What you will learn?
All right. Hey, I’m Derek Halpern. Today, we’re gonna talk about conversations that convert or the secret to growth.
Now I know it’s early. Everyone, are you half asleep? Stand up a second. We got to, come on, we gotta get up and move a little bit. I know this is the last thing you want. Some loud guy’s going to make you move after you just sat down. All right, come on, shake a little bit. Let’s wake up, come on. You’re not moving. You’re not moving. All right, good? Give the person to your left the high five. Come on, wake up! High fives! I’m looking around. No one’s moving. Good.
We’re going to talk about growth. Got some laughter, good. Now, let’s, you can sit down.
Alright. So today, we’re going to talk about conversations that convert and this is my highly Photoshopped picture. Well, I’m supposed to tell you about how good I am at this stuff, but I’m going to skip most of that today. I started a company called Social Triggers. This is my website and even though things look very flashy right now, I want to take you back to the beginning a little bit. Because I didn’t raise money from a venture capitalist. I didn’t have a fancy team of people to help and I had what you call a shoestring budget when I started my company. And I had horrible handwriting, my videos were super low quality and had the world’s worst haircut. And yet I knew how to do one thing. I knew how to acquire users for free specifically at this time.
What, this is not working? Guess I got a mic now.
So in the first 13 months, I grew Social Triggers from scratch to about 30,000 subscribers. All I did at that moment was focus on user acquisition. And today I’m going to walk you through exactly how I did those first 13 months.
I also managed to grow the business very quickly where we, you know, we launched the business, we tripled, we doubled, we doubled, and we kept doing it by again by focusing on growth. Now much of this growth that we’re going to talk about today is organic lead acquisition, and there’s also paid lead acquisition. But what we’re going to talk about can apply to everything. As a matter of fact, I’m going to give you a framework today that you can apply to almost any growth tactic that you’re probably going to learn today. So I’m hoping that you’ll come away with that.
Now I manage to run a multimillion-dollar online business. We sell online courses. We sell software that has more than 5,000 paying customers again, by focusing on growth.
One of the things I’m most proud of in this in this whole journey, is that even though I started with that haircut, I am now having my picture ripped off by some random Italian company promising forex in their advertising. This was done without my permission. I just saw it because a reader wrote it in.
I lost the slides.
I also found out that I was in some Telecom presentation with this, another sad face. Again, not sure how that happens. But now the big question is, now that we kind of did the whole story on how I kind of did this a little bit, is how do you acquire new customers? How do you do it? Well, you’re going to see a lot of tactics today, but I want to show you how to use each of them better.
Now this is how most people acquire new customers. They think about their ideal customer. Have you heard this term before your ideal customer? Yes? Yes. Well, most people believe they need to fight for them. Meaning they’ll fight against their competition. They’ll send out spammy emails of people, I get emails like this all the time. They’re like, hey, I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out because I noticed you used this other product. Now, I want you to use my product instead. This is how a lot of software companies for some reason try to acquire new customers. They basically spam people who are using competitor products and they try to fight against them. And they’ll say like we have this new and improved feature. But the main focus these people are doing is they’re focusing on the switch.
For some reason right now a lot of people who are trying to acquire new customers for their business whether it’s a SaaS company, a consulting company, they’re often finding people who are already paying other people to do the same service and they’re trying to persuade these people to switch. It makes sense why would they would do that. Because if you can get the switch, you know, they’re already spending money on it, I get it.
Then the next tactic that you often see is people fight against cancellation. They fight against their competition by spamming people, and they fight against cancellation by asking people to you know, like if someone ask for a refund, why do you, why are you refunding? They try to minimize their refund rates or whatever. They’re trying to keep the customers they already have.
Then the final way that people often try to get new customers is they fight for conversions. And they might do things like, hey, join my free challenge with the red button. How about a green bun? And they’ll see if this can help measure, will acquire new customers in a more efficient way. And they’ll do these like these micro tactics. Like they’ll tweak their headline. They’ll change their picture. They’ll change their landing page. And they’ll sit there and wonder why they’re getting lackluster results.
Because this how most people do it. They focus on their ideal customer and they keep fighting for the same customer and that customer becomes an exhausted customer. And once one becomes an exhausted customer, they no longer want to hear any more messages from anyone. Raise your hand if you ever got one of those emails from a company prospecting you because you use another service. You ever see one of those emails. Yes? Are they annoying? Yes, or do you actually, the people, does anyone send them? Would you admit it?
You end up getting you get turned into the exhausted customer and what ends up happening is people become jaded and they’re never going to buy anything at that moment. So with that problem, a lot of growth people than fight harder. They do it all over and I got a new and improved feature. They do red buttons. They do more green buttons and they keep doing more tests. And they test their headlines new, more new and improved, and then they find out that they have the dead customer. At which point, they’re in a market now where the customers are so jaded, they’re never going to buy anything again, whether it’s buy or even just sign up for something for free.
When you’re selling to someone who’s been bombarded by the same message from 30 different companies, it becomes very difficult for you to acquire a new customer. You might have seen, I don’t know if anyone here has been buying, let’s say, Facebook advertising. But in the last two years, have you seen more and more competition buying ads? Yes. Have you seen Costco up? Yes, it’s because we’re all using the same messages. And when you’re using the same messages people become blind to these messages because you’re dealing with the dead customer.
Well, I want to present to you a new way of approaching user acquisition and it’s really simple as this. Most people who try to acquire customers are trying to sell headphones to people who want headphones, which make like, that makes sense, right? If you are a headphone company, sell it to people who want headphones.
But there’s this whole myth around your ideal customer because there’s no such thing as one ideal customer for your business. In fact, you might have one ideal customer, but you might have another ideal customer. And another one. And all these people want what you sell for a different reason.
So if you’re a headphone company you might be selling headphones to gamers because they want to play games. You might be selling headphones to people who are exercising. You might be selling headphones people who want to meditate. If you want to acquire more customers, you need to figure out the reason why people want what you sell. It’s not just about your one ideal customer. It’s about knowing each different type of customer. And when you know each different type of customer that gives you the ability to approach growth in a more systematic way looking for specific groups of people.
And that’s how we managed to gross social triggers from 0 to about 250,000 subscribers. By thinking about each individual type of customer that we could acquire and going after those people. Now, I know this might seem like, all right, we’re a little too up in the up in the air right now. But this is probably the most important thing you can do when you’re trying to acquire customers is get clear on who you’re talking to first.
Let me give you some examples. When you know the reason how you can help people, it allows you to approach people and persuade them to buy something they never even thought of buying before.
So let me give you this example. One of my product is called Sales Page that Converts. It’s a product about creating sales pages. Now if I wanted to sell a product like this, I could use a headline like ‘how to create a sales page’. And what would happen? Anyone who’s interested in creating sales page is going to see this headline and think oh, I want to create a sales page. But the problem is, everyone who sells a sales page product is using a headline like how to create a sales page. So how can you reach people who aren’t even thinking about creating a sales page yet? You don’t want to talk to the dead customer.
Let’s talk about Johnny Legalfingers. Johnny is anti-technology. He doesn’t know anything about the web. This is his website. It’s a complete disaster. He, when you tell him I’m going to make a sales page, he’s like, what’s the sales page? He doesn’t even know what it is. Now I know he needs one, but he doesn’t even know what a sales page is to begin with. This is his website, of course he doesn’t know what a sales page is. So to get his attention, I can’t lead with something like how to create a sales page. He sees that and he, this is a different language to him. You might as well be speaking Chinese at that point.
So what if I’ll land with a headline like, ‘ever get offered $500 for a $5000 job’? How am I, and what if I wrote an article about getting underpaid? Of course it’s going to be like, damn millennials, why do they try and underpay me? But that’s exactly what we did. One of the headlines we used to acquire new customers specifically, we know that service providers need sales pages. So instead of leading with how to create a sales page, we led with ‘ever been offered $500 for a $5000 job? Here’s why people think they can underpay you’. And then we write this blog post about why people get underpaid and how a sales page solves that problem.
Is this making sense how you can go after a specific customer with an indirect sales message to get their attention? Most people today lead with the most direct sales message. If you’re an email marketing software, you go to the home page that says email marketing software. The problem is everyone is doing that. If you want to acquire new customers strategically, you want to lead with different messages.
So now I’m in the business building space. This is a blog post that talks about being underpaid and how to actually fix that by having a good sales page. This blog post is about 1600 words long. The bottom of the blog post is an opt-in form. Have you ever seen an opt-in form where it’s usually as short as possible, with the opt-in is as high on the page as possible, right?
This page converts better than any short opt-in form that we’ve ever used. It converts better, cheaper, more qualified leads because we’re leading with the message that talks to a specific problem that people have and explaining how we help them. So if you’re set, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You want to lead with these problems to get the indirect customer before you go ahead and ask them or tell them about your product or service because you want to get the people like Johnny Legalfingers to buy.
You want to expand the market. Most people try to take the market, but you should actually work on making the market. When you grow the market for everyone, you’re getting these people who have never used a product or service like yours before. These people are much easier to keep happy. They’re not sitting there, price comparison against every other software out there because to them, you’re the only solution. They’ve never heard of anything else. Does this make sense? Yes? Yes. Now he wants a sales page because I made him want it. And that’s what you need to do with your product. That’s what you need to do with your content. That’s what you need to do with your services.
Now, most people ignore the customer like Johnny Legalfingers because he’s not ideal. He’s a little bit further away from the sale. And when it’s, when people are further away from the sale, people think it’s too hard to convert them and they forget about these people. But these are the people who are actually much easier to buy. Much easier to persuade to buy.
One of the questions we ask whenever someone buys a product from us, we always ask them. Why did you buy our products? The next question is have you ever bought a product like ours? I love seeing when people say no.
My number one goal is when people buy our product is to see that they’ve never bought a product from a competitor because that that’s how I know I’m reaching people who have never experienced this type of experience before. And it’s great for business because you’re getting the first customer and to them, it’s like when you’re a kid. You always remember that first cartoon you like. Right? And no cartoon is ever ever as good as the one that you first watched as a kid.
The same is true with a business. People have this feeling for the first time, they experience a company of a specific type and they kind of like that one more. So this is your chance to win these people over. And that’s how you can grow quickly. And it’s especially how you want to continue growing because every company hits a plateau. And when they hit that plateau, they start looking for growth. Where do we find new verticals? Well, the answer is you have to work on finding new groups of ideal customers and figuring out a way to make them want what you sell.
Now, how do you reach these people? How do you actually create these messages? Well the secret is you want to connect the dots. So let me give you another example. I run a website where I teach people about business advice. One type of business owner is a hair stylist. So I made a video called the $310 haircut. So I got a $310 haircut. Here’s what I learned about charging premium prices. Whether you’re a hairstylist or not, you’re going to find the video valuable if you want to charge a lot of money for something because it talks about a premium experience. But I actually made this video because I knew hairstylists are a huge untapped market that also need business advice.
Now take a look at this. This is an example ad campaign. We spent like five hundred dollars targeting cold traffic. So we’re targeting people who are not on my email list, who never visited my website, who don’t like my page. So these are people who are super cold and look at the click-through rate. Does anyone here buy ads? Raise your hand if you buy ads. Have you seen 10% click-through rates on cold traffic clicks? It’s very rare to do that. We’re getting 11 site clicks and this ad was run like three weeks ago. So people think that Facebook ads as an example are increasing in price, and they are. For people who don’t know how to go after a specific ideal customer with the right message to acquire them. So we’re getting these eight to twelve clicks, 10% click-through rates on ads, and we’re getting relevant scores of 10 for an advertisement to a cold audience. All because we’re using this idea of thinking about an ideal customer and going after them.
And then this video went so viral in the hairstyles community, I got actually people offering me free haircuts in different states, which is nice. But then one of the largest hairstylist companies are Beauty Launchpad, they’ve got a subscriber list of a few hundred thousand people who are hairstylists. They asked to share my video with their fans. Like they wanted to release my video, I was like, wait a second. This video that I already made that I’m paying to get in front of your people, you now want to put in front of them for free? It’s like I want to do that all day because you’re reaching this new audience who have never got this kind of content before.
The same thing with this, like I say, I’m selling a sales page. I’m talking to an e-commerce company. Most e-commerce companies like, how do you use a sales page to sell our products? I hear you, like here’s a checkout page for one of your featured products. I was like, what if it looks like this? And you actually walk through the benefits. Again I’m making it, an e-commerce company wants something that they didn’t realize they wanted before just by showing them an example.
So now who are these other people and how do you craft the message? How do you talk to these people? How do you get their attention? Well, there are three types of Ideal customers and each type requires a different strategy or approach to reach them. Doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, there still only three types of customer. The first customer’s the informed customer. The second customer’s the afflicted customer, and the third customer is the oblivious customer.
The informed people are hyper aware. They know about you and how you can help them. They know they’re aware of the problems they face. They know about your competitors. They’re going to be price shopping whatever you offer them. They’re going to be wondering what features you have that your competitors don’t have. These people are hyper aware. They’re hyper aware of the market. This is the person that if you’re an email marketing company selling email marketing software and they see email marketing software, they can name 15 competitors of your product.
To win them over, you often want to start off with unique features about your product or service. So most people like I said, I make fun of email marketing companies a lot because their marketing tends to be quite horrible most of the time. But if you lead, if you’re trying to reach these people you want to focus on a unique thing about you.
Now, let’s use a completely outside example. Think about razor blades. Back in the 1800’s, it was a safety razor. This is like a new thing everyone loved it. But how are razor blade companies competing right now? They’re adding more blades right or they’re adding a gel stripper adding another single blade on the other end to hit the hard-to-reach places. And now I actually am a complete moron and I bought the $300 razor, it’s like $290 because it had one blade. Which is interesting because I thought we were looking for more blades, but now people are positioning themselves as one blade. And that’s what they call it, the one blade. But the goal is to win over an informed customer. You got to focus on what makes you unique. You don’t talk about what you do. You talk about the thing that makes you different only.
The other stuff if you’re an email marketing company, and you’re saying, and they were looking to email marketing, they know you can send emails. They know that. They know you’re going to work on delivery. They know that you could probably automate email methods. They know all this. You have to focus on the one thing that makes you different and dial that up.
When you’re dealing with an afflicted customer, I’m gonna give you examples of this of course as we go through but when you’re dealing with an afflicted customer, it’s not about a unique feature. Because an afflicted customer, they have a problem. But they know they have a solvable problem, but they don’t just don’t know how to solve it yet. These are the people who are searching for answers. These are the type of people that Google how do I create a Facebook ad. These are people who know that they have an issue and they’re actively searching for the solution to that issue. Oftentimes, they’re trying to solve the problem. And maybe they’re trying to solve it and they’re failing. But these afflicted people, to get their attention, you want to lead with the problem. Whereas when you’re dealing with an informed customer, you want to lead with the unique feature. When you’re dealing with an afflicted customer, you lead with the problem.
Then finally is the oblivious customer. They have a problem, but they don’t realize it’s actually a problem yet. These are the people that aren’t looking for solutions. They’re just living their life. They’re just doing what they do, they don’t realize that they can have a better life. They’re just kind of just coasting. They don’t realize what could be better yet.
So now to connect the dots here. Those are the three types of customer, three types of customers. Let’s walk through how to reach them.
So how do you actually reach them? Let me go with another example. One of our products is called Zippy Courses. This is an e-learning platform. It helps people create courses online.
If I’m talking to an informed customer, I might say something like introducing Zippy Courses. This is someone who already knows about us. They already know whatever it is that we do, right? So we’re going to talk to an informed customer. And we might say something like, actually one of the features that we lead with is how fast you can create payment plans for products. Because in every other platform, it takes like 30 to 40 minutes to set up a payment plan, with Zippy you can do it in like five seconds. So we lead with a unique feature when we’re talking to an informed audience. Does that make sense? Yes? Yes.
Now it’s okay to lead with your product when you’re talking to an informed customer. These are the people that are on your email list. These are the people that have visited a few pieces of content on your website. These are the people that are Googling your product name. They’re informed people. It’s okay to lead with your product because people are already interested in learning more.
But let’s say we’re talking to an afflicted customer. Zippy Courses is an online learning platform to help people sell courses, right? So people usually want to make money selling courses. We might lead with ‘how to create profitable online courses’. Because the problem would be, they want to make money doing it. Here’s how to make money doing it. And that’s what we did. We actually spent almost $200,000 promoting that exact message was how to create profitable online courses. We were going for people who wanted to create courses already. We spent about two hundred thousand dollars in advertising with that specific message from 2015 to 2016 and that actually kickstarted that company by going after people who wanted to make profit.
But let’s say people who want to make a profitable online course, they weren’t there, like, you know, I don’t even have an idea for a course yet. So I might lead with a different problem like how to find a profitable online course idea in 15 minutes or less. Again, these are talking to people who already want to create a course, but they don’t have an idea for it. They want to create a course and wouldn’t know how to make any money for it. Do you see the difference between leading with your product and then leading with a specific promise or problem? Yes? Yes.
Let’s say you’re talking to someone who’s oblivious. How do you reach those people? Well, if I go up to someone on the street and say hey, you want to make money selling courses? They’re like, I’m not a teacher, you know, they’re not even thinking about creating courses. So it’s actually, if I’m trying to reach those people, you have to lead with something that’s going to interest them. Maybe how to make $1,500 extra a month. That would get almost anyone’s attention and then it’s up to me to try and show them how courses are the answer and why they should buy the software.
But here’s the key tip. When you’re thinking about these people, the less the customer knows about you, the more broad your message needs to be. So the less they know, the more broad you go. If you’re talking to someone who knows what they’re talking about you lead with the product. You’re talking with someone that kind of has a problem you lead with the problem. When you’re talking to someone who’s oblivious you lead with something that almost anyone wants. And generally it’s like health, wealth, relationships, success, happiness and not to feel left out right? There’s not so many things. Like people all have the same desires. When you’re trying to reach these oblivious people you want to lead with something that everyone wants.
Now what if you solve many different problems, how do you do that? Well one launch can target beginners. So let’s say you’re growth marketing manager for a company. One launch can target beginners. Another launch, maybe in three months, could target profitable courses. This is how you continuously promote your product over time. Every quarter, you pick a new segment or audience that you can go and reach out to. And you create these strategic initiatives to go after those people.
So when I was growing Social Triggers, that’s exactly what I did. We went after hairstylists. We went after massage therapists. We went after makeup artists. We just kept going after very specific groups of people.
Another example. Why I prefer Forrest Yoga over Vinyasa Yoga for my back pain. That’s tall, Forrest Yoga, Vinyasa yoga, if you know that, it means you’re at least a yoga person who’s considering different yoga types. That’s going to get the Yogis. But what if, what if you’re like me and you think yoga people are weird? I never really liked yoga people every time I saw them, they were always so happy. And I was like, I’m not nearly that happy. So what if you’re trying to get that guy? You could lead with how a morning stretch routine cured my back pain without saying the word yoga to scare them away. This is going to get people who don’t like yoga and that’s actually how I started doing yoga. Go figure. Someone’s like, got back problems? Go do some stretches in the park. And as I’m doing it, I was like wait a second. Is this yoga? And then like yes, but I was like whatever. They got me to do it. It’s great.
If you’re talking to an oblivious person, it could be, for years, I woke up with bad back pain. Now, I do this one thing before I take a shower and it’s gone. And the one thing would be a stretch.
But do you see how you can talk to a different type of person by just making the message a little bit more broad? And this allows you to reach people you can never have reached otherwise. Because the less they know, the more broad you go.
Another example, the Zippy Courses. I sent a bare-bones email, we sold out in 21 minutes. But the thing was, is the informed people are very easy to persuade, which is why most companies only go after them. They’re very easy to get someone who’s informed to buy. You usually just give them a lower price. They’re in. But it’s also the smallest possible market. If you want to truly grow and scale, you need to get better at reaching the afflicted people. You want to reach the oblivious people. We focus on specific problem with Zippy Courses with one ad campaign as I said, but then our next stage is going after people who have never thought of doing this before. Again, by looking at these broad messages and trying to broaden the market for everyone. That’s how we unlocked growth.
Most people think about their customers as one group of people. But they end up making their customer dead. You don’t want to do that. You want to go after one ideal customer, your other ideal customer, your other one. And you want to go after them usually in quarterly sprints. So for three months you left there one group of people and you keep switching. And you want to do this for each type of customer. The informed, the afflicted and the oblivious. And that’s how you know, you’re winning. Thank you.