Growth Hacking Geniuses - Scott Cunningham

Scott Cunningham

Would You Mind Telling Us More About Yourself and Your Business?

So Hey everyone, I’m Scott Cunningham. I just graduated in April for Networking and IT Security from UOIT, I’m 22 years old. About a year and a half ago, I started very much focusing on social media. It’s very intriguing to me where the market is going, the environment of social media itself, how it’s always changing.

And one thing I really started to notice is that very little of smaller businesses, entrepreneurs, startups, had a great hold on their social media I guess. Some were just lacking, some never answered it, some don’t even understand it at all.

So what I built from that with my business model was, okay well I’m very focused on this, I’m seeing all the changes, I can bring this to people who might need it and help them adapt to the ever-changing environment that is social media. And one good example of this was Facebook pages, their cover photo, they now can have videos instead, and barely anyone has taken advantage of this. This is something that I would help push to my clients, make them aware, help them figure out what the dimensions are, the content they need, if need be help them create the content.

What Growth Engines Work Well for Your Business?

I don’t really do a lot of traditional marketing, I don’t do email marketing, I don’t do traditional marketing. I almost exclusively focus on social media. I do think it is important to vlog or blog, or both ideally. And also have a website that’s SEO optimized. These are all key, but most people will look at social media as the support to what you’re doing, and I look at social media as the backbone, the foundation, let alone the support. I think you can’t have anything without social media today.

I think if you’re starting something new today, it’s almost impossible to do without having some sort of hold on social media presence because no one is looking at emails from some random new person they’ve never heard of before. I barely look at emails from anyone I don’t know anyway.

Which Social Media Platforms Are You Leveraging the Most and How?

I would say LinkedIn is good to have for a personal, but I don’t know how important I would say it is for your page. It’s really how much you can afford advertising, it’s a lot more B2B than it is business-to-client.

I would say the most important, if I were to put it top three, you should have facebook, you should have Twitter, you should have Instagram. Because Instagram is newer, I see that a lot of businesses don’t have Instagram, which is ironic because most startups, entrepreneurs, creatives, that I’ve talked only have Instagram.

And while it’s key to focus on a main platform and use other platforms to sort of support it, I think if you’re neglecting some of these major platforms, you’re only hurting yourself.

Similar to the analogy of “when’s the best time to plan a tree?”, now, or 20 years ago. Same thing with social media. When’s the best time to start a social media, when should you be focusing on, and when should you actually invest? Now, or five years ago.

So really, you should just be trying to getting in as much possible, putting in as much work… and you really get the amount of work that you put is what you get out of it.

What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice When It Comes to Business Growth and Growth Hacking?

Groups. I’d say definitely utilize groups, though a lot of groups are spam now because of marketers. I would say it’s definitely worth using. You could definitely more personalized groups that have to approve things so that it’s not as spam I guess. So I’d say groups are important, but at the same time be wary of how you use it.

What’s my second? Well you know what I’ll tell you my first. The number one growth hacking technique, by far, is DM’ing people on Instagram and trying to see how you can both benefit each other somehow. Messaging people in your niche, “hey do you want to shout each other out?”, messaging someone that you might want to work with. I do web design, but I’ve messaged people and been like “hey, I could do social media for you, and maybe in return we could barter services and you could help me update my website.” I’ve done many things like this, and I think that’s huge for business growth, especially for people who lack funds. You can go and pay someone a thousand dollars to go and work on your website, but maybe you can bake them a thousand pies for this massive event that they’re doing or something. A thousand is pretty ridiculous, but you get what I mean.

Scale, and find a way that you can sort of give each other value, if need be, if money isn’t what you can do. If you don’t have a lot of financial resources, you don’t need to have the resources as much as you need to be resourceful. So that’s something major to keep in mind. Instagram DM specifically because Instagram you can message anyone essentially, compared to other platforms which is more struggle. I would Instagram is key.

Second top advice, it’s hard to choose a second one, I would probably just say consistency. Content needs to have quality and quantity. If you’re only posting one amazing quality post once a week and barely anyone is seeing it, it’s falling on deaf ears. If you’re posting ten times a day garbage quality content, you’re gonna get flagged for spam and maybe banned. Point is you need to have a happy medium, but both are extremely important.

Once you can really get your content scheduled, get your foundation of how you’re running your social media, how you present it, then you could sort of step back and focus on the analytics and the insights and how you’re growing, what you should be changing, what’s the best time.

Make sure you’re writing for your audience. That’s one last thing, I would say fourth thing, because writing for your audience is also key. First, discovering your audience, and then writing for them. If you’ve been gathering an audience about dog hairstyling and then you switch your account up and now you’re snowboarding, almost all of your followers are going to be very confused, not to mention probably unfollow you because they don’t care about the content anymore. So that’s definitely something you should always keep in mind, you should be writing and making content for your audience.

What Tools or Resources Would You Recommend People to Check out?

At the end of the day, I would say the best resource is your time. Instagram DM, you can’t really find a good way to get around it. Sending automated messages is not the best method. Being someone who’s a growth hacker I’ve tried automated messaging and I’ve done personalized messaging, it’s way more work, but personalized messaging is gonna get you way more people. Automated messaging is just gonna get you reported for spam.

I would say you should definitely schedule your content, because most people’s issue is they don’t have enough time for social media, so I would say getting some time taken aside and scheduling your content is a huge huge thing. For me, when I was starting out, i was going and scheduling maybe a month or two months in advance. I swear by Buffer. Buffer is a scheduling platform, it has some other things for insights and if you pay for the more expensive versions, you can get a little bit more features. A lot of people, the alternative is HootSuite. I’ve used HootSuite, I definitely think it’s a good great platform, I just personally prefer Buffer.

For managing followers and followings and who’s unfollowing you, should you unfollowing them, ghost following, all these things. Twitter I use ManageFlitter. I found it’s been very very good for managing the community of my Twitter following. I think, for Instagram, it’s hard to find a good app that does this, because it’s all apps not just services on the computer or websites. It’s almost only app-based, and the issue here is most of them have some sort of ads themselves, or they have paid things, or it’s a “paid-to-do-better”, or you have to follow someone to get coins to do something to unfollow your people. Most of these are sort of gimmicky I would say. For Instagram, I would say try to keep it as native to the platform as possible.

Some other interesting resources that I use are Feedly for example. You can get a bunch of RSS feeds from your favourite blog sites, so this is good for when you’re trying to curate content because content curation is also really important. You can’t always be coming up with a ton of content all the time, so a lot of times you will be curating content. And especially when you’re starting out, you’ll be doing mostly content curation until you actually have a stream of your content that you can take from.

So these have been my five interview questions, I’m Scott Cunningham, thanks so much for checking it out, hopefully this helps you guys with your growth hacking. Feel free to message me on social media, whether it’s facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever. Get some more tips from me. I’m always looking to help anyone out. All of my blogs, videos, everything are free, I’m just trying to help you guys get your hold on social media and sort of carve out your piece of the social media market. Cheers.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Greg Ahern - Visual Summary

Greg Ahern

How Did You Start in Digital Marketing?

You know, in 1994, the internet was just starting and I noticed, I was working at a company and I saw some bad PR going out on the internet and I realized, “Wow! This is really powerful stuff!”

And so, at that point, I started my first business doing internet marketing and web development which really was telling people a different screen email and a website because no one even had email besides, you know, AOL or something – CompuServe or Prodigy.

But, since then, I’ve had and started a number of different companies in the internet space, focusing on lead generation for companies. My most recent company, Ometrics, which focuses on conversion rate optimization.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the science of studying when a person lands on the website and goes through the process on the site to a final conversion.

There’s a lot of different factors to it. It combines psychology and marketing and sales, graphics, usability, analytics, statistics, web development. It’s not really something you can say just one thing and know about it.

It’s always been around for a long time. We used to call it just “usability” and now it’s just evolved to a different term – conversion rate optimization.

Basically, when someone lands on the website, that’s when we start following them, finding out where the problem is on the site, and then fixing that problem. So, we do test to fix the problem. And then, in the end, we have statistics to say, “Yeah, if we make this change, you’re going to have a 20 percent lift and we’re 95 percent sure of it.”

How Do You Know a Test Is Conclusive?

We do the statistics to figure out and make sure the numbers are right but there’s a lot of other factors.

Each test with a client is different. The sales cycle could be different. You know, if you were testing a page and someone goes to that site three times before they make a buy, then you may make a change and see, “Oh, this is working great on the first day!” But, actually, you’re looking at data from something that intersected them with two other visits. And so, you have to be aware of the sales cycle. You want to make sure that you’re testing for more than a week.

Basically, you want to test to a point where, if another conversion happened, it doesn’t affect the results. If you had three visitors and you had one conversion and then you got a second conversion, then that would really throw off your conversion rate from 30 percent to 25 percent. If you had a thousand visitors and you had one more conversion, that’s insignificant – the change in the conversion rate – and that’s what we’re trying to do and there’s only two factors to that – there’s the number of visitors coming to the page or each variation, and then there’s the difference in the conversion rate and that’s where you have to do the statistics to figure that out.

What Tools and Skills Do You Use to Find a Solution?

There’s really two types of tools – or three.

The first set of tools is to figure out where the problem is. We use heat maps. We survey people to see what they’re looking for and make sure it aligns right with the site. The heat maps tell you where people are clicking and where they’re not clicking. You know, you can have a great image where everyone clicks the image thinking it’s going to do something and it doesn’t, you know?

Then, we look at the analytics which is like Google Analytics where we’re studying how people are flowing through the site, what type of people are flowing through the site, what device they’re on – all that good stuff.

And then, from all that, we can figure out, “Okay, in the sales funnel, they’re stuck at this point, we need to fix this piece, this page, or whatever,” and then we do A/B tests to figure out which variation worked best. And so, basically, it splits the traffic into two different or three different variations and with a similar goal.

The second type is more user engagement and that’s forcing to engage on the site. That could be using lead sliders and offer sliders; different types of pop-ups like exit pop-ups. These are all triggered by how the user is interacting with the site. When I say a pop-up, I don’t mean like you go to the site and suddenly this thing appears before you even read the site. That would be a bad example or a bad use of the pop-up.

This is more like someone came from this particular ad campaign, they landed on this particular page, and we’re going to offer them this piece of information if they scroll down to the bottom or if it’s the second time they came to the site or if they’re leaving the page or whatever it is. You don’t interrupt the person’s flow as they’re going through the information on the site but you still want to prompt them because, often, people need to be asked two or three times to do something.

Are There Different Conversion Funnels for a Business Site Compared to a Ecommerce Site?

You know, on the business side, B2B type sites usually have a home page; services pages or what they provide – products; and then, pricing page; “go to my demo” or “try a free trial” or “sign up for a demo” – that kind of stuff. We’re trying to get people beyond the home page and, usually, they hop right on to the pricing page and then get them into a free trial.

On an ecommerce site, there’s two funnels. There’s the home page to the category page to the product page. We’re increasing the conversions of each of those sections. And then, the second piece is the cart, the checkout, and the “thank you.” And so, that’s the second piece. Obviously, if you fix the checkout, the 3 percent lift on checkout, you just increased the profits for the company 3 percent – or not the profits but the revenue. And so, with optimizing that, the bigger problem is getting people to get the stuff in the cart.

So, you’re working with all these different funnels at different sections to make improvements to get people to flow through.

When Doing a Conversion Audit What Are the Most Common Problems You Find?

Usually, a bad call to action is the first thing that we can see – bad forms to fill out or poorly done, not giving a reason to fill out a form, not capturing people when they leave the site. I mean, you’re spending money driving people to the site and then a large percentage of them leave. You should capture them for email nurturing and things like that.

Bad copy – I don’t mean grammatically bad. People are on the site for a very short period of time. You need to say what you want to say very quickly then you can give more details later if they want to read it. And so, that kind of type of copy.

Poor layout – people aren’t flowing through the site. Their eye doesn’t flow through the page from a graphic standpoint so they miss the call to action completely because of the way the site is laid out.

Not understanding what your visitor is looking for is also a common issue.

If There Was One Growth Hack We Should All Check on Our Sites From a Conversion Standpoint What Would It Be?

Make sure your call to action is clear and stands out, make sure you have a reason for why they want to click that call to action, and capturing people as they leave the site – those are probably the three biggest things I look at right away.

Can You Recommend Any Resources to Learn More?

Nice that you asked! I have an ebook which they can download. If you just to the Ometrics site, in the upper bar you’ll see the ebook. And then, I do a free conversion audit so you can always email me or contact me and I’d be happy to take a look at your site and give you some tips that you can walk away with.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Sandra Rand - Visual Summary

Sandra Rand

One thing that I thought was interesting for us to explore a little bit was video advertising on Facebook.

Right now, in the last year or so – actually, it’s been more than a year now – video has been the preferred ad type for Facebook. We’re capitalizing on this in a couple of different ways.

Right now, a lot of people are having a hard time developing video content – almost because they’re getting in their own way. This is sort of beneficial for us as an agency because we know that it actually is a very low barrier to entry in order to produce some video advertising pieces of content for Facebook.

A lot of people think that it takes the TV budget – high resources, high budget, really takes a lot of effort and resources in order to develop something that’s appropriate for Facebook – but, in actuality, there’s a lot of different ways that you can produce a video asset without breaking the bank.

We started out over a year ago developing GIFs and this was at a time where Facebook was pushing video for branding and then they started saying that, with a certain sequence, it could be done for direct response.

Now, my agency just does direct response. We only focus on user and customer acquisition for our clients. And so, that’s always been our focus. And so, we went out the door just testing video advertising with, you know, these really low barrier to entry GIFs. We didn’t want to spend a ton of money. We didn’t want our clients to spend a ton of money on these big branded five-minute videos that we didn’t know if they would move the needle at all.

So, we went out with these GIFs and actually killed it. They were absolutely destroying all of our other ad types – Carousel ads, link ads. It was actually pretty amazing. And so, we immediately started testing it across all the different industries that we served and the response was amazing. You know, we started developing these really sort of low-budget GIFs for a bunch of our different clients – just as a way of testing video – and it was crazy.

Fast forward a year plus and there’s the reason that virtually all of our eCommerce clients are running only video ads on Facebook. I’ll say that again – virtually all of our eCommerce clients are running only video ads on Facebook.

We have clients that are spending a million dollars a month on Facebook advertising and video ads is the only thing that they’re pushing. There’s a reason for that. Basically, because it’s Facebook’s preferred ad type right now, they are able to push video where others might be putting out link ads or your quintessential website link ads. They are pushing video ads because that’s what they see as engaging. That’s what they see people clicking on.

And so, there’s a couple of ways that you can test video with Facebook advertising. You don’t have to immediately spend a ton of money on a big budget production video and create essentially a TV commercial for Facebook advertising.

You can dip a toe in the water by testing Facebook’s slideshow video ad feature. Basically, you go in and it’s about as simple as developing a PowerPoint. You go in, you drop a couple of images in, you can add some overlays, you can add some music, and you create a slideshow. You can do that all within Facebook’s ads manager and you can just go out with a video advertising that way.

Before you test anything, before you spend a lot of money on a big budget TV commercial-type video asset, you can test the slideshow feature and see if that moves the needle for some of your video advertising. Then, you can move on to other things like creating a GIF. Any graphic designer or web designer should be able to create a GIF.

We did a thing for one of our clients where they sold a bunch of the same types of product in one color. And so, all we did was spliced the same images over and over again of the same product but we just changed the color over and over again so it looked like a GIF that was just one product staying in the center and it changed from red to green to blue to yellow. Any designer should be able to do that.

We also took existing video assets from some of our clients who did have, say, a Kickstarter video or they had a TV commercial but it wasn’t sort of by itself really appropriate for Facebook. What we could do is then splice it up into 15-second increments, 10-second increments, and test those as video ads. Just overlay a logo or overlay a call to action and see if that moves the needle at all. You can repurpose any existing video assets you have.

I do have one story about a client of ours that did a longform branding video for themselves. They didn’t have direct response in mind. They weren’t creating this video in order to drive sales of their product. Instead, they wanted to tell their story. This client has very similar to, like, Tom’s or Warby Parker – like, a buy one, donate one sort of thing going on – and so what they wanted to do was tell that story and really hit home what the mission is of the company. They built the company around this mission.

And so, they told the story in a 3.5-minute video. When they posted it on Facebook, they got a lot of organic engagement. There was a lot of people that sort of rallied behind the brand and they were really passionate about it. They found that people’s organic sharing of this video was far and away more than they ever expected and that was a huge signal to us of like, “Let’s put some money behind it. Let’s queue it up in Facebook ads and see if that moves the needle.”

It goes against every direct response best practice that we have – which is to keep things short and sweet, keep things under 30 seconds, make sure that there’s a call to action at the end. We said, “You know what? Throw caution to the wind. Let’s put some money behind this 3-minute branding video and see what happens.”

We did that and the ripple effect of people engaging with this video was driving sales more than anything we could have ever imagined. Even though the video was not like a low-budget asset, it was 3.5 minutes, it tugged on your heartstrings, it made you laugh, it made you feel for the mission of the company, and there was no direct call to action like, “Buy today! Buy now!” There was none of that yet we experienced all of those direct response benefits by engaging people on a really human emotion level. So, that was a really exciting client to work with because it went against everything we knew about direct response for video advertising.

Now, we’re sort of pushing our clients more towards that realm of let’s test things that aren’t typical. Let’s test things that are about your brand and not about direct response and let’s see if we can keep this momentum going. That was definitely something exciting to learn and then bestow across all the rest of our agencies.

Another advertisement that I’d like to talk about is one that was actually the complete opposite. For that example I just told you, it was a client that spent a hefty chunk of change on this branding video – this 3.5-minute branding video. On the flip side, we had a client that came in and they had never run Facebook advertising before. They wanted to test video advertising. At the time, Facebook didn’t have that slideshow effort and they didn’t even really have much in the way of graphic design resources internally.

What happened was the client took his cellphone out and he taped his toddler daughter talking about his product. What he did was he shot his daughter – who was one or two years old at the time – crying for more bacon. As it turned out, it was sort of like, “Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let yourself run out of bacon.” He shot it with his cellphone in his kitchen. Same as the other story, when he put it up organically on Facebook, people were laughing and loving it and sharing it and engaging with this video asset. He was like, “Huh, there’s something here!”

So, we put some money behind it and – lo and behold – that was like a huge video that we ran for months. I mean, if it has momentum, let it keep going. You don’t have to turn off an ad just because you think it’s sort of run out of steam. You have to look at those metrics and see if it’s still killing it. If it’s still resonating with audiences, let it keep going. So, we did that as well for a client and he literally just took out his cellphone and shot his daughter crying for his product so that was kind of a cool story.

That can be sort of the easy part of running video advertising. You can make it what you want, but just test anything and everything and don’t worry about something being perfect. Don’t worry about your video ad being like TV quality. That’s definitely a lesson learned for advertisers that can’t get out of their own way and are afraid to run video advertising because it’s too hard or requires too many resources. It really doesn’t have to be that way at all.

In terms of video advertising, like I was saying, it’s Facebook’s preferred ad type right now. Obviously, we don’t know how the algorithm works internally within Facebook, but we know that, when we are competing for certain eyeballs and certain impressions, Facebook really prefers putting video in front of their audiences right now because that’s what people are engaging with. And so, we’ve been able to take that ball and run with it across all of our eCommerce clients and push video into their newsfeeds and even on Instagram because that’s what people are engaging with.

We’ve actually benefited from this because there’s sort of lower competition right now for video ad units. We’re able to get in there and lower costs by running video compared to Carousel ads or link ads because there’s more competition for those ad types. Those seem to be a lower barrier to entry for some advertisers but we find that video is really the place to get your most efficient ad spend and really drive sales up by.

In terms of segmenting your targeting, it’s funny – you know, we worked in this field for quite a long time. We work with direct response advertisers specific to Facebook for like four years now. There’s a lot of clients that come to us and they have an idea of who their audiences are. They use demographic information. They use your typical location, age, gender, all that sort of thing to sort of segment their audiences. But there’s literally hundreds of ways that you can slice and dice your audiences.

One of the best ways that we like to segment our audiences for the most relevance is to build lookalike audiences. A lot of our clients come to us and they have email lists or catalogue lists of thousands of people and, by uploading these lists to Facebook, Facebook then takes the information and matches it to people’s accounts and people’s profiles on Facebook.

Now, as an advertiser – full disclosure – we don’t see that information. We don’t see so and so in Wichita, Kansas is this person on Facebook. Like, we don’t get to see that data as an advertiser. Facebook does it on the back end. But, if we have address information, email information, phone information, you can upload that and create a custom audience on Facebook and then build lookalikes.

If you do a one percent lookalike, Facebook will give you one to ten percent to sort of match your audience – to find the audiences to the seed audience that you put up there. If you upload a list of your best customers, your high lifetime value customers or customers that have higher average order value or that are just most valuable to you, you can then build a one percent lookalike and Facebook will match that custom audience with the people that they have on the platform that most look like your custom audience and that most look like your more valuable audiences.

This is one of the first things that we do for a lot of our clients. It’s the best way to get in front of most relevant audiences first and foremost. And then, what you do is you take that one percent and then you can over-qualify them. So, segment them by your demographics – your location, maybe some interest targeting – you know, you just want people that like to travel or go on cruises or you want people that only buy luxury goods.

Facebook has these categories where they’ve been able to identify audiences that have certain purchasing power or certain purchasing behavior or they are searching for a new home or they just got married – all these different categories that you can sort of layer over your own custom audiences to really over-qualify these audiences and you’re more likely to find segments of people that drive your costs down because your advertising then becomes a lot more targeted to them. I think that that’s something that people miss. They sort of just scratch the surface with their targeting but there’s definitely hundreds of layers into targeting on Facebook advertising that involves both things you know about your audiences and things you don’t. It’s important to do any and all of it.

For a business that doesn’t have a lot of qualified clients, a list of a thousand or a few thousands or a few hundreds of people that they know are really good and they want to retarget, create a lookalike audience in Facebook; if they don’t have that already, do you recommend using video ads to figure out who their audience should be?

Yes, I mean, that’s a great way to sort of marry the things we know with the things we don’t. So, we know that video does really well and we know that video resonates and it’s engaging. But, if you’re looking for new audiences and you don’t have a place to start, that’s a good place to start. Particularly, what you’re going to want to do is sort of prime your audience. You can run video advertising and target people for video views.

Even if you have direct response metrics and goals in mind, you might want to start and prime your audience by putting out one video. And then, what you can do is retarget people that have watched 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute of that video. Retarget them with another video and then retarget them again with, then a call to action to sort of over-qualify them over the course of a couple of different steps. That’s a good way to sort of build a sequence.

You know, you may get a small audience, but you’ll start to understand the type of things that trigger people to click off and convert. And so, you can do that with video, definitely. You can also do that with Facebook has these partner categories that are sort of self-defined. Even if you might have an idea of your demographic but you don’t have a whole lot of characteristics to go off of, Facebook has hundreds and hundreds of categories in terms of, like I said, college educated, empty-nester, has kids that are teenagers, buys luxury goods, travels and goes on cruises specifically.

Facebook has done a really wonderful job building up these partner categories. And so, I think that’s also a great place to go to if you’re sort of starting from scratch.

Do you have any tips in terms of the actual video content? When you’re doing a video ad, do you prefer if it’s a selfie style, very authentic, raw video? Or is it better to have a planned-out video ad? What do you recommend?

I have to say it’s definitely in one of those “it depends” sort of answers.

There’s sort of a rule of thumb. If something is going to resonate organically, it’s going to resonate in advertising. That’s why, if you’re doing sort of the selfie style iPhone, very sort of low-budget video, if your product or your service can be translated that way and you feel good about the actual content, then there’s no problem running an advertisement that way if you’re just starting out and you want to check it out.

I think, also, if you need to sort of start somewhere, you can dip a toe into that slideshow format that I talked about and just sort of build. Like I said, it’s about as easy as building a PDF. You can plop in some imagery, add some text overlays, add a voiceover or any other sort of music file, and you can test that, too.

I do think, if you have the budget and you can go sort of big TV audience-style advertisement, why not? Try that, too. If you’ve invested some budget in something that’s longer – 3 minutes or 30 seconds or 90 seconds – slice it up into 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there, and just test anything and everything. Like I said before, we’ve been surprised at the performance of some videos. There were some videos that we thought were going to do absolutely amazing and they failed. You really have to test anything and everything to make sure you’ve sort of crossed off everything on your list to find the type of content that works for you and the type of video or ad type that works for your audience.

How many tests are you usually able or do you recommend clients to do within a week or within a sprint of a couple of weeks or a few weeks? Do you recommend doing a high volume of tests?

That depends on your budget, of course.

We have clients that are running a million dollars a month. They set aside 20 percent of their budget just for testing and they can do that sort of higher volume because they have a multitude of audiences to go after. Any given time, we’re running – it obviously depends on the client – we have clients that are very particular who they go after and they have maybe five audiences that they routinely target. Or we may have twenty audiences that we routinely target with two different ad types per audience – I don’t know.

It definitely depends on your budget. I think, if you’re working with a smaller budget, you’re going to want to be really judicious. Maybe find that audience that seems to always really engage with your advertising and test new creative against that high-performing audience – that way, you know the audience is high quality but you just want to see what sort of ad and make sure of the next.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Sean Kim - Visual Summary

Sean Kim

Can You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Business?

Rype is a global language learning platform where we have essentially disrupted the traditional language model which is language schools where you have to go and commute to language schools.

Instead, we connect you directly to teachers online allowing students to work with better teachers and taking up less of your time at a cheaper cost. We’ve essentially disrupted that model by connecting you directly with our teachers.

We’re also introducing the subscription model to the language learning industry that has never really existed before so we’re really excited to be helping connect the world through languages.

Which Daily Habits Have You Installed to Maximize Your Results With Clients?

I think, with entrepreneurship, as many of you guys listening, it definitely comes with its ups and downs. For me, just having a daily habit that’s keeping you at rhythm is important. It could literally be anything.

For me, I have a similar priming method that I’ve gotten from Tony Robbins – for anyone that’s a fan of Tony – where he primes himself for ten minutes from the moment he wakes up. It’s a little bit different in terms of the way he does it versus the way I do it. It has a specific set of patterns and I’m happy to share all of them with you.

I don’t want to bore you with the details but it starts with three things that I’m really grateful from – from anything as small as I’m currently here in Bucharest right now and it’s really just recognizing the small little moments because, I think, as entrepreneurs, we always think ahead. We never think of the present moments that we have. So, those are the three things. I start with the three things that I’m really grateful for and then I generally take a cold shower in the morning and I meditate for ten minutes.

It varies; sometimes, I’ll add small things here and there, but those are the three fundamental things that I do to really prime my mind. No matter how bad of a day it is or how much of a rollercoaster the day comes up with, I know at least I can prime myself so that my body and my mind feels as new and it feels like it’s the daily routines that I’m going through could help me withstand anything that comes my way for the rest of the day.

What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Marketing?

I guess the first one that I would look at is keep in mind that the three processes that I generally take is have one KPI in mind and make sure that it’s not a metric. Make sure it has some value towards your business.

For SaaS, it could be the number of actual signups. For eCommerce, it could be the actual revenue that you generate. Make sure it’s a KPI which is a key performance indicator – one number that you’re trying to improve.

If you have a growth hacking team especially, make sure that everybody around you understands what that KPI is because, when you have one person that is trying to optimize for traffic and one person that’s trying to optimize for revenue, those can be very different processes. One metric, keep everyone in the same company and the same team work that one metric.

Second is I generally look at most things as a funnel. I have processes where I literally write down every little step with a lot of arrows. I can’t really show you here right now since we’re on a video chat but everything really comes down to having a structure funnel of creating an on-flow experience.

It’s kind of like when someone goes into a Nike store, you want to make sure that they are going to specific steps. When they first come into the store, what are they looking at? How are they going to leave? You want to really have a step-by-step process of what experience a user goes through.

And then, the third step is generally don’t listen to the advice of others, especially around very specific advice, mainly because what happens and what has worked for someone else is not going to work for your specific business.

I personally made the mistake of listening to someone that is maybe an expert in eCommerce but is not going to give you the best specific advice on how to optimize your funnel, how to growth hack your SaaS business, or the business around your education because it’s a different model, it’s going to be a different funnel and you’re going to have different customer segments that are going to react completely different to what you’re doing. So, I would be very careful and really test out everything on your own and measure it yourself.

For me, I really tune out to all these gurus with advice unless it’s more high-level things that every marketer should do which is stuff that I’m recommending right now. When it comes to the nitty-gritty things in your business, really, test it out for yourself. Use tools like Optimizely.com, VisualOptimizer.com – I think I’m getting that right.

Do these A/B tests on your own – multi-variant tests – and decide based on data, not what other industry experts are saying.

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

It’s really the essence of a business, I think.

Again, it depends on what exactly is the experience that you’re trying to take towards your customers. For example, if you sell maybe a high-pricing product, you want to generally not sell them right away. You want to capture their emails and you want to be able to nurture them through an email marketing funnel or through a series of really valuable information that helps you become more trusted and helps you build some sort of loyalty that, in a month from now or three months or even a year from now, people will be willing to take out their hard-earned money and pay a thousand dollars for it.

Now, if you are running an eCommerce company, let’s say, and you sell products that are $10.00, $20.00, $30.00, that’s not going to really impact the wallets of a regular consumer, that might be a different case. You might just want to sell them right away.

Like, Amazon actually does the opposite where they ask you to create your account way later down the funnel rather than early on because they understand that most consumers, you don’t want to create a barrier for them. You want to make sure that you want to be able to do that last.

Some companies don’t even ask you to create an account. They ask you to continue as a guest but, obviously, they do ask you for your email. It really depends on the business that you’re running.

I would say, if you have a high-priced product, then set up an email marketing funnel and capture leads early on. If you have a very cheap product – $5.00, $10.00, $20.00 – then it may not be as necessary because a consumer does not overcome as big of a barrier or make a purchase product decision.

How Are You Growing Rype

We have multiple different ways that we’re growing Rype.

As many things that I do or try to do with my life and the way I make my personal decisions, I have one or two things that are really making a big impact in the business itself. I think a lot of marketers, a lot of entrepreneurs that are starting out try to optimize for way too many things. By “way too many,” I mean, four is way too many for a company that is one to five people because you just don’t have the resources to optimize all of these things.

While it is important to try out multiple things, the way I look at it is spend 80 percent of your time working on channels that work. For us, it’s content marketing – that’s Facebook ads. Those are really the two main drivers in the company. And then, spend 20 percent of your time trying to do little experiments like affiliate marketing possibly. It could be increasing referrals, it could be email marketing that are not as proven but could become part of your 80 percent later down the road.

You never want to take your eye off the ball of the things that are working and either have someone that’s really good at it that’s working on it or you have to be the one that’s continuing to grow and scaling that while being able to do these small little experiments as well.

For us, we’re trying to constantly figure out what’s the best way to scale through content marketing and continuing to grow our blog and sharing our journey of starting a company itself. We’re very transparent about that as much as possible. Facebook ads are working out really well for us. But then, at the same time, we’re starting to see results in little things through our experiments that may go into our 80 percent bucket. We’re constantly changing as data comes back to us.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Chad Riddersen - Visual Summary

Chad Riddersen

I would also add author of this book which is Growth Hacking. I’m going to go in and give a little bit of an overview on the key takeaways there. I’ll talk about the framework, it’s going to be high-level around growth. I’ll talk about a specific concept. I’ll drill into a concept around a particular tactic. And then, talk about a tool because everyone loves the “tool of the day” kind of stuff. At the end, I’m going to talk about more of a bonus item that’s a little bit more controversial.

As it relates to the framework, you’re going to see – especially with a lot of these data-driven marketers out there – promoting the funnel. If you Google “funnel” around Google Images, there’s a million different versions and variations. The mental model that I have been advocating – and this is what we talk about in the book, Growth Hacking – is going to not be a funnel but it’s going to be a flywheel.

And so, the challenge with the funnel is that, at the very bottom of the funnel, you have this tiny little baby piece – referrals or retention – and it’s this element that, when you look specifically at the biggest, most prominent growth hacks out there, it’s been the most prominent area for those specific growth hacks.

If you look at Dropbox, for example, it’s going to be an incentivized referral. If you look at PayPal, if you look at Airbnb, a lot of these key growth hacks are going to be happening at the very bottom of this funnel. And so, when you have this mental model that’s going to be more of a funnel, you really pay a lot of attention to the attracting component at the very top. But, by transitioning this mental model into something that’s going to be a flywheel – let me just hold this up just to illustrate it in the illustration here – this component down in here is something where that mental model, that mental shift is going to be something that’s going to drive that focus back on where the most potent growth hacks are.

Let’s talk about, as you’re pushing your way into this flywheel, we’ll start back out at the attraction component which was the top guy here. A lot of people stress out and it’s like you get very tactic-driven or focused and what happens when we’re working with clients, all you really have to do is get one channel right to be able to create a multimillion-dollar lift in the business.

And so, people get very granular, they get focused on this specific tip of the day, tactic of the day, but it’s something where, by having this emphasis on just finding the first channel and getting that one right, take comfort in the fact that you can just take this thing to the bank. So, something like you getting AdWords right. When you get the economics to work out on Google paid search, you can ride that to infinity; content marketing – doing that right, you can ride that to infinity; SEO – same thing; social media. There’s these core things that you’ve built these 100-plus-million-dollar businesses around and the amount of variation between the different channels is a lot less than people realize.

And so, stop stressing out about figuring out which specific channel or tactic you’re going to use within the channel but emphasize or focus your energy on what you think is going to be the best fit and so there’s a lot of intuition there but we can talk more about intuition at a later date. But the concept here is to identify product, market, marketing fit. And so, you’re probably familiar with the product market fit and that’s something where a lot of people stop once they have that. They think, “All right, we have a successful product at this point,” but, by identifying that last channel, that marketing fit, that’s that missing component between seed and Series A and beyond. And so, that’s really where we’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of the clients we’ve worked with.

Now, let’s drill down into a specific tactic and this is something that, if you’re watching this within the next three, six, twelve months, it’s going to be relevant. If you’re watching this a year from now, it’s probably not going to be relevant.

Something that we talk about in the book is this advertising arbitrage. And so, what we’re looking at is this mismatch between advertising supply and advertising demand or it might be the inverse of that. But what’s happening is you look at Facebook circa 2006, 2007, 2008, you had massive amounts of eyeballs, very few ad dollars going after it. And so, you could take advantage of this arbitrage situation where a dollar spent on search advertising could get twice the effectiveness when you went over to Facebook. And so, Facebook is now an efficient dynamic marketplace. It’s much more expensive than it used to be.

And so, when we look at this next frontier of marketing, where are the eyeballs? The eyeballs at the moment, especially if you’re going to direct to a consumer, especially if you’re focusing on the 18 to 34 audience, it’s going to be platforms like Snapchat at the moment. Snapchat recently went public and they have opened up their ad platform and there’s not a whole lot of people watching what gets pushed through there. There’s a lot of flexibility.

And so, you can go in, geo-target a small little area. For $5.00, you can have it for the entire day. You’re talking about it’s in the right geo. You could pick, for example, a conference. Perhaps you’re not even going to be at this conference for your industry but what you can do is go in – really, you can customize the little geofilters.

So, when people are swiping on their Snapchat, they’re going to see something that’s relevant to your brand, sponsored by your company, and this is going to cost literally just $5.00 at the moment and it’s a good way to have this digital canvassing, this digital coverage over these other geographies around the country. It might be a school, it might be your favorite accelerator that you’re applying to. You can use this in a variety of ways but we’re talking pennies on a dollar on a CPM basis – cost per thousand impressions. Think of this as Facebook advertising circa 2008. That’s a specific tactic. We’ve kind of jokingly called it Snap hacking.

Another one is a tool. On the tool side, I wanted to focus on tools that have stood the test of time because we all find the tool of the day out there or the tip of the day but the tools for me that I’ve used over and over and over again, one has been SEMrush. SEMrush, when I’m starting out with a client, a lot of times, it’s just focusing on getting eyeballs to the table to get some data, to get some feedback, especially for the earlier stage companies that are out there.

And so, SEMrush allows us to go and we call it “stand on the shoulders of giants.” What we’re doing is we’re going into specific competitors. We’re looking to see what their ads are, what kind of keywords they’re bidding on, what kind of cost per clicks for those keywords. I would kind of look at the cost per clicks with a little bit of, you know, of […]. It’s not always correct there but it’s directionally correct. But you could go in and walk yourself through their Google AdWords funnel and get a sense for where their traffic is coming from, what their copy is, what their magnet is that they’re using as a bribe for people to get an email address.

And so, it allows you – like I said – to stand on the shoulders of giants. And so, you’ve just taken maybe ten years of honing in and optimizing a funnel and you can start with that on day one. it’s a really good way to get the ball rolling right out of the gate and not waste so much darn money on AdWords because AdWords, especially on the search side, gets really expensive. SEMrush is a tool I’ve used for years and I foresee that being the case moving forward.

Another one I’m kind of just an email assassin which is from my investment banking days. I would just get beaten if I had an email I didn’t follow-up on. And so, FollowUpThen or FollowUp.CC, these are two tools. FollowUpThen specifically is a tool that I use to go to inbox zero on a daily basis roughly. Sometimes it’ll slip a little bit.

I’ll give an example in context. Matt and I were coordinating a call here. This allowed me to get an email from him and then forward it to two days at FollowUpThen.com and then I get an email delivered to my inbox two days from now at that very moment reminding me. And so, my inbox changes from just a glorified to-do list to something that I can either do – if it’s five minutes or less, I’ll do it – or I can delegate or I can just push it off to a later date. That’s where I pushed it off to a later date. SEMrush, FollowUpThen – those are the two perennial tools that I’ve always had in my toolbox.

Now, the last piece that I was talking about was the bonus. This is something that’s not in the book. It’s something that I don’t talk about too often – at least not in public forums – but it’s something that I have in my personal blog at ChadRiddersen.com and the specific tactic is what I call conflict marketing.

As an earlier or smaller company, you’ll see a lot of instances that are successful with people picking a fight with a bully. If you take Basecamp, for example, 37signals is the parent company. Jason Fried, he was notorious in the early days of Basecamp for going out there and picking a fight with 800-pound gorillas.

Apple is another classic example. They were always picking a fight with the big boy out there. You had Netscape doing it with Microsoft. You have this situation where you’ve got this small scrappy company and what you can go out there because, in conflict marketing, the premise is the only thing that spreads faster than good news is bad news or conflict or drama.

And so, by going out and picking a fight with that leading company in your industry, you can expose a lot of their vulnerabilities which assumedly you have fixed, you have solved for, you’re better than. And then, when they go out there to address your objections, to address your beef with them, your bone to pick with them, it shines this big spotlight on you as a small company.

And so, there’s a bunch of different famous sayings out there and one of them is from Barnum Bailey from the Barnum Bailey Circus or whatever – PT Barnum. “Say whatever you want about me, as long as you spell my name right.” In the case of Jason Fried, he would go out there, he would cause a ruckus, he would get all these people talking, he would go to their blogs, and they would pick a side. It’s something that, by this conflict marketing, a lot of people will go out there and will just try to sell on value, sell on price, sell on tool, sell on features, sell on novelty.

But, when you really look at PR, the things that are spreading and Trump – I don’t want to beat a dead horse with this but Trump does this masterfully – he’s going to go out there, light a few fires and those fires are going to spread.

And so, what you want to focus on if you’re going to implement this tactic, because it’s a high-risk tactic and that’s the reason why you wouldn’t want to do it for a later stage company because assumedly you’ve built some brand equity and it can put that brand equity at risk. But, as a small unheard-of startup, you don’t have anything to risk.

And so, what you’re wanting to do is focus on managing the drama triangle. At the top of this triangle – and, Matt, this is something that we talked about before – it’s going to be the hero. You’re the hero. And then, you’re going to have one of the corners, let’s call it this corner here, we’re going to have the villain – that’s going to be the person that you go out there and pick a fight with. In the other corner, you’re going to have the victim. It’s important to remember the victim and this is something that my blog post about how growth hacking my wedding led to a death threat, I talk about how I did not establish a victim early on or at all.

As time meandered on and I was able to use conflict marketing to land a national syndicated ABC News story, Univision morning show which got international uptake, I had Playboy Enterprises reaching out to me. I had Carson Daly talking about us on the radio. We had all of this press with a zero-dollar marketing budget and, what had happened was, as this thing kind of ballooned out of control, it’s like media napalm, I called it, what had occurred is I became the victim of my own success in this case.

And so, by not establishing a victim, the victim became me and, quite literally, my life was at stake at that moment when someone had threatened to bomb our wedding church and you can read the blog post more for that.

The bonus – conflict marketing – make sure you’re managing the drama triangle. Pick your hero, villain, and victim. That victim should most likely be the customers that are out there that are the ones being victimized by this big villainous bully – that 800-pound gorilla.

Dale Beaumont

Can You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Business?

I have two main companies that I run actively these days.

The first is a business education company which is called the Business Blueprint where I run live events across Australia and New Zealand to help small business owners and entrepreneurs to better use technology to improve their business and to use more current and more modern forms of marketing and we have a lot of clients in this part of the world.

However, more recently, I have set this new global vision to help entrepreneurs. And so, therefore, I’ve created a technology company and that company is called BRiN. We’ve created a product that uses education, technology, and artificial intelligence to provide personalized education and human-like support to millions of people running their own business all at the same time.

It’s kind of like Siri for running their own business. If you have a question, you can just use our app and you can say, “How do I generate more leads?” or “How do I find great staff?” or “How do I beat procrastination?” “How do I put together an information memorandum?” or “What is a convertible note?” – any question. We have now built a library of over 5,000 answers to commonly asked business questions. So, all you’ve got to do is speak and get answers instantly.

What Are the Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Growth Marketing?

I think focusing on sort of too many strategies all at the same time is a big sort of problem because, if you’re doing sort of 15 or 20 strategies very poorly, you’re not really persisting to see any of those really kind of work. And so, I probably would suggest focusing on no more than five at any point in time. Otherwise, you are just diluting your efforts and you’re not getting to that breakthrough and you’re not really mastering that strategy soon enough. And so, that’s going to cause some problems.

Another thing is not testing. Everything that you’ve got to do, you have to test and measure. And so, where possible, using dedicated tracking links for every single piece of marketing or even registering some custom domain names as well so you can get every extension – you know, dot-me, dot-biz, dot-io, dot-o, and on some different forms of marketing, you could use those different URLS so that way you can see exactly where those resources, where your efforts are coming from.

The third one would be probably spending too much money. If you’re using more conventional forms – like, if you’re using pay-per-click – Google AdWords, for example, or Facebook advertising – all of those mediums are becoming increasingly more expensive. And so, as a kind of startup, you have to look for smarter and more efficient ways in order to get a lot of exposure without spending a lot of money knowing that the cost of traffic is constantly kind of rising. You know, you can’t just rely on those sources. You should use them but you should also be looking at ways in which you could market using clever forms that don’t actually cost you a lot of money and we can talk about some of those later.

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

I think it’s absolutely essential that the whole reason, you know, when people come to your website, the number one goal is to really generate a lead – it’s not to sell them anything on first exposure; it’s just to get some contact information so you have the right to build a relationship over time. Capturing a lead is the number one kind of goal of any business.

After that, what we want to do is create a system to nurture that lead so they can get to know us, like us, and trust us, so they could then download our product or they could then buy. That sort of follow-up sequence can happen in the form of emails and autoresponders or perhaps even some videos that get drip-fed over a period of days or weeks. If you have a product which is a low price point, oftentimes, you can do that within three to seven days. If you have a product that is a high price point, you know, it could be two weeks to a month of kind of nurturing. If it’s at a high price point, what you’re probably going to do is then convert that online lead into an offline conversation. It could be the outcome of the nurture sequence could be a book into your calendar to then have a meeting or perhaps to go into their office and do a presentation, depending on what you’re selling.

But, yes, it’s absolutely essential that you capture leads and then have a leverage system to then educate those people on your business so they can understand your value proposition and why they should buy from you.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?

I think the three qualities would be you’ve got to be a bit of a creative or perhaps like an artist-type personality coming up with ideas – that involves kind of great headlines and involves copywriting, it involves promotional videos that you might want to do or doing things that are a little bit different, doing things that are out-of-the-box because you can’t afford to misspend a lot of money and do all the conventional kind of things. You’ve got to be part creator, creative.

Then, I think you also need to be a part scientist as well because you need to test and measure everything that you’re doing and you need to see what’s working and what’s not and what you want to do is keep doing more of what’s working and stop doing what’s not working as quickly as possible. You need to have that scientific method of measuring your performance and adjusting accordingly.

I think the third quality is probably being a suck-up. What I mean by that is that people’s lives are busy. If you’re especially trained to do something in the enterprise space, you know, it’s constant follow-up. It’s not about sending one email or two emails. You need to be touching base with these people every week for as long as it takes. Sometimes, it takes three months or six months, but the vast majority of these kinds of opportunities only come to fruition maybe after five to ten kinds of touch points. What a lot of people do is they stop at one or two. You have to be relentless in terms of your follow-up process to make sure that you continue to stay top of mind because a lot of people you’re selling to, their lives are busy and you just have to keep persisting to get your message through.

How Do You Track Leads for Your Business and Clients?

Tracking leads – there’s different tools that we use but most of them kind of centre around the main CRM system which is called Ontraport. Ontraport is really our all-in-one sort of CRM system and like a marketing tool, email marketing, it has an affiliate program, it has tracking links, and a whole bunch of things.

Other equivalents would be one called Infusionsoft. Another one would be one called Active Campaign. I think every startup, every kind of business that’s trying to do growth hacking needs to have a good CRM so you can kind of measure and track all these different opportunities. That’s definitely a tool that we use.

Another one that we use to test what’s happening on our website is called Hotjar. Hotjar is a tool that does heatmapping and also captures a video of every single person that comes to your website so you can see what they’re doing, where they’re clicking, and what’s working and, again, what’s not working so you can make changes accordingly. They’re just a couple of the tools that we use regularly to test and measure our marketing.

Can You Tell Us More About Your Books?

Yes, I have published a number of books. They are part of a series that I produced a few years ago now. It’s called “The Secrets Exposed!” series.

What I did is I interviewed a whole lot of very successful people in a range of different topics and put them together in a book. I now have 16 of these books that I produce that have interviews with different people. And so, we have ones on entrepreneurship, we have other ones on marketing, ones on sales, ones on leadership, public speaking, and many other topics. I think they’re available now through Amazon. You can just search for my name – Dale Beaumont – or you can also search in the iBooks store as well on Apple and you’ll be able to find all of our titles there and check them out.

Which Tools and Resources Would You Encourage Viewers to Explore?

Things like Ontraport that I mentioned before – having a good CRM, that’s essential. Other services like Hotjar. In terms of productivity, for communication with the team, obviously, there’s services like Slack. I personally like one called Voxa where I can send quick voicemail messages to people in my team and I find it’s much faster than typing because I can actually even send these messages while I’m driving in the car as well and I can often send 20 or 30 messages just on the commute to work which saves you a lot of time when I get in.

I also use a couple of other tools like Email Hunter in order to find people’s email addresses if I want to reach out to different people. I also use GIPHY capture to create GIF images that go in a lot of the emails that we send just to make our emails more clickable – to improve open rates and response rates as well.

They’re just some of the tools that I use that have helped us in our business.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Maree Jones - Visual Summary

Maree Jones

How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

You know, it’s a funny story and it’s something that I would never ever – ever – recommend for a business to do.

I actually started out managing social media for a company that I was working for many, many years ago. It was a magazine publishing company. I was already working there, doing advertising, sales, and I was doing really well. I was very motivated and won several contests. But they kind of put me in-charge of social media and, really, my only qualification was that I was the youngest person in the office. And so, kind of by default, I was given that role and took it on for an additional $25.00 a week.

Since then, I’ve kind of found my niche and have grown that role but, yeah, it’s something that I would never recommend businesses to do.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

You know, I believe growth hacking and growth marketing is really a response to the way that different online avenues have really changed the marketplace. Being reactive is really being the new proactive. As these technologies emerge, people who are able to respond, who are able to practice growth hacking have a huge advantage over people who only practice kind of the traditional marketing.

Growth hacking certainly does not take the place of traditional marketing but it’s a really cool compliment to it in that you can have those longer planning cycles but you can also be reactive in real-time.

What Are the Top Three Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?

I think the first one is that they’re always looking for partnerships or integrations that make sense.

The smartest growth hackers that I’ve seen and worked with understand that one plus one equals three and that, the more you can find people and organizations to work with and to kind of grow your business, the better off you’re going to be in this environment.

You know, the second one I would say is a sense of curiosity or experimentation – being willing to try new things, new approaches, and really being reactionary while the marketplace may change or new technologies may develop.

Finally, I would say that user experience as well as the technical chops are very important. But thinking about the value that you can provide to a potential customer or partner is really important. Yes, you do have to have the technical chops to kind of bring it to life but you also have to have that creativity and that understanding of human experience to kind of bring to the table as well.

What Are Some Resources You Encourage People to Explore?

You know, a lot of times, I will come across clients who are maybe startups or entrepreneurs and they’re simply strapped for cash. They do not have a budget for marketing or PR or social media management. They can’t afford it so they kind of resort to approaches that are more along the lines of growth hacking – you know, referrals, loyalty programs, and things like that. Because of that lean cash flow, I like to point them in the direction of free resources as much as possible, if I can help them.

Sites like Kissmetrics have a wealth of information about growth hacking and even some of those non-conventional sites like Quora have a lot of information that’s community-driven and, really, heavily slanted to growth hacking.

Which Tools Do You Use to Grow Your Business or Help Clients Grow Theirs?

I specialize mostly in PR, content, social media, and there are lots of different ways to kind of growth hack those and to put some things on automation so that you can continue to work on your business. You can kind of set it and forget it, so to speak.

I really like tools like Hootsuite or Buffer that really make managing those multiple channels and social media more effective and having to log into an account or change a password or things like that. It saves people a lot of time in which they can work on other things and not have to worry about social media growth. It kind of puts them on auto-pilot a little bit.

For email marketing or content, there’s lots of really great things like CoSchedule. I use Emma for email marketing. I’ve also used MailChimp. Those kinds of tools have a lot of options that are very affordable if not free. They’re really great resources to kind of build your email list, build your social media following so that you can embrace kind of those principles of growth hacking.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Arvell Craig - Visual Summary

Arvell Craig

How Did You Start?

I got into marketing and designing and a lot of things back in the late 90’s.

In college, I started messing around with websites. I studied computer science in school. But, before I got done, I was just watching how the internet was growing. I just got right into it. and so, I started out doing design and logos – kind of just straight local business stuff. Through the years, I’ve grown to understand the value.

At the beginning, I started out just doing stuff because it was a skill, it was a talent, it was fun. But, when you start to understand what people want, that a lot of the tools, a lot of the techniques, a lot of the cute stuff are just a means to an end, I learned to discover that people didn’t really care about the design. They wanted results. It was like, year after year, I’m always growing towards figuring out how to get people what they really want.

And so, starting off in Photoshop and then Dreamweaver and HTML. I’d see, over the years, as technology continues to grow, whatever is new, wherever people’s attention are, that’s kind of where I find myself learning and spending time – whatever it takes to get in front of people’s faces – in front of their attention.

How Do You Attract Leads?

There’s a couple of different ways. Depending on the project or the campaign, my bread and butter, the quickest, fastest, easiest way to get leads is going to be through email.

Again, the simplest way is going to be taking an existing database and either warming those leads up and getting them to re-engage existing leads into buying additional purchases. We can take those same leads and, again, depending on how we want to incentivize them, depending on
how you want to throw the pitch or the story, we can initiate some kind of referral or affiliate campaign whereby any of our existing customers or leads will be motivated to send our offer or send our product to somebody they know. If you can formulate the pitch in a certain way, they’re going to benefit from goodwill of sharing a really great offer with someone else.

Email is always the shortest, quickest, easiest way to get some new business in. but, other than that, I’ll do content marketing – whether it’s writing on my own blog or writing on Medium or different places where attention is and then directing the traffic to the site and then doing some lead form there. And then, I’ll do Facebook ads because that’s the hottest social media site right now so that’s always a way to get some new leads in.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities Growth Hackers Should Have?

The top three qualities that I find is valuable is – one – they have to be able to understand their customer. They have to be able to understand the motivations, the psychology, the fears and the desires of whoever they’re going after – whether it’s email, whether it’s paid traffic, whether it’s cold email, whether it’s Facebook, webinars, everything – it’s going to fall based upon understanding the motivations and the desires of who they’re targeting.

The second quality that I’ve learned or discovered in the past couple of years is really kind of more of a self-understanding – understanding your personal strength, your personal skill. There is this test called the Marketing DNA Test by this guy named Perry Marshall. It’s a phenomenal assessment for any person in sales or marketing to understand what is the greatest quality that you have that brings the greatest results for other people.

Whenever I’m working with someone or a business, I always want them to understand and assess their own strengths – their own marketing strengths – because that’s a long-term strategy. You can learn and watch a blog or take anybody else’s tactics for a couple of days or a couple of weeks or a couple of months. You can grind it out by being somebody that you’re not. But I find, if you can leverage your own strengths, you’ll get the greatest results.

And then, number three, a big quality I find in marketing – again, I’m a part of a couple of masterminds here locally and also online – just really
not being independent, not being solo, not being a lone ranger but finding ways to leverage the knowledge of other people live. Interacting one-on-one through a mastermind or maybe hiring a coach or a mentor, but always involving someone else in your game plan is going to be a great win for you.

Who Are Your Role Models for Growth Marketing?

My role models are Perry Marshall. I mentioned the Marketing DNA Test. He also wrote a great book called 80/20 Sales and Marketing. I’m a part of his community. I’ve been following him for years. He wrote the first biggest book on AdWords – I don’t know – ten years ago. So, he’s been around for a long time.

There’s another guy who to me is not as widely known because he’s not active on social media a lot but his name is Dean Jackson. He’s been around ten, fifteen, twenty years. He’s got some simple, very direct, phenomenal strategies. They’re simple and they work. So, Dean Jackson is somebody I love to follow.

And then, I would probably say Gary Vaynerchuk which a lot of people know of. I’ve been really following and listening to what he’s been saying lately and I love that he’s not just about hustle – he also gets into the self-awareness or kind of leveraging your strengths or knowing what makes a difference to you. But he’s great for practicality and for the motivation to grind and to hustle and to get results.

Those are my top three role models.

Which Tools Do You Use to Grow Your Business?

My favorite tools right now for hacking, marketing, growing, there’s a couple of them.

For conversion rate optimization, I like Instapage – that’s my favorite landing page builder that I’m using now that’s getting the best results for split testing landing pages. I use Active Campaign as my marketing automation email system of choice. It’s phenomenally simple and easy. I may have used InfusionSoft – I use that on another site. I use MailChimp. But Active Campaign – plus it’s got a CRM for managing leads and pipeline but for the price point and the features, there’s nothing that compares to it.

I also use Tout – not for my existing emails or my existing customers but Tout is great for cold leads for getting new customers if I want to get them through email. So, Tout at toutapp.com is that site. Those are, like, my favorite three – Instapage, Active Campaign, and Tout are my top three right now.

Ricardo Martinez

How Did You Start Your Journey in Growth and Digital Marketing?

I got started in growth and digital marketing around 2010 where I was doing PPC and search engine optimization with advertising agencies.

From there, I just kept on moving up and getting into sales funnels, building also conversion funnels, as well as content marketing, Facebook ads throughout several advertising agencies, then a Fortune 500 company. I decided that was too corporate and too structured.

And then, I switched back to the advertising agency model once again as a search manager. Then, I got promoted to director and then I decided to start my own company to have the ability to leverage the clients that I actually want which are mostly driven through eCommerce and performance marketing.

How Do You Attract Leads to Your Business and Clients?

As of right now, we’re mostly focused on getting leads for clients. In terms of my own business, we do it through lead magnets and a lot of content marketing. We’re not running anything through Facebook or AdWords or affiliate. It’s just crafting very, very long and lengthy pieces of content that provide pretty great value for our audiences that are on LinkedIn or on different blog posts.

For clients, we do utilize a bunch of different tactics and digital marketing aspects to get leads. Majority of the leads that we utilize and that we get for clients are coming through search engine optimization. A lot of them do come from Facebook ads. We run a lot of Facebook campaigns with budgets ranging all the way from $2,000 a month all the way to $60,000 a month with video campaigns, conversion campaigns, brand awareness, local awareness that drive directly to the product page as well as to a category page.

But we also drive the majority of the traffic to direct response landing pages. We bring a lot of traffic as well through, again, content marketing for our clients by crafting guides and how-to tutorials to get people from the top of the funnel. We also focus a lot on affiliate marketing campaigns for our clients. We’re also focusing a lot on micro-influencers which are basically these people that have YouTube followings and Instagram

followings anywhere from 20,000 to – let’s say – 125,000. Those are sort of the influencers that we like to work with just because they tend to have a much more engaged audience.

We also bring a lot of clients through Instagram ads as well as organic Instagram efforts. The way that we do that is by scraping competitors’ websites and scraping also niche websites by actually following every single person that comments on a picture or actually seems engaged. Therefore, we actually start following them and start communicating with them via direct messages. We send them to our profile or our client’s profile. And then, from there, we actually put a link on the bio and start generating leads that way.

Lastly, we’re also generating a lot of leads through referrals and loyalty programs. Those are actually working pretty well such as Customer Works is the brand ambassador.

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

For now, conversion funnels are the most important aspect of digital marketing. They can give companies the ability to actually segment users by awareness, consideration, evaluation, or sales purchase – depending on whether they land upon researching or interacting with the website.

As of right now, too many companies and we still see this with a lot of eCommerce companies that are just treating every single marketing funnel the same way versus actually interacting with customers in such a way that would present them the opportunity to separate – whether it’s by age, interest, audience, gender – in order to provide the most well-crafted message to make sure that there’s an actual interaction and connection with the user and the brand.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities that a Growth Hacker Should Have?

For now, honestly, I’m still growing the company and still messing around with a lot of growth techniques that we’re utilizing for clients as well as for our own.

I’ve got to tell you that the three most important aspects, the first one is going to be knowing when to fail and having the guts to fail. Too many of us are scared of thinking, “What if this campaign doesn’t work? What if these efforts don’t work? What if it’s a waste of money?” But you need to actually realize and get to a point in which, after analyzing the data, you say, “Okay, is it worth it to continue with this project or do we just go ahead and kill it and actually restart by making something better?” Definitely having the gut to fail is the most important aspect of being a growth hacker.

The second part is going to be actually data analysis – also something extremely, extremely important. The data is actually what makes or breaks the business and it’s what takes basically any campaign to the next level. It’s what give you the ability to scale marketing efforts. However, this is not just relying on Google Analytics and looking at average time spent on site or bounce rate. This is definitely going to be on analytics catalyst, implementing data visualization tools and reporting as well as utilizing heat maps, scrolls, Clicktale, Kissmetrics to find out exactly where the customer not only is on the page but knowing how they’re interacting, looking at purchase behavior flows in order to then again pass it on to different parts of the funnel and segment audiences depending on the actions that they’re taking on your page.

The third quality about being a growth hacker is actually having the ability to lead a team. Yes, one person can be very well-skilled and very well-crafted in the analysis, search engine optimization, PPC, but once you actually start combining paid search engine optimization, copywriting, UX, development, there’s just too many different skill sets that need to be combined. Having the ability to provide a team with the tasks that need to be done upon reaching a specific threshold is extremely, extremely important to keep on moving forward and making sure that the team is working in conjunction.

Which Tools Do You Use to Grow Your Business or Help Clients Grow?

That’s a pretty awesome question.

Right now, we’re definitely utilizing a lot of tools. I’m guilty of having a software addiction. We definitely try out dozens – if not, honestly, we have tried hundreds of different software. Our favorite software right now for growth hacking for clients in our businesses are Sumo, SEMrush, Keyword Revealer, […] Ninja Outreach, ScrapeBox, Hotjar, Mouseflow, Kissmetrics, even AdEspresso every now and then, Kowaya, Drip and MailChimp for email marketing, as well as our custom dashboards that are presently built depending on the data that we’re trying to analyze.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Andrew Anderson - Visual Summary

Andrew Anderson

How Did You Become Passionate About Business Growth?

Unlike a lot of other people that come from a traditional marketing background, […] to teach history and history is nothing but a bunch of lessons of we thought we were going to do this and we ended up doing that. We get a lot of sanitized versions of it but pretty much nothing in history has ever gone exactly according to plan and that fact has always been a passion for me and the stories of that.

Growth is about finding those opportunities in the business world and in the companies I work for – all these things that we think we should be doing this and we end up doing that and finding those things and learning those things and teaching about all those opportunities is really what I love doing.

What Results Have You Gotten?

I’ve been doing this for fourteen, fifteen years now. I’ve worked with 300 different companies. Again, all of my favorite stories are those that come from we thought we’d do this then do that.

A perfect example, I was working with one of the largest SEM programs in the world for a financial services company and they had seven key products and they wanted to build a landing page that just served the products and information based on what the person was searching for – which is something that was suggested and didn’t come to practice. Instead, we talked him into testing out the content to everyone to see if it was matching right because, if the product meets the match, they’ll be the best performer and, every other outcome, we would find a better outcome.

What we ended up finding was, if we had done exactly what they originally wanted to do, we would have lost about 18 percent of leads which is millions and millions of dollars for them. But, instead, by doing that, we discovered that the only correlation between products was a couple that didn’t match but, by looking at browser or time of day and serving content based on that, we were able to get about a 24 percent increase.

Again, it’s another one of those cases where we thought we were going to go left and we ended up going right. Those types of stories happen in my current role in all the different companies I’ve worked for.

What Do You Do Differently than Other Practitioners that You Think Is Hugely Valuable?

So much of the space is about how do we measure and do what we think is going to work best. In the optimization space, a lot of how do we validate this hypothesis or validate these ideas that we have and everything that I do is about how do we look at all the possible options and prove ourselves wrong, not right. You’re able to get into a lot of things that other people aren’t even aware of.

In my case, I’m a math nerd so things like fragility, math of efficiencies and system thinking which allows us to both validate if those ideas are right but, in the day, we actually make more money when we’re wrong. By doing that, we’re able to have far more successes, far higher rate of impact to businesses and be more efficient with it.

That’s really the core of what I teach and how I work with people – again, teaching them the discipline to go past their own egos and their own previous thoughts and keep building on it.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking or growth marketing, in a lot of ways, is one of those open-ended terms that you use for a lot of things. In a lot of cases, it’s just data-validated marketing. “We’re going to do what we did before, we’re just going to throw a different name of it and kind of measure things.”

To me, it’s really this opportunity to rethink classic marketing or classic online marketing and to go past just looking at channels or looking at outcomes to, again, explore and exploit information and to keep building things.

There’s a lot of great voices out there but there’s also a lot of voices that use different words to teach people to do what they’ve already been doing or to feel better about what they’re already doing. And so, growth marketing kind of gets a bad name in my mind from that. But there’s also a lot of key people out there that really help people learn and go a different way.

You know, to get a different outcome, you have to be doing a different action. And so, whether you want to call that growth marketing or exploration or whatever, it’s a great opportunity learn and grow and go different ways whether it’s how you do spend or how you talk to customers or even what channels or markets you explore into. It’s a great wide unknown and it really allows you to keep going in different directions as opposed to being under the constraints of classic marketing.

What Role Does Data Play in the Day to Day Grind of Growth Hacking?

Data is like oxygen, right? We don’t exist without data, but just having data isn’t enough.

So much of marketing and data usage is for validation or what I usually refer to as data-justified marketing, not data-driven marketing. You know, there was that classic saying that you use data like a drunk man uses a light post for support rather than illumination.

To me, data is all about how do you just have the discipline and be able to disassociate the outcomes or the measure of the outcomes from the concept you want to do and the execution that concept. By doing that and only using data to really drive decisions as opposed to find something that proves what I’m trying to do, it really opens up conversations and gets far more results.

One of the things I tell people is you can ask for data on anything but, unless you can prove how it’s going to add marginal value, it’s not something that I’m going to provide to you because you’re just doing it to make yourself feel good.

Data is both the most valued and least valued part of just about any organization.