When you think of serial entrepreneurship, you most likely think of individuals who launch business after business, logically working their way up from one company to the next. However, there are some who have taken a less traditional approach to entrepreneurship and still found themselves going toe-to-toe with those that stayed on the well-beaten path. If you haven’t heard of him already, I’d like to introduce you to Steven Burton, the founder of Perfect Tux.
From Hip-Hop to Formalwear
Steven Burton may currently run an online formalwear website called Perfect Tux, but it wasn’t too long ago that he found himself fully entrenched in the hip-hop world.
In fact, his very first e-commerce business sold hip-hop clothing and accessories back in the early 2000s. He took the money he made from that first business and invested it into his own music career. In addition to working on his own music over nearly a decade, he launched his own music licensing company that provided songs for TV shows and movies.
When things began to quiet down on that front, Burton made the leap into the menswear industry. Although he was an integral and highly successful member of the company he worked for—one which he helped grow to a million dollars in revenue—he felt unfulfilled and unappreciated in his job. That’s when he decided to break out and launch Perfect Tux.
If you want to hear more about Burton’s formalwear website and how he’s made men’s, boy’s, women’s, and even hospitality formalwear affordable for purchase, check out more from our interview here:
How Burton Beat the Search Engines
I think one of the most incredible things about Steven Burton’s lengthy career in e-commerce is how much he’s learned on his own about crafting a solid online brand. While he did share some of the more common insights into how entrepreneurs can successfully launch and market their e-commerce company, I think it was his realistic take on marketing that was the biggest standout during our conversation.
Back when Burton launched his first e-commerce business, it was no problem getting his site into the top search results organically (in other words, through non-paid marketing efforts). But the game has changed a lot these days, what with 80% of search engine results coming from paid marketing ads.
When I asked if it’s at all possible to get that first page, top result search ranking without having to pay for it, he had two answers for me. The first was that, sure, you could do 100% free marketing, but it would take a very long time to see any impact in the search engines—and that’s only if you knew how to properly optimize your site. This is why he suggests that entrepreneurs use pay-per-click ads through Google AdWords and Google Shopping if they want to make an instant impact.
Now, that all being said, Burton did find a way to beat the algorithm without having to pay for it last year, and it was because he understood two things:
- He knew that there was an interest in the search term “prom tuxedos”.
- He noticed that the top results last year for prom tuxedo sites all contained the year 2016 within the search phrase.
Having put two-and-two together, he created a page on his site last year called “2017 prom tuxedos”. Because he was able to establish his site as the first one to have content related to 2017 prom tuxedos and because the content on the page was relevant to the search term, Perfect Tux now ranks #1 (and has since he created the page) for that search term. And he didn’t have to pay a dime to get there.
While this is an excellent example of how you can organically rank well in search, this particular success story isn’t applicable to everyone. There are other factors in play here—like site speed, bounce rates, security, design quality, and market saturation—that affected his site’s rank.
After all that, Burton still insists that you’ve got to pay if you want to see your e-commerce business success.