Lars Lofgren – Two Inbound Engines that Drive 30K+ Leads Per Month – MicroConf 2017

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  • Proof
    • Leads: goals and actuals 2016
    • Goal ~400k, Actual ~500k
  • Averaged 40,400 leads/month in 2016

  • No campaigns. Only systems

    • Stop thinking of marketing campaigns
      • I hate building from scratch. Running a treadmill.
      • You want a marketing campaign?
        • How do you turn that into something scalable, sustainable. A system.
      • To build high-volume inbound lead flow, THINK IN SYSTEMS
  • Volume, or quality?
    • A lot of folks mix these two games up
    • Get stuck back in that treadmill
    • At KISSmetrics, made this mistake
      • The PDF content mill: if one PDF is great… why not 50 :D
      • Didn’t increase leads whatsoever
        • Maybe an extra 10 a month, out of 8,000
      • How are those 50 PDFs going to generate any traffic?
        • Can put them on your site. But if it’s not increasing your audience…
  • I’d much rather have 49 blog posts and 1 amazing PDF

    • Another screw-up. At I Will Teach - Spent tons of time on opt-in pages, for mini-courses, and Drip sequences - Google doesn’t want to rank an opt-in page - Customers don’t want just an opt-in page
      • If you want traffic = volume game
      • If you want conversions = quality game
  • Engine 1, ramp volume (for traffic)
    • SEO posts
      • Classic volume game
      • Rank consistently for a keyword
      • Blog posts driving traffic
    • “Ultimate Guides”
      • Mini-site
        • 7-9 pages
        • 10k words
        • Infographics
        • Ton of design time
        • Maybe even inbuilt tools
      • Get the quality high enough, Google will give us some traffic?
      • Confession: my attempt at this is on page 7 on Google after many months
      • 1 month writing, 2 weeks design, 2 weeks front-end dev time for page 7 on Google!!?
      • So I killed it. Don’t do them any more
      • What went wrong?
        • I assumed the team could keep iterating. Then set an annual quota
          • First one went well
          • Second and third… got a couple leads
          • After that… didn’t get the rankings, the traffic we wanted… sucked back into that content mill
          • Scaled too fast. Tried to go after volume too early. Wasted a year’s worth of effort
    • 1: Keep iterating on tactics until you crack it
      • Consistently. Every single time.
      • These playbooks are always changing.
    • THEN 2. Extreme process efficiency + absurd volume
      • Only after you’ve iterated to consistently working tactics
  • Engine 2: to ramp quality (for conversions): Find chokepoints
    • I need to find my chokepoints, and drive quality on them
    • Just A/B test your lead chokepoints to death
    • KISSmetrics homepage conversion to signups
      • Nov 2013 = 2.85%
      • Aug 2014 = 8.71%
      • Keep refining key pages
    • IWT confirmation page. Double confirmation rate:
      • July 2015 = 63%
      • June 2016 = 82%
      • (30% increase)
    • IWT popup
      • Aug 2015 = 1800
      • Aug 2016 = 7100
      • Ultimate guides failed, but pushed hard on conversion rate increases, and that clicked
    • Use A/B tests to drive quality on your chokepoints
      • If you want to taste the A/B testing – search Lars Lofgren’s blog for A/B testing
    • You can double the lead flow from an asset by the end of the year
    • What if we don’t have the traffic? For A/B testing
      • Or the resources?
      • Or the infrastructure?
      • Or are building something from scratch?
      • “What is your earning potential?” Free quiz lead magnet
        • Crushes it. Converts wayy better than anything else we did
        • But didn’t make it up overnight
  • Your first headline is almost ALWAYS a terrible headline

    • 7 minute silent brainstorm with your team
      • Goal is sheer volume on headlines
      • Pull in designers. Engineers. Had amazing headlines come from anyone on the team, not just copywriters
      • Give them one main constraint. Can’t just say “come up with headlines”.
      • Dump all into a Google Doc
        • Have everyone +1 the ones they like (allowed 3 upvotes each)
        • Pick out potential winners
        • 3-4 winning themes
          • Turn into 10-15 really solid headlines. Your best copywriter. Spend some time. Couple of days, not 20 minutes.
          • No copywriters? Get someone to read “Great Leads” by Michael Masterson
      • $500-$1,000 ad budget to test CTRs on Facebook
        • Buy click through data
        • Test all the headlines
        • Whichever wins – run with it
          • For us: “Make $1k in the time you’d spend watching Netflix this weekend”
            • We didn’t know how to fulfill the promise yet
            • We didn’t even know how much time people spend watching Netflix!
            • The PDF advertised did not exist
            • But we knew people wanted it
          • I don’t even critique homepages any more. Just run tests
  • Q&A
    • “You mentioned your team a lot. What is the size of your team? What’s the structure? How did you go about finding, hiring, vetting them?”
      • KISSmetrics: growth team, 6 maybe? Couple designers, writers…
        More intense at IWT: 4 teams beneath me, each with a manager. Team = 3-8 people. Each team goes after a different piece of the funnel. Team on inbound. Team on optimization/growth/acquisition. Etc. QA. Etc. About 20 folks across the teams. The whole marketing dept
      • Recruitment / vetting: I spent way more time getting good at recruitment than at marketing. Way more important.
        Can you recruit the people you need, with a high success rate, and the people slowing you down never making it onto your team.
        Strict playbook: spend much more of my time on this. Could go on for hours.
    • “Have you ever tried Adwords to test the headlines, instead of FB?”
      • Yeah. It works. We did Facebook because we already had everything in place for FB ads. If you’re already doing Adwords, do there.
    • “How do I know if I need to work on traffic or conversions?”
      • Do both :-)
        OK. If I’m looking at a piece of the funnel, or a business, I’ll ask around. How serious has this team been with A/B testing, and optimization. If it’s not, I assume I have a year’s worth of straightforward massive wins ahead of me.
        I’ve developed a system. I can drop it. Train the team. Let them do it.
        Eventually you hit diminishing returns. Hit a wall. Can only get the conversion rate so high. 5, 10%, already high. You’re not going to get 20%.
        So have to make a call as to where you’re at on that bell curve.
    • “Say you have solid down funnel conversion pipeline, built off of FB ads. At that time is it worth investing time developing an asset to deliver paid traffic to?”
      • Ask someone who knows paid ads better than I do
        Trap we’ve seen: when you have organic working really well, and you slap FB ads on it instead, you have to attribute really carefully, because sometimes the game is totally different. Working on organic != will work on paid. But if it’s working paid, push every FB tactic to the max
    • “Communication. You have a fairly big team. You come in and drop your playbook and step back. How is your team communicating what they’re learning?”
      • BIG question
        Communication problem never goes away. Ever
        “This team is siloed from that team”
        But figure out – is it an out of control fire? How big a problem is it? Different in different situations.
        Our team is ~60 right now. Quite a lot of folks. Essentially my entire team is synthesis, coming up with the vision, and talking about it, all communicating.
        Regular meetings. Different people do it differently
        Book: “Certain to Win” (Chet Richards) (about the OODA Loop)
    • “You moved from KISSmetrics to IWT. Does that say anything about your thoughts on software vs information products?”
      • No. Not really. I love SaaS. Could see myself getting back into it some time. I don’t think necessarily one is better than the other. Pros and cons. Infoproducts are a lot easier to get off the ground, but more difficult to scale. SaaS is the reverse of that.
        Everyone in SaaS is trying to get into infoproducts, and vice versa. It’s kinda silly. Stick with one and run with it. Both are hard.
    • “You’re focusing on traffic at IWT. What channels are you focusing on?”
      • One at a time.
        Especially at our stage, with a marketing team. What does everyone do? Starts every channel at once. Stacking channels. And every channel is SO SO SO hard to make it click (results, and scaling).
        KISSmetrics, I built out our 2nd most popular channel: webinars. Built it from scratch. I did all the webinars until #32. Then handed it off. It took 1.5-2 years to figure out. Was spending half my time on it. That’s not easy. So many questions to answer. Channels don’t click easily
        Spend time, dial down one channel. Win that channel. You see it. You feel it. THEN go to the next channel.
        Cut, cut, cut, cut. Cut channels that aren’t working right now. Build them up one by one.
        Right now, we’re focusing on Google search results. That’s it
        → <Rob Walling: how 2005 of you 😉>
    • “How did you go about picking that channel (Google)?”
      • It’s working right now, and I’m most comfortable with it.
        They all work, usually. More work than we think. Just pick one that you’re personally most excited about. If something’s already working, ask yourself “what’s working the most? The best?” do more of that
        At some point we’ll have to have an honest conversation: “there’s not much more traffic to go for. We’re #1 for all the key terms. There’s nothing more to go after”. THEN we’ll have to look to the next channel. Until then – just keep doubling down.
        Whichever channel – whoever’s REALLY going for it, and going all in, THEY get 10x the rewards of second place.
    • “You said IWT is driven off the email list. I’ve had feedback that young people don’t use email. Is that something you’ve seen?” I don’t know. We don’t have any problems, but we have a big audience. If Gen Y is causing problems, we may not see that.
      If it is the case – keep going after social hard. But that’s a different beast. Less intent, more about awareness.
      If email dies, I don’t know what I’ll do.
      → <Rob Walling: me too 😉>

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