How I Started a Six Figure Online Business Selling Mystery Boxes


No beating around the bush, eCommerce is tough.  There’s a lot of competition, and it’s tough to really think of a unique idea that will draw attention.  SEO is hard, understanding paid advertising is hard, it’s all hard!  But let me tell you a secret – the toughest part about eCommerce is getting started!  If you are willing to take that leap and start building your own online business, you already have a step up on 99.99999999% of the rest of the world who just thinks it’s a cool idea.

When we first started Blind Surprise, I didn’t know a damned thing about SEO.  I knew you wanted to have a bunch of links back to your site, but had never even heard of page rank, Alexa Rankings, or any of that shenanigans.  I simply knew that I loved the idea of helping people send gifts, and surprising people with mystery boxes every month.  So we built the website, and launched.  We didn’t have a single item in inventory, no shipping materials anywhere, no relationships with vendors – literally nothing at all besides a website and a minute long start up video describing the idea.

So we took to marketing our idea with a couple ideas targeting immediate traffic.  SEO is obviously extremely important in the eCommerce space, but it takes tons of time and effort to see any results at all.  Here are the methods we used that help us see immediate traffic and revenue.

1.  Build a Team of Affiliate Marketers

Business Growth Chart

Photo courtesey of Torfun TorGame List on Flickr

The best way to build a salesforce for an online business is through affiliate marketing.  The idea is simple – people refer business to your website, and you reward them with a referal fee for every sale generated.  It’s freaking amazing.  You basically can have hundreds or thousands of salespeople around the world working for you on a commission only basis.  With the subscription box craze growing, there are thousands of bloggers out there who talk about subscription boxes and are constantly reaching out to me asking if they can write about my box.  We literally receive about 10 emails a day with these inquires.  So really quickly, we were able to build up a team of affiliate marketers and have people around the country promoting our brand and driving traffic.  Almost immediately, we started seeing results.
Every month since we launched, we have seen thousands of dollars of sales from affiliates, and our affiliate army keeps on growing.  Another we try and promote our affiliate program is by automatically registering every new customer.  Each customer automatically gets an affiliate login that they are able to share on Facebook, Twitter, etc and try and generate some income through their friend’s signing up.

Installing an Affiliate Program onto a WordPress site is super easy too.  I literally had the program up and running in an hour, and it allows our affiliates to track their clicks, sales, and commission, and easily allows me to manage my payouts to affiliates.  The plugin they offer is called WordPress Affiliate and takes zero technical skills at all, and you are up and running in an hour.

2.  Niche Directories

If you Google “ways to bring traffic to my new ecommerce site” people have written long lists of ideas, and one idea that you will see on every list is to submit your link to directory farms.  Basically these are just huge internet directories of thousands and thousands of links that are segmented out.  I can tell you that this literally did nothing at all for us (maybe a valuable back link, but who knows).  I certainly would not waste a dollar on adding your site to these link farms.

Rather what we did, that has sent us at least half of our traffic, is find niche directories that target an audience appropriate to our website.  So for example, since we are a gifting service, I googled ‘unique gifts’ or ‘lists of cool gifts’ and submitted our product to every website on the first 10 pages of Google for this search term.  Then, I googled ‘subscription boxes’ and did the same thing – reached out to every single page on the first 10 pages of google.  AND if the result was just a blog post, I left a comment at the end of the post saying something like “Hey – great post! Another great subscription box I found is…..”  – I wanted to make sure my link was somewhere on each of these websites when people search for subscription boxes.


Anybody has the ability to do the above.  You don’t need to be an SEO genius or internet guru to start seeing people come to your website.  Like I said, the hardest part about getting starting in eCommerce is GETTING STARTED.  And what better day than today to start building your own business to live whatever life you choose?

Wondering How to Start a Subscription Box Company?  Check out my resource guide.

Featured photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber on Flickr


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