We’re seeing the popularity of podcasts grow every year and I think it will just continue to get bigger and bigger. People are listening to more podcasts more often, and talking about their favorites, too. But how do you get into the game of podcasting?
The good news is that we’re still in the early stages. Just as blogging blew up over time, podcasting is seeing the same kind of growth. It’s growing at around 17-20% year over year, but it’s nowhere near saturation.
For those of you who don’t know, I have two podcasts at the moment. One’s called Growth Everywhere and gets about 120,000 downloads per month.
The other is Marketing School and we’re about to break 600,000 downloads per month. We started Marketing School in August 2016, so we have a little experience under our belts when it comes to the world of podcasting.
One thing you have to keep in mind when it comes to podcasting is consistency. Just like with blogging, you have to establish a schedule that your audience can get used to.
So if you’re doing a weekly show on Mondays, keep it on Mondays at the same time so people know when to tune in. It’s almost like watching a TV show. You want to have it at the same time.
As you continue to build up your library over time, don’t be afraid to repost content or old episodes as long as they’re relevant, because not everyone’s going to see your new episodes the first time you post them. It’s the same idea with an email nurture sequence.
Related Content: 9 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Blog Content
You want to have your best content available to everyone, because not everyone will see it when you want them to. Granted, someone in your audience might have seen everything you have and therefore might not be happy that you’re repurposing stuff, but for the most part people haven’t seen all your episodes, and if they’re a loyal listener, they’d probably be happy to revisit them.
For my interview podcast, Growth Everywhere, we repurpose a lot of content because it just makes sense. A lot of these stories are evergreen, and we’re just trying to get them out there so people can get new ideas. Great stories don’t change. Each episode has at least one takeaway that can really help someone grow their business.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you must have great, compulsively clickable titles. Before we do each podcast, Neil and I look through the titles. People give us ideas, and we’ll redo the titles to make them better because we know good headlines are going to get people to click.
For Growth Everywhere, I like to include a statistic in my title. I’ll also bounce ideas around with my editor. Finally, we make sure that we email our podcast guest so they can help push it, too. Hopefully they get their team to help promote it, share it on social channels, etc.
Let’s say I were to interview someone like Tim Ferriss. He’s got a really big audience, so hopefully he would tweet the episode. Maybe he’d even push it to his email list.
When I interview venture capitalists, for example, it’s fantastic because their lists are really big. People get to learn more about Growth Everywhere, and if they hit the Growth Everywhere page, guess what? I’m going to re-target them, and hopefully get them into the funnel.
Learn More: Why Retargeting Is Absolutely Essential For Any Marketing Funnel
Speaking of marketing funnels, email is incredibly important. You want to make sure that you’re emailing your list. We use a blog RSS feed, which pushes automatically on Sundays for new Marketing School episodes, and on Mondays it pushes new Growth Everywhere episodes. So we have that automated, and it helps tremendously.
Paid ads are really helpful, too. Russell Brunson has a site called Marketing In Your Car with a free MP3 plus shipping offer. Basically, he’s giving away this MP3 player with all his podcast episodes on there, and it’s been hugely successful in generating subscribers. He gets people into his funnel that will come back and buy actual products. He’s very profitable on the front end on that funnel, and it’s working really, really well for him.
I bring up Russell because, as with any type of marketing, it’s good to see what other people are doing, and see whether you can make it work for yourself.
Another thing you could consider is a giveaway. Let’s say I reach out to my favorite SaaS companies and say, “Hey, I’m looking to give something away to my audience. If someone wants to get in on this giveaway, they need to leave a rating and review on social, show that they did it, and subscribe to our email list or follow us on Instagram…”
You could play around with the giveaway requirements, but just choose one goal. I’d recommend choosing one for each giveaway that you do.
For a lot of these SaaS companies, the cost of giving away a piece of software is almost negligible, especially when they’re getting a ton of exposure in return. So for them to get that kind of publicity, it’s definitely worth giving away a product. Then you’ve set yourself up for a cross-promotional relationship.
Learn More: How We Built the Growth Everywhere Podcast to 109,000 Listens per Month
Ok, let’s say I get Tim Ferriss on my podcast. Maybe he gets me on his. Being able to cross promote and build relationships with other people, as well as build or engage social communities and create hype, is very important. If you’re doing a marketing podcast like mine, you can go to Inbound, you can go to GrowthHackers. You can even find Slack groups. There are a lot of different ways that can be effective.
If you need some ideas about getting people to interview, check out this podcast episode that Neil and I did called How to Find Relevant Guests for Your Podcast.
We’re hoping to get our podcast to two million total downloads per month for Marketing School. And for Growth Everywhere, hopefully we can hit 250,000 per month by the end of this year.
If you want to learn even more about how to start a podcast, check out this blog post.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
Want to know what tactic we used to double traffic to Single Grain?
We updated our content.
I’ve mentioned before how Wikipedia continually updates their content because it’s crowd-sourced and time sensitive. Wikipedia writers and editors are policing it all the time.
As a result, Wikipedia not only has really high-quality content (remember back when it didn’t?), it also has constantly updated content that Google loves to rank highly.
This is how you want to produce all your own content, too. You want to align it with your marketing funnels and buyer personas, keep it evergreen, and then just keep updating it maybe once a quarter or even just once a year.
Related Content: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Marketing Funnel
I have this post on Single Grain called Effective SEO Techniques that Work in 2017. In reality, this post was actually written in 2016 and it was titled “Effective SEO Techniques for 2016.” When this post first came out, it was 4,000 words. Now it’s 6,600 words. We’re going to update it every single year, and it’s going to keep growing bigger.
In this year’s version, not only have we added a call to action for SEO work, we also have a ton of internal links, and our engagement has just gotten better and better.
This is just one example, but we’re doing it for literally all of our epic, long-form posts. In December 2016 we decided that upgrading content would be our marketing experiment.
We updated about 10-20 pieces of content and the organic traffic has doubled for all those posts.
That’s why we’re saying this could potentially double the traffic that you have for your posts, too. Just imagine if you’re doing it across the board for your top 10 or top 25 posts.
Learn More: Why You Should Run Marketing Growth Experiments Every Week
This is very important.
Look at your Google Analytics. Go to behaviors. Go to your landing pages section. Look at what’s going on there, and see which posts you can upgrade or update based on initial traffic and the dip over time.
Our post Effective SEO Techniques that Work in 2016 (before we updated it) got great engagement back when it was released in 2016, but over a year later it was barely being read.
When you see that kind of potential, obviously you want to upgrade the piece, but you also want to make sure that you change the slug – but be sure to redirect it to the new slug or you’ll lose your previous ranking (keep the slug the same if the title hasn’t changed).
That’s going to be better for the long run because people do look at the URL and it’s going to look really fishy if you update your content so the title says “2017” but the slug still says “2016.” Even if you actually put in the work and are bringing fresh, relevant data and advice to the table, it ends up looking like a really dirty link. It looks kind of iffy and spammy.
Once you’ve fixed the URL, it’s time to update the content. Look around the web using tools like BuzzSumo to see what has popped up since you published your piece and then ask yourself:
Related Content: How to Grow Your YouTube Subscribers Without Spending a Ton of Money
SEO is constantly changing, and it’s only getting harder to rank organically, so you need every advantage.
In 2018, we might update our SEO piece to include the impact of voice search or how local search has changed, too. We want to keep updating this piece and make sure it’s growing and growing. When it hits 20,000 to 30,000 words, you’ll want to add a table of contents at the top so people can click to a certain chapter.
When updating your content, your goal is to always make it a better user experience.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:
Hi everyone, today’s interview is with Brad Martineau, Cofounder of SixthDivision, a company that helps businesses plan out and thrive on marketing automation via Infusionsoft. Today we’re talking about the dire importance in planning before implementing any automation, and how SixthDivision has grown helping companies do just that.
An Early Employee Branches Off From Infusionsoft
Brad started his business career as Infusionsoft’s sixth employee and got a front row seat in watching the company grow from just six to 150 people, and from $500,000 to over $15 million in revenue.
He saw that Infusionsoft was building a really cool tool that helped small businesses leverage the power of technology, but he also saw a lot of their clients struggling to implement it.
So in 2010, he broke off from Infusionsoft and started SixthDivision, and the whole goal of that company is to make it easy for people to get their automation ideas implemented so they can make more money and have more time on their hands.
What SixthDivision Offers
The end result of what SixthDivision does is to help people get their ideas implemented at lightening speed. (It’s their main value proposition.)
Specifically, they help their clients focus on client acquisition: getting more leads, and turning those leads into clients.
And when you get into that area of business, says Brad, they’re two main components:
To do this, they have offerings that range from hanging out in their office for a few days to signing up for membership so SixthDivision becomes a part of their team, ensuring ideas get taken care of quickly.
Why Marketing Automation Can be Confusing (And Why Some People Call Infusionsoft Confusionsoft)
The reality is, says Brad, even though some people complain about technologies like Infusionsoft being confusing, he’s found in most cases it’s just a result of the user not understanding exactly how Infusionsoft should be used in their business.
He says it’s like teaching a young child to ride a bicycle. When the kid first starts trying to learn, he thinks it’s one of the hardest things he’s ever done. But a year later, it’s super easy for him.
The thing that’s changed and made the task easier isn’t the bicycle, it’s the child’s knowledge and skill of how to operate it.
“It’s not the tool,” says Brad, “it’s that the tool is forcing you to do something that you’ve never done before.”
When someone is forced to think about their business through a lens they’ve never thought about it before (like automation), that’s where the problem starts. Because in the past, small businesses haven’t had the capacity to do any kind of automation, so they haven’t been required to think along those lines.
But, Brad says, as they grow their own business, they will start to look for ways to help their clients automate with technologies other than Infusionsoft.
A High-Level Thought Process for Implementing a Successful Client Journey: The Lego Principle
To start planning for a successful client journey, Brad says you need to start with what you sell. (Not the benefits of what you sell, the actual product itself. You can’t go to a restaurant and order Mexican food. You’ve got to choose a taco or a burrito.)
Once you’ve determined that, you can go back another step and ask how you’re selling your product… via a sales team or an automated online process?
From there, you then need to think about and identify all the ways you’re capturing leads and what your strategy is to get those leads warmed up to your brand so they’ll be in a position to consider buying from you.
After that, you think about the individual steps you have outlined to get those leads warmed up: via webinars, events, Facebook advertising, and so on. All of the things that lead a person into talking to your sales team. (If that’s how you’re selling, that is.)
Then you can zoom in and look at just your sales process and figure out how that should run and what kind of experience you’re creating for your prospects.
And once you’ve got everything planned out (not before), you can create a blueprint to finally put everything in place and get your automation running.
Brad refers to this as the Lego Principle.
I’ve you’ve ever bought a 1,000-piece Lego set, you know that when you open the box, about seven bags pop out along with a guide to walk you through how to build the piece bag-by-bag before you get to creating the final product.
It’s the same for your business. Your business is the 1,000 piece Lego set with a picture on the box, but you can’t expect yourself to try and put together all 1,000 pieces at once. You have to identify the bags that make up that picture, and then focus on one bag at a time.
Mapping Out the Customer Journey
Brad says he doesn’t know of a tool that can be used specifically for building out customer journeys, but they use a tool called Basalmiq, which is a digital wire framing tool that allows you to create a visual and digital format of how people will run through your business.
In the first year of SixthDivision, they brought in seven figures, and each year since, they’ve grown anywhere from 35% to 45%.
In fact, they were on track to double their revenues this year before they decided to shift to a recurring revenue model, but they still expect to close out the year with a little under $3 million in business.
Startup Marketing Automation Mistakes
Specific to marketing automation, Brad says the biggest mistakes he sees startups making is not knowing what they’re doing and not getting clear on how they’re actually going to get what they want.
People tend to buy marketing automation based on the high-level benefits of making more money, saving a lot of time, or getting more visibility.
But what people fail to do is ask how these automation tools are actually going to give them what they want in a tactical sense.
If you ask them for a plan on how they’re going to reach their specific goals with automation, most people can’t give you an answer, because they’re simply buying a dream.
Another trap he sees people fall into is trying to blueprint and implement at the same time.
These people might know how they plan to use marketing automation to make their goals happen, but they set out trying to build those processes before they have a solid plan in place.
Beyond that, he says, is the fatal mistake of trying to do it all yourself or trying to do it all at once. Often, he says he sees individuals trying to fit a year’s worth of automation setup and tweaking into a one month time frame, which is a recipe for disaster.
“When you’re disciplined about that process,” says Brad, “that’s when you can actually gain some traction and make something happen in your business.”
An Automation Success Story
A few months go, SixthDivision took on fixing a registration and check in process for a conference that notoriously had huge, long, massive lines at their check in counter.
They put a process in place with Infusionsoft that helped them automate their check in process, and even though there were 3,000 people checking in that morning, 45 minutes into the check in, there were no lines, even though they’d erred on the side of caution and set up for the huge, long lines they’d experienced in the past.
A Simple Funnel Setup
To set up a successful online sales funnel, Brad suggests starting your planning at the end of the funnel, not at the beginning.
You need to start with what you want the person to buy (whether it’s a $10 or $500 product), and then think through the things they will need to know and understand in order to buy it, and work backwards from there.
Where are you trying to get them? What are the things they’ll need to know about the product before buying it? What are they afraid of?
Then you can create a lead magnet that’s extremely enticing to them and deliver it in a way that will highlight all the benefits of what they can get by continuing on and diminish the fears they have.
Email Sequences to Check Out
Advice to His 25 Year-Old Self
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African proverb
“You can go as far as your brain will allow you to go,” says Brad. “And if you’re limited it’s because you’re limiting your brain.”
It’s also important to recognize that you need to be able to let things go and that the way you do things isn’t necessarily the “right” way, it’s just “a” way.
“Your business will go as much as you do,” he went on. “And when your business stops growing it’s because you stopped growing.”
His Ideal Day
One Must-Read Book
Brad suggests Ready Fire Aim by Michael Masterson because it breaks down the revenue phases that businesses go through as they grow and points out the biggest challenges you’ll have during each of those stages.
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Today’s interview is with Rob Walling, founder of Drip, an extremely user-friendly email marketing automation tool that allows you to craft every interaction with your leads, Troux users, and customers. I personally just became a customer about a week ago and I’ve been very happy with both the team and the product itself.
In this interview, Rob and I talk about how the idea for Drip manifested as a result of the problems he was having with the email marketing tool he was using at the time, why a simple change in the software features was the key to finally growing the business, and how acquiring just one marketing skill at a time is the path to success.
Making the Leap to Freedom
Rob Walling is a software developer by training—it was a hobby of his when he was a kid, in fact—so it was only natural that he start writing code for a living. But after realizing that being a salaried employee was not something he could do forever, he made the leap to freedom by starting to launch some small software products and websites on the side. As you would expect, there were a bunch of failures, and then he had his first product success—DotNetInvoice, invoicing software that he had acquired from other developers.
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention
Today, that’s what Drip does.
In 2012 the idea for Drip finally manifested when Rob was having a problem setting up marketing funnels in the current email marketing tool he was using. He was frustrated by its inability to tell him who had converted, when they had converted, and why specifically they had converted. He also wanted it to do basic things like moving people from one interest list to another and he wanted it to do all this without having to spend hundreds of dollars a month.
Changing the Software Features Triggered the Growth of the Business
By the time he and Derek—the developer who’s now co-founder—launched Drip, they had built up a pretty good launch list, but then they spent the first few months trying to figure out why they weren’t able to grow the app. He kept putting people into the funnel and they kept leaking out as fast as they were going in. So the challenge was to find out how to keep these people, and the overwhelming feedback was that they needed to build in some marketing automation—basically build in the ability to tag and move people in and out of lists. So they spent 3-5 months building what the people wanted and as they started rolling that out, churn went down, trial-to-paid conversions went up, revenue numbers went in the right direction and, as the saying goes, they were off to the races.
It was as simple as changing the features of this SaaS app that finally allowed their audience to really comprehend the power of Drip and the business to flourish. Once they started calling themselves a lightweight marketing automation platform all the trial-to-paid conversions leapt up to 45-50% and the churn dropped down to about 5-6%. The interesting thing was that they had the same amount of traffic and yet their revenue numbers started growing by $1,000-2,000 a month, and then as things started accelerating, it started growing by $3,000-5,000 a month.
Pre-launch Strategy: How Drip Acquired Emails
At the time Drip launched, they had about 3,400 emails from about 4 or 5 different sources, because Rob believes that you start marketing the day you start coding. And that’s literally what they did. While Derek was writing code, Rob focused on building an email list.
He has this concept called Concentric Circle Marketing. So if you imagine a dart board, there’s a circle at the center of your bull’s eye and that is circle one, that’s your audience—your email list, your podcast or blog audience, your Twitter following. And the next circle out is your warm audience—so maybe your colleagues or your friends if they run podcasts and they’re willing to vouch for you. And the third one out is cold traffic.
When building an email list, Rob always starts with that inner circle because he has a pretty good blog, podcast, and Twitter following. And the minute he starts to build the product, that’s when he talks about it on all these platforms because the folks who follow him are also building startups and software. That’s how he built Drip’s email list up to about 500-600 pretty quickly. And even though he knew that the conversion rate wouldn’t be phenomenal because part of his audience was made up of people who were unable to pay $50 a month for a marketing automation tool (or an “email marketing tool” back then), he still consistently talked about it.
He was asked to go on podcasts to talk about software, entrepreneurship, and building startups, so even when he wasn’t actively trying to promote Drip, that’s what he wound up doing—and that accounted for about another 500-600 emails. Then he ran Facebook ads to a landing page based on email marketing interests which accounted for another almost 1,000 emails. And finally, there were about 300-400 emails from beta lists.
Facebook Ads and Cost Per Acquisition
They were paying about $3.50 per email and he was sending people to a landing page—or rather, different landing pages with different headlines. And that was a key part of this process: not just getting the interest lists, but figuring out which of these value propositions resonated with the audience. In other words, are people more willing to provide their email address if the headline is “Create a Double Digit Jump In Your Conversion Rate” or “More Leads More Customers” or different phrasing? Based on their prior experience with HitTail, where testing these value propositions had created a double digit jump in conversion rates, they ran different Facebook ads with different landing page headlines and different images.
From Software Developer To Marketer
Having first-hand experience on a small project with which you can play around is really critical to learn marketing. You can certainly read about all the approaches, but nothing beats first-hand experience.
To be honest, early on I was terrible. I didn’t know what I was doing when I launched several sites between 2002 and 2005 and I just expected them to market themselves—because that’s what Inc. Magazine or Tech Crunch tells you!
So what he did was just acquire one marketing skill at a time, and focus on it, learn it, get good at it, then move on to the next one. It’s just like learning development—you don’t jump in and try to learn PHP, C Sharp, and Rails all at once. You learn a single language until you master it and then move on to something else.
Rob is a big believer in a thing he calls The Stair Step Approach, which is basically building small products first rather than trying to build a SaaS app like Drip which is quite complicated, expensive to build, and not very easy to manage and market. He “stair stepped” up with several small products that had a single sales channel which usually drew its traffic organically from Google or from AdWords and Facebook ads. This is simple stuff, but practicing on these channels teaches you how to write copy, optimize pages, split test, and you can use those skills when you’re ready to launch a larger app.
How Drip Differs from the Competition
Drip offers almost the complete InfusionSoft tool set. InfusionSoft does a bunch of things, like landing pages and affiliate tracking and shopping carts—and Drip doesn’t do that. But the core of InfusionSoft that most people use is the heavy email automation, the ability to send the right message to the right people at the right time and manage all that. Drip does this, but the main difference is that Drip is far less expensive and is far, far easier to use. That’s their big selling point: usability, ease of set up, and ease of understanding the paradigm.
If you’re building a mailing list and want to do things that are pretty exotic, you’re going to outgrow the basic tools like MailChimp and Aweber. But InfusionSoft is $300-500 a month, $2,000 up front, and it’s quite hard to use. Drip lands right between those two products.
Patience Is a Virtue When You’re Growing a Business
After launching Drip, revenue went flat for about 4 or 5 months. Having launched, acquired, and grown a ton of different apps in different industries, Rob expected that he’d be able to grow this one faster, and when that didn’t happen he became extremely frustrated. The first phase of building a startup is building, the second phase is learning, and the third phase is scaling. And that learning phase is going to take longer than you want it to even if you have the experience and the confidence that you can do it. Patience is critical because you can’t compress that learning phase any further than it needs to be. Even if you’ve raised $5-10 million you still can’t accelerate the learning phase because trial and error is a necessary component of building anything.
But he and Derek were able to turn their struggle into a learning experience—they were recording their weekly calls at that time and edited them down into a two-hour audio documentary, which is available to listen to at StartupStoriesPodcast.com.
A Piece of Advice For His 25-Year-Old Self
Everything good that has come out of me being a founder or an entrepreneur of any type has come out of me doing something that has scared the crap out of me.
Rob says that if he could give his younger self a piece of advice, it would be to start doing things in public sooner, like starting a blog and publishing the first post about software development. He was terrified to put himself out there, and even though no one was reading it, it was still scary. But he has realized that once you actually face that fear and take the action, the terror eventually goes away—and now Rob’s blog has grown to 30,000 followers.
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