Customer and User Acquisition - Useful Notes, Links and Articles

Ongoing list of useful articles on user acquisition.

Posted by JB Uy on November 09, 2013 at 11:59 PM UTC
Edited on January 31, 2014 at 02:16 PM UTC

21 Notes

Story of how iterated from selling direct to customers -> making partnerships -> opening an API.

Sold direct to customers who had live chat widgets first. Found they were small and large numbers of them would be insignificant. Moved to making partnerships with customer support apps (ie. Olark). Lots of potential customers were already using these apps. Eventually opened up an API.

They first sold to people who could use their app. Then moved to working with companies that already had a large userbase of their target customers.

My favorite oLark feature is co-browsing, is actually them integrating firefly:

Posted by JB Uy on July 19, 2014 at 01:53 PM UTC
Edited on July 19, 2014 at 01:54 PM UTC
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Place to submit new site

Posted by JB Uy on June 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM UTC
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The Key to Good Marketing

Think about the roadside fruit stand vendor. He’s probably watching all those cars drive by, saying: “I wish they would just stop and buy some fruit.” The drivers, on the other hand, aren’t thinking about the fruit vendor at all. They’re thinking about their stressful day at the office, the horrible traffic, and how their air conditioning doesn’t work. The only reason a driver pulls over to buy fruit is if they’re hungry. The drivers just care about their own problems; they’re not thinking about what the fruit vendor wants at all.


Too often, we build our marketing strategies out of what we want for our business. We write copy and calls-to-action that are self-focused: “Look at what I built! Isn’t it wonderful? I want you to use it!” When no one responds, we have to engage in cheap tricks, expensive ad campaigns, and other manipulations just to get anyone in the door.

Here’s a simpler alternative: don’t try to convince people to do what you want. Instead, find out what they want, and offer that to them instead.

Posted by JB Uy on April 18, 2014 at 06:31 PM UTC
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Ask HN: How Did You Get Your First 100 Customers?

  • search for coverage of competitors in the same space, and pitch to those who've already featured them.
  • Have an ideal customer in mind, search for them on linkedin, cold email, if they respond you have a lead
Posted by JB Uy on March 08, 2014 at 08:06 PM UTC
Edited on March 08, 2014 at 11:13 PM UTC
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The B2B Referral Sales System - The Magical Outbound Growth Engine Most Startups Never Use!

  • These are warm outbound leads
  • give them an intro email to make it easier
  • Close the loop by having the new customer give thanks to the referrer
  • Reason that you beed referrals, b/c you dont do much sales and marketing in order to focus on product and making iy better for the user
“It seems like we're a great fit. I'm excited. Before we go any further exploring a potential deal I want to bring up that we're fully focused on building world class technology and on servicing and supporting our customers to massive success. What that means is that we're not investing in marketing and sales as heavily because our happy customers are referring us to others who could benefit from our product. Does that sound like a fair arrangement to you?”
Posted by JB Uy on March 07, 2014 at 02:20 PM UTC
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How To Get In Front Of Your Ideal Customers:

Talk to customers of your competitors:

  • How can you find them?
  • They’re named in testimonials and case studies on the competitor site
  • They mentioned the app in their LinkedIn profile
  • They‘re a member of an app-specific group on LinkedIn
  • They have a certification from the vendor
  • They’ve tweeted about a product
  • They mention the product in their oDesk profile
  • They’re a fan on Facebook
  • Use your imagination… 

DO NOT PITCH, but learn:

  • about other competitors they've evaluated
  • what blogs they read
  • where they hang out
  • why they chose that specific competitor
Posted by JB Uy on March 04, 2014 at 08:34 PM UTC
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The Hacker’s Guide to Getting Press

Posted by JB Uy on February 07, 2014 at 06:21 PM UTC
Edited on February 10, 2014 at 03:38 PM UTC
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21 SEO techniques to get more traffic

1) Find Broken Link Building Opportunities on Wikipedia

  • recreate the dead resource and replace link with your own
  • use to see what other pages link to that dead link and contact them about it

2) Discover Untapped Keywords on Reddit

  • Look up a keyword, then scan threads for potential keywords that pop up again and again
  • You'll find stuff you'll never get from Google Keyword Planner

3) Find Link Prospects on Delicious

  • head to Delicious and search for a broad keyword related to your industry
  • find content similar to yours and has lots of bookmarks, and click on the bookmark link to see a list of people who bookmarked
  • If the profiles have websites, reach out and let them know about your similar content

4) Copy Adwords Ads to Make Killer Title and Description Tags

  • those ads have been A/B tested to get the most clicks
  • use those elements to turn your title and description tags into click magnets
  • Look out for interesting copy you can use

5) Find A+ Link Prospects on AllTop

  • to find blogs in your niche to reach out to

6) Use Benefit-Focused Content Curation

  • focus on the outcomes your audience wants

7) Link Out to Authority Sites

  • Google's Hilltop algorithm
  • tells Google whether a page is a "hub" of information based on the quality and relevancy of outbound links

8) Send Juice to Pages Sitting on Page 2 or 3

  • If you're on the 2nd/3rd page, you're getting some decent search volumn
  • Find the authoritative pages on your site (use OpenSiteExplorer) and add internal links to the pages on the 2nd and 3rd on SERPs

9) Use the Word “Because” In Your Outreach Emails

  • It answers “Who is this person?” and “What do they want?”
  • makes any request seem more legitimate

10) Write Mini Blog Posts for YouTube Descriptions

  • Google can't see your videos, or listen to your audio

11) Reverse Engineer the Results on Page 6

  • "Google’s inner pages are made up of people that started cool sites…but eventually gave up when things didn’t work out the way they planned.

    Here’s the thing: before they moved on to the next project, they published some awesome resources."

  • Steal their links using the  Skyscraper Technique

  • These pages are usually linked to (hence, being in the middle of SERPs results), make these outdated resources better

12) Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags

13) Hack Wikipedia for Keyword and Topic Ideas

  • Better than Google Keyword Planner
  • "If you want to find keywords that are closely related to your seed keywords — but not straight-up variations — you need a human mind."
  • Go to Wikipedia and enter a seed keyword and look at closely related topics and keywords in the: Contents box, Sidebar, internal links, and See Also section

14) Use “Best of” Lists to Find Awesome Link Targets

  • "PERFECT places to reach out to the next time you want to promote a piece of content, find broken links or build a long-term relationship"

15) Publish Content With At Least 1000 Words

  • in depth pieces inspire "awe" and become more shareable

16) Remember the “First Link Priority Rule”

17) Create Your Own Keywords

  • ie. "inbox zero" (rather than "inbox management") and "skyscraper technique"
  • "You always rank #1 for keywords that you create." because you're the only one optimizing for that term
  • If it becomes popular, you become the #1 result

18) Get Product Reviews at Scale Using Tomoson

  • "Tomoson is like a dating service that connects bloggers looking for free stuff with site owners looking for exposure and links."
  • Send them your product and get free links

19) Use Expert Roundups to Generate Links and Social Shares on Autopilot

  • experts you feature will naturally want to share this content with their followers
  • Works in any niche, even boring ones
  • Have a question in mind, email possble expert contributors for a short response (ie. 50 words), then when the post goes live, email them

20) Find Niche-Specific Link Building Opportunities Using Flippa

  • "Because people that sell their site on Flippa give away every detail about how they built their site. That means they’ll often show you their keywords, content strategy, (and of course) link sources. It’s like a downloadable business plan."

21) Use Facebook Ads for Keyword Research

  • Facebook Ads > Create Ad > Page Likes > Scroll to "Interests" > Enter keyword into "Precise Interests" > FB suggests words for you, click one
  • Facebook shows you a list of “Suggested Likes and Interests” that are great seed keywords to enter into Google Keyword Planner

Posted by JB Uy on January 31, 2014 at 02:17 PM UTC
Edited on January 31, 2014 at 04:24 PM UTC
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Webinar from LaunchBit and KISSMetrics

Why SaaS customer acquisition is hard?

- SaaS product aren't very viral

  • import email address books is spammy
  • some methods just don't work for SaaS

- cohort analysis is complicated

  • customers are coming from different places
  • looking for different price points
  • coming from different channels
  • etc.

- lengthy sales process

  • months to years to turn leads into sales
  • once a sale is made, LTV is hard to determine

How to test marketing channels

Already know these channels:

  • Paid Search, Organic Search, Email Marketing, Retargeting
  • Social Media
  • partnerships
  • Newsletter Ads, Display Ads, Mobile Ads
  • APIs

How do these channels differ?

  • pricing: CPA, CPM, etc.
  • format, style, delivery

Biggest difference: Purchase Intent

High Intent:

  • Organic/Paid Search, Retargeting, Email Marketing
  • These people are searching for you product, or a solution you solve

Medium Intent

  • Email Newsletter, Partnerships, APIs
  • recommendation from a trusted source

Low Intent

  • Display/Mobile Ads
  • Not necessarily looking for you
  • might not be in the mood to take a look at your offering
  • Might be playing farmville, and see your ad relevance

Typical High Intent Funnel: Traffic Source -> Homepage -> Sign Up/Free Trial -> Upsell Email -> Convert to paying customer

  • doesn't work for all channels
  • People from medum/low intent might not be ready for this funnel

Typical Medium/Low Intent Funnel: Traffic Source -> Landing Page -> Sign up for free ebook -> Lead nurturing emails ->  sales reaches out -> converts to paying customer

  • A different funnel
  • might send them to a landing page for an ebook or white paper thats useful for them in the near future.
  • Keep reminding them of you over time
  • Once a ready prospect, then a sales team can reach out

A lot of SaaS marketers end up using just 1 funnel for all their traffic sources. You want to use the right funnel for the right type of traffic

How much can you spend? 

  • How much to spend on each customer? Roughly 1/3 of their LTV (based on the SaaS rule of 1/3; see Dharmesh Shah and David Skok).
  • this is also roughly our minimum test budget. 1/3 of LTV
  • If we spend less, the test is inconclusive. Who knows if you would've gotten the customer if you spent more.

But not every new customer comes in right away

- We need to know right now, whether to continue investing in this channel or not

- Are you getting quality leads?

- What is out cost per lead?

  • minimum budget / (# leads to get at least 1 sale) = cost per lead

- But not all leads are the same value.

How to determine lead quality:

Lead scoring tools:

  • using work email 
  • geolocation (if your product is only good for a certain area)
  • engagement on site
  • budget (they need a certain minimum budget)
    • high friction, but can add input box for budget on landing page (depends on audience, can be a deterrent)
    • Can send your lead a survey afterwards instead
      • They won't want to reveal their budget, but instead you can be doing a survey to gather info about their industry in the aggregate
      • They might be more willing to reveal this info, in order to learn about the budgets of their competitors
  • CTR

How to measure their performance

Starts at around 20:00 in the video, not relevant to me at this time.

Posted by JB Uy on January 21, 2014 at 08:28 PM UTC
Edited on January 31, 2014 at 04:24 PM UTC
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The Hacker's Guide To Twitter User Acquisition

  1. Twitter lets you see what people are interested and talking about right now.
  2. Twitter lets you search user profiles to find what tribes people align themselves to.
  3. Twitter lets you see lists of people who follow your competitors
  4. Twitter lets you interact with all of those people.

  • Auto favorite tweets that contain pertinent keywords
    • Can be spammy
  • Selective following:
    • gets attention for at least a few seconds
    • should optimize profile to drive traffic to landing page
    • Can follow up to 1000 accounts per day
    • Can follow up to 2000 people if you have less than 2000 followers
  • Manual Following:
    • manually follow people with selected interests
    • Look at follower list of particular accounts that have big followings from your potential prospects
      • Might be a lot of spam accounts and business accounts
    • Search for specific term(s), and look through 'all' results, not 'top'
      • Each person talking here is a potential customer
    • Figure out your target market, and enter their mind (what they're thinking), what would they be tweeting?
  • Actual Interaction:
    • Use TweetAdder and TweetDeck
    • Following is great for a 'bump' in traffic, but by hitting 'reply', people care about what you have to say.
    • Don't copy and paste
      • Might get banned
      • Miss chance for actual interaction
      • They can become advocates and promoters
Posted by JB Uy on January 11, 2014 at 04:58 PM UTC
Edited on January 31, 2014 at 04:24 PM UTC
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The Art of Growth Hacking - Neil Patel

5 Strategies for distribution:

  • Integrations
    • Other people's platforms
    • ie. Yammer, Box, Github, Mailchimp, etc. all have millions of users
    • Leverage their userbase if their customers are relevant to your product
    • Integrations should make your product better
    • Measure conversions and revenue (ie. their users spend a lot of money --> integrate with Salesforce vs Dropbox)
    • Ask your users about the integrations they need
  • Work Emails
    • Rewards for inviting co-workers
    • Optimize onboarding
    • Show people who to follow (if this applies)
    • Invites
    • Measure the # of people invited in the company
    • Discover engaging interactions
      • Some actions cause people to invite more people (ie. need to assign this task to someone, need to invite them first)
  • Embeds
    • Youtube, Slideshare, etc
    • Why should they embed? Is there some value for it?
    • Make it easy to do so (ie. Youtube found simpler embed codes, caused more people to embed).
    • Track how they convert. 
    • Test relevant CTAs.
    • Optimize for search, but make sure it's relevant.
  • Powered By
    • Better if it's beneficial to the user (ie. Tweet, Buffer, Facebook buttons b/c they benefit the user).
    • Test the copy of the CTA.
    • Test and optimize landing pages (if they click the 'powered by...', should take them to a targeted landing page, not just homepage).
    • Track clicks, conversions, LTV, etc.
    • Measure individual effectiveness. Some sites will convert better than others.
  • Free Stuff
    • ie. Hubspot Marketing Grader
      • collects leads and then they pitch you on their paid stuff
    • Map to customer decision making. Make sure they also help the customer's problem. 
    • Think about what you can repurpose. Creating is expensive; just bundle old stuff together and jazz it up.
    • Educate prospects, help them understand their pain points, how you can help them.
    • Test ideas minimally
      • If something works, then you can go on and perfect it.
    • Measure/optimize revenue

Figure out what's best for your product:

  • "Tweet for more space" is not the best for all. 
  • ie. Dropbox can do that, but not the best idea for a business like KISSMetrics

Posted by JB Uy on January 10, 2014 at 06:46 PM UTC
Edited on January 31, 2014 at 04:24 PM UTC
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- Maybe something to try out. Probably better conversions than placing ads on google.

Posted by JB Uy on January 09, 2014 at 03:28 PM UTC
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70 places to submit your startup

Building pre launch email lists

Posted by JB Uy on January 03, 2014 at 01:34 PM UTC
Edited on January 14, 2014 at 01:50 AM UTC
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  • build personas of your ideal customers/users
  • Go to linkedin groups where these personas would be part of, and post there
  • Can probably do similar thing for subreddits and other communities
  • How?
    • Introduce yourself as one of the personas so that readers can identify with you.
    • Describe the pain
    • Short explanation of the solution
    • Kindly offer people to come check out your solution
  • ask questions online regarding your product (ie. What is the best note taking tools?) and answer them introducing your product.
  • Do this in places like quora, yahoo answers, etc.
  • May seem a little spammy...
  • Following on twitter grabs attention for a few seconds.
  • Use TweetAdder to follow people that match your made personas.
  • Unfollow after few days or twitter stats will look ugly
Posted by JB Uy on December 08, 2013 at 02:10 PM UTC
Edited on January 13, 2014 at 07:40 PM UTC
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Getting eyeballs on your site:

- follow people who are following competitors or similar services.

- they'll get a notification about this which can bring them to your twitter bio.

- targeted people, b/c they follow similar services as yours

Posted by JB Uy on December 07, 2013 at 12:10 AM UTC
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Send emails, blog, inject yourself into the conversation, give stuff away for free, ...

Posted by JB Uy on November 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM UTC
Edited on November 11, 2013 at 12:26 AM UTC
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Be the first mover on other people's distribution channels (ie. App stores, api integrations)

Posted by JB Uy on November 10, 2013 at 12:03 AM UTC
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