A Meta-Curation of the Best Growth Hacking Curations (Say Whaa?)

Ever since growth hacking started trending, people have been competing to create the ultimate curation of growth hacking resources. I don’t know about you, but all I’ve wanted to do is put all those curations in one place.

Well, I did, and I’m depositing them here.

hoardingbefore

Truth is, I’ve always been obsessed with collecting collections. I know it sounds crazy, but in terms of exploring a subject thoroughly, a great collection can be better than a MOOC! And like my friend Ariel here, I’m a secret/now outed hoarder.

Notable example: My Planet of Useful Curations collection on Product Hunt.

I suggest picking one of the following mega-curations (the ones in the first half have more than just tools) to learn from and checking out the bonus mini-curations as well, as extra material at the end for some extra shots of knowledge.

And I sincerely hope you don’t get dizzy from this cluttered post. 😛

Ready? Let’s start with the top 6…

The Guide for SaaS Startups

This *might* be my favorite one. The guide outlines a whole process – pre-launch and after launch, and every section explains everything you need to do, includes the right tools to use, and links to helpful resources. If you need a step-by-step kind of thing, this is your guide.

GrowthHackers.com

There’s a great collection of “growth studies” on the site, where popular companies get autopsied by growth hackers. Other than that, you have to search a lot and engage some, but I think it’s worth it. Just think of the knowledge you’ll gain after having followed some of the pro’s.

It can get overwhelming how something is trending today and the next day it’s something else, but if you’re serious about becoming a growth hacker, you should hang in there. Good luck!

TigerTiger’s Sourcebook

This sourcebook looks almost too intimidatingly cool.

I’ll let you decide whether you like the design or the contents better, because I have not finished reading all of it. But I admire these guys for putting so much effort into it (and making it into a guide).

Roy Povarchik’s Google Doc

It’s called The Ultimate List of Tools for Growth Hackers. Roy is a friend and a very intuitive growth person. (I never know what to call my colleagues seeing as many of us don’t take the title “growth hacker” seriously.) He started this public document so that everyone can add their stack. Including you!

The Marketing Stack

The Marketing Stack was on Product Hunt yesterday. It’s made by Ben Tossell, who is an excellent curator. It’s full of tools for every need (and I mean every need), and some articles thrown in. Worth a bookmark.

35 Tools for Non-Tech Founders

It sucks to be the one who can’t put two lines of code together, but when you have this curation of tools for people like me, you suddenly feel like you can do anything. Let’s face it: everything has got their own strengths, and we don’t really need marketers who can code, like we don’t need developers who can market. What we need is a symbiotic relationship.

And now a shameless plug.

i'm awesome

By Yours Truly

My own collection is a little bit messy right now, but it includes all the people, blogs, tools, and articles you should be checking out. And I update it compulsively, so if I see something really cool, I add and tweet it.

If you have any suggestions of resources to add, let me know.

Bonus Curations

(because there are plenty of things left to hack)

probablystop3

Other Than Curations

Guides

Austen Allred’s Book

The full title of his book is “The Hacker’s Guide to User Acquisition“. So far it has three (very detailed and insightful) chapters about getting press, twitter, and instagram. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for the rest! Austen is one of my favorite growth hackers (I mean, just look at what he did with Glasswire), even though he doesn’t like the term.

Quicksprout’s (Visual) Guide

Who doesn’t love Neil Patel’s guides?! Seriously.

This is one I’d recommend to complete newbies. It’s very detailed and visual, and it explains all the basics, from what growth hacking is and what the funnel looks like to specific growth tactics on every level. There are no outward links and not too much detail, so it’s mostly just a crash course.

The Developer’s Guide to App Marketing

I hunted this a while back because it’s the most useful and succinct guide for app marketing I have come across. It has simple hacks and links to resources, but it’s mostly for developers, as the title says.

Courses

One Month Growth Hacking

I haven’t taken this course, but I can imagine it’s as brilliant as every other course started by Mattan Griffel. He is the true master of optimizing the growth funnel, and if you take this quick course, you will be, too.

Ryan Holiday’s Growth Marketing Course

I have not taken this one myself, but I have read Ryan’s books, including the primer to growth hacker marketing, and even though I would mainly recommend it to beginners, I’m sure the course is worth the $39, especially seeing as it includes some bonus material. Check out his resources, too.

Blogs

Groove’s Blog

Among the obvious choices, Groove’s Blog is my favorite.

From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $500k in monthly revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

What better way to learn than learning alongside someone who is also learning and documenting everything? Exactly.

Other Noteworthy Blogs

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Phew, was that a lot of material we covered or what? If you know of any curations that should be included here, tell me sooner rather than later, and I might include them in my Medium article. Thank you! 😀

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Ideally, on Product Hunt

A lot of startups “launch” on Product Hunt these days, but what they don’t do is their homework. I mean, yeah, maybe you’ll be lucky and people will love your idea, regardless of your blunders, but…

…there are some best practices you should consider.

Before the Launch

osprey-67786_640First of all, you need a hunter. And if you think you’ll just pick someone at random, find their email, and send them an annoyingly long cold email, you’ve got the wrong crowd. Actually, no crowd tolerates that.

Ideally, you would search for similar products to yours on Product Hunt and see who hunted them. If you go to their profile and they’ve hunted a lot of products with many upvotes (like Chris Messina or Ria Blagburn), then you’re in luck. All you have to do now is reach out. But first read this article by Bram Kanstein on how not to pitch your product.

Ideally, you’ll ask nicely and be brief. Every hunter has their own preference, but I’d say that tweeting or DM’ing someone would be sufficient. Only disclaimer: be human and respectful. 

P.S. I’ve seen a lot of people ask to be “invited”, but invitations are only given so you can comment on PH, and yes, you can hunt, but it won’t go to homepage. So better find one of those hunters who have special posting rights.

Get Ready

Do you have all the details in the hands of your hunter? (Those are: name, link, a funny/memorable tagline, and the twitter handles of the makers.)

Do you have some kind of thoughtful greeting to Product Hunters on your product page? (Not a must-have, but nice.)

Does the top of your page look good enough to be attached to a tweet?

Have you warned your team not to ask for upvotes?

If you answered yes to all, you’re ready.

On the Day

Do not ask for upvotes. Anywhere.

Introduce your product. Don’t advertise. Ask the community for feedback.

Answer everyone’s comments. This is vital.

Monitor social media and press mentions. Use TweetDeck & Google Alerts.

Just be engaging and human. And have fun. 😀

Something Went Wrong?

So your product is in the cemetery. Sorry, I mean the “upcoming” tab. Nobody’s really coming to your site, and when you are ready to launch, you can’t hunt the same thing twice. What do you do?

superhero-712060_1280

Ideally, you talk to your hunter, ask nicely if they can nudge a moderator, because mods have super powers: like pushing something to homepage.

Approaching a mod directly is not ideal because they get too many requests on a daily basis. But they’re really nice, and if you can make friends with one, you’ll be happy you did. Because, let’s face it, they are the product gate-keepers.

Follow Up

If anyone influential liked your product, wouldn’t you want to know? Then use Product Friends to find out. (Is that an investor?!)

Ideally, you would have followed up with everyone who mentioned your product on the day of being featured, so tweets, shares, press, etc., all need some kind of acknowledgement and gratitude.

And make sure to thank the hunter who put you on Product Hunt. It’s a little thing, but it makes all the difference. 🙂

P.S. Kiki Schirr’s Product Hunt Manual could also help direct your efforts.

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Anything else? What are your Product Hunt best practices? 

A FOMO Case Study: What Matters More Than Meerkat

Lots of people suffer from FOMO (“fear of missing out”) these days. Almost as many as those who suffer from Impostor Syndrome. I reckon it’s a society in general and technology in particular induced thing, seeing as the more connected we become, the more disconnected we feel.

Anyway, I’ve thought about FOMO once or twice, but it really hit me last night. I’m on Product Hunt a lot and as you know, most apps are iOS-first. Unfortunately, I’m on Android… see where I’m going with this?

FOMO is not that bad until you realize you have actually been missing out on something.

It’s not a big deal — I’ve been telling myself — those apps are not the first or last and I can certainly wait for the Android versions to come out, or not. Whatever. — This is the sort of healthy attitude I’ve had until now.

But then Meerkat happened.

meerkat

You know it, right? Everyone’s live-streaming and a lot of people are getting lots of attention on themselves and their products, and I’m thinking — great, I’ll kill three birds with one stone:

  1. I’ll get some more followers and-
  2. I’ll learn to speak in front of people and maybe even-
  3. Do some interviews in this free form format.

Brilliant! Except… Meerkat’s available on iphone. OK… so I’ll wait for the Android version, and yay, it’s out! Trying… and failing… trying… and failing…

After a few more attempts I gave up.

So my FOMO turned into an actual missing out on something. Something potentially big (because, hello, I’m a marketer), and THIS SUCKED. I mean, I could buy an iphone or use another app, but I want my phone and this app.

My next thought floored me —

What did *I* do to deserve *this*?

Wow. Nothing could have woken me up faster than this ridiculous question. First of all, I have done nothing wrong, and second, this is nothing.

Right now there are people dying and losing their homes in Nepal because of the devastating earthquakes. I don’t say it for dramatic effect, I just want to compare what I have written above to an actual shitty situation:

nepal

(Here’s how you can help people in Nepal, by the way.)

And even if there were no earthquakes and everything was perfect in the world, there’s another thing to consider: Is public speaking my dream? No. Is live-streaming going to advance my dream? Not really.

So why am I freaking out over this?

Because FOMO is just FOMO. Whether you’re afraid of missing out or actually missing out on something, it’s all in your head. And the something you’re missing out on matters as well. If you’re missing out on love, you have my condolences. If you’re missing out on money, I can relate.

But missing out on an app?! I’m pretty sure there are other apps for whatever you want to do, and even if there weren’t, you shouldn’t be wasting your energy on something that’s not necessarily related to your dream. So…

Next time you experience FOMO, remind yourself of where you want to be, and let go of the irrational fear.

tweet it

It’s like when you reach the crossroads of Should and Must.

1-ZNahGS7EwPcevYHO_VutiA

The viral article inspired me — and many others — because it was so relatable — each one of us reaches that crossroads at some point in our lives. As I was reading, I was that person throughout the whole experience, and at the end, I knew the answer to the question: Which road should I take?

But my two forks in the road have slightly different names:

  1. Right Now and-
  2. Ultimately

Where Right Now means what I want right now and Ultimately means what I ultimately want to do with my life.

I wish my current career path coincided somewhat with my deepest dream, and I certainly wish that for you, but for some of us those two things are just separate. Even in the age of the “side hustle” and “love what you do”, we still end up doing “jobs” for money and silently toil on our dreams in a corner, where nobody’s looking, nobody’s helping, and it’s hard.

Being the co-founder of my lovely startup and generally working with startups, you’d think my dream was to be the next Ryan Hoover and head a million-dollar unicorn company, wouldn’t you? But the truth is: I want to be a published fiction author one day. Here, I’ll show you:

manuscript2

And as fun as starting up is, it will never be more important than my long-term dream, and eventually I’ll have to choose between Right Now and Ultimately. And had I managed to get hooked on Meerkat, I might have gone even deeper into “the app scene”, but for what?

So a good rule of thumb is:

“When you feel the need to speed up, slow down.” 

Slowing down allows you to examine your priorities. Without prioritizing, you’d be doing everything and more of it until you get burnout — not by working too much but by doing too many unimportant things in parallel.

Knowing all this, getting upset over an app seems even more ridiculous now.

So let’s — you and me — stop being afraid of “missing out” on things that won’t do anything for us. Let’s stop being envious of others who have more stuff and/or opportunities than us. Let’s just chip away at our dearest work quietly and count our blessings — like family, home, and 0 earthquakes.

All right? Now FOMO be like…

poof

P.S. Thanks to Jaymini Mistry for trying to help setup Meerkat. It’s not the app’s fault, I think it was my phone’s. In any case, I’m grateful for the life lesson. 

The Content Marketing Checklist for Startups (A Tweetstorm)

thunderstorm-567678_1280I don’t do a lot of tweetstorms, but this one has been building up for a while. So I thought, “why not put it on my blog for everyone to see and consult when they’re tempted to do something stupid”? 😀

On a serious note, a lot of people – especially startup founders – ask me about content and this seemed helpful to my twitter followers, so let’s just go with it. Consider it a checklist for when you start thinking about content, which should be pretty early. If you find yourself thinking “I want to deliver some kind of value to my clients/subscribers/followers”, that’s probably the right time.

All content is not equal.

There are several mediums – video, audio, articles, etc. Then there are the formats – curation, interview, article, etc. The question you should be asking is: What kind of content does my target audience enjoy?

After answering that, try: What kind of content does my product warrant for? This might be obvious if you’re lucky.

Yesterday I talked with the founder of a content rating service, which brings up the trending content of the day and shows you where it’s trending as well. I immediately thought his product warranted for a newsletter of trending news and even a breakdown of “what kind of content trends on which network”. I was trying to come up with a logical extension of the service.

This is what content is – the natural extension of your product.

Finally, you should also ask yourself what kind of content you enjoy creating because trust me, “forcing it” doesn’t help anyone.

Use what you have.

When I suggested the newsletter of trending news, I was also thinking about what the founder already had.

Oftentimes we forget to take advantage of that. Your product is a machine, one that produces something that’s not produced anywhere else. In my startup‘s case, it’s meetings. While I can’t use the meetings because that would be a violation of the users’ rights, I can use the information they bring. Like the # of people attending an average meeting.

Every product brings some kind of information to the table. In Product Hunt‘s case it’s product trends, which they utilize in their newsletter.

And when you can’t use something, you can promote it. So in the case of Somewhere, you would be sharing the “sparks” people have posted on social media, but you wouldn’t be including them in an ebook (without asking first) because that would be in violation of the users’ rights.

So you need to determine what you have and use it. It largely depends on what kind of service your product provides. Like content, all products are not equal – some produce lots of information, others very little. If you have nothing, then you can make something up.

Tell stories.

This is a no-brainer. Look at your content – what’s it about? Are your newsletters overviews of features to come? Are your articles about how your product beats your competitors because of this and that?

I hope you answered no to the above. It’s easy to get caught up in your product – after all, you made it or at least you invested a lot of time and energy into it, so you want to talk it up… a lot. But people don’t really care about products. What people care about is people.

So instead of sending yet another boring email update or writing about the way your product solves the latest problem, just tell a story. How did you even think to create it? What did you have to give up? What did you learn?

Stories reel people in and engage them. Stories are king, not content.

Give them what they need.

I can go on and on about “want vs. need”, tools, and analyzing the world’s content to try and come up with exactly what your people need, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll tell you a story. A founder came to me, desperate for fresh perspective. They showed me the emails they’ve been sending, I asked “what’s the value for me?” Then they showed me the articles they’ve been crafting, and I asked “what’s the value for me”? See the pattern?

There was definitely value for the founder because they were all wrapped up into the product and its mission, which is great! But what about the other side? Every relationship requires two sides. If you disregard one of them, you’re dooming the relationship to fail. I’m sure your users believe in your mission, but before they can even appreciate it, what are you giving them?

How are you making their day better? Once you figure out how to bring value to other people’s lives, then people will start coming to you and caring about what you have to say. What you have to offer.

You can’t ask for anything before you give something first. This goes without saying, and yet so many people conveniently forget it.

The breakdown.

hand-565588_1280

Sometimes I forget that you’re all busy and recently I was reminded of how I can help with that. My co-founder said, just add a summary of the article on the bottom, so people can see the takeaways at a glance.

This is excellent advice because it considers what you need. So in the spirit of practicing what I preach, below are the key takeaways:

  1. Figure out what kind of content your target audience will appreciate – what medium, what format, what topic, etc.
  2. Content is the natural extension of your product, so if you look at your product, you will know what kind of content will make sense.
  3. Use what you have! Don’t waste any information or content your product brings. Whether you can make an ebook out of it or just share it on your networks, never let anything go to waste.
  4. Don’t just write product descriptions and press releases. Tell stories. Your users are humans and as such, they want to connect and engage.
  5. Give your users what they need. Don’t think about what you need or what your product needs. Turn the table around and put your users first.

P.S. Did you like the breakdown at the end? Should I do it in the future? 🙂

Why Startups Fail and How to Build Up Interest Before the Launch

If you asked me, I’d say:

The biggest reason most startups fail is because they don’t build up to their launch and they don’t market from day one.

It’s like the 50/50 rule from Traction:

Traction and product development are of equal importance and should each get about half of your attention. This is what we call the 50% rule: spend 50% of your time on product and 50% on traction.

Imagine the following scenario:

You’ve worked hard to build the “perfect” app. You’ve fixed any possible bugs, made it look beautiful, and just “know” your market’s out there. On the day of the launch maybe you get lucky and a couple of people write about it, and maybe you even get on Product Hunt. You’re thinking, “wow, I’ve made it”. After the buzz dies down, you’re left with a thousand or so customers who don’t stick around much, and your bounce rate is so big, it would look great if you replace “bounce” with “conversion”.

What happened?! Simply put, you relied on things that don’t last: both press and Product Hunt will give you a nice boost, but you need to build a steady foundation first in order for the buzz to continue building.

What’s your main metric?

Even when you think your app is doing well, it might be dwindling, and by the time you realize, it would be too late, and you’d have to start from the beginning. That’s why you have to have someone on the team who cares about metrics and measures practically everything.

Question: What are you measuring?

If it’s traffic traffic, that won’t help you long-term.

If it’s conversions, great! But are people who converted sticking around or have they abandoned your app right after they installed it? If it’s the latter, I suggest you devise an evil plan to email them a week after and see what went wrong. Maybe there’s a good reason and they can tell you what to improve.

white-fox-wallpaper-5

If it’s how engaged people are with your product, I congratulate you. You’re on the right track because retention is the most elusive of metrics but also the most beautiful. Basically, it’s the white fox of the startup world.

I’m fed up with unicorns anyway.

Timing is everything. (That, and foreplay.)

So you’ve got an app. And a landing page with cute pictures, maybe you’re on twitter, facebook, and you’re going through the motions to be social and human and … wait a second, how long have you been doing this for?

If you just started because you’ve just launched, I think you missed a few steps in between. Experts advise to start marketing as soon as your idea is born. Guy Kawasaki, for example, uses a very clever publishing model where he crowdsources his books’ chapters and asks for feedback. So what he’s doing is getting people’s interest and their investment into the product way before it gets out. That’s classic foreplay.

The longer you stagger the release, the better, but there’s also the other side of the coin – telling people “this amazing app is launching soon” and one year later it’s still a vacant twitter account and no updates in sight.

You have to find the balance and set your own pace. It’s worth it.

How are you luring potential users?

I was going to write an entire blog post about “the common denominator of viral apps”, but this will do. You’re probably thinking it’s something super sexy, but it’s rather something super simple – it’s freebies.

Why do you think all the best marketers offer free ebooks on their sites?

Because freebies equal subscriptions. And every good marketer knows that email is the Holy Grail. Content may be King and Social it’s Queen, but email is the ultimate goal because it’s the most direct way you can contact someone. Everybody has just one inbox (or at least one main one) and they covet it, so when they subscribe, you’ve entered their shrine.

Here’s what the experts do – set up a landing page and give something for free. Or only give early access to some people. Or better yet, release your app for free and show people how fun it is to use before they have to subscribe. Meerkat shows everyone the streams without signing up. Slack and buffer are free until you want the “special features” and by then then you’re hooked.

My point is, give something for free before you ask for anything in return. And NEVER ask for my credit card at the start. Huge turn-off.

Always look for new channels and laser focus on the best ones.

bullseye-429631_1280

I’m a fan of the book Traction. In it, you can read about the “Bullseye Framework”. Basically, you have to do little experiments to find the channels that work for you, but you must never say “no, this won’t work” until you’ve tried it.

Once you find something that works, you must really hone in on it. For example, it might be a specific user segment or a specific social platform. Whatever it is that’s really bringing the big bucks, milk it until the cow’s empty. And then do more experimenting to find other channels.

I think you’re supposed to focus on 3 channels and work on those, but never spread yourself too thin. I’m assuming you’ve done your market research and you know where your users hang out by now, so get going.

How are you engaging users?

You can’t just expect people to use your app. It doesn’t happen.

What happens is – people see something cool, they think about trying it but without context or an additional reason to carry on, their interest fizzles out.

In this case, I recommend finding a way to engage your early users. I mean the ones that are really excited about the product. Whether they have four stars on MailChimp or they’re the ones who always give you feedback or reach out on twitter, whatever they do, they’re easy to spot.

Think about it like this: Your goal should not be finding new people endlessly. It should be keeping your most engaged users indefinitely.

Product Hunt is an excellent example of this: Ryan Hoover personally reached out to a bunch of people at the start, he constantly asked for feedback on everything – new features, new mockups – and thus kept the most engaged users equally as engaged as the day they signed up.

It’s why I open Product Hunt daily. Because he gave me a reason to stick around, then the product became a habit, and BOOM. I am hooked.

Encouraging users to spread the word.

Referrals are usually the most dependable source of conversions. Whether you have launched already or you’re building up to it, it’s important to encourage your users / beta testers to share the app with their friends.

Some marketers use “tweet to download” gimmicks, but I personally prefer well-placed buttons and opportunities to share on social. Furthermore, if your product is good and you’re engaging your users, chances are word-of-mouth will happen naturally. That’s usually the tipping point.

Finally, never assume your work is done. Keep experimenting and iterating because people will not be interested forever. Haven’t we seen enough buzzed-out products that have disappeared a month after launching?

canvasAll of the above? [Case Study]

I can’t really give an example other than my own startup because those are the metrics and results I know best, so let’s go with that.

Here’s how we do it at Amazemeet:

  1. Key metric: Engagements with the Meeting Facilitator Canvas (yep, the pasty thing on the left there)
  2. Timing/foreplay: We’re staggering the launch by doing a 3-wave-beta process where we invite some of our subscribers to test the product so far. That way we can both engage and iterate on the product until it’s market-ready. Also, we have been marketing from Day One. 🙂
  3. Luring users: We gave away the Meeting Facilitator Canvas for free, so we were able to collect some emails for further promotion of our app. The app is based on the Canvas, but way cooler.
  4. Channel focus: At first we went with content marketing, twitter, and trying to build a community on LinkedIn, but honestly, people were just not interested. So we switched to email marketing, viral marketing, and press (because of the results we got from Product Hunt), which according to analytics and product features, hold most promise.
  5. Engagement: We’re constantly encouraging people to try the Canvas and tell us how they liked it. Also, we’re building in-app (unobtrusive, we hope) features that will ask for their feedback and soon we’ll be building a community wherever we see fit. LinkedIn didn’t work, so maybe… Slack.
  6. Referrals: Since we have a large list of subscribers already, this is not a priority… yet. What we need now is mostly feedback.

In the end, everything comes down to this:

Your app needs to have a userbase when it launches. Even if it’s not big, as long as it’s engaged, it will spread.

Mike (my co-founder) and I have come up with our own ideas of launching. For him it’s like a rocket – you know, all the parts releasing and boosting the important ones in space. It’s because he’s a developer. 😀

My idea is that pre-launch is like a tsunami (hang in there) – each wave builds up on the last until one huge wave floods everything and brings after-waves until it settles. (After that, ideally, there’s steady growth.)

So how have YOU been building up to your launch? Leave a comment.

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P.S. I also consult startups on the side. If you’re about to launch or have just launched and struggling, contact me and we can talk about how I can help you.