Author Archives: NickSid

SaaS Idea: geoclustering your customers using Census data

kmeansclusteringI made this post about targeting the rich. Someone in the reddit discussion mentioned it worked in reverse for selling work boots to blue collar people. This got me thinking that this method is generalizable into clustering zip code using census data into different type of neighbourhood and seeing where most of your current customers fall in. Then use the best cluster to predict the top converting areas. Use this list on adwords, facebook, display ads, etc.

I guess I could sell this SaaS to PPC firms has a way to raise ROI for their customers. I may actually do this idea. Any Angels want to fund me on this?

Side Note: I did a master in Data Mining. This is a killer field for anyone interested by marketing and data science.

Powerful trick to sell luxury or expensive goods


$4 a click is a good way to lose money

So you want to sell luxury goods like watches, designer sunglasses, etc. Or maybe you want to sell overpriced t-shirts and novelties? Tough luck buddy, everyone else is also trying to sell these. You’ll never make it without spending an assload of cash upfront to acquire these customers. All marketing channels are overfilled with advertisers targeting this crowd. So it’s hopeless or is it?

The trick: Clever geotargeting


Geotargeting on adwords is a powerful tool

In this post I’ll show you how to use clever geotargeting to reach wealthy potential customers on Google Adwords. First what is geotargeting? It means displaying something different on the web based on the geographic location of the viewer. For example, it makes sense to display ads in spanish to traffic from Spain instead of ads in english. This is simple basic geotargeting.

Now on Adwords you can do very low level geotargeting. You can target a single american zip code if you want. These zip codes vary in size but they usually represent a neighbourhood or small town of around 10 000 people. Rich people like to live among other rich people in posh neighbourhoods. See where this is going? You can use zip code level geotargeting on Adwords to only display your ads to people living in rich neighbourhoods! This is gold. Continue reading

Q&A on dropshipping

I got lots of emails, pm’s and questions in regards to this post about dropshipping. I’ve tried to reply to everyone, here’s some of the best questions and my reply:

Q: What is your opinion on a niche with 7000+ searches and just a few competitors? Should I go in?


Fiverr is full of interesting deals. This guy has $100 promo coupons for adwords.

A: Go try it, use a shopify free trial,  make a site quickly by stealing your competitors pictures and description (Note: dont do this for long or you are going to get sued, just do it to test the market interest) , get a $100 adwords promo code (Check fiverr for this) and start throwing traffic at your site, see what happens. First thing to check is if you can get any traffic with adwords. If you cant get 10 or more click a day you probably have problem: Market to small or USP is not relevant.

If you get decent traffic and CTR, it means there is a market and it likes your USP. Now your job is convert that traffic into sales and email subscribers. If you make a sale, you got something worth doing more work. If you get no sale you will need to further analyse things. Continue reading

Just sold my first Painting

(New readers: read how I bought this biz first)

The sale is coming from Facebook. I have been playing with facebook ads because this product is imminently visual and shareable. I think there is a strong viral potential if I can get the right mix of face, painting and pitch. The ad you see on the right is my first try. It has many things wrong, but the core message resonate so well with cat lovers that they cant resist sharing it with their friends, commenting, etc.

The time constraint is weak however, the landing page is not cat themed and requires CRO efforts, the image is not full width. I will have to work on this to get truly profitable stream of sales from Facebook. So far I spent $128 and made less than that on the first sale. Clearly the potential is here for positive ROI.

I’m thinking of doing some kind of “cat of the month” contest for a free painting, to enter you have to share on FB or twitter. I also have to figure out how to market effectively on Pinterest.

November Review

Some stats to begin


Click is an affiliate network of virtual products. Nice place to find stuff to push to your mailing list

cj is another affiliate network with bigger names and more physical goods


  • Design studio: USD $5413 sales, average of $180.43 in sales per day
  • Clickbank: $172 on 39 clicks, giving bout $2.24 per click
  • Dropshipping: CAD $23890 sales
  • CommissionJunction: $40 on also 39 clicks
  • Painting sales so far: $0.

Did I achieve my stated November goals?

I did start using some CRM, but so far I did not do any salesforce automation. I find it mentally painful to figure out how to do this correctly. Doing it in an half-assed way seems like a bad idea. I guess I should read a book about this to find the right way.

I did build an upsell package for my design studio. I mailed it to about half my list using mailchimp, sold about $800 worth, many people saying they will buy it the next few weeks. This is the thing I should be working on. It’s not very exciting or cool. It feels like work. I think that with the right upsell/cross sell emails I could sell about $20K because most of my customer would really benefit from buying these services. I should really work on this.

I did not write any “how I did it” post in november. I did write a post about a funny business idea, that led to being offered to buy a related business. I bought it for $1500. The seller made a video in which he explains why he sold it for so cheap (Hint: People like easy things!). Read about it here.

I also sold a dropshipping website for $1150. It turned out to be a lot trouble for so little money. I think I was better off keeping it. It was good experience to acquire however. Down the road I want to sell my bigger dropshipping websites to strategic buyers willing to pay big valuations.


I should work on selling to my existing customers and stop getting involved in side businesses.

December goals

  • Pick a few social influencer to give free paitings to promote
  • Push new services to my design studio’s past customers using mailchimp. I have about a thousand past customers who love me. Back-end selling is easy but so boring.
  • Try to see if I can promote some clickbank products on adword’s display network or elsewhere
  • Write a great post on how to get dropshipping suppliers


Acquired a custom portrait painting business

18thI bought, a humorous custom portrait painting business that fits your face into classical paintings. I bought it mostly because it’s cool, but it’s also a stepping stone to get my kick-ass, macho painting business idea off the ground.

I’m not yet sure how I’m going to market this. The product is visual, cool and unusual, so it should do well on social media. I have always been involved in “value” businesses where the selling point is pricing and convenience. I’m a bit out of my element. I recently read a very interesting guide to FB marketing. I’ll keep you updated to what I do.

Update: The Need/Want guys made a video about what’s happening to them and they discuss how and why they sold the site (Around the 11:00 mark). They reveal I got the site for quite a steal. Maybe  I should just flip the site quickly to some other buyer? I’m not sure I want to be in the painting business. Jon points out that the USP of the site is really unclear. It’s about hand-made real oil paintings but most people see it as a photoshop thing. I think I’ll change the main landing page to something much clearer.

Geeky hosting solution: Digitalocean

My prefered host right now is (Use this link to get $25 of credit) . It’s insanely cheap (as low as $5/month no commitment) and you get SSD servers. You can easily launch pre made images for Magento, wordpress, LAMP stack, etc. Simpler than Amazon’s AWS. However It’s only for people who are comfortable using SSH to do the remote admin. For non-geeks I recommend Godaddy.

Business idea: Me riding a t-rex gun blazing


Not a t-rex, not my face

A few months ago I was drinking beer with a friend discussing the idea of getting a custom oil painting made in Asia with my face in it to hang in my living room. There are great artist in Indonesia, Vietnam, etc, that will do great oil painting based on your pictures for ridiculously low sums of money. I thought I should try it once for myself, and then build a business making ironic or plain kick-ass painting based on people’s picture. He showed me this artist gallery featuring american presidents doing badass things: Riding dinosaurs, bears, etc. I was extremely interested in getting a painting done of me riding a t-rex gun blazing! Unfortunately I got busy with other stuff and never went thru with this idea. Did not make the painting or start the business. So please steal my idea and make it happen because the world needs more oil paintings of dinosaurs.

The business model

Select a dozen of cool or ironic paintings, make website explaining that you can get this painting with your face on it for $199. Total cost to produce would probably be around $30 for the artist, $20 for the shipping. This leaves about $150 of margin. I would hire painters using odesk, elance, etc.

How I would market this business

bill_clinton_the_lady_killer_by_sharpwriter-d5wx11hThis business has a big viral potential. People will want to share their cool t-rex-riding-gun-shooting painting on facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. I would start by offering surprise paintings to popular bloggers. Odds are they’ll be all too pleased to post about it on their blog. This should give a ton of free exposure and get some sales rolling. Once sales roll in I would make sure customers get a good quality picture of their painting with social sharing buttons to make it easy for them to broadcast their awesome painting.

Edit: turns out someone is doing something very similar!