Bullseye Framework: point, shoot and iterate

The Internet is booming and, while that happens, new channels arise. As our audience evolves, it becomes harder to reach our target and narrow our focus. Should we invest time in social media? Is it better to sponsor an offline event? How do we know what works for our company? The answer is: we don’t, at least, until we test.

The Bullseye Framework, by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, authors of “Traction“, is a process that helps us focus efforts to figure distributions channels that actually work. We commonly say that, what Lean is to product development, Bullseye is to traction. While in Lean you try to understand which features you should build for your product, in Bullseye you figure and prioritize the channels for your business.

“Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution — not product — is the number one cause of failure. If you can get even a single distribution channel to work, you have great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished. So it’s worth the time to do the needed research to find the single best distribution channels for a startup.” Startup Runner

But how do we choose the best traction channels? From the nineteen identified channels, the guys from “Traction” challenge us to find the ones that have more potential. The idea is to eliminate the channels from the outer ring and bring the ones that make more sense to the inner ring. In the middle ring, we keep the channels that have potential and can be tested later.

Outer ring: brainstorm and bring all the possibilities

Bring all the ideas to the table. Results aren’t determined only by the channels you’re in, they also depend on the content or strategy you use. What you should do, then, is taking some time to think about each of the channels individually and come up with specific ideas for them. By the time you bring the ideas, you must make sure that your homework was done. Benchmark your competitors and see which strategies worked for them, be one of their clients or even test their user’s acquisition process to see their flaws. Doing so, you’ll eliminate your biases and get a view of the whole picture.

“Everyone starts off with biases. The outer ring is meant to help you systematically counteract your traction channel biases. It is important that you not dismiss any traction channel in this step. You should be able to think of at least one idea for every channel. In practice, a lot of founders mess up this step by not brainstorming long and deep enough to get useful ideas for each channel.” Gabriel Weinberg

Middle ring: rank, test and prioritize

The middle ring is an in-between area. Rank the nineteen channels you had based on your arguments and choose a maximum of six channels that’ll you put inside your middle ring. If your trial period is too short or if you don’t have the resources to fully test all the channels, choose a maximum of three channels.

Before you invest all your money in these channels, create small and cheap traction tests. Use a small part of your budget and see if your idea is good or not.

“You want to design smaller-scale tests that don’t require much up-front cost or effort. For example, run four Facebook ads versus forty. You should be able to get a rough idea of a channel’s effectiveness with at most a thousand dollars and a month of time. Often, it will be cheaper and shorter.” Gabriel Weinberg

Have in mind that different traction channels have different timings. While everything that has to do with ads, usually brings faster results, everything that is organic can take more time. What you can do, then, is using different channels to promote your main channel. For example, if you’re testing content marketing, you can use social media ou email to make people get to your content.

Inner ring: keep doing what’s working

In the inner ring, you’ll have the traction channel that worked better or the ones that were effective. These are your business core channels, with means, that you should invest your time creating a bulletproof strategy around them.

“The goal of this focusing step is quite simple: to wring every bit of traction out of your core channel. To do so, you will be continually experimenting to find out exactly how to optimize growth in this traction channel.” Gabriel Weinberg

For more information about the Bullseye Framework, I recommend you reading Gabriel’s post. If you want to share some ideas, please leave your feedback in the comment’s area.

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