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Hi! I’m Hana Abaza, VP Marketing at Uberflip. When I joined Uberflip, we were a small team on the brink of a major shift. 

Fast forward 2+ years later, we’re over 70 people and all the things have changed. Particularly how we approach marketing and growth. Content is the now the foundation of almost everything we do from lead gen to sales to customer marketing. 

Beyond my daily routine, I also a speak at industry conferences (including Traction, MP B2B Forum, Content Marketing Conference to name a few) and contribute to various publications (like Entrepreneur.com, The Huffington Post, CMO.com and others). 

I’m a self-proclaimed podcast junkie and host of Flip the Switch - a podcast about marketing and growth where I talk to some of the best and brightest minds in the industry. 

Follow me on twitter: @hanaabaza

Hana will be live on May 31 starting 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • GD

    Guerric de Ternay

    about 3 years ago #

    Hello @hanaabaza,

    I’m a fan of Flip the Switch. Your interviews are always insightful. It has inspired a lot our podcast: Unlock People’s Potential (http://blog.contriber.com/unlock-peoples-potential/).

    I have two questions: one about the podcast and another about marketing strategy.

    1. You covered a lot about Flip the Switch in Unbounce’s Call to Action podcast and in your own blog. There’s something I’m still struggling with:

    How do you connect with your podcast audience (get feedback, get them engage with your content)?

    2. At a time where Medium, Facebook, et al. are getting most of everyone’s attention, what’s your take at Uberflip to make sure that your content keep being discovered and that you stay on the top of the mind of people who care about what you do?

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks, Guerric!

      Getting insightful (and helpful) feedback is one of the hardest about podcasting. We’ve tried a few things like soliciting feedback at the end of each podcast, asking via social, email etc. Each method has provided a few good nuggets of info.

      The best insight I’ve gotten is from getting on a call 5 or 10-minute call with someone.

      As for your second question, comes down to two things: good content and a focused approach to connecting with your audience. We're not just competing with other people in your industry, you're competing with every notification, text, email or any other type of content people see.

      This means you really need to know who you're talking to - talk to them, go where they go (physically and online).

      Another thing that we'll sometimes do to see if we've hit the mark is prototyping an idea with a small group of people before investing in a big piece of content. That helps us ensure we've hit the mark.

      4 Share
  • RB

    Ry B

    about 3 years ago #

    Hey Hana,

    Awesome having you here!

    1)You talk about joining Uberflip when it was small team. Can you talk about when your starting out and have a VERY small marketing team how do you create a marketing roadmap and figure out what to focus on first (when you have a million things you could be focusing on)? Do you focus on getting your marketing channel right, do you do CRO? Do you have a process that you go through to figure out what is THE most important thing for your to work on RIGHT now is?

    2) Can you talk about some of the challenges of scaling the business and how the company has overcome them?

    3) Can you talk about how you think of retention and how you go about implementing retention?

    Thanks

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks, Ry! Happy to be here :)

      For question #1 - I think focus is the thing that is most lacking in marketing teams. When performance suffers, it's often not because of a shortage of ideas but a lack of focus. Here's how I think about it:

      1. What are the company goals?
      2. Where are we now?
      3. What are all the things we can do/improve to get us to our goal?
      4. Out of those things - what has the most impact.
      5. Impact then has to be measured against effort (i.e. low impact, high effort doesn't make sense)
      6. Once you've figured this out, you need to make sure you set expectations. EVERYONE should know what marketing is focused on so you don't get a bunch of distractions thrown your way.

      In terms of focus on channels vs. CRO vs. something else, I can't answer without more context. Really depends on where you're at. For example, if you conversion is crappy, it might not make sense to just shove more people into the pipeline.

      4 Share
    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Question #2:

      There are many challenges that pop up and we're definitely still going through them as the team grows.

      Communication is the big thing. It's really easy for teams to get siloed and start operating independently of each other (this is bad and inefficient).

      The other challenge is knowing when to implement or improve a process without getting overly complicated or bloated.

      Last one I'll mention is the shift in team dynamics - what often happens more organically with smaller teams takes more coordination and structure (even just social / informal stuff).

      4 Share
      • HA

        Hana Abaza

        about 3 years ago #

        Question #3:

        On retention - this has actually changed a lot, particularly when we shifted upmarket (Uberflip used to be focused on SMB with a $50 price point, now we're focused on mid-market to enterprise).

        The shift upmarket changed the dynamics of retention and our entire approach to customer success. Since the business was changing, this also meant we had to be okay losing older customers who weren't aligned with our new direction.

        I talk about some tactics we use in this Kissmetrics post - hope it helps!

        https://blog.kissmetrics.com/turn-churn-around/

  • TS

    Terence Strong

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana:

    Thanks for doing this!

    What are some good customer development questions to enable the development of amazing content?

    -Terence

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Here are some we’ve used in the past (warning - there's a lot here, pick what works for you)

      How long have you been in your role?
      How many people are on your team?
      How do you compare yourself to your coworkers
      How does the team work together?
      What tools do you use/spend the most time with?
      How do you learn about marketing?
      What kind of content attracts you? Can you give an example of one unforgettable piece of content?
      Do you look at content during the workday or outside of business hours?
      What’s the one area of your job that you feel you need to learn more about?
      What is your mind on most of the day? What do you think about the most?
      What part of your day do you love most?
      What part of your day do you hate most?
      Who is your marketing hero?
      What is your dream job? --> seems random, but we get great answers

      We also ask our sales and success teams questions. This can be fodder for content but also helps with many other areas:

      What is the top non-product related question you get?
      What is the top product related question you get?
      How do you answer these questions?
      What are the main objections you hear from potential customers?
      What are the main complaints you hear from customers?

      Ideally, there’s some sort of feedback process between these teams. If you’re small, it should be simple. As you grow, it gets a bit more structured.

      4 Share
      • HA

        Hana Abaza

        about 3 years ago #

        One more thing: don't just send a survey. Pick up the phone.

        The best insights come from real conversations where you can pick up on the nuances of people's responses. Not from an online survey.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        about 3 years ago #

        Gold! :raised_hands:

  • AA

    Aldin A

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana,

    Thanks for being here!

    1) It's nice to meet a fellow podcast junkie :) Can you name some resources you use to learn about and stay up to to date with growth hacking/marketing and business in general such as courses, books, blog, and of course podcasts?

    2)What does your marketing stack look like when it comes to gathering and analyzing data? Can you list them and explain
    your rational for them?

    3)Do you have singular hub where you gather all of your data (from all the different maketing tools) to analyze it, or are they segregated in each of the different marketing tools you use and you just analyze it within said tools?

    4) Do you use any programs like the 'R' language to analyze the data you gather from your marketing tools? In the process of learning to become a data-driven marketer do you think it makes sense to learn 'data science' and something like the 'R langauge'? If it doesn't do you have any advice on how to become a data driven marketer?

    Thanks

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Question #2 - Our Stack

      Here’s a link to our stack. http://hub.uberflip.com/h/i/232691689-uberflips-award-winning-marketing-technology-stack

      It’s big so I’ll focus specifically for data capture and analysis (although pretty much every tool has some sort of metrics component to it).

      GA & Uberflip for content -- content consumption and contact data go from Uberflip to Marketo

      Marketo -- data around engagement, firmographic and demographic info (this informs lead scoring - includes parameters around how people engage with content and whether or not they fit our ideal customer profile)

      Salesforce -- Marketo and Saleforce sync. We track campaigns through to Salesforce so we can easily more attribute customer conversion.

      Bizible -- improve campaign tracking, multi touch attribution (we only recently started with Bizible - check back with us in month).

      We also use Datanyze for data enrichment. For example, we can grab industry, company size, revenue etc and pass it to Marketo. This helps us better identify our ideal customers.

      One notable challenge we had when we moved from SMB focus to a more enterprise focus was our data collection. When we were SMB our funnel was self-serve - people signed up for a free trial and upgraded online. But when we shifted upmarket we now had a marketing and sales engine - half our funnel was in Salesforce which had a ton of implications. We weren't set up for it at the time.

      5 Share
    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks, Aldin! This is fun :)

      Okay, first question:

      There are a lot of great resources online that talk tips and tactics (this one included). Here are just a few: Orbite Media, Unbounce, Orbit Media, Kapost's blog
      Problogger, Buffer, Moz.. and many more. Also have to shout out my team - they do a killer job with the Uberflip blog (I learn stuff from them!)

      Some books you should check out (many are older - these are the best ones!)
      Permission Marketing (Seth Godin)
      Cluetrain Manifesto
      Ogilvy on Advertising (read this! seriously, read it.)
      Innovator’s Dilemma
      The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)
      Traction (Gabriel Weinberg)

      4 Share
    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Question #3:

      No single hub although many tools in our stack integrate in some way. For reporting, we’re pulling from a few different areas and synthesizing the data. But if we’re talking more about analysis (i.e. we have a question we want to answer, not just reporting) we’ll dig deeper in the tool where it makes sense.

      If you're looking for something central, you can check out a startup called FunnelCake who is trying to tackle this problem.

      • HA

        Hana Abaza

        about 3 years ago #

        Question #4

        We don’t. And I would also question whether or not you really need to. If you’re small/startup-y there’s probably a lot of foundational stuff to work on that would have a greater impact on your marketing.

        Most startups that I’ve heard say “we need a data scientist” don’t really need one. IMO - they just need someone who understands data and what to focus on. :)

  • WQ

    Wes Quintin

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana,

    What are the some of the ways your Marketing team achieves smarketing harmony with your Sales team?

    ...And can you sign my Uberflip headband at Uberflip Experience :)

    Wes

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Wes!

      Process and communication. Mentioned this in another answer below, but a few tactical things here:

      1. Monthly meeting to review deals won and lost, update on marketing initiatives and any asks.
      2. Dedicated slack channel
      3. Weekly standup (these are company wide, but help here too)
      4. Weekly meetings with the BDRs and briefing sessions when it comes to big campaigns or events.
      5. Sales development training (sessions about messaging, general marketing trends etc. to keep them in the know)

      And yes, I'll sign one if you do :D

  • MM

    martín medina

    about 3 years ago #

    Hana,

    Thanks for joining us and doing this AMA. It seems that everybody I talk to that uses Uberflip can't live without it. I have two questions for you today.

    1. I am a big fan of conferences and always find the speakers give very interesting insights and have killer presentations. How do you prepare for speaking engagements and have you done anything personally to improve your speaking skills?

    2. Like yourself I am a podcast junkie and regularly listen to several of them including Flip the Switch. How was transitioning from listening to podcasts to hosting your own and are there any podcasts you still listen to?

    Thanks!

  • TG

    Toni Gimeno

    about 3 years ago #

    From your own experience in B2B, what marketing initiatives have had more impact in the growth of the company you were working? Thanks! :)

  • TG

    Toni Gimeno

    about 3 years ago #

    What are the best tips you can give us about Marketing and Sales collaborating together?

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Process and communication. Again, sounds like table stakes but these are the biggest problems (we had issues here as we grew and many of our customers do too).

      Regular meetings, setting expectations and having a two-way flow of information helps. Your sales team has such valuable info, but if you don't talk to them they probably won't just volunteer it.

      Also, you need common goals. I find that companies with different (and sometimes conflicting) goals for the marketing and sales teams underperform.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana, great seeing you in Vegas a couple weeks ago. Thanks a lot for doing an AMA with us. Here's my question... Is content part of every marketing/growth activity that you do these days or are there some things that don't involve content that you are doing?

    The reason I ask is that I'm personally finding content marketing creeping into just about everything I'm doing these days. It's easier to drive adoption of content and then slowly sell a solution than it is to try marketing a solution (in my case SaaS) directly. I can think of a couple of exceptions, but curious about your perspective on this. Thanks!

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Sean! Thanks for having me :)

      I'm having a hard time coming up with an example where content doesn't come into play at all. It does tend to creep into everything. Most of our leads gen is content-driven. So is email marketing and most of the partner marketing we do.

      We definitely tried a lot of other more direct channels, but most are noisy and expensive compared to the results we see when starting with content.

      One thing we're playing around with is doing some more outbound. We haven't done much but the little we have done actually shows it converting really well.

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 3 years ago #

        The only example that I could come up with that didn't have a major dependency on content was a very targeted adwords search. If they are already "in market" for a solution sometimes it's best to just provide a very easy way to buy. Of course it probably still makes sense to have a content drip post purchase to help them get the most out of a solution.

  • NW

    Natasha Wahid

    about 3 years ago #

    Hey Hana,

    Thanks for doing this AMA! As a Content Marketer, I've been trying to nail down the very best metrics to track to reflect the efficacy of our content strategy and I'm wondering: What, in your opinion, are the most meaningful content KPIs/metrics?

    A second question: What have you found to be the most effective methods of content distribution?

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Natasha - sorry but this is an "it depends" answer.

      What are your goals? What kind of content? Is it for lead gen? Awareness?

      This article might help: http://hub.uberflip.com/h/i/6608653-content-marketing-roi-what-doers-and-the-c-suite-need-to-know

      As for the second question, three things have been really effective for us:

      1. Social - paid and organic (Twitter and LinkedIn)
      2. Email - if you're small keep it focused topically, if you're bigger segment properly and don't send people stuff they don't want.
      3. Partners - we do a lot of collaboration especially with webinars which are our highest (customer) converting lead source

      • NZ

        noor z

        about 3 years ago #

        Hello Hana,

        When you say webinars are one of your most effective content distribution channels. My question is:

        How did you manage to get people contribute to your webinar for the first time?

  • RA

    Ritu Ashrafi

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana,
    1. What are your go-to paid advertising channels?
    2. How long does it take till you see conversion on a piece of content? For me, it feels likes 6 months is the earliest till leads start to come in via lead magnets in content (eg. blog posts). How long after that will a lead actually close/become a customer typically?
    3. What was your inspiration behind launching the Uberflip conference in Toronto?
    4. Has it been difficult to secure budget for your marketing tactics? Or is your exec team a believer in spending on marketing?
    Thanks so much!
    Ritu at CrowdRiff

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hi Ritu!

      1. Social PPC (LinkedIn and Twitter) and we also syndicate content through tools like Integrate

      2. It depends - are we talking lead conversion? If it's a gated asset, almost right away. But again, it depends. If you're not seeing conversion it could be either a content alignment issue or a distribution issue. Would need more info to help here.

      3. Two reasons: first we attend and sponsor a lot of events and it works really well. Nothing beats a face to face conversation. Second, we're trying to get marketers thinking about content a little differently. This is a great platform to help spread the word.

      4. Our team believes in spending on marketing but we also focus on efficiency and effectiveness of each initiative. It's a matter of being accountable and providing visibility into the impact of the spend. For example, if we're hitting targets on a given month, we won't just keep on spending. So some months, we'll have a deficit. And other times, we reallocate funds if our priorities or problems change. You need a good process for figuring this out combined with the flexibility to adapt.

  • KA

    karim Abd El Kader

    about 3 years ago #

    Hello @hanaabaza

    Are you Egyptian? if yes, as an Egyptian Growth Marketer i am proud for your achievements and for being featured in Growthhackers.com
    !!رفاعة رسنا يا بنت مصر

    My question is, what is the best approach to conduct an SEO strategy for a publisher? it will be great if you can share with me a detailed step-by-step guide and tools to be used for each tactic.

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Warm Regards,
    Karim.

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hana,

    Amazing to have you on - thank you so much for agreeing to do it.

    1) During your role as VP or Marketing at Uberflip (amazing growth by the way). What disappointments have you faced when launching particular marketing strategies and were they just off base or did you just have to reposition the message?

    2) Uberflip describes content 'experience' how far do you envisage that Uberflip can take this experience. E.g. with some basic marketing information could flips be tailored to the individual reader and the components of any documents most important to them?

    3) I think Uberflip as a product is a fantastic idea, has it felt occasionally like you're ahead of your time with people defaulting back to MS Word etc and how have you overcome that challenge in your marketing efforts?

    4) I've noticed digital marketing is a massive constantly shifting world which you can read about till your eyes turn red. How do you switch off?

    Can't wait to hear your responses.

  • SR

    shahnur rahman

    about 3 years ago #

    Hi Hanna,

    Just a quick question

    Being the VP of marketing, in the recent years what was the most terrible marketing mistake you made which went totally wrong! And how did you recover from it?

    Really excited to hear from you :)

    Cheers,
    Sayed

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Ha! Everyone loves a good #fail.

      I think the biggest fail was a mistake in how one of our forms worked. Without all the boring details we basically triggered an email to go out to 50,000 people instead of the 2,000 it was meant for (oops!)

      Worst. Feeling. Ever.

      For fun, asked my team to dig up the apology email. See below:

      -----

      Subject: Well this is embarrassing!

      Dear John,

      You're receiving this email because you were the unfortunate target of every marketer's worst nightmare.

      That's right...

      We sent an email to the wrong list :(

      (insert GIF https://media.giphy.com/media/14aUO0Mf7dWDXW/giphy.gif)

      We committed the ultimate faux pas. We made an oops. We Mondayed on a Tuesday. And for that, we are truly sorry.

      Thanks for understanding :hearts::hearts:,

      The Uberflip Marketing Team

      5 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    about 3 years ago #

    Bonjour Hana,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.

    Uberflip is a very interesting product. I'd have a few questions.

    1) Did you have to iterate on the core value of the Uberflip product to get to product-market fit? Is so, what did the iteration journey look like?

    2) How do your customers typically make their Uberflip content hub discoverable? Is it more of a pull or of a push approach?

    3) If my understanding is accurate, you can tailor your Uberflip content to cater to different persona (I'd assume this is more used in B2B contexts where content marketing is key to lead generation). Is the process purely manual or is their AI built-in (that is factoring in content engagement metrics) to optimize the layout of such hubs?

    4) Do you see an overall content trend emerging in terms of engagement resulting in lead generation or is it hard to generalize across industries?

    Merci!

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Arsene!

      1. Yes, many times and it's a constant process because as we grow our audience changes. For us the shift was gradual - probably more so than it should have been. As mentioned in a few other responses, we shifted up-market, but it took us 3 or 4 steps, when maybe it should have taken less.

      2. Uberflip is simply a destination (like any page on the internet) so discovery depends on the distribution strategies marketers are using.

      3. This is mostly manual with some automation for filtering content into different - no AI or machine learning or automated personalization yet - did I miss any buzzwords? ;)

      4. Trends when it comes to lead gen via content? I don't think the initial lead conversion is the issue, I think it's harder to engage people after the fact.

  • KL

    Kristen Larsen

    about 3 years ago #

    Do you have any recommendations for professionals who are just starting to write and want to build their content portfoilio? (Ex: Start a blog, submit guest posts to other blogs, take a class, etc.)

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 3 years ago #

    Hey Hana - so cool to have you on!

    What content distribution channels are you most excited about of late? Why?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 3 years ago #

    Couple more:

    a. What was the impetus behind starting the Flip the Switch podcast?
    Reason for asking, of course, is that there's no shortage of marketing/content focused podcasts.
    What did you feel was still missing that told you this one was needed?

    b. What's been the biggest learning on growing the audience of the podcast itself? What's worked, what's not?

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Anuj!

      a. For us, it was about a new content format. We wanted to find another way to connect with people. A lot of people on our team also really like the format, so we thought our audience would too.

      b. Podcast metrics suck. We seem to be growing steadily and a podcast has a great shelf life (as new people discover the podast, seems like they download a lot of older episodes). We were lucky in that we had a good sized audience to begin with but we're still figuring it out as we go. One thing that seems to work well is "cross-podcasting" (i.e. promoting your podcast on another podcast)

  • DS

    Dan-ya Shwartz Bar-El

    about 3 years ago #

    Which superpower you choose: flight or invisibility?

  • TM

    Tara Mantyak

    about 3 years ago #

    We are going back to the basics of evaluating, redefining and improving our base content such as the website and flysheets. However, being a large company, we have a lot of differing opinions about what the right content and messaging is - the content people don't know the product, and the product people are too technical to write the content.
    Do you have advice or resources we can leverage on setting standards to measure all of our content against? How do we know what's good, what's right, what will move customers to the next stage of the buying cycle?

    • HA

      Hana Abaza

      about 3 years ago #

      Hey Tara - this is another it depends answer. Check out the resources above that I linked to around measuring content.

      One note, you need everyone (product, content etc) on the same page about messaging and value.

  • PL

    Preethi LR

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi, Just thought it would make sense to include the podcast episode of Hana Abaza. She talks about the right way to think of a dramatic transition, the benefits of learning about learning, paying attention to those who’re going through the same struggle, and more.

    Listen to the episode here: https://www.chargebee.com/blog/live-the-questions-with-hana-abaza/

    (From Teaching Jiu-Jitsu to Building a Lasting B2B Brand: A Convo With Hana Abaza)

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