Featuring Sujan Patel, co-founder of Mailshake & Web Profits
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Alright. Good morning. Good afternoon. And good evening. Welcome to HubSpot's Master Class Series, where we interview thought leaders about their experience in the sales and marketing industry. My name is Justin Champion and I'm an inbound professor for the HubSpot Academy, where they focus on content. Today's master class is all about growth marketing for content marketers, a very hot topic to grow and expand their content marketing efforts. To help us better understand growth marketing, we have Sujan Patel on the line. Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. Sujan has over 13 years of internet marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Sales Force.com, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.
Sjsan, how're you doing?
Great. Thanks for having me. Super excited to talk about this.
Yeah. Definitely. How's everything in Austin going?
It is fantastic. Couldn't be more excited to be home this week.
Love it. Love it. Perfect. So let's start off. This is a master class about growth marketing for content marketers. Let's start off with, what is growth marketing?
Yeah. Great question. Because I think this is something where a lot of people get confused on, or there's a lot mixed meanings or definitions. Ultimately growth marketing is a blend of marketing, sales, customer success, or in many other divisions across your organization. It's really an integrated approach of growing your business through optimizing your content marketing and really testing across many other channels.
Interesting. So why is this approach important to content marketers? Like why would a content marketer be interested in doing growth marketing?
Yeah there's two big reasons. Number one is the lines between each channel are blurring. And number two, because it's so competitive out there, you might not be able to win on one channel alone. But when you leverage something like content marketing, where you're producing something of value, entertainment, you have an asset here. You can leverage all these other channels to really get the word out, promote your brand. And so you're no longer reliant on a single channel. You have a multi-faceted approach.
Interesting. Okay. So, so this multi-faceted approach, what would be some examples of marketing channels relevant to a growth marketing approach?
Yeah. I mean there's new channels all the time that are emerging, things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest. Right. So Pinterest has an advertising platform. Look at Facebook ads. I used to poke my friends on Facebook, five, six years ago. And now I'm spending millions of dollars for our clients for advertising. So it's a great way to build an audience and what not. So things like SEO and AdWords and those platforms that have been around for 10, 15 years, have matured. But as they've matured, they've been proven that it works or that they work to drive revenue, they've also gotten a lot more complicated or a lot more competitive. So these newer channels might be a way to actually get in. As things get proven out, as they mature as a platform, it's inevitable that they're going to get more competitive and more expensive. And this industry is, you know, it's moving lightning fast. Every three to five years, it's like you don't know what you're doing anymore. So you kind of have to keep up and continue learning.
Got it. Yeah. And when I think of growth marketing, I think more or less of channels that help you with a specific goal that you're trying to accomplish. Right. So it's not necessarily a platform strategy as much as it is using platforms to increase information. And when I think of some examples of growth marketing or hacks that I personally like, I think of Airbnb when they used Craigslist for listings of where they originally put different listings out through Craigslist to boost awareness to their brand. But what might be an example that you would look to or something that you think would be a good example of growth marketing?
Yeah. I think there's a lot of companies. And using Airbnb, that's a great example of something they did early days. I think even now they're doing some cool stuff. I mean they've been doing a lot of brand advertising around just like around like ... Okay. So Airbnb the premise is you essentially are gonna go stay somewhere, kinda like a hotel. But they've made this stay an experience. They've been pushing the fact that this is an experience you're buying. You're not buying a product. You're not buying a nights stay somewhere. You're buying an experience. You look at their site.
I was recently booking a flight to Barcelona, or sorry travel to Barcelona. So I booked my flight. I went through Airbnb to book my travel, my arrangements. And as I'm booking it they have this interactive guide that's showing me things around where I'm staying, like actually things to do, places to kind of stay or make sure and do or various sightseeing or spots to actually check out. So they took their content marketing, thinks that I would do as an e-book or something that you can use to reel people in and they've now made it a part of their product and their experience. And now they're giving their people, their users and visitors, and potential customers a much better experience. So content plus their product experience, that's really what growth marketing kind of converges.
Love it. And you said a little bit earlier that growth marketing is really the integration of many different departments within an organization. But obviously that can be difficult because every department has their own things that they're working on and sometimes they might not really care about creating content. So what do you need to develop a growth marketing mindset within your organization?
Yeah. So this is a very, very important thing because if you don't get this right, you're going to be playing, you're going to be trying to do growth marketing by yourself, which simply doesn't work. It's not a one man sport or one person sport. So you need a couple things. You really need to do three big things. One, you need to get that mindset instilled within your organization. You need to really get the buy-in of the leaders of each department. And talk about how you can help them and also their problems and potentially how marketing can essentially tackle their problems.
Number two, is you need to have essentially an understanding of your marketing funnel. Understand where people are, how people are coming through your funnel. Where are those strengths and weaknesses?
Essentially the third thing is set up a framework. And before we jump into really all the nitty gritty, I think it's important to kind of address the marketing funnel.
Everybody, every company, every business is going to have a different funnel. You might be a sales organization so the funnel you're seeing here might be very different. But ultimately there is some form of awareness, whether that's a marketers job, a sales person's job. There's some form of consideration and then a decision has been made or is going to be made. And if you do things right you then have customers and so on. They become advocates and what-not. But ultimately everybody has a funnel. Everybody has areas where they're really strong in, likely one or two areas they're really strong in. And everybody has areas where they're really, really weak in or the bottlenecks, I like to call them. I think it's important to really identify those first.
And so let's talk a little bit more about that. When we're thinking about those bottlenecks, what would be some bottlenecks that you've seen within a marketing funnel?
Yeah. So there's really two big bottlenecks I've seen at every single organization I've been a part of. One, it's at the awareness stage. You don't get enough traffic. You don't have enough people aware of your existence. And that's okay. Lots of startups face this. Lots of small business face this. If you haven't been building your brand and you don't have an audience before you start a company, or a community, or what not, a following, which most people don't. You're going to have an awareness issue.
Number two is you have a conversion problem. Well not necessarily a problem but an area where you can fix. So you're getting traffic, people are maybe they're signing up. Maybe they're thinking of singing up but they simply don't convert into sales.
And so look through your funnel. Find your weaknesses. Start at the weaknesses I identified. Because I've worked with lots of different companies and I've always kind of, I've always been drawn to those things as probably ... I can count on my hands, on one hand, how many companies don't have those weakness.
Interesting. Okay. So once you understand the marketing funnel and even if you start looking at different weaknesses of bottlenecks that you have, you mentioned something about a framework. What sort of framework do you need for operating and improving your marketing funnel?
Yeah. There's a lot of different frameworks and things out there. I like to use, personally, the bullseye framework. I think it's a very, very powerful framework because it's simple. I think it's simple and it kind of prevents you from kind of messing up, shooting yourself in the foot.
I think, to address why a framework is important first of all, is because you can't win on tactics anymore. Actually you could never win on tactics. It's just now people are more aware of it. So you're not gonna get a hack or a tactic or a small win. Usually those things don't add up. Number two, a lot of times things that seem sexy, or things you read about, or things your friends, your other companies have been successful at, may be a long shot for you. So it's very important that once you identify those, your weaknesses and where you need to improve, you then look through the bullseye framework and kind of highlight where you should focus on.
So the bullseye framework is something that's again super simple to understand. It kind of has different rings that help you essentially kind of look though your channels. So there's this center ring, which is essentially, your top three channels. I think it's safe to say that every organization out there, they have one or two or three channels that they're absolutely amazing at. It's important to identify those and focus on those.
Then you have kind of the outer channels or sorry your middle ring. Your middle ring is essentially things that aren't necessarily your top channels but they have potential. Maybe they're a new industry. This is where maybe a Snapchat or Instagram or if you're in the B to C side. If you're in the B to B, maybe this is where content marketing can fit in place if you haven't started or haven't done too much of it yet. So your middle channels are things that have potential but not necessarily something you're strong at.
Then you have your, really your outer channels, your outer ring. This is long shot. This may be this "Oh I read this article on how to read or how to leverage influencers and how to do influencer marketing to get sales and revenue." Well look that's cool. That sounds like a great opportunity and it could be. But you have no proven record of this. It hasn't been done before. This is where that idea belongs. You don't want to invest too much time on your long shots. You actually want to invest most of your time on the inner ring and some on the outer ring.
So I'll give you an example because I think it will help correlate what we actually do. I think this probably true to HubSpot as well.
So at Mailshake and at Web Profits, both of my businesses, our inner ring is word of mouth and that comes from product marketing. So product marketing fits in there. Number two is content marketing. Right. Everything we do, all the content we do actually generates real results for us. And then the number three would be SEO. So things we've done in the past, our rankings and what not actually generate revenue for us. Those are things that if we were to double down in, we have, we can likely estimate the impact of our efforts over the course of a year.
Kind of our secondary channels may be building a community, influencer marketing and things like that. Outer channels may be Snapchat. I don't know. I spend a lot of time on Snapchat but I have no clue if it's actually generating me leads and revenue. But it's a channel that I want to try. I want to do a lot more Facebook live later this year. But again I'm not gonna ditch my product marketing or content marketing because this new idea came along.
So. So. From what you're saying. So the center ring is the three top performing channels that you have. And then you mentioned that there's this outer ring. And you mentioned that Snapchat, for you, is part of that outer ring. So it is important, even if they're long shot channels, to keep testing to see if it's something that might be a viable solution in the future?
Yeah. And what I do with these long shot or kind of like the middle and outer ring, is that I put them in the nurture program. I spend some time and energy on Snapchat, building an audience, and it's, it was really fast to start and it's kind of plateaued. And I've kind of got my second or third wind on it. But it's one of those things that I know I need to maintain it because I want to leverage it at some point in the future. Same thing with Facebook live. That one is I'm doing all my research now to see when I should enter that market. But yeah, if we have a big email list, and we actually have quite a large email list, you know that would be part of our outer ring, or sorry our middle ring. Why would we abandon that because Snapchat looks like the future? Right. It doesn't matter if it's the future if we have nobody following us, or it's small numbers compared to our email list.
Interesting. And so on that, you mentioned that its on the nurture track or your actively testing it. But one thing I read about is this idea that as new platforms surface, the first to adopt it, the first who are on there who are actively talking are the ones who end up getting the most results or the ones who end up getting the largest audience. But what's your thought on that, being like one of the first to these platforms as they come out? Is there any value with it?
Yeah. It's actually a really important and it's, so if you can get in early generally speaking you will have a very big competitive advantage. But you have to be prepared, one, to not ever see ROI from it. Right. Because things will die. They could. And number two, you have to be prepared to wait. It may be six months. It may be three years. I remember I got on Twitter very, very early and I mean for like four years it did nothing. Right. And so I was communicating with my friend and chatting and what not but it didn't actually start providing any meaningful traffic or even close to an ROI until about 2009, 2010.
Interesting. So always be on the look out and if channels are opening up, try to be one of the first adopters if it's something that makes sense for the business. Definitely makes sense. So once you've identified your marketing channels, right, like once you go through the bulls eye framework and you list out your center, middle and outer ring, what should you do next? Like once you've identified these channels, like what's the next step?
Yeah. Now it's time to think through essentially, you know, ideation and planning. Right. Think about what you're going to do to actually take what you've just planned in this framework, which is until now, it's this lofty pie in the sky thing, and start to put it into reality.
So I like to split things up into two parts. The ideation, this is where your brain is getting very, very creative. It's the part of your brain that you want to just let free. You want to throw stuff at the wall. I literally come up with ideas, anywhere from like billboards and to like I'm going to do this Facebook ads campaign. Or I'm gonna do this, we're gonna do, we should write this e-book or create this guide or whatever. You don't really want to put restrictions on the ideation side. And you want to get your team involved and what not so that everybody can contribute to ideas. Do not put any restrictions.
And then you want to sleep on this. I like to come up with ideas throughout the week, but I like to set one day a week, or a month, where I'm going to go say "Okay I've got all these things we could do. Here's the problems it's gonna solve." So along with the ideas, you want to make sure you stay where, and I have a spreadsheet I'll share with you. But essentially it's along with the idea you want to know the problem it's gonna solve. It will help you in your next step.
So essentially once a week we have a planning session that we do for all of our clients and we take all those crazy ideas we came up with, often times with some alcohol or during happy hours, which is you know it's great because you get to come up with just random ideas. And we start putting them through the ringer. So what I mean by the ringer is, okay we've got to go back down to reality. How many, how much resources, how much budget do we have? How much time can we devote to this? Right. And when we do this, we take those what the problems gonna solve and we add in the probability and the likelihood that it's going to solve that and much of an impact we expect to see from this. And when we start doing that, it's this spreadsheet here that you can see. And when we start doing that the ideas become very, very clear. Pretty much the good ideas rise to the top. When you start to say "Okay. I have all these ideas" and then you put in the impact of how many customers it's going to bring or how much revenue it's gonna help or like what problem it's gonna solve. You essentially, you have now, what you should probably do. And so you rise those ideas to the top and you start to think through what you can implement that week or that quarter.
So I do kind of two types of sprints. I do the 90 day sprints, where I would literally say okay. I'm gonna fill up my 90 days window of things that my team, my developers, or everybody involved in the company needs to do for the client. And every week, we go through a progress update on that and how that's going. What happens sometimes is that, why I like to do the weekly meetings, is that sometimes in the middle of it things change. Like what we thought was gonna be awesome in month one and we banked a couple other things to do in month two and three, may have not worked or may have worked well and we want to dump other ideas and what not. So weekly kind of helps you keep track of progress.
Interesting. And can you give us some examples or an example of those off the wall ideas that you came up with and maybe that you even tested?
Yeah. So you know we've done a lot of crazy stuff. Like this is an example with Narrow, one of our SAS businesses. We did, we're like you know what, let's change everything to an invite only model. Let's just see what happens. That was like the Friday afternoon idea. We came back on Monday. Well actually let's do the math on this. So what's our conversion rate right now? What do we need to do? So run though the numbers now. And then what is this invite only model gonna do? And what we predicted was that the conversion rate from when a person signs up from a trial to paid was going to increase drastically because now we have fomo, that fear of missing out. We've seen guys like Meet Edgar.com do it and they worked incredibly well for them. And so let's give this a try. We think, we estimated it at 30% lift.
We did it. It took about two weeks to implement. And it worked. It worked probably 10-15% better than we actually, than our current process. So it wasn't worth the downside or the extra work or what not. But what came from that was something called concierge on-boarding.
So concierge on-boarding is when you help somebody, you hand hold somebody through the trial process to get them to the finish line. Sometimes it's sales and implementation, customer success. Sometimes your sales team's doing it what have you. But we started doing this process. And that actually was the contributing factor to the lift in conversion.
So we got rid of the invite only model after a few months of running that data and test and we added concierge on-boarding and that actually was the thing that doubled our conversion rate. So it kind of was an idea within an idea. But in the planning stage we ran the numbers and we saw it was worthwhile testing.
So in essence, you might, you have to kind of be dynamic through this testing right? You might have a hypotheses and really figure out, like map out what how exciting it's going to be in month two or three but really there could be something that could change. And you need to make sure that you are agile enough to be open to a new path as opposed to just nope we need to stick down this direction. So really you need to make sure that you're open to the process.
Yeah. And what you need to do, so it's this approach, at our agency we call it fluid, so fluid marketing. So you're kind of like, you have this set plan, you have the set strategy, but and you have the people involved. And now you just have to kind of go with it as it, you know imagine it as just kind of floating through the ocean. You have your propellers, if you're in a ship, like going one direction, but like if it's super windy maybe that's not the best way to go forward. Right.
So you kind of have to go with the flow a bit. And when I say the flow, that's data. That's results. Right. So and that's why the weekly, when you're actually looking and measuring things, you might adjust stuff. And you will naturally course correct because frankly data doesn't lie. Right. So if your conversion rates tank or let's say the awesome idea you had to increase traffic, the PR stunt, or whatever you did potentially to increase the top of the funnel, didn't work. Well you probably don't want to do further things based off that bad idea or that failed idea.
Right. Right. So documenting and making sure that you're not testing something again in the future that you've already done and been unsuccessful with.
So love the ideas that you gave. For somebody who's just getting started, and they're looking for some different tests, like what sort of tests might you recommend for somebody to get started with growth marketing?
Yeah. So I recommend going and talking to your sales and development team and your customer support team. Within your customer support service success, however your structure is. If you kind of have a higher price point or enterprise type sales, you might have a larger success team. Go ask them what your customer's biggest complaint is. Or what they feel is the biggest hurdle that they have to get people over.
Now why I say this question or why I want you to know this is that, as a marketer, a content marketer or growth marketer, you probably are the one that talks to the customer the least. You market to the customer. You talk at the customer. And you may have a few conversations. But the support team, the success team, deals with the other end of the stick. They deal with the stuff that they have to respond to when you mess up or whenever you sell. Right.
So when you hear from them what's actually happening, the people on the front lines, you get an understanding of what customers are really, what's really happening with the customers, what their actual pain points are. And I think if you can address you customer's pain points, you can probably find people who have similar problems, or other potential customers who have, you know, similar problems and maybe make that something at the top of your funnel.
Same thing goes with your sales team. Right. These people are the ones who are getting somebody who becomes a lead to a sale. This is the person you want to like really pick their brain. This is very, very, it's not data driven. This is very, very EQ, the emotional side, the non kind of metric side. And just have a conversation. I guarantee you're going to find a few things that you can then apply to let's say your onboarding emails, your marketing newsletters, or your in-app messaging to get people through that door.
I have an example of this. So this kind of relates to the next team you work with, which is the product and services team, the people that are in charge of making, and designing and developing your tool or your product, your software, that will then automatically get people thorough the funnel. Right. So you have your sales team that they're on the phone, maybe they're emailing, what not, but the product, the thing that people, your customers have a user experience with is ultimately the biggest weight. Because they're there and now. Like if a potential customer is using your tool and they're trying to do whatever you promised them from the marketing, from your landing page, your product has to do the heavy lifting.
And an example I did at the company When I Work.com is we got tons of leads but it was a big pain point to get people from a lead and they're interested in doing something different than they're doing now to run their business but they gave up. And they gave up not because the product was too hard or there was friction points. There was, the friction point was they were busy. They got distracted. So we knew that from talking to our sales team, that the people just like, they signed up and they're in the middle of setting everything up and then they get distracted and they do something else. They have a fire to put out, whatever. But they never get back to it.
So we launched Facebook ads and re-marketing campaigns to essentially acknowledge the fact that people are busy. And all of our ads targeted only people who went into the funnel, people who started a trial, and essentially said "Hey guys, we know you're busy but spend two hours within our application and it will save you two months this year." And we tested out all the different messaging but again we learned the friction points from within the, from our sales team, and we applied it to our marketing.
And then we went one step further within our product. So we actually started gating our product saying like "Okay. Congratulations. You've taken one big step. Bobby from our sales team is going to call you and he's gonna help you set this up." And so we gated people from even having, we gated them from getting stuck in the middle. And so that gate served as an end. It's like "Congratulations. You've done step one. For step two, talk to Bobby from sales." Again we did that and we had about a 40% lift in conversions.
Interesting. And is that the concierge example that you're talking about where you sort of have it gated so that you're not letting somebody continue to progress through and it's somewhat like a time line that you can manage?
Yeah so it started off as concierge, similar approach. So my approach to kind of on-boarding and getting that trial to conversion or trial to sale is to start with concierge and like really understand the problem from a personal level, like a human being. And then to start backing off and try to make it systematical. And put that same or similar experience in the product itself. And so the example I just stated was starting off this concierge but ultimately it was a product. So what we found was it wasn't Bobby who called them that actually got the lift. It was actually the very act of stopping somebody at the right mindset and saying "Congratulations. You've actually accomplished something here." When it was like just signing up, very low friction point. We said come back. And so those who didn't come back, then we applied sales and other metrics, or other things to get them back. It was a very good stopping point instead of an incomplete.
Interesting. Okay. So we've talked about this idea of growth marketing, getting the, making it a mindset within the organization, using a framework, looking at your marketing funnel. Let's talk about a couple of tangible, actionable take aways, things that people can do. What would be your three favorite growth marketing pro-tips that you would offer to somebody?
Yeah so first and foremost, my absolute favorite thing is you have an email list. If you don't, build an email list. I'm hoping you have at least 20,30, 100 or a few hundred people on an email list. It could be old, what have you. Upload that to Facebook and create a custom audience. With Facebook, the cool thing is it can take those emails and a portion of them it will find the contact information. What that allows you to do is it allows you to market to them, those people, on Facebook.
So every time I launch a new, or publish a new article from my blog, I will launch an ad. I spend like $5 per day, like five days, so $25, which if you don't have the budget for it and you never use Facebook, you can get a $25 free card so like there's no excuse why you shouldn't do this thing. But yeah spend a few bucks a day. Launch Facebook ads. Again with promoting your content.
Now, if you want to get even crazier with this, what you can do is a custom, a look alike audience based off your custom audience. So Facebook is gonna take all the similar things that, the similarities found from your email list, your custom audience, and find other people like that. I like to do 1% look-a-like so it's very, very close to your target market and launch another campaign. Now, the like ninja thing you can do here, the advance thing to do here, if you're a content marketer and you want to get that feedback and learn and really write catchy topics or catchy headlines and good copy, is use this to test for clip through rate. So launch four or five different ads and see what copy resonates best with your audience. So again, it just helps you optimize every little thing related to this.
Now, you can use this exact same approach for on-boarding. So let's say you have a process where somebody becomes a lead. They fill out a form. Maybe you have sales intervention and let's say you assign a sales person to them and then they have to have one or two touches. They have to get set up and then they purchase. So you can actually set up a custom audience of just those people who have started a trial or became a lead or just those people who have interacted with a salesperson and continue that messaging. So it's to kind of follow people around the web with messaging that is, it's an extension of your messaging that you would do on your own property.
Interesting. Okay. So Facebook is obviously a viable solution here. And like you said there's a $25 card just to get started, so everybody should try that. What would be some other growth marketing pro-tips that you might recommend?
Yeah. So another one I like is podcast advertising. It's a great place, similar to Facebook, you're kind of bidding based off of customer persona, which HubSpot, I love your guys' customer persona, your buyer persona worksheet. That's what I use all the time. It pretty much asks you a ton of questions about, hard questions that you should know about your customer. And you fill it out, like age, demographic, interest and what not. And so just like Facebook, on podcasts you can advertise based off of these similar demographics.
I know a few hosting companies that are absolutely crushing it. I know Grasshopper.com, which I think just got bought out or recently merged with like Citrix or something like that. But anyways, Grasshopper is this virtual phone company and Blue Host, obviously a hosting company. They advertised on a hand full of bloggers podcasts because they know that listener have websites or that listener might be inspired to go make a website.
Again Wix has done something similar. What Wix is, you know if you look at Wix, they're going out there and doing all this T.V. and radio, where podcast is a lot more effective. I can target the more specific, it's frankly a lot cheaper. And people, you know they're on their devices while listening to a podcast, so not only do have more or better targeting, you know like somebody is holding their phone, or it's in their pocket because it's on. Right. They have to listen to it on a desktop, a mobile device, or what not. So great way, a little pocket to do that, it can work well.
And there's another example I want to share with you guys, which is we all know about SEO and all the amazing things you can do and how much traffic SEO can drive you. But it takes forever. Right. It's more competitive than ever. It really requires a growth marketing mind set because it requires all of these different channels, and a full marketing campaign. But secondary SEO, which can get you traffic much quicker and actually help you test that key word.
So let me tell you what, first of all, what secondary SEO is. Secondary SEO is where you can get included or referenced on websites that are already ranking high. So it's something that, you're getting traffic from another site that's ranking well.
So I have one quick example on this. So we have a company we work with that's a payroll provider, well payroll software, if you google that term, it's a freaking tough keyword to rank for. It doesn't matter if you're the best payroll provider in the world. If you've just started your SEO efforts, you're in for a few year investment before you get any ROI because guys like ADP, Intuit, Quickbooks, whatever, have dominated it for years. Well there's also a hand full of directory sites like Capterra, Software Advice, you know there's Retail Me Not. There's a hand full of other review type sites where they're reviewing some of the best payroll softwares out there.
Well the best way to get traffic from this keyword is to go and optimize your site for Capterra, for Software Advice, for these sites that are already ranking. One, it's quick traffic. So the easy thing is submit your company there. You might not always have this. In some cases you might have a Cora ranking or site ranking on Cora, or sorry, Cora.com, which is a Q&A platform actually ranking on Google and you can probably do it there.
But back to this payroll example, all you have to do is submit your site and get reviews. I know for a fact that they rank people better based off the number of reviews. You can even advertise on these sites. But let's just talk about the free way to do it. Get a ton of reviews. So go email your customers saying "Hey guys. We're excited. We just submitted. We just launched on these three directories. If you had a great experience with your product, or with our product, we'd love it if you can get a review." You don't even need to get a lot of reviews. You just need to get them in a short period of time and be slightly better than your competition. So again, a great way to get secondary SEO ranking and quick, much faster than the long term SEO way.
I love that. I love the idea of if you're wanting rankings, instead of trying to start from scratch, look at other sites that are doing well and see how you can get ranked or get your website mentioned on there. That's really smart.
Perfect. So it's February 2017, when we think about you know the rest of the year, fall coming up and August, September, October, what might be some trends that you might think would be coming or something to expect later this year?
Yeah so one of the big things is, we all know about bots and AI, that's in your face and there's BR. So I kind of split like BR off to the side because it's a big question mark. I don't really know how people are going to apply it. It doesn't have the adoption on the consumer market yet.
But AI and bots, very, very powerful thing. If you can figure out a way to leverage this. It's gonna be very, very, powerful, or could be big for your business. So going back to that growth, the bullseye framework, this is kind of the outer ring of potential. Right.
One easy way is chat bots. So if you use something like Drift, Intercom, or any type of live chat. I actually just wrote this big guide on it with Zoho. But essentially let's, if you have a live chat platform, or you're using live chat, you can use bots, or you can set up bots to one respond much quicker and set the tone of "Oh we'll get back to you in five minutes." Right. Because people want instant gratification.
And another thing you can do with chat bots is if you're a data driven marketer, which I hope everybody listening to this is or watching this is, you probably know the average time it takes for a customer to convert. Well add five seconds to that, five or ten seconds and prompt a live chat message. Use a bot to do that and essentially, those are the people that are probably going to buy from you but have a few questions or they're in the hesitation mode. So you can easily pick up 10-20% more conversions just by automating chat bot.
Another bot experience I had that was absolutely amazing, I bought stickers for Valentines Day a few months ago. I planned really ahead. So I bought it in like January, early January. So I bought it from this site called Fox Print. I think it's Fox Print.com. But anyways, they are like, I was printing out all these pictures. And essentially they were going to mail it to me in this fancy little thing. I was going to make something for my wife what have you. Well at the end, at the checkout, "Would you like to get an update via Facebook?" And I'm like "Yes." Because I don't want any email. And it asked me to, it allowed me, it allowed them to send a Facebook message to me and I said yes. And so now, as soon as the product shipped, it sent me a message saying "Hey. Your product is on the way. Here's a tracking number." And I'm like "Sweet." And I clicked on Facebook, I can see when it's arriving, what have you, and then a few weeks later, they're like "Hey. How was your experience?"
Now, okay look, I get an email about this too but on Facebook, it's a platform that if you get in early, not many people are doing this right now, not enough people. So you're not bothering people yet. People are more likely to open your message than they are your email. Or you might be able to target the millennial generation via Facebook and the rest of the people via email. And some people during re-targeting. So anyways it says "How was your experience? Leave a review." And then a few weeks later it's like "Hey. We've got this awesome new product. Want to buy it?" So I bought it. I bought another thing. I thought awesome.
That's so great.
I thought, that's a great way to get retention. But it's easy right. It's the simple Facebook integration. And you set up this messaging that now on Facebook to get retention.
I love it. Did you give them a review?
I did. I did all of it and I wanted to do it all because I'm like "Aww man. I'm totally the sucker who would do this right?" I also buy stuff from Facebook on my phone. I'm like "Oh I want that." I have this Christmas suit. It's red. It's obnoxious. But I bought it because like Opposuits was advertising to me. But anyways, if you're an e-commerce store, I'm your customer right? So use Facebook to message to me. Use messenger and a bot to get me on the back end.
And they're integrating channels right? So you're on the website. You're using the bot. Then they bring you to social and I'm sure they probably tested even other things. So it's really that idea of, like you said, throwing something against the wall, seeing what sticks, and then doing more of it. And then stop doing the things that aren't working so that you're becoming more efficient.
Exactly. So I think those outer ring channels, it's a way to get them inside but remember, you have to get buy in before you do this. The worst thing you can do is not let your support team know, your sales or ops team know that this is gonna happen. Because now they're caught off guard. A lot of the other organizations within your company, they operate more on process and flow and what not. So you don't want to mess that up right? Or you'll piss them off first of all. You don't want to mess it up.
Another cool thing you can do, sorry another trending thing, not a cool thing, is video has come back. There's like a video renaissance right now. Right. So partly because there's social video, things like Snapchat. I'm gonna do a shameless plug to my awesome new snap spectacles from Snapchat. But anyways, there's Snapchat, there's Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. There's Facebook Live. And so there's the social video. And then there's still YouTube right, which YouTube is the second largest freaking search engine in the world. And so video is coming back.
I love video because one on the social side, on the social video side, and I'm calling it social video because it's on a social network, you get to show people hey you're a real human being. Social video's a great place to show personality. It's to say the stuff that you want to say in your emails but you're like "Nah that's not gonna be professional." Well you can be unprofessional here. Taco Bell has an amazing Snapchat channel. I think they also do the same thing on all of their other social channels. So on Twitter, Taco Bell, every time, if you mention them in a positive way or negative way, whatever, they will respond back at you. And it's kind of a quirky, funny message interaction. They mirror that exact thing but now on video and behind the scenes and all these different things on social video. Same thing with YouTube. You might want to keep it a lot more professional on YouTube but you can show personality.
Like video, why I love it is you can see emotion. You can see like if I move forward or I move back or my voice is elevated or lower, emotion and excitement and what not. So you can get a sense of closer to real life interaction. So YouTube and video is a great place to do that consideration. That middle of the funnel content.
And you know I use YouTube. I've actually been using it now for about eight months. And I'm getting better. I'm no professional. But I was talking to a few clients on the phone. And I have my speil. I say these two or three things all the time. And I mean it. But so I created this video on my core values. I also created a video about like how we work as an agency. I talked to a few clients and they said "Oh yeah we saw your videos already. We get it. You can move on." And I'm like "Perfect." Like I don't even know how they found them. Right.
So these videos really are great for that consideration. And on the social video side, to show personality and what not. So again, still to be determined how to get the reach. That's the biggest problem right now. How to get the viewership and audience but again if you're early you can leverage it. I'm actually planning with Webprofits because we're based in Sydney, Australia, as well as Austin, Texas, how to do like two Facebook Lives a week and we have like 40,000 fans. So we're still in the planning stage but we're gonna kind of launch in June and July once we've figured it all out. And have a big plan.
So if anybody on the line worked at Stamp Fox, you might want to start doing some video re-marketing because if Sujan sees it he's probably gonna buy it. Just a little throw out there.
Dude I'll buy a lot of things just to play with them.
So everyone on the line, if you like what you heard and you're interested to learn more, HubSpot Academy offers a free certification course on content marketing that provides an overview of foundational elements needed to become an efficient and effective content marketer. The course ends with a class on growth marketing, which Sujan teaches and he digs deeper into concepts that we discussed today. It's free to register for everybody, so whether you're an experienced content marketer or if you're new to the space. Just check it out.
And Sujan, thank you so much for dialing in and talking with us. It's always a pleasure talking with you and learning from you. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we're all excited to see what you do next.
Yeah. Thanks for having me. I had a blast.
Awesome. And it looks like we did have somebody, a couple of questions. It looks like we have a little bit of time left if you want to answer some.
Yeah. Let's do it.
Let's do it. Cool. So we have John: "For a new company, outside of actually going out and testing, what is a great way to generate the top three channels? So as example, company with lower end budget and don't have time to test in the early stage.
Yes. If you're early stage company, actually stay tuned, in a few weeks I'll have a blog post coming out on that on sujanpatel.com but look there's a few channels you can play around with. I think outbound and cold email is probably the most effective way, one low cost way where you can kind of, if you can pinpoint who your customer is, you can use some sort of kind of data gathering either service or tool. Linkedin prospecting is a go to outreach.
I like to do, again, a bit of Facebook ads and to really target a person. Even if it doesn't work, I learn from it. Right. So if I say okay I have three different personas I want to go after. Here's the criteria behind them and if nobody, let's say two personas don't do any interaction or the ads just completely fall flat on its face. Well at least you know that those may not be, those may not either be the audience or Facebook or advertising may not be the right platform. And you've also probably identified one platform.
Look there's no way around this. Content marketing, blogging, building a brand, ultimately is the key. It's not free. It doesn't work fast. And you probably won't see anything for six to twelve months. But you're gonna need to do that as soon as possible. And it's those thing that like, its the thing that even if you don't get any ROI from it, it makes everything else you do better. Because somebody comes to your site, they interact with you and what not. They interact with your website and your content and you have value add information. They're going to think better of you.
Another thing is you can do webinars. And instead of pulling people in via cold email to sign up for your product or whatever, get them on a webinar. Teach them some stuff like education. Like look at this exact thing that we're doing with HubSpot. Like HubSpot is the Academy is educating people, making them smarter, and therefore their HubSpot brand is stronger within that person or those people that they impact. So long game there but it definitely works.
Yeah and I would say, I would voice doing the webinar approach. I remember when I started my career off in sales. I was the only sales guy. There was no marketing department. There was no budget. Talk about a steep hill to climb. And I was selling paper click advertising, management and I found the Google grant, the Google for non-profit grant where Google gives a certain amount of money away and I was like why is this not being leveraged. So I would do webinars on educating non-profits on how they could leverage this Google grant and I would use Linkedin to go promote this through different Linkedin groups. And I would have about 2-300 people on every single webinar. I thought the webinar was very strategic because everybody who is on the line is somewhat interested. So I was able to somewhat find out who's engaging with me. I remember after each webinar I was able to close like one to two deals. So I definitely agree with the webinar approach.
And on that, so we have another question from Corey: "What platform approach has the best ROI for targeting a specific B to B job title?" So something like Linkedin.
Oh so like okay. I would say Linkedin. Linkedin is probably the best. It's expensive though. So what I like to do is. You can target them on Facebook, most of the time. So ultimately the proven channels are Facebook and Linkedin.
Linkedin you're probably gonna pay upwards to like seven like five to ten dollars a click, pretty expensive. So you kind of have to have an enterprise model to justify that. But once you, if you can identify people on Linkedin saying, let's just say you're targeting VP of marketing, well all VP of marketing they're gonna probably say they're head of marketing or VP of marketing or marketing director, CMO, on Linkedin. You can find the... On Linkedin you can either message them via Linkedin. So again what I'm doing is I'm applying email outreach or outreach to this mix. But you can also find, a lot of people have their email addresses listed on their Linkedin so you can build a crawler or you can use tools like Import io or Data nyze to grab that information, upload that Facebook audience.
Also, Google re-marketing too. You can use Google re-marketing. G-mail sponsored posts are great too, where you can get people within their actual email. So for example, if I was targeting all of, and I'm not saying I'm doing this, if I was targeting all of Yesware, Outreach io and a few of other of my competitors for Mailshake, I would be targeting them via G-mail because then when they're in G-mail, their customers see my ads. Again, I'm not saying I'm doing this but it's super effective way to get customers or people.
Interesting. Yeah I would even think maybe Facebook would be another channel because I know you can target via by job title. But I know it's a different use case because obviously LinkedIn's more B to B.
It works. Facebook works but the match type is gonna be a lot lower because if you're a professional like a B to B guy you're targeting, again, depends on who you're targeting. Let's say you're targeting plumbers or small business owners, that's a really tough one to kind of target because, unless you have an audience or a list to pull off of, the criteria is not quite easy to say "I want to target a small business owner" because their background is very different. It's very diverse.
Makes sense. Once again, thanks so much for joining Sujan. I look forward to talking with you again in the future.
Thanks again. Yeah. Take care.