Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Most startups end in failure.  Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is traction — real customer growth. This book introduces startup founders and employees to the “Bullseye Framework,” a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth. Traction is a guide to getting customers, written for startup founders, marketers, and those interested in how today’s startups grow and get traction. This book shows you how the founders of several of the biggest companies and organizations in the world like Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak.com) and Alex Pachikov (Evernote) have built and grown their startups. We interviewed over forty successful founders and researched countless more growth stories to pull out the repeatable tactics and strategies they used to get traction. “Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don’t have a good distribution strategy.” — Mark Andreessen, venture capitalist Too often, startups spend months (or years) building a product only to struggle with traction once they launch. This struggle has startups trying random tactics – some ads, a blog post or two – in an unstructured way that leads to failure. Traction shows readers how to systematically approach marketing, and covers how successful businesses have grown through each of the following channels: Viral Marketing Public Relations (PR) Unconventional PR Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Social and Display Ads Offline Ads Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Content Marketing Email Marketing Engineering as Marketing Target Market Blogs Business Development (BD) Sales Affiliate Programs Existing Platforms Trade Shows Offline Events Speaking Engagements Community Building This book draws on interviews we conducted with the following individuals: Jimmy Wales, Co-founder of Wikipedia Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of reddit Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup Sam Yagan, Co-founder of OkCupid and CEO of Match.com Jason Cohen, Founder of WP Engine Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round Capital Rand Fishkin, Founder of SEOmoz Noah Kagan, Founder of AppSumo Jason Kincaid, Blogger at TechCrunch Alex Pachikov, Co-founder of Evernote  Ryan Holiday, Exec at American Apparel Andrew Warner, Founder of Mixergy Garry Tan, Partner at Y Combinator and many more.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It?s our nature. Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they?re enabling countless new tribes to be born?groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming. And so the key question: Who is going to lead us? The Web can do amazing things, but it can?t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals? people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips. If you think leadership is for other people, think again?leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma leads a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, runs her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle. All they have in common is the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead. If you ignore this opportunity, you risk turning into a ?sheepwalker??someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don?t do very well these days. Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities in leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers. . . . It?s not easy, but it?s easier than you think.

Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer—Sell Like a Superstar

Many of the areas that salespeople struggle with these days have long been the domain of marketers, according to bestselling author John Jantsch. The traditional business model dictates that marketers own the message while sellers own the relationships. But now, Jantsch flips the usual sales approach on its head. It’s no longer enough to view a salesperson’s job as closing. Today’s superstars must attract, teach, convert, serve, and measure while developing a personal brand that stands for trust and expertise. In Duct Tape Selling, Jantsch shows how to tackle a changing sales environment, whether you’re an individual or charged with leading a sales team. You will learn to think like a marketer as you: Create an expert platform Become an authority in your field Mine networks to create critical relationships within your company and among your clients Build and utilize your Sales Hourglass Finish the sale and stay connected Make referrals an automatic part of your process As Jantsch writes: “Most people already know that the days of knocking on doors and hard-selling are over. But as I travel around the world speaking to groups of business owners, marketers, and sales professionals, the number one question I’m asked is, ‘What do we do now?’ “I’ve written this book specifically to answer that question. At the heart of it, marketing and sales have become activities that no longer simply support each other so much as feed off of each other’s activity. Sales professionals must think and act like marketers in order to completely reframe their role in the mind of the customer.”

The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It

The small-business guru behind Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine teaches readers how to establish lasting commitment in their employees, customers, and businesses. Why are some companies able to generate committed, long-term customers while others struggle to stay afloat? Why do the employees of some organizations fully dedicate themselves while others punch the clock without enthusiasm? By studying the ins and outs of companies that enjoy extraordinary loyalty from customers and employees, John Jantsch reveals the systematic path to discovering and generating genuine commitment. Jantsch’s approach is built on three foundational planks, which he calls the clarity path, the culture patron, and the customer promise. He draws on his own experiences and shares true stories from businesses like Threadless, Evernote, and Warby Parker. His strategies include these: Build your company around a purpose. People commit to companies and stories that have a simple, straightforward purpose. Understand that culture equals brand. Build your business as a brand that employees and customers will support. Lead by telling great stories. You can’t attract the right people or get them to commit without telling a story about why you do what you do. Treat your staff as your customer. A healthy customer community is the natural result of a healthy internal culture. Serve customers you respect. It’s hard to have an authentic relationship with people you don’t know, like, or trust.  As Jantsch says, “Have you ever encountered a business where everything felt effortless? The experience was perfect, and the products, people, and brand worked together gracefully. You made an odd request; it was greeted with a smile. You went to try a new feature; it was right where it should be. You walked in, sat down, and felt right at home. . . . Businesses that run so smoothly as to seem self-managed aren’t normal. In fact, they are terribly counterintuitive, but terribly simple as it turns out.” As a follow-up to The Referral Engine, this is about more than just establishing leads— it’s about building a fully alive business that attracts customers for life.

The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

The small business guru behind “Duct Tape Marketing” shares his most valuable lesson: how to get your customers to do your best marketing for you. The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word- of-mouth referrals are what drive business today. People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague, or even stranger with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by a faceless company. Most business owners believe that whether customers refer them is entirely out of their hands. But science shows that people can’t help recommending products and services to their friends-it’s an instinct wired deep in the brain. And smart businesses can tap into that hardwired desire. Marketing expert John Jantsch offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. Keep those customers happy, and they will refer your business to even more customers. Some of Jantsch’s strategies include: -Talk with your customers, not at them. Thanks to social networking sites, companies of any size have the opportunity to engage with their customers on their home turf as never before-but the key is listening. -The sales team is the most important part of your marketing team. Salespeople are the company’s main link to customers, who are the main source of referrals. Getting them on board with your referral strategy is critical. -Educate your customers. Referrals are only helpful if they’re given to the right people. Educate your customers about whom they should be talking to. The secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the “Customer Referral Cycle”-the way customers refer others to your company who, in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. If everyone in an organization keeps this sequence in mind, Jantsch argues, your business will generate referrals like a well-oiled machine. This practical, smart, and original guide is essential reading for any company looking to grow without a fat marketing budget.