Miles Burke

Thoughts on startups, small business, marketing & more.

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growth marketing articles

212 Killer Growth Hacking Articles Published In 2017

I’ve spent dozens of hours, reading over 650 growth hacking articles in my mission of collating the ten best articles every week to send to my subscribers. Now, with 22 issues in the archives, I have categorised and listed 212 of the best growth articles for you below.

If you’d like to receive ten of the best growth hacking articles like this weekly by email, please sign up for my weekly growth marketing email newsletter.

You can scroll down to see the entire list, or use this index to jump to that section;

Affiliate & Referral Marketing
Chatbots & Messaging
Content Marketing
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Email Marketing
General Growth Marketing
Growth tools
Influencer Marketing
Pay Per Click
Public Relations
Product & Pricing
Search Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Video Marketing

212 Killer Growth Hacking Articles Published This Year


Affiliate & Referral Marketing

“Referral sales means closing your new and current customers on the concept of introducing you to other companies that are likely to need the solution you’ve built.” – Steli Efti.

How To Use Affiliate Marketing to Grow Your eCommerce Business by David Tile

3 Ways To Use Referral Marketing To Generate More Sales For Your e-Commerce Store by George Vasiliadis

The B2B referral sales system: The magical outbound growth engine most startups never use! by Steli Efti

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“Analytics not only tells you what is problems you have on your website; it will also tell you what changes you need to make to fix these problems.You just have to examine and analyze the data carefully.” – Khalid Saleh

Excel template for cohort analyses in SaaS by Christoph Janz

12 Google Analytics Custom Reports to Help You Grow Faster by Shanelle Mullin

LinkedIn Analytics: A Guide for Marketers by Kaylynn Chong

You’re Doing It Wrong: A Guide to Mobile Organic Attribution by Alex Austin

How to Setup Google AMP Webpages with Analytics Tracking by Dmytro Spilka

How to Use Google Analytics to Increase Conversions by Khalid Saleh

Marketing Attribution Models: Choosing the Right One (and Mistakes to Avoid) by Referral SaaSquatch

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Growth marketing analytics

Growth analytics. Source: Pexels.


Chatbots & Messaging

“There are some great applications popping up from brands that genuinely add value to the end consumer, and early signs are showing that consumers are actually responding really well to them.” – Matthew Barby.

Life Beyond Email: Chatbot Marketing by Matthew Barby

7 reasons why messaging should mirror real conversations by Benjamin J Keyser

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“To get traction, implement these ten strategies top writers use to identify questions, drive traffic, build community, and creating a huge, loyal following fast.” – Josh Fechter

How to Get Thousands of Leads from Quora in Five Months by Josh Fechter

Growth Hacking Reddit: 10k+ Visitors Each Month (For Free) by Eddy Azar

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Content Marketing

“A content upgrade plays on the fear of missing out because the reader has already invested a lot of time into the content – they want the full picture, but part of it’s being held back.” – Sujan Patel.

The Best Way to Get More Results From Your Content by Brian Sutter

How To Deliver Large-Scale Projects Using A Content Hub Strategy by Chad Harwood-Jones

7 Traits That REALLY Define High-Quality Content by Larry Kim

How To Promote Your Blog With 107 Content Promotion Tactics by Nathan Ellering

How to Get Your Writing on the Road to Being Read and Spread by Robert Bruce

User-Generated Content May be the Ultimate Conversion Tool (Bonus Download) by Jon MacDonald

10 ways copy can make you more money right now by Annie Maguire

How to Build a High Converting Sales Funnel with Copy Your Customers Will Love by Jen Havice

How to Make Visual Content More Meaningful by Nathan Ellering

How We Scaled a Startup from 0 Organic Traffic to 100,000 Visitors/Mo (In About One Year) by Tyler Hakes

How to Get 100,000 People to See Your Blog Post by Len Markidan

How to Use FOMO to Increase Traffic & Conversions by Sujan Patel

How New SaaS Companies Should Be Using Content Marketing by Sujan Patel

40 Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content (And Why You Should) by Mary Fernandez

How to Write Phenomenal Blog Posts in a World Full of Average Ones by Lauren Holliday

How 4 Top SaaS Companies Use Content to Strengthen Their Product Marketing by Ben Mulholland

The Subterranean Foundations of Any Good Content Marketing Strategy by Robert Bruce

How to Know Exactly What Content to Deliver to Convert More Prospects by Brian Clark

Online Content: Is Longer Really Better? by Jacob Baadsgaard

These Six Content Marketing Tactics Will Give You 142% More Traffic in Six Months by Neil Patel

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“Put simply, copywriting is writing to persuade, convert, and sell. Good copywriting gets clicks, shares, and opens. Bad copywriting gets swept under the rug.” – Robbie Richards.

13 Killer SEO Copywriting Tips (With Examples and A/B Tests) by Robbie Richards

66 Copywriting Tips that Will Boost Your Conversion Rates by 327% by Cornelia Cozmiuc

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Conversion Rate Optimisation

“According to Econsultancy, “only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.” So, what’s going wrong? – Neil Patel.

There isn’t a way I could include a list of growth hacking articles, without covering conversion rate optimisation (CRO for short). CRO can often make or break a campaign, and these links will explain how.

How to boost your conversion rates with this simple trick by Marcus Karoumi

Split Testing: 7 Tricks to Gain More Sales by Isha Singh

Thank you pages: 7 ways I’ve increased retention and conversion (2016) by Talia Wolf

[Gifographic] Better Website Testing – A Simple Guide to Knowing What to Test by Johnathan Dane

Optimize Your Site for Conversions: Deconstructing Strategies that Work by Bree Chapin

A Roadmap to Creating An Effective Personalization Strategy by Chris Goward

31 Mobile Landing Page Ideas To Help You Fly Above Your Competition by Cynthia Meyer

22 Effective Ways to Use Landing Page Social Proof [Original Research] by Cynthia Meyer

Data-Driven Optimization: How The Moneyball Method Can Deliver Increased Revenues by Jon MacDonald

User Experience Testing: A Conversion-Focused Guide by Alex Birkett

100 Must Read Resources on Conversion Optimization by Sinan Hatahet

The Breadcrumb Technique – Landing Page Test Doubles Conversion Rate by Johnathan Dane

How Hotjar Gained 60+ New Trial Signups a Month with a Single Overlay by Maggie Crowley

10 Ways To Make Your Lead Generation Website Convert On The First Visit by Brad Shorr

Funnel Hacking: More Crucial than Growth Hacking by Audrey Melnik

How To Gather Split-Test Ideas For Your Copy Using Post-Conversion Questionnaires by Nathaniel Cheung

How to Increase the Revenue Value of Your Homepage by 851% by Neil Patel

Beyond A vs. B: How to get better results with better experiment design by Natasha Wahid

Four Principles for Making Experimentation Count by Lindsay M Pettingill

How to Blast Away the Top 15 Conversion Roadblocks on Your Website by Neil Patel

Why 90% of your experiments shouldn’t last longer than 2 weeks by David Arnoux

How to get evergreen results from your landing page optimization by Natasha Wahid

Landing Page Optimization: The Complete DIY Guide to Optimizing Your Landing Pages by Talia Wolf

The Beginner’s Guide to Google Optimize by Shanelle Mullin

How to Use Personality Science to Drive Online Conversions by Vanessa Van Edwards

The great big list of landing page tests to try by Amy Bishop

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Case Study: Nasty Gal is Killing It at ECommerce – Here’s How They Did It by Morgan Brown

2017 eCommerce Conversion Rate Trends That Are Here to Stay by Shivangi

How to Use Email Automation to Boost eCommerce Conversions by Daniel Kohn

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Email Marketing

17 Email Scripts That Have Helped Us Grow Our Business (For You to Steal) by Alex Turnbull

Everything You Need To Know About Email Segmentation And Personalisation by Ankit Prakash

7 Advanced Ways to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rates (+ Swipe to Steal) by Sam Thomas Davies

How To Increase Your Email Subscribers By 339% In 60 Days [Case Study] by Daniel Ndukwu

7 Advanced Ways to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rates (+ Swipe to Steal) by Sam Thomas Davies

Email Marketing Hacks: Read This Checklist Before Hitting Send by Ajit Singh

15 Actionable Strategies to Grow Your Email List (Even If You Have No Traffic) by Sarah Peterson

How to Get Your Emails Delivered to the Gmail Primary Tab Easily by Zoran Orak

How I grew my mailing list from 0 to 100,000 in 1 Month by Abdul Hafez

The Email Marketing Psychology Crash Course by Sarah Peterson

Post-Purchase Emails: How to Boost Retention & LTV by Danny Wong

How to Craft the Perfect Outreach email by Sujan Patel

Email List Management Tricks: Pay less and get more out of it by Gabor Koncz

How to Align Email Marketing to The Buyer’s Journey (With Examples) by Sam Thomas Davies

How To Send Better B2B Emails In 2017 by Melanie Kinney

Automated Outbound Sales: How Segment Increased Outbound Email Conversion by 200% by Michael Thomas

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6 free side projects guaranteed to drive revenue and bring in customers by Yannick Khayati

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General Growth Marketing

“To define the viral loop, you can think of it as the steps a user goes through between entering the site to inviting the next set of new users” – Andrew Chen.

These growth hacking articles are general in nature, covering many facets of how to improve growth in your product, business or service.

Grow your sales by creating urgency—featuring examples of scarcity from and Garth Brooks

43 Founders Reveal Growth Hacking Strategies That Landed Their First Customers

Getting to $600k/mo with ConvertKit [Case Study] by Courtland Allen

25 Free Marketing Tricks I Used To Generate a Quarter-Million Page Views For My Startup by Julien Brault

7 biggest marketing strategies for 2017 by Noah Kagan

No More Hacks: Why Tired, Old Boring Processes Can Make You a Better Marketer by Brad Smith

10 lessons I learned from David Hauser’s $0 to $30M B2B SaaS interview by Chris Von Wilpert

11 Ways to Turn Prospects into Customers by Allen Finn

Slimy Marketing Can Hurt Your Business. Learn How to Avoid It. by Meryl Ayres

Why Every Saas Company Should Try Concierge Onboarding by Sujan Patel

9 Activation Secrets You Need to Be Using by Brad Smith

Growth Is Optional: 10 Reasons Why Companies Fail At Growth by Brian Balfour

How to Choose Digital Marketing Channels for Long Term Growth by Alex Birkett

RRF: a framework for building impactful notifications by Andy Carvell

3 Cognitive Biases Stunting Your Growth by Janet Choi

7 Modern Marketing Frameworks Every Startup Needs to Know by Lloyd Alexander

Putting It All Together – How Josh Elman Identified A Growth Driver At Twitter by Sean Ellis

Find the key to app growth without an army of data scientists by Alicia Shiu

How to Hack Growth When Growth Stalls by Sean Ellis

The $0 Marketing Stack – Free Growth Marketing Stack by Juan González

6 Killer Weapons for Growth by Simon Sylvest

35 Lessons from 13 Years of Marketing by Mary Green

Seek Authentic Growth by Brian Balfour

Common Growth Hacking Myths (and How Growth Actually Works) by Shanelle Mullin

The Growth Marketer’s Guide to Aha! Moments by Ty Magnin

From 1k to 10k customers: 4 steps to scale your B2B startup in new markets by Steli Efti

100 Marketing Growth Hacks Learned from 5 Years as a Startup by Kevin Ho

5 Recommendations for Setting Yearly Growth Goals by Brian Balfour

How We Use Google Venture’s 5-Day Sprint to Ship Marketing Campaigns Faster by Jennifer Pepper

How we grew 100% organically every quarter by Mypoolin

50 B2B Lead Generation Ideas from the Experts by Takeshi Young

How to steal customers from your competitors? by Dominik Vacikar

128 High Converting Growth Hacks – The Last Growth Hacking List by Helvijs Smoteks

Growth Hacking explained in 12 simple steps by Yannick Khayati

Monkey Business: The Story Behind MailChimp’s Wild Growth by Erik Devaney

101 Lead Magnet Ideas For Every Stage Of Your Marketing Funnel by Danavir Sarria

Growth Mindset: 10 Principles to Growth by Pierre Lechelle

Structure Your Marketing Team for Growth by Kipp Bodnar

The 2 Best Online Marketing Strategies for Businesses on a Tight Budget by Jacob McMillen

Not Sure Which Marketing Funnel Stage to Target? Start Here: by Stefan Mancevski

50 B2B Lead Generation Ideas from the Experts by Takeshi Young

The Three Main Strategies For Creating Sustainable Growth by Growtheus

How To Prioritize Your SaaS Marketing Tactics For Maximum ROI [Free Template Included] by Nicholas Mullen

4 of the Best Growth Hacking Experiments to Try in 2017 by Katherine Boyarsky

What’s your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption. by Andrew Chen

Cheap data: You are about to get so much better at marketing by Brian Massey

How to Capture Attention in a Cluttered World by Nick Kolenda

Can You ‘Feel’ It? How to Use Emotional Decision-Making in Marketing by Nathan Chan

A Dozen Lessons on Growth by Tren Griffin

The Five Types of Virality by Josh Elman

2016 Year In Review – Double Your Freelancing by Brennan Dunn

Climbing the charts: 4 tips to get to #1 on Product Hunt by Jordan Woods

Top 3 Growth Hacking Examples Of 2016 by Lee Gladish

How KlientBoost scaled from $0 to $1M in 12 months by Devesh Khanal

How To Engage And Retain App Users Like The Big Players (Facebook & Snapchat) by Paul Kemp

How I Made $10,000 in Four Hours With an Online Course That Doesn’t Yet Exist by Julien Brault

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Growth hacking articles

Growth hacking results. Source: Pexels.


Growth tools

27 Growth hacking tools you should use in 2017 by Abdul Hafez

The Mobile Growth Stack: 2017 Edition by Andy Carvell

Growth Marketing Tools: Techniques & Secrets for 2017 by Dara Strutt

27 Dream Marketing Stack Tools You Can’t Afford to Miss by Brad Smith

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Influencer Marketing

A 3-Step Guide to Media and Influencer Outreach Targeting Inspired by 1,300 Publishers by Ashley Carlisle

Songwriter Accidently Does Influencer Marketing Perfectly, Gets 40k Views Overnight by Benji Hyam

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Pay Per Click

“Power words are so named because they leap off the page (or screen). They arrest attention. Which is exactly what you need when your ads are competing with people’s families and friends for attention on Facebook.” – Brad Smith.

If you need advice on AdWords, FB Advertising or more, these growth hacking articles will give you a great kick start.

Boosting B2B Leads by 9x with PPC and Landing Page Best Practices [Case Study] by Andy Beohar

10 Brilliant B2B Facebook Ads Deconstructed by Jack

PPC Ad Testing Tips From Our Top 10 Experts by Cynthia Meyer

Case Study: 1,057 leads in 7 days with £5 ad spend by Tim Felmingham

7 Power Words & Phrases to Test in Your Facebook Ads by Brad Smith

We Spent $100k On Facebook Ads. Here’s What We Learned. by Jonathan Taylor

LinkedIn Ads: How to target your ideal prospect every time by AJ Wilcox

The Top 10 Most Common AdWords Mistakes (And How To Fix Them) by CrazyEgg

Branding Success: How to Use PPC to Amplify Your Brand by Purna Virji

Facebook Ads Bidding – 54 Tips, Hacks & Methods to Know by Karola Karlson

LinkedIn’s New Lead Gen Forms vs. Facebook Lead Ads by Allen Finn

10 Lesser-Known Facebook Ad Features (and Why You Should Use Them) by Jay Shemenski

LinkedIn’s new Matched Audiences feature just blew Facebook Custom Audiences out of the water for B2B by AJ Wilcox

10 Lesser-Known Facebook Ad Features (and Why You Should Use Them) by Jay Shemenski

3 Reasons You Need to Try Pinterest Ads by Ivan Kreimer

AdWords Account Expansion: Scaling & Growing Successfully by Melissa Mackey

6 Little Steps to Create a Killer PPC Landing Page by Michael Fitterer

Facebook Ads Manager: A 125-Point Guide To Make You A Superhero by Johnathan Dane

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Public relations

Public relations. Source: Pexels.


Public Relations

How To Pitch Press – The Definitive Guide by Dmitry Dragilev

Here’s How We Get Featured in the LA Times (and Other Top Tier Publications) by Thomas Mcloughlin

Best Pre Launch Tips For Your Product by Shivam Sharma

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Product & Pricing

9 Psychology-Based Pricing Strategies You Can Use Today (+ Swipe File) by Sleeknote

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Often ignored in lists of growth hacking articles, sales is yet another driver for growth, and can’t be ignored.

We Analyzed 25,537 Sales Calls. Here’s What We Learned by Chris Orlob

4 Sales Lessons From InVision’s SVP of Sales Ryan Burke by Erik Devaney

39 sales statistics that will change the way you sell by Ramin Assemi

25 proven sales strategies from top entrepreneurs and startups by Ryan Robinson

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Search Engine Optimization

“For many startups, SEO is viewed in the same vein as Tarot cards and palm readings. The whole process seems like a sham, and its reputation isn’t helped by genuinely spammy “SEO outreach emails” where some automated message tells you that your site needs optimization. Yeah, okay.” – Gregory Ciotti.

SEO isn’t a short term solution, however for the medium to long term, these growth hacking articles will show you how to win at getting great rankings.

A Thirty-Day Plan for Gaining 100 Authoritative and Relevant Backlinks to Your New Website by Neil Patel

Simple SEO Wins for Startups with One Page, One Term by Gregory Ciotti

Rethinking Long Tail Keywords: how to get TONS of traffic from ‘unpopular’ search queries by David McSweeney

15 Meta Description Examples & How To Master Them by Dan Shure

How to Create Keyword Maps and Avoid Cannibalization (The SEO Variety) by Tyler Thursby

Resist Old On-Page SEO Tactics With These 5 Tricks by Rand Fishkin

Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Design and Build by Maryna Samokhina

The Wise Content Marketer’s Guide to Sensible SEO by Sonia Simone

42 Hacks to Score White Hat Backlinks for an Online Business in 2017 by Kaloyan Yankulov

How to monitor Google Knowledge Graph changes and performance by Tony Edward

Link Building for Your Startup by Meri Chobanyan

Tips on Finding Website Optimization Opportunities for Your Business by Vahe Arabian

What we learned about “Long Tail” by analyzing 1.4 Billion keywords by Tim Soulo

Site speed tactics in a mobile-first world: Why you need to step up your site speed game by Pete Campbell

Link building: Preliminary research and analysis by Andrew Dennis

How to do server-side testing for SPA optimization by Natasha Wahid

How to use Search Console for quick SEO wins by Tereza Litsa

[Case Study] How We Ranked #1 for a High-Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months by Dmitry Dragilev

Cracking Facebook SEO – Optimization Tips That Win Higher Page Rankings by Cornelia Cozmiuc

How I Got 22 Follow Links In Half a Day by Abi Travers

19-Step On-Page SEO Checklist (with FREE Automation Template) by Robbie Richards

Top SEO tips for 2017 by Christopher Jan Benitez

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Social Media Marketing

“When you’re struggling to come up with new, exciting social content, it’s helpful to look back at your “North Star”—a past post that was really successful. By understanding what went well and why, you can set guidelines that will help you consistently produce high-performing content.” – Emily Copp.

These growth hacking articles show you how to build growth using various social media strategies, across a number of platforms.

How to Grow Your Audience on Snapchat According to Data From 217,000 Snaps by Sophia Bernazzani

The Crazy Egg Pinterest Marketing Guide by Sharon Hurley Hall

10 Ways to Maximize Your Chances at Getting Verified on Twitter by Kevan Lee

The 20 Best New Social Media Tools to Try in 2017 (And How to Use Them) by Alfred Lua

20 Twitter Growth Hacking Tools for Startups by Pressfarm

YouTube Video Optimization: Blowing Up Your Rankings and Revenue by Kevin Espiritu

What I’ve learned from growing and unfollowing over 250,000 followers on Twitter by Travis Wright

How to Do an Instagram Audit in 60 Minutes or Less by Dominique Jackson

How to Design Facebook Images That Get More Clicks by Ryan McCready

7-Step Facebook Marketing Strategy to Dominate 2017 by Alex York

The Best Way To Get 3000 Instagram Followers in 4 Months by Jordan O’Connor

How to Use Social Media to Hype Your Product Pre-Launch by Kaylynn Chong

What We Learned from Our Top-Performing Social Media Posts by Emily Copp

Social Media Copywriting: How to Compose Text for 5 Different Channels by Amanda Zantal-Wiener

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Video marketing

Video marketing. Source: Pexels.


Video Marketing

The 4 Pillars of Stellar Video Marketing by Mitch Meyerson

The 3 Most Powerful Ways to use Videos for Retargeting by Growth Tribe

Video SEO: The Definitive Guide by Brian Dean

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My sincere gratitude to every one of the writers whose work I feature above; your commitment to sharing your knowledge and lessons are inspiring for all to learn from. I trust you find this hand-curated list of 212 growth hacking articles worth reading, and trust that you’ll join my weekly growth list.

Every week I share the ten best articles across a wide range of topics, and welcome suggestions to my @thegrowthemail Twitter account as well.

All the best with moving the needle in your business with the many great tips, found in the links above!

Perth Helicopter

My Latest (Old) Side Project Promoting Perth Startups

At the start of 2017, I promised myself to spend this year launching four different side projects. One every quarter.

I’ve got three other side projects part ready, and which I am still running, however for this quarter I’ve decided to double down on something I began a while ago as a purely community project.

I’d like to introduce an old side project which has been bubbling away, however now it’s time to put some real effort in. Startup Perth is a Twitter account and associated landing page, which I started back in August 2015, as a way to promote fellow Perth startups and innovators.

Over time, it has grown to become a valuable resource for the local startups which receive extra visibility and promotion as a result, and to the 18,500+ people who follow the account, who get an insight into local innovators.

I wrote an article just recently about the progress so far. This reminded me how much I spent, both financially and the hours I have been putting in over the last 20 months.

I’ve made the decision to dedicate the next three months to either get at least the money and time I am spending promoting Perth startups, covered through some income, or look at either selling it, or shutting down. Whilst I started it purely for the benefit of the community, it is taking time and money that I could be using towards one of my other side projects (or, you know, a life).

The trick is, that it’s typically hard to monetise a Twitter account.

Marketing Benefits of Startup Perth for Startups
Whilst the idea of sharing content on Twitter seems very simple and low value, it’s actually very valuable for brands, as most marketers attest to. In this article on Quuu, they discuss five benefits, being

  • It’s Free Traffic
  • Engage and Cultivate Even More Free Traffic
  • Your Google Rankings Will Rise
  • You’ll Get Indexed Faster
  • You’ll Create a Better Relationship with Customers

One of the big benefits for many of the startups I have been sharing content from, is the search engine rankings, and the exposure of these brands to new markets. A while back, I started sharing one particular startup which had 9 Twitter followers at the time. A week later, they had 24 – all naturally as a result of Startup Perth sharing their tweets.

This is great validation that comes from promoting Perth startups, especially early stage innovators.

Recent statistics show a high correlation between those successful on social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ also have much success in Google visibility.

Recent changes to Startup Perth
In the last 13 days, I have been getting a few tasks lined up and completed, to give this quarter a better chance of success.

I started by overhauling the Startup Perth website (it used to be just a page here on my blog).

Afterwards, I deleted a number of old automated feeds, and added a few new startups. I also changed the timing for many of these, and tweaked the hashtags that are associated with them.

I also compiled a contact list for each startup, and put it in a spreadsheet. I have reached out to all of these businesses by email, and I confirmed their URL, name, etc is all perfect.

New Startup Perth website

New Startup Perth website

The plan for Startup Perth
So this is what I am going to attempt to achieve over the next three months. I’m going to spend the next two months building further engagement on Twitter, as well as trying to attract income to cover the costs.

Depending on how this goes, I’ll spend the final month either negotiating for selling the name, website and Twitter account or shutting the account down.

Building engagement
Startup Perth already attracts a fair amount of engagement. Most tweets are retweeted, replied to or favourited. So here are a few things I’ll be trying over the next month;

Add more visual quotes. I’ve tried these on and off, and they are always well received. Inspirational quotes that relate to startups and innovation.

Daily focus tweets. I am scheduling a daily tweet, where we focus on one of the startups in my automated posting list.

Reaching out and saying hello. I’ll be using the account and say thanks to a few followers, and hello to some new followers.

Promoting Perth startups. I’ll continue doing what I have been, and try to find new startups to start promoting as well.

Generating income
There are a few possible methods of getting income whilst also promoting Perth startups. I believe I could just demand a monthly/annual fee to include the 35 startups I am currently promoting, or I could sell sponsorship for a time period such as a week or month (Like “This week’s tweets are brought to you by 6Q”).

These methods, however, put those early stage startups, who typically are bootstrapped and possibly not making any money at this stage, at a disadvantage.

The model I am going to try first, is literally just ask for donations, using a PayPal link. This way, the startups and others who gain value from the service, and who can afford to spend a little on advertising can send me what they feel is adequate and fair value, and those who don’t have the spare marketing budget, don’t feel pressured to.

How you can help
If you want to help, sharing this post, or retweeting Startup Perth would be a great help.

If you follow the account, and feel you are getting value from it, a small donation towards running it would be nice. If you are from one of the startups that I am currently promoting, I would appreciate you pitching in a small part of your marketing budget towards paying the bills.

See this page for more detail.

Woman typing with coffee

Why You Shouldn’t Ask Friends or Family for Startup Feedback [& Better Ways]

You’ve come up with a startup idea, and you’re excited. This is going to be The Next Big Thing, you’re absolutely positive. You catch up with friends and family and bounce your idea off them. They agree you are onto The Next Big Thing. Yay!

Have you just done yourself and your friends a disservice? Often, sadly yes.

I have seen way too many crazy startup ideas get too far down the track, thanks to well meaning people supporting ideas, that frankly, have significant problems. What you need is customer validation; not platitudes from loved ones.

I’ve been guilty of doing this. I’ve also been on the receiving end.

Enter the topic of confirmation bias.

Your friend Sally wants you to remain positive and wants to see you succeed. She listens to your startup idea, you brimming with smiles and talking enthusiastically. Sally nods and agrees with your idea. However, deep down, Sally remains unconvinced. In some situations, she is actually thinking that this is the Next Big Dumb Thing.

You see, Sally doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. She doesn’t want to be the person who brings bad news. So it’s easier for Sally in a social setting to just agree, to keep you happy.

Problem is, Sally isn’t helping you at all, and you’re putting stress on Sally because now she feels guilty that she told you it was great, when she actually feels it isn’t.

Now, obviously not everyone is the same, however what you want to do is avoid the group-think mentality of people just agreeing with your thought processes.

Better ways to ask colleagues

One way to do this is before you explain your startup idea to someone, make sure to mention that there are no good or bad answers – you’re after as much feedback as possible, positive or negative. It all helps you as an entrepreneur.

It is also very wise to frame your questions differently.

For example, start by saying ‘I have an idea to improve shiny rockets. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I want as much negative feedback as positive feedback’

Once you’ve given them a quick pitch on the idea, ask exploring (and not leading!) questions, such as ‘What do you like the most about this idea?’ and then follow up ‘What don’t you like about this idea?’

Make sure not to answer defensively either; a good way to shoot down someone’s freely given advice is to start saying ‘No, you’re wrong’, which is effectively what I hear when someone starts acting defensively.

Instead, say things such as ‘Oh, hey great point I hadn’t thought of that’ or if you had, say ‘Yes, that had crossed my mind. One way to tackle that is use shinier shiny things’. The shiny things bit may not work in your case.

It is fine to ask family and friends for thoughts, but ensure you balance that with feedback from further afield; and by further, I mean from people who aren’t emotionally connected to you.

How to validate with real customers

The startup world is full of talk about customer validation, and this often can feel like a huge step, but it doesn’t need to be.

First off, determine who you think is the ideal customer. This is the person who frequently suffers the problem you are out to solve. Say your shiny rocket idea.

The first step is to discover who is actually affected with this problem; what role do they play? Is it the engineers, the astronauts or the administration staff?

Asking for feedback using social media

Asking for feedback using social media

Find these customers in social connections

Then, make a list of people who you know that fit this customer persona. If you don’t know anyone in these roles, look for people you may know that could introduce you.

Using LinkedIn or Facebook, you can trawl through your contacts and try to find the right person, even someone who works in the rocketry field.

Run a very short survey

Another way to approach this, is to use a survey tool such as Google Forms or Typeform, and invite people by email or social to answer it. I’ve used this technique a few times to collect data, and it’s very handy. The good thing about this technique is that the recipient doesn’t feel pressure completing it, the con however is you aren’t able to change questions, based on the interviewees previous answers.

Side projects survey I recently ran

Side projects survey I recently ran

The above survey was great. I created it for free using Google Forms, and then using social, collected around 35 responses over a 24 hour period. It gave me great insight into how people feel, and I can now dig down using the next step.

The cold call technique

If not, try calling your nearest rocket manufacturer, and ask to be put through to someone in that role. It may feel daunting to pick up a phone and just call a stranger, however you’ll quickly find that most people are very happy to spend a few minutes to give advice.

Before you ask though, you need to contextualise it correctly.

Begin the conversation by saying something like “I’m not selling anything, I promise. I am thinking of creating something to help alleviate a specific problem that rocket manufacturers face. Can I ask a couple of questions? I promise it will be only five minutes of your time.”

Then, start by asking them if it really is a problem. “Do you have problems with dull rockets?” or “Is the shiny parts of a rocket important to manufacturers?”.

Make sure to follow my leading question advice from above too. A leading question is when you ask something in a way that encourages people to agree or disagree. Such as “Shiny rockets are a big problem, aren’t they?”. This question would be far better if phrased “Are shiny rockets an issue for you?”

Finally! Confidence in the feedback you’ve received

In no time at all, you’ll collect valuable thoughts around your startup idea, and you may discover that there is no problem there to fix, that the decision makers don’t value your proposed solution, or that you really have stumbled on to The Next Big Thing.

In any case, get feedback about your startup idea from further afar. Don’t spend lots of time or money building a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, or is undervalued by your target customers. Good luck!

@StartupPerth on Twitter

Update on Micro News Service Startup Perth [20 Months]

Since way back in August 2015, I’ve been running what I call a ‘micro news service’ on Twitter, called Startup Perth. Whilst it has a single page website, all the activity happens on the Twitter account.

It was started to raise further awareness of Perth’s innovative companies. Startup Perth uses a combination of both automation, and manual checking once or twice a day, to share news and information about the Perth startup ecosystem. I wrote about it before, back on Promoting Perth Startups.

Over the last 19 months since it began, I’ve attracted 18,545 followers to the account, making it by far the most followed for Western Australian startup and innovation news. In fact, the nearest three Twitter accounts, added up, make up less than a third of the Startup Perth followers, so something about this account is doing well.

Similar twitter accounts
Startup News 3,034
Techboard 1,990
Startup WA 1,564

Some statistics
Followers 18,545
Tweets 3,879
Automated 1,951 tweets
Manual 1,928 tweets

So, what did it share? Well, it shared mostly news and announcements from Western Australian startups, including links to over 1,900 blog posts, 1,426 photos and videos, inspirational quotes and more.

Manual retweet example

Manual re-tweet example

The 1,928 manual tweets were me, typically re-tweeting something a local startup tagged the account in, or found on one of their feeds, such as the example above. At one minute per tweet, that’s taken me roughly 32.5 hours to do.

The tweet automation checks against 50+ startups that have blogs with RSS feeds, and then posts their latest blog post, with a link and hashtags, such as this example, below.

Automated tweet example

Automated tweet example

There were 50 RSS feeds being monitored, and out of those, five didn’t post anything in the last 20 months. There were another 38 feeds that were only tweeted between 1 and 84 times. That totals 883 tweets in total.

The top four feeds were posted 1,068 times alone, more than the rest of the list, combined. They were for the four biggest content producers in Perth (it seems), being;

Startup News

The entire list of feeds that Startup Perth has been watching is at the footer of this post, for your perusal.

Time spent
As well as the 32.5 hours of manual re-tweeting and sharing, there was around 1-2 hours per month, checking feeds, answering questions, and other administration.

There were costs involved in doing this, mainly;

Domain name ($20 per year)
Hosting (sponsored by Bam Creative)
Automation ($20 per month)

All up, this side project has cost me in hard money, $440.00 in total.

Absoutely nothing.

To be fair, I’ve never gone hunting for any sponsorship or support. In fact, it is a little perplexing for me how I should approach any sponsorship; what do they sponsor? I guess I could have a paid to be included feed, as long as the content was on topic, or a weekly/month ‘This feed supported by SPONSOR NAME’ type arrangement.

Future of Startup Perth
Having done all the above sums, spending 50 hours and $440 every 20 months for a side project that doesn’t give me any financial gain does seem a little daunting to continue. I do love helping fellow startups out, and never started with the plan of making this some profitable activity, though I would be keen to get something to cover costs.

At this stage, I rate the financial success of this side project a big fail, however I’m continuing for the meantime, whilst I ponder any future it may have. If you have any keen thoughts, or want to berate me for wasting my time, please comment below.

Companies being promoted
Here is the list of the 45 Perth startups who did get some content out, via their RSS feeds I am automatically monitoring. Well done for this lot getting some promotion out there.

Startups being promoted

Startups being promoted

Perth city from Kings Park

Lessons and Data on Growing My Side Project

The three month deadline which I initially set for this $99 side project experiment is nearly here; in this article, I share my latest learnings from growing my side project with experiments, discuss financials and make decisions on where to go from here.

Quick background
A quick summary; I started a weekly curated growth marketing email as a side project at the start of this year, with a 3 month deadline and a budget of $99.

I have written a few times about what I have taken away from the project and some growth experiments, which are here;

Introducing My $99 Side Project for 2017
Growth Hacking Newsletter Side Project Update
My Weekly Curated Growth Marketing Email [Update 3]

Recent experiments
A combination of being busy with other work and wanting to see natural growth when I am not pushing it, has meant that I’ve not exerted myself too far with growth experiments over the last few weeks. I’ve had two experiments worth sharing though, posting on Medium and promoting using Quuu.

Publishing article with lead magnet on Medium
One activity I had imagined would work really well for me, was posting an article, 100 growth marketing articles you really should read, on Medium.

Article on Medium

Article on Medium

I spent a few hours and collated all the content I have sent so far, and put it in a Google sheet for new subscribers to download or use. Then I added a form at the footer of the article, using Upscribe to collect subscribers from within Medium.

Google Sheet

Google Sheet

So far, the article has had 430 views (which is okay), and 24 recommends (awesome!) however had only 8 new subscribers. That’s a lot of work for just 8 new subscribers.

The main reason for the lack of reads and new subscribers would definitely be that the Medium account has only 148 followers. In hindsight, I should have posted it on my own personal Medium account, which has 3,300 followers. A rookie mistake which I now regret.

Trying out Quuu
Quuu is an interesting service. They provide a cheap service to fill your social queue with related content, and also offer Quuu Promote, a service that you can pay to share your content (if it is approved).

I paid $30 to share my previous article on this side project, as a way to encourage people to this blog, and hopefully flow on to subscribing to The campaign resulted in 467 shares and 108 clicks.

Quuu Promote results

Quuu Promote results

These results reaffirm something I’ve known for a while, which is many people share content without actually looking at it themselves.

As a cost per click exercise, the campaign cost me $0.28 per click ($0.06 per share), which is cheaper than the $0.38 per click on reddit, and way cheaper than the $20 per click on Facebook. The most affordable result so far with paid experiments growing my side project.

Tweeting more content
The Twitter account @thegrowthemail has been steadily building up an audience since it started 3 months ago. It now has 1,325 followers, and a large reason for that is the increase in the amount of content I have it sharing per day, using my favourite social media scheduling tool, Buffer.

It now tweets six times per day (up from 2-3 daily tweets a month ago), with many of the tweets being the articles I have curated within so far. The combination of specific content (growth marketing) and relevant hashtags has meant it is organically growing nicely.

Content curation workflow
As well as growing my side project, I have achieved more in curation workflow, now sorting my Feedly account into categorising content feeds better, so I am able to choose a spread of topics to review for inclusion. I have had a few people contact me asking if their articles can be included. I’ve reviewed their blogs and where appropriate I have added to my Feedly.

Categories in Feedly

Categories in Feedly

Chasing revenue
Because I took a sponsorship booking until the end of June, it has meant that I can’t sell any new sponsorships. I’ve had four enquiries come in, however I’ve shared the sponsorship calendar (a Google sheet) and asked them to wait for availability.

Big lesson here is to not take advertising bookings so far in advance. They were charged at sub 1,000 subscriber rates, and I now have over 1,500 great people on the list. I’m not taking sponsorship bookings more than six weeks ahead now.

The future
The side project has been great for me, building more connections in the growth marketing industry across the globe, and encouraging more readers to my blog here, and extra subscribers to my own email list.

The experiments have been enjoyable and interesting, and has reaffirmed my interest in sharing results of experiments, something I can’t normally do with client work.

Future financials
The financials moving forward are tricky to balance. The costs of email delivery means that a weekly frequency is difficult to maintain in the longer term, which explains why so many established newsletter businesses are daily or multiple sends per week.

Potential income
Say I send once a week, versus twice a week (assumption here is that I have every email sponsored at $25 per thousand subscribers).

SubscribersWeekly emailTwice weekly email

Now, let’s look at my possible expenses (my curation software has recently announced a major shift in their pricing plans, so when I go over 2,000 subscribers I won’t be paying $8 a month anymore).

Pricing plans for Goodbits

Pricing plans for Goodbits

This means, that at 2,500 subscribers, I would earn $268.75 a month on weekly sends, or $537.50 on twice weekly sends. I would pay the same outgoings of $49 per month in either scenario. So, the estimated profit of either $219.75 (weekly) or $488.50 (twice weekly) per month.

So whilst we know the costs remain the same, the income can vary greatly depending on frequency and obviously, the amount of subscribers you have on your list. The 10,000 subscribers at twice a week means a monthly profit of $2,101 which would be a great result; a motivator in growing my side project.

Beyond the deadline
I am going to continue with past my initial deadline of 30 March, for at least another few months, and see what the subscriber growth curve looks like. Depending on how things progress growing my side project, it is possible that spending an hour or so a week curating interesting articles and emailing them out could be a worthwhile endeavour. It is still enjoyable and I like giving back to the community, so for now, it’s still a go from me.

If you haven’t yet, I would appreciate you signing up to – the content is high quality and it is easy to unsubscribe at any time, should it disappoint.

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