I recently interviewed Chase Bowers on the first episode of the First Customers podcast.
Chase is the Founder of Dropified, the 2019 Inc 5000’s fastest growing company in Alabama and #55 in the USA.
Dropified is a platform for managing and automating a drop shipping business.
It has a 3-Year growth rate of 4,971% with 5.1 Million in revenue in 2018.
During this interview Chase explains in detail the customer acquisition strategy and tactics he used to get his first 1,000+ customers without spending a dime.
Decide who you want to be
In 2005, Chase decided to be an entrepreneur in college. That decision set the foundation for a lifestyle of continuous improvement.
10 years later, after several failed side projects, he went to an event hosted by Chris Record about Facebook Ads and marketing in 2015.
Chase took a big risk and paid $10,000 to join a mastermind group offered by Chris Record. This was a group of people in the business of making money and teaching others how to do the same. They met 4 times per year.
Through this master mind group Chase got interested in drop shipping. At one of the events he heard an inspiring story of a former prisoner who successfully started a drop shipping business and made $30,000 in a short time.
So Chase started his own drop shipping business.
Solve your own problem
Eventually he realized there were a lot of tedious steps involved in running this type of business.
He knew a lot of these tasks could be automated with the the help of the right developer.
So he hired a web developer that he trusted to start building the tool he needed.
Together they built a chrome extension.
That tool helped Chase save time and money by automating several small tasks required for running his store.
Dropified was born (then known as Shopified).
Show and Tell
After showing it to mastermind group members, they told him they would gladly pay to use his software for their businesses. Until then Chase had only thought to use it for himself.
This conversation inspired him to make his little chrome extension into something others could use. Him and his developer got to work making a new version.
Ready. Aim. Give.
When it was ready, Chase gave away access to Dropified for free to people in his exact target audience by making a deal with Chris Record.
Anyone who signed up for Chris Record’s course “How to start a drop shipping business” would get Dropified for free as a bonus.
This turned out to be a brilliant move.
Over 1,000 customers were given free access, which gave Chase a lot of free user testing and feedback on the first version of Dropified.
Listen to your customers
Over the next 2 weeks, Chase and his developer improved the product based on the feedback from the free customers.
Now it’s better than ever and Chase starts planning how to sell it.
Small tests lead to big results
To test demand for the product and see if anybody would actually pay to use it, Chase launched a limited presale that offered lifetime memberships to the first 50 people that signed up.
After selling out within 2 days he launched another presale for another 50 memberships and sold out quickly again.
Chase sold a total of $30k worth of memberships from those first 100 sales.
Reinvest your early money
With 1000 free customers and 100 paid customers, Chase decided to not scale up yet.
Chase paused all sales and marketing after the presale.
For 6 months he reinvested that $30k back into the product, fixing bugs and adding features.
Once he was happy with the state of the product, it was time to grow.
Leverage the audiences of others
So in 2016, he hired an affiliate manager to recruit affiliate marketers as the “sales team” for the official launch.
These affiliate marketers have large audiences who they regularly sell products.
Chase was careful to setup bonus incentives to attract more affiliates to sell his product.
Use what you’ve got
Using all the skills he developed over the years (video, web, etc.), Chase built all the marketing materials needed for the official launch by himself.
This gave his affiliate sales team the tools they needed to sell more effectively.
After officially launching through the affiliates, Dropified became #1 product on JV Zoo, the affiliate platform he chose to launch through.
Overnight success takes 10 years of hard work
On that first official launch day Chase made about $100,000.
By the end of the first week Chase had sold $700,000 worth of Dropified memberships.
And by the end of 2016 Dropfied hit $1,000,000 in revenue.
The affiliate-based launch tactic Chase started with is only good for short term growth.
Once the initial boost in sales is over, the affiliates have saturated their audience with your product and its time for them to move on to another product.
To continue growing the customer base after the initial launch Chase had to get creative.
He started offering free webinars that offered advice about starting a drop shipping business and then upsold webinar attendees on Dropified.
This worked well for awhile, but eventually more was needed to keep scaling up.
He eventually worked on more traditional methods like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, SEO, and Content Marketing, building out a full marketing team.
By being open minded and creatively experimenting with new tactics, Dropified continues its path of steady growth since launch and landed on the Inc 5000 list in 2019.
Chase Bowers’ Secrets to Success
- Live with intention. Living with intention is the key to success in business and life.
- Commit to a lifestyle of investing in yourself.
- Embrace the process. Consistently move towards your goal and you make success inevitable. Even if you haven’t hit your goal after 1 year, you are closer to your goal than when you started.