Growth Hacking for 2019 ⚡️🤓: 42 simple, must-use digital marketing tactics to power your business
Hey there you legend! An updated, improved version of this growth marketing guide is available until January 31, 2019 for just $0.99 on Amazon Kindle (link: here.) It took me months of research to write and edit and I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into it. I would really appreciate if you could buy and review it. Thanks! — Jeff
Hi, I’m Jeff Deutsch! I’m a growth marketer.
One week ago I ran my first marathon in my new home of jaw-droppingly beautiful Sydney. 🏃
This guide is in celebration of that. But we’ll get to that later.
Here’s the growth hacks you’ll learn in this guide:
Growth hacking for 2019: the 42 digital marketing growth hacks you’ll learn from this guide:
- how to get at least 5,000 views on every LinkedIn post
- re-use videos to 4X your social traffic
- how one marketer uses thank-you tags to get 50–100k views on LinkedIn posts
- how I got 44 Likes on a LinkedIn post with 5 minutes of work
- how to get 10,000 new (real) LinkedIn connections a year
- how to make your sales team 4X more effective
- dominate social feeds without any Tech at all
- how to make sure your ad campaigns always get Noticed
- 2X your ad engagement with short Video
- reduce your CPMs with the 3 S’s
- cut your video production time in 1/2 with dead silence
- save an hour of time on the next Video you make for $2
- save time and 33% off your Retargeting budget
- dominate B2B Retargeting with LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
- be a marketer of the Future with multi-touch attribution
- stop losing 30% of your ad traffic
- save 40% of your budget with the 3 Second rule
- dominate the display ad industry with WhatRunsWhere
- how to swipe your competitor’s Facebook ads
- increase CTRs by 20–30% with Emojis and gifs
- never lose another social visitor with Sniply
- get 80–90% open rates with Messenger
- save hundreds of hours of human time with anyone-can-build Messenger Chatbots
- get tons more qualified Leads by throwing away your email collection forms
- 2X your sales call Connection rates
- 7X your sales Close rates with one simple hack
- make sure your sales team follows up on leads in 5 minutes or less with Pushover + Zapier
- get tons of Messenger contacts for pennies a piece with post autoresponders
- 10X your ROAS with a Facebook giveaway
- get a 55% CTR with Messenger Broadcasts
- 3X your video audience attention time with Facebook Live
- close more sales with FOMO
- capture 96.54% of organic traffic from Google with long tails
- protect yourself from Google penalties with cheap and easy long tail Keyword tools
- get Thousands more visitors to your content with these cheap social media tools
- get incredible Real links for $1 each
- how we got 129% cold Email open rates
- increase email CTRs by 50–100% with one simple hack
- increase organic Google traffic exponentially for free with Google Search Console
- how we increased our Mobile conversion rate by 210%
- spy on your competitor’s Conversion rates
- never guess again which Product feature to fix next
introduction: Break through the wall
I ❤️ growth. Like, love it.
Over the past 9 years, I’ve managed the growth marketing for 4 straight companies where we experienced 5X growth year-on-year. Watching them grow was by far the most exciting thing that I’ve experienced in business.
My first experience was building Frobark Laboratories, an SEO SaaS, in 2010. After struggling for the first year, we finally cracked the code in the summer of 2011, and the resulting growth led to $50k-a-month crazy passive income. Our PayPal looked like this:
That’s a cool $1,254 we earned in 3 hours without lifting a finger. (Back then I thought making money was easy! Lol @ me)
Then I helped Chinese startup Ptengine grow 8X in January 2015, which convinced our investors to give us $9 million so we could build data visualization tool Datadeck. Check out what that growth looks like, from industry standard web tool tracker BuiltWith:
Next I joined forex company Multibank in 2016, and digital marketing grew our international sales so fast we went from a new brand launch that June to getting listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange in less than a year.
How’d I do it?
Growth marketing is a combination of obsessively reading everything you can get your hands on from other growth marketers… plus pure grit. 🤠
Growth is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. So you have to have a marathoner’s mentality.
A marathon is 42 kilometers. Not all those km will be enjoyable. You might be flying out of the start gate, but at some point around the 30–35km mark, you’ll experience what runners call “hitting the wall.”
You have to keep going, no matter what. Don’t hit the wall. Break through it. Through the pain. Through the self-doubt telling you, “I can’t.”
You can. 🤜💥
This guide is for the marketers who want to BREAK THROUGH that wall. The ones who are ready to grind with grit and discipline, and just need a little nudge out the door. 💁
It’s 42 hacks in celebration of the 42 kilometers of my first marathon.
I hope they treat you as well as they have treated me!
All these hacks — no matter how pedestrian — are powerful.
Please use them for the power of good.
Like my good friend Steven McKinney always says, “Leave people better than you found them.”
Before using these tactics, think, “Is this campaign going to help my audience?” If the answer is yes, go for it!
This guide is thick. Don’t try to read it all at once.
Read one or two a day and implement something new. Test it.
#1: how to get at least 5,000 views on every LinkedIn post
LinkedIn native video went live in July 2017 and Drift and GaryVee have absolutely smashed it in the past year with it. Follow their accounts on LinkedIn (links above lead to them) and specifically follow Dave Gerhardt, Drift’s VP of Marketing.
WATCH EVERYTHING THEY DO. THESE GUYS GET MARKETING IN 2019.
LinkedIn is really pushing native video in its platform. Publishing video (rather than boring old stills images) is the easiest way to make sure your posts get 10X reach.
That’s why I promoted this Marathon of marketing with a face-to-face native video on LinkedIn. My articles get an average of 100 to 1,000 views. This video, with little effort, got 4,762 views and 10X the engagement.
How’d I do it? Well, part of the reason was LinkedIn artificially amplified the post just because it’s video.
#2: re-use videos to 4X your social traffic
For one thing, above all we, the audience, want VIDEO. It sucks us in and won’t let go. 🌪
So all social platforms are waiting to push your video to the top of every member of your audience’s feed.
Take the traffic. Upload your native video — don’t just post to YouTube and share on your socials. If you just post to YouTube and then share that across to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you won’t get nearly the same engagement.
Post native video, and you get to go viral on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Four for the price of one! 🍾
All these social platforms are pushing video, because they want to reproduce the success Google have had with user retention on YouTube (The average YouTube session is FORTY MINUTES.)
That is incredible. So all social platforms want to copy YouTube.
Look how hard Facebook is pushing the brand spankin’ new Facebook Watch and Facebook Live Videos (we’ll talk about these later.) Now Twitter is joining in — they just announced on September 15th that they’re putting notifications for live video streams at the top of your followers’ timeline.
LinkedIn is no different. That’s why LinkedIn wants to spread your native videos like THE FLU to your audience.
But more importantly, video will be how your audience gets to know you. For one thing, nobody has time to read anymore. For another, video where the speaker is holding the camera and talking to YOU feels personal.
And audiences today demand personal.
So, one way I got the video to explode was by using a couple other tactics to MAKE it more personal.
#3: how to use thank-you tags to get 50–100k views on LinkedIn posts
And according to this LinkedIn post, he regularly gets 20,000 to 50,000 views of his posts, and sometimes hundreds of thousands!
I had noticed one thing Shaun does that’s really cool — he tags everyone who likes his LinkedIn post in the comments of his video.
I asked him about this, and he said he does it by hand, and I believe it, because Shaun replies to every message I send him and seems like a really legit guy.
My partner, Tash Jamieson, also noticed that the LinkedIn posts she made while she was working for the Australian Embassy in Beijing that got 4X the views were the ones where she tagged lots of people in large group photos.
And then I realized — of course — LinkedIn is showing the posts where these people are tagged to other people in THAT person’s network. Wow! So the more people with large networks you tag, the bigger your post will blow up on LinkedIn.
There’s even a name for this — it’s called “coat tailing.” That is, using other people’s attentive audience to grow yours.
So yes, great start, tag people to thank them for Liking your posts, then coat-tail off their audience.
But how do you get the initial likes? 🤔
#4: how to get 44 Likes on a LinkedIn post with 5 minutes of work
The concept here is easy. It just takes a little automation to execute.
The best way to get your post Liked is to straight up ask people to give you feedback on your LinkedIn videos. The automation tool is called LinkedHelper. It sends personalized InMails one by one to a select list you build. (I’ll go more into LinkedHelper in a moment.)
But one disclaimer first: before asking these people to Like or comment on your post, think very clearly about how that will benefit them. As one of my first SEO clients back in 2010, the amazing loan originator Dan O’Kavage once told me, “everybody listens to the same radio station — WIIFM, ‘What’s in it for me?’” Another good guiding principle is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, which my good friend, intrepid branding strategist Rich Akers introduced to me.
In my case, the “why” I InMailed my connections was that I could get my contacts in digital marketing exposure on my network and social proof by being included in this guide.
Here’s what my ask looked like:
By including their tips in this guide, they also get some recognition, and they get to coat-tail off my audience on LinkedIn.
So segment carefully and InMail to ask for Likes.
But what if you don’t have enough connections? I got you covered. Here’s how you get more.
#5: how to get 10,000 new (real) LinkedIn connections a year
You, yourself, should set a goal for yourself right now.
Get yourself 10,000 more LinkedIn connections by this time next year.
Try it for yourself. Then get your B2B sales team to do the same.
There are so many reasons to do this, but I’ll give you two that will open your eyes :
InMail open rates are 300% higher than email
How to get that many connections?
One tool: LinkedHelper.
LinkedHelper allows you to create a list of people to connect to, then safely sends them connection requests via your browser.
I won’t do a step-by-step tutorial here — Alex from LinkedHelper has created awesome guides on how to do this.
I will just tell you a few things I’ve learned through trial and error:
- Start out by at least connecting with all your email and phone contacts through LinkedIn
- Search for 2nd level connections to connect to (friends of friends.) They will be more likely to accept your request
- Recruiters and sales people are the most likely to accept your connection requests in the beginning, because to them, you may be a sales lead
- In the first few thousand, send text with the connection request. My favorite is something along the lines of “Hey [firstname], you keep popping up in my Suggested Connections. I see in your profile you’ve done some awesome stuff! Would love to connect and talk shop! Thanks, <MyName>”
- Only send 100 connection requests per day (cannot stress this enough)
- You might need to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium to be able to do enough searches to collect your connection request audience in the beginning. Do it. It’s so worth it
Like I said, as a marketer, do this with your sales team to help them get leads. If they’re not into doing the work, do it for them — either by yourself or with the help of an intern or virtual assistant (VA).
Tip: If you want to hire a VA, go to John Jonas’s awesome OnlineJobs.ph. Awesome resource.
Huge disclaimer: obviously giving someone’s LinkedIn credentials to a stranger online has its risks. Use good judgement.
#6: how to make your sales team 4X more effective
If your sales team still isn’t into the idea of automation with InMail, share this article with them:
Death of a (B2B) salesman. It reports some shocking stats:
- 75% of B2B buyers would rather buy from a website than a sales representative
- 93% of B2B buyers would rather buy online than from a salesperson once they’ve made the decision to buy
The reason for this is that we consumers of Gen X/Y/Z love to buy things. But we hate being sold to.
We hate it! 😡
We want to go explore and find out about the product or service ourselves, hear what our peers said about it, and then make the choice ourselves without pressure and closing tactics.
The future of B2B sales will be more personalized than ever, but oddly, also more automated than ever. 🙇 A salesperson’s job will be to create awesome content about the product or service they’re offering and let consumers find it on their own.
In other words, salespeople are going to become growth hackers and vice versa. It’s all blending together.
This is why salespeople more than ever need to get comfortable with automation and tools. The phone is not going to be a sales tool in 10 years, maybe even 5. Forget it.
So here’s a good tool for your sales team to track their sales: a LinkedIn connections growth spreadsheet I made for myself.
Here’s the link to the Google Sheet. Make a copy to use it yourself.
The GAP shows how many connections you’re lagging behind your KPI. I set 10,000 for myself for this year — that’s because 30–40 connections a day is very achievable if you’re sending 100 connection requests per day. The only data you need to fill in manually is under “Connections” and “Invited.” Invited should be 100 per day.
If you get stuck, hit me up and I’ll try to help you get it working for you.
#7: dominate social feeds without any Tech at all
That’s what GaryVee and Dave Gerhardt do better than almost any marketer in the game today.
This doesn’t sound like anything revolutionary but it’s HARD. Business is supposed to be a serious deal right? We can’t be ourselves. That’s what home is for, right?
Not anymore, thanks to YouTube and millennials. This tweet from Dave Gerhardt changed my life. He was responding to Andy Raskin’s compliment that Drift is “more of a reality TV show” than “content marketing.” (That was a compliment.)
GaryVee is popular because he’s really good at being himself on camera. He’s renowned for doing videos his followers — any followers, anywhere — and totally owning it with authenticity. He actually encourages his fans to approach him in public!
He also curses, puts his feet up on tables during interviews, and exhorts his followers to “stop caring what other people think of you.” His explanation of where this all came from? “I just couldn’t deal with somebody saying I was full of shit.”
Again, we can thank YouTube for this.
Current up and coming generation of millennial B2B target audience grew up with YouTube stars being more popular than TV stars. As early as 2014, 6 out of the top 10 celebrities recognized by teens were YouTube stars like PewDiePie and Smosh, far outranking Leonardo Dicaprio and Johnny Depp.
And think about those teens’ exposure to their favorite YouTube stars. One-on-one. Face-to-face camera view, speaking directly to you. One angle. Straight on. Raw, unfiltered, straight to the point, no artifice, speaking from the gut.
Those teens are climbing the ladder in the workforce now, which means this trend of using personal, authentic video to establish trust with an audience will only become more important.
Overproduced, overly business-y approaches won’t work in the future. Customers today smell that coming from a mile away and they skip right past it, wasting your ad budgets and putting your campaigns in jeopardy.
The authenticity cuts like a knife through the formal BS. It’s one example of a killer pattern interrupt.
#8: how to make sure your ad campaigns always get Noticed
My favorite hacker in 2019, Sydney’s finest, Jared Codling, first introduced me to the phrase “pattern interrupt” for marketing.
It means, stumbling upon something unique in a familiar environment that you don’t expect. Like having this WHAT LOOKS LIKE A REAL spider pop out on top of your news feed in a Facebook ad.
Jared has a ton of other killer examples from the wild in his NewHackEveryWeek group, which I highly recommend (if it’s still open by the time you read this.)
Here’s another pattern interrupt example, from Facebook ad consultant James Grandstaff:
The stark colors latch onto your eyeball, as well as the curiosity — what are we waiting for? — but most importantly, it’s the motion.
Which brings me to my next point. Video works for engagement on social in a large part because of the motion. That doesn’t mean all your ads should be motion ads — just the ones early on in the customer’s experience with your brand.
#9: 2X your ad engagement with short Video
Motion catches your eye, which is why CTR with video ads is 100% higher than still ads. In social advertising, CTR is everything. Platforms like Facebook are under constant anxiety that they’re going to lose audience eyeballs to the next shiny object app out there. So they set their algorithms to amplify content that gets clicks, comments, and shares, and silence anything that doesn’t.
Kinetic Social published this result back in 2015, showing that CTRs on video content were 2X over still and text-only content.
I can tell you from getting literally hundreds of millions of impressions on ads on Facebook for VIPKID this is ABSOLUTELY true.
Which one of these sucks hold of your eyeball?
The still ad?
Or the moving one?
OK both are amazing but be honest, you were spending most of the time looking at the movey one weren’t you?
(p.s. Shout out to Nancy Taylor here, amazing work-from-home mom and greatest VIPKID teacher ever.)
We loved using video pattern interrupts at VIPKID with our ads. We’d get them to wave at the screen, point their finger into the lens, use extreme facial expressions. They were naturals at it! Because they were used to teaching a foreign language (English) to 5 year-old Chinese online via iPad.
In other words, think of scrolling audiences who have never heard of your brand as bored 5 year-olds with no language skills. Bright, simple patterns, motion, and unexpected “peek-a-boos” are critical.
#10: reduce your CPMs with the 3 S’s
The 3 S’s of top of the funnel (TOFU) video ads will increase your relevancy scores and reduce your CPMs:
Short: the sweet spot for VIPKID video ads short: 5–10 second length. Any longer, and the audience wouldn’t wait around for the CTA at the end. 🎬
Succinct: We also found that we couldn’t get cute with the message. Our audience needed to see in the first 0.5 seconds what was going on. “There’s a teacher. At home. Teaching a class to a computer. There’s a kid on the other end. He’s a student. OK, this is an ad telling me people can teach kids online.” ⚡️
In videos where you followed the teacher waking up… brushing her teeth… putting on her headphones to teach… and then teaching… the audience would have scrolled past long before they knew what was going on. That wastes our ad budget.
Special: we had huge problems with ad fatigue. Our audience very niche — not very large. Only about 5 to 10 million total Facebook users are qualified to teach for VIPKID. So we were constantly reaching a Frequency (number of times your audience has seen your ad) of 3.00 and more, which is right around where an audience gets tired of looking at the same ad. 😲
We would do brainstorm sessions every quarter with teachers to think of new ad ideas, which helped. But making creatives for VIPKID was a constant need that never got any easier.
Our amazing partners at Facebook — Andy Hsu, Brian Zhang, and Robert Feng — really brought these points home to us. They made the point that Facebook News Feed ads are not like TV — you don’t have a captive audience for 30 seconds who’s forced to watch your whole ad. So you have to drive home the idea and value of why the ad is important to the viewer from the first moment.
#11: cut your video production time in Half with silence
This is a really quick one — don’t work hard on the audio for your videos (especially video ads.)
At VIPKID, it was 93% watched our videos with NO AUDIO. And we weren’t that special. As reported by Sahil Patel of Digiday, about 85% of videos Facebook-wide are watched without audio.
So it kills me thinking how much time I wasted obsessing over perfect audio quality and voiceovers. (I remember one day I went to the Japanese tatami mat resting room in our co-working space in Beijing and spent like 2 hours doing the perfect voiceover for a promo video. That time would have been much better spent on literally anything else.) 🤫
If you’re spending more than 10 seconds choosing the backing track for your Instagram video, you’re spending too long. Be like Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights and use the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule) on this one. Focus on finding killer pattern interrupts and don’t work too long on your audio. You could literally have NO sound and get basically the same results.
#12: save an hour of time on the next Video you make for $2
Remember, 85% of people who see your videos won’t use audio on them. Add captions/subtitles!
I used to spend 30, 60 minutes making my own .srt files for captions.
Now I just outsource it to Rev.com. They are awesome. Use them! They charge $1 per minute, and the order is usually done within an hour.
Too easy! 🥑
#13: save time and 33% off your Retargeting budget
Despite video ads having 2X engagement rates over still ads, they actually can lead to higher CPLs in some verticals. AdEspresso pointed this out in a cool A/B test they ran with a still vs animated ad Facebook. Leads for their animated ad actually cost MORE — 60% more — than the still ad.
This is counter to our experience at VIPKID. All our video ads — like Nancy Taylor’s above — got lower CPL than still ads.
I believe this is because they were using animation.
One important note here — the ads they were testing were not videos. ⚠️ They were still ads turned into animated ones by an animator. We had the same result with animated videos at VIPKID.
Here’s the still ad vs animated ad they tested:
This is an interesting finding. Because we already learned before that audiences engage more with video ads than still ads. 📹
But still ads are great for retargeting — after the audience has already been exposed to your brand/core concept. We ran millions of dollars of them on Google’s display network. After testing hundreds of options, CPLs for this ad were always among our lowest for any campaign:
So here’s the playbook:
- Get your initial traffic with 3 S’s style short video ads
- Make SURE that audience get Google and Facebook Ads pixeled when they hit your landing page (hint: see tip #17 for a must-do pixeling hack)
- Test as many different still ads as possible until you find your golden goose like we did (hint: see tip #19 for an amazing shortcut)
#14: dominate B2B Retargeting with LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
One new platform I’m keen to use more in retargeting is LinkedIn for Dynamic Ads, which dropped in 2016 but are now finally available as a self-serve advertising option.
Dynamic ads can include the person’s name, profile photo, and role in them, which is a nice pattern interrupt. These ads will be a perfect in B2B retargeting campaigns where the salesperson needs our brand to be at the lead’s Top of Mind.
#15: be a marketer of the Future with multi-touch attribution
The phrase “multi-touch attribution” probably won’t win any awards for most exciting marketing topics, but it’s so important. ☢️
John Wanamaker, the father of modern advertising said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is, I don’t know which half.”
Attribution tries to solve this problem. And it’s getting better.
It means “which channel, website, whatever” gets credited with the desired action you want your visitors to take. If you’re an eCommerce business, it might be a Google ad that brought the visitor. So “Google ads” gets credit for all the purchases that customer makes.
But what if the visitor came back to your website multiple times before eventually completing that action? 🤔
She might have originally come from a Google ad, then came back from an email, then again from a blog that linked to your website, then finally from your Facebook Page.
Which one of those sources should get credit for the purchases now?
The Google ad, because it was the first to bring the visitor?
Your Facebook Page, because it was the last one?
Some mixture of all those sources? If so, what % credit does each one get? Do you split the credit equally? Give more to the first and last?
This is the problem that multi-touch attribution tries to solve, and it’s critical.
Because if you decide the Google ad should get all the credit, your marketing budget will all go into Google ads. But then you might only get visitors who come once and never again. If you decide the Facebook Page should get all the credit, then you might put all your effort into the Facebook Page. But then you might only get return business, and no new customers.
Worse still, most companies are not aware of the journey visitors take at all, because they only track the last source the visitor came from. (If they track at all!)
This was a huge problem at VIPKID. We had a super long funnel that would take weeks to get through. Throughout that time, visitors would go all over the web researching us and being reminded by our retargeting ads. Allocating budget became a real pain. 🤕
Bizible solves these issues by tracking visitors from the first visit all the way to the sale and beyond. Then, rather than relying on you to manually set the % share each touch should receive, it uses machine learning to automatically set the % for you.
At VIPKID, we used Google Attribution, with very mixed results. As of now, G2 Crowd ranks Bizible by far at the top of the stack for attribution.
#16: stop losing 30% of your ad traffic
Lots of new Facebook advertisers puzzle over the difference between “Link Clicks” and “Landing Page Views” data in their Facebook Ads Manager.
The difference comes from people who weren’t patient enough to wait for your landing page to load.
This gets even worse when servers get slow from big media buy campaigns or some well-intentioned marketing assistant gets ahold of your Google Tag Manager account and loads a ton of slow-loading non-asynchronous scripts on your landing page.
Pro tip: put JUST the pixels on a blank HTML page. That page has two jobs:
- Pixel your visitor
- Redirects your visitor to your landing page
This way, even if they don’t stick around long enough to load your full landing page, you still know they’re interested in your product and should be retargeted.
#17: save 40% of your budget with the 3 Second rule
Speaking of page load times, the data out there on how quickly visitors will bounce if your landing page doesn’t load is shocking.
In 2017 Google announced that, “as page load time goes from one second to five seconds, the probability of bounce increases by 90%” and that they would be penalizing the SEO rankings for slow web pages.
This study from Pingdom suggests that a page load of 7 seconds vs 3 seconds will result in losing 40% of your visitors just because of that. 🤯
Think about that for a moment — if your landing page takes 7+ seconds to load, you’re probably wasting 40% of your ad budget.
If your budget is $10k a month, you’re wasting $4k a month by not improving performance. For that kind of money, you could probably hire one person and justify making fast page load times their only job.
And page load speeds are easy to track. If you have Google Analytics running for your site, you already have all the data you need. Under Reports, go to Behavior -> Site Speed. Done!
#18: dominate the display ad industry with WhatRunsWhere
For some reason WhatRunsWhere is still not in the “I must have this” playbook of every digital marketer in the world. But it’s awesome.
Search for any brand and WhatRunsWhere will tell you:
- what ads they’re running
- which ad networks they’re running those ads on
- which ads have been running the longest
- which ads are run for the most impressions
- what the ad looks like
- the landing page
This means that you could literally go become the media buyer for any company in a competitive niche, search for their brand, and immediately know exactly what design and voice for ads works, what ad networks to sign up for and run on, and even which landing page designs to copy. If I was a full time media buyer and had only one tool to use, it would be this.
If you’re in a competitive niche for display like weight loss or travel, there is no reason not to use this. They recently added Facebook ads too. Unfortunately only still ads, but still, amazing!
There were some hacks I thought about not including because they’re too easy to use and too helpful, and this was one of them. But their director of sales, John Kim, was has been too cool and too helpful over the years to not give them some love.
Tell him I sent ya.
#19: swipe your competitor’s Facebook ads
This tip will have some marketers saying, “yeah, duh,” but I only just found out about it. You can now see all your competitors’ Facebook ads just by going to their public Page. Click on “Info and Ads” in the left navbar menu:
This helps make up for WhatRunsWhere not showing your competitors’ video and motion ads. Again, this would be a Day 1 thing for me if I was running the ad buying for any brand. It will show you their design, voice, and style. I would just screen capture all their ads, make a PowerPoint for my CMO or CEO or whoever I was reporting to, and tell them each strategy and ideal buyer persona so we could build our own in contrast.
#20: increase CTRs by 20–30% with Emojis and gifs
Emojis and gifs in personalized marketing have a huge impact. Trust me.
When I wrote “How to Go Viral” for HubSpot’s amazing blog, inbound.org (RIP) I interviewed some heavy hitters in digital marketing. One of them was Larry Kim, the founder of the great PPC tool, Wordstream. One of his pieces of advice stuck with me — “Use emojis. They really do increase engagement rates.” 🤪
When I started running hundreds of millions of Facebook ad impressions ad VIPKID, I A/B tested a few large campaigns — with emojis and without emojis.
The emoji campaigns got about 20–30% higher CTR and engagement rates with no other differences.
To this day, all VIPKID Facebook ads have emojis. (See for yourself!) There’s a reason for this! Those ads perform much better.
Larry’s right. Use emojis in your Facebook ads.
And elsewhere! In my follow-up message to new connections on LinkedIn, I send them a ⚡️ or a or a 👏.
When a new connection replies to my follow-up message, I like to send them a fun gif. I learned that trick from Rachman Blake, who uses comedy for marketing. When he’s sent someone an email and they haven’t replied for a while, instead of following up by asking if they’re still interested, he just sends them a gif of Cookie Monster waiting:
If they still don’t reply for a couple days, he drops this one:
p.s. Please watch the presentation Rachman gave us at Opticon. It’s about using comedy to drive sales. Brilliant.
#21: never lose another social visitor with Sniply
OK, so now your sales team has tons of new LinkedIn connections. They’re engaging with them in a conversational and personalized way. They’re regularly creating videos on LinkedIn about your company’s offerings.
But what pages do they link their LinkedIn networks to when they deliver the CTA? They want to make sure the traffic from their efforts eventually converts into business and commissions for themselves.
There’s an easy and quick hack for this that we used at VIPKID. It’s called Sniply.
Sniply looks like a regular link shortener, but it does two really cool things:
- It lets you put your own CTA on any page
- It lets you pixel traffic to that Sniply page so you can retarget it later
Here’s an example. Click this link.
Looks like I’ve sent you to the LinkedHelper website, right?
But actually you’re on my Sniply page, looking at my CTA.
First of all, when you arrive there, you’ll load my retargeting pixels.
Second, when you click the “Sure” button, you’ll arrive at my website, jgdeutsch.com. There, my Drift messenger will pop up, and we can get started with our businessing right there!
#22: high-impact retarget on YouTube for pennies
OK, so now you have a fully engaged sales team adding 30–40 new connections per day…
…adding new personal and conversational videos about your product each week…
…tagging and InMailing his new contacts to get them to click those links…
…and then retargeting those connections with YouTube for pennies a view! 🏦
Again and again and again — so your brand and their persona is at the top of your audience’s mind 24/7/365. Up until that lead finally converts.
Google only requires an audience size of 100 for retargeting. 💯
And your salespeople have already created the video content to use for retargeting videos — it’s the same videos they created for YouTube.
A little organization and you suddenly have a B2B lead generation machine building and chugging!
(Bonus hint: VeeRoll is THE quickest tool out there to make awesome YouTube ads.)
#23: get 80–90% open rates with Messenger
Messenger apps will replace email for communication with customers. It’s inevitable.
This is not a bold prediction at all. It’s just math!
Mobile users spend 91% of their time on messaging apps, and they’re more active than ever. According to Facebook product marketer Anand Arivukkarasu, of the 8 billion messages sent to date on Messenger, half of those were sent in the past 4 months.
#24: save hundreds of hours of human time with anyone-can-build Messenger Chatbots
Rule-based chatbots are pre-programmed to answer specific user questions with specific answers. Think of them like Choose Your Own Adventure.
According to Juniper Research, chatbots are expected to cut business costs by $8 billion by 2022. They do this by saving human customer service and lead qualification support time.
We built a rule-based chatbot in summer 2017 at VIPKID. It has now qualified and helped onboard more than 9,000 teacher partner leads, improving the experience for candidates and saving the company 1,000+ hours of human time.
#25: get tons more qualified Leads by throwing away your email collection forms
Companies will move away from using email collection forms to grab leads to getting leads. The future for lead collection is opting in to communication on a messenger app. Simple bots, made with an editor like ManyChat, MobileMonkey, or Chatfuel, can handle MQL lead scoring and then connect leads with a salesperson in realtime.
The experience is so much better than sending email or finding the right link to click on a website. Check out this bot from Jason Swenk, a consultant for marketing agencies. It earned him $250k in 2 months and starts when you click the “Contact” link on his website:
Lead collection and qualification is only the first piece of magic.
#26: 2X your sales call Connection rates
A quick note here that is so important I made it a hack of its own:
The majority of consumers today do NOT want to receive their customer service on the phone.
According to a study by Twilio, 63% of Americans would prefer to receive customer service in either messaging, a live chat app, or by email.
By contrast, only 27% preferred a phone call. For 18–34 year olds, that number drops to 22%.
The phone is becoming a less relevant tool to marketing every year.
However, while people still use them, here are two phone marketing growth tactics:
First, use a local carrier number when calling people. (This is on the darker side of marketing hacks, so please only use this for the power of good.) Services like SpoofCard let you choose whatever number you want to show up on the receiver’s caller ID.
Connection rates are about 2X higher when a number looks like it’s coming from the same prefix. For example, if you’re calling the US phone number (248) 628–4210 in Oxford, Michigan, she’s much more likely to answer if the caller’s phone number is (248) 628–9280 (also Oxford) than (646) 429–0293 (New York.)
I’ve even seen hacks where the caller uses the person’s own phone number to call them! 🤔 Super high pick-up rates on those — out of curiosity. Not super cool though. But again, it depends on why they’re calling them. If it’s truly to their benefit, go for it.
Second, since more people won’t answer any call they don’t expect from a number they don’t recognize, you can use Ringless Voicemails Drops from Stratics Networks to get through. (Hat tip to Stephan Spencer from Marketing Speak for this tip.) These are calls that don’t ring on someone’s phone, but can store a message in their voicemail.
Recipients are almost 100% likely to hear this message, so again, make sure you’re giving them some kind of value in the call (like reminding them about a webinar they signed up for.)
#27: 7X your sales Close rates with one simple hack
OK, back to Jason Swenk’s chatbot experience. Did you notice that last piece of magic — the voice message at the bottom?
He recorded a voice message for every common first name saying, “Hey [firstname], this is Jason, just let me know if you need anything or you’re just testing the bot.”
This kind of automated personalization is exactly what will trigger the customer of 2019.
The human follow-up is critical at this point, and that’s where your sales team can jump in.
Some eye-opening stats about follow-up times:
You’re 21X more likely to qualify a lead within 5 minutes than 30 minutes.
You’re 7X more likely to close a lead if you contact them in the first 60 minutes
And yet, according to the Harvard Business Review, the average lead follow-up time for the 2,241 companies it surveyed was about 42 hours. Drift ran this study with more than 500 B2B companies and 58% of them failed to respond within 5 days.
This seems like a no-brainer for businesses — to make sure all pre-qualified leads get contacted within 5 minutes. Best way to make sure the sales team stays on top of this goal? Measure it!
As business management legend Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured gets managed.”
Measure sales response times with a publicly visible data dashboard, like the one my old buddy from Datadeck, Guy Geeraedts, is building:
These dashboards are simple to build, integrate with almost any data source (including MySQL and Google Sheets), and best displayed on a wall board in the sales department.
#28: make sure your sales team follows up on leads in 5 minutes or less with Pushover + Zapier
The best way I’ve found to get sales teams to follow up within 5 minutes is to send mobile notifications to the sales team’s mobile phones whenever a qualified MQL comes in.
I do this with two apps: Zapier and Pushover.
Zapier is an easy tool that lets apps talk to each other via API. Your bot can ask questions, save those answers, and then evaluate whether to notify your sales team.
If the lead is valid according to your rules, you can use Zapier to send a notification through Pushover. It will show up like this on their phone:
I set this up at VIPKID so that our coaches would only be notified for Facebook Lead Ads leads after they answered “Yes” that they had a bachelor’s degree, 1+ year of teaching experience, and could work legally in the US (the requirements for a teaching partner.) They could then tap the Pushover notification and go straight to the lead as a contact in HubSpot to follow up immediately.
#29: get tons of Messenger contacts for pennies a piece with post autoresponders
Use this one quick, because it’s a loophole that Facebook will surely close sometime in 2019.
A little-known Facebook Messenger hack is that when someone replies to one of your Facebook Page’s posts, you get permission to send them an opt-in message. 😲
If the recipient engages with the message, you gain access to keep sending them messages. The easiest way is to ask a simple yes/no question with buttons for the lead to click:
This is an awesome way to collect free leads, nurture them, and qualify them with a Facebook Messenger bot.
This growth hack is so powerful that I’m sure it won’t continue to be available for long, so use it while you can.
Facebook is best for B2C marketing — here are a couple examples to get your juices flowing on how to use this sweet hack. The key is, you have to get people to comment on the post.
#30: 10X your ROAS with a Facebook giveaway
This is another hack I picked up from the amazing Jared Codling here. He got tens of thousands of messenger subscribers with his giveaway.
The best way to get tons of people to opt into receiving messages is a giveaway. And this normally costs about 10X less than capturing leads with regular Facebook ad campaigns.
I’ll use an example for this one. Imagine I’m trying to sell a muscle growth supplement in Australia. I would pick the best bodybuilding conference I could find in Australia.
Like this one: the Arnold Sports Festival Australia, going on next March.
Then I would pick the most awesome tickets I could afford for the campaign and do a giveaway. This one’s $995 and includes a photo with Arnold himself!
Then I would blast Facebook ads — “Meet Arnie for your own photo shoot! Tag your gym buddies to enter!”
To take this campaign to the next level, tell entrants that they can enter the contest as many times as they want. Just tag a friend on Facebook in the comments. One tag = one entry.
This tagging will make the contest go viral, no question. 💪
The final step would be to have my chatbot send each commenter one sentence: “To confirm your entrance into the Arnold Sports Festival Australia giveaway, please click ‘Confirm.’” Once they do that, I can message them all I want.
#31: get a 55% CTR with Messenger Broadcasts
Ok, now you’ve got a huge list of jacked bodybuilders hoping to win the tickets to meet Arnie.
To follow up with this campaign, you’re going to want to message them, keeping your brand at Top of Mind in anticipation of the prize drawing.
Send them a message 1 week before the drawing… 3 days… 24 hours… and 10 minutes before the live drawing, which you’ll do in a Facebook Live Video (see the next hack for that.)
Here’s what a broadcast looks like:
The best way to send these messages is with a Facebook Messenger Broadcast. ManyChat, MobileMonkey, and Chatfuel all have this feature.
Think of this just like a Mailchimp email broadcast. It’s exactly the same thing, only you’ll get 10–20X more clicks with the same audience size using Messenger rather than email.
Here’s the setup for a Facebook Messenger Promotional Broadcast:
There’s one major limitation we have to work around — if you’re sending a promotional message, you can only send it to people who have interacted with your bot in the past 24 hours.
However, you can get more people to “opt in” to the promotional message by piquing their curiosity. Check out this broadcast from ManyChat that got 89% open rate and 53% CTR off:
#32: 3X your video audience attention time with Facebook Live
As I mentioned earlier, every social platform is pushing video like crazy. Cisco predicts that 80% of internet traffic will be video by 2021, and these platforms want to pave the way.
Add in that Facebook users spend 3X longer on Live videos than pre-recorded ones and you understand why Facebook intentionally boosts Facebook Live Videos so hard to your Fans in its app and News Feed.
Anyone who subscribes to your page will get a very visible notification when you go Live with a video. These notifications are so visible in fact that the top results for “facebook live notification” on Google are all about how to turn them off!
If you boost that organic traffic with a real-time ManyChat/Chatfuel/MobileMonkey Broadcast to all your Fans inviting them to watch the live drawing, your Live video will get tons of viewers.
(By the way, there’s a cool new tool for managing your Facebook Live Video sessions: BeLive.tv. It adds all the cool split screens, interview Q&A’s, interaction with your Fans, and beautifully designed labels you see in Ayesha Hilton’s Live video here.)
#33: close more sales with FOMO
Now that your Fans have engaged with your Messenger bot (they clicked “Yes” to watch and see if they won the contest), you’ve gained permission to send them a Promotional message in the next 24 hours.
As Jared recommends, use this permission to send a one-time 50% off promotion on your product as a Thank You for their participation.
Get your audience’s juices flowing! Add in an element of scarcity to the offer so their FOMO kicks in. Make the offer limited-time — only for the next 48 hours. Or only the first 500 customers will get this discount. Or the discount goes from 50% this week to 25% next week, then 10%, then nothing. Get it while it lasts.
As Richard Bennett, Marketing Director for RenCare says, “Working in FMCG, I often use limited period offers to create a sense of FOMO (particularly for our younger target audiences) to drive brand engagement and activity participation. Often this is a great way to collect data on our key segments to provide a platform for secondary activity, activating the brand.”
#34: capture 96.54% of organic traffic from Google with long tails
Google users are getting more savvy each year. And it means your content should contain more long tail keywords than ever.
Overall, 96.54% of searches on Google are for a term that gets less than 50 searches per month.
So there’s need for more content than ever — no wonder when I asked Alex Moses from TeleApps what growth hack he recommended, he said, “content, content, and more content.”
When producing that SEO content, it’s hard to know which long tail terms to use without doing heaps of research. That slows down the production process for content marketers, which increases your costs. So automated tools are ideal to make content creation more efficient.
#35: protect yourself from Google penalties with cheap and easy long tail Keyword tools
There’s a decent tool that growth guru Neil Patel recommends called LSI Graph that works pretty well for this. It generates long tails for most keywords that you can use in your articles. This will increase the number of long tail keywords you rank for and help you avoid a Google penalty for “stuffing” (using a particular keyword so many times that Google’s algorithm ranks your page lower in its search results.)
LSI stands for latent semantic indexing, and it’s an algorithm computers can use to find phrases that are relevant to your seed search term.
For example, if you want to write about the company, Apple, a good LSI graph would look like this:
Here’s what the tool came up with for a term I’ve been interested in lately (but know very little about), “virtual data rooms”:
I’m pretty sure LSI Graph just scrapes Google’s suggested search terms to bring us these terms. You can see a lot of terms in common here:
We did this at VIPKID to scrape keywords to add to AdWords. We scraped and added more than 30,000 keywords, of which we threw out 99% using CPL and volume rules. The remaining 300 keywords got us 50%+ of our AdWords leads.
There’s another tool that tells you exactly what long tail terms we need to add to content. It’s called Cyrano, and disclaimer, I was involved in building it.
Github’s amazing Daniel Chapman built Cyrano with me and a couple of other SEOs back in 2014 and we’re looking to revive it. It recommends which long tail terms SEO writers should use for any keyword.
Also, it tells you how many times you should include those terms in the article so that you get all the long tail traffic while avoiding Google penalties.
Here’s an example, with the term “high end telescopes” as the target keyword:
(Go here for a video demo of the product.)
All the terms underlined in green were terms recommended by Cyrano. We see terms in here that are helpful for the writer but would take some time to research. Like “celestron,” “schmidt-cassegrain,” and “german equatorial.” 🧐
We can also see that we’re allowed to use the term “telescope” 2X more before this article starts to look like it needs a “stuffing” penalty from Google. And here’s what Cyrano shows you when you are in danger of stuffing:
In this example for the term “high end telescopes,” the term “Orion” must be used, but it’s been overused. It should only appear 1X in a 500-word article, but the writer used it 2X. So it shows up red. 🚩
Cyrano works different from LSI Graph. Instead of using LSI to find long tails, it uses something called tf-idf. Tf-idf stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” It just means finding the words that are used more with a particular topic (like “virtual data rooms”) than the rest of the web.
With long tails more important than ever, if there’s enough demand, Daniel has agreed to help us relaunch this tool. If you’d like to try out a public Beta, let me know so we can make the case for bringing it back!
#35: get Thousands more visitors to your content with these cheap social media tools
Now that your long tail content is soaring like an eagle in outer space, it’s time to use some super social media and SEO growth hacks to get people reading and spreading it everywhere.
For social media, start with Ann Smarty’s Viral Content Bee.
This is a trading scheme — you share other people’s stuff, and then get credits for them to share your stuff. (You can also pay, there are $20 and $50 plans.) You’ll get around 20 shares and a couple hundred visits from the first10 minutes of work.
Triberr is another option for getting legit organic social shares. Through Triberr, I can build up a network of online content marketing buddies in my niche who write about the same subject I do. When I publish, they check out my article and are likely to Like, Comment, and Share (because I’ll do the same for them.) And their networks are likely to be interested in it, too. It’s a great way to get that first boost of legit organic for my articles, but it’s unlikely to make it go viral. (NinjaOutreach got 19 social shares for their first 6 hours of work on Tribber. But it’s meant to be slow going at the beginning. 🥋)
You’ll also want to post your content on your social accounts on a schedule. Use MeetEdgar for that.
You can dump all your content into MeetEdgar and it will drip feed it out to your social accounts. When it runs out of content, it’ll go back to the beginning and start posting again, for new subscribers and people who didn’t see it run across their feed the first time. Swap old content out after a couple months so it doesn’t get too stale.
The best place I’ve found to get KOLs to push your content out on their social accounts is a tool from the amazing digital marketer, Joe Sinkwitz: Intellifluence.
You can open a campaign and either wait for influencers to reach out to you or message them yourself. Make sure you check the KOL’s Like-to-Follower ratio — it should be 2–3%. (That is, if they have 100k followers, posts should have an average of 2–3k Likes on it.) It’s $99 a month to run up to 3 campaigns with 50 influencers for that. We used this for VIPKID with the Mommy Blog influencers and it’s a great tool.
Note the “Reach” metrics for these influencers. The chance to reach 350k Pinterest users with a bid starting at $50 is not bad!
I’ve always had interns, assistants, or VAs run my KOL campaigns. Another option is to reach out to an influencer in your product’s niche and give them a part-time job recruiting other KOLs for you. On his podcast, Marketing School, Neil Patel claims he pays 1/4 the price he would for influencer posts by using this method.
You’ve surely seen these — a website will ask for permission to notify you when they publish new content:
And then alert you:
Set these up in 2019. They take 10 minutes to get going, and they work. 🦄
#36: get incredible Real links for $1 each
We covered creating content above. Now let’s talk about getting links.
The first tool we use to get links is Ahrefs. You can contact sites that link to your competitor’s page and ask them if they’d like to link to your page as well.
(Note: your content should be better or more up-to-date than your competitor’s!)
For example, if I’m promoting hotel management software in Australia and want awesome sites to link to my awesome resource, I first google “hotel management” and grab the top result:
Then drop that in Ahrefs and see who linked to it:
Then I export this list to a spreadsheet and try to contact each site. (I also normally have assistants or VAs do this work.)
The best way to contact these people is by LinkedIn or email. On LinkedIn, send a connection request to start the conversation. To get their email address, use VoilaNorbert, which charges $0.008 to $0.100 per email, depending on volume.
Use a Business Gmail account or Mailshake ($29/month) if you’re emailing so that the email ends up in their Primary inbox. Mass emails from Mailchimp get buried in their Promotions, Social, and Updates categories!
When it comes time to send the email…
Always use the subject:
trying to reach <FirstName LastName>
Just like above. I tested many alternatives for cold email open rates and this one always worked best.
Tell the person you saw they linked to the other page and show them the actual URL of the link on their site. Start by asking if they’d like to see your updated/better resource. If they do, offer to write a quick post for their blog so they can share that with their audience.
#37: how to get 129% cold Email open rates
While I’m talking about email, I have to talk about some hacks I’ve used in the past couple years that I love.
First, I feel like people obsess so much about the content of the email that they forget the first step: getting receivers to open the thing! 🤲
One huge way to improve open rates is to use pattern interrupts in the email sender and subject. Check out how Peep Laja, the incredible CRO thought leader and founder of ConversionXL, is doing emails these days:
Sender: Notice the difference between him and Ryan Deiss from DigitalMarketer.com. Ryan is a master at this stuff, but I wish the brand, DigitalMarketer.com, wasn’t cut off like that. Peep, on the other hand, is just “Peep from CXL” He wants everyone to see the full name and brand in the sender field, so he shortened both.
(By the way, <FirstName> from <Company> is the ideal sender format no matter what. 😉)
Also, Peep’s subject line stands out for me. The pattern interrupt: lowercase. It may look a little less professional, but Gen X/Y/Z people actually kind of like that. It’s more personal, more like email from a friend. And the job of sales is to make your customer know, like, and trust you — like a friend.
By the way, the subject lines we used with the highest open rates were always the ones that piqued the person’s curiosity. Some variant of the following:
Quick brain workshop: knowing that curiosity makes readers engage, which one of these email subjects from CreditKarma would get more engagement?
#38: increase email CTRs by 50–100% with one simple hack
Now you’re getting people to open your emails. And you want people to read and click them!
One very easy email hack to increase CTRs in your emails by 50–100%: use personalized, plain text emails. We ran multiple A/B tests at VIPKID — for both nurturing emails and newsletters — and plain text beat formatted emails every time.
We were comparing beautiful HTML template emails that were from “VIPKID” vs plain text emails from “Jeff Deutsch” or “Daniel Boltinsky” (our social media manager.) When people feel like they’re getting a personal email from you — vs a boilerplate email from a company — they feel much more obligated to open, read, and reply.
If you’re running templated emails from “Company, “ try A/B testing this with Mailchimp. I promise you, CTRs will increase.
One last thing. SigStr — is amazing. It lets you manage the email signatures for your company from one central location. As Sujan Patel says, SigStr “turns every employee email into a content promotion campaign.”
Got a new cool explainer video about the company? Add it to everyone’s signature in one click. Upcoming conference? Add it. Hiring for 3 new roles? Add it.
Check out this post I wrote about optimizing your email signature. It shows how I supercharged Ptengine branding through outreach by changing my signature from this to that:
Quick quiz: which email signature would engage a Ptengine customer more? (Spoiler: the second one)
#39: increase organic Google traffic exponentially for free with Google Search Console
Once the post has been up a while and gotten traffic, go into Google Search Console to see the search terms that are bring people to the page from Google. Make sure to add these keywords to your content. The more you add, the more the article will develop over the years. That will keep the article fresh, evergreen, and relevant. And it will make organic traffic continue to build.
Using this tactic and the others here, we took the VIPKID blog from ranking for just 25 keywords to ranking for more than 9,500 — in just 6 months!
One other cool trick is to keep increasing your article’s CTR from Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs.) The more relevant and interesting the title is to the searcher, the more likely she is to click it.
Hint: to generate interesting titles, try Portent’s headline generator:
Bonuses: A couple other cool tips for building up awareness of your brand with content came from my network while I was researching this book.
Airon Rodrigues, SEO Specialist & Entrepreneur for Savvy Creations, recommended “reaching out to the top 100 marketing blogs in your niche and contacting them to contribute towards their content.”
Angela Li, Growth Marketing Manager at the amazing Chinese photo app Meitu, recommended building brand awareness on the cheap with B2B2C partnerships, like Deliveroo do with Five Guys, Afterpay do with Myer, and Airtasker do with IKEA. “It’s the perfect time to put on your BD hat, talk to some big-name partners, run a pilot program with them and build your brand recognition amongst their customer base”
#40: how we increased our Mobile conversion rate by 210%
While you’re getting all this new traffic from content promotion, keep optimizing your conversion rates. Without CRO, we couldn’t have been able to grow a billion-dollar company like VIPKID 700% in just 16 months. We increased the mobile conversion rate by 210% through rigorous A/B testing.
The CRO hacks here in tip #41 are day-to-day must-do growth tactics, while #42 contains a controversial hack that — while ingenious — should be used cautiously and at your own risk.
First, while A/B tests are amazing, it takes 50–100k visitors per month just to get significant test results for even a couple hypotheses. My old buddy and CRO expert Daniel Roffman recommended I use “an ICE scoring to prioritize what you work on. The challenge isn’t ‘can’ we do it,” Roffo explains. “Rather it’s are we working on the right things that will have tangible impact.”
I love this idea. Using scrum tactics for to get your whole team involved in collaborative product management not only results in the best product, but also a happy and energized team. ICE comes from a similar philosophy.
Sean Ellis (the inventor of the term “growth hacker”) came up with the concept of ICE. It stands for the “Impact, Confidence, and Ease” a test or experiment represents. Get your team together to compile all the desired tests and then collectively rate each one. Use the cumulative score to prioritize.
To set an accurate Impact score, take feedback from the user. Too often, product managers get so close to the product and what they want to build that they lose sight of who they’re building for. We struggled with this at VIPKID. When we were growing our teacher partner side too fast, all the classes were getting snapped up by veteran teachers, leaving nothing for newcomers. This really hurt teacher sentiment, especially referrals — our lowest cost source of quality leads. That jacked up our teacher partner acquisition costs, which made our investors nervous.
Scary, right? Ignoring user sentiment put us at risk to lose $500 million in funding. Let this be your daily reminder to set up NPS tracking and follow it religiously. That’s what we did, and it served as an early warning system to better communicate or change new policies before our teachers revolted and took their pitchforks to Glassdoor and social media.
“Listen to your customers,” advises Growth Marketer Susanne Henriksson Bird. For her clients, she touches base with the customer service center a couple times a week to see “if anything stands out in the customer conversations or if they see any trends. We also make sure to set up review emails as soon as the business was live so we could listen to their feedback.”
Christine Saba, Head of Growth for NoiseAware, sends an “Asking Why they Didn’t Buy” email “every 2–3 months to all leads who haven’t converted in the last 60–90 days asking them why they didn’t buy.” This not only re-engages leads, picking up sales for people who forgot to buy, but also provides “amazing product or sales feedback and marketing (what’s wrong with our message).”
We then need to categorize this feedback into categories to share with the product team. We did this at VIPKID by sending out a quarterly survey to our teachers asking what’s blocking them from referring their friends. Because we didn’t want to influence them with multiple choice options, we would let them make an open response, then categorize those into buckets and share them across departments in our operations meetings. We’d get thousands each quarter, which meant a ton of manual work. But I would have my staff use a method digital recruiter Tom Mason recommends called “habit stacking” to complete it. Tom describes it as “a process of religiously performing a grouping of small consistent tasks, in order, and on time periodically” so that they become “muscle memory” and a “subconscious routine.”
And Nafisa Muradova, Growth Marketing Director for Keller Williams, listens by “researching the market and business and consumer trends.” Most people do this each new season, but Nafisa makes it “a continual process throughout the year.” She builds personas of her audience, including “age, gender, education, key information sources, goals, values, challenges and pain points” to understand “exactly what they are thinking and want in each stage of their purchase journey” — from awareness to evaluation to conversion.
Second, I loved this piece of advice from Advertising Expert at Elumynt and digital marketing master William Harris. He recommended I set up separate landing pages for high-traffic, low-converting ad platforms like Snapchat — to keep them from tainting other channels.
“Snapchat ads convert very poorly, bringing down your conversion metrics that you report back to Google and Facebook. This can hurt other paid efforts you’re doing. One of the ways to get around this is to set up a page specific to the Snapchat traffic.”
#41: find out your competitor’s Conversion rates
Direct response marketing coach Zane Bacic showed me a sweet CRO tool called Convertri. As he told me, it’s a “little-known yet ridiculously fast page and funnel building software that actually lets you replicate any web page on the net in under 10 seconds.” So you can “copy and model other people’s high converting landing pages and make them your own.”
In other words, if I wanted to build a competitor product to shared kitchen space startup PilotWorks and wanted to see how well the funnel on their website converts, I could just copy it with Convertri, throw Hotjar funnel analysis on it, and run some traffic to the site with Facebook ads.
Caveat: use this hack fairly and cautiously. As much as we do it, marketers don’t like people copying them.
That said, I couldn’t help but put my gray hat on and think of combining this hack with Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO’s incredible “back button” hack.
Dan ran an incredible test where, when organic visitors from Google clicked the “Back” button from his website, it actually took them to a cache’d version of the SERPs. Each link on his fake SERP went to a cache’d version of those websites. Dejan could then test which site had the highest conversion rates.
Diabolical. And it caused a lot of criticism from the digital marketing community. So again, proceed with caution here.
That said, we could easily recreate this experiment with Convertri, copying and hosting the Google SERPs and competitor funnels on our own server.
#42: never guess again which Product feature to fix next
“Set them up to appear when someone is about exit the page without converting. Ask them why they didn’t want to convert today. Collect the responses and categorize them into themes. Base your ENTIRE conversion rate optimization process around those themes.”
Totally agree with this, and I’d recommend OptinMonster to run these exit pop surveys.
It’s amazing how few responses you need to get a really accurate view of the problems with your landing pages. You can see this in Hotjar’s Sample Size Calculator. For example, if you have 10,000 users, you only need 262 poll responses to say with 90% accuracy what should be improved. With that feedback, you could make a strong case during my teams’ collaborative ICE scoring sessions.
One last thing — for all popups on your website, A/B test them to see which message gets the highest conversion rate.
First, I would like to thank you for reading my book, and I hope these hacks bring you as much growth and success as they’ve brought me! ☀️
I would not have finished my marathon, this book, or anything else without support from my amazing partner, Tash Jamieson. After initially trying to talk me out of attempting my first marathon with only one week of training, once she realized I wasn’t giving up the idea, she dutifully stepped in and became my personal trainer. She made sure I ate and drank all the right stuff and ran the right amount leading up to the day. Throughout the day of the race, she rushed around the city to make sure she could be there cheering me on at five different locations. After each run, she beat the knots and lactic acid out of my legs with her bare hands. ❤️
I’d also like to share my appreciation for all the amazing growth marketers and gurus I followed and talked to while putting this guide together. I’d like to thank Dave Gerhardt and all of Drift; Gary Vaynerchuck; Simon Sinek of Start with Why; Rich Akers; Steven McKinney; Shaun Rein; Dan O’Kavage; John Jonas from OnlineJobs.ph; Marco Fernandez from Achain; Alex Erin from LinkedHelper; Andy Hoar from Forbes; Andy Raskin; Jared Codling; James Grandstaff; Brian Fisher from Kinetic Social; Nancy Taylor from VIPKID; Andy Hsu, Brian Zhang, and Robert Feng from Facebook; Sahil Patel from Digiday; Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights; Karola Karlson from AdEspresso; John Kim from WhatRunsWhere; Larry Kim from MobileMonkey; Rachman Blake; Anand Arivukkarasu from Facebook’s Product Growth Team; Jason Swenk; Eric Siu from SingleGrain; Ayesha Hilton from BlossomSuccess.com; Richard Bennett, Marketing Director for RenCare; Alex Moses from TeleApps; amazing growth guru Neil Patel; Daniel Chapman from GitHub; UI expert Matt Hammond; SEO and social media wunderkind Ann Smarty; SEO and influencer marketing legend Joe Sinkwitz; Will Tang at Going Awesome Places; David Schneider from NinjaOutreach; Ahrefs content marketing whiz Tim Soulo; Stephan Spencer from Marketing Speak; CRO god Peep Laja; digital marketing overlord Ryan Deiss; Nicolas Matieu; Daniel Boltinsky; god of growth Sujan Patel; SEO Specialist & Entrepreneur for Savvy Creations Airon Rodrigues; Growth Marketing Manager for Meitu Angela Li; my ad angels at VIPKID, Carina Wang and Amy Zheng; Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist; CRO and product marketing expert Daniel Roffman; The Godfather of growth hacking, Sean Ellis; Growth Marketer Susanne Henriksson Bird; Head of Growth for NoiseAware, Christine Saba; digital recruiter Tom Mason; Growth Marketing Director for Keller Williams, Nafisa Muradova; Advertising Expert at Elumynt and digital marketing master William Harris; Direct response marketing coach Zane Bacic; Dan Petrovic from Dejan SEO; and HubSpot growth marketer Ben Ratner. 💪