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 - Pierre Lechelle - Visual Summary

Pierre Lechelle

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

I formed the business a couple of years and it formed brilliantly – mainly because of product. I’m a good product guy when things are getting started. Like, when you have traction and stuff like this. But I’m a bad product guy when it comes to getting started from the ground up.

Basically, starting the company was awful for me. Beyond the product, we sell for over two years and, at the end of these two years, we started doing marketing and all that sort of stuff. But it took me so long to get the product out there and gather feedback from people. I was just too late.

You know, running these marketing campaigns, I learned that I was a good marketer but not a very good product guy – at least not at the beginning of the project. And so, that’s how I got started and, you know, getting to know all these strategies, tactics, and working in more and more businesses basically led me to where I’m at today.

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

You know, I think it’s quite a weird word. You know, you’ve got tons of people doing growth hacking and growth marketing. Basically, what we do doesn’t have a real title. I think it’s coming closer and closer to growth marketing itself but growth hacking to me is like everyone is talking about scraping tactics, about finding leads or LinkedIn, pouring them all into big campaigns and seeing the results and doing all that sort of stuff.

I think, you know, some people come to see me and they expect me to be like, “Hey! We’re going to scrape this and Craigslist and do all the good stuff.” I’m like, “Sorry but I don’t do that.” I think what’s the main reasoning behind this is I think growth hacking is mainly about finding that one small tactic that’s going to give you traction but it’s not going to be sustainable in the long term.

So, it might help you gain your first few hundred users – maybe the first customers – but it’s not going to help you grow sustainably over the next

five to ten years and this is what I like to focus on because this is what is going to have the greatest ROI for you and your business. If we’re just basically finding tactics, it’s not going to be very helpful over the long-term. I think that’s a huge distinction between growth hacking and growth marketing.

People – I believe – should focus on the latter because you’re not going to build a business or scraping and doing illegal stuff and weird tactics. Yes, that’s where I stand.

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

You know, I think we live in a world where we can have very augmented businesses. So, I don’t think everything should be fully automated or that everything can be fully automated. But, you know, if you are a consultant or you are a SaaS software, no one is going to go from no clue who you are to “I’m going to purchase a $1,000-a-month product.” There’s no way someone is going to go through that thought sequence in just a second.

I think it’s important for us marketers and for business but also for customers and prospects to basically go through these funnels that they can basically get nurtured into. Like, I don’t know if consultants, a lot of SaaS businesses are going to start with blog articles and they’re going to push you to some sort of an e-book then you may have multiple other e-books, email courses, and all that sort of stuff.

That’s going to educate you about the product, about what it can do for you, and the advantages it can have for your business. And then, later on in the journey, when you’re finally ready to purchase the product, it becomes a very simple decision-making process because it just makes sense. “I’ve been with that company for so long, why not give it a try?”

I think HubSpot is a very good company doing this. I’m a user of Modern Mark and they do listings of B2B SaaS companies and all that sort of good companies and they basically have a newsletter where they share content, share very interesting content.

Before I went about and became a customer, I was reading that newsletter. Every week, I would discover new features, I would discover new content that would allow me to put outbound sales to work and, you know, all that content, when I was thinking about doing outbound sales

myself, I was like, “Well, Modern Mark is all I need to speak to.” I think that is, in the end, what conversion funnels and high-level funnels are. It’s not necessarily about the different steps between a payment processing but it’s mainly about what’s the customer journey, customer life cycle that maximizes the number of customers that are going to end up at the end of the process, if that makes sense.

How Do You Get Customers a Quick Win?

I think it’s mainly a question about where should the business be focused. You know, when you get into a new business, you always have these huge low-hanging fruits – you know, you see weird things happening in the AdWords account.

I think the last business that I audited, they basically had 25,000 emails that never received any email. They were basically getting new email subscribers every day but they didn’t send any email to these guys. And so, it became obvious to me that we are to email these people and reactivate them and make sure they are great content and great experience. But, in the end, it’s about looking at the entire funnel of your business, the entire customer life cycle, and looking at where you have missed opportunities. It’s often going to be in emails.

One of the huge ones that every business can have is basically look at all the lost deals, all the leads that never got engaged, all these lost leads that you lost track with, and just emailing these people can tremendously help your business. But, yes, looking at the entire funnel and seeing where you can have impact.

How Do You Start a Growth Team?

I think it’s a very complex process. You know, we’ve talked earlier about growth hacking, growth marketing, and all that stuff. I think what people see is, you know, they want to experiment. Everyone wants to experiment and everyone is going to try to launch new things and do different tactics.

I think our entire discussion is mainly about creating a growth team. It’s about finding where you can have the most impact, generating quick wins so that you can show to the organization and board of directors and VPs and everyone in the organization that you can have impact. It’s about showing that you – you alone or a small pool of people – can have impact on the business.

As soon as you show to everyone that you can have impact by launching experiments, you can then start with a small pool of people, generally promoting a few people from the organization, probably the same ones that already participated in these experiments, and then you can expand from this.

Let’s say you are the growth manager, a designer, and an engineer. You start experimenting by finding these high-impact areas, launching experiments. You’re getting these quick wins and then you can expand on that group of people.

If, for instance, you see that design is your main goal, you can basically hire one more designer and start moving more quickly through the experimentation cycle. That’s basically then all about brainstorming ideas for experiments, launching more of them, and making sure that you’re having positive results on your bottom line.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Jordan Benjamin - Visual Summary

Jordan Benjamin

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

Well, you know, I initially wanted to be a lawyer and found out that that didn’t really align with what I wanted to do. And so, in school, I changed my major to business and then just kind of got aligned with a few folks that were doing different startups in kind of the early stages.

And so, my junior and senior year in college, I went to work for a friend’s company. I think it was maybe the fifth employee. I was an intern doing sales for them. We really had to kind of just start thinking about how do you bring digital marketing? How do you find your list of prospects?

From there, that kind of got me started on that path of really wanting to work with startup companies – being able to kind of see how does everything work internally. And so, it really kind of just got me started on that path and connected into the startup kind of mindset and group of folks.

There’s a really good community of startups in Boulder, Colorado, where I’m originally from. So, I was out there for about five, six years, working with startups. And then, I actually moved up to Boston to join on HubSpot to kind of watch how a startup moves from startup into public company. I got here and got to watch the IPO and got to watch us kind of move and then got me thinking about how do I start my own projects or business trying to drive growth as well.

What Problems Have You Solved for Customers?

A lot of the time, it’s about how to get new customers. How do you drive growth? How do you drive growth efficiently? How do you stay motivated? How do you prospect? How do you really bring more data to the table?

One of the things that I love about digital marketing is we can really look at analytics and very easily measure – not what just drives a new hit or visitor to my website but what actually turns somebody into a customer? How do they move through that process and how do we leverage data?

As a startup or as a young company or as anybody, really, how do we really use that data to say, “Well, what’s the most efficient? Where should we spend our time? What drives the best ROI?” And so, that’s where most of the companies I’ve been working for it’s how do we drive a more effective cost per lead or how do we actually bring data to understand what drives people through our sales funnel more effectively?

Now, I’m starting to work with companies to think about how do we lead more intentionally, how do we perform at our best as humans? Really kind of start bringing all those pieces together to really bring a kind of whole person/company/organization into the ecosystem.

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

I think, when you’re trying to approach growth, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer or prospect. The word that we’ve been using a lot lately is empathy. How do you empathize with that prospect?

You go beyond just thinking about what do they want. You think about what do they really care about? What do they struggle with? What can you actually bring to the table that adds value?

When you think about “what does this person want to achieve?” then you can build resources, you can build content, you can build answers to their questions that they might be asking online or other places.

Really, what you do is you build trust, you build value, you build credibility before you ever ask for their dollars. And so, I think that kind of encompasses probably all three. How do you put yourself in the shoes of your prospect? How do you really understand them so you can lead with building trust so you can build credibility so you can really then measure everything that works? And see what works most effectively and then spend your time in those areas?

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

The one that I see continuously, I was working with a small business owner last week on this, he was starting to go and try and prospect and try

and get in front of more potential customers. The email that he started sending says, “I saw this. I want to know about this. I want to hear other things.”

And so, it’s really critical to think about how do you focus on that prospect? How do you talk about what they want and what’s really important to them? Because that’s what grabs attention.

Today, so many people are blasting different business owners, marketing managers, sales leaders, or whoever it is with “here’s what I want, here’s what’s important to me,” and you’ve really got to flip that on your head and kind of go against what you would normally do to think about “What do they want? What’s important to them?” to lead off with.

I think another mistake is there are so many tools, so many people are bombarding you with coming to use them, but really see what you can do to measure everything. If you can use this data and understand digital presence, understand how your website is working well or not working well, from there you can really leverage those tools to measure everything.

I see a lot of businesses that say, “Yeah, we just have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of that,” or “All of the intellectual property is in my brain.” Most small businesses fail because they don’t have systems or processes that are repeatable. So, then when they actually have a little bit of success and they go hire somebody, it becomes nearly impossible to train someone effectively so you can continually grow.

So, really thinking about how do you measure everything, how do you build systems and processes, and how do you think about what does your prospect care about most as opposed to what you care about or what you want to get done.

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

A lot of times, Google Docs, I love the Google apps. The Google suite is just so easy. It’s very inexpensive – you know, $5.00 or $10.00 a month to get email, to get Google Docs so you can actually share documents, hold people accountable, have meetings so you’re actually face-to-face. I think it’s great.

One of my favorite free tools as well is using Join.me to have webinars with folks or calls using something. HubSpot has a free CRM that’s just absolutely wonderful to use and totally free which is great. I think early stages it’s especially wonderful to have stuff that doesn’t cost very much money but then can scale with you. There’s also some free marketing products that HubSpot has or Google Analytics has some great tools to actually help you understand that interaction with your website.

If I’m trying to sell or prospect, using tools like BuiltWith or Datanyze to help understand, “Okay, do these people use tools that would be a good fit or my services are for me to sell into?” And then, you know, a tool called Zapier that really helps connect different things together. Depending upon the systems you have, it can really help you start getting a more holistic view of everything you’re doing.

I think those are some of the tools.

And then, I use Stitcher to listen to different podcasts, different interviews. Obviously, my Kindle to read as much as I can and learn from a lot of other people – to keep growing.

I’d say those are a handful.

Will Bunker

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

You know, we had that experience where we built that first idea which took four, five months to even program it and then you’re sitting there and you realize you have no customers. And so, the thought that occurred to me is, if I don’t learn how to market, then all the stuff we did to build the site is for nothing. That launched me into getting very serious about digital marketing.

Would You Like to Plug Your Current Business or Product? What Do You Have Going On?

We’ve started GrowthX Academy which teaches people three different roles which we feel are critical to growing startups – sales in biz dev, digital marketing, and design. We want to create talent for our ecosystems so that these great companies that have good products don’t die on the vine because they can’t sell them or reach their customers effectively.

What Are the Top Three Qualities That a Growth Hacker or a Growth Marketer Should Have?

I think that you have to be extremely intellectually curious. What worked in 1995 won’t work in 2017. And so, teaching yourself constantly.

I think another issue is understanding that all of your ideas are hypotheses and acting appropriately – you know, not getting too attached until you get the feedback, the users that tell you you’re going in the right direction.

Another quality that matters greatly is your mental flexibility and ability to accept that feedback in a way that’s constructive. It’s super easy to get your feelings hurt. We’ve all had that situation where a potential customer writes that long email about how bad you suck. In there, there’s some truth that you can act on if you can control your emotions and then look at it, “Okay, what is this person really trying to tell me is wrong with the product and can we fix it?”

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

I am a very deliberate learner. And so, I have a flashcard system; I’ve got 45,000 facts in that system. I probably spend 30 minutes a day reviewing technical material within that system so that my skills stay fresh with things that have longer range value. I read probably two to three books a week so I set aside daily reading time so that I’m inputting new things into my brain and making sure that I stay relevant.

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

Well, the biggest one is to overcommit early. It just takes a while to build a great product and find product market fit and it’s super easy to get excited and want to push yourself to that next level that leads to investment. If you do it prematurely, you’ll kind of flame out. You see a lot of companies that get a great initial curve off of some growth hack but they don’t build the real value to the end customer and it fails.

Another big mistake is see is arrogance. You know, it’s interesting; it’s easy to be good at some pieces of this and then get the attitude that founders to listen to everything you say or their crap and it’s hard to understand all the constraints you’re going through as you build a business. And so, learning more empathy toward the other team players and understanding what makes their job work so that you don’t come across as a jerk is a big one.

And then, overreliance on one channel, especially early stage. There are lots of ways to go to market and all of them work under certain circumstances. And so, having the ability to switch a context so that you’re doing the right role channel for a particular startup.

What Are Some Resources that You Would Encourage People to Explore?

Being the big reader that I am, the last couple of books that blew me away were Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Punch – kind of a long title but super interesting read on how to fit your message within a particular medium and how to be sensitive to how the medium works. I read one recently, it wasn’t a great read but, man, is it working! It’s How to Get to 100,000 Twitter Followers. I’m rapidly approaching 10,000 up from three, four weeks ago. Combined with Gary’s book, for the first time, I’m starting to feel confident through social market messaging versus just trying to advertise down those channels. That’s something by the end of this year, I’d like to have 10,000 followers from Quora and 100,000 followers on Twitter. I’m just trying to read resources around that to make me better.

Sujan Patel - Visual Summary

Sujan Patel

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

I started off in SEO years ago in 2001, 2002, made an e-commerce website. This was before the luxury of Shopify, Big Commerce and those types of companies. So building it using a lot more rudimentary platforms. I put a lot of money into it, I was in high school and college. I built the website, no one came, I had to figure out a way to get people there. I stumbled on SEO. The business failed but I successfully kick-started my SEO career. As SEO has evolved over time, it’s become really just all things marketing. And so, over time, I expanded beyond SEO to just all things digital marketing. Growth has always been something I’ve been measuring myself against – what is actual growth numbers? There’s a lot of fancy numbers and things you can measure against, but at the end of the day it comes down to growth, which is really why you’re doing digital marketing in the first place. So growth is a new name for something I’ve been going off of, I call it ROI, fast-paced marketing. That’s kind of my entry into growth and digital marketing.

2. Could You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Company, WebProfits?

WebProfits is a growth marketing agency. When I say growth marketing, I mean we don’t do fluff, we don’t focus only on one channel, we can’t help with just SEO and PPC. When we help companies, we’re going to help them with all things growth, and we peel back the layers of going into the organizations – what else can they be doing on the customer support side? So we’re looking at all parts of that funnel, more than just driving more traffic or increasing conversions. And the services that we provide right now: one is content marketing, which we provide à la carte, and the other is called Fluid Marketing. Really what that means is we come into an organization or if we’re talking to a potential client, we want to understand what they’re struggling with, what are their channels that got them there, what are big opportunities, and we’re helping with all things growth. Our fluid service will adjust over the month to what we focus on. So we may start with an heavy emphasis on let’s say Facebook ads because that’s a great opportunity. But 3-6 months in, that’s gonna be on optimization mode, we’ve done a lot of the work, we may shift our focus to SEO or content. So we really focus on an omni-channel approach, leveraging any advantage a customer has to grow.

3. What Are the Top Three Qualities That a Growth Hacker Should Have?

Number one is hustle. Hustle is, I think, lacking in most people, not just marketers. What I mean by hustle is you gotta figure stuff out. I get lots of emails lately around people asking me questions and my response is Google it! Learn as much as you can by reading publicly available information and I guarantee there is publicly available information on every topic. You can be an expert coin collector. I want to help.

Ask people for help once you’ve gotten stuck or you’ve gotten to a point where “I got this, this, this information, this is what I’ve done, I’m stuck can you help me?”. That, to me, is hustle. People go immediately to the easy route. So that’s number one, the hustle, it’s working long hours and doing things that suck.

Some of my biggest success in marketing has been with working with customer support, it’s come from sending cold emails and doing the dirty work that you would probably outsource to a VA myself. Now, at some point, we’re going to scale those channels or tactics. But at the end of the day, it was the willingness to put in that hard work and doing it.

Number two is agility and understanding that it’s not necessarily tactics or certain channels that are always going to help you grow. You’ve got to think beyond the channel and think really to growth, what is going to help a company, your company, or whoever you’re working with to grow. That may not come from things you’re used to. So when I say agility, it’s the ability to move around, being uncomfortable, doing things again that are not sexy.

The last thing is testing. To be honest, nobody has a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. Why work with me over someone else? It’s probably because I’m more relevant, I have more experience. Again, that can be said for someone else. Really, there is no silver bullet. Digital marketing has become so complex, it’s just as complex as offline marketing, and if not even more. It’s saturated, people are moving fast, you’re competing with people with bigger budgets. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and learn and test new things, because you’re going to find things that work and then you gotta figure out how to scale them.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

Honestly, there are so many people, I really love what Hiten Shah and Stellie are doing on the startup chat. Hiten is from Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg, and Stellie is from Close.io, great podcasts and great community around startup people. It’s not really what they say, it’s what they do, and it’s the fact that they’re solving problems which is awesome. I’ve been bringing people to that community. Obviously, Neil Patel. Dan Martell is a great guy, he’s taught me a lot, he’s with Clarity.fm. He taught me the power of mastermind dinners and networking and really just going out there, and even simple things like how to ask for advice. Guys like Gary Vee are awesome inspirations to see what they’re doing. Again their hustle – I work probably 50% if that of what Gary Vee works, and that teaches me how to be a better hustle. These days I look at their actions and the little things they do outside of that which really inspire me. Morgan Brown is another great guy and Sean Ellis, creating a great community around this. There’s so many people so it’s hard to list off these things.

The counter to that is it doesn’t matter. These guys are all great and inspiration, you can read all the knowledge you want on growth hacking and growth, but at the end of the day, it’s not about what you read, it’s about actions, testing, and then figuring stuff out, then scaling. At the end of the day, execution is the key, and these people personally inspire me to execute.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

One, don’t believe everything you read. It’s probably true, but it’s very situational. Everyone write an article on how Hotmail did this, or how AirBnB grew by this, or how my company did this and that happened. Look, it probably did happen, use that for inspiration. Minimize your reading or silo it so that you’re reading maybe one hour a day and not throughout the day. Tip number one is focus on execution and try to read less, don’t ever thing you’re going to get the same results. Think “Oh, this is something I can test.”

Number two is split up your ideas and planning. That is right brain and left brain thinking, meaning your ideas should never be limited, but you don’t want to execute and plan when you should execute your ideas when you’re thinking so freely. You need to write everything down, so many people make this mistake is that they may be great at executing, but they don’t execute on the right things. And I’ve made this mistake many many times. In fact, I make it probably fairly often because I work on so many companies. But at the end of the day, let your right brain be creative and brainstorm ideas, write them down in Excel or on a napkin, but make sure you come back and you think about what’s the impact of that, maybe even sleep on it, and the next day plan when you can execute those based off of resources required and the impact it’s going to have. I emphasize the impact, because tactics are never going to be a winning strategy.

That’s kind of my last piece of advice. Whatever you’re doing is getting old. Digital marketing and growth moves fast. The lifespan of a tactic or strategy is getting shorter and shorter and that’s ok because the resources and tools and avenues for us as marketers to grow and leverage is getting bigger, so it kind of counters things out. So always be thinking about what the next thing is going to be, and think of how you can test. So, that way, as you have scalable channels that you’re working on for your business that are consistently growing or predictable growth, you’re also testing in new channels that may be unproven but you still have proven channels on top of unproven ones. So you have a chart, of graph of consistent growth, and then you have these crazy graphs of ups and downs of things that could work. And realistically, probably you’re not going to get everything you test to work, maybe one or two out of ten, and that’s ok, you still have the consistency. So combining those two is very powerful. Never rely when you’re done or out of scalability on your current channels to then start testing, you’ve already lost a strong foothold on growth.

I recommend that you spend 25-30% of your time in the exploration phase. This will also help you and your team be creative and think outside that box, because frankly as a marketer the worst thing you can do is not innovate because six months or a year your strategy is going to be either milked completely dry or not as scalable. If you look at Facebook ads, years ago they were the hottest thing, you could get clicks for cheap. Now you’re paying more than Adwords sometimes and how much things cost. Things get expensive, and if your economics don’t work out, if you’re not first there or early in, you might be starting at $6 CPCs and that may never work for you.

Wes Walls - Visual Summary

Wes Walls

1. How Did You Become Passionate About Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing?

Before I discovered digital marketing, my big career passion was music. So actually I went to school for music and spent many years focused on that. One of the things that I love about music and attracted me to that is obviously, among many things, the creating aspect and the idea that you can sort of marry the creative and the technical to produce something that people can experience and listen to.

There was always that attraction to merging creative and technical I think. So when I decided that music wasn’t something that I was going to do as a long-term career, I was looking for something else and digital marketing was a natural fit just because of that.

When I started it was sort of an emerging field, a lot of people were learning what it is and developing the concept of digital marketing so there were a lot of opportunities, and in Montreal where I was living, the digital marketing community was very well becoming friendly and it just felt like a natural direction to head in.

2. Would You Mind Telling Us More About Your Role at Bandzoogle and Your Work With Other Companies?

I’ve been with Bandzoogle for about a year, and before that I was working with a startup called LANDR. The role really is pretty straightforward, it is helping to grow the company and the bottom line at the end of the day.

Practically speaking, what it comes down to is as a growth hacker, it is sort of bringing all the skills that I have and everything that I’ve learned working in the past at agencies specializing in various areas of digital marketing and bringing all that in and becoming a generalist, to pull everything together and do as much as you can with those skills. It’s everything from planning, the big picture, understanding where the business seems to go, working with key stakeholders in the business, so everything from that to, because we’re a small thing, to doing most of that as well. I’ll bring in specialists when needed, for design, copy, videos, or whatever, into projects.

But aside from that, it’s everything from tracking, analysis, strategy, planning, execution, and the range of tactics that run the gambit, from paid ads, analytics, copywriting, design, PR, outreach, tactical SEO, project management, conversion optimization, email marketing, among many other things. It’s using everything, pulling all the stops to grow the business.

Bandzoogle is a platform for musicians who need a website, essentially, so if you’re a band or any kind of music artist. It’s a platform that has everything you need to promote your music and sell your music in one package. You don’t need any technical skills to do that, for most musicians they don’t necessarily have a lot of technical skills, obviously.

Most musicians would prefer to spend their time making music, not necessarily learning how to make a WordPress website. Bandzoogle allows people to not have to do that, so everything is drag-and-drop, really easy to use, very low learning curve, and there’s no need to look around for all sorts of solutions, everything is there, ready to drag-and-drop into your website. That’s the idea of Bandzoogle.

It’s really a time saver. I remember that myself, as a musician, obviously promoting yourself as an artist is a pretty important thing, and a website is a really key part of that. There are obviously many other things that you need to do, but a website is sort of a keystone. I remember spending quite a lot of time myself learning how to use WordPress and build a WordPress site, looking at WordPress templates, learning to play with HTML and stuff like that. Personally I would have liked to save myself a lot of time and Bandzoogle would have been a good solution had I known about it back then.

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

I think there’s probably more than three, but I think from my perspective, one of the things that is a daily challenge as a growth hacker is there is no rulebook. You have a challenge, you have a problem to solve, but there is no rulebook for solving it. So I think having that sort of analytical problem solving ability is an important thing. So being able to, first of all, creating a framework for where you want to go and where you’re starting from, developing a process for how to get from A to B without any sort of reference in terms of how to do that or you’re trying to do necessarily. So it’s really being able to work with stakeholders to create your own objectives, getting to know what your objectives are, getting to know what your metrics are, and figuring out for yourself how you can move your needle on your metrics. So I think you need to have some good analytical problem solving skills to achieve that and be successful in your role as a growth hacker.

I think definitely creativity is an important one. No matter how many skills you have, technical skills you have, how much planning or strategy you do, if you’re not able to put together a compelling campaign, you probably aren’t going to see much movement on what you’re trying to do. I think there’s an art form to good marketing and I think having that creative ability to create good marketing is a good quality.

The last thing is, this is the best way I can say it: having a fire under your feet. You need ideas obviously to start from, but ideas are the easiest things to come with. The hardest thing to do is actually getting stuff done. Even not necessarily knowing what the outcome will be when you start. It’s not always clear how things are going to work or what exactly you’re gonna do. So having that fire under your feet to just do stuff, because you need to do a lot. There is a lot to do. That sort of idea of moving fast, failing as fast as you can, learning from that, and getting better. So having a good strong pace is important, getting things done and moving quickly.

4. Who Are Some of the Successful Growth Hackers That You Learned From or Inspired You?

This is an interesting one. I have to give some credit to my colleague Justin Evans, who I worked with at LANDR, he’s one of the co-founders of LANDR. At the time I was moving from an agency role to a role where I was more of a growth hacker in-house and working closely with Justin among other people. Justin is very masterful at the art of marketing and compelling messaging. And I really learned how powerful and effective that can be when it’s done right.

Creating something that really resonates with your audience when you communicate it in a certain way. I don’t think he would define himself as a growth hacker, but I think as somebody who does that myself I learned the power of that. From Justin I also learned not to be afraid of even your craziest ideas. No matter how big and crazy your ideas might be, just embracing those big crazy ideas and oftentimes those end up being the ones that are producing the most amazing results.

I have a couple of other ones here. I think neither of them are actually growth hackers but there are some good lessons that I’ve learned from them in my journey.

There’s a guy named Michael King, he’s a SEO thought leader. I was following him a lot for a while because he was the first to promote the idea of researching for SEO and combining that with audience personas to create a framework for not just optimizing for keywords and SEO, but also for user experience, from the search engine results page all the way through to the end results of the user is hoping to achieve. And the reason I mention that is the idea of merging these two different ideas in a creative way and the tactical and creative aspect to that. Even though I don’t think he would call himself a growth hacker either, that quality of creatively coming up with these sets of solutions for problems and challenges, especially in the case of growth hacking it would be in an applied sense to specific business metrics. I think that’s the definition of a good growth hacker.

And I think the last one I’d mention is sort of a boring answer, but the author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries. He’s pretty well known. I mention him because that methodology is something I use everyday at Bandzoogle – coming up with an idea, developing a minimum viable product for it, whether that’s the basic landing page variant in Optimizely or whatever, something quick and easy, testing it, measuring it, and optimizing it or just figuring out what they’re not […] The idea of just failing as quickly as possible so you can move on to the next step. I think that’s a really powerful methodology that works really well for this field of work.

5. What Are Your Top 3 Pieces of Advice for Growth Hackers?

The number one thing would be: being a growth hacker, every day is diving into the unknown to an extent. You might have your bread and butter channels or tactics that you know boost results. But you can never stand still. You always need to be pushing the boundaries in some way. So what that means is you’re always diving into unknown territory. Being bold and fearless is what I would say as a growth hacker, and learn to not be afraid of the dark, embrace the unknown.

I wrote an article a couple of years ago when I was starting, it was a reflexion on my growth hacking role. One of the things that really stood out to me at the time, and still is very much true today, is be prepared to use every tool that you have available in your toolbelt. So use every tool that you have, and not just once. Always be using every tool. You never have enough tools, you always have to find new ways to grow things, and you’ll keep adding new tools to your belt, so you always have to be pulling all the stops and using everything you have. Use every tool in your belt.

The last thing I would say is keep building your personal library of case studies. I don’t mean writing case studies. You’ll always be meeting new challenges everyday and as you progress and you overcome challenges, those lessons that you’ve learned will almost be inevitable and useful in the future. So when you’re approaching a challenge, being able to say that you did this, that happened, this is why it happened, it’s a lot more useful than just being able to say “If we do this, then that might happen.” You can reference something that you’ve done before, the lessons that you’ve learned. Maybe writing it down and keeping a record of the case studies. Making sure that from every challenge you encounter you make sure to learn something from it and remember what you learned so you can use it later.