Growth Hacking Geniuses - Greg Ahern - Visual Summary

Greg Ahern

How Did You Start in Digital Marketing?

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

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

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

What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

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

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

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

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

How Do You Know a Test Is Conclusive?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can You Recommend Any Resources to Learn More?

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

Growth Hacking Geniuses - 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.

Growth Hacking Geniuses - Rick Kuwahara - Visual Summary

Rick Kuwahara

1. Who Are Some Successful Growth Hackers that You Learned From or Inspired You?

Well, I think everybody kind of, you know, there’s always the usual suspects. But there’s three little more under-the-radar guys who I like their stuff.

One is Ryan Stewart over at Webris – he has a lot of great stuff about processes and frameworks to help you scale. Love anybody who’s so process-oriented.

Dave Gerhardt at Drift – they’re doing a lot of stuff with content. Their approach is really unique and, you know, it’s disruptive. It’s different from everybody else. So, I really love how they approach it.

Bernard Hong – he was our point of contact for distribution over at when we through 500 startups. We were in Batch 18. He’s just an SEO wizard. He had some really cool hacks that he’s done in the past. If you ever get a chance to go on YouTube and see his presentations, some very cool things that he’s done when he was doing growth at 42Floors and Food by the People.

2. How Do You Attract Leads for Your Business?

Right now, we attract mainly all through inbound. So, SEO is a huge, huge growth lead generator for us. We targeted bottom of the funnel keywords that convert very well. You know, there’s just a lot of opportunity there. At any time, we focus on long-tail and, within a niche, it was lower competition and we’ve done well to rank number one for a bunch of good keywords that just, you know, search volume is not super high. It converts very well and it’s very revenue-driving.

And then, we do offline stuff. I think that’s something that’s undervalued a lot. So, a lot of events and we call them “social mixers” where we bring together customers and potential customers and that works like gangbusters, especially when we go to conferences. We pull people off of the conferences to our mixers. That’s done real well. That’s how we landed our first hospital deal.

Right now, actually, something that we’re going to be playing with is account-based marketing type of work to work our outbound sales a little bit. We’re really excited about that and we’re going to be doing that in the next month or so.

3. Top 3 Qualities that a Growth Marketer Should Have?

Well, I think, definitely, process-oriented. You know, if you don’t have a process, then you can’t scale and you can’t go back and see what worked or what didn’t work. So, definitely someone who can follow a process.

I think something that’s really underrated is being able to apply concepts because there’s really nothing new under the sun. I mean, marketing has been around for years. Everything has been done. But being able to apply a concept from, say, SEO to content marketing or SEO to, you know, your paid advertising, you know, that’s where success happens and that’s really how innovation happens – you know, when you’re able to apply, you know, “Someone did this over in e-com and you can pull it over to your B2B SaaS.” I mean, that is a skill that’s really undervalued.

And – everybody says it but it’s true – you’ve got to be curious. You know you have to want to pull apart a campaign or, you know, you saw an onboarding funnel that somebody did and, “Yeah, that was cool, how did that work?” and then, “How can I make that work for me?” I think that’s something that you always need to have.

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

I think tunnel vision is something that you’ve got to really watch out for, especially when you’re doing a lot of the experiments. You still need to keep in mind the big picture overall and that especially is true when you’re trying to prioritize things. You know, there’s a lot of frameworks to pick – you know, what experiments to deal with first – but, sometimes, you’ve got to factor in the big picture. What’s your strategy?

I think something else is making too much statistical significance. I think people get married to it sometimes and you can miss a lot of opportunity and move too slow if you get too caught up in needing that because, you know, data can be directional. You can be informed by it and still make a decision. So, sometimes, you’ve got to just make a call and move on, especially when you’re early and you don’t have much things – like, much traffic – to do, say, an A/B test on a landing page. You know, especially if you’re testing concepts and not small details, you don’t need a lot of data to make a good decision.

I think the last mistake is just not talking to your customers – you know, not just only email but getting on the phone with them and talking with them. You can learn a lot about people and really build your personas and understand who your customer is if you just get on the phone and a lot of people just don’t want to pick up the phone anymore.

5. Which Tools Do You Use to Grow Your Business?

We use the typical stuff like Salesforce for our CRM and we use Autopilot for our email marketing and Google Analytics and things like that.

But, you know, some unique things that we do, we use something called Clearscope. We were lucky to get early in on a beta of it and I think they’re going to launch pretty soon, actually. Basically, it gives us data-driven recommendations on how to improve our content. You can reverse engineer what top-performing Google content is out there and it was definitely something that helped us get to number one and some of those keywords that we targeted.

So, Clearscope, you’ve got to check that out whenever it comes out live.

Upwork is something we use to scale a lot of our – I would guess – grunt work or things like that. I mean, Upwork is very cool. If you have good processes in place to train people, you can get a lot out of it.

And then, the last thing is the super underrated – like I said before – the phone. You know, we use the phone to grow our business – whether that’s talking to customers or being quick to call back someone. I mean, they really appreciate it. We have very good, loyal customers that way and it helps us close our deals faster. It really shortens the cycle that way.