No, this isn’t a horror flick. What we’re speaking about here are businesses that have essentially been left for dead, but have for one reason or another continued to run themselves.

Many times, when you buy a “zombie” business that has been left unattended to for a while it can be extremely hard to revive. The majority of times you don’t learn about the issues in the background until you’ve acquired the business, but luckily there are some tricks to revive an inactive business.

As a disclaimer, these tricks all require substantial work and will not work for all businesses, but if you’ve found yourself a zombie business that could use some tender love and care, these tactics just might nurse them back to health.

1) Email Partnerships on DojoMojo

There are some great platforms out there, but in my experience, DojoMojo is the best for email partnership campaigns.

The concept is that you partner with a business in a similar niche or that has a similar target customer to yours and launch a giveaway with a segment of your email list. The giveaway is often referred to as a “sweeps.”

As members of DojoMojo both businesses can send the giveaway to equal number of customers on their email list to one landing page. The idea is that both customer segments will opt-in to the giveaway and the businesses split the cost of the prize in exchange for the entry emails. 

An example, consider a fitness supplement focused subscription box partnering with a CrossFit subscription box on DojoMojo for a giveaway. They each put in $1,000 for a weekend trip to a Tough Mudder 5k marathon for their customers and setup a simple landing page to collect email entries on DojoMojo. Once the landing page for the weekend giveaway is complete and the businesses have both sent emails to 10k customers each, totaling 20k emails, they split 3k – 5k email giveaway entries. This is an extremely effective way to get access to new customers via email. 

I’ve been lucky enough to run multiple large-scale giveaway style campaigns on DojoMojo and have met with the CEO directly to discuss the effectiveness of their platform. Needless to say, many companies are dedicating entire marketing teams to these collaborative efforts with email giveaways.

With that said your email list is a powerful way to revive a business. Leveraging giveaway platforms like Gleam, Vyper, and DojoMojo are a great way to supercharge the top of your funnel to re-build your customer base.

Email marketing and collaborative giveaways is a powerful way to revive a struggling business. Click To Tweet

2) Survey and Affiliate Relationships

Each time I’ve acquired a new online business I almost immediately send out a Google form to survey customers and users. This is important not only to gauge how people are using your new product or service but you’re able to plan future profitable features to release.

A couple simple questions to ask in the Google form being sent:

  1. How often do you use this product or service?
  2. Why do you use this product or service? 
  3. When did you sign up for the product or service?
  4. What would you like to see improved?
  5. What is your favorite feature of the product or service currently?

Once you’ve gone through and collected responses from your new customers via Google form survey, you can begin to search for similar businesses that would complement their needs.

For example, if you have a subscription software service in the finance space and your customers are primarily using it for taking payments, you could partner with a budgeting app like Mint, Truebill, or Albert.

Reaching out to similar services that would provide your customers with value can be a powerful way to generate revenue quickly.

Getting an affiliate link from these partners to send out an email to your customers giving them an offer to sign up for a beneficial service is mutually beneficial. I’ve come across website investors who do this immediately to generate a return on their investment.

3) Social Media Automation

I’ve come across a lot of “zombie” businesses that had massive potential, but needed a jumpstart. Like a Lamborghini with a dead battery. Often a simple ingredient like automating your social media posting for the business will drive enough new traffic to revive your business, but certainly not always.

In my experience, you can recycle older content and the sweet spot for a brand is posting 3-4 times per day using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. These tools simply allow you to schedule posts across your company’s social media and it will revive your following or grow a new one. Given the future of many online businesses will rely on social media community its more important than ever to get started with posting frequently. 

BONUS: Subscription Offers

This tactic is an industry insider secret and I want to share it to potentially spark interest for entrepreneurs to use a similar tactic in their businesses.

When you get a subscription box in the mail there are normally small pieces of paper in the box offering discounts to future purchases from their service. This is a powerful offer for customers given it can often up-sell and cross-sell new products or services.

What a lot of the larger subscription boxes are doing now in order to grow is cross promoting other services with that paper offer within their box.

This can be extremely powerful for increasing a customer base given the customer is already subscribed to a similar service.

In my experience, I’ve seen this work extremely well, similar to the email giveaways on DojoMojo. The difference here is that it’s a physical piece of paper that shares the offer as part of the unboxing experience. If you talk to any entrepreneur in the subscription box industry, the unboxing experience is a vital part to their retention and ability to up-sell.

Summary

Overall, if you get a business that you’d consider a “zombie” that needs a boost, automating the social media using a tool like Buffer is a free initial first step. This will help you gauge what people are saying about the project in the “digital town square.”

I’d highly recommend collaborating with another brand in the same industry to help jumpstart your customer base. Many operators think that everyone in an industry are competing for customers but the reality is collaboration helps the industry as a whole grow.

Many operators think that everyone in an industry are competing for customers but the reality is collaboration helps the industry as a whole grow. Click To Tweet
Steve McGarry

Steve McGarry

Steve McGarry is an entrepreneur, content creator, and investor based in sunny Tampa, Florida. In 2015, while living in San Francisco, Steve sold his first fintech startup LendLayer to Max Levchin’s (founder of PayPal) consumer finance company Affirm. In the last 5 years, Steve has both built an online community that reaches 1.4 million people every month on social media and a portfolio of over a dozen web properties. Currently, he’s the co-founder of a next-generation fintech startup called GrowYourBase while managing his portfolio of online businesses.