Podcast 6: Advanced Marketing Techniques with Neil Patel
Neil Patel is an online celebrity and entrepreneur. He has been a prolific blogger on QuickSprout and the KISSmetrics blog since 2006. He has contributed to Entrepreneur Magazine, TechCrunch, Mashable, Business Insider, SEOmoz, and Geekwire. He has also mentored and advised endless numbers of entrepreneurs over the years, including myself.
Neil is a true Craftsman Founder of multiple companies: ACS (SEO), Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics which all have generated many millions of dollars a year in revenue. I am lucky to call him a friend and thrilled
- Your startups, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg both use data to tell you stories of how people use your websites. Why is that important? When people build websites, they tend to focus on traffic. A million visitors a month to your site doesn’t guarantee success if those visitors don’t convert into customers. Understanding the entire story path of your users from where they come from to when they buy is critical for long-term success.
- Many decisions are gut instincts and opinions, do you have any examples of how measuring data lead to surprising results? Yes. It is “common knowledge” that you need to reduce friction to get people to sign up, therefore you are supposed to minimize the things you ask a person to tell you up front. For example, you usually don’t ask for the person’s URL during signup. But using data, we found that asking for their URL first actually INCREASES SIGNUPS.
- How did you discover this?
- Through data–Using Google Analytics, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg
- Qualitative feedback–SurveyMonkey, Qualaroo, Promoter.io
- Peers–We saw other smart people we know trying these ideas
- How does thinking like your customer help you make more sales? Think of a website as a first date. If someone lands on your site, let’s get married is: give me your email, password and credit card… that’s a really tough sell. But if you say: Good to meet you, what’s your name or URL? You start building a relationship with your audience which will make it easier for deeper engagements with your customers.
- How can you use data to piece together the stories about how customers find out about you? Do it in bite sizes. Figure out and optimize just one part of the story at a time. Find where you have the most drop-off to start with. For example, focus just on your homepage. Then focus on your checkout pages. Do it piece by piece.
- What do you do when you don’t know what needs to change? Survey readers (using Qualaroo or Promoter.io) and ask them “what else would they like to see on this page?” Then look for commonalities. Let your visitors tell you where you are wrong.
- What are the top 3 most common mistakes that you see startup founders make?
- Founders don’t execute fast enough. They want to create the best product or over-thinking things rather than testing and measuring results.
- Making decisions based on what they want vs. the data. They end up building products nobody wants to use or pay for.
- They don’t think about marketing. The best product in the world still needs to be marketed. People think they can’t start marketing until they finish the product or feature. These are just excuses and the excuses never ends. You will always come up with more reasons to not start marketing yet. The product does not need to be done to start marketing it.
- You are an expert on online marketing. How can people attract more attention to what they are doing?
- SEO. Google can drive a ton of traffic to your site. Read The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Then read The Advanced Guide to SEO. Then focus on link building. Read The Advanced Guide to Link Building and The Backlinko Blog.
- Content Marketing. Educate people. If you don’t have time to create your own blog, guest post on other people’s blogs. Buffer did this on Forbes and Entrepreneur blog. Read Copyblogger and ProBlogger to learn how to blog effectively. Finally, read The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing.
- Social Media. To figure out social media, read The Social Media Examiner. Facebook is the second most popular site on the Internet (after Google) so figure it out.
Start from wherever you are and with whatever skill level you are, no matter how bad you think you are. The only way to get better is by practicing and doing things. If you tell yourself that you are bad at marketing or sales or whatever, and you let that be an excuse for ignoring it, you are handicapping yourself unnecessarily.
- What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received about starting a company? Go out there and generate revenue as quickly as possible. It sounds silly and simple, but most people think they need a product before they start charging people. Locking in customers before your product is done really helps change the perception of your business from a consumer or investor standpoint. Without revenue you give up control of your future.
- How has marketing changed in the last few years for startups? Gone from just SEO and paid acquisition to becoming much more creative. Engineers have become much more involved in marketing. Your product can be involved in marketing. Like Dropbox’s invite people to get free credit.
About the Author
Lucas Carlson is a hands-on consultant, author and entrepreneur. He helps founders discover opportunities for growth, both for their companies and for themselves. He was the CEO and founder of AppFog, a popular startup acquired in 2013 after signing up over 100,000 developers and raising nearly $10M in venture funding from top angels and VCs.