Bronson Taylor, Co-founder, Growth Hacker TV
The Growth Hacking Guru – Inside the world of Bronson Taylor
Growth Hacker TV launched on May 1st of this year and has taken the entrepreneurial world by storm. Co-founder Bronson Taylor has suddenly provided a place where experts on startup growth reveal their secrets and we are eating it up!
But Bronson, ever humble, shares his remarkable success as the tale of two brothers with a dream: “About four years ago, I guess, my brother and I decided to start a company. So we started a company called Dumb Punk and it was a web development shop,” he says. “But we were a couple of nobodies with no track record. Nobody knew about us.”
Bronson and his brother began their initial business driving around, visiting local businesses with poorly-made websites, selling web development services completely cold.
“That’s how we started,” admits Bronson, “which is kind of ridiculous, but we finally got enough clients that we were able to create a little business out of that and then we got more and more into products and then eventually some of the stuff that you see now with Growth Hacker TV.”
He and his brother launched new products every couple months. Many of these products were failures, but it didn’t take them long to realize that it was more than blind luck contributing to any growth they had.
Bronson and his brother began to study their successes, investigating exactly what contributed to their overall growth. And, thus, growth hacking was born.
But what exactly is growth hacking?
Bronson says: “Growth hacking is really three things that come together, in my opinion. It’s marketing, but it’s also product, and it’s also engineering.”
When it comes to growth hacking, traditional marketing rules still apply. You’ll still see pay-per-click advertising, promotional branding, and inbound content. However, Bronson claims that with the addition of product management and engineering, anything is possible!
“You’re really looking at the entire startup,” says Bronson. “And when you have somebody that’s looking at marketing, looking at product, looking at engineering, and tying them all together in such a way to accelerate growth… amazing things can really happen.”
Bronson then shared one of his favourite perks of being the co-founder of Growth Hacker TV: Listening to the interviews himself!
“After every interview that I do,” he says, “I look at what they’ve said and apply parts of it to my business. But you just have to have analytics in place [to tell whether a certain method is working for you or not]. Track everything. You never know what stats you’re going to need.”
Bronson also stresses the value of listening to multiple interviews, sharing that every successful growth hacker brings something different to the table. No one person has the secret to accelerating growth – but, when their powers are combined, the results are phenomenal. (The interview techniques Bronson has personally tested and gotten the most positive results from are labelled as Staff Picks!).
“It always comes back to value,” Bronson says, noting the one thing all successful growth hacks have in common. “Are you providing value for the people that are using your service? Because it doesn’t matter if you A/B test a headline if they’re not getting value out of the core product. All growth begins with value.”
But say your product does have value. When is the right time to start marketing?
“Before you launch. That’s the best time to create viral loops,” says Bronson. “Once the product is real, there’s no more anticipation about how good it’s gonna be. You know how good it is. And so the best time to build a pipe for something is when it’s just the name, when it’s just the title, when there’s nothing to actually look at. Because peoples’ imagination will make it great in their own head[s]. So when you have a landing page that’s the best time to get people to share it with other people.”
But Bronson Taylor’s knowledge on successful launches didn’t come to him easily: “If there’s one thing I think I owe my success to it’s [that] I wasn’t afraid to fail over and over and over,” he says. “I didn’t fail stupidly – where I failed, didn’t learn anything, and repeated the same mistakes – but I put out a lot of products before I figured out how to make a decent product.”
Bronson’s repeated failures are, he says, a natural part of the process. And that they should be expected by all:
“Whatever startup you’re in right now it’s probably going to fail. I mean, that’s just statistically what’s going to happen,” says Bronson.” So the thing you have to do is give it all your heart, do it to the best of your ability, fail, learn something from it, and then start something the next week or as quick as possible, and then know that that one will probably also fail.”
Rinse and repeat. After enough failed attempts, Bronson promises you’ll have gained the knowledge needed to finally be a success.
“You have to fail with wisdom,” concludes Bronson. “You have to be learning as you go. You have to keep putting out products to become a good product person.”
Bronson also graced Foundr with a few of his patented Growth Hacker Recipes, normally only available to those with a paid-for Growth Hacker TV subscription. Check them out below!
- Start out using a service like Followgen.
- Favourite Tweets with certain keywords (ie whenever someone says “growth hacker.”) automatically.
- Gain interested followers in your target market. (People whose Tweets have been favourite have a high follow-back rate).
- These new followers will need constant, targeted content to keep them interested. Find fresh content with the same keywords that got them interested via Google News alerts and automatically share said articles to Twitter
- Create a landing page.
- Tell curious visitors they need to send out a Tweet advertising the page to gain access.
- Collect their e-mail addresses upon entry.
- Keep page up even after product launches to continue to collect information.
- Get a virtual assistant (VA) on oDesk.
- Tell them to respond to any and all comments online about your area of interest on behalf of your company. This will create a potentially massive collection of inbound links, all leading back to your business, with pre-prepped, excited visitors looking to get more information.
- Send out an automated e-mail blast to any and all webmasters looking for “tips” in your field.
- Include quotes, photos, press kit, whatever they’ll need to write a story about you/your product.
- Buy an advisor’s time on Clarity.
- Once you have them trapped, make your pitch (Do you need an expert interview? A link exchange?). You’ve already paid for their time, so they’re forced to dedicate their attention to you – whatever you do with that (paid for) attention is up to you. Make it count!
The Break-up E-mail
- Once someone unsubscribes to your updates, have an automated break-up e-mail sent their way (“You left and I wasn’t emotionally ready…”).
- Be as funny as you can and ask them why they left.
- If it tickles them in just the right way, you’ll get a reply with their reasons for unsubscribing. This provides great feedback for improving future e-mail exchanges.
- Some of the best growth hacking tools out there right now
- Top strategies and tactics for growth
- What it takes to become a successful entrepreneur
- How to get insane amounts of PR for your startup
- How to create a launch loop to make your launch go viral
Full Transcript of Podcast with Bronson Taylor
Nathan: Hello, and welcome to the Foundr Podcast. My name is Nathan Chen and I am your host. Hope you’ve all been having a great day today. We have a really big treat for you. We are interviewing a guy named Bronson Taylor. So, he is a growth hacking guru. It’s actually been thrown around quite a lot at the moment, the term growth hacking. And it’s actually turned into quite a phenomenon. There’s some great resources that I recommend you check out like growthhackers.com or Growth Hacker TV. Bronson Tyler is actually the founder of Growth Hacker TV where he interviews experts behind very big startups like Airbnb, Twitter, Facebook.
He interviews pretty much all the lead growth hackers behind a lot of the fastest growing startups in the world. And he really delves deep into what it takes to build a growth engine and really how to rapidly grow a business. So this guy is somebody that has spent a lot of time with some of the best marketers in the world. And we are lucky enough to speak with him today on his finding. Pretty much, he gives us a whole ton of cool tools, resources, and strategies. So, that’s it from me. If you are loving these interviews, please leave us a 5-star review on iTunes or please check out the magazine Foundr Magazine.
I think if you’re really enjoying these interviews, you would love the magazine, you would love our stuff. So, that’s it for me. Hope you’re all having a great week. Now, let’s jump in to the show.
Today, I’m speaking with Bronson Taylor. And he’s the co-founder of Growth Hacker TV where experts on startup growth reveal their secrets on how they’re building successful startups and businesses. So, Bronson, I’d just like to say, thank you for taking the time in.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. I’m so glad to come on here, Nathan. It seems like you have a great thing going too.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, I stumbled across your website a few months ago and I was just amazed at what you had going on. And as time is going on, I’ve just noticed this growth hacking pace just popping up everywhere. It’s really hot right now.
Bronson: Yeah, it really is. It’s funny because when we first started, it wasn’t near this hot. And if you go to, like, the Google trends, you know, page, and look at the search queries, how many people search for growth hacking. When we first started, it was, kinda, low. And now, it’s getting, you know, more and more. So we really started at the right time which is kind of an insight into entrepreneurship. You know, timing sometimes trumps a lot of other variables. So sometimes if you’re not, you know, catching the wave at the right time, it doesn’t really matter how good the idea is.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s right. It’s so spot on. And that, kinda, moves on to my first question for you. Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur and how you got started?
Bronson: When I was in high school, that was during the first Dot-com bubble. And I was, kind of, obsessed with the whole texting and even back then. And I remember being at high school just, kinda, wishing I was at a startup, wishing I was in San Francisco. Wishing I was doing something like that. And so I ended up getting a high school, you know, going to college, getting a job. All that stuff. But I was always kind of entrepreneur inside of the companies I work for. I was always trying to do initiatives, you know, thinking outside the box, wanted to do things differently.
And really, there was just not a place for me. And so about four years ago, I guess, my brother and I decided to start a company. We started a company called, “Dumb Punk.” And it was a web development shop. But we were a couple of nobodies with no track record, nobody knew about us. And so it’s, kinda, funny what we did, you know. We wouldn’t just make websites and make some money from that. So, I would drive around in my car in the city I live in here. And my brother was in a different state but he was on Google maps. And he would be looking at the streets that I’m driving down and pulling up the websites of all the businesses as I pass them.
And when he found a website that was ugly or, you know, needed some help, he would tell me and I would literally pull the car over, walk into their business and try to sell them a website code. So that’s how we started which is, kind of, ridiculous. But we finally got up enough clients that we’re able to, you know, create a little business out of that. And then we got more and more into products. And then eventually, some of the stuff that you see now with Growth Hacker TV.
Nathan: That’s crazy. Can you tell us when did you first start Growth Hacker TV and what is it evolved to now?
Bronson: Yeah. Well, we first started, I guess, back May 1st of this year. So it hasn’t really been that long. People sometimes think that it’s been around a lot longer because there’s so much content on there. But what we did is we had a month or two period where I was having multiple interviews every day and just producing as much content as possible. So I think we’d launched the website with over 50 interviews. And now, we’re up to over 100. Yeah, we’ve been out since around May 1st. And, you know, we just keep adding new things to it.
When we first started, it was just the episodes. And there was always more things that I wanted to do on the roadmap but you can’t do everything at once. You have to pick something and do something really well. So we said, “Okay, let’s just nail the video interviews.” So we try to do those as good as we could. And then after that, we feel like we got that down then we started to venture out into other ways to really add value to the website. But it’s been a fun journey. It’s been great, you know, getting here and getting to do this.
Nathan: For those that are listening that don’t know what growth hacking is, can you give us a bit of a rundown and why you decided to focus on just doing interviews about growth hacking? Because interviews, podcasts, it’s all very, very hot right now. And you’ve taken a different route. And as we were saying off air, it’s really, really prominent, exciting route where everybody is talking about. Growth Hacking is something that’s really trending at the moment. And I wanna understand how you just came up with the concept and thought, “I wanna do interviews with people that know how to accelerate startup growth.”
Bronson: Yeah. Well, I started with, kind of, finding growth hacking like you asked. And then I’ll get into why I wanted to do this. You know, growth hacking is really three things that come together. It’s marketing but it’s also product and it’s also engineering. And so I’ll break that down a little bit. So growth hacking, it includes marketing. So you’re still gonna have pay-per-click. You’re still gonna have inbound content. You’re still gonna have, kind of, traditional internet marketing things. And you can even throw, you know, building a brand into that category, you know, exposure. Whatever you wanna put in that typical marketing category.
So that’s what’s always been done in startups. But now, you’re adding to it a couple new things. You’re adding product to it. So product is typically the thing that product managers manage. They are the ones deciding what features to have, how the flow of registration works, how to build in, you know, certain features to get more users on board. So now, you’re not only doing marketing, but you also got your hand in the product itself. And you’re moving things around, changing, developing, adding, taking away things from the product that also can accelerate growth.
And then you add in a third thing which is development, you know, engineering. So not only are you doing what the traditional marketer does and a traditional product manager does, you’re also using engineering to accelerate it even further. And when you put all three of those together, it’s really a powerful engine for growth because now, you can work with the whole funnel. Instead of just being top of funnel, or just being product, or just being the engineering building something of a mockup, you’re really looking at the entire startup. You’re looking at everything that’s going on, and saying, “How can we align all these interests to make growth accelerate?”
And when you have somebody that’s looking at marketing, looking at product, looking at engineering, tying them all together in such a way to accelerate growth, amazing things can really happen.
Nathan: That was a great definition, man. So tell us about why you chose growth hacking and just to do interviews and how it found you?
Bronson: Yeah. That’s really the way to put it. It found me. Like I said, you know, I was driving around going in cold and selling people websites. And it didn’t take me very long to realize that I hated client work. I mean, some people love it, some people enjoy it, they like working with clients. I don’t. I like building my own products. I’ve always been that way. And so, me and my brother, we said, “Okay, we gotta get out of this, you know, off the hamster wheel.” So we decided to start in making our own products. And we didn’t really know what we were doing, but we knew that if we tried enough things, we’d figure out what we were doing.
So we would launch a new product every few months. Some decent, some horrible. But every time we launched it, we learned a critical lesson. And we kept compiling these critical lessons together. And then eventually, I kinda had this moment where I realized that there was actually a way to make something grow that I could use what I knew and accelerate growth to some extent that it wasn’t always, I guess, luck or happenstance. It wasn’t just, some things grow and some things don’t. But I really saw them, me and my brother. The more we did it, the better we got. It wasn’t just, it happened to grow.
And so then, it got me think, “Wait a second, if what little bit I know allows me to grow something better than I used to, then if I knew more, I could grow something even faster than now.” And so, then I started thinking, “What’s the best way to get that kinda knowledge for my own benefit and also out there, you know, into the world?” And, you know, something about interviews, it’s just a great way to extract knowledge. I mean, I love listening to interviews, I love listening to episodes of different things. If I’m doing the dishes, if I’m going for a run, if I’m cleaning the house, if I’m going for a walk, whatever I’m doing, if I’m driving to work, I’m always listening and learning.
And so, I thought, you know, “It would be great to interview these people who know a lot more than me, figure out what they’re doing and then apply it to my own things. And then do it in the audio format and video format that people can listen and watch when they’re kinda going about their life.” And that’s kinda how Growth Hacker TV was born.
Nathan: Wow, that’s so cool. And can you give us an example of how using some of the concepts and principles that you’ve learned because you have spoken to people that have grown massive startups very rapidly, like, you know, the Dropbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook? Can you tell us some of those concepts that you have applied to your own business and how they benefited you?
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, to be honest, there’s so many. I don’t even know where to start. I mean, what really happens is after every interview that I do, I kinda look at what they said and then I apply parts of it to my business. So actually, almost every interview, I’m applying something. So let me see if I can remember someone here. I remember talking to the guy that did marketing at Udemy. And he talked about how effective time is that if you give somebody a discount with a timeline on it, that you get really high conversions. And so what they do is they email out, you know, “Hey, if you buy something off Udemy in the next day, you get 50% off or whatever.”
So I kinda took that to the next level after talking to him. And so now, if it’s your first visit to Growth Hacker TV, I give you an hour to make a decision to be a paying member. And if you decide within the hour, I give you a week free. And so we have really high conversion rates on our traffic. But that was just me talking to somebody doing marketing at Udemy and then applying it to what I was doing. I talked to other people and they always talked about how important email is. I mean, it wasn’t even one person, there’s so many people. Everyone talked about, email is important. You gotta capture the email address. That’s the way you’re gonna stay in touch with them.
And so we really integrated email into the site. You know, at first, when we launched, you could watch the top three videos as long as you twitted about the video. But then we realized that social media doesn’t have the biggest impact as email does. So now, you have to give me your email address and I unlock the top three videos for you. And now, I can stay in touch with you. I can give you a drip campaign. I can send you offers. I can, you know, just be a thought leader in your mind. And eventually, convert you down the line. I mean, there’s really been so many guests with so much insight. It’s hard to know where to begin.
Nathan: You have spoken to some very extremely successful startups in today’s age. And I just wanted to touch on that. Can you tell us about who was the most profound person or the most profound interview from some of your interviewees?
Bronson: Oh, man. There’s so many. I actually have a section on the site where I sort the interviews by tags. And one of them is staff picks. And that’s basically me saying the ones that I got a lot out of. So if you go to the site and click on staff picks, you’ll see a list of 40 or 50 of, you know, my favorite ones. You know, it’s funny because so many different people bring different things to the table. You know, some people bring to the table an insight on inbound marketing. And they know everything about inbound. Other people bring to the table a lot of knowledge about paid marketing.
Other people bring to the table a lot of knowledge about products. Other people bring to the table a lot of knowledge about email and how to do a great email campaign. And so, you know, there’s no one interview that sums up growth. I mean, to be honest, because no one person has the total picture. Because growth hacking is really bringing together the whole thing. And so…I mean, a bunch of them have gotten a lot from, but it’s really the whole, you know, the interviews as a set that has changed the way I view internet, the way I view startup, and the way I view growth. Because it’s really understanding how all the pieces of this pie work together that accelerate growth. I mean, I know that’s, kind of, a non-answer, but I think it’s the accurate answer, though.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s so good. I’m just trying to delve deep, man. And I wanna know some really cool tools and what people listening can go to just as a starting point.
Bronson: Yeah. I mean, what’s the starting point? And you hear a logical talk with us on the show is, you have to be tracking almost everything. You know, analytics is really the heartbeat of growth hacking. Because now, you know, it’s different than marketing. It’s not just, we did a campaign and we should feel good because we put a campaign out there. With growth hacking, the question is did it work? Did it matter? Did it move the needle? Did it get a signup? Did it get its revenue? And to answer those questions, you just have to have analytics in place.
You know, I interviewed the co-founder of Kissmetrics. I’ve interviewed people from Mixpanel. And that’s really a big piece of this track everything. And we used to use those programs. And we still do to some extent. But now, we’ve got to where we really track 99% of our analytics in-house. And that’s been a big win for us. We track so many different things on the backend just so we really know what our users are doing and how to serve them more effectively. So that’s one big takeaway. It’s just, track everything because you never know what stats you’re gonna need. And if you’ve already been tracking them, then they’re ready for you when you need them in the future. So that’s, kind of, a good beginning point, I think.
Another thing I would say is, you know, with growth hacking, you know, you can AV-test stuff, you know, do all these tricks to try to increase your numbers, increase your conversion rates. But at the end of the day, another thing that I see as a consistent, kinda, drumbeat of all the interviews that I do is that it always comes back to value. You know, are you providing value for the people that are using your service? Because it doesn’t matter if you AV-test the headline if they’re not getting value out of the core product. You know, it doesn’t matter if you some cool viral loop, and they invite a bunch of their friends if none of the friends actually get value from the product.
So whatever else you do, all growth begins with value. And you hear some people talk about this product market fit. You know, Sean Ellis has popularized that idea. Really make us…really…you have a product that fits the needs of a market. Other people talk about getting them to the Aha moment. But it just comes out to, “Are you providing real value for our customer base?” And then growth hacking is all the things you do after that to accelerate growth. So that’d be another place, I would say to focus on.
Nathan: Yeah, you know, that’s a great point. Because to me, you know, new stage entrepreneurs, they wanna get in the game just for the money, the excitement, and growing it. But at the same time, you have to have a great product. There’s no shortcuts around that, like, you can… [inaudible 00:16:33] the growth? But at the end of the day, you have to be providing values. And that is a great point.
Bronson: Well, you know, with Growth Hacker TV, for me, I want to learn from every person I have on the show. So I take at least an hour, sometimes a couple hours to research the person that I interview the day ahead of time. And I know everything about them by the time I get into that interview. I know what startups they’ve been a part of. I know their, kinda, history and what they’ve done and why they did it. I know what they’re currently thinking about and why they’re thinking about it. And so when I get to that interview, I’m asking questions that I wanna know the answer to because I’m building Growth Hacker TV for me. I wanna know everything I can about growth.
And so, when I come to that, kinda, mindset, I have to make sure I’m providing value because I’m customer number one. I’m the one that’s getting the most value so I’m putting my heart into it. And I’m learning more than anybody else that comes to the platform. But really, it is about value. If you don’t provide value, no matter what else you do, it will be short-lived. I mean, you can make a bulk online without value. People do it all the time. But you can’t make a bulk online year after year after year. If you don’t provide value, you’ll eventually be found out, people eventually leave. I mean, it all comes back to value.
Nathan: I was just wondering, you mentioned, you’re the number one customer. And I actually feel that, too. Like, I feel very privileged for the people that I do get to speak to much like yourself. And yeah, you’re right. It’s all about, you know, finding out what the value is from that person that they can provide you. So you can learn too. Learn a ton of stuff. So, I really wanna keep channeling into some tools and into what’s working out there.
Bronson: I know the kind of stuff that you’re looking for as well [inaudible 00:18:12] and go through some stuff, all right?
Bronson: I can do that. You know, you know that feeling you have right now like you know…I know a lot about growth hack. And you’re, kinda, somehow get it out of me, like, “What is the really cool thing I can do to accelerate growth?” And that’s actually what…I knew people wanted. And so that’s why I came out with this recipe thing. The recipes on Growth Hacker TV is you know, distilled growth hacks, almost like a recipe you would cook. It tells you the ingredients, it tells you, you know, what personnel you need, how long it’s gonna take, and how to put all the ingredients together. And although there’s only, you know, like, six recipes on the site right now, I have over 50 or 60 that are waiting to be released.
So I have a ton of stuff I can go through here that isn’t even public yet that I’m just waiting to, kinda, put together and give to my audience. I’ll go through some of the ones that are already on the site and I’ll move into some other ones. Is that cool?
Nathan: Yeah, sounds awesome. Lovely.
Bronson: All right. So one of the first ones is something I call, “The Twitter Machine.” Twitter Machine is a loop that allows you to get Twitter followers publish content to them and then get them on your site and even get their email address. So here’s the way it works. You start it out by using a service like Followgen. And you can find it at followgen.com. And what that allows you to do is to favorite the tweets that have certain keywords in them. So for instance, for Growth Hacker TV, I’m favoriting tweets whenever somebody says the word growth hacker or whenever somebody mentions Sean Ellis. Or whenever somebody, you know, says something that’s really related to my site.
I favorited their tweet automatically using that service. Now, I’m not actually favoriting their tweet, it’s all automated. And that tweet favorite is showing up in their stream. So when they’re on Twitter, it’s saying, “Oh, Growth Hacker TV favorited this last tweet.” So then they follow me. So you get a lot of followers every day because of this. And not only are they followers, they are followers in your target market because they’re using keywords that you decided, not them. So now, I have followers being generated every day. That’s only the first piece of it.
Second piece is, now, I need to publish content to them. So you can hook up. You can go to Google News and you can do a search for keywords on Google News. And you can find articles that have certain keywords. So now I’m searching Google news for articles with the same keywords that I’m favoriting using Followgen. And our developer is hooking it up so that when Google News API releases a new news article with that keyword in it, it automatically tweets it to our followers. So now I’m automatically getting followers. I’m automatically generating contents to them that they’d be interested in. So I’ve got this virtuous loop going so they feel like they’re getting value from following me.
Then, this is the really important part. I’m not actually sending them that article though. I’m sending them to an IFrame so it looks like that article. That article is 100% width, 100% height. It looks like they’re on the page of that article. But it’s actually a link on Growth Hacker TV. So now, I control the page. And I can give them a popup asking for an email. I can give a drop-down at the top of the site telling them, “Hey, if you like this article, you’re gonna love Growth Hacker TV.” So now, all the people that are following me that are going to this content are eventually being pushed over to Growth Hacker TV. And it’s 100% automated without me in the loop. So that’s something I call The Twitter Machine.
Nathan: Man, that was…that’s a killer.
Bronson: And that’s just one of them. And that’s the thing about growth hacking. What you know matters, like, if you know that and you put that in the place, now you have a leg up on a lot of people that don’t know that. But there’s hundreds of things like that, that if you just combine them and know how to do them, it really is a game changer overall. Another one is just how to launch a product. You know, so many people, they launch a product with a landing page. And, you know, give me your email and then I’ll let you in. But before you launch, that’s the best time to create viral loops because it’s the old saying that, you know, once you have data, you know, there’s no more hope, right? Once the product is real, there’s no more anticipation about how good it’s gonna be. You know how good it is.
And so the best time to build a pipe for something is when it’s just a name, when it’s just a title. When there is nothing to actually look at because people’s imagination will make it great in their own head. So when you have a landing page, that’s the best time to get people to share it with other people. So one of the things that we do is when we launch a product, we put up a landing page. But we tell them, “Hey, for you to get in, we’re gonna let people in first that share this with the most amount of their friends.” And so we make them…you know, we keep tally on how many of their friends come to the product because of them. And then we let those people into the product first.
And so now, we create a competition before we even launch. And I did that on one of my products and got 10,000 emails before we even launch the product, before we had anything out public. It was just a landing page with 10,000 emails of people waiting to get in. Because we knew how to use that psychology in that pent-up demand to create a viral loop. Another thing we did is, you know, I talked about how we had the recipes that we just launched on Growth Hacker TV. But instead of launching it as just a feature, we created it like it was its own product almost.
So we created a landing page for it as if it was a product that was coming soon. But we tell people, “Hey, to get into the product, you have to tweet about us.” And so they go on to this landing page for the recipes. They tweet about us. And then after they tweet it, it says, “Hey, enter your email now and we’ll tell you when we’re ready for you to come in.” So even right now to this day, I get people going into the site. I mean, many people every day tweeting about our recipes and then giving me their email even though it’s already a feature they can go to right now, they’re still going to the landing page and being a part of the viral loop that gets me more traffic.
So that’s something I call the “launch loop,” which is really seeing a landing page as a great opportunity for virality and not just an opportunity to have a static page. Another one we have on the site right now is a recipe called Advocacy Mob. And the idea is that you know, online, there’s all these conversations happening. There’s conversations in comments, there’s conversations on slide shares, there’s conversations on Twitter. There’s just all these different discussions happening about your market.
So what you’re gonna do is it’s really simple. You can go and you can get a virtual assistant on oDesk. And you can tell them, “Look, any time a certain word is mentioned on, you know, a comment somewhere, I want you to go and be a part of the discussion on behalf of our company.” So you can get people that you’re paying very little but they’re happy to do it because it’s the wage they’re excited about, to go and represent you in every discussion online all the time. And that’s just a ton of inbound links coming back to you. And then you can tell them to use Google News alerts again. Or actually not news alerts, just Google alerts. So that anytime a certain word pops up, they get notified and they can go and be a part of that conversation. So that’s…you know, how you can create an advocacy mob.
Another one I would recommend, if you’re gonna launch a product or even after you launch. You know, a lot of people do PR as one of…you know, they go to somebody, they pitch an article. They go to somebody and they pitch their new startup and try to get written about in some publication. But as a growth hacker, you have to think about how to automate things. So one thing that I do when I watch a startup is I go and I find as many email addresses publications that I can. So I’ll have a hundred-ish email addresses to you know, places like MasterBull [SP] and The Next Web. And, you know, fill in the blank whatever the market is.
And then I automatically send them all a personalized email using engineering to their, you know, tips email, [email protected] And so, in that email, I include a press kit with the photos they need, the quotes they need, the stats they need. And hundreds of people are getting it at the same time. And so now, my chances of getting written about go up, you know, drastically because I’m not just, you know, slogging through doing one at a time, I’m thinking as a growth hacker, that’s something I call “The PR Nuke.” Another one we used for Growth Hacker TV is I call “Clarity Prison.”
So Clarity is a site where you can go and pay for people’s time who are experts in their field. So you can go on there and you can talk to these world-class people. And when we were first starting Growth Hacker TV we didn’t know how to get big-name guest. So what we did was we bought their consulting time. And then I had them captive for 30 minutes, 45 minutes at a time and they couldn’t hang up because I already paid for their time. And in that 30-minute phone call, I was pitching them on coming on Growth Hacker TV because of how great it was. And so, that’s how I got the first few guests that were really big names.
I got people from Hulu. The guy that led marketing at Hulu came on because of that. I got Dan Martell, the guy who actually started Clarity. I had a call with him and told him why he needs to come on Growth Hacker TV. And he eventually did. So that’s how we got the ball rolling is ones you buy their time, they can’t go anywhere. So now, as long as you’re a good salesman and you can talk, you can eventually get them to do what you need them to do if you build up some rapport with them. So that’s the Clarity prison.
Nathan: Wow, that’s a killer idea. I need…I should use that for the magazine.
Bronson: You should totally use that.
Bronson: You know, whenever somebody cancels on our site they always get an email. And that’s one of the funniest emails that we send, people love it. But I call it the “break-up email.” And I send this email automatically but it looks like it was just sent right in from me. And it says something, like, “Hey, I just came into the office. They told me that you cancelled your subscription. And to be honest, I wasn’t really emotionally ready for that. You know, if you could just tell me why. I don’t understand why you broke up.”
And so, it’s basically just this funny email about like we’re breaking up or something. And then people respond and tell me good advice about, “Hey, you should try this, you could do this, or this is why I cancelled.” And so, I’m getting this feedback whenever somebody cancels about ways to improve the product. So that’s the way they help my retention is by just being really funny and so that I can get them to respond so I can learn from the people that cancelled which they have a lot to say because they gave me money and then decide not to.
So their input is gonna be very valuable. So I have to use a clever email that kinda cokes it out of them. And it works. I get a lot of feedback when people get that email. Another thing we do that’s been really killer is something I called “Instructor Inception.” And the idea is that you can use education for acquisition. I mean, in some ways, education is the new marketing. If you educate people, they’ll come to you and eventually buy from you.
So we took 10 of our top interviews, put them on Udemy for free. And we got thousands of people taking this course just in a matter of, I think, days actually. It was really crazy. And that’s now a thousand new people that I can send an email to through Udemy. So then, I sent them all an email saying, “Hey, if you sign up on Growth Hacker TV, you know, in the next day, you get, you know, a week free or whatever.” And so, then we got a bunch of people from Udemy that came over and became full-fledged subscribers.
But I had to give away something really valuable on a different marketplace. And then it gave me the ability to reach out to them because, you know, it’s a way to incept them with education and then bring them on board. You know…I mean, it’s a handful of them. Hope it helps a little bit.
Nathan: Yeah, no. I’m loving this, man. This is a serious gold.
Bronson: I’m gonna be writing these and publishing them every single week on Growth Hacker TV for the paid members. So even if you’re not a paid member, you can get the top three recipes. But, I mean, like I said, I got feature 60 here ready to go. And you know, the paid people are gonna be able to go through. And not only get, you know, the gist of how it works but I go into detail of here’s some screenshots, here’s how to set this up, here’s something to watch out for. And so they’re really gotta follow these recipes for their own startup.
And I do think it’ll move the needle. I mean, if they put these into practice, it’s gonna matter.
Nathan: I’m going to use some of those recipes, man. I’m going to try every single one of them, in fact. There were so many ideas buzzing through my mind from my own businesses. So, you know, that’s killer. Thank you, man.
Bronson: Absolutely. I’m glad I could help.
Nathan: Yeah. I love it. So, look, we have to look towards wrapping things up, man. So, I just wanted to ask if you could finish off with some words of wisdom. Anything imparting that you want to share or…before you got on this call and might be something in mind that you wanted to share and the question that I haven’t asked you?
Bronson: Yeah, no. If there’s one thing that really…I think I would owe my success to would be I wasn’t afraid to fail over and over and over. I didn’t fail, you know, stupidly where I fail. I didn’t learn anything and then repeated the same mistakes. But, I mean, I put out a lot of products before I figured out how to make a decent product. I put out a lot of things. And that the thing is, whatever startup you’re in right now, it’s probably gonna fail. I mean, that’s just statistically what’s gonna happen. You just don’t know what you don’t know.
So don’t think about your startup or your entrepreneurship as what I’m doing right now is my only shot. This is it. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t it doesn’t. You have to think about it almost like a baseball player. When they go to taking that bat…you know, if they bat 300, they’re doing awesome. But that means they struck out 7 times to bat 300. The way you have to view your entrepreneurship is the thing you’re involved in right now probably won’t work. So what you have to do is give it all your heart, do it the best of your ability, fail, learn something from it and then start something the next week as quick as possible. And then know that that one will probably also fail.
But again, you’re gonna give it your heart, you’re gonna learn something really valuable. And then you’re gonna roll that into the next one. And if you keep putting up products, you keep thinking about your life as the startup and not the startup as the startup. Eventually, you’re gonna realize you put together enough lessons that you’re gonna know to hit something at the par. But it takes a lot of failure to get there.
But like I said, you have to fail with wisdom. You have to be learning as you go. But you have to keep putting up products to become a good product person.
Nathan: Awesome. Love it. Well, look, man. I just wanted to say it’s been amazing. You just blew me away with those recipes. And it excites the hell out of me. And so, I just wanted to say, thank you for taking the time. And, yeah, there’s a lot of gold, lot of values. So thank you.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is all the stuff I’ve picked up, you know, talking with other people. And so, I hope some people can pick up some stuff listening to us talk.
Nathan: Awesome. Yes, certainly. Certainly will.