Sujan Patel – From Idea to Launch to Your First 1000 Customers With Zero Marketing Budget – MicroConf 2017

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  • 37 slides, I’ll try to keep it short
  • Very actionable
  • How to get your first 1,000 customers
    • Or past that, to 10,000
  • From idea to 1,000 customers
  • Me
    • @sujanpatel
    • Founder of Web Profits
    • Growth marketing agency & managing partner at Ramp Ventures
    • SaaS tools for sales & marketers
  • RULES of growth
    • Follow these rules so that you… don’t die
    • Focus on your top 3 channels
      • You’re not going to get every channel working for you
      • Especially if you’re bootstrapped — you can’t afford to
      • Do one at a time
        • Master it
        • Have the next one loaded, but don’t move to it til you master the first
    • Understand your funnel AND ITS WEAKNESSES
      • Awareness → consideration → conversion → loyalty → advocacy
      • Common weaknesses — awareness to consideration, and consideration to conversion
      • Identify what your weaknesses are
        • There are ALWAYS weaknesses
      • Bullseye Framework (book: Traction)
        • 3 most important channels in the bullseye
    • Screw PR!
      • Might get a burst of traffic, but then what?
      • Make your customers fall in love with you instead
  • Agenda
    • 1) Pre-launch marketing
    • 2) How to nail your launch
    • 3) Scalable marketing
  • Grew mailshake to 7500 customers
    • Focused on
      • 1. content marketing
      • 2. influencer marketing
      • 3. community
  • At WhenIWork.com, 15,000 customers
    • Focused on
      • 1. customer advocacy
      • 2. content marketing
      • 3. Social advertising
  • 1) 9 Pre-launch tactics
    • Create a landing page with an email optin
      • Build it
      • Promote it
    • (Why am I wearing a suit? Perception matters.)
      • A beautiful landing page increases perception and word of mouth
    • We use NPS to survey customers
      • “We had this bug but we LOVE the UX”
    • Build an audience
      • Create an ebook (collect emails)
      • Start a blog (post 2-3 a month)
        • Get people loving your content before they even know what the hell you do
        • 2008,9,10, KISSmetrics had a LOT of people on their blog who didn’t even know what they do. That’s good marketing.
      • Guest post on industry publications
        • Places that already have traffic
        • So you don’t have to start from scratch
      • Build relationships with influencers
        • I like to interview influencers
          • It makes them look good
          • That’s actually the first time I met Rob
            • Got the courage to reach out
      • Interview influencers on your blog
        • Don’t go after Richard Branson on your first interview… start small, work your way up
      • Curate educational content on social media
      • Befriend a journalist (use ebook)
        • Start helping them. “Hey, I shared your article onto my blog”
        • Build relationships by helping them
        • Pitches generally don’t work. Helping them in a small way does work.
    • Smart cold emails
      • Identify your customer
        • Who do I want to contact?
      • Get their attention on social media (follow & share their content)
      • Use Hunter.io to find email address
      • Email asking for feedback on your ebook
        • Instead of “hey this is my product”…
        • …“Would love for you to check out my book. Big fan of your work”
        • Starts the conversation
      • Use retargetlinks.com to remarket
        • If they click the link in the email, retarget them on Facebook and elsewhere
      • Follow up with valuable content
    • Most people don’t have enough traffic to justify A/B testing
      • But you can use Facebook ads to test headline copy
        • Compare the click-through / engagement rate
        • Weed out the ones that suck, find the winner. Use that
  • 2) How to nail your launch
    • 6 launch marketing tips
      • Launch on Product Hunt (find someone to hunt you)
      • Email your list
      • Pitch journalists (the ones you found in the prelaunch step earlier)
      • Email your friends and family for support
      • Send cold emails
        • “We just launched on Product Hunt. Here’s what we’re gonna do. etc”
      • Retarget on FB with ebook & demo ads
        • Retarget with more value
        • Even if they don’t care about my product, they at least recognize the brand, know what my content is
    • Use storytelling. Send useful data. Build the relationships gradually
    • Timing is everything
      • All the launch marketing in the same week
        • Don’t launch on Product Hunt and then email out some time later
          • It’s lost by then
    • Your friends and family will support you if you ask
      • Your grandma’s upvote will help you!!
  • 3) Scalable marketing
    • First: Do the math on your “genius ideas”
      • Problem: so many freaking ideas, and so many ideas don’t move the needle
        • “I’m so excited! I’m gonna go execute!”
        • Wait.
        • Do the math.
          • You’ll lose people at each stage of the funnel
          • So check that everything is actually viable
    • Sujan’s Growth Framework: Ideas
      • http://bit.ly/growthframework
      • Spreadsheet with columns
        • Whose idea
        • Experiment name
        • Place/platform
        • Completion
        • Category
        • Metric
        • Prediction
        • Impact
        • Probability
        • Results
        • Notes
    • Growth Framework: KPIs
      • Measure them, record them
    • Don’t mix logic and creativity
      • Left brain: Logic
      • Right brain: Creativity
    • Spend 20% testing crazy ideas
      • If you do 0 or 5% it’s just unrealistic
      • 80% of effort on the things that do work
      • 20% on these crazy oddball longshots and moonshots
    • Concierge Onboarding
      • Walk or drag (if needed) your customers to the finish line
        • There’s not a great process for this to start with
        • Just block everyone from using it until they talk to me
          • Understand who they are
        • If they’re too lazy to do it, I’ll do it for them
        • Helps onboarding. Drastically decreases churn
      • Even though it’s manual. Takes hours
        • Distill what’s worked, and automate those things
    • Thank your customers
      • Don’t see enough of this
      • Give a crap about your customers
      • Receipts/invoices
        • Buffer does that. Love it. Receipt → “Thank you”, and an update on what the company’s working on
      • Thank you cards using Maillift.com
      • On social media
        • Find their info (Clearbit), thank them
      • By giving them swag
        • Especially in their first 90 days
      • By educating them
        • Recognize that they’re a person. Show them that you’re a person.
      • By invite them to a private community
      • Drift sends a fun tweet to every customer after signup
    • Ask your customers
      • For feedback (too many people don’t do this)
      • To help spread the word
        • Trigger after 121 days / 4 months
      • For referrals
      • How they would describe your product
      • NPS survey
    • Secondary SEO
      • Quora
        • You can get traffic just by answering questions and Google crawling it
      • Blogs
    • Increase leads with live chat
      • Trigger the live chat 5-10 seconds after whatever your typical time-to-convert is
    • Remember there are only 5 scalable growth channels
      • 1. SEO
      • 2. Paid acquisition
      • 3. Sales
      • 4.
      • 5. Other
        • Rare or situational marketing channels that sometimes work. Often not repeatable. These are as rare as a unicorn
        • Do not focus on this one
    • Q&A
      • “Could you go deeper on answering questions in Quora that rank in Google?”
        • I’m trying to find where Quora is ranking for my top keywords
          • (Keyword research, get top keywords)
        • Rank tracker
        • Check rankings for Quora.com
        • Cross-reference with search volume
      • “What are your thoughts on testimonials?”
        • Very important
        • I use NPS for surveys. 9s/10s → testimonials
        • Done tests where testimonial is the headline on the landing page
          • Haven’t found it to beat best landing page (which is a customer describing the product)
        • Short punchy ones → remarketing ads (with picture of customer)
        • Like to get reviews/ratings on third-party review sites
        • https://www.asknicely.com/ — automatically creates a testimonial page
        • We trigger at 91 days, because most of our churn happens in the first 90

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