Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello, my name is Tim Sumer and I am the founder of Video Jaguar, AKA, The Easiest Way To Create Marketing Videos. Video Jaguar is an all-in-one video marketing software that provides a solution for both video production and social media marketing.
The main reason Video Jaguar is known as the world’s easiest video ad maker for businesses, agencies, and real estate professionals, is simply because of how the video editor is set up. Once you choose a video template the editor opens to pre-defined text and media placeholders for each scene, which you can customize with your own branding in a few clicks.
Additionally, you can select the color scheme and background music of the video. Don’t have your own images or background music? No problem! There is a media library integrated within Video Jaguar that has millions of HD images to choose from, as well as a music library that has hundreds of royalty-free tracks. We currently have over 900 HD video templates available that are automatically sized for each social media platform. After you are done customizing, click render, and this is where the magic happens! Video Jaguar will do all the heavy lifting in the cloud and have your new marketing video finished before you can make another coffee.
The other main feature of Video Jaguar is the ability to automatically share videos on the top 11 social media platforms. So, we not only allow our users to easily create videos but also step up their social media marketing game by having a consistent flow of engaging video content.
I launched the first version of Video Jaguar in August 2019. We did $25,038.74 in sales from August-December 2019, $188,672.22 in sales in 2020, and we are now doing $32,911.77/month in sales and are on track to do over $700K this year with roughly 75-85% bottom-line depending on our ad-spend.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I have been in the internet marketing space since 2007 and have done everything from affiliate marketing to dropshipping. I must have created hundreds of online businesses and most of them failed. Along the way, I became very skilled in designing websites, writing copy, SEO, social media, and all other facets of digital marketing.
In 2012, I launched a digital marketing firm called the USA Marketing Pros and steadily grew my client base one project at a time. My clients ranged from startups, law firms, and all the way up to enterprise-level brands that are globally known. One thing I noticed that was similar between all my clients, is that no matter how much revenue they brought in every month, every single one of them was always looking for digital solutions at the lowest possible cost; and not wanting to spend money on new emerging marketing trends. A good example of this, that many people can still remember, is that when Facebook first came on the scene many businesses thought it was a joke to have their company actively on the platform.
If you really want to grow quickly you need to reach out to others in your niche and create partnerships. Sure, you won’t get 100% of the revenue from every sale, but you will get upwards of 100x more sales with every partner you sign up for.
So, as you can imagine, when I tried to convey the importance of creating branded videos for my client’s businesses, I was met with a lot of resistance as to how they simply did not need it and how it was not worth spending their budget on. I somewhat understood where they were coming from, as creating professional video ads ranged anywhere from $500 to $5,000+ at this time. Additionally, I realized that most of my clients didn’t have the time to consistently develop content and post on social media. This is when I realized there was a need for a video creation software that was easy to use, affordable, and most importantly, created professional-looking videos.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Video Jaguar was born when I realized there was this huge need for business owners of all sizes to easily create brandable marketing videos. I knew other video creation software existed, however, most of them required a massive amount of time to learn how to use. These other video makers not only were difficult to learn, but they also put a limit on how many videos you could create. Yet that is not even the worst part! Nearly every video creation software that is on the market offers a “free trial” which dupes people into spending hours learning how to use the software and perfecting their video only to realize that they’ll need to pay full price to remove a horrendous looking watermark promoting the software.
I knew that the main features I wanted to have been everything the other video-making software on the market was lacking. This included being able to create unlimited videos, having no watermarks on the videos, making the video editor point-and-click easy, and pricing it so even companies just starting up could afford it. I even went the extra mile and insisted that all users had a full commercial license so that they could sell the videos they created for any price they chose and keep 100% of the profits. Honestly, these seem like pretty reasonable things every video creation software should have, right?
The initial version of Video Jaguar only allowed users to create videos and did not have the option to automatically share them on social media. This allowed us to focus more on developing great video templates in a variety of niches, and make sure the videos rendered lightning fast.
I was able to bootstrap most of the startup costs and utilize my digital marketing firm, USA Marketing Pros, to help design and market the website. Over the years, I have perfected the process of finding the right technology partners to outsource everything that I am unable to do myself, so this part was rather seamless. For all the legal stuff, I am fortunate enough to have a sister who is an attorney that specializes in contract law and does not charge me exorbitant fees.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I launched Video Jaguar after extensive beta testing and when I believed it had enough features to make a compelling offer. There was no fancy launch party, and I did not even tell my friends and family; other than my sister who helped with legal stuff. This is how I like it. The fewer people knowing about projects I am working on the better. Besides, as most entrepreneurs already know, friends and family are usually the first to shoot down an idea and be non-supportive.
My strategy for promoting Video Jaguar was the same as most other online businesses I’ve launched and that I deploy for my clients. Without going into too much detail on some proprietary methods, I’ll simply say that the more places you can put your business information online the better chances you’ll have in getting noticed. I know this is a broad and obvious statement, but it’s the truth.
Starting with researching high traffic keywords, where the competition is, who the ideal customers are, and where these customers all hang out online would be the initial steps anyone should take when planning on launching a business. I not only did all these basic steps but also utilized my current client base by emailing them and encouraging them to share with their networks in return for a 30-day free trial. Never underestimate the power of referral marketing.
As I mentioned earlier, I utilized my digital marketing firm, USA Marketing Pros, to design the website and promote it, so I had very minimal costs. Adding content to the website was a breeze since I was able to showcase each video template in individual blog posts. This not only helped show potential clients what they could make with Video Jaguar but also was a powerful SEO tactic that got the site ranking for some long-tail keywords related to video templates in various niches.
I did create Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns just to cover all the bases and see if I could get any traction from these websites. I had a client who launched a successful beef jerky company on Kickstarter back in 2013 when the platform was still fresh, and he was able to raise $60K+ from two separate campaigns. Knowing this I figured it was worth a shot to see if I could raise any capital. To my surprise, both Kickstarter and Indiegogo were complete flops! I realized that since 2013 everybody and their brother was on these platforms trying to pitch all kinds of ideas, and in this sea of mostly bad ideas it was nearly impossible for the good ones to get noticed. To have a successful Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign nowadays you will have to spend some serious time and money marketing your campaign, which does not really make that much sense because you should just be doing that for your own website.
In the early days of launching your product, it is all about spending your focus on perfecting your offering and driving as much attention to your website as possible, while bootstrapping most of your marketing efforts.
Screenshot of original website:
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Since launching Video Jaguar, I’ve explored many different marketing tactics that have proven to be beneficial. It’s mainly a trial-and-error type of process when exploring new methods to draw in more customers, so never be afraid to try something you haven’t done before.
Don’t get stuck in the idea and planning stage. Any product that you are building will have many iterations and everything takes time to perfect.
I offered discounts on various coupon websites that had high traffic. This is a free method that many people overlook. Although somewhat time-consuming to find these coupon sites and post to them, you can always hire a freelancer to do it for you for extremely low rates. Another method I used was finding micro-influencers to promote Video Jaguar to their audience in the form of blog posts, social media posts, and video reviews.
One of the best growth hacking tips I can give is to partner with brands that already have your customer base in their audience. For example, I was able to partner with numerous software deal sites that ran promotional deals for Video Jaguar. I paid these deals sites a commission for every sale they were able to make and they would do all the advertising to their audience. This not only gave me a huge rush of new customers but also mass exposure extremely fast.
Another tactic I deployed after launching that attracted customers is getting top publishers to write articles about Video Jaguar. I did this by partnering with a company that works with these top publishers. I had a similar commission-based agreement with this company so that every sale that was made they got a percentage. This worked out very well and got Video Jaguar press in publications such as Entrepreneur, The Next Web, VentureBeat, Android Central, iMore, CrackBerry, & Windows Central.
In addition to everything I have already mentioned, I kept doing my traditional methods of SEO, social media marketing, FB Ads, Google Ads, YouTube Ads, and email marketing. I have many digital marketing tools in my arsenal that allow me to find targeted leads all over the internet, and once I have these leads, I’ll start doing outreach to them. Another growth hack I used was finding leads from Instagram; specifically, Instagram business accounts that have their contact information listed. Many people overlook this but Instagram business accounts that have that big button that says “Contact” on them mean they want you to get in touch with them. So, if you have the right tools, you can gather up massive lists of these targeted leads off Instagram and start reaching out to them.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Video Jaguar is currently thriving and gaining many customers each day on autopilot. All our marketing efforts from the previous year are really paying off now. We get around 1,000 visitors a month from Google searches alone and have many pages ranking on the first page of search results. In 2020, the average amount of unique visitors we got to the site every month was slightly over 4k. Our gross margins are 80% on average.
We have had a great start to 2021, with over 30K in sales in January and a 3x return on ad-spend investment (ROAS). Extending our lifetime deal into the new year has been highly successful and we are naturally getting a lot of exposure from it. January is always a good month for B2B sales and when most companies spend money on marketing tools.
I currently manage a team of 5 full-time employees that handle our support desk and backend. Also, I oversee all partnerships and affiliates who make commissions promoting Video Jaguar. For all our digital marketing, I use my other company, USA Marketing Pros.
Plans for the future include adding more features to Video Jaguar. As of right now, there have already been 3 versions of the software, and every month we add 5 new video templates to the template bank. We are constantly adding supplemental content to our knowledge base, including tutorial videos on how to make certain types of videos. I plan to scale revenue to 60K/month by the end of the year in hopes of building a 2M+ company by the end of next year.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One thing that I wished I had done sooner was to reach out to potential partners and utilized their audiences to gain traction fast.
I am still a firm believer in bootstrapping at the beginning, but if you really want to grow quickly you need to reach out to others in your niche and create partnerships. Sure, you won’t get 100% of the revenue from every sale, but you will get upwards of 100x more sales with every partner you sign up for.
Another thing I learned was that “free” is not always better. I did offer a 5-day free trial that rolled into our monthly plan at the very beginning of our launch and nearly 99% of these folks canceled. I learned that the freebie crowd is more trouble than they are worth. Most of these people did not watch the tutorial videos but instead bombarded our support with basic questions that could have been answered if they just put in the time to watch our training materials, and then ended up canceling at the end.
Through all the right and wrong decisions, I came out on the other end as a wiser entrepreneur. Many people get too caught up with the fear of failure that they never execute. Like the old saying goes “if you are going to fail then fail fast.” I take every wrong decision I made and look at it as an invaluable lesson that makes me more prepared for future endeavors.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- WordPress – Front end CMS
- GetResponse – email marketing
- PayPal – Payments
- Marketing – USA Marketing Pros
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been in the internet marketing space since 2007 and have read countless amounts of blogs and forums, watched hundreds of hours of YouTube videos, and purchased enough courses and masterminds to last a lifetime, which have all gotten me to where I am at today. Experience is the best teacher and has launched hundreds of online businesses in the past has really taught me the most.
It has been a culmination of things that have pushed me to where I am today, and my best piece of advice would be to just get out there and start creating. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but without execution, it’s really worth nothing.
Some favorite books of mine:
- Think & Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill
- The One Thing – by Gary Keller
- Atomic Habits – by James Clear
- Thinking Strategically – by Avinash Dixit
- The 48 Laws of Power – by Robert Greene
- Traction – by Gino Wickman
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
My advice for other entrepreneurs is to not get stuck in the idea and planning stage. Any product that you are building will have many iterations and everything takes time to perfect. The most important thing is executing on your plan and having a product to offer.
Also, you must be completely honest with yourself and realize that you are not going to be the best at everything. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you understand which parts of your plan you need to outsource.
Finally, like I said before if you are going to fail then fail fast. Be agile and pivot if you notice things not working out as you may have planned.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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