Creating, Testing And Learning With Growth Channels
OK so you have a B2B product/service you want to growth hack and you have read the first, second and third posts in this series about B2B Growth Hacking and are ready to create growth channels and start signing up customers…
What we need
At this stage your product/service needs to be in MVP form at least, a blog, an email management tool and you need to have set up the conversion goals (see previous posts) so we can measure success.
Top Tip – if you are going to change any URLs or move to SSL (https:// …) do it all now before we start. We don’t want to change anything once we have started acquiring links back to your site (known as backlinks).
Before we start you need to decide, estimate or measure a few very important things;
Growth Metric – The first thing we need to do is to choose our Growth Metric. To Growth Hack is to have a pathological focus on one and only one thing and do anything and everything necessary to grow it. What is the one thing we want to grow? Something like revenue is too high level to accurately establish cause and effect as we measure-act-measure so things like landing page visitors, web page conversion, registrations, subscribers, check outs, and cart abandonment all work well as they are very important but focused enough for us to influence and measure accurately.
CLV – the customer life time value needs to be measured or estimated for your product/service. This sets the parameters of our growth hacking because the customer acquisition cost (CAC) needs to be lower than the CLV. (If CLV < CAC we aren’t growth hacking – we’re buying customers and that isn’t the road to business success…)
Top Tip – In simple terms CLV can be calculated as the monthly sum of all the revenue you expect a customer to give you x the number of months you expect to keep that customer. (Other less simple ways of calculating CLV are described here). For example – if the average customer will earn you $12 per month and you expect that customer to pay for your product/service for at least 18 months then your CLV is $12 x 18 = $216. If you have a “freemium” product/service then you will need to estimate the anticipated conversion rate from free to paid subscribers to calculate a CLV. If it is a new product/service then it is very much “finger in the air” at this stage but don’t worry – we have to start somewhere and you will be able to refine this number based on real data in the future.
CAC – the customer acquisition cost per channel is easier to measure as it is simply total cost of the customers acquired through a channel/number of customers acquired through that channel.
For example…if we acquired 200 customers through AdWords at a cost of $670 then our Adwords CAC is $3.35
Choosing your initial search keywords
If you are growth hacking an established product/service you can use Google’s Search Console to see what phrases are driving traffic to your site. See https://interim.team/how-to-track-google-search-engine-keyword-ranking-for-free/. If it is a new product/service you will need to use a paid for service like Google Adwords to test and learn.
The Google AdWords tool (here) will suggest 50-200 potential keywords for you. Filter out the ones that obviously aren’t relevant to create a starting search space.
For example…with “interim” as the seed word AdWords suggests 157 phrases. I would filter out phrases like “interim in English”, “interim pronunciation” and so on. The suggested bids range from $8.64/£7.10 for “interim finance” downwards (gulp).
Search, Display and Paid Inclusion Advertising
There are lots of ways of paying for web traffic but they can be broadly classified as Search, Display and Paid Inclusion.
Search – paying to be displayed before and alongside the “natural” or “organic” search results on search engines. What makes it so important is that the people typing the phrases have intent. They want to read, find or do something. That is not necessarily the case with Display Advertising although it will be interesting to see if Facebook search ultimately becomes more like Google search…
Display – paying to be shown amongst other content on web sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or whatever. Not as valuable in growth hacking as Search advertising because people looking at what their friends are eating (or whatever) are much less likely to want to buy a product or service than people searching for something relevant to your product/service. What makes Display advertising very interesting though is just how hyper targeted it can be. You could literally target a single individual with Facebook advertising.
Top Tip – if you are producing video content don’t forget to include sub titles so people can “watch” the video with the sound turned down.
Paid Inclusion – paying to be included in a directory or some other content.
For example…when Workteam started one of the things they tried was being included in the software directory site Capterra (each click cost $2).
Setting Up Your Growth Hacking Channels
By now hopefully we have a landing page on our web site optimised for conversion, a blog, an email list management tool and a large collection of search engine phrases we might want to try. The tags for Google Analytics (and ideally something like Hotjar) are installed and success goals are set up so we can see what happens when people get to our site (see the second post in this series).
Top Tip – we should be aiming to convert more than 33% of the people we send to our optimised landing page. We’ll probably be nearer 10% at the beginning of our growth hacking journey though.
Sprints And Retrospectives
The optimum way to manage growth hacking is to choose a set of channels and test and learn on them during two week or monthly sprints. At the end of every sprint the performance of each channel needs to be reviewed in a whiteboard session known as a “retrospective”.
The number of customers acquired per channel and the CAC for that sprint needs to be compared with the other channels and LTV. Everyone in the team should be included in the retrospectives, growth is critical for any business and everybody in the team will be able to contribute insight and ideas.
During the retrospective you should look to increase spend in the successful channels, adjust or pause unsuccessful channels and launch new channels.
Top Tip – if you want to hit the ground running with email you could ‘seed’ your email list from your LinkedIn connections. In LinkedIn click on My Network –> Connections. Click on the Settings cog in the top right and you’ll see “Export LinkedIn Connections” in the top right. Don’t change the suggested Microsoft Outlook (.CSV file) format and you will have downloaded a file of email addresses you can easily upload into MailChimp or other email marketing platform. Getting an unsolicited email from you like this will irritate some people but as long as you allow people to unsubscribe easily then they will only ever receive one email. We generally see very low un-subscription rates as long as you don’t spam people and only send things of genuine interest or potential value.
A Starting Set of Growth Channels For Sprint #0
A good set of growth channels for Sprint #0 might be
Paid Inclusion e.g Capterra
Once we have started to get some learnings from Sprint 0 we can start to think about adding in other channels like SEO, guest blogging, referral and so on.
Top Tip – write your own Blog content. It should be an authentic communication channel for you to communicate things of interest/value to potential and current customers. If you need help with it make sure that the outcome is still very much communicating your ideas, thoughts and opinions in your voice.
Top Tip – wait until you have some real data before setting your SEO strategy. It will be one of the most important channels in the future but it takes a fair amount of work to make it effective and a bit of analysis before you start could save you a lot of time in the long run…
Ready to growth hack? Need a hand? How much does interim B2B growth hacking cost?
Not that much actually. It depends on what the singular target is but to double/treble traffic, sign ups, customers or whatever we would need to do a one-three day deep dive with you followed by a campaign execution phase of one-ten days a month until the target is reached. That normally takes 2-6 months depending on the start and end points.
We won’t take an engagement unless there is an #highROI up for grabs and you will end up “hugely up on the deal”. We really think that the more people we help become more successful the more successful we become…
If any of this is of any any interest why not give us a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 800 246 5735 for a friendly informal chat about your biz dev needs?
At the time of writing interim.team is #1,#2,#3 and #4 on Google UK for “interim growth hacker” and we have lots of happy clients we can tell you about…
Please also see the first second and third posts in this series