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.

Aaron Agius - Visual Summary

Aaron Agius

1. How Did You Become Passionate About Internet Marketing?

Initially, getting into it I was living in Thailand for a good six months, I sold everything I owned, went over there with my girlfriend at the time, and we decided we needed to find a way where we could do that for as long as we wanted, which was basically earn a strong currency, live in a weak currency. Essentially, you can live like a king in Thailand on very little money.

So my girlfriend at the time is now my wife. She was in marketing and I was in IT. We decided that we could combine our skills and we did a lot of online research, trying to find out how people are actually making money online. And so we decided we’d give it a shot. We flew back to Sydney, and for the next year my girlfriend supported me while I spent every day learning everything I could about Internet marketing.

About four months in, we made 40 cents online, and I was jumping around, high-fiving, celebrating, because we know now what we knew then: the Internet can be highly automated and almost infinitely scalable. And the very next day we made $400 online and it just continued from there.

Following that success, I couldn’t help myself, I wanted to keep going and going and I just haven’t stopped.

2. Would You Mind Telling Us More About Louder Online?

We’re a search and content marketing company. As you’ve mentioned in the intro, we worked for funded startups through to some of the biggest companies in the world. We’re a distributed team throughout the US, Australia, Asia, a number of different places. Most of our clients are in the US, some in Australia, some in Asia, and around the world as well.

What we do is we drive a positive ROI to our clients for their marketing spend. Clients come to us wanting brand awareness, wanting leads, traffic, sales, and we find a way to do that through fantastic content and search marketing.

The positive ROI is a key point of difference for us. So many people talk about ranking or traffic, and in the end, what does that matter to a business who’s just trying to grow their business? So we focus on what matters to the business and the end goal for them, and that’s how we make our clients happy.

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

There’s a lot of qualities. Someone in that position or title needs to be doing a number of different things. Some of the most important ones: data-driven. Don’t just rely on hunches, and actually do the work, put the effort in, get the data and make decisions based on that data. So very data-driven, that’s the first thing.

You definitely need to be creative, that’s the next thing. Once you got the data, you need to come up with great ways to try and manipulate it and use it to your best advantage.

A third thing, wanting to explore, being curious, and having the inkling that there’s something down that path, and really trying to research and going that way, then going the next way. Just exploring data. Curiosity I’d say is the next key thing.

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

You mentioned Neil Patel previously, we’ve done a number of things together, a number of big content pieces, and we’ve worked together in a number of different ways, there’s a lot to learn from Neil. He’s been doing this for a very long time and he’s everywhere. I’ve learned a lot through him and through different connections that he’s introduced me to.

The other person is Andrew Chen, who’s been working on Uber.

Just great information at a really high level from both of those people, so two people I’ll be keeping an eye

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

The three pieces of advice are all very closely related.

The first thing I’d say is don’t get caught in marketing tactic hell, so trying to think a thousand different things and try a thousand different things at once is inevitably is gonna cause you to do them all at a very shallow level and likely to be unsuccessful. So know about them, but part two is go deep into each channel and get as close as success as possible, and make sure you systematize it and have a team that can operate that for you so that you can move to the next channel or the next tactic. And once you’re able to see success across those, then you’re going to be winning.

I guess the third part, and this is a really part, build virality into your product or service. Make sure that it’s part of the product, that sharing is part of the product, that inviting other people is part of the product. Building that in from day one is going to enable a lot more success down the track.