Growth hacking, it’s one of those buzzwords that you love to hate. Essentially, I think of it as marketing but with no budget. Maybe I’m going to get corrected for my misconceptions in this episode number 147 but maybe not. We’ll see. Our guest is infamous growth hacker, Vin Clancy. He went from being on welfare in the UK to launching two online magazines that got over twenty million-page views in their first two years with zero ad spend. He has since then won Best Speaker at South by Southwest V2V for his growth hacking talk. Finished a 100-day world tour, made six figures on his debut, Growth Hackingbook, created one of the biggest marketing communities on Facebook and moved to LA where he teaches companies how to rapidly grow audiences and businesses.
Vin, it’s great to have you on the show.
I’m very excited to be here.
Let’s talk about your book because I know it’s hit the virtual bookshelves and you’re quite proud of it. What would be the elevator pitch for why somebody should pick up the book?
Those growth hacking and internet marketing books are useless. It’s very vague, high level advice, old stories about the founder that don’t help you get anywhere. Even the ones that are more specific, it’s based on the founder saying, “I am the best here in my methods. These are the only ones that work,” which isn’t true. In any business, you have to try a lot of different things and then specific ones work for you for some reason or another. For this reason, I wanted this book not to be the Vin Clancy book of marketing. This is a curation of the best methods and techniques from all of the biggest names in growth hacking in internet marketing.
There are about 35 different contributors in Ace The Game, my growth hacking book and course. Because of this, we have a very broad range of secrets that one can use to grow their company. The reason the book exists is because there are so few good growth hacking books out there. We added the video course because having an eBook is okay, but you want to see for the most part, for many of the hacks, how to set them up, how to click the right boxes to get going, so that even if you’re not an expert growth hacker, you can pick this up and already start getting results wherever.
You’ve got 35 contributors. Why not just have yourself as the solo author of the book?
I believe it’s a bit arrogant and to get a good flavor of different things that maybe I don’t know. It’s amazing to have these broad ideas in there. I believe it can be a lot better if there are more in it because these people are doing sometimes seven figures of revenue using these hacks. These are people who have taken startups from zero to raising millions of dollars because of the number of users they have, or people who have spent $26 million on Facebook ads and here are their most useful learnings. This goes far beyond one person’s experience, no matter how good they are in one area and you get the best experience from the best in the world.
How did you pick the 35? Give me a couple of examples of who are some of the contributors and how did you end up finding them or they finding you.
I’m deep in the growth hacking space, so I watch what is going on and then I speak to these people. I have a good idea of who they are. There are people who have spent millions on Facebook ads and there are people who run marketing agencies, growth hacking agencies, people who have built massive communities. It’s not the case of, “This person is a celebrity in the scene.” It’s the case of,
“Does this person have a powerful method?” A common mistake people make is they look up to the gurus who have a lot of followers, but it’s a factor of being big in the guru marketing space that you have to go broader and broader to appeal to a wider range of people. That means that you don’t want to be talking about technical growth hacking. You want to be talking about productivity and improving your life because you reach a far wider range of people. Those people aren’t the go-tos when it comes to what are the killer techniques I can use today, or also the brand-new techniques that have only just come up because of a new technology or a new piece of software. Those are the people I’ve used in the book.
Let’s define for our audience what is growth hacking and how is it different from marketing, SEO, and all the traditional terms they would have heard?
Growth hacking is getting a lot done with very few resources. Growth hacking is using data to grow your company sometimes by using new technologies. I like to see growth hacking as everyone is addicted to their screens and in some form or another, growth hacking allows you to get in front of a lot of those screens and scale your relationships with people. How is it different from the old ways? The old way is TV, radio and print. It’s great if you have a lot of money and can afford to do these massive experiments. Growth hacking came about with Silicon Valley startups who couldn’t afford traditional media. I see it as my job to popularize it and get it out to the wider audience, so that everyone can start to make six figures and start to improve their businesses using these strange methods that Silicon Valley has kept secret up until now.
What are some of these strange methods? Give us a few examples.
There are some that are methods and some that are pieces of software. I want to talk about a lot about a piece of software called FindThatLead. This will find anyone’s email address in the world. I’m right here in the United States. It is legal for one business to email another business. This is one of the most overused but still powerful techniques that Silicon Valley startup use to grow. Finding a piece of software like FindThatLead, creating a drip sequence using software like Drip in order to get in front of people so that you get responses, it’s just the quickest way to grow a company at scale because hundreds of people every day you can reach, if not thousands by a cold email.
Another is a tool called Linked Helper. Let’s say you put in a search for CEOs of big companies in New York, it will automatically run around connecting with people and if they accept that connection request, it sends them an automatic hello message or you can message all of your connections at once. This is super powerful and likewise, Twitter, you can follow people and then when they follow back you can reply to a message. When you have one, two, three, four of these running in the background, it’s just automated relationship building and lead generation. These are powerful things you can do and then you just pick up the replies as a human and begin the relationship there, but you never know which ones will bite. These are very basic things anyone can set up using the hacks in this book to reach a lot of people, start generating leads and traffic overnight for free.
How have you applied growth hacking to, for example, your book launch?
I started with a viral queue. A viral queue is when you create a landing page, the book’s coming out, drop your email and we’ll let you know when it comes out. Once they drop their email, they get put in a viral queue and then they have the chance to win prizes. They’re in 500th place in the queue and the tech says, “Share this on Facebook, share this on Twitter, invite your friends by email and you’ll move further up the queue and get different prizes.” By this, you get them to do the work for you, they’re sharing info about the book. You have the Facebook pixel on that page, suddenly thousands of people are now seeing this page and they notice a book coming. Throughout the campaign, which was about five weeks, we had thousands of people playing this game.If you constantly sell to your audience, you will burn them out. Click To Tweet
When we launched the book, we did over $10,000 sales in the first hour. A lot of that hype was because of this viral queue, which ended up having over 5,000 people in it. It’s something that we set up, hardly cost anything, and just using this viral queue software. Queue Act is the one we use. That created a lot of hype and then we created a webinar for the launch and now we growth hack over a thousand people signing up to that via reaching out to people on Twitter, via creating Facebook content in our Facebook group, and via our email list. Between all of those things, we started to get a lot of people interested in it and then we had a big launch. Once that was out, we had got the maximum revenue from the people paying full price.
We did a 20% discount and then launched it on Product Hunt. Not a lot of people realize the power of Product Hunt. Product Hunt is a website you can use to grow your initial launch of any product. It counts how many votes you get. It’s an upvote system like Reddit in a 24-hour period. The first years, we do post just after midnight and we did that but what was key with our launch is we did it the day after July 4th, which is a national holiday in America. No startup is going to have their staff working at midnight on July 4th. Everyone will be watching fireworks. If we release the Product Hunt now, we’re going to have a lot less competition from the other products launching that day. We’ve got to the top three on Product Hunt for basically the whole day and the next day, and we get thousands of dollars of sales again. Those are two of the things we did outside of the standard advertising stuff. Those were growth hacks that pulled traffic out of thin air and that led to good sales of the book.
This viral queue, is that something that’s common? I had not heard of Queue Act. I have heard of KingSumo and Rafflecopter. I’m not sure if those are similar in functionality, but it’s not necessarily something new here in common vernacular and internet marketing circles to set up a viral queue, at least I haven’t found that.
I see myself as bridging the gap between growth hacking and internet marketing. I started it all family in the startups camp, but I got interested in internet marketing. Partly because the techniques in internet marketing were some of the best I’d ever seen for growing a business studying the likes of Dan Kennedy and Jay Abraham. I didn’t write anyone who’s out there right now in terms of like legacy, big marketers but those two are great. It’s powerful stuff. They inspired me to pivot more towards internet marketing while using some growth hacking techniques. It’s my own little niche. I’ve grown a strong fan base that are really into what I’m doing, which is great.
Viral queue, is that a common term in growth hacking?
Dropbox launch had been one of the most famous viral launches of all time. I would say a good chunk of companies know. When I started talking about growth hacking in 2015, it was like this brand-new thing. It’s become a bit more well-known now, but when you start up a company you don’t know any of this stuff. No one gives you the handbook for it. I feel like I’m spreading the good words and helping a lot of people grow their companies.
Dropbox, I’m guessing the viral queue that was set up or something similar was the fact that you could earn more free disk space, virtually cloud space, by referring the service to friends. If they signed up then you would get an extra 500 gigs or whatever of disk space in the cloud and you wouldn’t have to pay for a monthly account. You could just start with the two gigs and get 500 megabytes for free for every user that you referred who signed up for Dropbox. Is that what you were referring to?
Yes, that’s right.
Have you heard of KingSumo or Rafflecopter as tools for incentivizing people to share with friends? Also there’s Contest Domination. I’ve had Travis Ketchum on this podcast as well from Contest Domination, talking about how to set up viral contests and incentivize the right behaviors, not just share, but to share with influencers and to get people aligned on the same goal. That would be your goal to get more signups and more revenue and not just shares or re-tweets or whatever.
I haven’t heard of Rafflecopter, but it sounds similar.
You’ve mentioned Reddit. I’d love to hear what you’re doing that’s different or outside of the norm in terms of marketing and growth hacking on Reddit.
Reddit is in the book. I’m pretty sure that there’s something in that on it. What am I personally doing for Reddit? It really depends on where you can put your product. Reddit is excellent for B2C products with a mainstream appeal. They can go across multiple stuffs and indeed using paid ads. In terms of how I use it to ace the game? Not yet. It could go in the entrepreneurial stuff. The entrepreneurial stuff doesn’t allow links to websites. In terms of getting traffic, it’s not the best and it certainly isn’t a quick way in like Product Hunt where you can post a link and you can get a ton of traffic. I could get surreptitious traffic by joining the community. I’m giving value before I post a link but I don’t have time for it. I’ve seen massive success with B2C stuff and I have friends who have got low cost back acquisition from it. It’s not quite right for what I’m doing. Reddit is not the biggest fan of Internet marketing and info products. For me particularly, not great but a massive website and apparently people spend more time on it than in Facebook as of last month I was hearing.
It is a very popular website and if you can crack it, it’s an amazing opportunity, but it’s very difficult to do. It’s very dangerous because of how much they hate internet marketing and just marketing in general. If you’re trying to plug your products or services, you’re in very dangerous waters there, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s a great opportunity. It does take time investment because you can’t just start a brand-new account and expect to get any traction. You have to nurture that account and build up a lot of reputation, a lot of post karma and comment karma so that your stuff gets noticed. Do you have a decent amount of post karma on Reddit or just haven’t had the time to invest in that?
We haven’t invested too much in that platform.
I don’t have time either. All of my social media is managed by my team so I don’t even know what I’m posting to Twitter because I just don’t have the time to do it. It’s the same thing with my Facebook pages and my LinkedIn, it’s all managed by my team. In fact, my blog, I don’t even know what I’m blogging about, that’s all managed by my team. They’re ghostwriting based on stuff that they know that I like and stuff that aligns with my values. Similarly on Reddit. I have an account with 28,000 posts karma. It’s pretty good and that account has hit the front page of Reddit a few times and I didn’t build that. I had one of my team start with a new account. I came up with a username and then she built that up to almost 30,000 post karma within six months.
Did you hit front page with business stuff you’re promoting?
No, because we were still in that nurture phase of creating a lot of positive and good feelings with the Reddit community and not trying to leverage it yet for our own stuff. You have to find stuff that’s relevant and that resonates.
That goes into sales then because if I put cats or girls in bikini, then I could get 28,000 comments pretty quickly. Have you managed to translate it into traffic for business stuff?
Yes, but it’s more for my clients and for me and it has to be a suitable product or service. Some services or products are more in line with what the community would resonate with and some are not so much. Internet marketing is probably not as good, or SEO is not as good of a match than if it’s some sort of a viral product, some cute viral thing that you would expect to see on a site like Vat19 or whatever. That can go crazy viral.
It’s great for Reddit.
I was curious about Reddit and I also know that you did a world tour that’s not very internet marketing-like. It’s very traditional marketing. What inspired the 100-date world tour?
I started that because someone out of the blue said, “We’ll pay you to come and give a talk at this event.” I never really had given a talk before but I had a slide deck that I’d made for my friends at Tech Stars. When I was at Tech Stars, I did a small presentation there. I gave this talk and the room was hypnotized and straight away people want to pay me money and hire me to coach them and consult their company. I realized I had something so I booked as many talks as I could. I booked a talk at South by Southwest V2V three months after I first started speaking and I won. I was voted best speaker versus people who have been doing it for like five, ten years and I was marked the best.
I had something because what I was doing was so radically different because what most public speakers do is, “Here’s the story about why I’m good. Here’s a case study of why my company’s good and here’s a little motivational story at the end. Thanks. Who wants to hire me?” That’s 90% of people public speaking. This wasn’t deliberate. I just assumed when you gave a talk, you gave away all your secrets. You told people what they have to do to grow and you gave them everything they needed. No one was doing that. The first half just didn’t know anything about marketing. That’s why most people hate marketing is it’s full of people who don’t know what they’re doing, and the second half is they won’t give you any of the good stuff until you hire them.
I was this whole third way of, “Here’s everything you need and here’s a lot of things you haven’t heard of.” I scaled that quickly. Then I started a world tour speaking to grow my brand. It was a little more traditional, but at every city I was going to, I was growth hacking a number of people attending by using things like Twitter search to find all the founders, entrepreneurs and CEOs in the area and inviting them to the talk so that I wasn’t giving talks for people when I showed up in a town. I was giving talks in good rooms and then I was getting invited back to bigger rooms at each stage of the talk. It was an amazing journey to speak around the world, especially as I only just started and that kept me out well to move to the United States.
Let’s talk about when you do a talk and you want to get hopefully 100% of the room to opt in, give you their email address, maybe their mobile number as well, and then they’re on your list. What percentage would you typically get? What opt-in rate would you get out of a room typically and what was the pitch?
I generally used it to get consulting clients. About 50% to 80% would ask for slides and opting in. It was very simple, “Here’s a lot of things I know, here’s what I do, here’s who I like to work with.” That was stuffed right at the end. It was just one slide. Half of it was the pitch I’ll close. That works when you’re doing webinars to sell things, but for a somewhat cold audience when you’re speaking live, people can get really annoyed if half of it is a pitch. What I’m saying is when you have a warm audience, people will opt-in and then it’s 100%.
That’s what I did for my book launch and that’s what I did for all my coaching launches. When it’s a brand awareness drive, all you want people to walk away with is, “He’s amazing. I’d like to hire him. If someone says they need to hire a growth hacker, they should come to him.” That really worked for me and then off the back of that, I also started to sell the book once I had my first growth hacking book, Secret Sauce. That came out summer 2016.
What I meant to ask was not, “What is your pitch at the end of your talk?” but “What is your offer?” You just revealed that to be your slides. Is there anything that you throw in there besides your slides? I know the slides are oftentimes enough if it’s a great deck and the entire conference doesn’t have all of their slides available. Some conferences and some events, you just know that all of the decks are going to be available and then that’s not a compelling thing because you can get the slides from that central repository.
Like the event that I saw you speak at was a METal talk and slides are not necessarily given out. When you offered them at the end, and I was impressed by your presentation, that’s why you’re here on the show, that was compelling to me and I opted in. I don’t recall if you sweetened the offer with anything else besides the slides, did you?
No, it’s lead magnets. People are a little wary of them at this stage. You need to make an impression with the talk and they need to want you, not your lead magnet so much. Otherwise you get freebie seekers who want the free stuff and they’re not interested in hiring you. That’s the kind of distinction I made. If it was four years ago, the idea of getting an eBook for free is like, “It’s a free eBook, these things normally cost money.” It’s so saturated at this point. The idea of a bribe can get an email but you probably won’t sell anything to it. They have to buy you and then it can be a good bonus but it can’t save a bad offer.You need to make an impression with your talk and the audience needs to want you. Click To Tweet
What would you recommend to somebody who is using a lead magnet to get opt-ins on their website? Something like free white paper checklists, eBook, worksheet, workbook or something like that. What would you tell them to do differently?
One of those things are good and I have recommended my clients to do things in that space. The best one would be to do an Ask Me Anything webinar once a week and then for the whole week. That offer points towards that so that they can see you dispense advice to a group. They know that you know what you’re talking about and they can ask you any questions which could lead to a private consulting session from there. I like this aspect of live. People do see it as an event. People do see it as something special. The high likelihood is you’ll buy the eBook and you won’t do anything with it.
What was the total take, if you don’t mind me asking, from this campaign that the viral launch of your book, Ace The Game?
That one’s still going. The first book is approaching $175,000. That one has been going well and again has been sitting on Product Hunt, but it had this long tail. It’s one of the definitive growth hacking books. That’s where we are with that one and the newer one is we’re only about a month into it.
This new book, you said you cleared $10,000 in the first hour. Have you hit $100,000 yet?
I don’t look at my numbers until the end of the month.
Do you do “Ask me anything” webinars or live streams as a regular thing, like every week?
Semi-regular. I saved them myself for around the time of our launches. Although I tend to do a lunch about once a month, it tends to be around that. There are people who say do it every day and build a bond with your audience but I believe it should be something special. People should see it as something unique that you don’t get very often, especially inside marketing crowds that are just so fickle.
You do launch of something about once a month. If it’s not a book, what are you launching?
It could be a group coaching program, it could be a new small eBook, it could be a new done-for-you service, it could be an affiliate launch. Do you need Facebook ads or do you need a funnel built? It’s a case of adapting what we do for our audience.
Do you do flash sales as well?
Occasionally we did one with the book. We also have a marketing agency backend, which keeps us pretty busy. We’re always trying to work out how often can we launch without saturating our audience and we’ve done it marginally too much, but that’s okay with us. We’ve made the product decision that we understand that we’re going to reduce the size of audience a little bit in return for short term revenue, but a lot of people don’t understand this. They think they can get both. If you constantly sell to your audience, you burn them out. It’s a balancing act. I’m personally looking to hit very aggressive revenue goals right now. It’s something I’m happy to do.
Let’s talk about some of the secrets that you give away that are not commonly given out. What differentiates you from many other speakers and marketers is that you give away the goods without people having to hire you. What would be a few examples of some of your best secrets?
One that has been powerful whenever I’ve revealed it and I’ve used it and it works is a piece of software called Rebump. If you tick the box when you email someone and they don’t get back to you within 24 hours, Rebump will email them every 24 hours. You’re guaranteed to get a response using that piece of software. I’ve tried it and it really works. 1% of people complain, but there are people who are like, “Thanks so much for following, I’ve been so busy, but I did want to hear from you,” and that leads to a wider point. You presume you’re being a nuisance, but actually often people thank you for being persistent because they actually want what you have. It’s just like a mini example of that.
Linked Helper is amazing not just for connecting with people, but just generally being in front of people on LinkedIn, you can wish people happy anniversary, you can endorse people for things. You can become a very active person on LinkedIn, which is where business people network, so that is a killer app. Another killer app is Mailshake. With Mailshake, you can create an email list that sends from your Gmail Account. Why is that good? Because when you do an email blast, it shows it comes from a mail server somewhere, so it’s not personal. Using Mailshake, you can collect all your emails using something like Email Hunter or FindThatLead or there are lots of different emails scraping tools that you could put into Mailshake and then it could look to the person on the other end as if you’re only emailing them personally, which is what you really want.
Then you should layer on some copy techniques from the Charm Offensive school. Charm Offensive is a Facebook group, which teaches you how to write with humor. You’ll say something like, “I emailed you because you’re on my list but at least you’re list worthy. Here’s what I do. I’d like to talk to you about it. If it’s not right for you or I’ve upset you, here’s a picture of a ferret to brighten your day. I await your profanity fueled response.” It has all this humor in it when you’re cold emailing and people can’t really be annoyed about that. His Facebook group is full of people who have used this technique and got huge meetings and huge clients off the back of it. That’s like an end-to-end service. They find that lead to find the email, Mailshake to send the emails, and Charm Offensive for what to put in the emails. The founder of Charm Offensive has a couple of guest sequences in the book.
Is that how you sent me email follow ups that were replies to emails that I sent you?
That’s a good point. That was not a mailing list. If I’d stuck you in a mailing list, you’d have been annoyed because you never signed up for this, but this was an email to a previous correspondence. By doing it that way, we reached thousands of people who had emailed me, so we touch everyone who had ever seen me speak live in the lead up campaign to this. Yes, cold traffic might convert, but here’s a list of thousands of people hidden gold mine in my inbox who have seen me talk. They like what I have, so very likely it’ll convert in to book sales. That’s what that was, it wasn’t an email list because I was just replying to you.
You didn’t use a tool to automate that or scale that?
I used Rebump. That was the use case there.
That was clever. Those are some great tools and tips. Are those all in the new book, Ace The Game? What would be the most powerful platform or tool that’s more than just a very small use case tool like how to scrape and get an email address or something like that? What would be something that is a game changer in terms of it being a whole platform?
I don’t know if this is in terms of the whole platform, but I’ve used software I liked, Lead Feeder. This is a little bit of code you put inside your website. It’s just like copy and paste. It takes a minute to set up. For every visitor that lands on your website, it will find out their name, their email address, and the company they work for, which is amazing data. You can start to see who’s visiting your website and then target them either via Facebook ads or via cold email. In the book we talk about the piece of software you can use to automatically email them once Lead Feeder grabs this email. That’s a killer hack because you just imagine how many interested people are hitting your website. You have no idea who they are, you have no idea how to reach out to them and this will change all of that.In terms of business, LinkedIn should be second to Facebook and Twitter comes in third. Click To Tweet
When I was asking for a platform that’s bigger, for example SalesForce.com, which has so many features and so many capabilities that it can transform the entire sales force of a company. One tool, I’ll give an example that is of that scale and scope from an internet marketing standpoint is Pitchbox. Some of the best companies out there in the area of link building and influencer outreach are using Pitchbox because it is essentially like SalesForce.com for outreaching influencers to get links.
For example, there’s a prospecting component. It will build a list for you of prospective influencers based on keywords that you put in. It will scrape Google for results of these influencer types and it will only bring those forward if you hit a minimum threshold that you set, say, I want minimum domain authority numbers or trust flow numbers, and then you have a template library and the tool. You have the ability to send automated follow ups, re-forwarding the original email and saying, “I’m about to hit deadline. I won’t be able to include your quote unless I get an email response from you with a quote by such and such deadline date and that sort of stuff.” It essentially tracks the entire workflow and the outreach pipeline, just like SalesForce.com will give you a pipeline report of where all your leads are at.
This will give you a pipeline report of where all of your outreach candidates are at. A ton more than that, there are lots of integrations with other tools. It’s almost like an ecosystem. It’s more than just a platform and same with the SalesForce.com. I was curious if you had a recommendation of something of that kind of scale. Lead Feeder sounds awesome and I’m thinking maybe there’s something bigger that you’d want to recommend.
Javi is long seen as the ultimate piece of growth hacking software. There wouldn’t be enough time to go through all of the platforms it automates but it does all sorts of cool things, everything I’ve talked about in Linked Helper for LinkedIn connections. It also does things like it will automatically follow people on Twitter. Let’s say you could follow all of Gary Vee’s fans and Grant Cardone’s fans and then it will tell you how many of each fan followed back. It seems to work better with our audience that’s doubled down on that so you can A/B test that. There are unlimited features in it but Javi does things in Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and it does some Facebook stuff. It does all these different platforms within it. That’s the one I’m seeing a lot of people talk about and a lot of people get results about right now.
Are you using that tool yourself?
One of my guys is. Someone who help me on Twitter and Instagram.
When you are trying to build your follower base on Twitter or Instagram, the common etiquette is to follow somebody back who follows you. You use that as a way to build your follower base, you follow people and then you wait for them to follow you back. Is that what you’re doing to build followers?
That’s a technique I turn on from time to time. There are some more powerful things you can do, but certainly, especially if you’re taking on a client and they’ve never done it before, that’s when it’s super powerful. In the internet marketing growth hacking niche, we all know about it. It’s probably something that would be more likely used for clients, but I’ve done it. It works to a certain extent and it’s just one of many strategies. Instagram in particular has a ton more powerful strategies behind that which are actually a lot better.
What would be an example or two?
It will browse Instagram by strategies. Using hashtag ladders is a great way to grow on Instagram. You find hashtags that aren’t tiny but they aren’t massively overpopulated. I think you start with under 10,000 total hashtag pictures and then you use those hashtags on your photos. Normally between ten to fifteen and you put them in the first comment that within ten minutes of the picture going live, then everyone’s searching that we’ll find those hashtags and come across your picture. If they liked your picture, there’s a fair chance they’ll also click through to your profile and if they like your profile, they will then follow you. I had someone build an entire business off the back of this a while ago. Create a massive account, loads of clicks, loads of sales. This method does work. Another method is power likes, where you get the biggest accounts in your niche to like your photo or when it goes live and then all of that followers see it and then you get a lot of followers overnight. You normally have to pay to be in those power-like circles or use something like Fame Pocket, which we work, which is in the book of how to use them.
I’ve never heard that one. Is that a tool or a software service?
Tool service, yes.
Do you think Instagram is a viable marketing channel for pretty much any business? Even B2B or even business to government? There are so many companies where they’re like Instagram now, we do Facebook ads and we do Twitter and LinkedIn, but I don’t see us on Instagram. It doesn’t make sense for our business. Would you disagree with them?
It’s a real good question. It’s something I’ve gone back and forth on over time. I do think Instagram is the future as a whole, as a platform. It’s just there’s so much engagement there, definitely if you’re B2C or doing any sort of broad product or building a personal brand. Can it work for hard B2B? I just think it’s going to be really difficult to get the targeting right to really turn that into clicks and sales. Somebody will have made it work for B2B, so I can’t rule it out, but that’s something that one week, I might think it works and another week, I might look again and walk it back. That’s something I’m not completely sure of, but I do believe the future is Instagram. That might be surreptitious but maybe it’s a yes in the near future. I don’t know.
How about LinkedIn? Are you bullish on LinkedIn as for viral stuff or is it pretty boring community?
I believe in LinkedIn. It’s brought me a lot of engagement. I’ve had millions of views on there. I believe in it. I noticed that I don’t respect it like I do Facebook. I had my team check my messages on Facebook. I check my messages on Twitter. I do believe it’s good as a content marketing platform. I’m a strong believer that really in terms of business, LinkedIn should be second of Facebook and Twitter third.
You’ve had some success with LinkedIn. What was your favorite case study example of your own marketing on LinkedIn?
BuzzFeed did an exposé of me and my friend, Josh, amongst others. We write in a definitive style, which is one sentence per paragraph, then a space and then a second line so that it’s easier to read on mobile. Josh just honed in on this and already did this. I might still do bullet point articles and free sentence articles and stuff. If you keep seeing these popping up on LinkedIn, here is the reason people like these two are popularizing it. He was very public about LinkedIn and has stopped my page rank and has cut it in half since this article came out. I know mine went down too. We’re victims of our own success. LinkedIn after it got acquired by Microsoft. They want it to be this content marketing platform with a feed like Facebook.
We had people like me dominating it and we’re not completely sure they were fans of people becoming influences on there. That’s something that happened to me but I had posts here hundreds of thousands of views last year, which was amazing. I got a lot of reach out of it. A lot of the things I talk about in Ace The Game, you’ve got to get in there fast. We were just on a second edit of the book and one of the pieces of software which allowed you to scrape Facebook groups has been shut down, so we’ve removed it from the book.
When we say guys use these hacks because some of them are going to get banned, use them, get all the emails, get all the customers, get all the engagement because it won’t last forever and we’ve seen it on Twitter. Twitter has become harder than Napa to get free traffic from. We see it on every platform. Facebook when they banned comment below if you want this, that was a blow to a lot of internet marketers, that was a common strategy. We find something that works and gets this free traffic and their job is to shut it down. It’s like a drug deal and the police.
I was thinking of cat and mouse, but you can use that analogy too. When you said Josh, you talk about Josh Fechter?
Yeah, that’s right.
He wrote a post about reaching 25 million views in four months. I know you shared that on one of the groups that we’re both on.
He’s made LinkedIn his thing. I’d say I’m a little more on the cheerleading side for Facebook groups. He’s definitely moved the genre forward. I’m a big fan of him.
What is your favorite Facebook group?
In terms of other Facebook groups, Dog Spotting is a good one. Bad Facebook Marketplace is a good one for entertainment. The first place where I got into is the Cult of Copy, which is a Facebook group about copywriting and loosely speaking. It’s still my favorite. There’s a lot of value in there, especially if you want to be a great copywriter.
I’ll share two of my favorite Facebook groups. One is very exclusive. It’s called Write and Rant. Only established authors are in that group. Ryan Holiday, for example, is one of them and Mitch Joel is another one. My other favorite one is Internet Marketing Super Friends. Are you familiar with that one?
I remember it being massive, but I remember it being full of spam.
Signal to noise ratio has gotten worse over time, but there’s so much good stuff in there like great tool suggestions and vendor suggestions and stuff. If you are looking for a piece of software that does something in particular, you’re looking for a particular agency or an SEO consultant or whatever. You can post to that group and get tons of suggestions and a lot of those suggestions are really quite good. I found it to be quite valuable. Have you done much A/B testing? As a growth hacker, you’ve got to test stuff and see what works and what doesn’t work. What are you doing in terms of testing?
We A/B test on our ClickFunnels on our website. That’s the main domain for A/B testing and now people say you can for social media, but no two posts are the same. It could just be the post on the second wasn’t as good as the first post. As the people, if you’re in a certain field on Instagram, you do a certain way, you can A/B test, but you can’t really. The time of day is different. The people who see it would be different and the post is different. Absolutely on your website, it’s pure traffic. That makes sense. I find it a little harder to believe that it is really statistically accurate with social media posts.
You’re doing A/B testing using ClickFunnels for landing pages, sales pages, that sort of stuff. Why ClickFunnels? Why not Lead Pages or some active campaign or some other competitor to Click Funnels?
Click Funnels is the best in the industry. Active campaign is good for email blasts. Lead pages, some would say, is similar to Click Funnels. We never used it. Click Funnels, for me, is so easy to use without you being able to code, so it’s easy to make things happen. If you’re a non-technical guy like me, you can still change things on the hoof or create things on the hoof without needing a developer. Also on click upsells, I believe they are the biggest innovation in making money online possibly ever because if you can increase the average basket size for people buying more on the second, third or fourth page, you can spend more to get a customer which ultimately enables you to win.Click Funnels is so easy to use without being able to code, so it’s easy to make things happen. Click To Tweet
I can’t think of a bigger innovation that helps people make more money at website level. It’s like people that have this cult of Shopify, Shopify is bad. From purely a product point of view, it’s great if you’ve never built a website and you want to sell one very specific thing to the audience. Then you run Facebook ads and less can go wrong, but as soon as you want to optimize something, you will have multiple buy buttons on the page or have click up sells. CartHook, this random plugin does fix that problem, but it’s not built into the platform by default. We had a client and they wanted to use Shopify and then a month into the campaign, “This doesn’t work. Can we use Click Funnels?” That’s what we said all along.
CartHook is a plugin for Shopify.
That enables you to do one click upsells. It’s doing well. It’s growing fast.
Give us an example of a one-click upsell in one of your funnels.
In my Growth Club, it’s free to sign up and then $7 a month after that. If they’re interested in growing their business, then they get an up sell for one of my courses. If they say no to that, they get an upsell for my social media automation course and if they say no to that, they get a low ticket, my copywriting accelerator. With all those things, something will get them so we can get a higher price per customer.
What would you guess would be your average cart or purchase amount for a new client or a new customer if you did not have the one click upsells versus having them?
If you’ve done it, can only ever be one.
Let’s say the order value for a new customer might be $20, but it’s currently $120 because you have these one-click upsells. I’m just curious with the scale of that.
On average, it increases the basket size 50%. If the product is $100, you can get between $130 to $150 on average. If you have good upsells, good funnel, good copy.
Do you write your own copy or do you hire copywriters to do that for you, for your sales pages?
It’s a mixture of both but that’s the only thing that I do is I outsource. Everything else, customer service, building the funnel, Facebook ads, that tends to be outsourced but I tend to retain copy and do that myself.
How do you outsource customer service?
I don’t believe in VAs. They’re useless. I guess I have one half sub-VA but interns cost so little and they speak English and they’re smart and they can work things out. Unless it’s a very mechanical thing you do, filling an Excel or so on, but on customer facing stuff, I’m into interns and not VAs.
How do you get interns? An intern is somebody that you’re paying a small amount of money, maybe they’re in college and you’re going to lose them after the summer. Explain what an intern is.
Someone who’s working part-time, college students, work-at-home mom, someone who already has a full-time job and wants to learn the ropes of internet marketing. VA is someone you pay across the world to do mechanical tasks that don’t require any brain, which is still useful sometimes.
It might be a terminology difference. When I refer to VAs and you described some of my best VAs when you were talking about interns, a stay-at-home mom who is wanting to learn the ropes. I interviewed on my other show on the Optimized Geek, Carolyn Ketchum, who was my head VA for several years and she was so incredibly important to my business. She could think on her feet and she’s super smart as you’ll find in the episode.
We talked about what are all the systems and things that you can scale by delegating and by putting standard operating procedures in place and using VAs. She would manage other VAs and maybe you would call that person an intern instead but she was amazing. She was instrumental in the growth of my business. Do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to get verified on Twitter or Facebook? Get the blue check?
You need ten pieces of press. I have real press, not like a random blog. On Instagram, you need to have 25,000 followers. On Facebook, it’s about getting that press and having PR. Those are the main things. Then people will try and hack the system. What else you can do, you get those things. People won’t because they’re lazy, but that’s really what it takes.
Are you verified on either platform?
I’m verified on Facebook and Twitter. I should have gotten Instagram. I didn’t but I can get it. I’m still not completely sure what I’m going to do with Instagram. I might be pivoting my business soon. I’m working on branding all of autumn and winter this year then I’ll go in hard.
That’s a big deal to get verified on Twitter and Facebook. Congratulations. I’ve got verified on Twitter and I’ve been able to grow my reach and my audience on Twitter. It’s been a help. Thank you so much, Vin, for sharing some great growth hacks, some of your best secrets and your favorite tools. It’s all good stuff. Ace The Game, if people want to check out that book, what is the URL for that?
If somebody wanted to work with you, hire your agency to help with the growth hacking of their own business, how would they reach you?
Thank you so much, Vin.
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ Try different marketing strategies, apps and software to find what works best for my business and my clients. There’s no one size fits all approach to running a business.
☑ Use growth hacking to get more done with less resources. Growth hacking is the process of using data and new technologies to grow a company.
☑ Gather strong leads with FindThatLead, a tool that finds business email addresses for cold emailing.
☑ Use Linked Helper to automate LinkedIn activities like sending connection requests, group invites, and bulk messages.
☑ Spark more interest before product launches by adding my leads to a viral queue. Create a landing page with opt-in features to notify my audience of my next launch.
☑ Launch my products on Product Hunt. It’s a website for product enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.
☑ Be active on the right social media platform for my business. Determine what’s effective for my niche but also realize that the top three social accounts for experts are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
☑ Do an “ask me anything” webinar as part of my lead magnet strategy. Conduct a one-hour question and answer session for people who are interested in my pitch.
☑ Conduct flash sales once in a while to pique my prospects’ interest and convince them to buy what I’m offering.
☑ Grab a copy of Vin Clancy’s growth hacking book, Ace of the Game, to get new tips, tools and marketing strategies.
- Ace The Game
- Linked Helper
- Product Hunt
- Contest Domination
- Travis Ketchum – previous episode
- Secret Sauce
- Charm Offensive
- Lead Feeder
- Pitch Box
- Josh Fechter
- Dog Spotting
- Bad Facebook Marketplace
- Cult of Copy
- Super Friends
- Growth Club
- Carolyn Ketchum – previous episode
- Vin Clancy on Facebook
- Vin Clancy on Twitter
About Vin Clancy