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 - Michel Koch - Visual Summary

Michel Koch

1. Can You Tell Us a Bit More About Your Business?

Time Inc. is a very well-known publisher – a leading consumer multi-platform publisher based in the US, leading in the US, but also has a branch in the UK which is the leader in terms of volume share with 23 percent volume share; leading also in terms of advertising with something like 33 percent market share; and with a reach of nearly half of the UK population.

We have 60-odd brands across print, web, mobile, tablet, and events. We reach 8.4 million users which is 17.7% reach of the UK internet population.

2. What Does Growth Hacking Mean for a Magazine Business?

That’s the interesting part, I think. You’re talking about a business of print magazines that has been declining for the last eight to nine years consistently across both newsstand and subscriptions as well as advertising. In many ways, advertising revenues going in a new direction now with more digital advertising than print advertising in terms of business. So, more and more of a shift towards digital. Obviously, magazines being print, they need to reinvent what they’re about.

So, I guess, growth hacking means for us looking at areas where we can grow outside of our traditional business. Rather than acquire new magazines or buy and sell more, it’s really about where else can our brands expand? How can we reach the same customers in different places? That’s really the exciting journey I’m on right now with looking at different ecosystems. But starting with one thing in mind, we’re about passion points with our stories and we can tell those stories in different places and we can go into adjacent markets such as events, eCommerce, marketplaces where the same customers are and where basically our brands can also stand for something.

3. What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

As I’ve been on that journey for almost a year and a half now, I think the first thing is you need to be in a position where you can look at your business with a new fresh pair of eyes and challenge what you traditionally stand for.

Rather than saying, “We are a print magazine publisher,” we went back to our DNA and we thought, “What we do is actually tell stories.” Regardless of whether the stories are in text, on print, video, pictures, events, it doesn’t matter. It’s about storytelling. That’s what we’re good at and that’s what our brand stands for.

So, there’s an element of growth hacking that has to do with disrupting yourself and challenging your own business and thinking, “If we were to compete with ourselves, what would we do?” I guess you’re more creative when you’re trying to do that than when you’re trying to survive or trying to protect yourself. It’s about really attacking – hacking, in a way – your own business so that you can identify areas where you can move to. So, that’s one thing.

Another thing, I think, around growth hacking is speed. It’s about going fast – failing fast. Test, learn. A/B test all the time and not be afraid to fail in many ways because, otherwise, you just sit still and stand still and, therefore, do nothing.

That’s the key two things that come to my mind in terms of growth hacking – disrupt yourself and do it at pace.

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

As I said, if you want to be in a position where you can look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes, you need to think out of the box. The first thing is really there’s no bad idea. Interrogate your partners, your employees, everyone, and really start coming up with ideas that you would think maybe are crazy but actually they may make sense in a couple of years. So, test everything and think out of the box. That’s the first one.

The second one I think is thinking like a customer. Take the view of a customer. If you are passionate about cycling or equestrian or beauty and fashion – any given magazine brands stand for – what would you accept from that brand to tell you in terms of new stories? Would they be able to sell you anything? Think as a customer is the second one.

And then, as I said before, all ideas are okay. Generate ideas from inside the business. You know, there’s some really good people who are in your marketing teams, in your editorial teams, and they will come up with ideas and any idea is good. And then, it’s about having the arguments and the best argument wins.

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

I think the first one – and I see this repeatedly in businesses that want to move through digital, like retailers or catalog businesses that have gone through that transformation and change – it’s about working in silos – creating new silos and not collaborating.

The first mistake is thinking you can do that in isolation. We need the people who know about the business, who know about the brand, who need new skills as well; therefore, you really need to involve your own experts is the one thing. And so, work across metrics, work in  multifunctional teams, and create those new teams that are going to hack growth.

The second thing is it should not be just a top-down approach. Obviously, you need buy-in from top management but that energy and that speed and that envy around growth hacking has to come from the bottom up.

The third one is a lot of people say they want to hack growth and grow and start doing labs and things like that but usually there’s no fund attached. So, you need to fund it and properly. I would say dedicate 15 to 20 percent of your marketing budget to growth. It’s probably the minimum.

What Are Some Resources You Encourage People to Explore? Any Favourite Book?

Rather than books… Well, there’s one I like that I’ve just discovered. It’s called The Growth Director’s Secret. It’s pretty good. I’ve just started reading it and it’s about the connections between consumer behaviour, organization strategies, and boards and so forth. So, it’s joining the dots between all these things that are available. It’s a good read by Andrew Brent.

There’s another thing in terms of resource that is probably more important than any book – your network. I think reaching out to your network, working with LinkedIn, asking questions whenever you have one, that’s the best solution I think in terms of resources.

Another resource is your own common sense. I think these are some of the interesting areas. I’ve also recently listened to a book. I think reading books is great but, if you don’t have time to sit down and relax, when you’re traveling, I think listening to books is also great. I recently listened to a book called Zero to One – it’s about start-ups – from Peter Thiel and that’s really a good book as well. Really, really motivating and eye-opening in terms of how start-ups create themselves and how you can just create roads from zero to one, basically.

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.