Growth Hacking Geniuses - Scott Cunningham

Scott Cunningham

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

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

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

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

What Growth Engines Work Well for Your Business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.