Last week, tripchi attended the Boston Growth Hacker’s monthly meetup, featuring guest speaker David Skok. David writes a blog for entrepreneurs and startups on topics such as viral marketing, SaaS metrics, building a sales and marketing machine, techniques for lowering cost of customer acquisition, etc. His blog can be found here.
One of the first things David discussed was Hubspot’s Website Grader – enter your URL and it ranks your website in terms of SEO and then it tells you what you’ve done wrong if you’ve gotten a low score. Check out the screen grab.
This tool, due to its sheer utility, spread virally. The lesson, then, is that a free tool that is valuable drives viral spread. It must be:
- Easy to use from the customer perspective.
- Have a trigger. Here, the score action is a trigger. Nobody in America likes to get a low score – so this is a great motivator to do something about it and trigger some action. Even my site didn’t get such a high score, so I am immediately incentivized to take action and do something about it (I still haven’t, but I promise I will!).
- Provide value. The high value delivered actually built credibility for Hubspot so they immediately looked like a professional firm with a trusted reputation.
This is the definition of growth hacking – using engineering for marketing. More on this from David blog: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/lessons-learnt-viral-marketing/.
Here’s a another example of how to drive traffic to your website by giving away something free that has value for people. Sysomos has a database to drive web traffic, and they leveraged their database to create blog posts with data on topics of current interest. Their time-frame happened to correspond with the Iran elections and Twitter growth – content with hard data about the Iranian elections that they published was consequently picked up by various news outlets and made front page news. In this case, Sysomos was able to get article placements in the Economist and New York Times, which then led to web traffic to read the full report, which led to leads, as people were impressed by the capabilities of the software.
According to Gail Goodman (Board of Hubspot) – you need to define what your time is to “Wow!” This is the moment your customer is willing to move forward with you, the point you have demonstrated value to your customer and he or she has bought in to the system. The question is, how long does it take to get your customer here? How many steps? How much time does it take? How much friction is involved? The next step is to remove steps in this process and remove friction. For example, providing sample data instead of requiring customers to load their own will lower these barriers. Here we must analyze the trial steps as though they were funnel steps:
SEO analysis -> Write 1st blog post (high fall-off rate here) -> announce with social media -> watch traffic increase -> WOW
Lesson 1: Don’t put a sign-up or form before giving them value. Give them value first. This is not certainly not what we’re being told by Marketing Automation experts and companies like Pardot (as an aside, I went to a B2B Marketing Automation conference at the Hynes Convention Center earlier this year and heard Matt Sweezey hammer home why you always need to form protect collateral).
Lesson 2. Add virality to your product. Customer first sees your app, tries it, creates/sees info that they want to share, creates invitation, looks up addresses, and sends, friend receives info + invite to join friend decides to take a look, back to step 1. See graphic at right the the viral loop.
Furthermore, Hubspot came up with the CHI score – customer happiness index (which tripchi happens to love, considering the name coincidence 🙂 ). The correlation between the chi score and churn however, isn’t always great. How do you solve the churn problem? You generate negative revenue churn by taking the current customers that are staying with you and finding ways of making more money out of them to make up for the one’s you’re losing. Check out David blog for more on this, and look at this graphic:
How to improve the CHI score? Most startups today go for feature marketing.
Lesson 3. Don’t go for feature marketing, because it’s all about the business value that you provide. Learn it. Know it, Quantify it. Message it. Look at Salesforce.com. It has expressly defined the outcome from using its product (increase win rates by 26% when you use Sales Cloud”).
As this applies to my startup, tripchi – I’m trying to figure out ways I can better quantify how tripchi can help consumers save time or money at the airport, while helping brands increase sales. Stay tuned for an infographic I’m building on this.
Finally, remember that unfortunately, like most things, the benefits of SEO decline over time, so while there may be high value in the first 90 days, the stickiness is not likely to last. If you can put valuable data into the system that grows over time, and then make this part of a regular daily, or weekly, work flow, you can build in value over time that increases stickiness.
So, what is your business value? Once you’ve figured that out, ensure the product delivers this value in a quantifiable way. And, always measure the increase/change from the baseline, and be able to effectively communicate this value back to customers in a meaningful way, such as through a quarterly email.
Note: While there were other great speakers following David at this event, my laptop died so I wasn’t able to take good notes. However, I did capture this ROTFLOL moment shared by Clément Cazalot, co-founder & CEO at docTrackr:
Thanks for the humor, Clément!