How to scale a startup in an emerging channel

NEXT Canada
Jan 20 · 2 min read

A tactical approach to growth by Emily Lonetto, Head of Growth at Voiceflow

In all honesty, growth in an emerging channel is hard. It’s really, really hard. This makes goal setting, an open feedback loop, and a willingness to experiment crucial components of our growth strategy.

The first step to defining KPIs when there aren’t any to benchmark against is communicating effectively as a leadership team and listening to your collective gut about what you believe to be North Star metrics or things that will help your venture grow.

At Voiceflow, we took this step then worked backwards: looking at our pre-existing metrics, plugging into our community for active feedback, and developing campaigns and channels that both complemented and challenged our hypotheses. Using this experimental framework, we’re able to actively test and communicate new ways to grow, while measuring its direct impact on both our user base and company goals.

A big thing we’ve really been going through, which I think is very topical right now, is the transition from trying to build a tool “anyone” can use to honing in on our ideal target market and how it fits in with a “freemium” model.

This was a crucial step that allowed us to prove traction by:

  1. Testing user growth
  2. Analyzing what those audiences look like to understand our targets
  3. Figuring out if we can regularly attribute this data to certain channels

In a lot of cases, we’ve been very fortunate enough to grow through organic word of mouth community. It’s been extremely inspiring to see what some of those interactions look like, whether its seeing VF communities pop up around the world or tuning in via social/our facebook group. At our growth stage, its extremely important to be tuned in to both the quantitative and qualitative side of the business. With our community — we’re able to do just that.

Now that we’ve experimented with growing our free user base, 2020 is about figuring out what our MRR and LTV can look like. As we move into the new year, our focus for growth shifts toward converting ‘casual users’ to ‘power users’, and individuals into teams. This focus on retention and creating a multi-player experience for our creators is a huge reason why we launched real-time collaboration earlier this month.

Learn more from Emily and Voiceflow’s CEO and Co-founder Braden Ream on episode 7 of LaunchPod.

At NEXT, we’re on a mission to build a nation of ambitious, lifelong entrepreneurs. We deliver 4 programs: Next 36, NextAI, Next Founders and NextED.

NEXT Canada

Written by

At NEXT, we’re on a mission to build a nation of ambitious, lifelong entrepreneurs. We deliver 4 programs: Next 36, NextAI, Next Founders and NextED.

NEXT Canada

At NEXT, we’re on a mission to build a nation of ambitious, lifelong entrepreneurs. We deliver 4 programs: Next 36, NextAI, Next Founders and NextED.

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