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Ep 96: Using Micro-Influencers to Earn $65 Million in Two Years with Amanda Tress

Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool in the business. Today we speak with Amanda Tress, founder of FASTer Way to Fat Loss, whose micro-influencer and word-of-mouth campaign has grown her business at an astounding— it’s made $65 million in two years. We open the conversation by talking about how Amanda started her program as a side-hustle with only 11 clients. She explains her business model and why not everyone can get certified as a FASTer Way to Fat Loss coach.

A key takeaway, Amanda shares how she turned her customer force into her sales force by using her clients as affiliates and influencers. We discuss what this means on a practical level as Amanda talks about her tiered affiliate system and how she creates scripts and marketing roadmaps for her affiliates to use. Amanda then opens up about her pain points and how the technology that she uses can’t keep up with her ambitions to scale her company. Following the topic of technology, we ask Amanda what tools she uses and how she keeps track of her business.

Near the end of the episode, she attributes her incredible success to having a fantastic product that landed at the right time and in the right place. Tune in to hear more of Amanda’s story and learn how you can leverage her brilliant micro-influencer strategy to bring in more leads.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW:

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE BELOW:

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • Amanda’s business journey of going from one to 65 million dollars within two years.
  • Empowering your clients to become micro-influencers for your brand.
  • Amanda’s work in a marketing agency and turning her side-hustle into a big business.
  • Specifics on FASTer Way to Fat Loss’s business model.
  • Why not everyone can get certified by FASTer Way to Fat Loss.
  • How Amanda turns her customer force into her sales force.
  • Details on how Amanda incentivizes influencers and affiliates to promote her brand.
  • Creating marketing road maps and resources for your influencers to generate leads.
  • How Amanda tracks her affiliates and why technology has been her biggest pain point.
  • Challenges with scaling her business and why Amanda is putting caps on her services.
  • Hurdles that arise at different points in your business trajectory.
  • How Amanda recruited her first group of influencers before giving them lead pages.
  • When her business took off and how her certification program created affiliates.
  • The tools that Amanda uses to track her company’s performance and the data that she pays most attention to.
  • The secret to Amanda’s success; good timing and having a fantastic product.

TWEETABLES:

“We leverage our army of influencers and coaches and empower our community to generate high-quality leads.” — @amandajtress [0:13:34]

“My first 11 clients were from my former workplace. They had incredible results and I gifted them with 50% commission for everyone they brought in.” — @amandajtress [0:20:23]

“We’re just doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. That’s how we’ve been able to grow so quickly. We have a great program that delivers awesome results.” — @amandajtress [0:25:25]

About Amanda Tress

Amanda Tress founded the FASTer Way to Fat Loss in 2016 and quickly scaled it to become one of the fastest-growing health and fitness companies on the market today. The FASTer Way grew by more than 1,600% in 2019 alone and has already surpassed $50M in revenues under her leadership as CEO. Amanda’s vision is to help individuals and households get well, prevent disease, and fulfill their purpose with energy.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

RV: (00:06) Hey, Brand Builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for tuning in to listen to this interview, we are so excited to bring you this information and wanted to let you know that, Hey, there’s no sales pitch coming. From anything that we do with this is all our value add to you and the community. However, if you are somebody who is looking for specific strategies on how to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and we offer a free call to everyone that’s interested in getting to know us and is willing to give us a chance to get to know them and share a little bit about what we do. So if you’re interested in taking us up on a free strategy call, you can do that at brand builders, group.com/summit. Call brand builders, group.com/summit. Call. Hope to talk to you soon on with the show. RV: (01:03) I am just ecstatic to introduce you to one of our newer friends. Her name is Amanda tress, and, you know, at Brand Builders Group, we’ve got 12 different events. And one of our events is called eight figure entrepreneur. And we talk specifically about building an eight figure business and turning a personal brand into a business. And frankly, it’s hard to find examples of people who have actually done that. There’s very few people that, that can turn a personal brand in an online business into something that reaches an eight figure level. And Amanda has done that. She is the creator of the faster way to fat loss which I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it’s it’s the premiere virtual intermittent fasting fitness and nutrition program. AIJ and I are clients of the program. So we we’re big believers in fasting. We use, we actually use it. RV: (01:57) And Amanda is Amanda tress, not my AJ. But Amanda used a micro influencer strategy to scale this company, get this… To from zero to $20 million in less than three years. Which what I heard that it blew my mind. And then we got introduced to her through a mutual friend. We’ve gotten to know her and her husband and their family. And she’s just awesome. And I just, I am so excited honestly, to learn with/ alongside of you here. Since we convinced Amanda to come on the show and anyways, Amanda, thank you for being here. Thank you so much, Rory. I’m thrilled to be here. So is this a true story, like zero to $20 million in revenue in three years? Is that a true story? You know, it’s, it’s not a true story. It is a one to 65 million in two AT: (03:00) Years. So that is the story. RV: (03:02) So you went from, from 1 million to 65 million AT: (03:07) In 24 months, a little bit over 24 months. Yes. That is the story. And, and that is with the fast way to fat loss being our main focus over the past two and a half years since I had my third baby, who is my wild child, she was a bit of a surprise, but I decided to truly focus in on the faster way after she was born. So it’s been quite the ride. RV: (03:34) So, and when you say 65 million, is that annual revenue or that’s the total AT: (03:39) The total gross revenue over the past a little bit over two years. RV: (03:44) That’s incredible. Okay. So you’re, you’re looking, you’re looking at like $30 million in annual revenues. I mean, it’s, it’s a membership model, so it fluctuates, but that is absolutely incredible. So I think for the rest of our interview, I only have one question. How did you do that? And I’m just going to shut up and I just, I’m going to frantically take notes as you tell us all of your insider secrets of you know, just tell us the story, like how did this happen? AT: (04:14) Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll back up just a little bit. So I talk about the past 24 months, but I created the faster way to fat loss in January of 2016. In January of 2016, I started the program with only 11 clients. I was able to quickly empower those 11 clients to become micro influencers for the brand. But at that time in 2016, I was still running my marketing agency for female entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. And to be honest, the marketing agency and serving clients with a managed services model through that particular company was my primary focus. I spent 95% of my time empowering other trainers and wellness professionals to leverage the power of social media, to ramp up their own unique companies. And what I found a couple of years ago after having my third baby is that although I could teach a female entrepreneur in the fitness industry, how to show up online video and spread the word about their program, or get more eyeballs on their content with effective marketing and sales funnels. AT: (05:28) Unfortunately, my clients, weren’t fantastic with programming. So two and a half years ago, I said, you know what? I have this little program called the fast way to fat loss that is highly effective. I was running it myself as a bit of a side project. And I said, why don’t I create a certification around this particular program? And then give my agency clients the opportunity to become certified, run my program with their clients. So my agency clients quickly hopped on board. They trusted me because I had been giving them sound advice for a series of years. They became certified and now my certified coaches serve as affiliates for the faster way to fat loss. And in addition to affiliates, we have micro influencers who spread the word about the program, but it’s only been in the past two and a half years that we’ve decided to focus on the faster way to fat loss and coach certification and actually shut down the agency. So we could be a little bit more powerful in our approach to ramp up that particular vertical, the faster way to fat loss. So it’s been, you know, a lot of shifts and pivots and changes for lack of a better word, but we have found our sweet spot now with the model. We now have a membership model, as you mentioned, which we launched last April, so a little bit over a year ago and the rest is history. RV: (07:04) Gosh, that is so wild. And what an interesting way to pivot, you know, as you’re describing this, this is very similar to the direction that brand builders group is heading. That, you know, a lot of our clients specifically that are interested in teaching people about like online business and they do that, they’re becoming our, our strategists and, and not having to kind of create the curriculum and being able to just do relationships and then kind of layer some of their own, you know, like some of their own stuff on top of it. But you know, you totally pivoted. So, so give us an idea of the mechanics. Like how much, how much does the membership cost? And then, I mean, so you’re talking about 70,000 people. You’ve had something like 70,000 clients AT: (07:52) We’ve had over 150,000 clients go through our new client six week orientation program. So I’ll just quickly break down our model. We like to keep things very simple here at the fast way to fat loss. Simplicity is bliss, especially in 2020. Our model simply involves a six week new client orientation program each and every person interested in burning fat with the faster way to fat loss and participating in our online workouts must go through that initial six week program. After the six week program, our client is then auto-enrolled into our VIP membership. The VIP membership is a month to month commitment. The six week new client program is $199. The VIP membership is $79 per month. A client will then remain in the VIP membership until they decide they are sick of seeing me on video, working them through high intensity interval training. But we have an incredible retention rate, which has been a massive blessing. So that is the model. It’s a new client orientation, six week program enrolled into a VIP membership. And we also have the certification that a client can then invest in if they love the program, love the lifestyle and want to share it with their friends, family members, community, and clients as well. So, RV: (09:19) So I love that. So, so basically anyone can become certified if they invest in it and then they go through, how much does the certification is? That AT: (09:25) That’s a great question. Yeah. And, and, you know, the truth is not anyone can become certified because we have a pretty exclusive group and an arduous process to become certified, do, try to focus on fellow wellness professionals for our certification, we just enrolled a cohort of new coaches last month. It was our second time to enroll coaches. This year, we had about 8,500 individuals on the waiting list. We accepted about 300, actually exactly 300 and to the new coach cohort, after an application process and an interview process, and then our coaches, they pay $5,000 for the certification. They are required to pass the exam with 100%. And once they do, they have the ability to share the program with their community and clients as well. RV: (10:23) Now can the other 8,200 people, can they share the program and be an affiliate? They, they, so they could, everyone can share the program, but only certain people are like certified to actually teach in it. AT: (10:38) Yes, that’s absolutely right. It’s difficult to become a certified coach. However, you can apply to become an influencer. If you are not accepted into the coach certification and you still receive a generous commission for spreading the word about the program as an influencer or affiliate, you just do not have the opportunity or ability to teach the curriculum. RV: (11:02) Got it. Geez, that is so cool. I mean, this is powerful stuff. I mean, and so, so talk to me about how do you get the client? I mean, so, so, so your first six weeks, so you have influencers. So what, so what you’ve done, and this is something we talk about a lot is turn your customer force into your Salesforce. You are a living example of, and what you’ve done, which is so cool, which is what I think modern day technology allows us to do, right. Is like business has always been word of mouth, but you’re tracking it. And you’re paying people for the word of mouth that they would probably do anyways. Brand mills are the same way as like, we want people to just refer us, but we actually want to track it and pay them so that they actually put a little more energy to it. And you’ve done that and it’s just spread like wildfire. So is that, is that the primary way that you generate new clients into the six week? Like new client orientation? AT: (12:06) Yeah, really good question. We have what I call a one tier affiliate model. So not only do we allow Rory for example, to become an influencer for the brand, sorry, but you probably wouldn’t be accepted to the certified coach. RV: (12:22) I know, that’s what I was like, Hey, some fitness classes, give me a camera AT: (12:29) They gave me accepted, but we would absolutely accept you as an influencer. As an influencer, you would then refer clients into the program and if your client became an influencer, they would actually be a child affiliate. And so there’s a one tier model and you would receive some passive revenue when your child affiliate refers their friends and family members to the program. I feel this is a really fantastic way to align incentives with our influencers. And we have influencers who earn up to $84,000 per month. We have certified coaches earning up to a million dollars in their first year, but the one tier affiliate or influencer model has been very powerful. And the beauty of it is that we are not network marketing. We are not an MLM. We have been very specific about our desire to stay away from that particular description and be sure that we’re not flirting with any lines. AT: (13:31) But having a one tier model has been really effective. So that is one of the primary ways that we drive new leads into the program. We also do quite a bit in the way of social media marketing. We don’t do a lot of advertising. In fact, for the first couple of years, as I ramped up, we did zero ads. We’re just now starting to run ads to our live trainings. But one thing that’s really unique about how we do marketing is for example, this month I created a marketing roadmap with steps for success, for both my influencers and my certified coaches. And I gave them the script. I gave them links to a lead magnet. I gave them links to a live training and because we have lifetime cookies, they receive credit. If anyone signs up for that lead magnet goes through our effective funnel or signs up for the training and receives the text campaign. So we like to leverage our army of influencers and certified coaches as we look to generate new, highly qualified leads. And then it’s a big benefit that my background is digital marketing because I’m able to, you know, really leverage those strategies. And, and I empower our community to do the same. Yeah. RV: (14:52) I mean, this is insane. Y’all like we do the exact same thing at brand builders group with the one tier affiliate. It doesn’t go forever like a network marketing company, but some of our affiliates are getting paid two years later. Like off of people they’ve never even met because we track, we tracked that. This gives me, this makes me excited because it makes me feel like we’re on the right track because one day we’re going to grow up and we’re going to be Amanda trust. I, I so I, I, I love that. Now you mentioned your background’s in digital marketing. So just a tech, a quick technical question. What are you using to track all the affiliate like payment? That’s a big, you know, like we have a few hundred, you’ve got thousands of people that you’re having to track and track a second tier and the original like cookie link. What are you using for that? AT: (15:46) Yes, really good question. I know, I keep saying good question because many of these are fantastic. We are currently using post affiliate pro. It integrates with our point of sale system, Sam cart, which is fantastic for upsell funnels. And I love a good upsell funnel. And so those two integrate, we have HubSpot as our CRM as well. But to be completely honest with you, Rory technology has been my biggest pain point over the past couple, few years. It remains my biggest pain point because probably a lot like you, we are always just a little bit ahead of the platform that we’re using. So for example, we are using Kajabi for some of our content and we outgrew them within about 30 days of being on the platform. And we’ve been trying to finagle and customize, but what we really need, if anyone’s listening and having speak fantastic at coding is a proprietary product where instead of having seven MacGyvered systems, I can have maybe one to three systems that work well, post affiliate pro has been adequate. However, I’m not going to sit here and recommend it for people with tens of thousands of affiliates like us, because we have plenty of issues that we have to problem solve on a daily daily basis. So that is what we’re using. I know that was a long, long question. RV: (17:12) Your tech stack. I mean, I think that’s helpful for several reasons. We talk about tech stack a lot in our overall, our whole thing is four phases in our phase two is where we get into a lot of like building your tech stack and thinking both short term and longterm and integrating the shopping cart with the reporting, you know, stuff with the con you know, the LMS or whatever with the CRM. And so I think it’s encouraging one to be like, Hey, you’ve done this. And also to, to go, you’re still struggling with it. Like everybody else’s. So I think, you know, that that’s encouraging and just go and like, Hey, but we’re always telling people, the technology is not nearly as important as the strategy, like make the tech, you can find technology or make technology do what you need to do. And when you get to your size, yeah. You’re just probably at the point where it’s like, you got to invest in building your own system so that you can get to where you have a million active members. AT: (18:07) Yeah. Yeah. Because of technology, we are still in a growth phase versus scalability. And my main goal by the end of 2020 or early 21 is to get to scalability. And here’s what I mean by that for people listening. If I were to go on the today’s show next week, we are not confident that we could take on the amount of clients who would hit the website and purchase the product. We are still capping registration. We are closing registration every single month. We are capping the number of people who come in as coaches. And it’s because our technology is not able to keep up when it comes to a more scalable solution. So that, you know, for me as an entrepreneur is, is something that keeps me up at night, you know, or wakes me up at night and two in the morning. What if, you know, we just today announced that we are the fastest growing fitness and nutrition company in America based on inc five thousands report that came out this morning. You know, if we get, you know, tens of thousands of new clients today from a website, then we’re going to have to say RV: (19:13) All the millions of people from the influential, personal brand podcast come pilot, we’re going to do shit. AT: (19:20) We gotta put them on a waiting list. Yeah. So yeah, you know, that’s something that I, as the CEO of the company need to continue to prioritize and problem solve. And, you know, I have the most incredible team of 25 full time staffers. We have literally one man on our team and no one really heading up the technology side. So it’s me creating our, I literally created our website myself on Squarespace, and we’ve been using it for the past couple, few years, free website, you know, we need a better solutions, RV: (19:59) But what a great example, though, of just like using the tools, the free tools and starting out and just kind of like growing and growing and growing. And then, yeah, I mean, you’re dealing with the real issues of you know, an age. And I have been through this once before with our, you know, past of it’s one of w here’s one of the things I don’t know if you’ll find this to be true, but I had a mentor share with me one time. They said that it’s at the ones and threes at all, the ones and threes are where there are big pain points. So a hundred thousand to 300,000 is this is, you know, like, and then a million, so 300,000 to a million it’s about the same. And then a million to like two and a half million is the same. RV: (20:40) But once you hit 3 million, it’s like, Oh, now there’s a bump. And then between 3 million and 10 million is like, we, it, the swamp that’s like almost no one makes it from 3 million to 10 million. And then from 10 million to like 25 million, you’re good. But once you hit 30 million, which is funny, that’s about right where you’re at, that’s where the next big like hurdle is. And then once you get through this hurdle, like, you’ll be good, totally. A hundred million, like most of the things you figure at 30 million, and then you’ll have another hurdle at a hundred million and then 300 million and then a billion. And so the next time we’ll be doing your podcast on your private jet, like we’ll be, we’ll be doing the follow up here. So okay. So that’s, so that’s awesome. So when you, now, when you first started, I want to just kind of like go back to those early days. Your, your, your first customers just came like anybody else, like just friends and networking and social media, but then you turn those first 11 clients basically into influencers and then, but, but, but to turn them into influencers, are they just like saying, Hey, are they emailing you and saying, Hey, Amanda, here’s someone I think would be a fit for the program, or did you build funnels for them that they could like plug into in? Is that how it started to really take off? AT: (22:05) Yeah, that is an interesting that’s an interesting process that we went through from, from the first days of micro influencers. My first 11 clients, I went to my former workplace, walked around and said, I’m starting something new. You need to join, write me a check. We’ll be back by your office in 10 minutes. You know, that’s kinda how I got those first 11 in those particular individuals had incredible results. And I said, listen, if you tell other people at your workplace, your family members, your friends, about the faster way I will gift you with 50% commission. And what I did at the time was I created lead pages for each influencer. So I literally would create on my own a lead page with their name, many times a photo of the two of us, because you know, we happen to be friends and I’d say, you know, share this on social media. AT: (23:00) And then I would do the nurture campaigns. So they would share the lead page. And then I would do kind of the followup. If they’re a family member or friend joined the program, then I would give them 50% commission based on our analytics in the backend we have since grown it a little bit better from that, that system and process to now where we have post Philly pro integrated with the website. But that is how, you know, we got going. And then things really took off Rory when I created the certification around the faster way to fat loss, because our coaches are technically a affiliates for the brand. So that’s when things really started to gain momentum. RV: (23:46) Gotcha. yeah, well that, I mean, that’s very much, you know, like you texted me part of, we hadn’t talked in a while and you’re like, Hey, I heard John Donald Miller’s podcast. That’s what we did. You know, like if you go to that URL that we gave on his podcast, it just, it’s a picture of me and Donald, and then it’s like drops them into the, into the sequence. It’s just amazing that we live in a world and like a time where this is all possible. Really, really mind blowing about that. Just the power of leveraging word of mouth and all that. So I got one last little thing for you. Holy moly. I can’t believe we’re out of time. So, so actually before we do this, allow me to give my affiliate our brand builders group affiliate link, because we want anyone to come and like check you out and learn about becoming maybe, you know, anyone that’s listening, that’s in more of that like fitness space that maybe is a good fit for you. RV: (24:43) So I think we have a link set up if you go to brand builders, group.com/faster way, right? That’s I think the link that we’re going with brand builders, group.com/faster way. And I totally just encourage you to check this out. Like I said, the program is awesome. That’s a whole, we could do a whole nother thing about how you’ve designed the portal and laid out all of like the, you know, the workouts and also like the the, the recipe, like the eating, the eating guides and all that stuff. But anyways, so go to brand builders, group.com/faster way. The last thing I wanted to ask you about is data. How are you guys tracking and keeping up with like average lifetime value and the number of people who convert from the first six weeks to become a member. And like you said, you had really good retention. What are like a few of the things just that have helped you scale and like that you watch and pay attention to in that regard? AT: (25:46) Yes. And your listeners might lose just a little bit of respect for me as I share how we’re going to do, but hopefully this is an inspiration to someone who’s saying I don’t have money to invest in all the tools, or I don’t have the BI dashboards established. Here’s the deal. I have a person on the team who manually adds to a Google drive spreadsheet every single day. I check it at least two or three times per day to see how many clients we were able to convert yesterday into the new client program, the VIP program, I check retention I check any number of things, our, our swag store our merchandise. We look at churn. We manually still enter this information into a spreadsheet. We have some other tools and dashboards that we’ve begun working on. But primarily it’s still very, very much so bootstrapped and MacGyvered and all of that we are able to see our lifetime value via Stripe and PayPal, which is helpful, that does integrate with our point of sale system. AT: (27:01) And then of course, we have a CRM. We recently you’re saying, right SamCart is our point of sale and HubSpot is our CRM. So we just recently transitioned from active campaign over to HubSpot. Hubspot has been much better in regard to marketing data. We track our marketing campaigns very closely but, you know, I wish I had a better answer. Rory, we are just very much so working as hard as we can, the best we can and, you know, we know what metrics truly matter. So those are the metrics that we track on a regular basis. We are most concerned with retention or churn. We are most concerned with conversions for our highly qualified leads that we bring in with marketing campaigns as well. But, you know, it’s, it’s also an example of we’re just doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. And because of that, we’ve been able to grow very quickly. I can’t sit here and say that we’re just masters at Facebook ads, or we’ve cracked the code with XYZ. We just have a great program that delivers awesome results. And our clients don’t care that we MacGyvered seven systems together in the backend. They just know that I’ve given them hope to maintain their results, their fat loss, their energy their hormone health. And I think because of that, we have developed a strong sense of loyalty within our customer base. RV: (28:34) Wow. Well, a men too, that, I mean, that is the way to punctuate this because it’s just like, you know, there is no fear when the mission to serve as clear. And if you just focus on helping people, like you’ll figure out the rest they’ll forgive you, right? Like our clients are so graceful with us of just stuff that we’ve had to janky together. Janky is a verb now. AT: (29:01) I love it. We janky stuff together all the time. RV: (29:04) Now I do. I w I do want to tell you, I’m going to send you a weaken your data situation. We know the masters at this, that business intelligence dashboards they’ve changed our life. We interviewed him on the podcast. It’s, it’s, it’s practice metrics. It’s Megan, and AIJ, I’ll send you the interview with them and that, but like they do all e-com automated dashboards, lifetime value, like perpetually updating, calculating commissions. I mean, they are the ninjas, so maybe we can help you solve, solve some of that problem so that you can come pick us up in your private jet than later which would be great. So, Amanda, thank you so much for being so transparent. Oh my gosh. Like, I can’t believe that you just, you’ve been so generous with how you do things and the way you do and what, what tools you’re using. It’s just phenomenal. And we just wish you the best of success and just like keep changing lives both financially and, or, you know, physically and financially. And you know, you guys are awesome. So keep it going. AT: (30:10) Thank you so much. It was truly my pleasure. And I’m an open book. If anyone has questions, I’m happy to answer those on social media at Amanda tress, or even via email info at a managed trust. I want everyone listening to be very successful so we can always circulate our wealth to our family church and community. Thanks again, Rory. RV: (30:31) Amen. All right, we’ll catch you later. Bye bye.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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