THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TOFUNNEL OPTIMIZATION   sean johnson @intentionally   http://www.sean-johnson.com
Partner at Digital Intent               Adjunct Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg school of Management               Run...
“Most startups dont fail at building a product.                      They fail at acquiring customers.”                   ...
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
“Growth is about taking your product and optimizing it to producecompound interest. There are very few (if any) silver bul...
YOUR FIRST 1000 USERS
DON’T WORRY ABOUT                    YOUR FUNNEL YET.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
Your first thousand users are an extension of                  customer development. Focus on learning and                 ...
Your goal is a simple product that does 1 or 2 things                  really well in a fundamentally different way that s...
You don’t need more features. Spend 80% of                      your time on refining existing features, and               ...
Make a list of all your friends, with their follower count.                  Send people cookies. Take them to breakfast. ...
Create a landing page using Unbounce or something similar.              Use it to test headlines, positioning, calls to ac...
Dig your well before your thirsty.              Identify bloggers that fit your niche. Sort by number of              follo...
Create YouTube videos targeted to specific                     individuals and wait for them to Google themselves.         ...
If you have the budget, buy targeted display ads                  driving to your landing page. CrazyEgg collected over   ...
Post an ad on Craigslist asking for market                    feedback. Ask that they sign up and kick the                ...
Use Twitter search to find people who fit your target audience and reach out to   them directly. Do the same with forums tar...
Use surveys to home in on product/market fit. When you                  get 40% of users telling you they’d be very disappo...
ORGANIZE FOR OPTIMIZATION
Use a tool like Kissmetrics to get a baseline on how customers              move through your funnel. Look for bottlenecks...
Pick a high level goal for your growth rate and try to hit it.                Y Combinator companies shoot for 5-7% per we...
Treat growth like development. Work in 2 week sprints. Use points           for estimation based on bandwidth. Some tasks ...
How to do experiments.       1. Identify an area for improvement (homepage to email conversion, etc.)       2. Create a hy...
“A great deal of perseverance is required. There are a                huge number of failed experiments before success.   ...
ACQUISITION
CAC < LTV                              FREE > PAIDTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
Select channels with high volume, high                      conversion and low cost. Measure all the way                  ...
SEO IN 90 SECONDS      Make sure your site is crawlable, has good information architecture and loads      quickly. Elimina...
CONTENT MARKETING IN 90 SECONDS      Write about the problem space, not your product.      Aim for 20 posts per month. htt...
PR IN 90 SECONDS      Target individual writers, not publications. Do your homework.      Start with small blogs and work ...
ADWORDS IN 90 SECONDS      You probably shouldn’t do it except for testing, or if your LTV is very high.      http://intly...
SOCIAL IN 90 SECONDS   Use Followerwonk to research potential users to follow.   Engage - retweet, favorite, etc. to get o...
FACEBOOK ADS IN 90 SECONDS      Images are the most important factor. Test 50 images. Test orientation      (looking right...
Include static links in embed codes or widgets to                    acquire lots of inbound links.                    htt...
Leverage a large existing network. Airbnb figured out how to            auto-post to Craigslist (even though they had no pu...
ACTIVATION
LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION IN 90 SECONDS   Headlines are critical. Test like crazy. http://intly.me/XMU9x6   Include a big ...
OPTIMIZING SIGNUP IN 90 SECONDS   Reinforce the benefits of signing up.   Simplify your forms. Don’t ask for unnecessary in...
EMAIL CONVERSION IN 90 SECONDS   Provide an offer to get emails (whitepapers, etc.)   Identify the window when they’re mos...
ONBOARDING IN 90 SECONDS   Provide a simple walkthrough of your core experience.   Have your demo assist the user in the c...
RETENTION
Bucket and track the retention rate of specific sets of users              using cohorts. This allows you to see how produc...
Get users to the Aha moment as fast as possible.                     For Facebook that’s 10 friends in 7 days.            ...
Your best tool for retention is email.                  You’ve been outbid (eBay)                  Year in Review (LinkedI...
Contact your first 1000 customers personally. Email from the              CEO. Ask them to help spread the word, and to giv...
Turn content consumers into content creators by painlessly              seeding the production into the search flow (Quora,...
Pinterest auto-follows connections but staggered them,              sending an email notification each time a “connection” ...
Make it easy for your users to              pressure their friends to              come back in.                        aa...
REFERRAL
Make heavy use of social artifacts. Ask for                   automatic notifications during network connection.           ...
PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at HotmailTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
Make it painless for users creating new content                    to also spread the word via external networks.         ...
Prompt users to “remind”              people they’ve asked to              connect with.                        aaron ginn...
Create custom, personalized landing pages                 http://intly.me/12PiTEzTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATION...
Provide incentives - ideally ones that improve                    the experience of using the product.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE T...
Create a contest and incentivize users to share with others.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intenti...
Let’s build something great together.                                    www.digintent.comTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPT...
sean johnson @intentionallyhttp://www.sean-johnson.com
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Ultimate Guide to Funnel Optimization

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Digital Intent partner Sean Johnson discusses tactics and strategies for optimizing each stage of the customer development funnel.

View the Udemy course for over 2 hours of additional material: https://www.udemy.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-funnel-optimization/

To learn more about Digital Intent, visit http://www.digintent.com.

To learn more about Sean, visit http://www.sean-johnson.com

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Ultimate Guide to Funnel Optimization

  1. 1. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TOFUNNEL OPTIMIZATION sean johnson @intentionally http://www.sean-johnson.com
  2. 2. Partner at Digital Intent Adjunct Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg school of Management Runs the Chicago Growth Hacker Meetup Former VP Creative Director at EducationDynamics Help companies like Groupon, Sittercity, Follett, etc. build and grow new digital businesses. Product strategy, UI/UX, web and mobile development, traction www.digintent.comTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  3. 3. “Most startups dont fail at building a product. They fail at acquiring customers.” gabriel weinberg http://intly.me/XFf69tTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  4. 4. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  5. 5. “Growth is about taking your product and optimizing it to producecompound interest. There are very few (if any) silver bullets when itcomes to growth. But there are many micro optimizations.” andy johns http://intly.me/WNGdDFTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  6. 6. YOUR FIRST 1000 USERS
  7. 7. DON’T WORRY ABOUT YOUR FUNNEL YET.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  8. 8. Your first thousand users are an extension of customer development. Focus on learning and getting to product/market fit. hiten shah http://intly.me/W0kpAJTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  9. 9. Your goal is a simple product that does 1 or 2 things really well in a fundamentally different way that solves a big problem for a large pre-existing market. andrew chen http://intly.me/15kBIDATHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  10. 10. You don’t need more features. Spend 80% of your time on refining existing features, and only 20% on new development. dave mcclure http://intly.me/XWdGcFTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  11. 11. Make a list of all your friends, with their follower count. Send people cookies. Take them to breakfast. Reach them one at a time. Don’t worry if it isn’t scalable yet. noah kagan http://intly.me/Xe6s4qTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  12. 12. Create a landing page using Unbounce or something similar. Use it to test headlines, positioning, calls to action, etc. Drive limited traffic there using AdWords. http://intly.me/W0kpAJTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  13. 13. Dig your well before your thirsty. Identify bloggers that fit your niche. Sort by number of followers, PR, etc. Establish relationships with them before you need anything from them. Write guest posts. When the time comes, ask them review your service. Give them invite codes or giveaways to share with their audience.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  14. 14. Create YouTube videos targeted to specific individuals and wait for them to Google themselves. http://intly.me/12SKJUBTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  15. 15. If you have the budget, buy targeted display ads driving to your landing page. CrazyEgg collected over 20k emails by targeting CSS gallery sites. neil patel http://intly.me/12SKJUBTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  16. 16. Post an ad on Craigslist asking for market feedback. Ask that they sign up and kick the tires before completing the survey.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  17. 17. Use Twitter search to find people who fit your target audience and reach out to them directly. Do the same with forums targeted to your audience.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  18. 18. Use surveys to home in on product/market fit. When you get 40% of users telling you they’d be very disappointed, it’s likely you’re on to something. sean ellis http://intly.me/ZhXBCZTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  19. 19. ORGANIZE FOR OPTIMIZATION
  20. 20. Use a tool like Kissmetrics to get a baseline on how customers move through your funnel. Look for bottlenecks.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  21. 21. Pick a high level goal for your growth rate and try to hit it. Y Combinator companies shoot for 5-7% per week.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  22. 22. Treat growth like development. Work in 2 week sprints. Use points for estimation based on bandwidth. Some tasks will be ongoing (content marketing, pr, etc.) Use remaining points for experiments. aaron ginn http://intly.me/XuvbP6THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  23. 23. How to do experiments. 1. Identify an area for improvement (homepage to email conversion, etc.) 2. Create a hypothesis (if we simplify the form we’ll improve conversion.) 3. Deploy as an A/B test using Optimizely or Google experiments. 4. If the change improves the metric you’re measuring, roll it out. 5. Rinse and repeat.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  24. 24. “A great deal of perseverance is required. There are a huge number of failed experiments before success. There is a fine line between failure and success.” michael birch http://intly.me/Vw1xinTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  25. 25. ACQUISITION
  26. 26. CAC < LTV FREE > PAIDTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  27. 27. Select channels with high volume, high conversion and low cost. Measure all the way down the funnel to revenue to find the highest converting channels. dave mcclure http://intly.me/XWdGcFTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  28. 28. SEO IN 90 SECONDS Make sure your site is crawlable, has good information architecture and loads quickly. Eliminate duplicate content. Do keyword research and target high volume, low competition, low cost phrases. Create consistent, compelling, evergreen content targeting long tail keywords. Link internally to other relevant content pages. Optimize headlines and meta descriptions for clickthrough. Use video xml and Google authorship to get thumbnails into results. Find out who’s linking to your competitors and try to get links to you as well. Build links through guest posts, product reviews, directory submissions, etc. rand fishkin http://intly.me/YdXAsXTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  29. 29. CONTENT MARKETING IN 90 SECONDS Write about the problem space, not your product. Aim for 20 posts per month. http://intly.me/Ye1Atq Create evergreen content that will still be relevant and searched for in 2 years. People can’t get enough of lists. Use odd numbers. Collect emails and send them new content - http://intly.me/XVagqJ Interview people who would be influential to your customers. They’re likely to spread the word about the interview, and the content will be well received. Google likes longer content. http://intly.me/15jEusz Do lots of guest posting. 1 for you, 2 for them. http://intly.me/W0vxxD People love infographics. Always include something for people to do when they finish reading. Suggest other posts, include a call to action, etc.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  30. 30. PR IN 90 SECONDS Target individual writers, not publications. Do your homework. Start with small blogs and work your way up. Be brief with your pitch. Craft a compelling story. No one cares about product specs. Build relationships before you need them. Send reporters tips. Have 1-3 key points you want to get across during an interview. Hit those hard. Follow up immediately with logos, headshots, product screens, etc. Make their lives easier. sean blanda http://intly.me/Yx3INNTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  31. 31. ADWORDS IN 90 SECONDS You probably shouldn’t do it except for testing, or if your LTV is very high. http://intly.me/Xb233s But if you do... Monitor conversion, not just clickthrough. Use broad match initially to see what people search for, then narrow to increase CTR Use negative keywords to avoid showing up on undesirable SERPs. Create one ad group per keyword to increase quality score. Match ads to highly relevant landing pages. Kill off or rewrite anything with less than 2% CTR Always be running variations.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  32. 32. SOCIAL IN 90 SECONDS Use Followerwonk to research potential users to follow. Engage - retweet, favorite, etc. to get on their radar. Tweets have a half-life of 1 hour, Facebook 1 day. Set a posting schedule accordingly. Use social to warm up leads before sending an email. http://intly.me/XbcDHH Hashtags are usually noise, but can be a great way to reach people at conferences remotely. http://intly.me/VmdmFt Images in Facebook have the highest clickthrough rate. Include link in the copy. Answer highly visible questions on Quora. Post presentations to Slideshare. Submit relevant posts to Reddit, Hacker News, etc.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  33. 33. FACEBOOK ADS IN 90 SECONDS Images are the most important factor. Test 50 images. Test orientation (looking right, looking left.) Test color and shape of borders. Use country targeting when testing conversion. US costs 5-10x other countries. Use Canada, New Zealand, etc. Focus on conversion, not just clickthrough rate. It’s not uncommon to have 40-60% conversion rates if it’s targeted well. andy johns http://intly.me/WNO2ctTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  34. 34. Include static links in embed codes or widgets to acquire lots of inbound links. http://intly.me/YlK3kUTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  35. 35. Leverage a large existing network. Airbnb figured out how to auto-post to Craigslist (even though they had no public API.) http://intly.me/UrpQwnTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  36. 36. ACTIVATION
  37. 37. LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION IN 90 SECONDS Headlines are critical. Test like crazy. http://intly.me/XMU9x6 Include a big image or video. Test like crazy. http://intly.me/WNO2ct Have a big, compelling call to action. Put it above the fold. Test like crazy. 3-7 benefit statements, not a list of features. Include social proof - testimonials, logos/photos/videos of happy clients, etc. Capture emails so you can talk to them again if they aren’t ready to commit. Simplify, simplify, simplify. http://intly.me/Zh4B2N Detect the source of a referring click and send them to the right place - iOS to the app store, web to website, etc. http://intly.me/XfitVw oli gardner http://intly.me/Z4l5aTTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  38. 38. OPTIMIZING SIGNUP IN 90 SECONDS Reinforce the benefits of signing up. Simplify your forms. Don’t ask for unnecessary information. Fewer pricing options. Check for errors or provide suggestions inline without having to submit. Offer social sign-up options and use social proof (faces next to button) Don’t offer a discount, offer more for free. http://intly.me/Xb78bS Explain what happens next. http://intly.me/Ym9HGj Let them start using the product first, then ask for signup to save their work. Implement live chat to capture people who are hesitating. Understand their objections. Track consistent ones. Make your product or copy better to convert these folks in the future.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  39. 39. EMAIL CONVERSION IN 90 SECONDS Provide an offer to get emails (whitepapers, etc.) Identify the window when they’re most likely to convert and focus your energy there. If there’s < 1% chance of conversion after 7 days, focus your energy before 7 days. A/B test every email - focus on the subject line. Add a call to action to every email. Segment your subscribers based on the call to action that caused them to sign up. Create auto-triggered emails using customer.io to follow up with people who bail out of your signup process.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  40. 40. ONBOARDING IN 90 SECONDS Provide a simple walkthrough of your core experience. Have your demo assist the user in the creation of their initial content. Use gamification (LinkedIn’s % complete, etc.) to incentivize users to complete next steps. If connecting with Facebook, consider auto-following friends already on the service. http://intly.me/Uq4xet Auto-follow influential users to get over the cold start problem. Don’t create friction in the user experience with heavy moderation tools, etc. Particularly early on. You can address spam later. http://intly.me/Uq4xet Send a series of email autoresponders over 1 week teaching users how to get the most out of your service.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  41. 41. RETENTION
  42. 42. Bucket and track the retention rate of specific sets of users using cohorts. This allows you to see how product enhancements impact retention for new groups of users vs. old. http://intly.me/Urou4BTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  43. 43. Get users to the Aha moment as fast as possible. For Facebook that’s 10 friends in 7 days. For Twitter it’s following 30 people. chamath palihapitiya http://intly.me/12T1sazTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  44. 44. Your best tool for retention is email. You’ve been outbid (eBay) Year in Review (LinkedIn) You have a new friend/follower (Facebook, Twitter) You’ve been ousted as the mayor (Foursquare) If you’re an app, make heavy use of notifications.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  45. 45. Contact your first 1000 customers personally. Email from the CEO. Ask them to help spread the word, and to give you feedback. Include your actual cell phone number.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  46. 46. Turn content consumers into content creators by painlessly seeding the production into the search flow (Quora, Stack Overflow, etc.) http://intly.me/UIrdnHTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  47. 47. Pinterest auto-follows connections but staggered them, sending an email notification each time a “connection” was made to boost returning users. http://intly.me/Uq4xetTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  48. 48. Make it easy for your users to pressure their friends to come back in. aaron ginn http://intly.me/Z4reUxTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  49. 49. REFERRAL
  50. 50. Make heavy use of social artifacts. Ask for automatic notifications during network connection. Identify every meaningful sharable event.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  51. 51. PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at HotmailTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  52. 52. Make it painless for users creating new content to also spread the word via external networks. http://intly.me/VWpJKQTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  53. 53. Prompt users to “remind” people they’ve asked to connect with. aaron ginn http://intly.me/Z4reUxTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  54. 54. Create custom, personalized landing pages http://intly.me/12PiTEzTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  55. 55. Provide incentives - ideally ones that improve the experience of using the product.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  56. 56. Create a contest and incentivize users to share with others.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  57. 57. Let’s build something great together. www.digintent.comTHE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUNNEL OPTIMIZATIONsean johnson @intentionally
  58. 58. sean johnson @intentionallyhttp://www.sean-johnson.com

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