The Scrappy Guide to Marketing

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Any marketer who is focused on scaling a business has scrappiness built into their core. They hustle to make results happen. They are very clear goals, a great understanding of how to stack rank these goals using levers and an obsession with experimentation to continually improve upon their results.


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  • [Kieran] Hello my name is Kieran Flanagan and I am the international marketing director for HubSpot and I am going to talk about the scrappy guide to marketing and just what the hell it means to be a scrappy marketer.
  • [Kieran] This is probably a better description of me that someone wrote after a session I gave in London – that I am highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack. Being a geek in todays marketing world is definitely a plus in my eyes.
  • [Kieran] As a marketer what I am motivated by is having a visible impact on the growth of a business.  And the reason I added this slide is because I feel most marketers who are motivated by growth are inherently scrappy in the way they approach marketing.
  • [Kieran] I am sure all of us have experienced a time when we’ve said this – “I am trying to get a shit load done with very little resources”
  • [Kieran] and if you haven’t
  • [Kieran] you really should try to experience that situation at least once in your lifetime
  • [Kieran] because those times when you don’t have the resources to immediately get what you want
  • [Kieran] help you to think more creatively about problems
  • [Kieran] help you to really focus on reaching your goal
  • [Kieran] and ultimately helps you to be scrappy and hustle to make things happen for yourself.
  • [Kieran] When I was 8 or 9 years old, I was really obsessed about getting a blue he man. At the time it was the most important goal I had.When I was growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, so it would take me quite a few weeks of pocket money to be able to afford one of these.
  • [Kieran ]They probably cost about 10 punts – that old school money we used to use. I started to figure out a plan to make my own money so I could afford one of these blue he-men.
  • [Kieran] I first needed to figure out what levers I had.  I am going to talk more about levers later on. They are things you have at your disposal that require little energy but can produce big results. Think of them like assets you own that can help you to reach that goal. At 8 years old I didn’t really have many levers, but I came up with a game involving an empty 3-litre bottle of coke and toys I got free from collecting tokens from cereal boxes. The game wasn’t that complex. It involved charging kids from the neighbourhood a pound to drink as much water as they could from a 3-litre bottle. The winner of the game got a toy. This went surprisingly well.
  • [Kieran] It turns out kids in my neighbourhood were extremely competitive and quite a few of them started to get sick from drinking too much water.
  • [Kieran] I kept experimenting with the process using smaller bottles to decrease the number of people who got sick, as sick kids were not good for business.
  • [Kieran] and eventually I got my blue he-man
  • [Kieran] and a bunch of other he-man action figures
  • [Kieran] At this point you are probably thinking – what the hell am I talking about.
  • [Kieran] That’s one of my earliest memories of being scrappy. Really hustling to get something I want.Scrappiness is something I feel the best marketers have in common. Certainly marketers who are focused on growth. It’s something I care about a lot and is something I look for when hiring people on my team. It’s also the main thing I want to excel in as a marketer. You can call these people growth hackers, scrappy, or just really good at hustling to get results, but in my mind they all have 3 key skills. 1. They have really clear goals2. They know what levers they have 3. And they are always experimenting to get better results
  • [Kieran] All success really starts with having clear goals
  • [Kieran] Any marketer who is focused on growing a company is obsessed with a singular goal.
  • [Kieran] The reality is the most important singular goal we have is revenue. If your focus is on growth, then your number one priority should be to ultimately make the company more money.
  • [Kieran] But making money is not the right goal to obsess over for marketers who are trying to grow a company.
  • [Kieran] That goal is way too broad.
  • [Kieran] We need to focus on the right goals that will eventually create revenue for the business.  This is a simpler version of Dave McClures A.A.R.R.R metrics (acquisition, activation, retention, referral, revenue). It breaks the funnel down to getting visitors, activating those visitors by whatever conversion you want to measure and of course retaining them.
  • [Kieran] HubSpots marketing team are really focused on acquiring customers and retention of those customers. A simplistic few of our funnel would show these as the key metrics Getting more visitors Increasing the size of our database, which is contactsCustomer acquisitionConversion rates we care about are the number visitors we convert into contacts, the number of contacts (or leads) that convert into customersObviously we also look at churn rate If you are focused on growing a company and you are trying to be scrappy, you can’t focus on all of these goals at once. You need to choose the right one.
  • [Kieran] Choosing the right goal is a really important part of being successful. For example, if I have a funnel where I am getting 200 visits a week, have a visit to contact rate of 50% and a contact to customer rate of 50%.
  • [Kieran] Then obviously my goal should be to generate more visits. There is no point focusing on improving those conversion rates when I am not generating many visits. My sole focus should be to increase the number of visits I am getting.
  • [Kieran] Only idiots make such broad goals. Increasing visits is never going to be something you are going to tick off. You will always want more.
  • [Kieran] You want to narrow those goals down until you get to a point that you can tick stuff off.  For example, we want to increase visits. We figure out a way to do this would be to increase the amount of quality content we produce. We don’t have the resources to do this ourselves, but we have a whole partner network, partners for HubSpot are marketing agencies that we can try to leverage for this. We create a goal of increasing user-generated content and for that we are going to: Start up small community for everyone who contributes content so they can acquire points for the content they created and get monthly prizes.Email our partners on why they should create content for usCreate author pages to profile contributors, give them more visibility.
  • [Kieran] Once you’ve chosen a goal to focus on, you want to make sure you can measure the success of it.
  • [Kieran] If you don’t have metrics for your goals then you shouldn’t go ahead with them. Only take on goals that you can assign relevant metrics to.  You need to know if what you’re doing is having an impact. Metrics will help you to constantly improve on the things you are doing.
  • [Kieran] We touched upon levers earlier on. They are things are your disposal that require little energy but can have a big impact on your results.
  • [Kieran] To give you some examples of levers
  • [Kieran] In HubSpots early days, around 2007, one of their biggest levers was the fact Dharmesh, HubSpot’s cofounder, was a pretty great coder and was always building things. Engineering was a lever they could tap into.
  • [Kieran] Similar to HubSpot, AirBnB had engineering talent as one of their levers. Something AirBnB did in their early days was allowing you to post your AirBnB listing directly onto Craigslist. This helped a lot with growing AirBnB’suserbase in the early days. That option has since been removed as they were using some pretty funky hacks to make that happen, Craigslist didn’t have an API, so whatever they were doing to make this happen got shut down.
  • One of the earliest recorded growth hacks was accomplished by Hotmail.com in the late 1990s. As a way to stimulate growth, the Hotmail team added the intriguing bit of text “PS I love you” at the bottom of every email they sent, with a link back to their homepage. In less than a year, this little piece of content was responsible (in part) for their massive growth of more than 12 million email accounts.
  • [Kieran] One of Paths, the mobile social network, best levers was the fact they could tap into their members address book. When you are focused on growth, you can be too aggressive with your levers.  Path sent texts to everyone’s address book without their permission, which didn’t go down too well with their members.
  • [Kieran] You want to understand what your levers are. This is going to help you stack rank your goals and make better decisions on which ones to execute on first.
  • [Kieran] Let’s jump back to the example I gave earlier and go through the individual goals that are going to help us grow user generated content and in turn will help grow our visitors.
  • [Kieran] To execute on this goal we will need someone to look after the community and engineering power to help develop the functionality to allow us to track metrics around individual post performance so we can award prizes. This is doable, but our engineering team is currently slammed with new product releases
  • [Kieran] Creating author pages to profile contributors is again really doable, it just needs engineering help and those guys are slammed.
  • [Kieran] The last one is educating our partner network on why they should create content for us. We have a pretty big email list of both partners and potential partners, we have a lot of existing reach that we can highlight as an advantage of creating content for us, it’s going to get them visibility. We can make this feel exclusive and say we are only opening up 10 slots for now. Using that email database, our existing reach and a well-crafted pitch are pretty low calorie exercises, but can produce big results. That’s the kind of levers we are looking for.
  • So that’s the one we go for first and create a blog dedicated to partner content.
  • [Kieran] The last part we are going to cover is experiments.
  • [Kieran] In my mind, scrappy marketers are not ok with best practise.
  • [Kieran] I hate the use of the word “best practise”. To me best practise sucks, because it’s just doing things the same way as everyone else does.  When you are just following best practise, you already know what the potential returns are. They are usually just the same as anyone else who is following best practise.
  • [Kieran] Experiments allow you to continually try new things and improve upon your current strategy.
  • [Kieran] I really love this quote from Thomas Edison. This is how you should approach experiments. He didn’t fail 1000 times, but discovered a 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb. Not all experiments will work. But they will lead to scaling your results beyond what you get from best practise.
  • [Kieran] I could spend all day going through different experiments to run.
  • [Kieran] For this presentation I am just going to run through a bunch of examples related to content, because content marketing is something I think about a lot. All of these are things you should experiment with in your content marketing efforts.
  • [Kieran] You want to understand what are going to be the best content formats for your business.
  • [Kieran] Neil Patel who is a pretty phenomenal marketer said inforgraphics played a big part in helping to grow KISSmetrics. They generated over 2.5 million visits from 47 infographics and created a huge number of backlinks, which obviously helped with their SEO results. There are obviously a lot of content formats to try. This is a pretty good graphic from eConsultancy called the periodic table of content marketing.
  • [Kieran] You want people to actually click on your content, so
  • [Kieran] You should experiment a lot with your headlines. A great example of this are Upworthy.
  • [Kieran] They write 25 headlines for every post. They pick the best two and using bit.ly links, they run a simple A/B test through Facebook by targeting different cities. The title that wins is then used in their main story.
  • [Kieran] They write 25 headlines for every post. They pick the best two and using bit.ly links, they run a simple A/B test through Facebook by targeting different cities. The title that wins is then used in their main story.
  • [Kieran] You want to know how you can get more people to click on your content.
  • [Kieran] We’ve experimented with different ways of getting people to share our content once we send it to them via email. We ran big call to actions to have them email it to a friend.
  • [Kieran] We’ve used dynamic content to change that call to action so it’s more relevant to the user we are asking. For example, if we know someone has over 5000 twitter followers, we dynamically chance that call to action to ask them to tweet it. We provide an easy lazy tweet for them to use.
  • [Kieran] We personalise our thank you pages to call out their name and again ask them to forward it to a friend.
  • [Kieran] There is a really cool service called “Click to tweet” that will help you to easily embed tweets into your blog posts to get more social sharing happening.
  • [Kieran] What if no one is reading your blog at the moment and it’s taking time to get traffic built up.
  • [Kieran] Experiment with putting your content in different places, not just on your blog. Story about BufferApp
  • [Kieran] What if you don’t know what to write about. You aren’t sure what’s going to work for your audience.
  • [Kieran] You can use a tool like socialcrawlytics to show you your competitor’s best shared content. You can export this to an excel file and sort it by the different social networks, so you can even identify what content works best on which network.
  • [Kieran] Just jumping back to levers, always keep a swipe file when you see a company using something simple. They will help inspire future ideas. For example, here is a really smart one from socialcrawlytics to help you get more credits.
  • [Kieran] The other thing about not knowing what to write is to experiment with being creative with your content. Eat24 are one of the best examples of this. They write some really great content that’s directly related to food.  This is one of the best blog posts I read in the last year.
  • [Kieran] You should experiment with everything. A lot of people think quantity of content is the key to success
  • [Kieran] This analysis was run by a company called SERPIQ that showed the average length of a web page in the top 10 is 2000 words. You want to experiment on both quantity and quality.
  • The serpIQ analyzed the top 10 search results for over 20,000 keywords and noticed a pattern.The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each web page has.
  • The Scrappy Guide to Marketing

    1. 1. The Scrappy Guide to Marketing. Kieran Flanagan, Marketing Director (EMEA) @HubSpot @searchbrat kflanagan@hubspot.com
    2. 2. Kieran Flanagan @searchbrat “Highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.”
    3. 3. Motivated by this
    4. 4. “I’m trying to do a lot with very little”
    5. 5. Oh you haven’t
    6. 6. You really should
    7. 7. Not being able to get what we want …
    8. 8. Help us be more creative
    9. 9. Help us be more creative, focused,
    10. 10. Help us be more creative, focused, scrappy.
    11. 11. Exhibit A
    12. 12. Old School
    13. 13. Levers
    14. 14. There were some casualties along the way
    15. 15. Continued to experiment on the process
    16. 16. Until I got one of these
    17. 17. Until I got one of these, and one of these as well !!
    18. 18. “What the hell is this dude talking about?”
    19. 19. Clear Goal The 3 components of scrappiness 3 1 Know Levers Experimenting 2
    20. 20. 1 HAVE CLEAR GOALS
    21. 21. “All good marketers focused on growth should have an obsessive focus on a singular goal”
    22. 22. Revenue is usually the most important singular goal we have.
    23. 23. Making money is not the right goal to obsess over.
    24. 24. Making money is not the right goal to obsess over. It’s too broad.
    25. 25. Get Visitors Activate Members Retain Users Simpler version of Dave McClure A.A.R.R.R start up metrics.
    26. 26. Get Visitors Contact Customers HubSpot marketing team goal is customers and retention. Retain Users Visit to Contact % Contact to Customer % Churn Rate
    27. 27. Get Visitors Contact Customers The Funnel will guide your decision on what goal to obsess over Retain Users Generating 200 weekly visits Visit to Contact Rate 50% Contact to Customer Rate 50%
    28. 28. Get Visitors Contact Customers The Funnel will guide your decision on what goal to obsess over Retain Users Generating 200 weekly visits Visit to Contact Rate 50% Contact to Customer Rate 50% Ours should be visits …
    29. 29. Generating “more visits” is still too broad
    30. 30. Increase Visits Narrow down goals until you can check shit off Increase User Generated Content Community with monthly prizes for top posters Email partners on why they should create content for us Create author pages to profile contributors
    31. 31. Do you have metrics for those goals?
    32. 32. Goals without metrics are empty
    33. 33. 2 Know Your Levers
    34. 34. Levers ?
    35. 35. Marketing Grader has generated over 4 million visits and 500,000 prospects.
    36. 36. AirBnB originally allowed you to automatically post your listing to
    37. 37. Hotmail's “PS I Love you” signature helped them to grow to over 12 million
    38. 38. Path used everyone’s contact address book to send texts. A little too
    39. 39. What are your levers ?
    40. 40. What goal should we execute first? Community with monthly prizes for top posters Create author pages to profile contributors Email partners on why they should create content for us
    41. 41. Community with monthly prizes for top posters Create author pages to profile contributors What goal should we execute first? Email partners on why they should create content for us Our engineerin g team is slammed
    42. 42. Community with monthly prizes for top posters Create author pages to profile contributors What goal should we execute first? Email partners on why they should create content for us We need some dev time and design resource
    43. 43. Community with monthly prizes for top posters Email partners on why they should create content for us Create author pages to profile contributors What goal should we execute first? Our email list is a huge lever. Takes very little energy to do this.
    44. 44. Blog dedicated to partner content
    45. 45. Experiments 3
    46. 46. Scrappy marketers are not ok with best practice.
    47. 47. Best practice f**king sucks !
    48. 48. Experiments allow you to continually improve on your current strategy.
    49. 49. Thomas Edison – “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb”.
    50. 50. Experiments?
    51. 51. Content Hacks
    52. 52. What content format works best?
    53. 53. KISSmetrics generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 back links from 47
    54. 54. There are a lot of content formats to try !! - http://bit.ly/1hW42Un
    55. 55. How do I get more people to click on my content?
    56. 56. Upworthy write 25 headlines. Pick two. A/B test and pick the winner.
    57. 57. Upworthy write 25 headlines. Pick two. A/B test and pick the winner. Check out their deck http://slidesha.re/ 1nqHwGd
    58. 58. How do I get people to share my content?
    59. 59. Ask them to
    60. 60. Provide right options
    61. 61. Personalising helps
    62. 62. Click to tweet allows you to easily include tweetable stats in blog posts
    63. 63. But no one is reading my blog at the moment?
    64. 64. Buffer wrote 60 guest posts that helped grow their customer based to 100,000.
    65. 65. I don’t know what to write about ?
    66. 66. Socialcrawlytics can identify your competitors best content and their top authors.
    67. 67. ** Keep a swipe file of levers **
    68. 68. Be creative !!
    69. 69. Holy Shit !! Eat24 create amazingly good content that’s not always directly related to food.
    70. 70. Ok, I’ll start pumping out lots of short blog posts
    71. 71. SERPIQ study says the average content length for a web page that ranks in top 10 is 2000 words.
    72. 72. @Searchbrat Scrappy marketers are always experimenting. They are never content with the results they have.
    73. 73. Ask yourself …
    74. 74. Do we have clear goals. Can we tick them off. What are the metrics?
    75. 75. What levers do we have to help us stack rank these goals?
    76. 76. What experiments can we run to scale our results?
    77. 77. THANK YOU.

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