Traction summary


Rating: 9/10

Author: Gabriel Weinberg/Justin Mares Read More on Amazon

High-Level Thoughts

This is a must read for any product manager, startup founder, marketer or entrepreneur. Weinberg who has created multiple successful companies teaches you that no matter how good your product is, without the right traction channels your company will flop. He shares key lessons and experiences in the form of nineteen channels you can use to build a customer base, and how to pick the right ones for your business.

Traction Summary

CH 1 Traction Channels

  • Traction is a sign that your company is taking off.
  1. Targeting blogs
  2. Publicity (traditional media outliets)
  3. Unconventional PR
  4. Search Engine Marketing
  5. Social and Display Ads
  6. Offline Ads (billboards)
  7. SEO
  8. Content Marketing
  9. Email Marketing
  10. Engineering as Marketing (Hubspot website grader)
  11. Viral Marketing (dropbox)
  12. Business Development
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliate Programs
  15. Existing PLatforms
  16. Trade SHows
  17. Offline Events
  18. Speaking Engagements
  19. Community Building

CH 2 Traction Thinking

  • "Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don't have a good distribution strategy"
  • 50% time spent on product, 50% spent on getting traction
  • There are 4 common situations where you could build something people want, but still not end up with a viable businesss
  1. Can't figure out a viable business model, money isnt adding up
  2. Not enough customers to reach profitability, occurs when you pick too narrow of a niche
  3. Reaching customers is cost prohibitive.
  4. A lot of companies build the same product
  • From the perspective of getting traction, you can think about working on ap roduct or service in three phases:
  1. Phase I โ€” making something people want
  2. Phase IIโ€”marketing something people want
  3. Phase IIIโ€”scaling your business
  • Traction trumps everything when it comes to funding

CH 3 Bullseye

  • Once you find your core channel, the other channels should just be strategies to support the main channel.
  • When channel stops moving the needle, you repeat the bulleye process and find a new core channel.
  • Do not overlook underutilized channels.

CH 4 Traction Testing

  1. How much does it cost to acquire each customer through this channel strategy?
  2. How many customers are available through this channel strategy?
  3. Are the customers you are getting through this channel the ones you want right now?
  • The law of shitty click throughs โ†’ channel becoming saturated overtime
  • MInt VIP access badge embedded on facebook and personal blogs.

Ch 6 Targeting Blogs

  • Delicious allows you to use keywords to find links that others have saved, which can unearth new blogs.

Ch 7: Publicity

  • Smaller blogs/sites legitimize the newsworthiness of the story for the sites with bigger audiences.
  • Build real relationships with the specific reporters overing your startup's market.
  • Have newsorthy milestones to share.

CH 8: Unconventional PR

  • Richard Branson turns uninteresting product launches into international headlines.
  • 2nd type of unconventional PR is customer appreciation: smaller, more scalable actions.
  • Example of Duckduckgo placing their billboard behind Google's headquarters
  • Example of Alexis Ohanian giving out free stuff in the beginning
  • Zappos classifies customer servuice as a marketing investment

CH 9: Search Engine Marketing

  • CPA (Cost per Acquisition) = CPC/conversion percentage, .33/.25 = โ†’ $1.32
  • Inflection before they built their product would test different landing pages, through this they determined which product aspects were most compelling to their potential customers and what those people would actually pay for.
  • long tail keywords = 1990 census data vs census data is less competitive which make them ideal for testing on smaller groups of customers.
  • When your just starting out you should just test 4 ads.
  • Don't expect your early sem ads to be profitable, if it breaks even in a couple of weeks, this can be a traction channel

CH 10: Social & Display Ads

  • BuySellAds, allows advertisers to purchase display ads at a low cost
  • Quantcast can help you determine who visits the sites
  • The goal of social ads is often awareness oriented, not conversion oritented.
  • Social ads give companies the opportunity to start a conversation about their products with members of their target audiences.

CH 12: SEO

  • long tail keywords make up 70% of traffic
  • After first 10 links they get clicked 10% of the time
  • There is a difference between creating amazing content that spreads like wildfire and hriing freelancers to write boilerplate articles for longtail keywords. Both are valid strategies. The high-quality content is useful in natural link building, especiall for fat-head strategies
  • SEO is one of the cornerstones of what is commonly referred to as "inbound marketing." Inbound marketing brings customers inbound, from things like social media and SEO.
  • Hubspot gets 60-80% of their leads from inbound marketing, whereas usually a companies get more like 10% of their leads from inbound marketing.

CH 13: Content Marketing

  • Rick Rerreault began sketching out the product features for UNbounce on the company blog.
  • One of the best methods of growing is guest posting
  • In the beginning do things that don't scale to grow your blog
  • Dedicate at least 6 months to it

CH 14: Email Marketing

  • Email marketing can be used for building familarity with prospects, acquiring customers, and retaining the customers you already have.
  • Email between 9 am - 12 pm in a customers timezone for highest open rate

Ch 15 Viral Marketing

  • process of getting existing customers to refer others to your product.
  • Going viral = every user acquire brings in at least one other user.
  • When viral loops are working, customers sign up in great numbers at very low acquisition costs.
  • viral coefficient. > 0.5 will lead to growth > 1 = exponential growth. If you can increase the average # of invites that each user sends out, say from one invite per user to 2 you will double your viral coefficient. Same thing with conversion percentage.
  • Copy someone else's viral loop
  • Need to be built into the product to be truly succesful
  • Shorten viral cycle time
  • Look for viral pcokets

Ch 16: Engineering as Marketing

  • Hubspot website grader
  • Use microsites and tools on their own domains.
  1. Providing something of true value for free, with no strings attached.
  2. Making that offering extremely relevant to your core business
  3. Demonstrating that value as quickly as possible.

CH 17: Business Development

  • Google in 1999 making partnerships with netscape and Yahoo, as they were critical to Google's eventual success.
  • Create an exhaustive list of all possible your partners in a simiple spreadsheet
  • The right deal at the right time can propel your company to the next phase of growth

CH 19: Affiliate Programs

  • Retail affiliate networks: Commission Junction, Pepperjam and linkshare.
  • The first place to look for potential affiliates is your own customer base.

CH 20: Existing Platforms

  • Web sites, apps or networks with huge numbers of users.
  1. Ads get the [app] somewhere into the charts
  2. Now it's in the charts, more ppl see it
  3. So it gets more organic downloads
  4. Which makes it go a bit higher up in the charts
  5. Now even more people see it and it gets more organic downloads.
  6. PPl like it and start telling their friends to get it too
  7. It goes up higher in the charts
  8. Repeat from 5
  • Youtube filled the need to make uploading videos easier and more user friendly.
  • Evernote becoming the first app on a new platform

CH 21: Offline Events

  • Twillo sponsoring hackathons
  • Offline events are particularly effective for startups with long sales cycles as is often the case with enterprise software.

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