Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE Traction Channels

CHAPTER TWO Traction Thinking

Traction and product development are of equal importance and should each get about half of your attention. This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50 percent on traction. (Location 250)

Tags: productdevelopment, traction

Note: .traction .productdevelopment sppnd half your time on prooduxt and the other half on traction

At Marketo, not only did we have SEO [search engine optimization] in place even before product development, we also had a blog. We talked about the problems we aimed to solve…. Instead of beta testing a product, we beta tested an idea and integrated the feedback we received from our readers early on in our product development process. (Location 294)

Tags: blog, traction

Note: .traction .blog use a blog to test appetite in an area

We strongly believe that many startups give up way too early. A lot of startup success hinges on choosing a great market at the right time. Consider DuckDuckGo, the search engine startup that Gabriel founded. Other search startups gave up after two years: Gabriel has been at it for more than seven. (Location 366)

Tags: startups

Note: .startups you need to time great market


The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. If you were to advertise offline, where would be the best place to do it? If you were to give a speech, who would be the ideal audience? Imagine what success would look like in each channel, and write it down in your outer ring. (Location 407)

How much will it cost to acquire customers through this channel? How many customers are available through this channel? Are the customers that you are getting through this channel the kind of customers that you want right now? (Location 427)

At any stage in a startup’s life cycle, one traction channel dominates in terms of customer acquisition. That is why we suggest focusing on one at a time, but only after you’ve identified a channel that seems like it could actually work. (Location 440)

Tags: traction

Note: .traction try a few channels and then go deep on one

What Lean is to product development, Bullseye is to traction. (Location 485)

Tags: bullseye, traction

Note: .traction .bullseye

You are much more likely to develop a good distribution strategy with a good traction development methodology (like Bullseye) the same way you are much more likely to develop a good product with a good product development methodology (like Lean). (Location 489)

Note: Seek traction in parallel to product development

CHAPTER FOUR Traction Testing

...your tests should be designed to answer these questions: - How much does it cost to acquire each customer through this channel strategy? - How many customers are available through this channel strategy? - Are the customers you are getting through this channel the ones you want right now? (Location 510)

Tags: customers, traction

Note: .traction .customers how much to get,how many are there and are they the correct type

Inner ring tests are designed to do two things. First, to optimize your chosen channel strategy to make it the best it can be. Second, to uncover better channel strategies within this traction channel. (Location 523)

Once you have a core traction channel, it is often instructive to brainstorm the other eighteen traction channels in terms of how you might use them to support your core channel. (Location 570)

a minimum, include the columns of how many customers are available, conversion rate, cost to acquire a customer, and lifetime value of a customer for a given strategy. Because these metrics are universal, you can use them to easily make comparisons across strategies. In general, we encourage you to be as quantitative as possible, even if it is just guesstimating at first. (Location 589)

Tags: acquisitionmetrics

Note: .acquisitionmetrics

CHAPTER FIVE Critical Path

The reasoning for why these particular features weren’t necessary initially was that even at 100 million searches a month, DuckDuckGo’s user base was motivated enough by other features to be forgiving of missing these particular ones. However, to get to the next traction goal the company had to get more mainstream adoption, and this next set of users is much less forgiving. (Location 638)

Tags: crossingthechaslm

Note: .crossingthechaslm early customers may not demand certain features, but to appeal to the majority they may be needed

...nineteen channels: - Targeting Blogs - Publicity - Unconventional PR - Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - Social and Display Ads - Offline Ads - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Content Marketing - Email Marketing # - Viral Marketing - Engineering as Marketing - Business Development (BD) - Sales Affiliate Programs - Existing Platforms - Trade Shows - Offline Events - Speaking Engagements - Community Building... (Location 655)

Tags: tractionchannels

Note: .tractionchannels

CHAPTER SIX Targeting Blogs

The key to the success of these badges was to make them easy to share and embed. Much as YouTube provides an embed code below each video on its site, Mint provided the code necessary to make embedding badges as simple as copying and pasting. Many users were happy to place the small badge on their Web site in order to get early access to a product they wanted. Mint had six hundred blogs display the badge and fifty thousand users signed up through them. This strategy also gave Mint an SEO boost from the hundreds of new links pointing to (Location 724)

Tags: growth

Note: .growth code embeds are great for links

Many personal bloggers have strong readerships, but don’t make money from their writing. Noah offered them a way to show off a cool new service and make some money doing it. He simply sent them a message with “Can I send you $500?” as the subject and told them a bit about the product and what Mint was trying to do. Most were happy to share a useful product with their audiences and make some money in the process. (Location 732)

Tags: bloggers, mint

Note: .mint .bloggers he sent $500 to bloggers to post about mint

CHAPTER SEVEN Publicity (Location 779)

Note: h1

The news has fundamentally changed. Think of The New York Times. When they decide to publish an article about you, they are doing you a huge favor. After all, there are so many other people they could write about. There are a finite number of spots in the paper. Blogs are different, as they can publish an infinite number of articles and every article they publish is a chance for more traffic (which means more money in their pockets). In other words, when Business Insider writes about you, you are doing them the favor. (Location 790)

Tags: blogs

Note: .blogs when blogs publish about you you are dping them a favour

What gets a reporter’s attention? Milestones: raising money, launching a new product, breaking a usage barrier, a PR stunt, a big partnership, or a special industry report. Each of these events is interesting and noteworthy enough to potentially generate some coverage. (Location 823)

Tags: traction, mediacoverage

Note: .mediacoverage .traction

Ryan offered this template email he’s used to pitch reporters successfully: Subject: Quick question Hey [name], I wanted to shoot you a note because I loved your post on [similar topic that did a lot of traffic]. I was going to give the following to our publicist, but I thought I would go to you with the exclusive because I read and really enjoy your stuff. My [company built a user base of 25,000 paying customers in two months without advertising / book blows the lid off an enormous XYZ scandal]. And I did it completely off the radar. This means you would be the first to have it. I can write up any details you’d need to make it great. Do you think this might be a good fit? If so, should I draft something around [their average] words and send it to you, or do you prefer a different process? If not, I totally understand, and thanks for reading this much. All the best, [Your Name] (Location 855)

Help A Reporter Out (HARO), (Location 867)

Tags: reporters, te

Note: .te .reporters

Once you have a solid story, you want to draw as much attention to it as you can. Here are a few ways to do it: - Submit the story to link-sharing sites (reddit, Hacker News) with larger audiences. - Share it on social networks to drive awareness, which you can further amplify with social ads. - Email it to influencers in your industry for comment. Some of them will share it with their audiences. - Ping blogs in your space and tell them that you have a story that’s getting some buzz. These writers may then want to jump in themselves to cover you. (Location 876)

Tags: legalblog

Note: .legalblog

When people gamble, but they don’t tell themselves they’re gambling (as investors do), they need information to justify their decisions, and they need social proof and examples and evidence that they’re doing the right thing. They already know if they want to invest in you or not, and they’re looking for confirmation that they made the right call. Press is one of the single most effective things for pushing people over the edge and confirming they did the right thing. (Location 889)

Tags: press, investors

Note: .investors .press press coverage can help investors think theyre making the right decision

TARGETS Focus on the right smaller sites. Press stories often “filter up,” meaning major news outlets are often looking to major blogs for story ideas, which in turn are looking at smaller blogs and forums. That means if you can generate buzz on those sites, you can increase your chances of getting picked up by bigger publications. Build real relationships with the specific reporters covering your startup’s market. Read what they write, comment, offer them industry expertise, and follow them on Twitter. Have newsworthy milestones to share. Contact reporters only when you can package your milestones into a compelling emotional story. When you do make a pitch, keep it short and sweet! (Location 901)

Tags: publicity

Note: .publicity

CHAPTER EIGHT Unconventional PR

CHAPTER NINE Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

After you’ve determined the ad groups and keywords you are targeting, create your first ad. When you write an ad, the title should be catchy, memorable, and relevant to the keywords you’ve paired with it. You will also want to include the keyword at least once in the body of your ad. Finally, you will want to conclude with a prominent call to action (CTA) like “Check out discounted Nike sneakers!” (Location 1083)

Tags: sem

Note: .sem search engine marketing

Several sources have mentioned that an average CTR for an AdWords campaign is around 2 percent, and that Google assigns a low quality score to ads with CTRs below 1.5 percent. If any of your keywords are getting such low CTRs, rewrite those ads, test them on a different audience, or ditch them altogether. (Location 1112)

Tags: ctr, sem

Note: .sem .ctr

TARGETS Use search engine ads to test product positioning and messaging (even before you fully build it!). Do not expect your early SEM ad tests to be profitable. If you can run an ad campaign that gets close to breakeven after a few weeks, then SEM could be the traction channel for you to focus on. A test ad campaign can be as little as four ads that you use to experiment. Measure conversions so you can test SEM variables against profitability. Areas you should be testing include keywords, ad copy, demographic targeting, landing pages, and CPC bids. Cost per acquisition (CPA) is how much it costs you to acquire a customer, and that is ultimately what you need to be testing against. Use longer keywords. Known as long-tail keywords, they are often less competitive because they have lower search volumes. As such, they are cheaper and so can be more profitable—you just may have to aggregate a lot of them to get the volume you need to move the needle. Pay close attention to your ad quality scores. High quality scores get you better placement on the page and better pricing on your ads. The biggest factor in quality scores is CTR. (Location 1138)

Tags: sem

Note: .sem

CHAPTER TEN Social and Display Ads

Others—There are plenty of other major sites you can target for social ads—BuzzFeed, Scribd, SlideShare, Pinterest, etc. Because these sites were established more recently, advertising on them and even newer ones can offer a unique window of opportunity for substantial growth. (Location 1259)

Tags: ads

Note: .ads


CHAPTER TWELVE Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The most important thing to know about SEO is that the more high-quality links you have to a given site or page, the higher it will rank. (Location 1428)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo get quality links to your site

Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO (Location 1429)

Tags: seo, tr

Note: .tr .seo

In SEO, there are two high-level strategies to choose from: fat head and long tail. Let us first explain these strange names. Consider all the searches that people make, sorted by the number of times that search is made. At the top are one- and two-word searches like “Dishwashers,” “Braves,” and “Facebook.” They make up about 30 percent of all searches. The other 70 percent are longer searches that don’t get searched as much, but in the aggregate add up to the majority of searches made. If you graph all these searches by the number of times they are made, the first 30 percent get clumped at the front and the last 70 percent make up a long tail, because many of those are searched only a few times. These latter searches are called “long-tail” keywords because they make up this long tail. Oppositely, those searches that are searched a lot and clumped at the front are called “fat-head” keywords. (Location 1432)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo 30% of keywords are searched regularly andd 70% are less frequently

Using tools like Open Site Explorer, examine the number of links competitors have for a given term. This will give you a rough idea of how difficult it will be to rank high. If a competitor has thousands of links for a term you want to rank for, just realize it will likely take lots of focus on building links and optimizing for SEO to rank above them. (Location 1457)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo

take steps to narrow your list of targeted keywords to just a handful. Go over to Google Trends to see how your keywords have been doing. Have these terms been searched more or less often in the last year? Are they being searched in the geographic areas where you’re seeking customers? (Location 1460)

Tags: trends, seo, googletrends

Note: .googletrends .seo .trends check what users are searching for

look at competitors’ Web sites to determine whether they are getting meaningful long-tail SEO traffic. Here are signs that they are: They have a lot of landing pages. You can see what types of pages they are producing by searching in a search engine. For example, if I wanted to see how many landing pages Moz has created targeting long-tail keywords, I could search and get a sense of how many landing pages they have. Check out Alexa search rankings and look at the percentage of visitors your competitors are receiving from search. If you look across competitors and one site receives a lot more visitors from search than others, you can guess they are using some kind of SEO strategy. (Location 1480)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo use allexa to review competitors

SEO TACTICS Whether you pursue a fat-head or long-tail strategy, SEO comes down to two things: content and links. The more aligned your content is with the keywords it’s targeting, the better it will rank. (Location 1516)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo seo is about content and link

Find search terms that have enough search volume to move the needle for your company. If you can’t find enough search volume, or can’t rank high for those terms, SEO won’t be a great strategy for your business. If you identify some terms that could work, you can further qualify them by running search ads against them to test whether they actually convert customers. (Location 1547)

Tags: seo

Note: .seo

Generate long-tail landing pages by using cheap freelancers. Or, if your product can naturally produce good long-tail content, use it to create the landing pages yourself. (Location 1550)

Tags: gpt-3, longtail, seo

Note: .seo .longtail

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Content Marketing


For these emails, you should determine the steps absolutely necessary to get value from your product. Then create targeted emails to make sure people complete those steps. For those who fail to complete step one, create a message that automatically emails them when they’ve dropped off. Repeat this at every step where people could quit, and you will see a major uptick in the number of people finishing the activation process. (Location 1684)


The best way to approach this testing is to map out every aspect of your viral loop. How many steps are in the loop? What are all the ways people can enter into the loop (landing pages, ads, invites)? Literally draw a map of the entire process and try cutting out unnecessary steps (extra signup pages, unnecessary forms or fields to fill out, etc.) and increase areas or mechanisms where customers can send out invitations. Doing so will improve your viral equation by increasing your invites sent and your conversion percentage. (Location 1860)

Tags: viralloop

Note: .viralloop map out each step of the loop

CHAPTER SIXTEEN Engineering as Marketing

We think of each piece of content (blog article, app, video, whatever) as a marketing asset. This asset creates a return—often indefinitely. We contrast that to buying an ad, which does not scale as well. When you advertise, the money you’re spending is what drives how much attention you get. Want more clicks? Spend more money. Contrast this to inbound marketing whereby the cost of producing a piece of content is relatively constant. (Location 1964)

Tags: favorite, content marketing, content

Note: .content marketing content is an asset that lives a long time,unlike ads

When Gabriel wrote blog posts about search privacy, he got a big response from readers. After he engaged with commenters in social media channels it became clear that this is a topic that really resonated with people. Gabriel had the idea that a microsite might address people’s concerns more fully while simultaneously exposing his search engine, DuckDuckGo, to a broader audience. (Location 1980)

Tags: microsite

Note: .microsite create a microsite on a topic, this helps drive traffic to your main product. The microsite can have its own domain

To really maximize impact, put your microsites and tools on their own domains. This simple technique does two things. First, it makes them much easier to share. Second, you can do well with SEO by picking a name that people search often so your tool is more naturally discoverable. (Location 1988)

Tags: mcirosite

Note: .mcirosite have their own domain

Create a stand-alone, low-friction site to engage potential customers. Make sure it naturally leads to your main offering. The case for spending engineering resources on marketing becomes much stronger when you think about these marketing tools as long-term assets that bring in new leads indefinitely after only a small amount of up-front investment. (Location 2031)

Tags: microsite

Note: .microsite

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Business Development (BD)

In 1999, it partnered with Netscape to be the default search engine for the popular Netscape Navigator Web browser. Google also reached an agreement with Yahoo!, then (and still) one of the largest Web properties in existence, to power its online searches. These two deals were critical to Google’s eventual success as the world’s largest search engine. (Location 2046)

Tags: partnerships, google

Note: partnerships were key to googles success, including those with netscape anf yahoo

Create an exhaustive list of all of your possible [partners]. Don’t ever list Condé Nast without listing every single other publisher you can think of. Make a very simple spreadsheet: Company, Partner Type (Publisher, Carrier, Reseller, etc.), Contact Person/Email, Size, Relevance, Ease of Use, and then a subjective priority score. That list should be exhaustive. There’s no reason why any company shouldn’t have fifty potential business development partners in their pipeline, maybe one hundred, and be actively working the phones, inboxes, and pounding the pavement to get the deals you need to get—be it for distribution, revenue, PR, or just to outflank a competitor. The latter is totally underutilized. If you go in and impress the top fifty folks in your space, it makes it that much harder for a competitor to get a deal done—because you’re seen as the category leader. (Location 2100)

Tags: partnerships

Note: .partnerships have a long list of potential partners and look to impress them all. If they like you it makes them less likely to go with an inferior competitor


Sales is the process of generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into paying customers. (Location 2180)

Tags: sales

Note: .sales generate leads, qualify them and turn them into sales

Most of the time [their first customer] is going to be somebody they know or we know. For the most part, our clients are going into a market that they understand with technology that they have developed. We help them make a list of every project they’ve worked on and everyone they’ve worked with. They reach out and say, “Here is what we are doing: do you know somebody we should talk to that makes sense?” (Location 2188)

Tags: sales

Note: .sales usually in a market you know. Reach out to people you know to ask if they know people that may need the product

One of the first things we help them with is what we call a lunch pitch. This is a single piece of paper that has five to ten bullets and perhaps a visual that helps them focus the conversation, making sure they understand the prospect’s problem. The early conversations are all about exploring the prospect’s problem and pain points. (Location 2193)

Tags: sales

Note: .sales focus on understanding the customers problem and pain point

SPIN Selling. It is a four-part question framework to use when talking to prospects, based on a decade spent researching 35,000 sales calls: (Location 2204)

Tags: sales, spinselling

Note: .spinselling .sales

Situation questions. These questions help you learn about a prospect’s buying situation. Typical questions include - How many employees do you have? - How is your organization structured? Ask only one or two of these questions per conversation, because the more situation questions a salesperson asks, the less likely he or she is to close a sale. That’s because people feel like they’re giving you information without getting anything in return. This is especially true of executive decision makers who are likely more pressed for time. Make sure you ask just enough situation questions to determine if you’re talking to a likely candidate for a sale. (Location 2206)

Tags: sales, spinselling

Note: .spinselling .sales

Problem questions. These are questions that clarify the buyer’s pain points. Are you happy with your current solution? What problems do you face with it? Like situation questions, these questions should be used sparingly. You want to quickly define the problem they’re facing so you can focus on the implications of this problem and how your solution helps. (Location 2212)

Tags: spinselling

Note: .spinselling

Implication questions. These questions are meant to make a prospect aware of the implications that stem from the problem they’re facing. These questions are based on information you uncovered while asking your problem questions. Questions could include: Does this problem hurt your productivity? How many people does this issue impact, and in what ways? What customer or employee turnover are you experiencing because of this problem? These questions should make your prospect feel the problem is larger and more urgent than he or she may have initially thought. For example, your prospect may see hard-to-use internal software as just an annoyance, a necessary cost of doing business. Implication questions can help shed light on the problems caused by this hard-to-use software: Does it lead to employee overtime because they struggle to accomplish things efficiently? Does it decrease overall quality of work? Does it impact employee turnover? (Location 2216)

Tags: sales, spinselling

Note: .spinselling .sales

Each of the above questions helps frame the issue as a larger one in your prospect’s mind. Then you transition to the final set of questions. Need-payoff questions. These questions focus attention on your solution and get buyers to think about the benefits of addressing the problem. Such questions should stem from the implication questions you asked earlier, and can include: How do you feel this solution would help you? What type of impact would this have on you if we were to implement this within the next few months? Whose life would improve if this problem was solved, and how? (Location 2224)

Tags: sales, spinselling

Note: .spinselling .sales

Five specific areas: - Process—How does the company buy solutions like the one you’re offering? - Need—How badly does this company need a solution like yours? - Authority—Which individuals have the authority to make the purchase happen? - Money—Do they have the funds to buy what you’re selling? How much does not solving the problem cost them? - Estimated Timing—What are the budget and decision time lines for a purchase? (Location 2247)

Tags: sales

Note: .sales understtand their buying process, the decision makers, their budget and timelines. Do they need the solution?

One [problem] occurs when the prospect invites you in … [but] has no interest in buying what you have or will develop. They would like to learn a lot about this emerging technology area, or this problem area, or something like that…. (Location 2260)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales identiy if the prospect just wants to learn about the area without buying

The second situation that’s also a waste of time is when someone claims to be a “change agent.” He will tell you that your offering is going to have a huge impact; it’s going to transform all of General Motors, for example. Substitute your favorite lighthouse customer. Before you get started doing everything that he is telling you to do, you need to ask him, “Have you ever brought other technology into your company?” More often than not unfortunately he will say, “Well, no, but you know I’ve only been here six months, and this is what’s going to let me make a big difference here.” (Location 2262)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales make sure the main point of contact has authority to actually bring in new tech

Mark Suster, two-time entrepreneur and partner at Upfront Ventures, suggests a simple approach to bucket leads into three categories: A’s, B’s, and C’s: I define “A deals” as those that have a realistic shot of closing in the next three months, “B deals” as those that you forecast to close within three to twelve months, and “C deals” as those that are unlikely to close within the next twelve months. (Location 2287)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales

- “A deals” should get much of the salesperson’s time (say 66 to 75 percent of time), - “B deals” should get the balance as each sales rep needs to build their pipeline and bigger deals take time. - And the key to scaling is that “C deals” should get no time from sales. They should be owned by marketing. (Location 2291)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales

Marketing’s job in working with salespeople is twofold: To arm—which means to give the reps all of the sales collateral they’ll need to effectively win sales campaigns. This includes presentations, ROI calculators, competitive analyses, and so forth. To aim—which means helping sales reps figure out which target customers to focus on. It’s about helping weed out the nonserious leads from the urgent ones. (Location 2297)

“We’ll set up a pilot system for you within two weeks. After two weeks, if you like the system we’ve built and it meets your needs, you’ll buy from us. Yes or no?” Getting a yes or no answer allows you to focus your time on deals that are likely to close without wasting time on prospects that aren’t prepared to buy. (Location 2305)

Tags: pilot, enterprisesales

Note: Get clarity on the yes/no decision for progressing a pilot

You want to recognize that your prospect has a series of issues and questions they will want resolved before they make a buying decision. These are things like “Am I sure that this is the best product?,” “Am I sure that this will work for my situation?,” “Will I get a good return on investment?,” “Will this integrate with a system I have working in place today?,” and so on. (Location 2313)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales is this fit for my purpose,is this the best product, will it integrate wiith my other systems

Blockages are usually due to sales funnel complexity. You want to make purchasing your product as simple as possible. Some ways you can minimize blockages: Removing the need for IT installs with SaaS (Software as a Service) Free trials (including through open source software) Channel partners (resellers of your products) Demo videos FAQs Reference customers (such as testimonials or case studies) Email campaigns (where you educate prospective customers over time) Webinars or personal demos Easy installation and ease of use Low introductory price (less than $250/month for SMB, $10,000 for enterprises) Eliminating committee decision making (Location 2324)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: .enterprisesales

Get the buyer to commit to time lines. To close sales effectively, get an affirmative at each point that you are on track to close. Always know exactly what steps are left. (Location 2358)

Tags: enterprisesales

Note: Get the buyer to commit to timelines

CHAPTER NINETEEN Affiliate Programs

Information products include digital products like e-books, software, music, and (increasingly) education. Since it doesn’t cost anything to make another digital copy, selling info products through affiliate programs is quite popular. Creators will give large percentages to affiliates that promote their products. (Location 2394)

Tags: affiliate

Note: .affiliate affiliates selling info prooducts can get large cuts as the margins are high

existing affiliate network—something like Commission Junction, Pepperjam, ShareASale, (Location 2407)

Tags: affiliate

Note: .affiliate

CHAPTER TWENTY Existing Platforms

As Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, puts it: We really killed ourselves in the first couple of years to always be in all of the App Store launches on day one. Whenever a new device or platform would come out, we would work day and night for months before that to make sure Evernote was there and supporting the new device or operating system in the App Store on the first day…. When iPhone launched we were one of the very first iPhone apps, so we were promoted and had a lot of visibility. When iPad launched, we were there on day one, not just with a port of our iPhone client, which a lot of other companies did…. [We had] a completely new designed version for the iPad even though we’d never seen an iPad before—we stood in line with everyone else. Same thing with Android devices and the Kindle Fire. (Location 2555)

Tags: new platforms, evernote

Note: be one of the first on a new platform

Being first can open you up to the opportunity to benefit from the early marketing and promotion about the platform itself. (Location 2562)

The important takeaway is that it is a good idea to focus on new and untapped platforms to generate growth. (Location 2591)

Tags: traction

Note: .traction focus on new and upcoming platforms for growth


To prepare, make a list of key attendees you want to meet at the trade show. Then schedule meetings with them before you attend the event. Brian sent well-researched emails explaining what SureStop did and how its technology could benefit the people he wanted to meet. He also attached a one-pager with more information about the company. This strategy allowed him to meet the people he wanted at every event he attended. Jason Cohen put it this way: Set up meetings. Yes, meetings! Trade shows are a rare chance to get face time with: Editors of online and offline magazines. Often overlooked, editors are your key to real press. I’ve been published in every major programming magazine; almost all of that I can directly attribute to talking with editors at trade shows! It works. Bloggers you like, especially if you wish they’d write about you. Existing customers. Potential customers currently trialing your stuff. Your vendors. Your competition. Potential partners. (Location 2637)

Tags: tradeshow, conference

Note: .conference .tradeshow setup meetings in advance

Mark Suster, partner at Upfront Ventures, suggests hosting dinners for such people to strengthen these relationships: The other secret conference trick that is orchestrated by the true Zen masters is to schedule a dinner and invite other people. It’s a great way to get to know people intimately. Start by booking a few easy-to-land friends who are interesting. Work hard to bag a “brand name” person who others will want to meet. All it takes is one. Then the rest of your invites can mention that person’s name on the guest list (name others, too … obviously) and you will be able to draw in some other people you’d like to meet. Another similar strategy is with customers. If you invite three to four customers and three to four prospects to a dinner with two or three employees and some other interesting guests you’ll be doing well. Potential customers always prefer to talk to existing reference customers than to talk to just your sales reps. Final tip: picking a killer venue is one of the best ways to bag high-profile people. Everybody loves to eat somewhere hot. However, sometimes a dinner can be too expensive for an early-stage company. So why not go in on the dinner with two other companies? That way you’re all extending your networks and splitting the costs. (Location 2653)

Tags: tradeshow, conference

Note: .conference .tradeshow organise a dinner for others

A proactive and inexpensive method that requires no creativity is giving away as many bags with your company’s name on it as possible. Most attendees travel with armloads of pamphlets, catalogs, flyers, and giveaways. Stopping each to offer them a bag to put it in gets them talking to you but, more important, gets your name displayed all over the conference area. (Location 2681)

Tags: tradeshow, conference

Note: .conference .tradeshow

Schedule meetings and dinners ahead of time. Identify your top targets and find a way to engage them individually at the show. Investigate the efficacy of shows before committing. Attend shows this year you might want to exhibit at next year. Reach out to previous exhibitors. Have an inbound and outbound strategy for your booth. Do something proactive and creative. Include a strong call to action on every item you give out. (Location 2701)

Tags: tradeshow, conference

Note: .conference .tradeshow


CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE Speaking Engagements

Steve Barsh, a serial entrepreneur and former CEO of PackLate, has successfully pitched conference organizers to present many times. Rather than pitch them directly on what he wants to talk about, he contacts them and asks them about the ideal topics they want to have speakers cover at an event. Once that is known, he then crafts the perfect pitch: one that hits on key points the organizers want to cover. (Location 2837)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig ask organisers what they want and craft a pitch foor that

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT TACTICS When you start a talk, the audience is usually thinking about two questions: Why are you important enough to be the one giving a talk? What value can you offer me? These questions will be burning in their minds until you address them, so answer them immediately. (Location 2861)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig why are you important enough and what value can you give

Once you’ve captured the audience’s attention, keep it with a gripping story. All successful talks tell a story. Your story is about what your startup is doing, why you’re doing it, and specifically how you got to where you are or where things are going. Of course, we have only so many captivating stories. That’s why Dan gives the same one or two core talks, only slightly modifying each to fit the audience. He never does custom talks and always reuses his slides, so his speaking engagements are always well rehearsed and received: (Location 2865)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig

Leveraging social media to reach people outside of the conference is a similar tactic. Rand Fishkin of Moz tweets his slides before every presentation, which lets his followers find out what he’ll be talking about. Then, when he posts a video of his talk, there is already some buzz and interest in watching and sharing it. (Location 2880)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig

Dan Martell will even try to leverage social media during his talk. He asks for the audience’s “divided attention,” meaning he wants them to tweet and share good content from his presentation as he gives it. To facilitate this, he includes his Twitter handle on every slide and asks people to tweet at him if they really identified with something he said. This way, he can find out the content his audience enjoyed the most, while also growing his reach. (Location 2882)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig

The best talks I’ve ever seen are where each slide is essentially a seven-minute story with a beginning, middle, and end. Once you get good at that, and you have these canned slides, you can change a sixty-minute talk to a twenty-minute talk just by taking slides out. (Location 2892)

Tags: speakinggig

Note: .speakinggig

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR Community Building (Location 2910)

Every individual we interviewed emphasized how helpful it was to have an existing audience to jump-start their community-building efforts. (Location 2919)

Tags: communitybuilding

Note: .communitybuilding have an existing audience

Stack Exchange is a network of high-quality question-and-answer sites, the most famous being Stack Overflow. Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood founded the company in 2008. Both were already Internet famous: Joel as the founder of Fog Creek Software, and Jeff as a writer at Thanks to their well-trafficked blogs, Jeff and Joel presented their ideas for Stack Overflow to readers who gave them feedback before the site launched. They even had the community vote on the name for Stack Overflow, and received nearly seven thousand submissions! (Location 2921)

Tags: community, stackoverflow

Note: .stackoverflow .community people launching communities already have a reach

Cultivate and empower evangelists. Foster cross-connection among them and among community members in general. Set high standards from the start. Focus on community quality early on and set strict standards that can be maintained as the community grows. You can build tools and processes into your community to help your community police itself. Bootstrap off an existing audience. Find initial evangelists by sharing your mission with complementary communities online and at offline events. (Location 2994)

Tags: communities

Note: .communities

Targeting Blogs—Contact ten niche blogs and try to get them to review your product. To make it really easy for them, offer to walk them through the product (in person if you can find local bloggers or connect with them at events). You can also make the offer even more enticing by giving them the opportunity to give something away to their audience (discounts, T-shirt contest, etc.). Alternatively, you could find blogs that don’t run advertisements and ask several if you could run an advertisement on them for $100/month. (Location 3002)

Tags: blogs, traction

Note: .traction .blogs give a wallk through of the product and a give-away for their viewers

Search Engine Marketing—Try four ads in Bing Ads (often cheaper than Google AdWords). These ads should be on keywords you’re highly confident will convert into long-term customers. Try some of these keywords even if they seem relatively expensive compared with keywords you’re less confident about. You want to figure out in the best-case conversion scenario whether SEM could work. Make sure before you turn them on that you have everything set up correctly to actually detect conversions (and not just clicks to your site). If you can’t automate that, then you can ask new customers how they heard of you (manually if necessary). (Location 3014)

Tags: sem

Note: .sem

Offline Ads—Advertise on a niche podcast. With these advertisements, the host usually reads your copy directly to his listeners. It needs to be niche enough where you think the audience would really like your offer, but still small enough where it is reasonably priced (as podcast ads can get expensive for larger audiences). Alternatively, run a few ads in local papers. (Location 3023)

Tags: podcast

Note: .podcast advertise on a niche podcast

Content Marketing—Start a company blog and write one blog post a week for a month. Promote your posts on Twitter and on link-sharing sites (e.g., reddit). If you see any significant audience growth and conversion, double down and commit to a few more months. Turn on comments for your posts and engage with any commenters. Try to write controversial or surprising posts, ideally using new data you’ve researched. Alternatively, do a couple of guest posts on other blogs. (Location 3031)

Tags: blog

Note: .blog

Email Marketing—Contact ten email newsletters in your niche and advertise on at least two of them where it makes sense financially. If they don’t usually run advertisements in their emails, ask to sponsor the list for a week or month. Alternatively, develop a seven-email mini-course, where you teach something relevant to your product. Make a landing page for the course and drive some traffic to it. At the end of the mini-course, upsell prospective customers to becoming real customers of your product. (Location 3035)

Community Building—Join three online forums where your customers hang out and engage on at least twenty threads on each. Do this over a month so you don’t look spammy. Similarly, don’t just plug your product directly; truly engage as a useful member of the community. Include references to your product where appropriate and in your signature. Alternatively, start putting together your own community using an online forum tool. (Location 3065)

Tags: onlinecommunity

Note: .onlinecommunity