100 small things

With previous startups of mine, you could rely on a few channels -- maybe even one -- to grow effectively. But in 2018, startups are having to do more, and better, than ever before.

Channels take longer to figure out. Channels don’t return as much as they once did. Channels don’t scale up as fast. Channels dry up.

In 2018, you must take on a lot of simultaneous projects to grow.

In any given week, you and your team will need to test, improve, and launch new things -- and it’s going to take a lot of resources (people and money) to do so.

(Side note: This is why I wrote this article back in 2017: raising money is almost a requirement for startups looking to grow quickly.)

Let’s look at an example from Podia

On any given week, we’re simultaneously tweaking and improving the marketing channels that are working for us and taking on new projects on both sides of the funnel (top and bottom).

Whether it’s launching our new YouTube channel to see how YouTube plays out for us, A/B testing our homepage with a video testimonial, working on new top of the funnel projects, or tweaking our onboarding sequence.

None of these efforts will single-handedly grow customers fast enough for us, but when you add them up, we’ll see growth. That’s one reason why you should credit all touch points of your funnel rather than just the last point.

We use Trello to manage this process, and in our Podia Marketing board, we’ve divided it into several buckets:

  • Quick Wins
  • Bigger Experiments
  • Backlog
  • This Week (our ongoing tasks)

If everything goes according to plan for that week, we’ll work on a few from every bucket and together they’ll compound to grow Podia.

But to do this effectively, you need to have a tremendous team of people all working together to drive growth and you can’t half-ass anything. It’s not enough to just do the tasks, you need to do them well, based on metrics and customer interviews, and you need to do a lot of them all at once.

Takeaways for your startup

The best advice I can give you is to stop thinking about growth by channel and think of it more as a collective whole where everything feeds everything else. Focusing on only Social or only SEM isn’t going to get you long-term growth for most of us.

That’s why I don’t even like talking about marketing without talking about all of the marketing we’re doing as a collective whole, because it’s so intertwined.

Once you’re more established and growing faster, you will see certain channels outperform others and you can put more resources into those channels, but remember to continue to diversify and that you need to do 100 small things to be successful in 2018.


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