1. How Did You Become a Growth Hacker?
As you might notice, I have a pretty strong French accent. So, I’m obviously from France. In high school, I was studying a scientific path – like, physics, earth science, math program, and really specialized in mathematics. At the end of high school, I was hesitating between engineering school or business school – I was kind of always between both.
And then, I decided to come to study at the business school in Montreal – HEC Montreal. I specialized in IT, marketing, and entrepreneurship. That’s when I began organizing events, as you said. I had to fill the rooms, sell some tickets, build awareness. So, that’s when I began doing growth hacking without knowing it.
Then, after my bachelor’s degree, I worked at Now In Store which is a startup that helps eCommerce businesses build catalogues and do marketing materials around their store. That’s when I really got into growth hacking. That’s when I read The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking by Neil Patel. I really began to understand how it works.
I will say, also, as a bit of a background, my dad’s an engineer, my mom is more of a salesperson, and my sister is a designer. So, I guess I was a bit always on the edge of all of those three topics.
Also, I guess that I moved a lot. I was born in Germany and moved to England, France, Canada, Argentina. I guess, when you travel and move a lot, you have to optimize a lot of stuff – like, finances, visas. I guess all of that contributed to me to become a growth hacker.
2. Which Daily Habits Have You Installed to Maximize Your Results?
There are a few.
The first one is just to block out some time to check your analytics.
Every morning, at 9 a.m., I check my Google Analytics, Amplitude, and basically every analytics system I have. I have to check how the day before did versus the previous one.
Also, once a week, I do a more in-depth analytics check-up. I check the stats from this week compared to the previous one. Same for the month and quarters.
And so, to facilitate that, I would advise you to have some email alert setup. You can do so in Google Analytics, Amplitude – many analytics tools – even MailChimp.
A second habit would be to read growth hacking blogs and books first thing in the morning.
I find it helps me inspire myself for the day for new things to test. Start the day on a positive note and with the influential people. Compared to reading it during the day, it will interrupt your work. At night, you won’t sleep. So, I find in the morning is always a good time to do that.
Maybe the last one would be to be active on Slack channels and forums about growth hacking.
On Slack, there is the Online Geniuses Slack channel with the channels by channels. One is for email marketing. Any time I have a question, I go ask it here. If nobody has the answer, I just Google it. So, I find it’s really, really nice to have those communities around you.
3. What Are the Top 3 Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?
The first one I would say is be organized.
I’m very organized. When you’re a growth hacker, you have to do a lot of follow-ups on your experiences, your experiments, your A/B tests. You also get to work with a lot of people from different fields. I work a lot with developers, designers, copywriters, and even stakeholders. I have to make sure everything runs smoothly and that you get the material and the code you need to go forward.
Also, if you build a real growth engine, you need to be able to manage it to make it evolve. And so, you have to know when to end a test, when to iterate, when to take some time to analyze your results and move forward again.
The second one would be to be perseverant.
Sometimes, the tools you’ll find don’t integrate very well. They don’t work for what you planned. I found that, if you put some effort into it, they’ll usually work in the long run.
For instance, at Yellow Pages, I did the campaign – the launch for YP Grocery, a smart grocery app. We didn’t have a lot of budget so I wanted to get the most downloads for our budget. So, I organized a contest. While doing it, while looking for tools, I found that there weren’t any really good tools for a mobile contest. So, I did a lot of research with my colleagues and we found a tool that was kind of doing the job we wanted to do. So, we worked on the tool, we talked with the CEO of the startup. It’s called ViralSweep. He helped us tweak the tool to make it work for us and we had to do a bit of customization there. But, in the end, it worked really well. We had 28,000 participants; 10,000 downloads.
I found that, if you stick to something you really want to do, it will work.
And then, the last one – but not the least – would be to be a careerist and a kind of jack of all trades.
For me, a growth hacker has to know a bit of everything – whether that is in digital marketing or kind of any channel there is – email marketing, SEO, content marketing, video, everything – as well as the basics of programming, design, and copy – so that you really have a nice overview of everything that’s available for you to use on the project.
More importantly than that, understanding every channel and how it works. I found that the book, Traction, really helps with that. It explains 21 – I think – channels of growth marketing.
Yes, I think, if you’re organized, perseverant, and curious, you will go far.
4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers that You Learned from or Inspired You?
Contrary to many people, I would say that the people I learnt the most from were from my network and worked with me – whether they were CEOs of startups that I worked with or directors.
The CEO of Now In Store that I worked at was really a good mentor for me. Then, at Yellow Pages, […], Adrien Glasser, people I’ve worked with on a daily basis that were more experienced than me and helped me go forwards, understand how are the dynamics of growth hacking work between the different people, stakeholders, et cetera, how to manage expectations.
Also, as I organized events, I met other people like you; like my friend podcaster, Alex Sol who runs the Extra Paycheck Podcast. We really talk a lot. Like, when we have issues, we ask each other and that really helps.
When it comes to more well-known people, I’d say I look a lot at the writers.
For instance, Tim Ferriss – even if he doesn’t market himself as a growth hacker, he really is a growth hacker. Like, you don’t launch four best-selling books without any growth hacking involved. So, for him, it was working with bloggers, influencers, doing some live TVs, he experimented with live videos, email, everything. So, a bit of everything.
In the same domain, I would say Ryan Holiday. He wrote the book, Growth Hacker Marketing which is kind of, I’d say, a teaser to what growth hacking is – like, explaining the basics.
And then, the really famous ones like Neil Patel which really understands how it works.
Also, recently discovered is Matthew Barby who is the Head of SEO & Growth at HubSpot – a really young guy, really smart, and he has a blog about mainly SEO but he also recently published an article about Chatbot Marketing which was really nice.
Also, if I have to find a last one, I would say Noah Kagan. He worked at Facebook, he growth hacked Mint, and now he has a podcast and runs SumoMe which is an extension that allows you to gather emails, increase social shares.
5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?
This one is easy for me.
We hear so much bullshit about growth hacking everywhere. So, I would say that quick-win growth hacks, they won’t take you that far if you only focus on them as such. You really need to have a strategy in place that uses maybe growth hacks but that focuses on the whole funnel rather than just optimizing this little thing or trying this new channel.
The real dark magic about growth hacking is more in the processes and the growth engine funnel that you put in place rather than just the quick growth hacks you read on forums or receive in newsletters.
Also, since I’m pretty new at digital marketing, even if I’ve done my whole career in it, I would say don’t hesitate to benchmark and copy the best – whether it’s copying some email copy and adapting it; really following people who are doing the same stuff as you or even in other industries.
Don’t hesitate to copy what works at the beginning and, when you’ve found your inflection point, your product market fit, your everything, then you can begin to do custom stuff.
Last piece of advice would be to start a company, start a blog as a kind of lab to experiment everything. You want to try to test whether it’s in a newer company or for customers.
For instance, my blog, I tested many things when it comes to email opt-ins, social media, even copywriting. So, yeah, those are the three pieces of advice for growth hackers.