brandoncmatthewsbrandoncmatthews To Morph Into a Dangerous Growth Hacking Monster?]]>Brandon Matthews, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Tell your family you dropped out of Stanford to become a growth hacker...
What in the world is growth hacking?
First, let’s understand what “growth hacking” is… Buehler? Anyone? I know it’s a term that’s been around for a while, but it’s new to my marketing tool chest.
It sounds like something you’d whisper and find the Men In Black dudes come storming into your office.
Simply put, growth hacking is growing your business using “out of the box” thinking. It’s adapting to new, untested strategies that will frighten logical thinkers.
Growth hackers care more about what has to be done (ex: increase sales) than how it gets done (ex: viral social campaign).
QUORA: Sean Ellis (the Godfather of growth hacking) says that a “growth hacker’s true north is growth”.
Some people also refer to it as “agile marketing”. Instead of using a methodical, drawn out marketing strategy, agile marketing is light and adaptable. If a campaign isn’t working, there’s no sense in being stubborn about it. Find another solution. Keep making adjustments until it’s successful.
It sounds simple and it is in theory.
The first significant case study in growth hacking takes us back to the late 1990s. Two co-workers formed Hotmail. Within six months they had one million users. Within a year, they had 12 million.
Considering at the time, only 70 million people used the internet, their email tool captured almost 20% of the entire audience in one year.
Ditching the conventional business model can be scary. But the rewards can mean an exponential increase in sales.
Growth Devil describes it as: “Growth hacking is basically a way that very small or brand-new companies use analytical tools to analyze who is using their product, and how, and then relentlessly pursue growth for their businesses.”
It’s a combination of marketing creativity and engineering analytics.
Who should use growth hacking?
It’s ideal for startups with small budgets. E-commerce is replacing brick and mortar shops as we know it. Fighting for online space and notoriety is more important than ever.
How can you stand out over so many similar companies with almost no money to spend? First, you need a great product. One that people can come to trust and recommend.
Outside of the late 1970s, when the Pet Rock exploded, it’s hard to think of scenarios where a bad product contributed to a successful growth hack.
If your product is rock solid (no pun intended), the fun part begins. It’s crucial to know your target audience, so that you can figure out creative ways to grab their attention.
It’s also essential for B2B and B2C marketers. Growth hacking attracts more potential customers into your marketing funnel and convert them later in the sales cycle.
Methods of growth hacking
Remember, just because you try to implement one of these strategies, doesn’t mean it’ll work! These are just some examples that have. The main takeaway from growth hacking is to constantly be learning and experimenting.
Copying someone else’s campaign isn’t going to mean overnight success. Don’t be afraid of that blank whiteboard! Throw up as many horrible ideas as you can think of.
Open those creative floodgates.
Here are some that changed the growth hacking landscape:
“Product itself as distribution channel”: Dropbox mastered this. Every time you refer a friend to Dropbox, you get more storage for your account. Dropbox wins because they get more customers. You win for gaining more storage on your account.
Other examples are Uber and Lyft. They provide you a personal referral code. Every time you refer a user, you get a Uber/Lyft credit to your account. Simple and effective for both parties.
“Technology based solutions”: Airbnb knew tons of their users would post on Craigslist. How did they solve that? They reverse engineered Craigslist’s site so that Airbnb hosts could post directly on it. Win-win for Airbnb and its users.
YouTube turned the “embed” button into a global phenomenon. Now, hundreds of millions of videos are watched and shared across every platform in existence.
“User creation based solutions”: Twitter went from a no-name company to a household brand. It took them a while to find their groove, however. They had a ton of users sign up, but then never came back to use the site. They regrouped and came up with the genius idea to force users to “follow” ten people when they signed up. Now, the user finds people they are personally interested in and are more likely to return.
“Search based solutions”: LinkedIn made a simple discovery that helped them grow to over 200 million users. They allowed their profiles to be public, so that if you searched for someone on Google, their LinkedIn profile shows up. Prior to that, a name search would yield irrelevant results.
Growth hacking isn't formulaic. It's quite the opposite.
Ask yourself this: what can I do for my business that my competitors haven’t done before?
Now that we understand how to hack the growth mainframe, let's go out and do it. I promise the feds won't come knock down your door.
QB Summit Memorial Day Victory]]>Brandon Matthews, 08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000
While most Americans fired up the BBQ and had a relaxing long weekend… A group of elite QBs gathered in Dana Point to put in work. Get a valuable head start on the competition.
The tone was set on Friday night as campers trickled in from all over the country for a “voluntary” workout. Everyone showed up.
QB Summit is lead by Jordan Palmer and his luminary Devin Quinn. The coaches have a recipe for success that can apply to a quarterback from any level. If you soak up the knowledge given to you, there is no doubt you will leave this camp better than when you came.
Don’t let the lush beach house, throwing sessions on the sand, or yoga with an ocean view fool you. These are tools that give a QB a variety of training methods and a glimpse at what a poised demeanor can provide.
Look no further than recent NFL 1st round pick Deshaun Watson. He came out west after hoisting college football’s grand prize humble with a burning desire to the be the best. All spring Watson was training with QB Summit honing his craft. Coaches Palmer and Quinn prepped Deshaun with surgical precision as to what to expect from NFL teams on and off the field.
The Summit knew before NFL GMs that Watson would rise from his 2nd-3rd round grade into the top 15. And he did. Make no mistake, Watson is a special player that will succeed on shear talent.
But, QB Summit helped him harness that ferocity. Focus on eliminating small weaknesses and turn him into a dynamic field general.
Jordan Palmer draws from a wealth of experience during his college and NFL career. He has an exceptional understanding of the position and prides himself in mastering every intricacy on becoming a great QB.
Devin Quinn has an infectious, energetic personality. He continues to grow everyday as a coach and players respond to his instruction with great enthusiasm. His coaching future is bright.
Together they are methodically building an empire in Southern California. Quarterbacks from every level around the country are taking notice.
I heard more than one QB say, “I learned more in these three days than I have in my whole career.” If that isn’t a testament to the Summit program, I don’t know what is.
College Campers
Mike Fafaul was thrust into the spotlight at UCLA after Josh Rosen’s injury. He stepped up for the Bruins and became a bright spot in college football last season. His journey isn’t over as he tries to catch on to an NFL team this summer. It’s a joy to watch him work out. He has a cannon. Great footwork. He displays great leadership. He isn’t afraid to jump in and help out a 7th grade athlete with encouragement and ways to improve.
Josh Allen is Wyoming’s QB. He generated quite a buzz after last season. He threw for 3,200 yards and 28 TDs. It didn’t take long to see why NFL scouts are drooling over his potential. He is every bit of the 6’5”, 230 pounds he’s listed at. His ball travels 50 yards with the flick of a wrist. The most effortless delivery I’ve ever seen. He’s going to light up scoreboards this fall.
Sam Darnold is the poster boy for the upcoming season. He graces every article, magazine and website devoted to college football. And… he couldn’t care less about it. Sam is unique in the sense that he is as down to earth as they come. But, boy can he sling it. His work ethic is evident from the second he puts his cleats on. Quiet. Humble. When he receives instruction, it’s immediately adopted on the next rep.
Jarrett Stidham lit up the end of the 2015 season at Baylor. When it was apparent he’d be passed over, he decided to sit out a year and transfer to Auburn. Coaches and fans will remember real quick this fall. He is silky smooth. Can make all the throws with his eyes closed. His balance and consistency are near-perfect. He makes it look easy. Watch him start to shoot up draft boards once the season starts.
High School Campers
There were plenty of national elite high school QBs on hand for this weekend's camp.
They are hungry, dedicated and eager to have the torch passed to them. All of them have been to multiple QB Summit camps and their future is bright.
Keep an eye out for these rising gunslingers. The next wave of field general talent.
Here were a few standouts of the weekend:
- J.T. Daniels
- Shane Illingworth
- Tyler Lenhart
- Cade McNamara
- Jack Tuttle
- Brevin White
It was a dreamy SoCal weekend. Dana Hills High School overlooks the Pacific Ocean. A calm ocean breeze moves the tops of the palm trees. It would be easy to throw the camp into cruise control and take these kids through the motions.
But QB Summit doesn’t buy into those gimmicks. They’re out to have fun, but having fun is working your tail off and walking away a better QB than when you got here.
You might know where the Summit is... But do you have the blue-collar mentality to join an exclusive fraternity to reach the top?
Only you know what’s inside of you.
4 Reasons Your Brand Needs Influencer Marketing]]>Brandon Matthews, 01 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Jay Baer offers mind-blowing advice: “True influence drives action, not just awareness.”
People trust influencers more than brands! If your best friend tells you about something you are more likely to believe it than if you get hit with a random Facebook ad.
As social media continues to thrive, there are increasing opportunities to capture new customers online.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat combined gives your brand direct access to over two billion people.
Almost 90% of influencers write a blog. One best practice is to send an influencer free products in exchange for a review on their blog. Bloggers are also active across many online platforms.
What Is A Social Influencer?
You may have noticed “web” celebs that endorse products to their followers. These “social influencers” have become paramount to businesses looking to increase their revenue. It’s like having an extra player on the field.
Targeting the right one can give your brand or product direct access to hundreds of thousands of potential customers.
A recent Twitter study shows that 40% of users have made a purchase based on a tweet from a social influencer. A tweet from the brand and social influencer increased sales 5.7x.
Target Audience
Works best for the younger, aged 13-24 demographic. They take their influencers seriously. Variety shows that 8 in 10 of the most influential people for teen audiences are YouTube stars.
That number keeps growing every year, pushing traditional celebrities further down the list. The only people my age would recognize in the top 10 are Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. The rest are internet sensations that people born before 2000 won’t have any idea who they are.
But if it’s food related, don’t count out the increasing number of middle-aged women flocking to social media. Since social media followers “opt-in”, they are an engaged audience. It’s not the same as using a billboard or TV commercial.
Almost half of all internet shoppers use an ad blocker. Even when those pesky ads slip through the cracks, no one appreciates them. Those days are O-V-E-R.
Shear Size
Brands are spending over a $1B per year to have influencers market their goods.
That number will double by 2019.
And why wouldn’t it? An eMarketer study showed companies made $6.85 for every $1 spent using a social influencer. Retail and apparel yields over $10!
Navigating the social media sea can be a daunting task to say the least. Thankfully you are not alone.
There are companies like TopRank Marketing [insert URL], TapInfluence [insert URL], Influence & Co. [insert URL], and Terakeet [insert URL] specialize in helping your brand team with influencers that are perfect fits. They have the benefit of being able to approach, value and assist in the early stages of partnership. They decrease the cost per post because they know what to pay influencers.
The Internet Mavens
An influencer can command $50 to the top ones charging $500K per post! The average amount of followers a paid promoter has is 32,000 according to Media Kix. Micro-influencers (10,000 to 90,000) have almost double the percentage of “likes” and “comments” on social media. They are worth looking into for small to medium sized companies.
Beware of fake followers! It’s a form of fraud on social media accounts that inflates a person’s engagement rate.
Influencers are tight-knit groups. 88% of them tell other influencers about products they use. Ever seen how many Crossfit athletes use FitTea?
Even better news for brands is that 72% of them will share the product with NO contractual agreement.
Free advertising!
Best Practices
Make sure you know your target audience. Don’t have a teenage skater IG hero repping a new gluten-free workout bar. The clearer the message, the better your odds are of conversion.
It’s important to let the influencer create the content, not YOU. Otherwise, it will look like what it is… an ad. It needs to feel natural and authentic to have the most impact.
Choose someone on the rise. It will be cheaper and you can “grow” with them. If you have a half a million clams lying around, by all means, go chase Ariana Grande. But paying someone $100 that is considered the go-to spokesperson in their respective industry will go a lot farther.
As with all campaigns track and analyze. Determine your KPI’s before the campaign starts. The data will be more meaningful that way. If the numbers are popping off the page, continue to hammer away. If they don’t feel right, tweak the campaign until your brand is printing money.
Have a great product! And go scale those sales!
Are Hashtag Heavy Posts Doomed?]]>Brandon Matthews, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000
Has hashtag mania hit its peak? Not by a longshot… American Express just launched a way to PAY for a product by responding to a hashtagged tweet.
History of the Hashtag
Hashtags are used throughout social media platforms as a means for users to locate specific topics based on the use of a “#”.
The phrase was coined by Google developer Chris Messina in 2007, with this tweet:
His techie colleagues shunned the idea at first. Said it would never work.
Then came a fire in San Diego in 2008. The term “hashtag” gave victims, firefighters and onlookers a live glimpse at what was happening in real time.
A few years later, it was added to the dictionary, along with another cultural revolution, the “selfie”. We’ll tackle that some other time...
Hashtags became a social media avalanche for users to browse messages and tweets by precise events, ideas or subject matter. The precise term is called “meta blogging”.
Use it for comedy, sarcasm, or to be serious. They are a fun way to showcase your personality in milliseconds.
Today’s Use
Today, Twitter reports news … faster than the news does! Hashtags are a primary reason for that.
Remember when Seal Team Six caught Osama Bin Laden? That infamous tweet about a helicopter circling by.
When a significant event occurs, Twitter is the first to know about it.
Every local news station this side of Bozeman, Montana have their own hashtag. It allows them to connect and engage with nearby audiences. It also allows people to contribute to stories.
Global hashtags, like #jesuischarlie after the Paris attacks, become a way for people to unite against a cause.
They offer lighter, more humorous reasons too. #Harambe.
Some people like it. Others don’t. I find it funny that my 97-year old great grandma knows what a hashtag is. So does my 6-year old niece.
Do the math. That is a 91-year gap! The “hashtag campaign” can be seen as wildly successful.
But is it nearing an end? As the social media giant's (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) change their algorithms, will hashtags be overlooked?
Future Use
Let’s take a look at how each platform uses hashtags:
Instagram maxes out at 30 hashtags. Studies show that the use of 7 hashtags gets the most engagement.Twitter recommends using no more than 2 hashtags per tweet.Facebook recommends not using hashtags at all! Studies show posts containing zero hashtags get almost twice the engagement as ones that do. Zuck has steered clear of the social phenomena.
LinkedIn recently starting using hashtags again. Keywords are a higher priority to them.
Here are the social media best hashtag practices per DialogFeed.
You can use apps like Sprout Social or Simply Measured to track various hashtags. They have basic or in-depth reports on single and multiple hashtags. They also offer an extremely useful tool that suggests what time of day to post when using certain hashtags.
Just like in SEO, research and use relevant keywords and convert them to hashtags in your post.
Keep up to date with social media algorithm changes. Everyone is subject to them. Don’t get left in the dust! For example, Instagram banned #photography for being “too boring”.
But, the days of slamming 20 hashtags per post are long gone. The platforms see this as spam. Be efficient, relevant, creative and economical with them. Experiment with different ones to see how they perform.
Add CTAs to posts. But don’t come off sounding like a TV ad. Users will not appreciate it and neither will Instagram.
Instagram and Twitter (forget Facebook, they don’t even use them!) used to have a chronological order with hashtags. They have made a change to show the top results of the “most popular”. So your clever tweet about the newest episode of the Bachelor will be overshadowed by Kim Kardashian’s. Don’t blame me!
Brands must be careful. Not every hashtag campaign ends in internet glory. They are uncontrollable and can have a mind of their own so to speak.
Look what happened when McDonald’s launched #McDStories…
... Ouch.
HubSpot has created a genius list of 7 Hilarious Twitter Brand Hashtagging Fails.
Embrace them. They are here to stay, whether they annoy you or not.
For all the negative publicity they receive, they are far too useful.
If you are thinking of using them for your business, conduct a “best case-worst case” scenario. Don’t be the next #McDStories!!!
Few words have been added to the dictionary only to be removed down the line.
Feel free to hunt me down on any of the social media platforms #AskBAnything.
How A Free Trial Can Launch Your Revenue To Mars]]>Brandon Matthews, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000
We all love free samples. Every last one of us.
(Note: The Atlantic wrote a whole article about it.)
Some people make a prosperous career out of Costco’s complimentary food spread. I’ve strolled past the chimichangas a few times more than I’d care to admit. Even Bill Gates smiles at a free mini pizza bagel.
Do we always buy the tandoori chicken we just chowed down? Sometimes, but not always. We will try something if there is no obligation. If we only had the option of buying it before trying it, the chances become slimmer we make the purchase.
When it comes to business, the same rules apply. The word “free” has a magical ability to lower people’s guards. They become less suspicious and more curious.
Freebie Fun
The analytics prove it works best for offline services. People come into your store or subscribe to your service. Use the product. Fall in love with it. The trial ends, but now a funny thing happens. They can’t live without it!
It’s much easier for Blue Apron or local Crossfit or $2 Dollar Shave Club to convince you to “change your lifestyle”. The customer gets accustomed to it.
The free trial brings them through the doors. The profound love of the company keeps them around.
Let’s put online services, which are trickier, under the microscope.
Does giving your SaaS (software as a service) away for free work? If the answer is yes, what timeframe should it be? Does it convert better than a “money back guarantee?”
Paper or Plastic?
For argument’s sake, let’s give our users a 14 day free trial period.
The next biggest question is whether or not you should require credit card information before allowing the download.
Totango conducted an experiment with 100 SaaS companies about requiring credit card information up front or not. Not requiring credit card info for a trial produced better results.
It reinforces higher engagement, which is the primary goal! There is less friction, so it gets more people into the top of the marketing funnel.
If you don’t gather credit card info, be sure to have an aggressive plan to keep in touch after the trial ends.
Communicate during and after the trial period is over. Developing a lead nurturing campaign is paramount.
It’s just as important to send emails to the customer during the trial. It gives them a reminder of the date and to use it.
It also gives you a chance to address any problems or concerns they might be having.
A couple pro tips: provide a discount code for signing up early, or extend the free offer when it’s about to expire. It can provide the user more time to get comfortable with the product.
If you choose to require a credit card, make sure the terms and use of your product are crystal clear. Set up recurring payment. At the end of the trial period, the person is automatically transitioned into a customer. They will billed every month until they cancel themselves. These are successful. They work with low-cost softwares.
Success Story
Let’s examine a case where a free trial skyrocketed revenue.
Everyone has heard of the ecommerce store Shopify. They have been able to dominate their competition the past few years.
It all started with an upfront, no frills free 14-day trial. It helped them change the ecommerce landscape.
Shopify grew their revenue 10x in 3 years. Now they possess over 175,000 monthly users. A monster growth in numbers.
They have the best customer service and lead nurturing emails in the game. I own a Shopify ecommerce store Tropical Terrors. They do a masterful job eliminating potential objections.
Experiment! You can either obtain a lot of business or learn a valuable lesson to help your business grow. Don’t be afraid to give your product away for free. It’s a great chance to kick off a relationship with a potential buyer.
According to a Quora study, it takes 40 days to achieve an 80% SaaS trial conversion rate.
Every business will be different.
Some argue that people don’t need a month to determine if they like something. They will make up their minds much quicker. Others would say there is no harm in giving a potential customer 30 days if that’s what it takes to convert them.
Make customer service THE top priority. Handle every objection imaginable. Solve problems with grace and in a timely manner.
Thank you Costco for giving us the foundation of a flawless business model.
Is Podcast Advertising Grossly Undervalued?]]>Brandon Matthews, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000
From 2008 to 2015, the number of Americans tuning into podcasts more than doubled!
To the point where there are almost 70M people listening each month. And that staggering number is on the rise...
According to an Edison Research study, 60% of Americans over the age of 12 know what a podcast is. More than 40% have listened to one within the last month.
People around the country are ditching commercial-heavy, traditional radio for ad-light shows that target specific interests. I'm a huge fan of podcasts. I haven't tuned into an AM or FM dial in years!
The average listener has a median income of $75,000. Meaning you can put your product in front of people with disposable income.
As a marketer, there is a golden opportunity to get your product in front of a massive, engaged audience... at a very low cost.
How Do Podcasting Ads Work?
If you haven't heard of a podcast, it's a great way to pass time while learning something of value. You can find a solid podcast on anything. Topics range from sports to film to cooking to comedy to James Bond geeks.
If you have a laptop and a voice, you can be the next Joe Rogan.
Not every podcast if a flush revenue-producing machine.
Typically, a host won't be able to command the use of ads until around 20,000 monthly downloads. That may seem like a lot, until you remember there are almost 70M monthly downloads.
There are three main types of podcast ads:
Pre-roll: a 15 second ad at the beginning of a podcast.Mid-roll: a 45 second (more expensive) ad in the middle of the podcast.Outro-roll: a 10-15 second ad at the end of the podcast.
Outro-rolls are the least popular because the listener can tune out. They do offer a chance a good value if budget is a concern.
Pre-roll are the most common. A show's host will read them. Or the business supplies a taped version. That's an important factor to consider making the plunge.
Mid-roll are the priciest because they are in the meat of the show, when the audience and conversation is the most engaged.
The high-level podcasts have between 2-4 ads per show. There are a lot of chances to get your brands name out there.
Advertising Pricing Method
Advertisers have 3 main methods to pay for play:
Cost Per Mille (CPM): Digital marketers will recognize this term. The price is determined by "per thousand" listens. According to Entrepreneur On Fire, the average CPM for a 15-second pre-roll is $18. A 60-second mid-roll is $25 per CPM. Example: it would cost $180 for a 15-second spot on a show with 10,000 listeners. Not bad!
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): The price to acquire one customer. You pay the host when a listener from the podcast buys directly from your business. The price on this method ranges on the cost of your products or services.
Freely Negotiated Price: The most common for newer, smaller podcasts. It usually doesn't make sense for an advertiser to spend money on a show with less than 20,000 downloads per episode, but hey, it's not an exact science. It could make sense to "grow" your business with the show.
Starting with a smaller, but promising, podcast can allow the business and the host to benefit. Remember to target a specific audience that would buy your product.
If you are selling surf trunks, go find an action sports podcast to spread the good word about your awesome company.
Another beauty of podcasts, is that people will go back to listen to older shows. You will get your ad to more ears than you paid for. Nothing is better than "free" advertising.
Take advantage of the low barriers of entry. Prices will only rise. If you have a few marketing bucks laying around, test it out.
You might like what you find.
And if you want to be on the other side of the microphone, don't let anything stop you. Here is a fantastic video on how simple it is to use GarageBand: