Jamie is the founder of Lookcraft, and in this interview we discuss how to make a long signup funnel work, why emails should be viewed like landing pages, and how understanding your growth channels fundamentally shapes your business.
→ What is Secret San Fransisco
→ His strategy applied to growing this Facebook group
→ His ways to drove down the customer acquisition cost with little craft
→ How to make long signup funnel work
→ Why emails should be viewed like landing pages
→ His advice for any startup just trying to grow
→ What are the things he likes to do with those drip emails
→ How understanding his growth channels fundamentally shapes his business
→ And a whole lot more
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Jamie Quint with us. Jamie, thanks for coming on the program. Yeah, of.
Jamie: Course. Glad to be here.
Bronson: Yeah, I think, you know, because of your experiences with growth, we’re going to able to talk about some really cool things. So let me tell people about you a little bit before we jump in. You’re a Y Combinator alum. You were the founder of Secret San Francisco, which you eventually sold. You were a product manager for of growth at Swipe Lee. And you’re currently the founder of Look Craft. So let’s kind of start there at the beginning and work our way through it a little bit. So secret San Francisco was a Facebook group that you grew to over 70,000 people in 2010 before you sold it.
Bronson: First, what is secret San Francisco?
Jamie: Oh, there was just a.
Jamie: Facebook group at the time when Facebook groups were relatively.
Jamie: And we it was just kind of like a side project site idea where, you know, we wanted to create this group around or we’d groups that had grown relatively fast in like local areas around certain things. And so we wanted to just test this idea and it was basically people just sharing cool things that they found to do around the city.
Bronson: Yeah. So, you know, even though this is a growth hacker TV, you can answer this next one honestly. Was there any strategy at all applied to growing this Facebook group or did you just like happen?
Jamie: Yeah. So I think the the name was somewhat deliberate.
Jamie: And so that was kind of a newsfeed optimization where at the time that was pretty big in the Facebook. Facebook strategies change like monthly. So obviously this was just for that point in time, you get a lot of exposure in the newsfeed with groups and the name was just compelling. And so we, we kind of launched it and the name kind of drove it because once five of your friends signed up, then you’re like, it would show five of your friends join Secret San Francisco and you’re like a secret like, what’s that? So I think that drove a lot of the growth. And then we actually tried to replicate it in different cities and weren’t able to. So to that extent and I’m. You know, I think it was fairly lucky, but I think the real thing that drove it was having an initial like tight network of people, which I had in San Francisco, but I didn’t have anywhere else. And another guy I know started one called Secret London, and he had a network of people in Secret London in London. And it basically did the same thing. So it was that kind of like initial network effect that kind of caused the growth of all of that.
Bronson: Yeah. So have an initial network to start with and a clever name that piques people’s curiosity. Do you think those two tactics would apply to other startups or other businesses, or did it just happen to apply to Facebook groups at that time?
Jamie: I think it happened.
Jamie: To apply to Facebook groups at that time. I think there’s always these kind of sorts of opportunities that are transient and exist for a short period of time. Especially like when Facebook makes like policy changes that they release, kind of like new methods of growth. And you’ve seen that with a ton of startups and grew really fast using those strategies, like it was social games for a while and then it was these kind of like video startups like Social Cam or Vidi or what have you, that grew from like zero to tens of millions of users in a period of months. And so that exists sometimes, but it’s not. You know, you’re betting it all on Facebook at that point, basically.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, I think it’s a great point you bring up. Is that a lot of growth hacking? A lot of growth is being ready for the opportunity, not necessarily pre-planning on the opportunity. You just have to be aware and be ready when it presents itself and have the skill set to take advantage of it, because it’s hard to know what’s going to open up in the Facebook platform or what’s going to shut down or what’s going to change. But if your mindset is right, you’ll be ready for it when it does happen. Now, you were also the lead of growth at Swipe Lee. So tell us about Swipe a little a little bit. What was that?
Jamie: So I really started out as a company where the product was a social network around sharing your purchases online. Now it’s a company that has shifted significantly away from that and is what they call a payment marketing platform that provides basically better merchant services for small women sized businesses. And they’re they’re doing quite well now, processing, I think, over over $750 million in payments here. But when I joined, it was still small. It was like six or seven people. And we were focused on building out the social product and kind of gaining traction for that. And so it was very consumer focused and so I worked on a lot of consumer focused initiatives around growth there.
Bronson: Yeah. So what would be some examples of consumer focused initiatives that you worked on?
Jamie: Yeah. So I mean.
Jamie: It ranges from trying to.
Jamie: Basically all.
Jamie: Across the board. So okay, you want to improve, sign up flow. How do we do that? You know, we eventually got to. Around like 40 to 45% of people hitting the landing pages that were signing up and giving us their email address through like a series of optimizations and then working on how to further engage those customers to eventually get them to like connect their payment information so they can share purchases. And then at the end of my time there, it even included basically doing. Like test marketing around different value propositions to determine help determine what direction the company should move in based on like what value propositions different consumers are responding to. It’s almost like marketing as a form of market research.
Bronson: Gotcha. Now, you mentioned, you know, two things that are kind of getting people to give you the email when they hit the home page and then also getting them to, you know, engage with you and eventually have a credit card on file. And we’ll talk about funnels a lot more a minute when we go into look craft, this is going to be some really interesting stuff there. But what were maybe some of the main things you learned about getting that email address of I think you said 45% of people that hit the homepage or something there. Yeah. Insanely high. Yeah. That was the thing you did. And then what do you do to engage them after that? So I think.
Jamie: The first thing to point out is like it’s always important across everything to understand what is good and what is not good in terms of performance. And so I try and do this now when I’m doing any sort of like paid advertising or anything, I’ll talk to a whole bunch of people and be like, Is this like I’m converting a 1%? Is this 1% like direct.
Jamie: Good or.
Jamie: This signup.
Jamie: Funnels converting at 20%? Is that good compared to what you’re seeing? Because what we did initially was we had a sign up funnel or like a sign up process that we’re converting it like three or 4%. We’re like, Oh, this is this is great. This is amazing. And then we talked to a lot more people and they’re like, No, that’s not good. This should be converting it at least like 40%. And so then we kind of went back to the drawing board and tried a whole bunch of stuff until we kind of got to that point.
Jamie: But the, the.
Jamie: Kind of main point is like, unless you know what constitutes good performance, you’re never going to get there because, you know, you may be at the top or you may not be, but if you don’t know, then you don’t know whether it’s worth spending more time not.
Bronson: Bringing it outside. Consultant that told you that or where did you guys learn that?
Jamie: I mean, it was through like consultants or like basically just other people that have worked a lot on growth before.
Bronson: Yeah. What would you recommend for our audience here? Because, you know, they may not have access to consultants or the budget to afford one to the email somebody in a similar space but not a competitor and be like, hey, we’re converting this flow with this percent. What do you think? Yeah. Ideas. So there is like publicly.
Jamie: Available information for a lot of stuff like for email. Like MailChimp publishes a bunch of comps on what people see for click through and open rates for you know, by vertical. And I think even their list is is somewhat low because you’re seeing like the average of like a lot of people or is that people are like really good are probably going out I’m that in every category.
Jamie: I mean it’s a lot of just networking or talking to people you know, I don’t know if you’ve had him on your show, but Dan Martell from clarity. Clarity. So clarity is can be super useful if you use it. Right. I’m like, I’m on there. I know allows a lot of other of the people that you’ve had on your show I think are actually on there too. And so like, that’s one way to do it.
Jamie: And then just, you know, you don’t.
Jamie: Need to talk to someone who’s necessarily like the top, top expert. You just need to talk to someone who’s had a fair amount of experience and seen a lot of things. And there’s a lot of resources online as far as on click through rate goes for paid advertising conversion and stuff like that.
Bronson: So those are great ideas. I never really thought about using clarity in that kind of way, but it makes a lot of sense and that’s even a good thing if you’re going to make it clear to call like real true questions ahead of time that you really want to hit on. And one of them might be, Hey, is this conversion good or bad in your experience? And if you, you know, go in, you can make a 30 minute phone conversation, you know, get a lot of value out of it. And that’s something that any startup can really afford. So, you know, that was kind of what you did to, you know, learn about what’s possible. What did you do after that to engage those people and try to get credit cards on file and get them doing more than just signing up? Was there anything specific there that you you take away on?
Jamie: So not to be too specific to that like one project. There’s like a lot of things you can do. Obviously, like once you have email, email, super important. And so making sure you have like your drip email campaigns and stuff that’s set up correctly. Customer IO is really good for this, kind of like a cheaper kind of more startup level at like the high end. When you get in a bigger company, you’ll see people using stuff like Marketo and like those more finance tools, but basically making sure that you have your onboarding email set up correctly. You’re like engaging the customer with more information. Like, Oh, here’s like a137, you know, 1430 date, you know, after sign up with like more information really important in those emails to have a single call to action, which is like the next thing you want them to do. So a lot of times people can.
Jamie: Get distracted and, you know, have an.
Jamie: Email that’s like, here’s like the.
Jamie: Different things you can do on the site. And then like people get like halfway down, they’re like, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do and then they leave. So email is a super powerful, powerful channel.
Jamie: And then. In addition, now I’m.
Jamie: Like, retargeting has performed very well for people, especially Facebook. Retargeting now is kind of the new hot thing. It’s very cheap, especially considering like you’re retargeting people who have already been to your site. You tend to show ads to people who have been there and not done something you want that you want them to do or not purchased or whatever, and then exclude people that have already purchased. And you can pay something like a $1 like maybe even sub $1 CPM for that. And so when you’re talking about something that you could spend $20 on and get it like a ton of value out of, that’s probably like one of the best things you could do.
Jamie: I think those are kind of like almost the two main channels now. Now is on email plus retargeting.
Bronson: Yeah. Well, let me ask you about the drip campaigns you mentioned that are second to go. You mentioned something real quick, which is you have your one, three, seven, 15, 30 day drip. I know what you mean by that. Well, let’s break it down a little bit. So basically you’re saying that, you know, the first day they sign up, they get an email, that’s the day one email, and then a couple of days goes by using them another email and then, you know, maybe a week goes by them, another one. And those are just the timeline based emails that everyone’s going to get at certain intervals after signing. Yep. Is there a best practice there? I mean, I know you mentioned those numbers. One, three. I mean, is there something you follow is kind of like your days out that you send things?
Jamie: I don’t really have, like, empirical data to suggest that, like a certain pattern of days is better than, like, any other certain pattern. So maybe someone does. But from other people I’ve talked to, that seems to be kind of the good default pattern is like one day, three days, one week, two weeks, one month, and then maybe, maybe two months. And in general, I think people don’t email customers enough because they’re either worried about missing them off or something. But the fact is, like, if you get an email address and I prefer to get email addresses early in the funnel, some other people may disagree with that, but I prefer it because then it allows you to email the customer. The fact is like. If they don’t respond to your email and you’ve emailed them five times, they’re either you can unsubscribe or not use your product, then you’re not really losing anything by them more. And so I think the, the thing with one three, seven, 1430 or 1357 or basically whatever you decide to do. Just. You shouldn’t just be emailing your customer more, probably. I mean, that’s that’s that’s really the main point. And then in those emails, it’s a single call to action for them to perform the next step in your sign up process.
Bronson: Well, let’s talk about maybe some of the things to put in those emails. Just give people ideas. I mean, obviously, it’s going to be specific to their business, but I’m actually in the process right now of creating our drip emails for growth after TV. Yeah, as you’re watching, this is going to be kind of meta because you’re gonna be receiving emails about what we’re talking about. But I’m making a list of things like maybe one email can be about our history and why we got started. Maybe that’s the first one. I don’t ask for anything. I just kind of let them know. And then a couple of days goes by, maybe I, you know, let them know about a couple of interviews that I think they should watch to really get a handle on what we do. And so that’s kind of the way I’m thinking about is easing them into the process and educating them about us. What are some of the things you like to do with those drip emails? What what kinds of things are you maybe sending them with your products?
Jamie: Well, so it depends. I mean.
Jamie: It really just depends on your business and so.
Jamie: On. So like.
Bronson: Yeah, it seems like you almost view email the way you would a landing page, you know. So like shows what a landing page you don’t give them a lot of options you take away now have you what’s the call to action like? Just, you know, if they’re there from a, you know, a CPC, you know, or a click campaign, like just really making them do the one thing that matters. And the email is almost the same way. Like, you just really have a, you know, a clear call to action you’re trying to get them to do, right?
Jamie: Yeah, that’s very true.
Bronson: No, that’s cool. Well, let’s talk about look, craft a little bit. You’re the founder of Little Craft. And we were talking before I said co-founder on accident. But that’s not true. You’re actually one of the the few that actually can pull off running a company by yourself. I honestly don’t know how you do it without co-founders. I think I would die. But, you know, I’m glad there’s people like you that exist to make us look bad.
Jamie: So is this. What’s that all?
Jamie: You’re hiring great people. Is this how you pull it off?
Bronson: I guess so. I could do without co-founders, though, just initially. But that’s awesome, though. So let’s talk about Little Craft a little bit. You’ve told me something about it that’s really interesting that I kind of want to dig into. You’ve told me that with luck. Craft One of the things you are trying to do is really increase the lifetime value of the customer and not necessarily just the top line gross revenue. Yet talk to me about that a little bit. Why? Why has that been your focus?
Jamie: So with businesses?
Jamie: So there’s really three ways to grow. I mean, effectively three ways to kind of grow up business new employee online. One is, you know, social like viral growth where every user on average gets you more than one user, which would be like or Instagram or Pinterest or those type of businesses. There is businesses that grow via sales which would be like what slightly as now for example, the product is sold in directly to local, small or medium businesses through a sales force. And then there’s an acquisition and sometimes you see like a combination of all these, usually you see a combination of like viral plus. Yeah. But generally the primary focus of a business is going to be one of these. And so I guess for example, like someone like Dropbox, so it’s like a virally, virally growing software as a service business because you share files and then other people find out about it and then they sign up. Whereas, you know, something like. But you know, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. But a lot of other software as a service products that are more expensive like are sold in via Salesforce and online marketing. So that’s a combination of less the last two. But with the businesses that are heavily focused where your growth strategy is paid acquisition, it often makes sense to focus on kind of proving out the lifetime value of a customer as long as you have some idea of what paid acquisition is going to look like first. Because if you can prove out that you have high lifetime value, then that’s basically your growth plan. And you’re like, okay, well, we make $400 on a customer over their lifetime. We make maybe 250 of that in the first year. And I know I can acquire someone for less than $250. And so once you kind of prove that out, then you feel confident about your growth. And this is more for kind of like a VC backed business where the plan would be to like prove that out and then go raise money and then dump that into like buying users. But if your payback time for customer acquisition is short enough, it can make sense for like a bootstrapped company to where it’s like, okay, well, we just invest all our profit into buying more customers because they themselves back in two months. And if you have that kind of business, it’s great because as long as our market is large enough. All you have to do to grow is find all the channels where you can pay to acquire customers and your business just like grows like this. So that’s why we in particular were focused on it, because we saw Woodcraft as a business where we had a very high customer lifetime value. It wasn’t very social. Just because we were targeting men and men are very social about like their clothes purchases. And it wasn’t something that was sold through direct sales. So we kind of focused on this as a channel and for that reason we focused on showing high customer lifetime value and then, you know, worrying more about the paid acquisition piece later. And the reason we were able to do that was because I already had some understanding of like, okay, I know it’s not going to cost $400 to acquire a customer. If you aren’t sure about that, then you have to focus on that side as well. Because if you’re, you know, customer related value, $100 and it costs you $100 to acquire a customer, and that’s like the lower limit of what it cost to acquire a customer, then you’re obviously not in a good spot. Yeah.
Bronson: So it seems like you almost, you know, worked in reverse of the way that we think about things sometimes instead of starting with kind of business, the product we actually start with, okay, what’s the growth channel? Which to a lot of people is the end of the equation, the end of the to do list. But for you, it seems like it was closer to the top of like all was the growth channel. It’s going to be paid. How much do I think we need to pay now? Let’s work backwards from that conclusion to make sense out of this business. And I think that’s really smart the way you kind of went about it and you mentioned, you know, if it’s a very bad business, you can then go to ABC and be like, hey, here’s the numbers. And I’ve heard people in the show say this that I’ve had to say this, that they want founders to come to them and say, okay, here’s what I’ve proven. I’ve proven that I can acquire a customer for this much. And if you don’t this much money into the business, I can acquire X more customers and we’re all going to be happy. Like they just want that equation and they’ll be happy to invest if you’ve proven out those.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah.
Jamie: It’s the I think the VC term or the term that’s thrown around is like the sausage machine. You want the sausage machine, you want to put it, you want to put like the media and one side and have sausage come out the other. You can sell for more money.
Jamie: And once you have that, you know, assuming, you know, some other things like market size and and and other things like that, you know, people are it’s not going to be hard for you to raise money.
Bronson: Yeah. I’ve never heard sausage machine like that. So you said you focus on driving up the lifetime value. How do you do that? What are some of the ways that you really got that lifetime value to be high?
Jamie: Yeah. So and particularly.
Jamie: In particular with look craft, it was.
Jamie: And this.
Jamie: Applies to actually almost all businesses to the you know, we made a model for this and I’ve actually shared it with a number of other different businesses that have used it and it’s been useful to.
Jamie: Is that retention is really important. And so what usually find.
Jamie: At least with us where it’s not an initial subscription product, you’re not you’re not subscribing as a default thing. Like first.
Jamie: It was like an initial purchase and then we bother you to make it make more purchases. So you have an initial falloff in retention of like first to second order and then from the second to third order, you have a much higher like retained value of the customer because they by that point they’re already kind of like bought into the value proposition. They’ve used it twice. And so what we did was we modeled that out in basically just Excel.
Jamie: And then we.
Jamie: Played around with the numbers to determine like, okay, what can we focus on to get the most value? Or like where should we focus on to increase the value of most?
Jamie: And the things.
Jamie: To always focus.
Jamie: Is increase retention. So increase retention is. Way better than even. Like focus on decreasing our customer acquisition cost because you if you increase retention, you get like massive benefits because it’s obviously like compounding into the future assuming like you’re selling product that people buy multiple times. And so we focused a lot on, you know, how do we get a user to place a second order once they’ve placed a first order? And then part of that was not just like these like growth hacks, but a lot of understanding qualitatively, like what customers liked about the product, what they didn’t like about the product, what was causing them to buy, etc..
Bronson: So no, that’s great. Now you also mentioned, you know, that it wasn’t more important than retention, but still important is driving down that customer acquisition cost. You know, and you mentioned before you had experience with customer acquisition, so you knew it wasn’t going to cost $400 to get a new customer. But what are some of the ways you drove down the customer acquisition cost with little craft there?
Jamie: So a lot.
Jamie: Of it was funnel optimization. So like obviously if you’re driving, you know, we were driving and 30% of people or 30 to 35% of people would hit the homepage through like a signup funnel that was like around 20 questions. And so.
Jamie: You know, when.
Jamie: And I gave a talk about this before.
Jamie: Where were.
Jamie: We actually through the sign up funnel and was like, what do you guys think? This converts out to a group of people who have worked on stuff like this and they’re like, Oh, I don’t know, maybe like 3 to 3%. Like, No, this converts at 30%.
Jamie: So when you see.
Jamie: There is like a literal ten X difference in like the cost of a prime customer because you drive the customer blending pay, it’s the difference between three and 30% is, you know, the difference between paying $10, $100 and more of that. Customer. Yeah, so. Understanding that is super important if you want to be able to make that acquisition work.
Bronson: All right. So let’s talk of the funnel a little bit. There’s got to be some magic going on with that kind of thing. So 35% of the people completed the funnel. Who hit the hit the landing page? Yeah. You said it had 20 questions. Like 20 different steps to it that they had to go through to finish that funnel.
Jamie: It was it was about five, five different steps.
Bronson: Either steps, 20 different questions, 20 questions is insane. I mean, yeah, I would never have a funnel that long. So I have to ask you about how are you in favor of longer funnels. Know because I mean, we’ve heard pretty consistently on this show. Short funnel, short funnel, short funnel. And I love contrarians. I love people that are doing it differently and making it work. So we need to hear from you. Do you like long, long funnels or how are you making them work?
Jamie: I definitely agree with.
Jamie: Short funnel.
Jamie: From the perspective.
Jamie: Of only.
Jamie: Collect the information that you need to and then collect more information later. But to me that is like a. You know, to me, that’s like almost like a long funnel. Right. You collect small amounts of information upfront that you need and then you collect more information later down the road. And what I have seen is sign up processes, at least in my experience, tend to perform better. Where you basically ask for easy things first and then like lead the user into asking her questions. If you have to ask the hard questions so you can leave the harder questions out and just have one form of like, you know, two things, then that’s, that’s great. That probably performs better. But in this case, like, we needed to get data on users like style and fit in order to provide any value. And so we had to stuff them through a funnel that included that. And so what we did was we initially just asked for the email and then once you type in your email, all it would ask you for to answer like a visual quiz where you were just clicking on things that you liked.
Bronson: So just easy to find.
Jamie: Yeah, because everybody’s like, Oh, I like that, I like that, I like that. It’s easy enough for people to do. And then we ask them another page of those type of questions. And then we ask them a forum with like ten questions on how stuff fit them. And normally, like, you would think like, okay, well, if I put in my email address first and then I get this long form where it’s like asking me 15 questions about how stuff fits me, I’m probably in a bounce. But at.
Jamie: The time.
Jamie: Where I’ve already put.
Jamie: In my email.
Jamie: Answered a bunch of other questions, answered a bunch more questions, and then I get to this page. It’s like I’m so engaged already that I’m just going to fill it out. And so if you have like longer funnels, it has to be away from easy to hard in terms of the amount of user engagement required, but it tends to perform actually very well for stuff like that. And then there is other tricks thrown in there, like we had to get a password and so we showed them the results page, but they couldn’t click on it until they put in a password. And that had like a 95% success rate. And I was like stuff like that.
Jamie: But, but, yeah, I mean, even at like, even at.
Jamie: At slightly what we did was we asked for an email and then a password because we tested all sorts of different variations and we determined that having a landing page with an email address, even if you still need a password for sign up, converts like way better. And so we would have an email address. They put in the email address, we click. Okay. Literally in the same spot on the same page, like a box would appear. And that was like, okay, now put in your password or create a password and a lot better than having a form that was like email and then password with two steps. So. You know, sometimes having more stuffs actually can perform better. I tend to prefer it, but if you have the volume, I would test it.
Bronson: Yeah. No, I love the way you think about funnels and even the way you talked about having them engaged before they have to give you the hard information. Another way I think about is like investment. It’s like once you’ve already invested in something, you’re more likely to invest in it further. But it’s an initial investment. So here’s one thing I’ve done before on sites is if I’m trying to do a social campaign and make them tweet about something, I’ll say, okay, tweet about this to get a coupon. They’ll tweet it and then I’ll say, okay, now input your email address so I can send you the coupon. So now I’m getting a tweet and an email and they didn’t know until they were already invested enough to where it made sense to keep going, you know? Yeah, that’s a small version of kind of what you’re saying, but it helps us think about it. What can you do to really hook them initially? And then they’ll just want to, you know, keep going through the funnel there. So that’s great. Yeah. I mean, that’s so different than a traditional funnel. Do you recommend longer funnels just in general like like that? I mean, I guess what I’m asking is, you know, it’s just so bizarre to have a five step funnel with 20 questions if you can make it shorter. Do you think that’s good or do you think there’s something psychological about if you can get them to finish a funnel that long, they’re more in tune with your product.
Jamie: I mean, I. I tend I.
Jamie: Mean, I wouldn’t say do a long funnel just because I think people should do it because it performs better. If it actually does perform better for them, I think it tends to work well in cases where you’re asking for.
Jamie: A lot.
Jamie: More information like so for example.
Jamie: Like one of the things.
Jamie: Like. I guess a different example would be like Twitter.
Jamie: We’re discovered. That. And maybe Josh Allen talked about this in his interview, but they discovered that they massively increased the sign up rate by removing the. Where you choose your username further down in the funnel. And so that kind of goes along with this. And the reason was that.
Jamie: With Choosing.
Jamie: Username, it’s hard because it’s just another thing to think about. It’s like, okay, my email, I know that, okay, create a password, I can do that. And then it’s like choose username and it’s permanent and you can’t change it. And then people are like, Oh no.
Jamie: I don’t know, I’m not confident.
Jamie: That I want this username. I’m just going to like go back and think about it later or whatever, and then they would bounce out of the funnel. But if you have a funnel where it’s like.
Jamie: You know.
Jamie: Password, choose your interests, choose people that you’re interested in, and then like you’re asking them all these questions about.
Jamie: You know.
Jamie: What would they like or do they want to follow? And then they get to the end and they’re like, You’re all the people you’re following now. I’ll just create a username at that point. It’s like that process is still difficult. Like mentally, it’s like.
Jamie: One of the more.
Jamie: Difficult steps in that funnel, but they’re already sewn into it. They’re going to do it. Whereas if you asked at the beginning before they choose their interests, they’re not engaged enough to actually do it.
Bronson: Yeah, you know, we just came on the show, we talked about the funnel, but we never actually mentioned that at all. So that’s a I didn’t know that. So that’s a good little tidbit of info and glad you said that. No, that’s just a great example of. Exactly. We’re talking about, you know, keep the hard stuff to where they’re not going to say no by the time they get to it. Now, Jamie, on your blog, you have a great article, which is a primer on growth hacking. And in an article you give a definition of growth hacking, which I think is really good and really succinct. And you say that growth hacking is the practice of gathering data, exploring the data, and exploiting knowledge uncovered from that data in a systemized way to directly further the business goals of your company. What do you mean by that definition? Just real quick. What do you mean when you say that?
Jamie: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think that, you know.
Jamie: Or just growth really revolves around, you know, the understanding of data. And I think that starts with.
Jamie: Most importantly, the understanding of.
Jamie: Your customer and not not necessarily data and just the respect of like.
Jamie: These are all the things that users do on average, but really understanding both that because there are things that you can do with that and the reasoning behind like why users are doing those things. And so it’s not necessarily explicitly pointed out in that definition, but I think it’s very important to both understand, like from a quantitative level, what’s going on and what people are doing. And then from a qualitative level, like why? Why are they doing that?
Bronson: Yeah, I know that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, growth hacking can become so quantitative that we forget the qualitative. So I like that you’re adding that in to the knowledge base that we pull from to make business decisions. Now you also on your blog and I think in presentations you’ve given, you talk about growth hacking as a five step process. And I want you to walk us through each of these. First, I want to read them all, but then we’ll go back to the beginning and walk through each one a little bit, determine your company’s primary goal, identify potential actions, prioritize actions by highest leverage, identify and prioritize tactics, and then fifth execute. So let’s put at the beginning, the first step of growth hacking is determine your company’s primary goal. What do you mean by that? And maybe give us some examples of what a primary goal.
Jamie: Yeah, I mean, so I think it’s I think it’s important to have like one goal in mind when you’re when you’re considering doing this stuff. Otherwise it it’s really hard to make decisions otherwise. And so that going to be any number of things. It could be like drive, you know, bottom line revenue it could be drive top line growth in terms of, you know, number of customers like hitting the site. It can be. You know, early on, it could be exploratory. It could be like figure out what our LTV is, but at any point in time it’s kind of got to be one thing. And that’s kind of like the driving focus between kind of all the metrics and. Basically things that you’re working.
Jamie: On within the business.
Jamie: And so that’s that’s kind of like what I mean by that. And that can vary from company to company and from company stage to company stage as well.
Bronson: Yeah, no, for sure. And then after you kind of identify the one goal you’re going to focus on, you identify potential actions. So what would be some examples or, you know, what are some ideas that what potential actions are to drive that one number up into the right or whatever it is you’re trying to do?
Jamie: Yeah, sure. I mean, to some extent, I think that’s like pretty company specific as well. It’s mostly just determining.
Jamie: What are almost making.
Jamie: A list of the potential things that you could do to drive that action or to basically lead into that goal improving. And so I like to sit down and basically. From product perspective. Think about.
Jamie: What are the.
Jamie: Changes that I can make to affect this number or affect this like primary metric that we’re trying to affect and then almost just like brainstorm and create like a large list. And then I think when you get into the third thing that you mentioned, which is, you know, determine what to do, my highest leverage, you take that list and you look at it’s almost a balance between.
Jamie: Engineering cost and like expected like what leverage that you expect out of the product decision. And this goes back to understanding like what metrics are good and what metrics are bad.
Jamie: Because you can’t understand leverage unless you understand what a good goal is. So for example, like if you’re at 3% conversion and you think 6% is good, then you have the opportunity to like to X. But if you’re at 3% home page conversion and like in reality 30 X’s, you’re like, yeah, in reality like 30% is good. Then you have the ability to basically like ten asset. And so if you don’t understand what is going on is that you don’t understand where you have leverage. And so that’s why that’s important.
Jamie: But then.
Jamie: Prioritizing those decisions basically by the expected effect and.
Jamie: You know, just just executing on that. And I think I think I completed like the step two and four there a little bit.
Jamie: But yeah, but, but yeah.
Bronson: That’s good. And so, you know, you kind of start with a goal in mind and then you can have a brain dump. Just put down everything, you know. In a word, doc, somehow here’s all the possible things that might move that number where we want it to be. And then I think the really important part they mentioned is leverage. You know, if you look over that list, that brain dump, and there’s one thing on there that I’ll take 6 hours of engineering and it could possibly give you a ten inch return. And everything else on the list takes more time, the less return. Well, you know, to focus on like you bump that to the top of your stack rank list and you focus on it because that’s obviously the point of leverage. That’s your fulcrum that you can move the earth from. And if you keep doing the thing next on the list that has the highest leverage, you’re going to keep moving your product forward, you know, through this kind of process. So I love that. I think it makes a lot of sense. And then the last one was just execute, which is just go and do it right.
Jamie: Yeah, but usually.
Bronson: Nothing else later.
Jamie: I think. I think it’s important to mention that going.
Jamie: Back to the brainstorming thing.
Jamie: No, this is almost the whole.
Jamie: Thing is almost like an iterative, iterative process. Because when you come to like thinking about product decisions and the way you’re going to implement them, you can’t really do anything the right way unless you understand why people are acting the way they’re acting. And, you know, you can do all the things in the world to just, you know, hack hack growth, if that’s the term you want to use. But until you really understand, like on a qualitative level, why your customer likes your product and why they’re making the decisions that they’re making, you’re not going to be able to most effectively do that. And, you know, in terms of people that or products that are helpful with that, I know you guys had done all this on the show recently and he’s like very good at this kind of stuff with like surveys and caller you as a product is very useful for, you know, getting data from your customers and is using stuff like Mixpanel to say.
Jamie: Show me customers.
Jamie: You’ve done this and this and this and this, and then send them an email that’s like a text only email and seems personalized. That’s like.
Jamie: I’m the founder of this. Or I’m, you know.
Jamie: This is.
Jamie: This is me like personally. And I notice that you were checking out the product and like I just wanted to see if you have like 5 minutes to chat about, you know, what, what you did and didn’t like because we’re just trying to make it better for you. And that’s like actually a really effective way of, of learning the basis behind why people are acting the way they do. And that will help you really get the most value out of the product decisions you’re trying to make and almost like advise you what to do.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s such good advice. And I love even what you said about a text based email that looks personalized based on your criteria you set up and. Mixpanel I’ve used that and the reply rate is astronomical. Like I’m stunned how many people reply to the email with like a three paragraph response and I’m just like, what?
Jamie: Like yeah.
Bronson: You think about that kind of stuff. People are like, delete, delete, but they don’t. I mean, when it’s from the founder and it’s a sincere question, even though it’s done on mass and at scale, it seems personalized and people respond as if it’s personalized. Yeah, I think you’re right. Make it plain text, because in personal emails you don’t have logos and image and all these, you know, these cool things, it’s just text. And so to make it look that way, you really can’t get a lot of qualitative feedback from your customer.
Jamie: Yeah, definitely.
Bronson: Well, Jamie, this has been an awesome interview. I mean, walking us through the stuff you did before, all the way up to what you’re doing now and kind of at a high level how you view growth hacking and those sort of things. I have one last question for you, and this is kind of the fortune cookie question. So give us your pithy one liner or take it in direction you want. But what’s the best piece of advice that you have for any startup that’s just trying to grow?
Jamie: You know, I think.
Jamie: I think it’s really just kind of a it’s kind of a process. You know, there’s there’s there’s so many possible things you can do. There’s so many possible avenues for growth. You know, I think that it’s really just kind of like one understanding you’re accustomed to, kind of like following this exploratory process of growth. And then three, I guess, would be like talking to as many people working on similar stuff as you. So you can understand these like baselines of like what’s good and what’s bad and you can understand, you know, what’s working for other people and anything that you can do. And at a small scale you can understand what’s better and not have to test it is good because when you’re small, tests are really expensive, not not in terms of like a dollar amount. But, you know, if you have a thousand customers, you can only test one thing or, you know, maybe two. But it’s really just kind of like this process that takes a lot of time. And, you know, getting started early is definitely like the best thing you could possibly do.
Bronson: Yeah, well, that’s great advice then, Don. Jamie, thank you so much for coming on Growth Hacker TV.
Jamie: Thank you.
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