One growth channel at a time
As marketers we’re creative. We want to experiment and try out all the great ideas coming to our minds. Especially, when these ideas seem innovative.
Depending on our experience, we may be familiar with quite a few channels: paid advertising, content marketing, outbound, referrals and virality.
But our goal is not to do what we like or feel comfortable with. Our goal is to drive sustainable growth for our startup as fast as possible.
If you want to nail a channel and acquire high quality customers massively, you need to focus. You need to spend all your energy to a single thing.
When I work on a single channel, I see some great benefits:
- I focus on one thing all day long and thinking of that all day long.
- I become a master at it. Wax on, wax off. It might become repetitive at times but, in the end it’s worth it.
- I’m learning faster by reading articles around that specific channel.
- It’s easier to find experts and ask for tips and advice. Just choose a topic and search on Clarity.
- It’s the only way I can see if this channel will work for me or not.
If you do a bit of everything, chances are that you’ll be mediocre at everything.
If you want to grow, all you need is to find a channel and make it work.
Not 2 or 3. Just 1.
In the SaaStr podcast, Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer mentions that one of they key successes to growing their company, is that they completely focused on content.
The first year Buffer launched, Leo and Joel were writing content every single day. They didn’t try any other marketing channel. OrAt least they didn’t focus on more channels. They just did some experiments and tests.
Crew is a marketplace for hiring creative freelancers. They leverage another channel known as “sideprojects” or “engineering as marketing.”
So, what is a sideproject? Well, is another product/website that your ideal customer would love to use for free.
My favorite example is How Much To Make An App. Crew built it because their audience is searching of how much an app costs. It’s their #2 referral source and 25% of project submissions comes from there.
They focused and replicated it with:
How to choose it
1. Take a step back and think of the 19 available traction channels, Justin Mares and Weinberg mention in their book “Traction”.
2. Choose 1–2 channels.
3. Come up with lots of experiments around this channel and prioritize. Then take a deep breathe and execute like a pro. This is the secret sauce. Really. If you have the skills to focus on one thing, simple or complex and nail it, then most probably you’ll succeed.
I’m saying most probably, because you can’t take growth for granted.
Without a focus, however, it’s certain you will fail.
When to choose the one
Day 1. Test 2–3 channels early on and then focus on one soon enough.
The best advice I ever took
Your team tells you to try a new idea. Your marketer friends tell you something else. Your advisors may have another idea. Your investors another one. And Medium is filled with articles about how someone “grew his startup by 100x”.
Boom! You’re thinking “Hell, yeah, I’ll try this!” It happens to me all the time. And if you get overwhelmed, you’re screwed. I’ve been there many times.
So, how can you get this thing out of the way?
I learned this million-dollar question from Sujan Patel, and since then it guides my decisions.
It’s goldmine. Trust me.
Before executing any marketing tactic or testing a new channel, ask yourself and your team:
Can this bring us 50 or 100 new customers a month?
We’re an early stage SaaS company, so for us 50–100 new paying customers is not bad. Find the threshold that’s meaningful for your company and take the decision based on that.
Of course, there are more factors you should take into account, like the effort needed, your experience on that channel, etc. But for me, this is the most important thing.
That was the lesson I learned this week 🤗
Get my notes on a monthly basis
Each month I’ll be sending one email wrapping up my favorite and most important lessons learned. It would be great to join my journey!
or send it to a friend who is a founder or growth marketer 😋
Truly yours 🙌,
If you want to help me start sharing my lessons learned, all I need is some love 🤗 . Just hit 💙 to recommend my posts.
Savvas is a product and growth guy. Now, co-founder & CEO of Viral Loops, a viral and referral marketing platform for startups and small businesses. Previously VP Growth at GrowthRocks.