Andrew Dumont is a technology executive and award-winning digital marketing leader with nearly 20 years of experience building, growing, and investing in startups.
Currently, Andrew serves as the CEO at Stamped, a software company that powers reviews and loyalty for e-commerce brands.
Previously, Andrew worked on the core team at betaworks, a startup studio that has invested in companies like Tumblr, Medium, and Kickstarter, and has created companies like Bitly, Giphy, and Chartbeat. This led him to his role as the CMO at Bitly, where he built and led the marketing and go-to-market functions.
→ Customer acquisition tactics
→ Using a help forum for SEO and long tail queries
→ Using calls to action on a help forum
→ Reverse engineering keywords and creating content to answer related questions
→ Importance of user experience and design in customer acquisition
→ Using social media for customer acquisition
→ Importance of tracking and testing in customer acquisition
→ Using influencers for customer acquisition
→ Importance of customer support in customer acquisition
→ Using strategic partnerships for customer acquisition
→ Importance of building a brand and reputation in customer acquisition
→ Using targeted advertising and retargeting for customer acquisition
→ Using content marketing and guest posting for customer acquisition
→ Importance of mobile optimization in customer acquisition
→ Using email marketing for customer acquisition
→ Using paid search and SEO for customer acquisition
→ Using events and tradeshows for customer acquisition
→ Using public relations for customer acquisition
→ Using referral programs for customer acquisition
→ Importance of data and analytics in customer acquisition
→ And a whole lot more
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV, Bronson Taylor. And today I have Andrew Dumont with us. Andrew, thanks for coming on the program.
Andrew: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Now, Andrew, you are the director of business development at Mars, formerly CEO Mars, and you’re also the co-founder of Stride. And before that, you spent some time at seismic to tango and I’m sure a few other places. Is that all sound about right?
Andrew: Yeah, that’s right.
Bronson: Yeah. And it seems like in each of those places, at least the last few, you’ve really been focused on growth. And as I kind of looked at some of your stuff that you put out online, you had this amazing list of 21 tactics that I came across of some of the things that you’ve done personally. Others that you’ve seen other companies do that kind of inspired you. But they’re all tactics for customer acquisition. So what I want to do is I just want to dig in to those 21 things that revolve around customer acquisition. Because if you ask any company, Hey, do you want to acquire more customers? The answer is probably yes.
Bronson: So, you know, let’s just give the people what they want. They want customers. Let’s give them customers.
Andrew: Andrew Sounds good.
Bronson: Sounds good. All right. So let’s start at the top. Your tactic, number one, f a cue for the long tail. So what does that mean?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, so. So being at Mars and formally comms CEO is obviously a topic that we, you know, we think a lot about. And a lot of people, you know, they have these these help forums online or they’re thinking about doing these help forums and they think about it purely from a, you know, will this help me with support? And the answer often, yes, Will, but there’s also a lot of SEO value to your health forum. And I think, you know, Neil Patel, who’s a good buddy of mine, he he does a great job of it with with crazy. So a lot of his topics that he has on the fake forum are actually geared towards people that could be searching things that are further along in the buying process or at least that mental state. So he actually uses a lot of the the structures to kind of target those queries. So those are all what we consider long tail queries, not your, you know, kind of standard keywords that you target for. So you have thank you for him is a great way to kind of target those long tail queries and make sure that you have good, good calls to action and to you plans and pricing which with Neil does a great job of. And so yeah, I think it’s something that people don’t really utilize too much for customer acquisition, but it’s actually a really, really powerful tool and I’ve seen that with Stride and at mods as well.
Bronson: Yeah. And you said even putting call to action on there. So you mean on the fact you actually have a, you know, sign up here or get a free trial here and don’t leave those things off of it just because it’s an AQ.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, a lot of people, I mean, like I said, when, when they’re looking for things like let’s let’s use crazy idea as an example, you know, if people are looking for, you know, how, you know, how can I optimize my website using confetti mapping or
whatever it may be, right? Like those things, those are people that are looking for a service like that, right? So making sure that when they visit that page, they have the option to sign up and check out your product to help with that. Yeah, it’s something people don’t think about too much.
Bronson: Yeah. And one of the things that kind of reverse engineer is if you’re riding in traffic, you think about what kinds of questions you might type into Google if you were in search of a product like crazy or whatever. Yeah. And then kind of reverse engineer from there, then come up with questions you can answer that will be chopped with those keywords, right?
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And you know, I think a big piece of that, too, is making sure you use the right platform as well. You know, I think that’s driving use user voice. I think Neil, actually his is kind of a homebrewed solution. But, you know, make sure that they allow you to customize the URL structure and an animated description and title tag and that sort of stuff. Most do. But yeah, that’s that’s important when looking at the platform.
Bronson: Yeah. Let me ask you this kind of big picture with growth, because you’ve seen the numbers behind the scenes at Mars. You’ve seen the numbers behind the scenes. It’s tried. And the more companies you see behind the scenes of, the better. You just have a grasp on how growth actually works. Does long tail tail really matter? I mean, is it that the long tail is just a few percentage points of growth or are we talking substantial enough here to move the needle?
Andrew: No, it’s it’s substantial. I mean, if you look at it on pure traffic. So I think the reason why a lot of people kind of discredit long tail is because it’s a smaller number. Right. The you know, your large keywords are obviously gonna get more traffic, but the thing that people don’t realize about long tail stuff is it’s actually much higher quality in a lot of cases. You know, the further you query gets, the more, the more the further along that person is along down the buying process. So it’s a way of kind of qualifying customers a little bit more. So yes, it’s very significant. And I know it’s it’s something that we see a lot of growth from and we actually target a lot with our product.
Bronson: Yeah. You know, it’s so interesting you say that that they’re further along the buying process. We’re going to interview the managing editor of Huffington Post here in a couple of days. And I was doing some research on their site. I went to their Alexa page just to kind of see where their trap is coming from. And they get like 1% of their traffic, which is pretty huge from the word Miley Cyrus.
Andrew: There it is. So that’s long.
Bronson: Tail. Long tail, you know. So you’re right. It’s pretty crazy. The second thing is manual outreach to the first customers. Break that down for us. What do you mean there?
Andrew: Yeah. So I know at stride when we initially launch, right. Your your initial customers are the ones that are going to help provide word of mouth and help you basically vet and mature your product to a point where it’s ready for, you know, for a larger customer base. Right. So and I know initially at stride when we got our first 100 customers, we reached out to each one individually. And I’m not talking about like a can response email, I’m talking about like actually researching into who the person is, what they do, you know, how they could potentially be using stride and then reach out to them and and ask for their feedback as if this thing that I think things that we can help with just getting that personal touch with the first hundred customers goes a really, really long way. And that’s great, you know, if your product is really, really small. But I was I was using MailChimp a few months back and they do a great job of doing this kind of on a larger scale. So when you send a a campaign, I got this email newsletter that said, you know, claim your free, free gift. And, you know, MailChimp has thousands and thousands of subscribers. And it struck me as like very personal as and something that they’re doing to go the extra mile to make sure that their customers are happy, even if it can’t be a manual outreach. And so things like that where you’re optimizing for the happiness of your current customers is something that, you know, a lot of people don’t really focus on. They focus on growth as acquiring new customers and not necessarily keeping current customers really, really happy. So I think, you.
Bronson: Know, that’s a great point. And, you know, the first hundred customers, they’re important in ways that people don’t realize because they’re going to set the tone for everything else after them. They really are going to decide the style of the community, the culture of the community, the needs of the community, the features the community, ask where like they really are going to set in some senses the direction of your startup, whether you know it or not. So to cultivate them or become friends with them and do whatever you can to serve them, it’s more than marketing. Like it really is going to be a part of what your start up becomes, right?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. And I actually saw a thread on Hacker News today saying that it costs five times more to acquire a customer than it does to. I’m not sure if you saw that thread this morning.
Andrew: Very timely.
Bronson: My wife has an MBA and I remember her learning that in her MBA class, you know, ten years ago. There you go. So it’s a tried and true thing.
Andrew: You know, there is value to an MBA. I don’t know.
Bronson: That she has the MBA, but I’m doing growth out of TV so you can see where they end up. Yet the third thing is partner distributions. And you have an incredible post on this one on the Malls blog, if I’m correct on that. They talk to us about partner distributions and and what you guys have experience there firsthand.
Andrew: Yeah. So, so especially for software companies, this works amazingly, amazingly well. So are you able to link to folks to that blog post? I can’t even the numbers. Okay, cool. So that post kind of digs into we’ve been doing called partner distributions for about two years now. And so far it has it’s accounted for over 10,000 free trials with credit card upfront. So it’s a huge number. And you know, it’s basically the concept is pretty simple. So it’s going to, you know, startup accelerators and other software companies, you know, folks like that, and essentially offering a longer free trial on your product. So, you know, we partner with, let’s see, the Global Excel Accelerator Network to offer 90 days free of Mars instead of the traditional 30 days. It adds a little bit of extra incentive for people to sign up and it provides value kind of to the partner to distribute that to their to their members and companies in the case of an accelerator. And so it’s a great, very simple way of getting your product out there and, you know, helping other partners and building relationships with other companies. And it’s a significant number. And it’s still you know, I think the thing is, a lot of people don’t really consider it because it’s so simple, you know, and there’s not enough value in necessarily provide it back to the partner, which is why on Mars we have a page that kind of features some of our partners as well. So we give them some code from our air come our loved back. So yeah, it’s a really powerful channel and definitely read through that post. I think, you know, there’s a lot of digging into the numbers in terms of churn and how much it cost to acquire them. I mean, it’s a $0 acquisition cost channel at the end of the day, which is amazing to get that many free trials from it.
Bronson: You know, in the the Excel spreadsheet that you have on there, that was actually, I think one of the most important things about the post me I was able to look at my own numbers and compare it to Maus, which is hard to do. A lot of people don’t expose our numbers like that. So I was like, All right, like I see kind of how we’re tracking alongside a company I respect. And one of the things that you address in that is people ask, is the churn higher because they’re getting this long trial? Are they just looking for freebies? Do they cancel before they’re. A car gets hit and the answer was no. Their turn was actually better off. If I remember correctly.
Andrew: Well, the answer was initially the entire. Right. So the first one or two months of being a paying subscriber or higher. And I think a lot of that is to do with fraudulent cards and that sort of stuff, which naturally get churned out over time. But after that initial period of the first two months, three months, it treads very nicely with the organic free trials, which tend to hold on pretty well. So yeah.
Bronson: No, that’s great. Another thing you do is you track competitor mentions, what tools do you use to do that and then what do you do with that information?
Andrew: Yeah, you know, not to dogfood too much.
Bronson: That’s all right. That’s all I have you on.
Andrew: You know, so be it. So we were we launched this product called Fresh Web Explorer. And a lot of it, I use it to not only track competitor mentions. So and you know, this is the same function as Google Analytics or I’m sorry, Google Alerts or tools like that. So basically, I’m just looking at things like, you know, where am I competitor’s mentioned? And when they are mentioned, typically it’s a post about, you know, in strides case, you know, a simple CRM product or something like that, right? When oftentimes it would be valuable for me to, you know, alert that editor or that writer or add something in the comments about what we were working on. So it’s a great to find where competitors are being mentioned as well as like topic specific stuff. Right. I want to know whenever there’s a new blog post about a simple CRM or, you know, customer tracking or whatever it may be, right? Like those are all topics that I’m interested in that are all very good opportunities for you to reach out to the editor and try to get a similar, you know, news news article on your product specifically. So, yeah, it’s just a way of kind of like making the web smaller, right? And yeah, knowing when things happen.
Bronson: And sometimes it’s easier to piggyback on an existing conversation than trying to create one from nothing. It’s hard to get a journalist to write about you, but if they’re already written about your industry and you have something of value to add, it’s not that far of a stretch for them to go ahead and say something else, such as, Somebody’s got to keep in mind your one here is the double loop referral program, obviously made incredibly famous by Dropbox. Let me ask you, you know, I’ve heard people say, oh, we should do those other people say it only works for Dropbox and you’re not them. Well, where do you land on that?
Andrew: Well, so I land in it is a good growth tactic for people to to try out and test. It’s going to vary a lot by the company. And you know, obviously Dropbox works really well, right? Because it’s a consumer product and it’s storage. Everybody wants more storage, right? Like it’s something very natural to their product. At Mars, we, we do something similar, but it’s not quite as successful. But it’s, you know, it’s a significant channel for us. So typically what we do is if you refer somebody to Mars and we give you a discount on your subscription and that discount gets larger and larger the more that you refer. So it’s it’s a significant channel. It’s not huge, but I think it’s just something people shouldn’t discredited. You know, it works.
Bronson: In a lot of times growth is, you know, you’re going to have a few channels maybe that bring in the lion’s share. But then, you know, 20% we made up of 50 different things.
Andrew: Right. Exactly.
Bronson: So, you know, you can’t ignore all these little bitty things, especially if you can implement them once and they are kind of evergreen. They’re always going to be brilliant and doing what they do. You know, what’s it hurt to spend a couple of days in development, put them in the place, and then they’re just there as a part of your arsenal that everything doesn’t have to be an absolute game changer, right?
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. It’s all this kind of flywheel approach, right? It’s it’s a slow building thing that as you keep adding more tactics to it, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. So the number. It gets larger and larger and larger. Right. Like you said, there’s only yes, there’s only three or four channels in most likely it’s the 8020 rule that you do a lot of the growth for you. But those smaller ancillary channels are actually really, really important.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, this next tactic I like a lot, not because people don’t know about it, but because they don’t do it.
Andrew: Yeah, they.
Bronson: Help a reporter out. How do people use that? How should they use that?
Andrew: Well, you know, it’s it’s less it’s less good. Now, I know it’s not very just you know, the more people started to know about Haro and it’s it’s become less, you know, lower quality than than it once was back in the day. But, you know, so what I’ve done, actually, with my hero is because you get like three or four a day, something crazy like that. And we all know that we have we don’t have enough time in the day to go through three or four emails with these, you know, tons of prompts. And so what I’ve done actually is I’ve used Gmail filters to filter out these new hero emails based on mentioning of certain keywords that I want. So that’s a good way to kind of sift down your your hero emails to just the things that are actionable to you or the topics that you could add value to. But it’s a great tactic. Yeah. I mean, I think I mean, that’s how I got that article in the Wall Street Journal. You know, there’s countless others of things like that that have come from Hero. So it’s still a good channel if. Not as good as it as it once was. But if you can filter it out and kind of pick and choose the ones you want to respond to, the better off you’ll be.
Bronson: Yeah, I know. That’s great insight into how to use it effectively. Your seventh thing here is having a verified program and a lot of times I think a verified program. So I think about Twitter. You know, you’re a verified user. I think of these huge monster companies. And I don’t even think it’s a strategy like for us. So how would somebody use a verified program?
Andrew: Yeah, well, I mean, it has to be exclusive, right, for it to be valuable. And I think the big value here is the value, to be honest with you. And I’m not sure if that’s what Twitter is going for. I doubt it. But I think, you know, when you get to, you know, companies the size of Mars and smaller, you know, you need to find ways to get good links back to you and get your brand exposed to a lot of people. And so for us, we do a similar verified program with our recommended companies list, which are just consultants that we we think are good that we endorse as Mars, which I think for a company that’s on that list, it’s pretty valuable for them to have that stamp of approval from us. So, you know, there needs to be good reason for people to want to, you know, embed a badge or anything like that. But it’s something worth exploring. I think the key to it is getting an exclusive and making making it valuable. People aren’t just going to put a badge on their site for something that doesn’t mean anything.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve actually played around that idea for growth out of TV and I don’t know if will do it or not. Having a page of like, Hey, here’s some verified partners, some agencies that we trust to do growth hacking. If you’re looking to outsource some of it and then they have badges on their site, we display them prominently on our site to give them traffic and new clients. Then I can imagine a scenario there where it’s kind of a win win. I don’t know if we’ll do it, but, you know, it’s somewhere like it’s one of those many, many long tail.
Andrew: It’s a small yeah, yeah.
Bronson: You know, and yeah.
Andrew: Like you’re not going to put that up and see, oh my gosh, my company grew, you know, 100% of this is not going to happen.
Bronson: But, you know, yeah, that’s the thing, too, is that, you know, if you were to look at my to do list right now, I have so many possible growth hacks and I know they’ll each bring in a few accounts. Like I know that, you know, I can do them all. I don’t think none of them will fail totally, but none of them to be like huge successes. It really is just a matter of time. You just there’s a lot of hours in the day to do everything exactly less. You work through it, you add to your arsenal. And then three years goes by and all of a sudden you’ve built a pretty hefty machine one day at a time.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly right.
Bronson: So the next one here is social prospecting. Is that just kind of looking at Twitter or seeing what people are mentioning, this old school? Look at what’s going on in the social networks.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. And I think I think the key that people are still actually up with this, which is is kind of surprising to me. But, you know, a lot of people when some mentions, you know, I’ll just keep going on strike because it’s simple, you know, like simple CRM, right? Somebody mentions that on Twitter. A lot of people, they just respond back, hey, check out our site. Right. Like, that’s that’s not the goal of social prospecting. I think the goal is to provide value to them, not necessarily recommend your product. You could recommend your product as well as your competitors. But truly trying to be helpful there, I think is the key to it. Nobody wants to be spammed with links to, you know, promotional links, right. When they mention a keyword, it’s just it’s not good. And so people still people still mess up on that. But I think it’s a good way to kind of get your brand out there and and kind of evolve your industry or function.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, I learned that the hard way a couple products ago. You know, every time there’s a mention, I try to pitch them a link to our site. Yeah. And then eventually people were replying like, Look, we’ll find out about you for good.
Andrew: Exactly, exactly.
Bronson: So I learned the hard way. Like, it’s not how you go about it. Mm hmm. That’s good. The ninth one is video syndications. What do you mean by that?
Andrew: Yeah. So? So this one’s actually really, really cool. So if you create any video content at all, which this is probably good for you, but you have to work on that. Yeah, right. So we actually did something with Udemy, which is an online instructional type community, and they content on SEO and we obviously have a lot of that through our Whiteboard Fridays and various other video sorts of content and produce. So we work with them to basically pull together a course of our top SEO videos and offer it for free on Udemy. Now the value here and the growth hack part of this is that every time somebody signs up to take your course, you then have the ability to message your course attendees and which then can, you know, get them into other pieces of your community or, you know, point them to your product or whatever it may be. So it’s a great way of getting around to a much larger, larger audience outside of what you have on your blog, let’s say, or or website. And it gives you access to all these people, essentially an email. It’s essentially like an email list because these are all people that, you know, you can message them directly, which goes to their email address. So there’s a lot of platforms like Udemy. We’ve seen Udemy to perform the best and get the largest following, but it’s a great way to use existing content that you have to grow your audience.
Bronson: Yeah, in. It was funny when I was reading this post, we actually did the exact same thing on you. To me with the exact same success we would get. We uploaded ten free interviews that we wanted their people to have. We got over a thousand people to enroll in the course and it’s probably even much more now. Yeah. And you can sort messaging them by when they signed up. So first we message everybody after a week and then we give them a discount to rotate or TV, put a timeline on it. Hey, next 48 hours or something, you get, you know, a month free or whatever. And then we go back in a week and we sort it so that we’re only looking at the people that have not received an email yet, and we hit them. And so every week we log in and we hit the new people. That’s really.
Andrew: Smart. It’s really.
Bronson: Smart. I mean, we’ve gotten I don’t know the exact numbers. I could pull it up in our analytics because we track everything. But I mean, at least 50 new accounts. I mean, it’s been a good, you know, kind of source for us. And they’re staying around because they were super qualified to find it on Udemy. What that kind of content. And now we’re just giving them more of what they already won in the first place.
Andrew: Yeah, and that was really my key with this list was to find channels that don’t cost you any money. Right. If I have $0 to market my startup or company. Right. You need to find channels like this that you know. Yes, you’ve already produced this content. Now you just need to find another channel to put it on. Right. So yeah, it’s a great way to grow your audience without any any marketing budget.
Bronson: Yeah. And there’s a little bit of like the foundation of what you’re talking about there is important because it’s taking what you already have and repurposing it. You know, another thing is, you know, you know, you could take the rest of your content or I could take some my interviews, have them, you know, put in the transcript form, and it becomes a PDF that you can download for an email address. Yeah. You know, have somebody on Odesk create a slideshare out of it and then upload it. I mean there’s just so many ways you can take something that you’ve already put a lot of time and resources into and now find new channels for it that are in different mediums, maybe.
Bronson: Yeah. The next one here is comment marketing, is that you comments on blogs, things like that.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I don’t really want to cover this one too much. I think branded a branded a good way, a good job of explaining content marketing and explaining a way to do content marketing where it’s not spammy. I’m not I’m not a huge fan of content marketing, to be honest with you, but it’s a good tactic that you can employ when when you have the right opportunity. Right. But when it’s, when it’s a force thing, it’s not good. Yeah. So anyways, Rand’s video is a great, great source to watch to kind of figure out how to do that.
Bronson: We’ll leave it at that.
Bronson: And the next one is in-app sharing, which I’m a huge fan of. What do you mean by in-app sharing? What’s the opportunity that you’re taking advantage of there?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, you’re just you’re you’re you’re adding a gamification layer, which I hate that word, but it works. You add a gamification layer to your product, and you you make people feel good about achieving certain things within your product. And it gives you an opportunity to help or it gives you an opportunity and your users help promote your product. And so, for example, in stride when when a user wins a deal or closes a deal, we then send a notification with some cool phrase like, you know, like always be closing, you know, all that sort of stuff or whatever. But it’s a fun way to like adding a little bit of like, you know, personality to your product as well as providing a good channel to help, you know, your users from your product if they so you know, if they want to enforce. Great has an amazing job with this obviously I think a lot of people don’t think about it in the realm of software, but it’s very much applicable in software as well.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. And actually is an example of this. If you’re watching this video right now, when you get to the end of this video, it’s going to have a pop up that says, hey, you made it to the end of the video. You obviously enjoyed it. Click here to tweet it. And every day people are tweeting out videos from all the people they realize. I mean, if you could just watch our Twitter stream every day, all day tweets going out. Check out this interview. Check out that interview because I added one little button pop up the end of completing watching an episode. It was a simple little thing. And, you know, we get a good bit of traffic from Twitter. And so some of that’s going to be because of these tweets that are being shared. See, I totally agree there. The next one to actually also implement number 12 win backs. What’s a win back? I like that word. I’ve never heard it called that.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s what this is that we call it internally. So it’s especially true in software as a service type models. So when somebody cancels their account for whatever reason, you know, 60, 90 days after you basically come back to them with a basically like an extended free trial or a a discounted account or free for, you know, some sort of discount to them to make them want to come back and try your product again. It may be that you add new features as well, but it’s basically using the people that churn out and trying to get them back on. I mean, a lot of people with software products, once somebody turns, they don’t want to be a customer ever again. When a lot of times that’s that’s not really the case. Like in the in the case of Mars, you know, sometimes people cancel just because they don’t have enough new client or coming in and they need to cancel. Right. And that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be a customer again. And our our cancelation surveys very much echoed at that point as well. So yeah, so I went back that’s just an email once people cancel basically inviting. I could take another look with it.
Bronson: Yeah. And you mentioned the cancelation survey as well. Those are hugely important because it’s when they’re leaving. If you can get the insight into why you’re going to learn a lot about your product, because they already came. They were already converted. They already put a credit card on file. They drank the Kool-Aid and they need to leave. So whatever reason they left is going to be a huge insight that’s going to help you, you know, close that gap. And that’s one of the things we do is as soon as somebody cancels, we send on this really funny email. It’s just filled with personality. And it’s almost like I’m writing them a personal email because they broke up with me. I’m like, Hey, I just came into your office for bomb. The staff just told me that you canceled. I wasn’t really emotionally prepared for it. All I ask is that you give me some kind of feedback to help me improve the product. And I get people all the time emailing me and saying, Hey, I’m going to give you insight into, you know, what you can do to improve just because your email so funny and it makes your company likable. So here’s what I would say.
Andrew: Try to they say it’s it’s not you with me. Yeah.
Bronson: I’ve got to have a heart to all kinds of things. And it’s really funny when people don’t catch the sarcasm in it, they’re just like, wow, that is really weird that you made this big deal about. It’s not really valued. The next one is the customer thank you cards. And this is one that came on my radar in a new way. A couple of days ago. But how do you use customer thank you cards?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, pretty simple. Like we segment our customers on stride to the folks that have been around for a while. We don’t even segment by how much they’re spending with us. I don’t know. I think that’s kind of inauthentic to just segment it to the people that are paying you a lot of money. But yeah, I mean, literally, I sit down and my girlfriend helps me then God, because my handwriting doesn’t look anything like what’s in that post. And we just, you know, write a quick little note. It doesn’t have to be long and just saying, you know, thank you for being a customer. And what we’ve seen with tracking those people that we send cards to, they just they hang around longer. So, yeah, it’s it’s a pretty simple, you know, it takes time and it takes effort, but it’s a good place to spend your time because it helps with the word of mouth and it helps with retaining customers, which we know is very important. So when somebody gets.
Bronson: That handwritten note, I mean, no other software company is sending them a handwritten note in the next five years. So if you do, you’re the one that gets through that channel if they open it. And one thing I saw with this and is people actually created kind of an automated system so that when users reach a certain level, like you said, you didn’t really like, but when they reach a certain level, like they paid a certain amount or been around a certain number months, then it automatically sends their information to a VA. And the VA, the virtual assistant actually writes the notes, stamps it, mails it to them from the company. And then it’s, you know, and then people take pictures of it and post it online, this whole thing. So you can’t go that far with it if you wanted to.
Andrew: Yeah. And that’s much more scalable, right. Like that works for Australia because
we’re so small. Right? But as you get bigger, you need to find ways like that to make it more scalable. Yeah.
Bronson: And then the the number 14 is influencer program. So what do you have going on there?
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, this is pretty common to nothing nothing earth shattering here. But, you know, we acquired a company called Follower Wonk last year at Mars and it allows you to basically search for a certain term and then find top influencers in that based on whatever you want to measure. So, you know, just just finding the people in your space that are influential and important and typically set the trend for for new technology and new software and finding those people and building a relationship with them. And that’s really all it is. Yeah, we all know how to do that, but I think it’s finding the people that is really, really hard and follower. One can help with.
Bronson: That and one of their sign on a follower along. I don’t know if this has always been in there. Have you guys added recently? But the ability to type in to Twitter handles and then it shows you the overlap in your followers. Is that new?
Andrew: No, no, that’s been there for a while.
Bronson: Okay. I just didn’t see you before. That’s crazy helpful because I was, you know, thinking, all right, you know who has the same market as growth ad or TV? So I started thinking about people. Is it Andrew Chin is a Sean Ellis? Is it somebody else I’m not even thinking of? Yeah. So I did these and then I put it up and Andrew Chin, it’s like, wow, we have the exact same user really.
Bronson: Going to start looking at who’s following him. And, you know, I’m going to be doing something there.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, exactly right. That’s right. And, you know, it’s just getting, you know, finding those overlaps and kind of getting creative with, you know, because there’s a lot of data out there with social, you know, following.
Bronson: That’s how much data there is. People don’t.
Andrew: Know. There’s a ton.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. The next one is to tap into the viral loop. So what’s that?
Andrew: Yeah. So MailChimp obviously does a great job with this. With every time you send an email, you have the ability to add a monkey rewards badge, which is powered by MailChimp.
Andrew: Something. Yeah, right. Right. And it’s very low friction. You know, people would love, love getting discounts. So whenever it’s natural, I think it’s a great channel. Some products, it’s not natural like stride, it’s not natural at all. And there’s nothing that we do where we can put our brand on it to make it, I don’t know, to help grow the pie just doesn’t work, right. MailChimp It works really good. Mas It works decently well because people download PDFs to basically show and presentations and that sort of stuff of our data. So things like that. But yeah, just, just really analyzing a product to see, you know, what channel or what do you have that could potentially be used to help with the viral, viral loop? I don’t even know if that’s really what it’s called. That’s kind of just what I call it. But finding a way to put your brand as a part of your kind of network as people. People use your product naturally.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And in some cases, it would be technically a viral loop if you get a coefficient above, you know, one in other cases is just going to amplify your message, which is still good. Now the next one is guides and models has, you know, the models guide. So, you know, it’s beautifully done and all those things. And you actually released some numbers, I believe, about how well that guy has done in bringing inbound traffic and new signups. How important is that guide for you guys?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s it’s huge. It’s huge. Huge. Yeah. Like, I can’t even explain how huge it is, actually. And I, you know, I was curious of of how it would work for a different brand. So I actually did a beginner’s guide to Sales for Stride and it’s doing just as well too. And I think the traffic aside, the big the big key to doing it and the reason for doing guides is, one, you educate potential customers to become better customers, right? So for us, the more I see, oh, the better a customer they’re going to be. And we see that in all of our retention numbers. Right. The more people know SEO, more value to get on loss. Right. So it’s very crucial for us to be vacations people. And so that’s that’s the number one thing. The other thing, too, is search. So posted on our domain MCCOLM slash, beginning guide SEO. Right? And so every time somebody links to you to Beginner’s Guide to SEO, that builds up our domain to have more authority. So when we try to rank for other terms, we show up higher in the search results. And so it’s this it’s this mix of, you know, education and as well as long tail search stuff, as well as building the authority of your domain from from a search engine perspective. So, yeah, they’re huge. They’re really valuable. And we’re doing about more. They take a lot of time, they take a lot of resources, but they are totally worth it.
Bronson: Yeah, no, they do take a lot of time and resources. I wrote the definitive Guide to Growth Hacking with Neil Patel. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s 30,000 plus words. I mean, it’s a lot of investment. He spent a lot of money on the design of it. Well, but, you know, we’re both seeing dividends from it. So, yeah, guides are great. The next one is OEM deals. How what is OEM deals? And then how does it different than partnerships and things like that?
Andrew: Yeah, well, so I kind of bastardized that a little bit, but. So what does it.
Bronson: Mean to, you.
Andrew: Know, a traditional a traditional OEM is, you know, I’m a hardware manufacturer, I’m HP and a software product comes to me with a, you know, a new counter app that that they think would would add a lot more value to my life or I’m Evernote, right? And I go to HP and I say and actually ever not done a great job of doing this. And so they basically package that software product alongside that hardware product. So it as you get that laptop from HP, everyone is right there. As soon as you get the product right. So ingrained in your product into hardware products as a software company, it’s a really, really long term investment. It takes a ton of time and a lot of time and you won’t, you’ll fail, right? But it’s one of those things that, you know, I always like when I think about growth. I think a lot of these smaller, low investment things that I can continually do, and then I always like to have larger, low probability of succeeding type things that take a long time, but just those things going for six months to a year because every once in a while they actually go through and they work and they’re massive. And so I think it’s I think it’s a good mix and a good way to to have those larger scale things. Yeah. I mean, the bigger.
Bronson: You know, some of the ways that people have put it before on here is you always have higher short term growth strategies, your mid-term and in your long term. Long term, it’s a lot of investment. They may not work. You know, it’s you know, it’s a crapshoot the short term, you know, it’ll be a win, but in a small way. And you’re always kind of doing all three. And then again, over time, you look back and you’ve created a really powerful arsenal. Now the next one is product integrations. Is that similar OEM deals that the same idea or you know, in some.
Andrew: Business this is different. Yeah, this is different. So this is actually like integrating your product into the software products. And Salesforce is obviously the most one of the most well known with their average. Sure. Yeah. It’s just a way to obviously get your product more ingrained in the workflow of your customers. But also, you know, every time you do an integration into a Salesforce or Zendesk and that’s an opportunity to do some sort of promotion which and actually thankfully the guys at Hootsuite gave me some ideas on how new apps within Hootsuite do, and they see anywhere from 100 to 500 installs per day of applications in their app gallery because it’s fairly small scale. But so that’s a huge channel, right? And if you get 100 installs every single day, you know, some percentage of the Mac. They convert to customers and it’s a good growth channel.
Bronson: Yeah. And just to back up to make sure base clear on what we’re talking about there, these, you know, mid to midsize companies and larger companies, they have their own app stores, you know, the metal chips of the world and they’ll sales forces of the world. And you can be a part of their app store by integrating your product with theirs. So if your product has something to do with email, maybe you can get in the MailChimp store. MailChimp might promote you, and then you’re in the store, which is always going to be giving you kind of that evergreen traffic like you’re talking about in the installs. And then some percentage of those will upgrade to a paying account, and there’s a lot of those app stores popping up. We’ve focused so much on Apple and Google and their app stores that we really miss that app stores are becoming a thing that a lot of companies are doing, and we can really get embedded in those.
Andrew: Yes, exactly right. Thanks for it. Thanks for explaining. No, I didn’t explain that too well.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s good. And we’ve got we have a whole episode on this on growth out on TV and so people can go back in our archives and watch that. I’m trying to think of his name right now, but it’s escaping me. But he was from New Relic. So do a search on our site for New Relic and you’ll find a whole, you know, hour on someone who just executed this and has killed it. So it’s a good strategy. And that’s the thing to avoid all these strategies is, you know, sometimes you’ll try them, they’ll work, they won’t work. But really, if you go deep with any of them, there’s someone who’s an expert at all these and it just killed it and made a lot of new accounts off of it. So it’s really also about how skilled you are with each of these, how much you’re willing to invest them and those kind of things also. The next one is industry surveys and other. This is a cool one because I never really thought about it before, so talk to me about that.
Andrew: Yeah, I know. It’s it’s kind of it is kind of weird, you know, I didn’t really get a good word as a growth. Yeah, I don’t really think about it as a growth channel initially, but just think about it this way, right? If you become the the source for anything related to your industry, right? So for us at Moores, we we’ve done an industry survey for a year that basically, you know, gives the lay of the land, you know, how much our search market is getting paid. You know, what are they concerned about? What are their top tools? You know, all these things, right? All these data points if you become this or for that information and it’s really, really valuable. And then when people think search marketing or online marketing, they think of mass because of that. Right? So it’s a tough thing to grow. I’m sorry. It’s a tougher thing to measure than most of these other channels. But I think it’s one of those long term assessments that takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy, but it’s a huge brain and building sort of initiative that you can do.
Bronson: Yeah, no, that’s great. And I see companies that do it like Mars. I mean, you guys do it. Absolutely. But I never thought about it as something to imitate. And it’s thought it was like accidental. It happened over time. But they really think, oh, you can focus on being the front facing voice of an entire industry. And they come to you for their surveys and their white papers and they’re here and it’s new and trends and all that kind of stuff. And if you become a hub of that discussion, then obviously you’re going to get the spillover and counts are. We got two more tactics here. This has been awesome. Number 20, rally, the troops are. How do you rally the troops?
Andrew: Yeah. So that’s really a very good time for that. But so Guinea did this, which I was actually a huge fan of. They put together this thing called the Big Boulder Initiative, which was a coalition of sorts of people in this social data industry to very much a line of of the surveys. And but it’s it’s finding a cause you think is important to your industry and being the the basically the ringleader behind it and can extend a great job of this. Now every time I think social data I think in it. Right and so it’s on a much larger scale and I’m sorry, much smaller scale than, you know, the surveys, let’s say. But it’s a great way to build your brand in a certain space.
Bronson: Yeah, no, that’s great. And then the last one, there were 21 free standalone tools and this one’s gaining some momentum. Some people are really using this one and using it well. And what does it mean to produce a free standalone tool?
Andrew: Yeah, well, like Neil is doing an amazing job with Hey, I clicked out too. But you know, HubSpot, I think is famous for this. Mises is famous for this too. You know, we built tools. So HubSpot built the marketing rider, which you put in your domain and it sells you all this information and it also helps lead you into potentially realizing that you need HubSpot. That’s right. So it’s a very natural way of providing value right away, as well as getting people aware of the value your product provides. And the important part is, I mean, for free, actually, and a lot of people try to put a paid, you know, paid cover over these when a lot but not the point at the point is to educate people as well as show them value and direct them to your paid products. So yeah, yeah. They’re getting a lot of a lot of steam recently.
Bronson: Yeah. And you know, that’s the things at the end about making them free. That’s really important because what’s really insightful about this is they’re producing something that’s worth money, but it’s free and that’s why they’re getting so much traffic, you know, the marketing greater that’s worth something. You know, the stuff that Neil’s putting out with, you know, analytics that’s free, you know, like his iPhone app or Google Analytics. Yeah, it could cost money and somebody would pay it. But by giving away free, you get into a funnel. To charge them for a more expensive product down the line is just really smart, high level jujitsu, marketing, you know, people are, you know, they’re not there yet, but it’s like you said, it’s picking up steam and the smart companies are doing it. Yeah.
Andrew: Go ahead. Sorry. And it’s realizing what your breadwinner is, right? Like if HubSpot bread winner is honestly HubSpot. Right. It’s not going to be this marketing great. Right? So it’s taking a loss on marketing, greater in sacrifice or, you know, getting people to your bread winner product.
Bronson: Yeah. Well, you mentioned the word loss there is. No. And this goes back to traditional marketing. You know, Wal-Mart, you know, come Black Friday will have loss leaders. They’ll give you, you know, a thousand TV for $10 or something, you know, some crazy deal that you can’t pass up. But then you get to the store and they know probably down to a penny on average how much more you’re going to spend because you went in the store to get the loss leader. So they lost on the leading sell to make it back on you, buying a bunch of toilet paper and a bunch of other things that you didn’t know you were going to get when you were in there. Same idea. This marketing greater. It’s free. You’re not making anything, but they know they’re going to make it back because their yearly subscription to HubSpot, I think now cost about an
arm and a leg.
Andrew: So yeah.
Bronson: They’re going to go back. Yeah.
Bronson: Right. So this has been awesome. I have some a few kind of final questions here to kind of wrap it up. Higher level questions. You know, Mars seems to be on the cutting edge of growth in a lot of different ways. You know, you guys know a lot about SEO, but you know a lot about other stuff, too. So I think that’s why you drop the SEO because you’re becoming a leader in growth just period. What trends or ideas are you all kind of obsessing about right now that you think might be the next big thing in growth that has your attention?
Andrew: Well, so I don’t know. It’s maybe a might be a big thing. I mean, I think it’s already becoming a big thing in growth. But if you look at the list of of these 21 tactics, none of them are paid advertising. Right. And there still is a lot of merit to paid advertising. And it’s still a great growth channel with retargeting and social ads and that sort of stuff. But I think the big trend and this is something that’s been going on for a long time, but it’s now just starting to really get steam. Is that earned media and earned marketing, which are content production and SEO, social media marketing, you know, PR, that sort of stuff, all the channels, those are the things that are really going to pay the highest dividends to you. So I think the big trend we’re seeing right now in online marketing is much more of a concern, a shift towards the marketing and earn marketing type of channels rather than paid specifically.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great insight. And then, you know, whether it’s been your time at Moores or your time has dried or any of the companies before that. What have you learned about growth that surprised you? You didn’t think it would work that way, and it does.
Andrew: So I think the most surprising thing is that that growth to me is very much like in the acting, in startups or even in public publicly traded companies like you don’t know where the channel is going to work. And even though it may work great for some other company and some other person, it’s really just taking bets and trying to find a new marketing trend before it hits the mainstream. Because what you’ll notice in a lot of these is that over time they’ve gotten lower and lower quality and as more people start doing it right. So I think what’s been surprising is just the like you have to be very aware of new things that are going on and being able and willing to adapt and implement them when they still are new and unproven. Right. So yeah, I think it’s just this constant battle of testing and analyzing and basically counting your losses and figuring out which which channels are most powerful for you and focusing on those. So yeah, it’s interesting.
Bronson: Yeah. Well, Andrew, this has been an awesome interview. One last question I asked this August. What’s the best advice you have for any startup that’s trying to grow?
Andrew: I’ve got. That’s a problem.
Bronson: All right, I’ll leave embarrassing this. Go anywhere with it. Well.
Andrew: I’ll go. Go with the theme from this pick. Pick your favorite five of these that you haven’t done before. Work and just try and really invest in them. Take the time. Don’t have to really put your time into them and give them a real shot and see where they don’t work. Then move to the next fight, right? So constantly be willing to try new things and put in the effort into it to really give the channel a real test. So I guess hopefully that’s helpful.
Bronson: Absolutely. That’s great advice then on Andrew. Thank you so much for coming on Growth after TV.
Andrew: Yeah, thank you.
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