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 - Pierre Lechelle - Visual Summary

Pierre Lechelle

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

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

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

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

What Are Your Thoughts on Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

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

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

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

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

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

How Important Are Lead Capture and Conversion Funnels?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do You Get Customers a Quick Win?

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

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

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

How Do You Start a Growth Team?

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

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

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

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

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