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How I got a 60% response rate and $8K orders in 2 months: Ana Bibikova

Ana Bibikova is a co-founder of WizenGuides. She has 18 years of experience in building offline and online businesses that reached $4M in annual revenue. In 2018 Ana went through a burnout that made her take a break in enetrepreneurship and move to the education field. She volonteers as a mentor for The Founder Institute where she helps dozens of early-stage startups to find product-market fit. She also shares her expertise on Twitter and LinkedIn
6 years ago when I was launching an online store I decided to hire an agency to help me with influencers marketing. They did not. I ended up doing everything on my own. As a result I got 60% open rate for my emails that brought me $8K in 2 months. This is what i did:
  1. I went through 100 profiles who followed our offline store page, tracked accounts they follow, and chose the ones with the most intersections.
  1. Then I went through these accounts 3 months back and made a list of the posts they make.
  1. Only after that, I reached out to them and offered product placement that aligned well with the content they were publishing. My open rate was 100%! I’m not kidding, honestly — every influencer I reached out opened the email I sent because I crafted them in a very personal way. It was a use case for a deep bottom-line personalisation because I did not have so many influencers to reach out for and could spend some time researching everyone.
  1. I also used high-level personalisation when we brought some new items and had to give a boost for them in the local market. Those were 4 varieties of chilli and lime sauces. I figured they would be perfect as a side product for seafood stores. Obviously, I could not research every seafood store owner in the country. Instead, I filtered the email address database based by location. Then I googled up which big retail chain has just popped up in that area or reported to be a huge problem for small business owners and crafted my emails like this: “We know X chain drains you from your revenue. Here’s how you can fight back and get 15% of your revenue next month”. In the letter body I introduced the new sauces and shared the research that showed data obtained by the manufacturer on the other markets. My open rate was close to 60% (but I sent out 2000 emails) and brought me orders for $8K in 1 month.
Now there are tools that you can use to do all the heavy lifting that I did years ago. BuzzSumo and SparkToro are perfect for audience research, understanding what your customers’ current concerns are.

Further Reading:


Like what you’ve read so far in your founder guides? We’ve got more to come

Upcoming guides...

  • Content marketing distribution machine: a full guide for founders
  • Founder guides: create an affiliate program
  • A founder guide to programmatic SEO
Co-founders & Hiring
  • Founder guides on hiring your first employee
  • Outsource effectively
  • How to split up equity
  • Finding a co-founder
  • How to find relevant beta users
  • Prioritize features effectively
  • How to price your product
  • Building a roadmap
Have an idea for the next Wizen Guide or interested in contributing in the next founder guides? Give us a shout at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.


Meet the team 👋

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Ana Bibikova - @NotechAna
Ana is an Author, Marketing Strategist and a Mentor in the Founder Institute. Ana has 18y of experience in building businesses, growing them to $4M annual revenue.
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Anthony Castrio - @AnthonyCastrio
Anthony is a Software Engineer, Fractional CTO, and the founder of Indie Worldwide, a virtual incubator and social club for bootstrapped founders.