The Growth Equation

Implementing Frameworks For Driving Sustainable Growth with SAAS Expert, Ramli John

December 30, 2019 Rahul Goel & Greg Leach Season 1 Episode 5
The Growth Equation
Implementing Frameworks For Driving Sustainable Growth with SAAS Expert, Ramli John
Chapters
The Growth Equation
Implementing Frameworks For Driving Sustainable Growth with SAAS Expert, Ramli John
Dec 30, 2019 Season 1 Episode 5
Rahul Goel & Greg Leach

Growth is fundamental to a company's survival. To compete in today's crowded business environment, it is vital for companies to implement powerful strategies that drive healthy and sustainable growth. Successful growth strategies start with a framework tailored to your product and target audience that will increase your user base & activation rate. 


In today's episode of The Growth Equation we are joined by growth SAAS expert, Ramli John. Ramli is a growth expert focusing on helping start-ups scale.  He discussed a wide variety of topics such as, what is growth, The concept of product led growth, How to build the right growth framework, What he sees some start-ups do well and where they need to improve, etc. If you want to hear from am experienced growth expert then this episode is for you.  

Show Notes Transcript

Growth is fundamental to a company's survival. To compete in today's crowded business environment, it is vital for companies to implement powerful strategies that drive healthy and sustainable growth. Successful growth strategies start with a framework tailored to your product and target audience that will increase your user base & activation rate. 


In today's episode of The Growth Equation we are joined by growth SAAS expert, Ramli John. Ramli is a growth expert focusing on helping start-ups scale.  He discussed a wide variety of topics such as, what is growth, The concept of product led growth, How to build the right growth framework, What he sees some start-ups do well and where they need to improve, etc. If you want to hear from am experienced growth expert then this episode is for you.  

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. Welcome back to the growth equation, episode five. In today's episode, we really had a chance to go deep and understand what , what is growth? How do you think about growth between product and marketing? How do you understand the right onboarding experience that connects from marketing into product that increases time to value and gets users to experience that aha moment. I'm really excited to bring in today's episode rambling, John , who you might've heard of before because he runs his own podcast called growth marketing today. If you haven't had a chance, I would highly recommend you also give his podcast to listen, but he is one of the top growth experts within the Toronto startup community here, has kind of seen it all and he really shares a really interesting perspective around growth and scaling and building the right frameworks that help companies successfully scale. So really excited for you to listen and let's get started.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 3:

welcome, rambling . Thanks for coming on the podcast. How are things going? I'm doing pretty good. I can't wait. I'm sad it to be a guest on a podcast. Yeah , I guess this is your debut. I guess, I know you have a lot of experience coming on, you know, being an interviewer. So sounded to kind of, I guess let's switch it around and you can kind of be the guest for one . That's true. And the table has turned . So that's why I'm excited. Awesome. Awesome. So yeah, like I think just the , uh , the best way to kind of ease the listeners to kind of get to know who you are. Maybe just kind of start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, and then we can go from there and have a really great conversation. Sure. So just a little bit about me. I actually started my career in development. So I was a web developer and last time ago I started a company with my buddy of mine. We built this real cool tech for families to create a baby book for their kids. And you know, I quoted all the back and then waited for people to come and realize when you build something and hope that people come, that's a huge mistake. So after that mistake, one thing that I wanted to learn was actually how to get into the minds of people and learn growth focused really on acquisitions best . When I started really learning about Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads and helping out access companies and and Silicon Valley, I got to meet some folks there in New York and here in Toronto. And when I started really focusing on an acquisition and really driving an optimizing cost per acquisition, I started asking myself, are these people actually sticking around? And when I looked at it, I realized , Hey, there's this whole growth thing that's not just focused on acquisition that is sometimes a lot easier and better for the business to your users into pink customers. And that's when I started really getting into conversion and really focused on that growth piece. So that's , that's my journey as a growth consultant and growth person so far. But I also have a podcast, both marketing today, which I've been interviewing some really amazing marketers like hip and Shah and Rand Fishkin and April Dunford on that podcast. It's been running for two years now. Amazing. Yeah, I think you bring in some really stellar, interesting perspectives on that podcast . I know I'm a massive fan of it and anyone that hasn't listened to right now have a chance to check out the growth marketing today podcast. It's really awesome too . Thank you. I just think on that, like you brought up early , interesting point around like you kept bringing up the word buy growth and I know you know you have a podcast called the Grove marketing. I think of just a followup to that is what do you define as like growth and like today's, I call it texting now. That's the kind of ever changing. That's a really good thing to ask because you know I'm looking at certain job boards and people are hiring for growth marketer. I dare say a growth hacker, which is a term that's been around a long time and kind of phased out is that when you look at job postings for growth, it's really focused on top of the funnel. So they're like looking for acquisition . Can you run run Facebook ads? Can you even run LinkedIn ads? Can you do SEO? Can you do analysis and really the way that I've learned from other growth folks is that growth, it's really focused heavily on the thing that will provide the most value for your business. And often that's retention. And that's something, and this really sticks with me because it's something that even the VP of growth at Facebook, he said that the single most important thing in growth is retention. Because for Facebook, like if you don't come back again, they can't monetize you. For eCommerce, if you get somebody to purchase once and never purchase again, you've kind of wasted your money on a onetime purchaser versus somebody who keeps coming back over and over again and purchase from you is probably more valuable. Right. And especially for SAS , which is all about the recurring revenue retention is super important. So the way I look at growth, it typically really focuses on middle to bottom of the funnel and usually focused on activation or attention and anything on the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, I usually see more demand gen or lead gen or more top of the funnel marketing or brand marketing. So on that like that's really interesting concept and you kind of talked around about which is like top of the funnel seems more like demand generation and you know it seems at times that those roles are called like growth role in a lot of ways. And it was interesting how you're kind of talking about call it activation and retention more mid to lower in the funnel of more like those are what the growth roles are. I guess the follow up question about is like our growth Rose more like do you find them like are there more product roles or are they more like marketing roles or is it like a hybrid? That's a good question. I think both comes into play. What I find, and this is something that Sean Ellis wrote in his book that people should get about gold or hacking growth is that really, they call it growth squad, which is, it's been implemented in HubSpot in the field . Other places. Essentially this makes almost like a SWAT team that gets , the police are in trouble. They would call the squad so people are in trouble. They would call the growth squad and go squad is to make sure I'm a designer. They have a make more like a marketer product manager and then they have engineer, but there's two sides to growth. I see. There's definitely the product side, but there's also the communication style . You can optimize your messaging, you can optimize your email, you can optimize your maddening pages, which is I still think is part of code, which is related to activation and retention. Rambling . One of the things that kind of curious always is how do you yourself for your career in marketing, anything related to that. I mean it's not something you learn in school. It's not something that you can necessarily practice easily in a textbook or on your own. It really seems like any field experience and one of the great things that I noticed of course about you is that you've got technical programming experience and you've used that in a lot of your roles. How do you find people prepare themselves for a role and birth marketing and everything else? Connected to that? I've talked to with a bunch of goals folks like I just really see how the conversation with Connor and he's like Gulf Lita jobber and he came from a more traditional marketing education. I find the thing that really ties people in interesting growth a lot is curiosity and what I mean by curiosity is they look at something and then they ask what if, and asking the question why. I think a lot of, especially early on in my career, I wish I asked that question more and I think having that quality rather you call him from more business side or technical side kind of gets your feet in the door because that's when you start asking why and then sometimes answered the question to why requires you knowing a little bit of product or requests. You're more on the technical side. Your question , knowing a little bit more psychology and cognitive science would you like be , are not very comfortable with which I had to learn that because I'm , I'm trying to really understand why people going and active , why people using this feature, why and people coming back and using the app again over and over again. And that's, I think the thing that ties a lot of growth folks together and getting their feet at the door for career-wise . If I dig into this a little bit more, you know there's still a lot of technical skills that you need, whether it's simple things like Google analytics or anything else connected to it and you know, you have a background in mathematics and coding and all of that. Does that play a role in basically getting your foot in the door and the curiosity is absolutely fundamental I'd say. But how do you acquire and have the technical mindset and technical skills and I guess the emphasis a lot of the times on data is a big role. I imagine growth as well. Where do those skills, those hard skills are required for a role like yours? Coming from my side, and I can speak from my experience, joining a startup is a great way because the resources are very limited, right? And this is something that I've told people who are early on in their career is join a startup and you see a problem beat a solution. So that's the way that I kind of prepared myself for that. It's like, Oh, nobody's really looking at Google. I don't know whether they let me get into that. And there's a bunch of articles and videos and courses that people can find online nowadays to really dig deep into that. So yeah, I think that's one way that I did it was just join a startup. If it's a larger organization, you know, if people are listening in , they're an organization to want to get into growth. That would be a competition . They would have cow with somebody, whether that's their direct manager or trying to gain those technical skills at Google on the Mexican mentioned . And just on that , um , you found like even over like satellite , I looked at the last few years getting five years or last couple of years. Has the growth role itself changed at all or has it been relatively the same or has it been different ways to think about solving these problems from both like a call it , um , a product or mid or bottom of funnel compared to like top of funnel or if you think it's been relatively consistent on those types of roles and what they're supposed to be working on. When the term gold pack came out, it got like, Oh the , you know, you've got to find that single pane that will solve everything. Like a , people call it a silver bullet or people call it like that certain hack that will actually increase your business by 10 X in like a few weeks. I still find people who are not familiar with go find that and there's this whole education piece that people like the XVP of gold HelpSpot , Brian Balfour and Sean Ellis and a bunch of other people and go and have really started educating and telling people that growth is really about experimentation and documentation. That's a big piece about it. It's like you can't run an experiment without having documented what your hypothesis is and all that things which Greg you might be familiar with. What happened with Intuit with their whole process on experimentation is the whole documentation piece , so I think that's been the change where like in the beginning was like, Oh, just got to find that hack and now it's more like, well what is the process that we're going to implement and how are we going to educate the whole organization about things that we're learning to experimentation so that may be product can use. What we learned in that experiment or the marketing folks would imagine folks or the email marketing team might use the learnings that we've had through that specific experiment. Based on some of the experiences that you've been taking in , like you're in your new company now that you're, you're helping out in consulting for, what is the difference between growth, like say like product led growth? I think product lead is that whole movement. Understanding that specifically for self-serve products where there isn't a lot of sales folks that are have to call and pick up the phone to close the deal. I feel like it's almost like a , a rebranding what was already happening, where it's really driving down into what this activation mean . What are certain things that users do on in the product that is valuable to us? And now they call that product qualified leads and you know, what are things that we need to measure to make sure that we're getting people to do, you know , X, Y and Zed into apps that they can remain longterm . So sometimes I feel like it's just a rebranding so things aren't getting rebranded and repackaged. So that sounds cool. One of the things that I've , uh , for every now and then is that in order to grow you sometimes have to do things that don't scale and whenever you think of growth marketing or anything similar to that, and I always think this very data-driven, scalable sort of systems being built out, we are always looking to optimize things. But especially when you're starting out, you know, where does kind of things that don't necessarily scale fit into the equation when it comes to growth marketing. This is actually something that I interviewed on the podcast, Cory Haines , he's the head of growth to at bare metrics. He ran this experiment, which I thought was like, why did I think of, but essentially anybody sign up for bare metrics. He would send them an end up message automated and he asked them, Hey, can I create a video going through your website for opportunities to improve your conversion? And then anybody who says yes, he would create like a video using loom. And then he was sent out to the user and he fought those people who got the video, got the value and they had that conversation or two times more likely to convert into a paying user. And I was asking him, Hey, how are you gonna scale this? Say you're going to outsource this to somebody from Philippines or like, and Corey was like, you know, sometimes it's not about getting it to the point where it scales is actually finding the learning end and seeing well how can I improve this and you know , make sure that we're achieving the business goals. And sometimes I have to take my time to actually get people this videos. I think it starts off us, Hey, what is something that I can do for sometimes the less effort and actually proving or disproving this specific hypothesis that I have. And then that's when I started about thinking about scaling and thinking about systems sound the road and if there's no scaling or systems, the second question is, is it valuable for me? Would my time to continue doing this even though I know it doesn't scale ROI on this activities, does it still make sense for me? You know, even though it doesn't scale and if the answer is yes, is it worth my time? Is it worth the business? Then for Corey , he said it was worth it . It was worth it because he was providing that experience. Like imagine getting a message from the head of growth or a company that you respect and like , can I create a video for you and you get a vision the next day and it's very personal. He's saying your name is a hero, will , Hey Greg, here's how you can improve your website X, Y, and Zed. I would feel special. Yeah. It's really interesting when you try things like that because what you learn is what works and then you figure out ways to possibly scale a strategy like that. On the point of, say you're a brand new company and you started a couple of your own rambling . A lot of times first time entrepreneurs, the first thing they'll do is they'll develop a product and as you said, they'll hope that somebody starts using it and although you said that that's not necessarily the way to do it. When you are starting to contemplate adding a growth function or adding something related to growth to your company or your team or your product for the first time, your brand new startup or anything like that, what are generally the first steps are the first tools that you recommend the founders or early employees to start using? I think the first thing that, the way you think about growth is they call it the North star metric for a reason. That's what Charlotte said and people like, Oh, this is a North star metric, but I'm like, if the North star metric is related to being on a ship or a voyage, I think the first thing that people need to realize is if you're trying to get to the North star, the first thing you probably want to know is where you're at right now or else you wouldn't know which direction to go to. So tools wise, I think measurement is I think the most critical things that people need to be using, ready to get Cohen answering the question, are we measuring the right things? Are we measuring all the steps of the customer journey that each step of the touchpoint and then once you know where you're at and you know decide where you're going, the next step is creating a path to getting to that North star, that direction. So you would look at your metrics and realizing no, where are the gaps, where are rooms for improvement? Where can we see the biggest lift that would get us closer to that specific Northstar specific tools that I use, especially for that measurement piece, which is critical. I've used definitely Google analytics but also mixed panel to really track all the behaviors that people do on the app. But there's a bunch of other tools like heap analytics that people can use. I've also used Hotjar so that I can like see what people do on the app itself. So really on once again on that measurement piece and then tracking the experiments. I know a lot of people have talked about using air table too , like tracking from where they're at to the North star . How do you run that process and people use something called air table. I know somebody from HubSpot has this great blog posts about how they use air table to document their experiments and then to track that and to really document this for the whole organization. Have you ever seen like what are the things that companies kind of do wrong when it comes to growth or like the missteps that they usually make because they just want us to focus on this? It's growing rapidly. I think there's two things. I think the first thing is not knowing what they need to measure is Apple. The company I'm working on right now, Joe, they're a remote company, so actually one thing they're doing really well is it block them and thing . So I don't see enough. So the one thing that they're doing is we're tracking a lot of metrics. I think we're tracking 50 to 60 leads . We don't know what to measure. Let's measure everything . And that gets very overwhelming right? When you're looking at your metrics every week, having the resources to pull that, all that data together cause you so much. But on the other hand, not measuring at all. I've seen companies who are like, all that matters is sales. And then if sales is not working, then something's wrong, but it feels not working. Then how do you know which part of your customer journey is broken if you don't actually measured every single step? The second thing that I don't see a big mistake teams do is they just run on feelings. Especially in a startup. We'd be like, Oh, let's just run an experiment. But like they don't talk which experiments they've run. Like they don't track all the learnings in a document or their table or somewhere so that you can look back three months later or six months later, look back at all the experiments you've run and be like, which ones actually impacted the metrics that we care about and which ones did it and what can we learn going forward? So that's, I think the beauty about documentation is that you can do like a post-mortem. I've seen months or every six months so that you can actually see what's working, what's not versus like, Oh, I'm running an experiment, which I hear a lot of growth folks who it's like, where's your documentation? Where are you keeping that? Where's your hypothesis? What are you going to do once you learn, how would the product team and the marketing team or all the other teams that care about this will learn about this experiment and all the learnings of this God once you're done with it. So I guess just those two things. Metrics are like so hard to sometimes figure out. One of the things that I really tried to do is even if you don't know what necessarily your final metric is, and oftentimes, you know , if you're a sales driven organization and it's going to be revenue, we look for those leading indicators that help you kind of show , figure out in your funnel what's working and what's not. And so then you can figure out ahead of time where you're going to land. Even revving is your ultimate North star metric. But with that said, what are some good WordStar metrics or a couple of metrics that a company they in the B SAS space should be looking at, especially if they're starting out and looking at growth metrics, finding out, and people use this as like what does active user mean to your organization? And really backing that up with data. And here's a classic example is would Facebook, they follow an added seven friends within 10 days you're more likely to stick around. So actually companies like HubSpot, the tire to understand what does it mean for a to be active. They actually looked at a company, so they have an active user metric that they track, which is how many times they use the marketing tool in a certain week. I think it was like four or five times. And if they do that within the first 30 days that they were able to add a contact three or four times in a certain amount of time, but then they're also more likely to just stick around and become a paying customer. So I would suggest would take a look at their data. They must have a lot of data in the backend that they can take a look at, which is like what are the three to four things that a user does and if they do those things within a certain amount of time, they would more likely to convert. The other person that I had a chat with about this is Vivec , he's the head of growth at wave and you know, he would explain to me like if they did this and this, they're four times more likely to stick around with wave in the next year. I'm like, what? So that's really one thing that he showed me. It was like, Whoa , this, this actually should be what Gulf focusing to be focused on is what are those three things that you just need to be doing in the app that would result in that root tension. Just on that point about having new time to some of these different conversations with some growth staple, you know a lot of times like just kind of threw the pause downstairs. Like is there a summary on all of these conversations around growth of like the three or four things that are consistent with these different guests that you've talked to or is like growth really around? There's no perfect fit or perfect puzzle. One thing that I heard that I keep hearing over again to the point where it's like starting to get jokingly annoying. It's like every single person in marketing and not just like traditional growth or not traditional but in a growth role. One of this content or a SEO or even in conversion optimization. The thing I keep hearing over and over again, it's really to talk to your customers and as an introverted ex developer, no , I can still develop and code. As an introverted marketer myself, it scares me. I'm scared of sometimes talking to customers, right? I actually picking up the phone and asking them to schedule a time with me to try to about their experience. One thing I've started talking to customers are actually customers who left, so I offer like, Hey, 50 bucks, can I have to give me an SUV or a time to talk about your experience? On why you left, why didn't you convert during the 14 day free trial? I want to know what kind of experience you had. And you know, some of this stuff I've heard were like, Oh, you sent way too many emails or your product jurors are overwhelming. So those kinds of feedback is super valuable really to get like this feedback loop going with your customer. So that's definitely one thing that I keep hearing over and over again. It's just really talk to your customers. The second thing that I hear over and over again , this is something that I also heard from Kevin indig . He's like VP of SEO. Uh , G2 . Pete talked about this SEO strategy that increased at last year, their organic traffic from like 4 million to 8 million organic traffic in a month. It didn't happen in a month , but like on a Monday , organic traffic, then that's how much they're getting now. And he says like you for writing content for SEO, focused on the problems of your customers. So I never really thought about that as sci . When I think about SEO it's like, Oh, you got to find the keywords, you got to find that certain keyword that will return you like X organic traffic. And he's like, no , let me just simple have a process. The first process, the first is that a process that's really focused on the problems of your customers and write about that cause like that's something that Google is also looking for in their content. To me, and I think what you're just talking back is like sometimes people forget like what is the fundamental customer problem you're solving for? Right? And we you trying to get so much into the business metrics and like I know we've kind of shared the thinking, which is like the quantitative tells you the what, but the qualitative tells you the why, right? It gets you to capture those insights and it's just so true. The more you focus around most problems, the deeper insights and driving growth will be much easier to accomplish. What's really crazy is that I also had a mother , she's focuses on user research and I forget who I think profits wall was the one who did the research. They found that they surveys like a thousand marketers and they fall like 60 to 80% of marketers and actually don't talk to customers. So I'm like what? And I would admit I'm one of those person before this year actually where I tried to send a survey or I'd rather like be far away from the customer and just creating this cool product rather than actually trying to, you know, like what you said, focus on what is the core problem that we're solving with this and where are they getting stuck. Because the data can only tell so much about the what and it actually why, why the gangster? I got to say even just yesterday from bouncing on the topic of doing things that don't scale, but also the qualitative side and also from a tooling perspective, we've been starting to use full story and you've very aggressive recently and it's just been unreal. Like yesterday I was sitting at my laptop, I have the Google real time analytics and I saw somebody came onto our site. We've been really working on figuring out how to improve the conversion rate on the pricing page. And then I pop open both story. I see the live feed, I see them kind of seizing me, exploring the pricing page, but then I go into drift and from drift I can send a live chat message to anyone and I know where they're from and all of that. And I send a very creepy kind of personalized message, of course to anyone who's there . Totally cold. But the tooling exists with the same system to do things that are scalable, but you can also use them to learn a lot about how people are interacting with your brand and things you're trying to optimize. Interesting. Well , what's your message? Really curious. I think it was , they were from Toronto as well, so I think I mentioned something about the Toronto Raptors or something like that. Really just a really short sermon , but see that that tooling exists to do stuff like that. That's what under the, I hear over and over again. If I think also coming from about back on, I'm always thinking about converting and conversion and I'm not thinking about closing the sale, but that's what I'm really thinking about. But I love what you just said and their rule is that this is something though another person that I had on the podcast that it's really focused on a conversation first before the conversion and like starting that discussion and opening up the door to being real. I think sometimes some, a lot of B2B SAS companies are very clinical and like very, we gotta be all bread versus you , you said something about rap , it's silly, relatable, you're very relatable. And I think once you become a concert available, they're more willing to say, Hey, I had a question about the pricing, you know, X, Y and Zed. Versus like asking them straight up like you have a question about pricing versus now you come across somebody, you know , you can actually talk about this stuff. Yeah. It really comes down to, and one of the things I was talking about in my team is like you're not selling the product always and this is completely stolen from John Barrows, but you're selling the next step and that's all you're really trying to do. You're trying to start the conversation and then you're maybe are trying to learn more about who they are and then maybe you're trying to book the demo, but if you try to sell the product right away or probably just, you know, people will see right through that. But you know, pivoting a little bit to your experience randomly , I know you spent a lot of time in SF as well and we have people who come onto the podcast and it's Rhonda texting and NSF as well and they all have interesting perspectives about how the two regions kind of differ. We'd love to hear your take on that. I don't know if I can put it this way, but it's like if I had to compare it to see this, like cars SF would be like a Ferrari on nos and like Tato would be like a Mustang. Definitely not as fast. Like I find like what's happening, I just made that up on the spot so that wasn't prepared. Now I find San Francisco is always a little bit ahead than all the other cities, so like a lot of the growth stuff that they're talking about now about retention, about marketplaces like the marketplace growth, like growing marketplaces as quite farther ahead there versus in Toronto than anything of finding a stick. Toronto is very heavily focused on say B2B, so B2B SaaS is, I use this term very respectable because I worked community sizes. B2B SAS tends to be less risky than let's say B2C marketplaces . Something like Instacart, which would take a lot of volume before you actually start taking in money. Just a lot of things happening there, but there's also a lot of issues that's costing me in San Francisco with like the structure of the city and society and like there's been a lot of talk about what's happening with over volume. Things like what happened, would we work? And things like happening with soft back now people are saying, Oh my goodness, all the things that SoftBank invested in might be certainly way too overvalued when they've put in their money. So that's the way I would look at it. Yeah, and I think just to like that on like you, there's definitely B2B, SAS is like this like kind of like safe environment and you know, talking from someone that's , from my perspective that's currently working at like a B to C marketplace and Canada right now. There's not like many of us doing that and it tends to be much harder. That's always like what it is is like there's definitely like a lack of just like expertise and experience and things. Some of these topics and we just tend to always be, I find personally like maybe a year or two behind them , some of the frameworks and concepts and different types of roles that are based down there that eventually come up, come up here. I think you see now like as an example, more and more people becoming like growth managers in a way. And I thought , you know, concept, right. Uh , you're starting to see that come up here and a lot of cases, sometimes you don't even know what to grow up energies even do, right. It's almost like, Hey I want to, I want this big shiny thing. I want this swirl person but I don't know what they actually do. And then the natural thing is like they just become like this demand gen head of demand generation. I think that's one thing I've noticed. It's like there's just, it's just trying to like ascend points like level up the talent. Cause sometimes if you don't, whatever you don't know, you don't know. Right. And that's, that's been some of the things that I've found personally and I just kind of really related to like that that comments , how you explained the two , the differences between the two markets. Definitely. What I'm finding is like what you said with the time from like we're Tonto tents definitely to be a year or two behind. Like things like growth, growth roles . Like you said, it just started popping up. Now you're seeing like RBCs hiring for a growth role and like posse bank , like all these banks. Next thing you know like Deloitte will become a growth consultant. The same thing what you saw with being startup originally. These startups aren't upset . San Francisco really , really focused for startups and now even like McKinsey is doing lean startup consulting, I'm like, Whoa, that's a huge change. I think that's , that might be where I think growth is going to go would be like all this big consulting firms. There'll be like, do you need to be more like startup ? You know , they're advising like manufacturing businesses, like you've got to build a growth team . I'm like, what ? What did they do? Like you're in manufacturing. I think that's still the on point. What you said. Just kind of transitioning onto like a different topic. Obviously you're on a podcast, you have your own podcast. How would you feel about brands and other companies leveraging podcasts as a channel to drive like user acquisition? I think it's a mistake. One thing that I've learned actually that podcasts is not a great acquisition channel. I think it's more so a great engagement channel. I think, and let me give you a context for this, is that a lot of people think when they monetize the podcast, you know, you gotta bring on 100,000 listeners a week and then all of a sudden boom, you're going to be able to modify side like comparison, something like that. I was actually able to monetize this podcast when I had 10 episodes. And what happened was I interviewed somebody on the podcast and then it's like, well what do you do? And then started chatting back and forth and he actually ended up referring me to conversion XL and I taught a course for conversion XL on growth and because of that, so that's the one thing that I've also come to realize is the people that you've talked to on the podcast are probably more likely to refer you to something else, but not just that, but that also builds a relationship with that person, that guests that maybe down the road you end up working together or down the road you're do some kind of co-marketing or core partnerships together. So that's how I see podcasts. Us more of like a way to engage like a community and you know, tapping into people who are already part of the community and start like working your way to people who you might not have been able to meet. There's no way I would have been able to meet Rand Fishkin or chat with him for like an hour. He was like one of my marketing heroes. Like if I just cold email them, there's no way, but I actually had somebody, another guest refer me. It's like, can you please introduce me to Ryan Fishkin and I can send you a short blurb. And she was like, let me ask. And then she was happy to be able to introduce me to them . So I think that's one way that I'm seeing companies leverage this is interview people who you want to work, that your company might want to work with or people who can introduce you to other people. So that really that becomes more of a way to engage community or potential customers versus just actually like, Oh I need to get the cops and listen to the weak readily. I'm going to get super tactical and Ana here and uh, I'm asking for a friend if we're trying to improve the conversion rates on our website or in a page, you know, if somebody came to you and you were consulting for them or anything like that, what are some very simple things that you would try to do? So people have already landed on the page and they're trying to complete a form or click on a button or something like that. What were your immediate kind of first reactions be ? I want to check any kind of analytics that they have, you know, like a blog , a full story or Hotjar. And the next thing that I, I would try to 12 and this is something that also Greg mentioned, it's like whatever that form, whether it's a form to go get an ebook or is it a form to sign up for an app , whatever it is. What is it that specific thing solving for the person you're trying to convert. Is it trying to solve a specific thing that they have that bottleneck that they have in their life or is it something that will make their life a lot easier, whether that's saving time or is it gonna make them incredibly rich, whatever that motivation is. And really speaking to that in the copy itself, I find sometimes changing a little bit copy and messaging and also like driving home the point and the value of what they're offering. Thus more wonders than trying to redesign the whole page. So I tend to do like smaller, less development effort intensive than like trying to redesign that whole landing page. But if there's obviously UX issues like the form is all the way in the bottom that they have the school to below the fold versus above the fold. Then those are something that are easy wins but I find usually messaging and trying to drive home the value of whatever they're going to get is usually what improves form conversions. That's awesome. And from somebody who's probably seen and used like every tool out there, do you have a couple of favorites or a couple of recent ones that you came across? I think sending schools that you might be able to suggest to listeners to check out or consider integrating into their growth marketing stack conversion next all just came on with a new tool. I haven't actually used the bus and people I've enjoyed it . It's called copy testing. Our comments that they would send people who are like your target audience too and this is related to like user testing where the user testing would send people to your site to test your UX. Scopic testing actually sends people to , to kind of give feedback on your copy and then tell you where it can be improved. I talked to Josh Garofalo, he's like from sway copy. He was like, well you got to make sure that people who copied testing brings out to your site are actually your target audience. That's the one caveat I would send is like you gotta take the feedback with a grain of salt cause they might be like I'm a grandma from Minnesota. That might not even be a target audience. It's providing copy. I'm sure they have some kind of system in place to make sure it is your , your audience in general, especially for startups where there , as you mentioned, fairly resource strapped. One of the things that obviously has been really working well for some companies is outsourcing work and using Upwork. Do you use Upwork? Do you recommend people use it and kind of for what purposes ? People use it for everything from SEO to content and everything like that. So where does Upwork kind of fit into the overall gross marketing equation for company ? Yeah. I think what I see our pork is to kind of scale a process that you already have. Actually it was the previous growth at open care that told me about like how they were, I don't know if I can say, but I can use Upwork to like find people to reach out to like dentist offices and they had already had a system that's already documented and it's easy to replicate through people through our pork . If the listeners haven't figured out exactly what they're trying to achieve to that specific co-work , like something really big , like we want to improve our organic traffic that gets very vague versus we need somebody to do X, Y, and Z. I find those tend to do better versus a more like high level strategic, which might, a specialist might be better who have built a brand around that, like whether that's copywriting or email. A strategy would be better to hire somebody that's truly the network versus to onboard and just kind of the, this has been some amazing insights so far to kind of end things off. If you, if there were companies out there that are listening right now that are trying to think about like how to grow, what would you tell them? Like what should they be focused on? Like what are those like one or two, three things they need to do, they haven't been doing so far? I would frame that those two things. The first, the first question I would ask, are you sure you're measuring the right things? Take a look at your whole customer journey from like not knowing who you are, to not just purchasing your product, but also like becoming a longterm customer. Where are the touch points? So where are you sending a message? Where are they interacting with your website? And the question is, are we measuring the right things to define what success looks like for that thing? I think the second thing is leading up to that would be what does success look like? I think when people, it's like , Oh, we're just going to run an experiment, but without asking the question, well how do we know that we're successful with this particular experiment? What are, where's the lie ? The line in the sand that, okay, if we achieve this then we would call this successful. That would be the second thing. And he , the third file thing is actually trying to figure out like that path to accomplishing something. I find especially early on in startup where like, Oh, what is growth? And like let's just do growth, right? People will just like, Oh let's just do everything. Versus like actually trying to figure out and prioritizing we should focus on this, do things because our activation is broken or our onboarding is broken versus like trying to focus on ABC because we found a measurement, we found a gap there that's focused on solving that one particular problem in the customer journey versus trying to solve multiple problems. Especially when you're research shop. It's like really be laser focused on one or two problems and gaps in that customer journey versus trying to solve multiple ones. Really interesting insights and I, so I feel like we could keep talking for hours with some of the knowledge that you've shared today, but think we a have to kind of come to the near the end of this episode of the podcast, but we want to take all of this and get kind of give you a chance to kind of just, you know, where can people kind of find you and reach out if they wanted to kind of learn more. I maybe kind of talk about the podcast that you run now. It's a kind of a chance to kind of call it some of the things and where they can find you. Yup . Think tanks. So if people want to listen to podcasts you can to growth today [inaudible] it's a podcast for more Curtis and founders to learn from some of today's top marketing experts. I named a few earlier like Brian Fishkin, people done for Hiton Shah , a few other folks that are really amazing there . I think the second thing is like I'm actually putting out a website really focused on SaaS , so like it's called optimizing sas.com like if you go to it it should be already up and then it will have, I'm going to start blogging there. Um , I'm trying to experiment with video so like creating video content for myself and I might be coming out with a second podcast so that would come out on optimizing sas.com as well . So yeah, just those two and , and finally find me on Twitter. I'm really active there. I add family John and linkedin.com/family channel super setting , maybe a second podcast person there are already amazing. Thank you cause I appreciate that . I really , I wanted to say like thanks again for coming on the growth equation podcast. I know our listeners had an amazing time with some of these insights you're sharing. Super excited to kind of share this out here and share

Speaker 4:

vanilla is that that you have in your amazing career. Thank you so much. I'm really, really glad that this is

Speaker 3:

the first podcast I'm going to be on. You guys are totally amazing.

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[inaudible] .