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Nathan Latka loves testing new growth hacks to "win" distribution channels. In this AMA, he'll answer questions about: 1) The simple email he used to get 10m downloads for his podcast The Top Entrepreneurs; 2) the LinkedIn reply that put him on the WSJ Bestsellers list and sold 25k copies of his book; 3) The data play that's made him the most in-demand keynote speaker on SaaS.

  • TH

    Tom Hunt

    5 months ago #

    Hey Nathan,

    If you lost all of your media assets (podcast, book, database, magazine) tomorrow and had to restart your attention machine... what would you do and why?

    Thanks
    Tom

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      I’d do the same thing.

      Email 50 people I wanted to interview saying:

      “My podcast will have 1m downloads by the end of the summer. Are you available tomorrow at 3pm EST to record a 15 minute interview via Skype?”

      On launch day, email all the recorded guests and say:

      “I’m giving launch day priority to those who commit to emailing their list their episode. Will limit to 10 on launch day. You in?”

      This concept is called elephant bumping, then scarcity.

      1 Share
  • BB

    Barbara Bonfim

    4 months ago #

    Hey Nathan - great to have you here. Can't wait to ~hear your thoughts.

    I'm dying to learn more about this simple email you mentioned - copywriting & growth are two passions of mine and I always find it challenging to find the sweet spot of personalizing communication at scale.

    How was the best approach you have ever received on LinkedIn? And how was the worst?

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      Not a huge fan of LI prospecting. You know the worst (copy paste crap that no one cares about).

      I think the best thing to do on Linkedin is this sort of thing which is about to pass 30k views.

  • GN

    Gustavo Nunes

    5 months ago #

    Hey, Nathan.

    I'm happy to see such a big name here to answer some of our questions. Thanks for doing this.

    1) How did you come up with the idea of hosting a podcast? Today we talk about this channel, how did you predict that it was going to be a trend?
    2) Do you think that any industry can take advantage of this channel?
    3) What kind of experiments have you tried with your podcasts? Can you share some of the results?

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      Hey @Gustavo :) Good questions.

      1) Why podcast?
      Simple. It's easier to talk (create audio content) than to write (blogs). Humans are lazy. They’ll default to easier choice. Audio will be default future. I wanted skin in the game.

      2) All Industry?
      Yes. Is there an industry that you’re skeptical won’t be able to?

      3) What kind of experiments have you tried with your podcasts? Can you share some of the results?

      This is the biggest mistake new podcasters make:

      It is WAY more impactful to email 1 per month to get 300 new podcast subs in short period of time, than it is to get 10 per day for 30 days.

      Once you rank high/spike in iTunes, then you get new organic listeners that discover you because you're at top of page in iTunes. Try and spike when you think iTunes is being used by lots of people (Christmas day, new phones, people downloading new content for example)

      Yes, all the experiments here in 40 page post.

      I show in detail how I got 1.6m downloads in first 8 months (30k in first 30 days).

      2 Share
  • JR

    JORDANA RAUBER

    4 months ago #

    Hi Nathan,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! I would love to pick your brain about these topics:

    1.Creating wealth with little resources resonates with the difficulties faced by most startups, and that’s a topic you are very experienced with. What are the key advices you would give to entrepreneurs you wish someone gave you when you were starting?

    2.In your book “How to Be a Capitalist With no Capital” one of the rules is copying your competitors, because what really matters is execution. You are also very public with your emails, scrips and screenshots for others to copy. In your opinion, what are today's main hacks to deliver a better execution than the one offers by competitors when you are short on resources?

    3.Again from the book, you say people should learn how to spot business ideas that support todays main trends. Do you have any current examples or any bets for the future?

    Thanks!

    2 Share
    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      1) The fastest way to create leverage is with information. Then smart positioning: It’s free to be the person in the middle.

      Information is also generally free. For example, if you want to go into growth hacking, go find someone with a list and tell them you found a sponsor willing to pay $2k for a sponsored email send.

      After they say yes, go secure the sponsor.

      1 Share
    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      2) On how to win execution:

      If everyone had perfect execution no one would win. Everything would be completely optimized out of the system. Winning execution is about being smart, very creative, and usually means executing differently against the same base.

      Two people with a red apple can execute differently: One does nothing and it sits and rots, one puts in 2 hours, adds some sugar, and creates a beautiful apple pie worth $12.

      1 Share
    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      3) 2 areas I'm paying very close attention to:

      Voice tech (drag and drop tools for creating alexa skills for example). Anything in this space. Its no question the future and audio content will quickly pass written content in terms of creation and consumption volumes over next few years.

      Second is logistics and transportation. Think Freightos (makes easy for Kylie Jenner to ship 10k pallets of lip gloss from China to Los Angeles). As ecommerce brands continue to heat up, fragmentation continues, B2C continues upward ride, more logistics tools will take off.

      Could see shopify acquiring in this space soon.

      1 Share
  • DB

    Darwin Binesh

    4 months ago #

    Nathan, I’m a huge fan of your book and really enjoy your talks. Thanks taking the time today!

    Here are some questions on sales and negotiations.

    1. What do you consider the most effective sales techniques today? This is in SaaS when considered a channel. Would love your thoughts on sales for service businesses as well.

    2. What advice would you give someone in sales (I’m in sales) at an agency. Advice on how to sell and advice on setting up growth channels. Say marketing agency in this case.

    3. Your booked described your negotiations really well and it was great to read. Follow up based on that: what advice would you give someone with limited leverage. The best thing going for them is their skill-set and skill-level but they bring no cash to the table. How would you recommend they try to get the deal?

    4. Being so young, what do you do to ensure your age - or how people might perceive you for it - does not block the deal? Does it even come up?

    5. Writing up deals: your book’s scripts and emails (thanks for those btw) don’t use many contracts written by lawyers and several pages long. Is that a risk you mitigate somehow? Do people ever say they want something in writing from a lawyer instead of an email? Again, does it come up? I’ve had it come up a few times now and don’t want to pay legal fees.

    6. Situation: you’re back to 0 today. How would restart the machine? What would you do first? What would you be selling, and how would you sell it?

    7. Do you know of any books, forums or resources you can recommend on sales and/or negotiations?

    8. Any plans for another book??

    Thanks again for taking the time!

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      2) How to get new customers for your agency:

      Autogenerate reports for clients you want to target. Email the CEO the report.

      Subject line: “data issue”
      Content: “CEO, just pulled this report on your company. Can you spot the issue?”

      … wait for a reply. ;)

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      4) Age can be an asset or a liability. I encourage you to pitch however old you are as a massive asset :)

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      1) Favorite channel:
      Right now highest valuations are in bottoms up freemium. Individuals at companies use business tools, pay direct on their card, eventually so many employees use that the CMO/CIO/CTO/CEO buy a business plan. Expensify, Knowb4, Malwarebytes all good examples. Set up free mousetrap, then upsell luxury cheese.

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      3) No cash an issue?
      Even when you're filthy rich, convince yourself you have nothing. Forces you to answer questions with creativity instead of dollars.

      I see so many VC funded CEO's throw cash at issues that creativity could have solved much cheaper.

      So if you have no cash, bring creativity.

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      5) Need a lawyer?
      It can backfire but for SaaS Companies I work with I've never hired one.

      I think you can get away with this for anything under $100k deals. Just make sure everything clear in email.

  • EC

    Emília Chagas

    4 months ago #

    Hi Nathan, thank you for doing this AMA with us.
    Can you share a teaser of what you're preparing for your talk at the growthhackersconference.com next June? :)

  • FA

    Farouq Aldori

    4 months ago #

    Hey Nathan,

    Assume that you’re from a small town and had to start over, how would you expand your SaaS network to get to know more people that share the same interests?

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      Join FB Groups (search "SaaS").

      If you can, get out to events. There are over 100 SaaS focused events every year.

      Keep hanging out here in GrowthHackers!

  • AS

    Alexandru Stoica

    4 months ago #

    Hello, Nathan.

    I ve watched probably 60% of your podcasts and I wanna ask you from your experience and all the stories that you heard untill now about SaaS: what are the main used/quickest strategies to acquire new customers for SaaS business after we just build the whole product but have only 3 paying customers. Our target is SMB, it s a HR software.

    Thaaaaaanks so much!

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      By far, mousetrap mousetrap moustrap.

      You can have the BEST product, but if you don't invent a clever way to get attention you'll die.

      SMNB HR software you might put out a report: Average SMB Founder in X City Makes X amount.

      Do that for your major city targets, then send to local press.

  • PT

    Paulo T.

    4 months ago #

    Hello Nathan!

    All right, 3 questions.

    Based on the companies you had access,what came first: funding or hypergrowth?
    And a follow-up question: Is there any correlation on SAAS pricing and growth? Ex. $90/mo tickets usually takes X amount of time to grow vs $999/mo...
    Second question. I've decided to use Baremetrics to keep all my KPI's public, you can check at: http://trakto.baremetrics.com . What do you think about Baremetrics open data initiative?
    Third: What do you think about startups organizing their own conferences? Do you think it takes the focus off the PMF/Growth or is it a valid growth strategy?

    Thanks man!

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      1) Many are not funded, and don't persue hypergrowth.

      Madwire took 10+ years to hit $100m in revenue (bootstrapped)
      iCIMS was founded in 1999 before hitting $100m last year and getting big deal

      I'd argue for many entrepreneurs, creating freedom/wealth is easiest when you are NOT funded and are NOT pursuing growth at all costs :)

      1 Share
    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      2) Pricing correlated to growth?
      Yes. Much easier to grow at average price point above $5k/year OR below $1k/year but MUCH harder to do in between.

      Here's a much longer post on the why: Read

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      3) Fan of open?
      Yes. I think being transparent is not only a smart content strategy but it also helps recruit, and lets customers get invested in your story.

      In terms of actual metrics, here is the data I have on churn and retention rates.

  • RN

    Raghu Nath

    4 months ago #

    Hi Nathan,

    Recently, I applied for a Growth Hacker role.

    But I wasn't able to convince them that I could execute the ideas I have proposed just because I didn't have such relevant experience.

    What are some of the best ways to become more versatile about Growth Hacking and gain some experience with it?

    Thank you!

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      I get pitched all the time by people wanting to join my team.

      There's ONE difference between those I end up paying, and those I don't.

      The ones I end up paying do something for me and include it in the initial outreach.

      They write a sample Linkedin post.
      They send me audio they edited (if they want to edit my podcast).
      They send me a report (if they want to guest blog on site)

      ETC..

      It's so easy to get hired in this sort of role, you just have to do the work FIRST to stand out. (Sink in 20-30 hours and impress the heck out of them in your first fold email)

      2 Share
  • JS

    Jeremy Szelag

    4 months ago #

    Nathan - do you have any stories about a business taking your data and implementing change? (changing pricing models, sales focus, etc.) Curious to hear about real-world impact.

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      There are 84 companies that have come on my podcast and as a direct result got better term sheets for their VC round, exited, or raised debt.

      2 examples:
      Snip.ly and more recently Brax.io

      Many one off stories of people moving up/down market after seeing my keynote showing how difficult it is to build $100m company at $1-5k average ACV:

  • HS

    Hale Schneider

    4 months ago #

    Hey Nathan, Thanks so much for doing this AMA.

    If you were to release a new edition of your book "How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital", what would you include now that you didn't include last year?
    What new trends or opportunities are on your radar in 2020.

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      Not much I would change at this point.

      I'm more bullish on Audio then when I wrote the book. I'm also more bullish on bootstrapped vs. raising. So many free, no code tools means you can get going without raising a ton.

  • AD

    Austin Distel

    4 months ago #

    What channels have you found most effective to acquire B2B SaaS companies leads?

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      If freemium: Paved.com

      (its like google adsense for email sends. you can quickly find lists your product would do well in, and the price the creator wants you to pay to send the email)

      If SDR/AE driven $10k+ ACV model:
      clearbit (ABM approach, target 100 and go all in) + airtable + sendgrid

      For proof specifically and your new website customizatin product, I'd use BuiltWith to target all companies with BounceX javascript embedded (or another competing Javascript based product), and hit them hard with retargeting.

      "Landing page you didn't know about" then link them to a page that targets them. They land, go "Wow" click button that says "want to see how we did this" --> call with your SDR.

  • DB

    Darwin Binesh

    4 months ago #

    Follow up:

    What are your fav automations and hacks right now to free up more of your time?

  • PV

    Phuong Vu

    4 months ago #

    1. What are the effective marketing channels for a B2B SaaS company focusing on SMB & Mid Market? (Think 5K-10k ACV). My target customers are small restaurant owners (3-10 locations) , retail shops.
    2. Take away from companies that reach $1Million ARR in a year?

    • NL

      Nathan Latka

      4 months ago #

      1. Thats' a tough price point. Too cheap for meaningful AE engagement, too expensive for a no touch credit card check out online. How are you currently selling?

      2. Many funded ones do it by spending $2m. ;)

  • DB

    Darwin Binesh

    4 months ago #

    Do you think writing long-form content and guides still has a place in marketing or is going with audio/video too easy to bother with the writing?

  • DB

    Darwin Binesh

    4 months ago #

    If you had to make 10k asap how would you do it today assuming you're an average joe?

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