and human when it comes to internal communication, which is completely fine (that’s how it should be). 

The details that matter when it comes to taking care of your existing talent are more linked to interpersonal skills, meaning – it could be the person’s anniversary or birthday and you might have just spent a full hour on a meeting with them completely oblivious to that fact, therefore not once acknowledging it. It could be that someone has entrusted you with some confidential concerns or feedback, but you didn’t pay enough attention to the fact that you “accidentally” gave away important information to the person’s manager, which technically you shouldn’t have known about since it was given to you in a confidential way. You might be writing an announcement about upcoming events or changes in the company, but you didn’t slow down to make sure that everything is clear, you are not confusing or unnecessarily alarming anyone, or you didn’t consider that people might have questions or feedback about it and don’t know where to bring them up – and so on and so forth. Those details matter, a lot.

Written by: Olin Scharm, HR Director at HustlerMarketing


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