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Startup MBA 3.0 - Growth, content marketing

  • 3. Question Where do traffic and leads come from?
  • 4. Beware! There’s more bad advice about marketing than any other part of starting up
  • 5. Comment on every blog post in your industry!
  • 7. Sanity check “Do more of everything” is not a strategy
  • 8. It is wild flailing from well-intentioned folks who don’t know what you should actually do
  • 9. Shawn Carolan Menlo Ventures Startups don’t starve; they drown.
  • 10. What we need 1. Clear goal & targets !
  • 11. What we need 1. Clear goal & targets 2. Simple daily process
  • 12. What we need 1. Clear goal & targets 2. Simple daily process 3. Measurable results
  • 13. Discussion What have you seen work previously? ! How did it drive the business?
  • 14. Part I. Clear goal & targets
  • 15. 3 ways to grow 1.Sticky - users never leave
 
 
 

  • 16. 3 ways to grow 1.Sticky - users never leave 2.Paid - buy users for less than you earn
 
 

  • 17. 3 ways to grow 1.Sticky - users never leave 2.Paid - buy users for less than you earn 3.Viral - each user brings at least 1 more
  • 18. The right qualities for early stage 1.Sticky - cheap & fast 2.Paid - expensive; requires mature business model 3.Viral - slow; requires lots of product development

  • 19. Sticky Once a customer shows up, they never leave Focus on retaining existing users rather than finding a repeatable way to get new ones
  • 20. Paid You can buy a user (via ads or salespeople) for less than you can earn from them Rarely works profitably for young companies
  • 21. Common paid channels • Salespeople • Physical stores • Search ads • Display ads • PR
  • 22. Rules of thumb You can scale software with direct sales if your product sells for more than $10,000 ! Online ads are usually unprofitable for startups, but they’re cheap & easy to test
  • 23. Caveat emptor Premature scale is the #1 killer of startups mainly because of how much money you can spend when you try to “buy” lots of customers
  • 24. Viral Each user you get brings at least one more along with them More of a product strategy than a marketing one
  • 25. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 26. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team 2.You will prioritize growth over everything (including revenue)
 
 
 
 
 

  • 27. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team 2.You will prioritize growth over everything (including revenue) 3.Virality must be core to the product, not a marketing add-on
 
 
 

  • 28. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team 2.You will prioritize growth over everything (including revenue) 3.Virality must be core to the product, not a marketing add-on 4.You must be relentlessly metrics-driven
 
 

  • 29. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team 2.You will prioritize growth over everything (including revenue) 3.Virality must be core to the product, not a marketing add-on 4.You must be relentlessly metrics-driven 5.“Word of mouth” is not a viral strategy
 

  • 30. The rules of viral 1.You must have tech & design on your founding team 2.You will prioritize growth over everything (including revenue) 3.Virality must be core to the product, not a marketing add-on 4.You must be relentlessly metrics-driven 5.“Word of mouth” is not a viral strategy 6.Neither is twitter
  • 31. The golden rule of viral Nobody cares about your product as much as you do. If they’re going to share it, the act of sharing must add value.
  • 32. Discussion Which products caused you to quickly get other people to use them? ! Was it voluntary (a recommendation) or forced (a requirement)?
  • 33. Improving virality k = #referrals * clickthrough * conversion
 
 
 
 
 

  • 34. Improving virality k = #referrals * clickthrough * conversion
 1.Improve k
 
 
 

  • 35. Improving virality k = #referrals * clickthrough * conversion
 1.Improve k 2.Reduce time until sharing (it spreads faster if you share after a minute vs. a month)
  • 36. In our humble opinion... Sticky is the right option for 90% of new companies
  • 37. So let’s get back to sticky
  • 38. Jason Cohen (on starting another company when he already has an audience of 50,000) Absolutely true, it’s a completely unfair advantage, and it’s why so many people harp on folks to start things like blogs and mailing lists. ! When you want to do things like sell a book or a new startup you have a running start!
  • 39. The goal Develop your sticky community funnel
  • 40. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 41. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 42. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value 3.Exchange larger gift for permission to contact
 
 
 
 

  • 43. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value 3.Exchange larger gift for permission to contact 4.Stay in touch, over-deliver value
 
 
 

  • 44. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value 3.Exchange larger gift for permission to contact 4.Stay in touch, over-deliver value 5.Convert subscribers to paid customers of core product
 

  • 45. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value 3.Exchange larger gift for permission to contact 4.Stay in touch, over-deliver value 5.Convert subscribers to paid customers of core product 6.Retain, up-sell, get referrals
  • 46. The community funnel process 1.Traffic shows up (we’ll learn from where) 2.You give away free gift & create value 3.Exchange larger gift for permission to contact 4.Stay in touch, over-deliver value 5.Convert subscribers to paid customers of core product 6.Retain, up-sell, get referrals
  • 47. Daniel Priestly If you only have the core product and not the full model, you don’t have enough flow and are tempted to incorrectly drop the price
  • 48. We’ll need to design these 5 pieces 1. Free gift 2. Product for prospects 3. Stay-in-touch content 4. Core product (£) 5. Follow-on product (£££)
  • 49. Discussion What are some gifts that are cheap for us to give away, and which create real value for visitors?
  • 52. Rand Fishkin Content is the keystone of inbound marketing. Without content, there’s no SEO, no social media, no community, and no revenue.
  • 53. To create value, the content needs to be exceptional ! (which is different from perfect)
  • 54. Content is great 1.Fast & cheap to produce 2.Free & instant to distribute 3.Measurable 4.Lets you begin building audience before product is finalized 5.Repeatable
  • 55. Your startup has a mission Startups are designed to either create joy or remove pain
  • 56. Your content has a mission too. What do they get for their time? This is all about helping ____________ learn/be/do __________.
  • 57. Tip Your content shouldn’t do exactly the same thing as your product. Rather, it should be interesting for the sort of person who might also want your product. ! For example, if your product is healthy snack food, your content could be about helping busy parents create a healthy home and happy kid.
  • 58. 120 seconds. Make as many as you can. This is all about helping ____________ learn/be/do __________.
  • 59. That’s the value proposition of your gifts and content marketing
  • 60. Workshop: design your funnel products 1. Free gift 2. Product for prospects 3. Stay-in-touch content 4. Core product (£) 5. Follow-on product (£££)
  • 65. Example: tools for writers This is all about helping new authors get their first book finished ! !
  • 66. Example: tools for writers This is all about helping new authors get their first book finished ! 1.Daily inspirational mini-posts
 

  • 67. Example: tools for writers This is all about helping new authors get their first book finished ! 1.Daily inspirational mini-posts 2.Helpful weekly newsletter
  • 68. Most common content failure “What should I say today?”
  • 69. The content creator’s spiral of death 1.Decide you’ll write every time you have a “good idea”. 2.Wait months. 3.At last, inspiration has struck! 4.Treat it like your baby. Protect & perfect it. 5.Takes time. Finally finish. 6.Traffic doesn’t change 7.Not worth it. Give up.
  • 70. Marketing is work (not inspiration) Community growth: 2 years of writing when inspiration struck vs. 3 months of writing daily (from roughly 0 to 250,000 monthly visitors)
  • 71. Best practice Put your marketing on auto- pilot by deciding: ! 1. What you’ll create and how often 2. Where you’ll announce it
  • 72. Example: tools for writers 1.Daily inspirational mini-posts 2.Helpful weekly newsletter
 
 
 

  • 73. Example: tools for writers 1.Daily inspirational mini-posts on pinterest 2.Helpful weekly newsletter 
 
 
 

  • 74. Example: tools for writers 1.Daily inspirational mini-posts on pinterest 2.Helpful weekly newsletter of an author interview talking about writer’s block
  • 75. Remember Don’t make a decision every day if you can just make it once! ! (but of course, be ready to make a new decision if this one isn’t working)
  • 76. Best practice Reduce the cost by: ! 1. Front-loading the creative burden 2. Removing friction from creation through batching, outsourcing, and setting up a content creation flow
  • 77. Example: tools for writers 1.Spend 2 hours today finding several dozen quotes, then outsource the design and daily posting to a student
 
 
 
 
 

  • 78. Example: tools for writers 1.Spend 2 hours today finding several dozen quotes, then outsource the design and daily posting to a student 2.Email all your favorite writers today to ask for interviews. Record the skype calls as soon as possible and send the audio to your student helper for transcription and editing
  • 79. More examples • Twitter important to you? Use bufferapp.com and ifttt.com to automate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 80. More examples • Twitter important to you? Use bufferapp.com and ifttt.com to automate • Making lots of video content? Set up a permanent studio for lighting & recording in your flat
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 81. More examples • Twitter important to you? Use bufferapp.com and ifttt.com to automate • Making lots of video content? Set up a permanent studio for lighting & recording in your flat • Spending forever perfecting your blog posts? Write outlines and then pay a grad student £10 to edit
 
 
 

  • 82. More examples • Twitter important to you? Use bufferapp.com and ifttt.com to automate • Making lots of video content? Set up a permanent studio for lighting & recording in your flat • Spending forever perfecting your blog posts? Write outlines and then pay a grad student £10 to edit • Wasting time on fancy graphs? Use tools like infogr.am to trivialize the process
 
 

  • 83. More examples • Twitter important to you? Use bufferapp.com and ifttt.com to automate • Making lots of video content? Set up a permanent studio for lighting & recording in your flat • Spending forever perfecting your blog posts? Write outlines and then pay a grad student £10 to edit • Wasting time on fancy graphs? Use tools like infogr.am to trivialize the process • Video editing taking forever? Adjust your style & content to work with socialcam.com in one take
  • 84. Workshop! We’re going to front-load the creative burden of “what to write” by coming up with your manifesto ! 1. You’ll soon have a pile of raw ideas 2. Later, turn them into content marketing
  • 85. Rules 90 seconds per trigger question ! Come up with as many ideas as you can, one idea per card. Don’t self-censor. ! Remember who you are trying to help!
  • 86. You “It is absurd that…” ! What’s wrong with your industry? With the world? Pick a fight! 90 seconds
  • 87. You “Always/never do X” ! Nothing like a good ultimatum. Take a stand. What are the non-negotiables? 90 seconds
  • 88. You What are the must-read books and authors for your visitors? ! Making recommendations for other good content is easy and valuable. Why do you like these sources? 90 seconds
  • 89. You Mistakes were made! ! What are the most common blunders people fall for when trying to accomplish this? Bonus points if you can share personal failure tales. 90 seconds
  • 90. You What’s the most common bad advice? ! Who gave that moron a microphone!? What’s the most popular advice in this area that you totally disagree with? 90 seconds
  • 91. You What are the recent questions you’ve been asked? ! Get into the habit of writing down the questions customers ask you about the industry - every answer is a bit of content marketing in disguise! 90 seconds
  • 92. 3 minutes Working in pairs, help each other turn as many ideas as possible into strong titles that make a bold claim. ! Once you have the title, creating the rest of the content is easy.
  • 93. Rob’s process 1.Capture loads of ideas 2.Ideas -> Titles -> Drafts -> Scheduled backlog 3.Don’t obsess; publish 2nd drafts 4.Automate promotion 5.Ignore analytics 6.Write a little every day
  • 94. Content marketing is powerful Two startups with the same product; one of them used blogging strategically
  • 96. Gabe Weinberg’s startup is one of the dumbest ideas possible ! He is competing directly with Google on search
  • 98. And yet, he is succeeding
  • 100. How?
  • 101. Gabriel Weinberg Are you... Building an empire, lighting a power-keg, or starting a movement?
  • 102. Reality check! Every founder dreams of creating an empire and prays they’re sitting on a powder keg. ! But most of us are actually growing movements. We gain customers and fans one step at a time. There’s no magic bullet.
  • 103. These are the top 5 mistakes he’s seen other founders make
  • 104. Mistake #1 They don’t pursue traction in parallel with product development
  • 105. Why is it useful to explore early? 1.Initial customer development informs your product roadmap
 
 
 
 

  • 106. Why is it useful to explore early? 1.Initial customer development informs your product roadmap 2.Launch with a nice base of initial users
 
 

  • 107. Why is it useful to explore early? 1.Initial customer development informs your product roadmap 2.Launch with a nice base of initial users 3.Test messaging and distribution channels
  • 108. Mistake #2 They didn’t spend enough time pursuing traction
  • 109. How much time is it really worth? 1.Distribution is equally important as product
 
 
 
 

  • 110. How much time is it really worth? 1.Distribution is equally important as product 2.You should be spending 50% of your time on it
 
 

  • 111. How much time is it really worth? 1.Distribution is equally important as product 2.You should be spending 50% of your time on it 3.For tech people, you should probably bias it to 75%
  • 112. Mistake #3 They didn’t take advantage of micro- opportunities
  • 113. Micro-opportunities Micro-opportunities are little chances to grow which appear unexpectedly and temporarily. ! E.g. responding to a story in the press or trying a newly created advertising platform.
  • 114. Each of the letters was a successful micro-opportunity for growth
  • 116. This week, for example, Instagram is launching their new ad platform
  • 117. Gabriel Weinberg You have to be watching, flexible and creative. ! So you need to be spending enough time on it.
  • 118. Paul Graham You reach scale by doing things that don’t scale.
  • 119. Mistake #4 They were biased toward or away from certain traction verticals
  • 120. Traction comfort zones Every startup relies on blogging, twitter, and Adwords. They can’t be the solution for everyone. What about billboards? PR? Publicity stunts? Direct sales? Lead generation? Snail mail? Sometimes the weird stuff works.
  • 121. Mistake #5 They didn’t take a systematic approach to getting traction
  • 122. Gabriel Weinberg The usual approach is to build the product, then frantically try to figure out how to promote things, then haphazardly attempt the obvious stuff
  • 123. Discussion We talked about product MVPs. ! What would a traction MVP look like? What are some examples?
  • 124. The traction process 1.Have an educated guess at a few traction verticals
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • 125. The traction process 1.Have an educated guess at a few traction verticals 2.List them all out in order of potential usefulness
 
 
 
 

  • 126. The traction process 1.Have an educated guess at a few traction verticals 2.List them all out in order of potential usefulness 3.Approach the most promising verticals (say five) with small but effective tests
 

  • 127. The traction process 1.Have an educated guess at a few traction verticals 2.List them all out in order of potential usefulness 3.Approach the most promising verticals (say five) with small but effective tests 4.If one or two out of the initial five seem promising, focus hard on them
  • 128. Workshop Let’s explore our options with the traction cards
  • 130. Key metrics (the short version) Sticky - community growth rate; conversion to paid Paid - lifetime value; cost of acquisition Viral - # of referrals; clickthrough rate; conversion rate
  • 131. You measure because... You have better things to do with your time and money than ineffective marketing!
  • 132. Build the funnel to “catch” traffic 1. Free gift 2. Product for prospects 3. Stay-in-touch content 4. Core product (£) 5. Follow-on product (£££)
  • 133. Questions on growth? Startup MBA by Founder Centric & Escape the City ! http://startupmba.foundercentric.com Questions? hello@foundercentric.com