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 - 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.