7 Successful Product Launches to Inspire Your 2019

Hey,

Are you launching a new product in 2019?

brand launch is a lot like getting up on stage as a stand-up comedian.

No matter how confident you are that people will love your material, you can never quite shake the fear that all you’ll hear is crickets when get on stage.

According to Five By Five Global, three-fifths of people weren’t aware of any new launches in the past 12 months, which doesn’t make for great reading if you launched something last year.

But that doesn’t mean what you’ve created is bad. It means that it hasn’t been marketed right.

To show you how to avoid the deafening silence of no one noticing your product, we’ve picked out seven of the most successful launches of recent years to inspire your launch efforts, along with some tips on how to implement the tactics.

Read the entire article here.

As usual, here are five articles that caught my attention this week.

(1) How To Grow Your Email List With Facebook (3 Steps)
(2) The Definitive Guide to Influencer Marketing for Ecommerce Stores
(3) Landing Page Versus Home Page: 18 Money Making Differences
(4) How to Successfully Launch a Product in 2019
(5) How to Track Social ROI for a Local Business

Cheers,

Jim

ROWTH PACKAGE Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

GROWTH PACKAGE
Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

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How to Make a Growth Plan for a B2B Company (See Case Study)

Hey all,

I work with lots of B2C companies and you can see how we growth them here.

But, how do you make a growth plan for a B2B company?

How do you keep your marketing team focused and on track with a clear plan of action?

Sadly, most people don’t know how to make a growth plan.

Worse, they end up going to google and typing “growth plan” or “marketing plan” and it takes them to a black hole of outdated templates and tactics.  

To help, I’m going to go deep on how to make a growth plan for one lucky company, ConvertKit. I am a fan of this company and it’s founder, Nathan Barry. Hopefully he sees this as a compliment to his tool.

The growth plan will go into detail on everything from value proposition and analytics to how to setup a landing page and what growth experiments to run.

Here is how we’re going to categorize the growth plan.

1) Identify Customers
2) Competitor Research
3) Proposition Mapping
4) SEO & Content Strategy
5) Analytics Infrastructure
6) CRO & List Building
7) Paid Campaigns
8) Growth Experiments
9) Growth Projections

Check out the entire blog post here.

Cheers!

Jim Huffman

ROWTH PACKAGE Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

GROWTH PACKAGE
Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

This was originally sent from Jim Huffman’s email newsletter.  Sign up to get weekly insights in your inbox.

Two Webinars to Watch: The Rewrite Summit & Metrics for Ecommerce Companies

Hey,

I want to mention two webinars I’m in that might be helpful for you.  One is with an impressive founder and another is about metrics that matter for ecommerce startups.

I’ll get to those in a second.

Quick Side Note . . .  

I’m very bullish on webinars for B2B companies (including GrowthHit, our growth consultancy) because webinars are a powerful way to engage potential customers while building trust. Live video + free educational content = a good first impression. 

So there you have it – some insight into our growth strategy at GrowthHit.  More webinars to come in 2019. 

. . . Alright, Side Note Complete.

Lets get to the webinars.

First, I was able to chat with Chrystien Guyton of The Rewrite Summit to talk about my path to starting GrowthHit.  She’s hosting a 7 day virtual summit where she’s interviewing  founders about how they changed their career paths and started their own thing.  Our interview goes live next week and you can join here.

Second, I’m doing an online session with Gorgias called 8 Metrics to Measure as Head of Ecommerce.  We’ll get tactical on how Shopify store owners can grow sales by being data driven.  It launches on Feb 11th at 1pm PST so RSVP here and set you alarms people.

As usual, here are five articles that caught my attention this week.

(1) 3 Ecommerce Pricing Strategies That Make You More Profit Per Sale
(2) Buying Instagram Likes is Hurting Your Brand. Here’s Why (Experiment Included)
(3) The State of Social in 2019 by Buffer
(4) SEO Best Practices For B2B Brands Trying To Rank In 2019
(5) How To Launch A Product or Feature To Maximize Growth

Cheers,

Jim

ROWTH PACKAGE Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

GROWTH PACKAGE
Book + Online Course + Templates + 100 Growth Tactics

This was originally sent from Jim Huffman’s email newsletter.  Sign up to get weekly insights in your inbox.

A Look Back at 2018

Before I jump into 2019 trends, I want to hit on my 2018. 

Here is a review of my 2018.

I’ve included some wins, losses, revenue numbers and one baby photo.

  • Book launch. Launched the book and got to #1 on Amazon in marketing (even if for only four days)
  • Sales Goals. My goal was $10,000 in book sales before 2019. We’re at $9,024 so just shy of it.  Hope to hit that in January 2019. 
Jim Huffman Book Sales
Sales from Book website. Does not include sales from Amazon, Apple or Audible.
  • Hiring. GrowthHit hired 4 new talented individuals.  Working with smart people to help scale our clients has been more time consuming and rewarding than I thought.
  • Growth Goals. Fell short of our aggressive revenue goal for Growthhit by 20%.  I am pushing this goal out to April 2019.  We’re two clients away from hitting this.
  • Product Problems: We’ve been working on a SaaS product that we wanted to launch in October but it’s still delayed.  After having to let go of a development agency we’re learning the hard way how to design and launch tech products. But, we are learning! 
  • Travel: I was able to travel 44 nights this past year to places like San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Dallas, and Yakima to do talks on Growth Marketing. It’s a blast to meet people but I am trying to limit my travel.
  • Got Back into Basketball.  I love hoops and it was my life for a long time.  After 5 years away, I am finally playing again  It’s a fun break from my crazy weeks but it’s resulted in me spending too much time sneaker shopping.
  • Stop Being Cheap and Give. Maybe it’s bc I didn’t come from money but I am pretty frugal.  I am trying to be more generous with money to coworkers, charities and I’m working on something I am calling “Operation Big Tipper.” It’s inspired by Ben Hebert’s tweet but my wife and I want to leave big tips once a week to someone that needs money more than us. 
  • Family First. My daughter turned one, learned to walk and rocked it as Elton John for Halloween. Love my family so much. Everything else is secondary. 

2018 was a year of finally launching a book I had been working on for a long time. It’s always risky putting yourself out there but I am glad I did it. More to come in 2019.

What Happened When I Tracked Every Second of My Day for One Month

You know the feeling.  

You look at the clock – It’s 6pm – and you have nothing to show for the day.

It’s not because you weren’t working hard.  

You responded to emails. You put out that big fire. You crushed conference calls.  

But, your to do list is collecting dust. #Fail

Fail by #GIF

As a founder, this doesn’t just hurt my ego – it hurts my business.  That’s why I decided to track every second of my day to see where my time was really going.

To help me understand how I’m allocating my time, I used a time tracking tool called Toggl.  I broke up my time into the following categories. Email, Client Calls, Strategy & Planning, Reporting, Writing, Executing on Growth Strategy, Team Mgmt, and Breaks.  These section were broken down by client, prospects and items for our own consultancy.

At first, it was a annoying to remember to toggle my Toggl tracker (great branding) but after a few days I loved it.  By using this tool, it made me that much more aware of where I was putting my time.

After one week of doing this, three stats caught my attention:

  • 45 minutes per day wasted because of switching cost
  • 2+ hours per day in email
  • 10% of my week dedicated to the strategic items that’ll have the biggest impact on my company

This was eye opening and alarming. Here is how I am fixing my time management mishaps.

Too Much Time in Email

Yes, I know I’m on email a lot but it was staggering how much time that meant.  I found that I couldn’t go more than 20 minutes per day without “glancing” at my inbox.  That’s 24 times per day of stopping what I’m doing to make sure people didn’t need me. Translation: I’m an email addict.

MY FIX: Limit the times per day I can check email.  I still watch for the notifications but I was much more deliberate of when I went to my inbox.

Focused on My Strengths and Not Impact

After looking at my hours, I saw that when I got busy or overwhelmed I would default to the things I am good at like reporting, analytics and Facebook ad optimization.  It wasn’t bc they were more important. Nope. It’s because I know I can do those items the fastest. But, these things would trump the high impact items.

MY FIX: Start with the important things and dedicate at least an hour to that item before going to my strengths.   

There is a Switching Cost

Slack messages, emails and phone calls.  These are distractions that can derail your day quickly.  They aren’t urgent but they’re in my face so they always shot up my priority list.  

MY FIX: When possible, go deep on tasks and avoid multitasking. Instead of dropping everything for these Items I would let them sit until I actually finished that thing I was working on.  When possible, block off hours in my afternoon for deep work and or to work with individual members of my growth team.

How You Start Your Day Impacts Everything

The days that ended with that “I just punched the day in the mouth feeling” usually began with mornings that involved me dedicating as little as 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to those big impact items.  By doing that, I set the tone for the rest of the day. As opposed to the days where the first 4 hours involved me being reactive to emails and not being in control of my time.  

MY FIX: Wake up 30 minutes early and dedicate that time to the big impact.  I wish I could do 1-2 hours but I have a 19 month old kid so that would mean getting up at 4:30am and that ain’t happening.  

Create Time Goals

We all have goals around sales, demos, sign ups, traffic, etc. but we don’t talk much about time goals.  For example, are you spending 20% of your time per week on the big impact projects? Whether that’s writing a book or building your entire growth strategy, make sure the high impact items get the necessary time .

MY FIX: Do time tracking check-ins mid-week to make sure you’re allocating your time accordingly.

Oh, and Don’t Forget Your Smartphone

Scary fact: you look at your phone 74 times per day.  That shows that unimportant push notifications are getting the best of me.

MY FIX: Use the screen time feature (image above) on your iphone and set time limits on certain apps.  I only allow 20 minutes of social media time per day. It’s scary how fast that time flies.

Summary

You might be better than me at time management or you may let email and slack message drive your entire to do list.  Regardless, try out this exercise for a few days and you’ll learn something about how you allocate your most precious asset: time.

COMING SOON: The Growth Marketer’s Playbook

Growth Marketers PlaybookFor the past 18 months, I’ve been writing a book that outlines everything I know about growth marketing.  My goal is create an actionable resource that you can actually apply to your job or your startup.

From mentoring Techstars startups to teaching marketing workshops for Fortune 500 brands, I’ve uncovered some common principals and themes that you can use to grow your business the right way.

As of today, The Growth Marketer’s Playbook is packed with 30,201 words, 10 chapters, 35+ case studies, 5 frameworks and lots of spelling errors. (I’m about to have it edited, I promise.)  Sign up below to get early access to the book.

 

Here is a look at the Table of Contents for the book:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: Why Growth Marketing Matters
Chapter 2: The Real Reason Startups Fail
Chapter 3: Growth Marketing 101
Chapter 4: How to Know You’re Ready for Growth?
Chapter 5: PLAYBOOK: How to Uncover Your Growth Opportunities
Chapter 6: PLAYBOOK: How to Setup Your Marketing Infrastructure
Chapter 7: PLAYBOOK: How to Run & Manage Growth
Chapter 8: PLAYBOOK: How to Acquire, Convert & Scale
Chapter 9: RESOURCES: What’s the Right Marketing Tech Stack for You
Chapter 10: SELF-HELP: Shut Up and Grow

How to Up Your Marketing Game in 2018 

One of my goals in 2018 is to focus on learning new marketing skills.

That means dedicating time to online classes, podcasts, books or YouTube videos to get better at certain verticals.  For me, I am particularly interested in technical marketing, conversion through customer based marketing and writing marketing copy from with a foundation in behavioral economics.

Oh, and I want to get better at making waffles but that’s for another post.

via GIPHY

Here are some of the marketing courses to take in 2018 and the ones I would recommend for anyone looking to up their marketing game.  Some are free and some are not.  I have listed them by area of interest.

STARTUPS
How to Start a Startup Series by Stanford and Y Combinator

TECHNICHAL MARKETING
How to Become a Technical Marketer

ANALYTICS
The Lean Analytics Workshop

SEO
Learn SEO from the Head of SEO at Airbnb

HUBSPOT
The Mastering HubSpot Course by Rob Sobers

ADWORDS
An advanced AdWords course to grow your business

EMAIL
How to Make Six Figures with Email Marketing 

CONTENT MARKETING
Learn Content Marketing Strategy to create and grow an audience

CONVERSION FUNNELS
The Ultimate Playbook for Conversion Funnels (Spoiler, I made this course.)

GROWTH MARKETING
A Half-Day Workshop (with Yours Truly) on How to Run Growth

Cheers!

Jim

The Conversion Funnel Course We Use for New Hires at Our Growth Agency

Really excited to announce the launch of our first online course.

We partnered with the former Head of SEO at Airbnb (Tommy Griffith) to create The Ultimate Conversion Funnel Course.  It’s the same curriculum used to train marketing hires at General Assembly and my growth marketing agency, GrowthHit.

The online course includes:
– 25+ growth marketing case studies
– Proven funnel frameworks for running growth
– Conversion rate optimization techniques and strategies
– Tools and tips for optimizing every part of your funnel.

Tommy and I spent 6+ months fine tuning the curriculum, the case studies, filming and editing the content.  We launched it on his education platform ClickMinded and really hope you enjoy it.

It costs $497 but you can get 50% off by using the promo code MIJ.

Please let me know if you have any feedback.

How to Run a Growth Team (Includes Free Download)

A look at how to run a growth team with frameworks from Sean Ellis and the book Lean Analytics. Includes free download with templates.

Growth is flatlining. Ads are dipping. Your growth team isn’t getting results. 

Yup, I’ve been there.

I’m currently leading growth at an ecommerce startup. As our marketing team grew, the results started to stall.

It’s not that we weren’t working hard, it’s because we weren’t focused.

via GIPHY

That’s when I dove into these resources — Hacking Growth, Lean Analytics and Rob Sobers’ blog for guidance. If I was going to scale a startup the right way then I needed to apply the framework used by companies like Dropbox and Airbnb.

Here’s a look at the process I used to run my growth team and scale a startup to over half a million dollars per month.

Start With The End In Mind

What is your business objective? For our ecommerce company, it’s pretty simple – we care about revenue growth.  To unpack that further, we want a conversion rate over 4% and a 7% week-over-week user growth, with a customer acquisition cost (CAC) that’s under $30.

But, what should we focus on right now?  The key word here is focus.  We can work on our conversion rate and our user acquisition strategy at the same time.  But, can we do both of them extremely well at the same time?  For smaller growth teams, the answer is no.  That’s why focus is so important.

Brian Balfour, former Head of Growth at Hubspot, makes a strong case for focus in the following illustration.

How to Run Growth

One Metric Should Drive Your Actions

The goal is growth, but what is the one metric we should be focused on? With the ecommerce company, it’s about conversion rate.  Before we increased our ad spend or invested in content marketing to get people to our site, we wanted to hit our conversion rate goal of above 4%.  This way, we would be prepared for an increase in traffic volume.

We picked our metric, and, most importantly, set our goal.  This is the number the entire team has written down as the number we want to hit.  The best part about this decision is that it helps us determine the actions of everyone on the team.  From the developer to the designer, we’re all focused on moving this single metric.

Another example of how one metric drives a team’s actions is Moz, a SEO toolkit. They determined that their one metric was net adds.  Below is a graph from Lean Analytics on how this metric drove the actions at Moz:

One Metric That Matters Moz

How can you determine your one key metric or your north star?  Lean Analytics explains how  you can figure it out based on two things: your industry and your stage of businesses.  Here is a graph that shows you the one KPI you should focus on based on your business vertical and stage:

Lean Analytics Book

Your one key metric might not be on this graph, but it could directly impact one of the metrics on the above graph.  It could be a micro-conversion of one of these metrics. Here is an example of how Airbnb used one micro-conversion metric to scale their growth to a $24 billion valuation.

In the first three years, Airbnb really struggled to get any traction with their product.  They had a small group of users that loved their product but they couldn’t break through to a big audience.  They built up the supply side with listings and started to get potential renters to the site but they struggled to convert them. Their conversion rate was below average and they couldn’t figure out why.  After going through the user flow, the CEO didn’t like the feel of the product.  That’s when he decided to test professional photography on the site instead of user generated photos of listings. They tested this idea in the NYC market by sending out a professional photographer to the listings and the results were staggering.  The NYC conversion rate outperformed every other market they were in.  That’s when they decided to launch professional photography in every market.  Their metric ended up being the percentage of listings with professional photography.  Their founders still credit this move with the main catalyst for their success.  Here is a breakdown of how they ran the process:

STEP 1: Use Your Gut Instinct to Create an Experiment
Professional Photography = More Bookings

STEP 2: Test with a Clear Goal (Increase # of nights booked)
Sent 20 Photographers to Photograph NYC Listings

STEP 3: Measure Results
Professionally Photographed Listings > Other Listings

STEP 4: Data-Driven Decision
Launched Photography as a New Feature (Percentage of listings with professional photos)

How to Run Your Growth Team

You’ve determined your main business objective and the one metric to focus on.  Now, what do you do to impact that number?  How do you maximize your resources to have the biggest impact. How do you run your growth team?

First, lets look at your options. Below are two charts that show almost everything you can do as a marketer to grow.  The first chart is from the book Hacking Growth and shows 27 growth experiments to run.  The second chart is from the book Traction and it lays out the 19 channels you can use to get traction.  Think of this as your Denny’s menu for growth.

27 Growth Experiments
(Source is the book Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown)

VIRAL / WORD OF MOUTH

ORGANIC

PAID

Social Media Search Engine Optimization Online Ads
Embeddable Widget PR & Speaking Affiliate Advertising
Friend Referral Program Content Marketing Influencer Campaigns
Online Video App Store Optimization Retargeting
Community Engagement Free Tools Ad Networks
Giveaways & Contests Email Marketing Sponsorships (Blogs, Podcast)
Platform Integrations Community Building Native Content Ads
Crowdfunding Strategic Partnerships Content Syndication
Games, Quizzes Contributed Articles
Website Merchandising

19 Traction Channels
(Source is the book Traction by Gabriel Weinberg)

1.Viral Marketing
2.PR
3.Unconventional PR
4.SEM
5.Social & Display Ads
6.Offline Ads
7.SEO
8.Content Marketing
9.Email Marketing
10.Engineering as Marketing
11.Targeting Blogs
12.Existing Platforms
13.Business Development
14.Affiliate Programs
15.Trade Shows
16.Community Building
17.Sales
18.Offline Events
19.Speaking Engagements

You might be thinking these are great resources but where the heck do I start?  How do I know the main thing to focus on right now?  Instead of trying to guess which ones will impact your one key metric, you can use a quantitative process to decide for you.  List the top 10 experiments you’re excited to run to impact your key metric.  Next, give those experiments a score (1 to 5) based on the level of impact, and then another score (1 to 5) based on ease of implementation. For impact, 1 means low impact and 5 means high impact.  For ease of implementation, 1 means hard to implement and 5 means easy to implement.  Finally, add up those numbers to determine what to focus on right now.  Below is a template to use when scoring your experiments.

Growth Team Scorecard

How to Implement This Process at Your Company

It’s not easy to introduce a new process. Here are some resources to help you do it with confidence.  Below are guides on how to implement this at your company.  I’ve broken it down into four deliverables to guide you.  Also, you can reference them in this Google Sheet for your own use.

  • The growth process
  • How to structure your team
  • How to structure your meetings
  • How to structure your week

The growth process for your team:

      1. Identify Business Objectives: Why do we exist and what are we trying to accomplish? EX: Increase customers.
      2. Set Goals for Each Objective: What does success look like? What is the outcome? EX: 5% increase in new customer emails per week
      3. Establish KPIs: What are the numbers that tell you if you’re successful or not? EX: Email Conversion Rate
      4. Create Targets: What is the expected or desired result for the KPI? EX: Conversion Rate of 7%
      5. Build Segments: What will we analyze to see if we’re successful or not? EX: Visitors by Social, Search, Referral, Direct and Paid Traffic

How to structure your growth team:

  • Growth Lead / Product Manager: Owns the meeting objective and the OMTM (One Metric That Matters).
  • Marketing Specialist: Marketing professional that specializes in the vertical (SEO, Copywriter, CRO, Social Media Manager)
  • Data Analyst: Collects and organizes the data. Builds dashboard.
  • Software Engineers: Technical person who can execute on the digital marketing experiments.
  • Product Designer(s): Designer that can execute on the digital marketing experiments.

How to structure your meetings:

15 Minutes: Metrics Review & Update Focus Area

          • Review data around the OMTM
          • Positive factors vs. negative factors
          • What to focus on now (short term and long term)

10 Minutes: Review Last Week’s Tests

          • Number of tests and what we learned

15 Minutes: Key Lessons Learned for Experiments

          • Positive vs. Negative (Embrace the failures)

15 Minutes: What to Focus on in this Cycle

          • Take growth idea nominations from the group based on ease of implementation and impact

5 Minutes: Growth Check of Idea Pipeline

How to structure your week thanks to the growth team at Ladder.io:

MONDAYS = Analysis
Track your OMTM, Measure Experiment, Spot trends, Performance vs. goals

TUESDAYS = Planning
What experiments can you run to hit your business objectives? Manage experiments pipeline

WEDNESDAYS = Approval
CEO/Management Approval on executing experiments and update

THURSDAYS = Execution
Implement experiments and based on data driven ideas

FRIDAYS = Learn
Continued learning of customers, industry, and competitors

To manage the meetings, I am a big fan of Trello. Rob Sobers, Head of Growth at Varonis, created a Trello template for running growth that I use for all of my clients.

Did you find this post helpful? Want to dive deeper into setting goals, hiring, and running a growth team? Check out my in-person workshop, Mastering Growth, that I teach along with  Rob Sobers, Varonis Marketing Executive.

The TechStars Startups to Watch in 2017

We just had our Mentor Madness session with the 2017 TechStars IOT (Internet of things ) batch.  This is where we chat with founders about how to grow their businesses.

It’s fun for us because these are IOT startups. That means drones, smart homes, hardware and one company that’s making their own Alexa for Cars.

Just wanted to pass along these 12 businesses so you can find some inspiration for your own projects within one of these sites. Also, check out Jenny Fielding’s blog – she’s the TechStars Managing Director in NYC and is a must-read if up a great weekly newsletter.

As usual, here are five articles that got my attention this week:

(1) 5 Steps to Create a Killer Instagram Ad Strategy for eCommerce Products

(2) How to Grow Your Business to $1 Million — and Beyond

(3) SEO for Copywriters: Tips on Measuring SEO Impact – Next Level

(4) 6 Must Reads for Scaling Yourself as a Leader

(5) Startups are cheaper to build, but more expensive to grow – here’s why

I will be teaching or speaking in the next few months. Here are the dates:

– 8/15: Digital Marketing Workshop in Seattle, WA
– 8/23: Marketing Talk in NY, NY
– 8/14: Data Talk in San Francisco, CA
2/22: Growth Marketing in LA, CA

Cheers!

Jim Huffman
Co-Founder & CEO
GrowthHit