Jim Huffman is the founder of GrowthHit and a Techstars Growth Mentor. He has grown his agency to 50k in revenue a month and is the author of The Growth Marketer’s Playbook.
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3 Value Bombs
1) It’s about focusing on things that matter or focusing on the right target audience and doing things that maybe don’t scale initially, but that add the most value.
2) Most businesses or startups fail because they start focusing on growing right away.
3) Focus on being better, not bigger.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: The Exact Growth Playbook: From Idea to Seven Figures with Jim Huffman
[01:47] – Jim shares something about himself that most people don’t know.
[03:46] – Jim gives a quick overview of what he’ll cover today.
- It’s really about focusing on things that matter, or focusing on the right target audience and doing things that maybe don’t scale initially but that add the most value; then, eventually you’ll figure out how to scale those things.
[04:50] – Why do most businesses or startups fail?
- They start focusing on growing right away.
- Everyone has 5 brands that they love or tools they use that they rave about, and if you don’t have that yet, then it’s not time to focus on growth. It’s time to focus on how you’re adding value to your customers in a way that you’re actually making their day.
[07:30] – How do you know when you’re ready for growth?
- One way to quantify this is doing a Net Promoter Score.
- You’ll know it when you have it; it’s when you can’t keep up with demand.
- Focus on being better, not bigger.
[09:52] – Where do we start as entrepreneurs?
- See what channels your competitors are choosing to be on or not choosing to be on.
- You want to have a product that makes people want to use it and love it. And you have to have a basic conversion funnel set up.
- Before you send any traffic to your platform, you want to make sure you can optimize it.
- If you’re just starting out, the first tactic to start with is asking yourself the question, “How can I have the biggest impact on my customer in a positive way?”
- Adding value in teaching is the best way to give a great first impression.
[21:06] – Jim shares his revenue streams that make up his $50,000 a month.
[24:32] – Growth tactics for companies that want quick results.
- The real question you have to ask yourself is, “How fast can I implement this, and when will I get results?”
- If you want to grow quick, you have to have some ad dollars.
[26:07] – Jim walks us through what a 3-tiered funnel ad might look like.
- Educate them with the “Here’s the problem you have, here’s how we solve it.” That’s the top of the funnel ad.
- The middle of the funnel ad, that’s when we go into the buyer’s mindset.
- The bottom of the funnel ad is simple. It’s just retargeting people who dropped off and didn’t convert.
[28:23] – Jim gives Fire Nation some growth tactics for a small budget.
- It’ll take a lot of time, but it’s going to have a great return, and hopefully you’re going to create customers that like your product so much, they’ll end up telling their friends.
- Be accessible. When you don’t have a lot of money, you have to be available.
[31:03] – What’s one key thing that these high growth companies and startups have in common?
- Referrals and people who spread the word.
[35:03] – Jim’s parting piece of guidance
- Visit The Growth Marketer’s Playbook and use the promo code EOFire30 for 30% off!
- Be very honest with yourself.
- When you think of your ideal customers and the people who love your product the most, what is the language they use when they talk about your product or service to other people?
- Language is going to tell you so much. Everything is going to be around your perfect customer’s language, so make sure you are studying that.
John: Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation! JLD here with an audio masterclass coming your way. This is going to be a doozy on the exact growth playbook, for going from idea to seven figures. So, Fire Nation, if you want to go from idea to seven figures, stick around. We’re going to be talking about why most businesses and startups fail, how do you even know if you’re ready for growth, when growing a business where should you start? How to grow your agency from zero to $50,000.00 a month, and so many other incredibly valuable things for any other entrepreneur at any stage in the game. The guest I’m bringing you today is Jim Huffman. He’s the founder of GrowthHit, and a Techstars growth mentor.
He’s grown his agency to over $50,000.00 per month in revenue, and he’s the author of The Growth Marketer’s Playbook. So, we’re going to dive into this killer audio masterclass as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsor. So, Jim, say what’s up to Fire Nation, and share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
Jim: Yeah, for sure. What’s going on, Fire Nation? Excited to be here. Let’s see – I am a huge basketball fan, but particularly ‘90s basketball. So, when I’m working late, and I need something on in the background, I love going to ESPN Classic and finding an old game, ideally involves like, Jordan versus the Knicks, or Penny Hardaway Iverson, and I’ll end up staying much later than I need to working slash kind of reliving the glory days of those guys. So, well, maybe I’ll grow up one day but it’s still pretty fun.
John: Well, Jim, you just derailed this entire interview because one of my – not really hidden secrets, because I talk about it a lot – but I am obsessed with college basketball.
Jim: Oh, nice.
John: So, I’m a Providence College alumnus, and so I watch every single PC basketball game. In the off season, I’m in the Slack Channel just for super-fans just to talk about our latest acquisitions. Like, the Red Sox just swept the Yankees? I could care less. I’m more excited about the incoming freshman, not this coming year, 2019. That’s how weird I am.
Jim: I couldn’t agree more. If there is a high schooler that is potentially going to go to my Alma Mater KU, I will spend 30 minutes watching all of his highlights, and any blurbs about what he might have said about KU. I totally agree.
John: Okay, last comment about basketball, because I want to focus, is I actually went to grad school at KState, so I mean, we’re arch enemies when it comes to basketball, although KU usually dominates. KState’s got a good team this year as well. They’re my second favorite team in college basketball. So, exciting times. I spent some great times in Lawrence on Massachusetts Avenue, so we definitely have that in connection as well. But, Fire Nation, you’re here for an audio master class. We’re going to be talking about the exact growth playbook for going from idea to seven figures. So, this is exciting.
This is a playbook from going from just an idea to seven figures. So, Jim, give us some teasers, a little, quick overview of what this masterclass is going to be before we dive into some specifics.
Jim: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve worked with some VC backed start-ups through our agency, and through Techstars, which is an accelerator. And I’ve been really helping them grow, and I see a lot of common issues with people early on. when they’re starting to have traction, have an idea, and they start to do things other people do and you just want to kind of grab them and be like, “Don’t do that.” And it’s really about focusing on things that matter.
Focusing on that right target audience, and then doing things that maybe don’t scale initially, but add the most value, but then eventually figuring out how to scale those things. So, really wanting to show people that it’s actually very doable whether you’re self-funded, or backed by some sort of venture firm, to turn an idea into a sustainable business.
John: Alright, so Fire Nation, get fired up for this. Because this is going to be a doozy of an audio masterclass. So, Jim, let’s just dive right in, brother. Why do most businesses, or even startups, why do they fail?
Jim: So often people have an idea, they get something up whether it’s a landing page or whatever, and they start focusing right away on growing. They’re wanting to do paid acquisition, they’re trying to do partnerships, but they’re actually starting to grow way too soon. Where they actually haven’t created a product or service that people actually love. And I mean that love in the sense that I think everyone has those five brands that they love, or tools they use that they rave about. And if you don’t have that yet, then it’s not time to focus on growth, it’s really time to focus on, “How am I adding value to the customer in a way there you’re actually making their day?”
Right? Because once you have that, then marketing and growth becomes significantly easier, right? Are you creating a vitamin, or an aspirin? Are you actually solving a problem and a pain point, and delivering value? Or is it just nice to have? And then once people figure that out, it’s really, what is the best way to connect your solution, your product or service, with these potential customers, right? And the most authentic way, and in a way there they’re actually doing that type of communication online. So, it’s kind of simple, creating something people actually want, and then two, knowing exactly where those people live online and trying to add value to them in the best way possible.
And I see so many people going past that, and looking to scale, looking to do these other things that they’re not quite ready for that yet.
John: So, I’m so glad you brought this up. And Fire Nation, it is the truth. So many people focus on growth way to soon. They just want to grow, grow, grow, grow. But guess what? The first step is creating a product or service that people absolutely love. Because nothing, and I mean nothing is going to out-market an average product, or an okay service. Nothing is. Period. And people as me all the time, Jim, they’re like, “John, how can I grow my podcast? How can I grow it?” My answer is, “Make a better podcast. Spend your time making a better podcast. Becoming a better host, getting better guests, creating better content.”
Because guess what? You are going to grow your podcast as a result of how good your podcast it. Because then, your friend’s going to go to work, and they’re going to recommend your show to their friends, or your listeners are going to become your evangelists. That’s how growth happens. Organically. Word of mouth. Referral. That’s how you win. And then you know you have something special, now let’s start pouring some advertising dollars on it. Now let’s start getting some affiliates, or some influencer marketing in there. But not until then. So, how do you know, Jim, when you’re ready for growth?
Jim: Hopefully, it will hit you over the head it’s so obvious, you know? You hear the phrase, “product-market fit”. Do we have product-market fit, are we ready to grow? But how do you know you have that? And how do you even quantify that? So, Sean Ellis, he’s the guy that came up with the phrase “growth hacker”, reigned growth at Dropbox. He quantifies it by he’ll do a simple, one question survey where he will email his email list, he’ll email his customers and just ask them, “How would you feel if this product or service went away?” And if over 40 percent of those people are devastated if it goes away, and you have this as a multiple-choice question, right? Then you know you’re on to something.
Another way to quantify it is doing net promoter score. You know, how likely are people to actually promote this? So, that’s one way you can quantify it. But also, you kind of know it when you have it, in the sense that you can’t keep up with demand, you’re trying to hire people, you’re trying to figure out how you can fulfill all of the asks that people have. And I’ve been a part of startups that have had it and not had it. And the ones that don’t have it, you’re kind of in denial where you’re like, “We are so close–”
John: So close!
Jim: “– just one partnership away from this happening.” Or, “We’re one feature away. These people will buy it if we do x, y, and z.” And the sad reality is, you don’t have it yet. And if you don’t know if you have it or not, you probably don’t have product-market fit. And again, it’s really hard to have that conversation with yourself, because I’ve been in that situation. But, you know you have it when you can’t handle the demand, your inbox is filling up, and you’re making – not more money than you can handle, but you’re able to do things with these resources that allow you to grow.
John: And Jim, honestly, I don’t even know if I can attribute this quote to anybody, because I just thought of it, and it makes so much sense with everything that you’re saying. Fire Nation focus on being better, not bigger. Focus on being better, not bigger. If you focus on just being better with your products, with your services, with your podcasts, with your content, with your Instagram, whatever it might be, when you focus on that, you are naturally going to grow. And that natural growth is going to be the key for you to say, “Okay, now I’ll take this to the next level.” So, when we are growing this business, Jim, where should we start? Where do we start as entrepreneurs?
Jim: Yeah, the first question is, “What does growth even mean?” Right? Are you someone that just took in $1 million, and you’ve got to get 10x return, and you’re trying to get to $10 million. Or maybe you’re a bootstrap founder, and you’re like, “Hey, if I could get to $5,000.00 a month, that would be a game changer.” You know? If it’s a side hustle, that’s huge. So, first, be very honest with, what is that goal? What is your number? With our growth agency, the co-founder and myself, it’s all self-funded by us. We had that conversation early on. Like, what is our number that we want each month?
And how can we actually get to that? Okay, so, that way you make it very realistic on what you’re going after. So, before you even do anything, I want to know the competitive landscape, right? So, I’m looking at either companies that are our direct competitors, or companies that add value to that customer I’m going after. And I’m using tools like SimilarWeb, SpyFu, to understand exactly where are they getting traffic, what that traffic looks like. Are they paying from it? Is it from search engine optimization? Is it from partnerships? Maybe they have a lot of affiliate deals? Where are they getting that traffic?
Also, what do their ads look like? You know, you can use these similar tools, you can use mail charts to see what is their exact email marketing campaign, so you know what the language is that they’re using to get in front of these potential customers. And this way, you’re – at least before you dive in – you’re being smart about understanding your landscape, and seeing what channels your competitors are choosing to be in, or not choosing to be in, right? Maybe all your competitors are doing email outreach, direct sales. So, that’s a huge opportunity for you to do content marketing, and to do offline events.
Or whatever that is. That way, before you dive in, you’re at least educated on the landscape. And then, before you get into growth, obviously you want to have that product-market fit, make something people actually want to use and love. And then once you have that, do you have a basic conversion funnel set up? And that can be as basic as you have a landing page where you’re offering a free opt-in, and you’re able to do email capture. Or, if you’re selling an e-commerce product, you have a nice funnel with the product detail page has beautiful images, videos, some social proofs, some testimonials, and that conversion rate is over two percent.
Because before you send any traffic to your platform, you want to make sure you can optimize it as best you can, right? So, once that is in place, one thing we do is, I like to list out every single growth idea I have. And I break it into free channels versus paid channels, things that are quick fixes, things that are long term, things that are scalable and not scalable. And we wrote a book, The Growth Marketers Playbook, and we actually list out like, 100 different ways you can grow. And then, we prioritize these based on impact and ease of implementation.
But my kind of tip, if you’re just starting out, the first tactic I like to start with is asking yourself the question, “How can I have the biggest impact on my customer in a positive way?” How can you absolutely delight, or “wow” them to where they become this brand ambassador, this early adopter, who’s going to end up talking about you to their friends, or to their colleagues. So, usually these are things that don’t scale. And I would absolutely embrace that. So, if you launched a fashion line, how could they actually talk to the founder to hear about the quality of those products? You know?
Maybe it’s you actually getting out and doing all of these one-off webinars, or offline events, or partnerships to get in front of people. It could be teaching, or whatever it is. So, really embrace those things that don’t scale early on. But, that’s what I would do if I’m looking to grow something right away, is start with that kind of checklist. And then, do those things that can really bring in those early adopters and those people that will love your product, your service, your brand for the long haul.
John: Okay. I am furiously, Fire Nation, taking notes over here, because this is gold. So, let me just do some recaps. First off, Fire Nation, how can you have the biggest impact on your customer in a positive way? How can you surprise and delight them? Surprise and delight, I love those words. Just real quick, not to toot my own horn, but tooting my horn, what I do with Podcaster’s Paradise. Every single person that joins Podcaster’s Paradise, they get a personalized video from my welcoming them, by name, to Podcaster’s Paradise. I independently, individually record a welcome video for them only.
And I send it to them. And then guess what? I take it to the next level, I call them. If they let me, because I do ask them first, but if they let me, I literally pick up my cell phone, and I call them and thank them for joining Podcaster’s Paradise. Every single person that joins. And by the way, over 3,700 people have joined Podcaster’s Paradise in the past five years. Not to mention, I do something similar with “Three Hours to your Big Idea.” This is a free training, Fire Nation, free. “Three Hours to Your Big Idea.” People sign up for the training. I don’t even know if they’ve completed it, I make a personalized video for them thanking them for signing up for this free training. Literally. That’s not scalable. That’s not leverageable.
But that’s surprising and delighting. And I’m telling you, people love it. They tell their friends about it. That’s how you scale the right way. And Jim, some other things you said that I just loved, look at companies where the competitors are serving your potential customers. So, look at companies that actually are competitors. So, they’re competitors, and they’re serving your potential customers. Look at those companies. Study them. What do their ads look like? What do their funnels look like? Buy their product! Invest in their product, and then see what happens afterwards. What’s the packaging like? What is the email follow up that you get?
The copy that they use? What are their upsells? Russell Brunson special, just to study your competitor’s funnels. It’s so key, it’s so important. And I want to turn it back over to you, Jim, because I’m curious about Similarweb and SpyFu. Give us an example of what using tools like this would look like. Like, give us a real-world example.
Jim: Yeah. So, for example, let’s stick with that same thing. We’re launching a men’s fashion line, and we want to compete with Bonobos. So, we put that in, and we see where they’re getting their traffic. And one thing that’s interesting is search is very good with them, they’re owning the phrase “men’s pants”, “men’s shirts”. Social traffic, they actually get a lot, not just from Facebook and Instagram but Reddit. So, then I would go on Reddit and see, “Hey, what are the conversations people have?” And the conversations on Reddit are around the utility of it, how they’re using this product, the durability and the quality, and this specific user persona kind of geeks out on that.
So, if I’m engineering a product, that is one customer I want to go after. So, it’s what are the things that are missing in these products, and how can we hype that up with ours? Whether it’s the durability, or however they make the products so after 10 washes it’s still high quality. But just by understanding where those customers live online, what they’re actually saying, those are gonna trigger so many different ideas for you, whether it’s your marketing competency or how to get into channels and add value to that customer.
John: So good. So good. So, what I want to know right now is a specific example coming from you. How did you, Jim, actually grow your agency from zero to $50,000.00 per month? I mean, I know you applied a lot of these things that we’re talking about, but I want specifics, brother. Break it down for us.
Jim: Yeah. It kind of happened by accident. I was working at a startup as the growth guy, and I was teaching on the side, and I really enjoyed teaching, it was fun. And then people would come up and be like, “Hey, do you do any consulting work?” Or, “Would you do a marketing plan?” And I was like, “Okay, let’s try this.” So, I was able to basically, I’d work a full day, and then I could carve four or five hours outside of work to do I guess, the side hustle. You know? Two hours in the morning, from like, 5 to 7 a.m., and then at night after dinner with my wife so I’m still kind of a good husband. And so, I was able to figure out what I could add value in. because like any consultant early on, you say, “Yes,” to everything. And I quickly learned, “Okay, I’ve got to pick out the things I think I can really deliver value on.
Jim: And so, I started doing that part-time. And then, the teaching was really a good accidental lead flow as far as people coming in. so, I started partnering with General Assembly, Techstars, the Association of National Advertisers, and just going out and trying to teach and add value. And this started to pick up, and I had to make a decision. Am I going to stick with my full-time job, or jump ship and try and do this on my own? So, I got two clients to agree to lock in for six months at a certain rate that would offset my salary so that would give me that runway. So, it’s funny, everyone was like, “You took a risk to start your own company.” It’s like, actually, I thought I was really kind of – I should have taken bigger swings.
I was almost too cautious, waiting to have that locked in before I made the jump. And so, I found that by actually adding value in teaching was the first way to give a first impression. And actually, my first client, I begged them to let me work for free.
John: I love that.
Jim: It was through [inaudible] [00:18:24], one of their portfolio companies. I was like, “Hey, I’d love to work with you.” Like, “We don’t have a budget.” I was like, “Okay, I’ll do it for free.” And they actually worked me harder than any other client I’ve had, but it actually opened the door for a lot of these other kind of deals and partnerships. But, I also want to say like, teaching ended up being my way to delight and add value early on and bring in leads. But, there were a lot of failures with that. I hate it when you hear people talk about their story, and their growth, and they just talk about the highlights, but first off, I was horrible at pricing early on. they’d be like, “Oh, what’s your pricing,” and I would just say whatever number came to mind.
And they’d be like, “Oh, that’s fantastic.” And I’d be like, “Oh, crap. That was probably way too low.” And then, I was teaching, there were so many times I would be teaching for free through meet-up, and there would be two to four people show up, and they’d be like, 21 years old, and I’m like, “Alright, here we go. For the next three hours, we’re just going to hang out.” But, I would say for each time I did that, you’d have 20 percent of the time something great would come from it, whether it’s a potential client, or just a really good contact.
John: Fire Nation, work for free. I mean, why do you have the audacity that people should actually pay you before you’ve proven yourself in any way, shape, or form? Our current CTO did work for us for free for six months while she proved herself, and she proved herself indispensable, and now, guess what? She’s our full time CTO. She’s our full time CTO. So, find a company that you admire, find somebody that you just really look up to, and do the work for them for free. Prove yourself to them. And guess what? That might not turn into an actual job, but now if you do great work, that will turn into a great referral. Recommendation. Testimonial. So, that is absolutely critical. And before we take a break to thank our sponsors, Jim, give us a couple of the specific revenue streams that make up your $50,000.00 a month.
Jim: Yeah, absolutely. So, a big part of it is working with clients, you know that are paying us between $5,000.00 to $20,000.00 a month to be their plug and play growth team with our agency. So, that’s obviously a big part of it. And then, I do a lot of teaching on the side through the Association of National Advertisers in one off deals. And then, we have a book, The Growth Marketer’s Playbook and an online course where we’re also – if you can’t afford our agency –we’re just going to give you our exact playbook. We actually give you all of our resources in a video course, so you can go out and do it yourself. So, it’s really broken up into those three sales channels.
John: Cool, love that. Fire Nation, we’ve got some amazing things coming up after the break. We’re going to talk about growth tactics that get you quick results, we’re going to talk about high growth companies and what they have in common with – we’re just going to talk about so much awesome stuff when we get back from thanking our sponsor! So, Jim, we’re back and man, I am fired up to just finish this audio master class strong. We have a few things I definitely want to dive deep into. Starting off with some growth tactics that you like for companies that want quick results.
Jim: So, it’s always tough, because you can have all of these ideas as you list out everything you could do. But the real question you have to ask yourself is, “How fast can I implement this, and when will I get results?” You know? Because if it’s SEO, and it’s content marketing, that’s a great strategy to have, but you’re also playing the long game there until you see results. So, if you want to go quick, you really need to have the benefit of having some money to spend on ad dollars. So, you know, if I’m selling a product online that’s $50 to $300, I would want to start with advertising, especially on social.
Facebook and Instagram. And I do a three-tiered advertising funnel. And so, what I mean by that, you’re doing a top of funnel ad, where all you want to do is get your product in front of these potential customers, but don’t sell to them. Just kind of educate them on what they’re going to get after they use this, after they buy it. So, kind of sell the dream. And so, once you get their interest, if they engage with that ad, if they click it, if they watch 90 percent of the video, then you want to re-target them with this middle of the funnel ad. And this is where you shift their mindset from thinking of the aspiration to an actual buyer. So, educate them on what is that first step, whether it’s buying something, or maybe it’s even giving them something for free.
John: So, can I break in here for a second, Jim? So, I love how you’re going through this funnel, but I think it would be more tangible if we can just even substitute something for actually something. I mean, can you kind of maybe walk us through what this would look like? Like, what would that initial ad look like that we’re educating our client on? what would that middle of the funnel thing look like? Just give us kind of an example that comes to mind.
Jim: Yeah, we have one client called Beyond, and it’s caffeinated chocolate. And they have these little energy gems, and we know that when people buy them, they actually love them, and they have a very, very strong repeat usage. So, we do this three-tiered funnel where the first part of it is, we found that people really like it because it helps them avoid that 3:00 p.m. crash. You know, where you’re in the conference room, and you’re just ready for nap time. So, that is definitely part of the language we use. It’s like, “Avoid that 3:00 p.m. crash with this snackable boost.” And so, educate them with, “Here’s the problem I have, here’s how we solve it.”
So, that’s the top of the funnel ad. And in the middle of funnel ad, if they’ve engaged with that, that’s when we really go into, let’s get them in the buyer’s mindset. Don’t make them think, don’t put a bunch of options in front of them, tell them exactly the one action they need to take. And so, for us, because we know we have a good lifetime value, because the repeat purchase is so strong, we’re actually giving them a free trail. It’s like, “Hey, try our sample pack for free, just pay the price of shipping.” And so, once they get into that, usually we can convert them, and we have a pretty high conversion rate.
And then that bottom of the funnel ad is very, very simple. It’s just re-targeting people that dropped off at that final point of purchase. So, whether it’s viewing the product detail page, someone that added something to cart and then abandoned, it’s retargeting them. And if you have to, you can be even more aggressive and give them a promotion. But usually, that three-tiered funnel, if you have a decent conversion funnel on your site, it’s going to perform pretty well.
John: So, I love that specific funnel that you just walked us through. And Fire Nation, I hope that kind of painted a clearer picture. But what I really want to do next is talk about some maybe free tactics, or some tactics that are just a lot less of initial dollars and cents investment. Because a lot of my listeners might not have a big budget. They might not want to jump into ads. Or like, “Okay sweet, I get it, people that can just pay an agency $5,000.00 to $25,000.00 a month, or spend all this money on ads, what I what I fi can’t do that right now?” Give Fire Nation some growth tactics for those people who don’t have a big budget.
Jim: Absolutely. And I can relate. Our agency is self-funded, and I’m very frugal. So, I’m definitely not just throwing money around. So, one thing that I like again, is going back to things that are in scale, and asking yourself, what is the coolest way a new customer could be introduced to your brand or your product? So, what are those options? It’s maybe word of mouth marketing, a customer refers them, them talking to the founder, some sort of social proof, whatever that is. And so, as you come up with those ideas, I also like to make a target audience list. So, again, to kind of give an example, there’s this other brand, it’s called Glass Vodka, they make vodka from Washington wine grapes.
And we’ve found that when people can actually engage with the founder on the story of how he made this himself, and all the years that went into making this and how he got the natural ingredients, people fall in love with it, and they love using it. So, we’re like, “Okay, how can we deliver that at scale?” So, we actually made a list of over 75 different groups and organizations within the Seattle area. So, it’s meet up groups, it’s EventBrite groups, Facebook groups, anything related to people that like to drink. So, these are young professionals, the yoga and wine groups, whatever that is.
And so, we actually were able to, through all of these groups within this area, find 150,000 potential customers, and then go after them, and partner with them to be like, “Okay, can we host an event? Can we give them free products? Or discount on a sample?” And so, this is a lot of hustle, we’re not spending money on ad dollars, you’re definitely spending a lot of your time. But, it’s going to have a great return and hopefully you’re going to create customers that like it so much, they end up telling their friends. Which can be even more valuable than someone you convert through a paid ad funnel.
John: Okay. So, Fire Nation, be accessible. Be accessible. If you don’t have a lot of money, then guess what? You’ve got to give your time. You’ve got to give your availability. You’ve got to be willing to talk, to answer questions, to go one on one. Like, if somebody comments on the Instagram post that you made, jump on a call with them. Say, “Hey, can I jump on a quick call with you?” Like, DM them. Direct message them on Instagram and ask them, “How’d you find out about us? What did you like about us? What don’t you like about us? What are you struggling with right now?” Ask those four questions, and it will unlock so much amazingness for you going forward.
And guess what? That was all free. That was just your time. And I get your time is valuable. I know your time is valuable, Fire Nation. But when you’re growing a business, these are things you need to do. So, Jim, what’s one key thing that these high growth companies and startups have in common? You’re just seeing this across the board over and over again.
Jim: Yeah, it’s really a lot of companies can have a great product or service, they get to product-market fit, and they start to get some conversions. But, how do you really next-level that? If you’re trying to 10x that. Because unfortunately, unless you have an insane ad budget, that’s not going to get it there. So, you have to think, “How can we turn everyone that interacts with this brand into an ambassador?” So, I call it very simple, calling customers into marketers. You have a lot of other practices where Brian Balfour calls this the “growth loop”. Rand, formerly of Moz, talks about the fly wheel. But, how do you build it into the experience, where you catch that person at that magic moment of when they love your product, love your service where you can simply ask them to refer a friend, to share it?
So, they actually hit up their network with this? And so, I think two examples of two high growth companies that have done this extremely well are one, Harry’s. So, when Harry’s was about to launch, their main thing was, “We want to set ourselves up for success and build as much buzz as possible around our brand. So, before they even launched, they have a landing page. “Hey, sign up to know when Harry’s–”
John: And real quick, what is Harry’s?
Jim: Yeah. So, a subscription shaving membership where you can get razors and blades sent to you every month. And so, their main thing is, “Okay, let’s get people to sign up to get excited about this.” So, whenever you sign up, it’s like, “Oh, by the way, if you invite a friend, we’ll give you 20 percent off. If you invite five friends, we’re going to give you free shaving cream. If you invite 25 friends, we’re going to give you a free razor set and this ultimate grooming package on us.” They were able to collect over 110,000 potential customers before they even launched, because they turned these potential customers into marketers for their brand. And that’s one of the reasons why they’re at the scale that they’re at today. And then another one, this is Girlfriend.com.
They sell leggings made from recycled goods, a very, very premium product. And they actually, they know that people love these products once they touch them and feel them. And they have a very good repeat purchase rate after they see the quality of it. The issue is, it’s a little bit of a high price point. So, what they do is they’re like, “You know what? We’re going to give our leggings away for free if you just share this on social.” And so, by doing that campaign, they created all of this buzz where even news outlets are writing about it to talk about them giving away these premium leggings.
But, they also knew that it worked, because people that got the product would do a repeat purchase with them because they loved the quality of it. So, the question to ask yourself is first, do you even have a repeat purchase product, or a repeat purchase order where this could happen? And two, what is that magic moment, or that point when you can actually ask people to refer your product? Or what do you have to give them, whether it’s free product, or a discount, whatever that is, to get them to take that action? Because we see so many referral programs on sites like, “Hey, refer a friend, get 20 percent off.” But people become kind of immune to those, because everyone is doing it. So, you need to think outside the box, or make the incentive that much greater to pull this off.
John: Fire Nation, referrals, spread the word, find those evangelists, and ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you have a repeat purchase special? Like for people that are your repeat customers, your best customers? Do you even have an option for people to be rewarded when they do spread the word to their friends, to their family, to their loved ones? You need to be thinking about those questions, and your answer needs to be, “Yes.” So, Jim, I really want to talk with Fire Nation more about how they can learn all of this greatness in one place. And you have an amazing book, and you have a great workshop. So, tell us more about both.
Jim: Yeah. So, we have the book, The Growth Marketer’s Playbook. And basically, everything that we teach to these Techstar startups, to internal marketing organizations through the ANA, we’ve packaged it into this book. And the big thing is, what to avoid that so many other companies do that unfortunately leads to failure. How to know you’re ready for growth, and then what can you do to actually grow your company in a scalable and repeatable way? And we’ve even thrown in all the templates that our agency uses for running growth, from the 100 different tactics that we use, to the analytics dashboard, everything’s in there just so you can have a head start and do it much easier than we did as we had to figure all of this out on our own.
And we also have the online workshop where it’s just two hours where we go through a lot of case studies and examples of what you can do based on your industry to know if you have product-market fit, and how you can focus on growth. And we actually have a promo code – if you just use EOFIRE30, everyone can get 30 percent off using that.
John: And so, where do you want Fire Nation to go specifically for all of this stuff?
John: Growthmarketersplaybook.com. Use promo code EOFIRE30, Fire Nation, and you can get all of this awesome stuff. And hey, The Growth Marketer’s Playbook, that is the book that Jim wrote. This is what we’ve been talking about. So, get the book, check out the Growthmarketersplaybook.com site for all the awesome stuff there as always. And Jim, as we’re starting to kind of wrap up here, give us one major takeaway that you want to make sure Fire Nation really gets from this entire audio master class. Like, if there’s one actionable thing you really want people to remember, what is that? And then we’ll say goodbye.
Jim: I think it’s be very honest with yourself, and when you think of your ideal customer, and the person that loves your product the most, what is it, and what is the language they use when they talk about your product, your service to other people? Because that can be kind of the gold mine as far as what you use, whether it’s on ad copy, email copy, landing page copy, to get other people excited about what you’re doing, and be prepared for scale. And for me, I think that’s one of the greatest hacks is using language of your customers to market what you’re doing.
John: Fire Nation, language, language, language. It’s going to tell you so much, just like Jim said. It’s going to be the copy you use, how you word your emails, how you promote, the titles, everything is going to be around your perfect customer’s language. So, make sure you are studying that. And Fire Nation, you know this. You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with JH, and JLD today. So, keep up the heat. And if you head over to EOFire.com, and you type “Jim” in the search bar, his show notes page is going to pop up with links to everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz.
Time stamps, links, you name it. And again, that strong call to action, Fire Nation. Check out Jim’s book, The Growth Marketer’s Playbook. I mean, all this genius is in there. Plus, check out his website, growthmarketersplaybook.com. Use promo code EOFIRE30, because that’s going to get you awesomeness exemplified. So, Jim, thank you for sharing your truth, brother, with Fire Nation, and for that we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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