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  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    almost 6 years ago #

    That's a really broad question @joeleesays , but I'll try to tackle it.

    The important growth channels are really dependent on a product's category and target customers. For example, most marketing tools businesses benefit from content marketing for their growth. If I was going to recommend two channels that will likely be important a few years from now for most companies, I'd say search (Google in particular) and Facebook. In both cases, I'd work to understand how to leverage these channels to grow organically and via paid marketing.

    For technologies, I'd recommend learning about marketing automation and retargeting. Both of these really leverage the power of data to micro target an audience with the right message to maximize response/conversion rates.

    And finally for products, I'd recommend gaining a deep understanding of Google Analytics and Hubspot. Both are extremely sophisticated when you really dig into them. At Qualaroo we recently began implementing Hubspot. After six weeks, we're only about 30% complete with our initial implementation. And I'm sure over time we'll figure out a lot more powerful things we can do with it. As for Google Analytics, I'm always blown away by what's possible with it in the hands of the right person.

    Most of what I've mentioned above requires a constant refreshing of your knowledge. Before going too deep into these areas, I'd personally start with really learning and understanding the principles of growth. These principles don't change over time, which means it's a really good investment of learning time. Principles include things like the importance of product/market fit, triggers of persuasion (read Cialdini), importance of things like retention and conversion, and stages of growth for a new product (what matters, when)...

    Hope this helps.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      almost 6 years ago #

      BTW, this is completely opinion based, so if anyone disagrees with me, I'd love your feedback and recommendations.

      • RL

        Roland Ligtenberg

        almost 6 years ago #

        Our startup is still quite a bit smaller and thus a smaller budget to work from - so no expensive tools.

        We use several different tools stitched together with Zapier to get a similar effect.

        1) Landing pages with Unbounce / made by hand
        2) Custom forms through Typeform -> Zapier -> CRM
        3) We use Join.me for our webinars (free)
        4) We use calendly.com to do the booking/scheduling of webinars and web demos (free)
        5) We do our sales/outbound call center through Close.io
        6) We use Foundation by ZURB for easy front end development (we know very basic html/css) to make variations of landing pages
        7) Photoshop for creating different ads for facebook/display/adroll
        8) Optimizely on landing pages to test do A/B
        9) Mailchimp to do automatic drip campaigns that are zapped into it from custom forms from Typeform or post Webinar
        10) Automatic signup notifications on Hipchat for immediate reach out

        All of this can be done on freemium mode for most products, and with it you can stitch together very similar to what Hubspot has to offer for far less $/month. You just have to put in the time to piece it all together, but you can do it without having any or much coding knowledge.

        You can look at our general landing page: http://tryhousecall.com/pro
        or a variation that we send electricians to: http://tryhousecall.com/pro/electrical
        Here is an example of our old signup: https://housecall.typeform.com/to/j6jgaL
        Here is how we book webinars: https://calendly.com/housecallpro/webinar/ (PLEASE DON'T BOOK RANDOM THINGS JUST TO MESS AROUND) :-)

      • JT

        jonathan twaddell

        almost 6 years ago #

        hey sean - what would you reccomend as the the best marketing automation software for a small to medium-sized business? Are there any products that have a really unique killer feature?

        • SE

          Sean Ellis

          almost 6 years ago #

          Hey Jonathan, we just analyzed several of them and really liked Hubspot. They seem to be moving in a direction where they will help you manage top of funnel lead gen (via inbound marketing) all the way to a completed sale and retention programs.

          • MS

            Michael Shearer

            almost 6 years ago #

            You'll find Hubspot, Pardot and a few others as the most common recommendations. But if you want to look at something outside the norm, I'd suggest looking at Net-Results as it's ability to segment behavioral data (and demographic data) and automate actions is better than all the other MAPs I've used (I've implemented 15 of them in the past 3 years).

      • JL

        Joseph Lee

        almost 6 years ago #

        Hi @sean thanks so much for the extended response. I'll try to keep future questions more focused!

        The more I dive into growth, the more I look for roadmaps from experts on what to focus on first. I really appreciate your thoughts, and they will certainly shape my learnings!

    • QL

      Quentin Lacointa

      almost 6 years ago #

      Hi Sean, Hi Joseph, I totally agree on Google Analytics. I see many startups around me implementing tools as Mixpanel or similar. Those are great tool easy to understand for the whole team but I think the head of growth is losing a great opportunity to learn more about Analytics. I keep on looking deeper and I still can't figure out all the possibilities it offers.
      Hubspot seems good for higher budget, I'm not there yet.

    • KS

      Kevin Shin

      almost 6 years ago #

      Thank you for the great tips on how to get started!

    • ES

      elad stern

      almost 6 years ago #

      Thank you for the great insights

    • DZ

      Dave Zirnhelt

      over 5 years ago #

      Wow! What an in depth response! I might just ask, how would you growth hack my business to $100K per month in revenue? (I can take it from there

    • CK

      Christine K. Bailey

      over 5 years ago #

      This is so helpful! Thanks!

  • DM

    demetrius michael

    almost 6 years ago #

    Go here and blow thy mind: http://www.producthunt.com

  • PW

    Pip West

    almost 6 years ago #

    GrowthHackers.com is a great resource for staying current on the latest trends. Most companies that publish here have newsletter subscription options - sign up for those and look for lists on new resources/ideas.

  • JV

    Jamil Velji

    almost 6 years ago #

    Check out product hunt's startup toolkit series, great list of product there that quite a few growth marketers use. Beyond that research your own, every new project will require tailoring of some kind for technologies as well as channels. I personally keep a benchmark excel of any product I test to use, it's crazy extensive now but great to review and see what products I thought would fit for certain verticals or businesses.

    Growth Channels:
    There are the common (Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc) and the uncommon (7Search, Instagram, affiliate networks, etc) but you should always be trying new stuff. The point is to experiment, think of new ways to use channels and always look for new channels.

    A great example is Product Hunt. 6 months ago the key place to launch was TechCrunch and some of the beta sites (Betalist, erlibird, etc) but now if you become a well upvoted product on Product Hunt you can drive more traffic and better converting traffic than TechCrunch and other outlets combined!

    TL;DR: Always be researching, experimenting, testing and thinking about new ways to use/do things!

  • IM

    Ismail Mohammed

    almost 6 years ago #

    Wow – some great tools and advice, but mostly expensive stuff. Ignore my post if you have bundles of money. We are still small, so for us every penny counts.

    1. Design – Flat-UI-Pro (get this during seasonal discounts. They usually have 50% off on BF and these days 30% off for year end holidays) – paid $10 (PS: It’s an affiliate link – throw me some love http://designmodo.com/shop/?u=1665)

    2. NO NO Hellobar – Seriously, even if you have money don’t pay for this. A free and exactly similar bar is WOAHbar. http://www.woahbar.com/ 30 mins of your time, and you are done.

    3. Landing Pages – We tested practically every product out there except for bounceexhange ($1000+??). Our biggest driver was the editor. If you can’t edit the page “quickly” and “easily,” then what good is a hosted landing page? We went with Instapage (PS: again an affiliate link) http://instapg.es/bs7M3

    4. Calendar Scheduling – Free from https://www.youcanbook.me. Add this to your email signature – sales cals, reaching out to first time users, etc.

    5. Exit Intent – We tried this but just feel it is too intrusive (I believe most GH users agree). If you do need one then go for ouibounce. It’s free. Looking at Gleam.io too but feel it’s a bit pricey. Definitely don’t want their logo on our home page anywhere.

    6. Twitter – JustUnfollow, Tweepi, Followerwonk

    7. Email: Mailchimp, Mandrill

    OK – I will stop here. Not sure if it’s worth typing all the free/cheap stuff. But here are some more things we do for free or very few $s.

    Let me know if I should continue adding links...


    8. Automatic signup notification: @rolandal there is a WAY better way todo this. It even does the research for you (who, email, name, company etc.)… FOR FREE!! We have integrated this just before they even hit sign up. You enter an email address and boom we know it – I am already contacting the prospect while you get the welcome email.

    9. Toll free number: Absolutely stay away from those mentioned on TC and other news blogs. There is a very old company that even has a call center so you don’t even have to pick up the phone. Cheap service and a professional (real) person picks up the phone in the US and answers with your company greeting. Your prospect thinks the brand is an instant million bucks – not that ours isn’t.

    10. Find out who is talking about your product – Instantly for free. This is an amazing tool – desktop/mobile/Chrome notifications too so you can quickly respond.

    11. Leads – We were tired of GA since it offers such obscure information. But what if you at least knew which company/entity visited your page. You could re-target your cold calling efforts there. Again – free. For example we found out a large Medical company visited us 3 times in the last 2 months…Guess who will be targeting them from every angle?

    12. Real time user monitoring – Mouse capture so you know where users are getting stuck – helps to improve your copy or move things around on your site. Just started this – free and has been very helpful.

    13. Tool to auto re-tweet your most popular tweet from time to time – free

    14. Leads – Not free but cheap, buying email addresses

    15. Supercharge them Leads – Take the above leads and get more information to target multiple avenues – not free but cheap.

    16. Explainer videos – This one we are building now. None of the US firms are affordable but we found a crazy good firm that has done some big brand names for less than $3k. That is a pretty good price (includes script, voice talent and animation).

    17. Other stuff like cheap SSL, hosting, DNS, etc…

    18. Auto email send – Ever sent an email to a prospect and wanted to continually follow up… automatically…politely…for free?

    19. Hubspot actually has a free tool ! Pretty good actually

    20. Email tracking – limited number of emails to track for free, but still worth it.

    Some examples for you amazing people
    1. Our upcoming book – http://order.secureslice.com
    2. Our Calendar app - https://secureslice.youcanbook.me
    3. Signup page (this is not live, and is just a dummy site – gives you can idea of flat-ui toolkit) - http://www.secureslice.com/signup/
    4. WOAHbar on home page – http://www.secureslice.com

  • AA

    Ariful Anam

    almost 6 years ago #

    With the emerging landscape of wearable technology (Smartwatches, Google Glass, etc), adoption and monetization of the same would be great learning experience for us in 2015.

  • JK

    Justin Kearns

    almost 6 years ago #

    Hi Sean,

    Hubspot is a serious product, however small businesses who are keen to get onboard the automated marketing train may not be able to stretch their bootstrap budget far enough. Have you reviewed any similar tools which cater for smaller seized businesses? I came across Spokal which I hope to trial very soon.

    In think google will continue to be a key channel. I feel their is some change coming with gmail taking over as a defacto business email/email marketing channel. (Hunch only) and Google + becoming a dominant social media along side Facebook.
    I think it's important Facebook groups app release goes to plan, so they can regain/retain the younger generation and continue to be a key channel. If so their long term plan (cluster app approach) with cross app advertising will prove to be a serious channel.

    As for technologies - Signals will become a massive industry, clustering off all signals into one simple platform is something I am sure many startups are working on. I'd love to see one of them crack the solution before Google or Apple iterate a solution.

    My two cents,

  • KW

    Katelyn Watson

    almost 6 years ago #

    Just to be simple and quick, I love Google Sponsored promotions. Target people in the inbox using search and display level targeting..Pretty awesome.

  • TM

    Tom Masiero

    almost 6 years ago #

    My vote is for Instagram :)

  • HJ

    Henry Johnson

    over 5 years ago #

    I think some new platforms, like LinkedIn blogging or medium, are great to know as well. Not in terms of tools neccesarily but definitely as avenues of growth.

  • BB

    Buckley Barlow

    about 5 years ago #

    Great insights from @Sean and @rolandal. Very nice gents.