Last week, I applied for the CXL scholarship program for Growth Marketing, because I want to improve my skills not only as a copywriter but as an overall digital marketer.
I chose that minidegree because it’s the most comprehensive course I have seen with over 111 hours worth of content.
I sent my credentials without having high expectations. But, last Saturday, I received an email of CXL confirming that I was accepted as part of the program.
Each week, I have to write one article describing what I have learned during that week. So, here I’m creating this piece as part of my weekly assignment.
Today, I’ll review everything I learned from the following courses:
1. Growth Marketing Foundations
2. Building Your Growth Process
3. User-Centric Marketing
4. Identifying and Amplifying Growth Channels
5. Research and Testing
After reviewing each course, I’ll share with you my key takeaways, so you can easily find the golden nuggets.
- Growth Marketing Foundations
1.1 What’s the Difference Between Traditional Marketing and Growth Marketing?
Traditional marketing only focuses on awareness and sales, while growth marketing focuses on expanding the business through the entire funnel.
1.2 The 3 Essential Skillsets for Every Growth Marketer:
- Baseline skill (email marketing, SEO, copywriting) to have an understanding of the digital marketing space.
- Analytics to know to process and analyze data.
- Project management/leadership skills to provide new and innovative solutions to our business problems.
1.3 What Makes a Good Growth Marketer?
- The hunger to learn.
- The will to experiment.
- The ability to improve.
Growth marketing aims to improve the entire funnel.
A good growth marketer has 3 skills — digital marketing skills as a baseline, analyzing data and leadership skills.
Anybody can become a growth marketer if they are willing to learn, experiment and improve based upon these experiments.
2. Building Your Growth Process
2.1 Here’s How to Build Your Growth:
- Define your growth model.
- Map out your customer journey.
- Identify all growth channels.
2.2 The Key Metrics for Every Business (Using the AARRR Model):
The best way to measure a growth experiment is based on its ROI.
3. User-Centric Marketing
3.1 To be User-Centric Means to Learn From:
- User research
- User experience design
A typical way of understanding the customer is using a persona. However, personas aren’t the best way to research because they are a snapshot in time and don’t take into account the entire customer journey.
A better way to do research is to create an empathy map that will show you the entire journey of your customer, from entering your website to purchasing your product.
Data gives us insight into their behaviours, but we need to understand their motivations.
3.2 Easy Ways to Understand More About Your Customers Without Spending Money:
- Talk to your salespeople.
- Listen to your customer support.
- Discuss with your social media team.
- See your analytics.
- Research search terms.
- Take a look at their social media profiles and posts.
- Watch session recordings and heatmaps of users browsing through your website.
With surveys, you should remember one thing — let people first finish up whatever they are doing on your website before giving them the survey. You can put it on exit intent.
Aim to keep the survey short, using 1–2 closed questions maximum. If you can, give your prospects an incentive at the end.
Semantic surveys focus on the keywords. During this survey, users are shown the design, and they get a sliding scale to rate it from one extreme to another.
3.4 Top Task Analysis
Here’s how to do it:
- You take all the questions your customers have.
- Combine similar questions and remove the ultra-specific ones to create a list of 60–100 items.
- You order them in specific categories.
- You create a survey asking your customers how to rank all tasks from 1 to 5 based on importance.
- Use the data to improve your messaging and branding.
3.5 Customer Journey Map
It has two elements:
- Steps on the journey.
- The information we want to collect on each of these steps.
When you create a customer journey map, ask yourself — what touchpoint do people encounter on my website?
If you want to figure out the customer journey, you should do a customer mapping workshop.
Here’s who you should invite:
- Customer Support
- Social Media people
- Anybody who has done user research
- IT people
- Senior management
Keep in mind to put an expiry date on the customer journey map. You should frequently update it to stay on top of your audience’ interests.
Here’s how to get the most out of your customer research:
- Make sure you visualize customer research in any way possible.
- Put your customer map on the wall.
- Put pictures of customers all around you.
3.5 Exercises That Involve the Customer in the Design of the Campaign:
- User Research Exercise
Ask them “If my company is a famous person, who is it and why?”
- Waiting Room Exercise
Ask them two questions:
❓ What should the waiting room in my company look like?
❓ What’s the music, how does it look, what’s on the wall?
Here are two exercises to help you understand your unique selling points:
1️⃣ Ask people to write a love letter or a breakup letter.
2️⃣ Ask people to create a book cover for your product.
- First Click Test
You show a mock-up of your website to your users and ask them “Where would you click on first?”
“User has an 87% chance to complete an action correctly if their first click is right. If their first click is wrong, they only have only a 46% chance of completing the action.”
- Five Seconds Test
Show your users the marketing material for 5 seconds. Then, ask them what they remember. This will show you if the customer is getting your key message and if they are getting distracted.
- Card Sorting
You get a group of users and ask them to arrange individual cards into piles that make sense for them. Each card represents a page or multiple pages of your website, you give them the cards, and they organize them into different categories. This exercise shows you the mental model of your company for your customers.
There are two types of card sorting:
1) Open Card Sorting
Here, the user has to organize the cards into any category that makes sense to them. You have to use a maximum of 30 cards because if you use more, it’s going to become confusing.
2) Closed Card Sorting
Users organize the cards into predefined categories. You can give each person more cards. If people struggle to put some cards in places, then you may have to change your categories because you have missed something.
For each exercise, you should invite users that haven’t signed up for your services.
When you get the results, you should look for patterns.
Using Balsamiq, you can develop a cheap prototype and then do a usability test to understand more about how your customers use your site.
Each usability test has three components:
- Do your customers get the basic concept of your site?
- Can they find stuff on your website?
- Can they do stuff?
You should do a usability test with no more than 6 people. You can basically use anyone outside of your company.
The only exception is if your product has a target audience of either kids or elderly. Then, you’d want to use people from a specific demographic.
3.7 Usability Testing
There are two types of usability testing:
- Facilitated usability testing — 1-on-1 in-person test with your customers. It’s better because you can ask follow-up questions.
- Unfacilitated usability testing — remote testing that’s way easier to do.
The main information you should take from analytics is the drop off points.
Testing for low-traffic websites:
- Test close to the point of conversion.
- Use only a small number of variations.
- Always go for bigger changes.
Before making a decision, you should always know what your customers think.
Data shows us what our prospects are doing, but we need to know their motivations.
The main point of analytics is to help you understand user’ drop off points.
4. Identifying and Amplifying Growth Channels
4.1 Growth Channels:
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing/ PPC)
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Social and Display Ads
- Email Marketing
- Communities (Reddit, Forums)
You shouldn’t be on all of them. A better approach would be to identify the1–3 channels that work best for your business and go all-in on them.
Two Things Make a Good Growth Channel:
- Excellent ROI
- The ability to scale
If you’re currently making money, using a particular channel but the price of advertising is going up, it’s time to look for new and emerging channels.
4.2 Here’s What Google Looks at to Crawl Your Site Faster:
- Domain authority — how your site compares to your peers.
- Page authority — how well your site is set up for success.
- Content schedule — the frequency at which you post content.
- Popularity — a combination of site traffic, click-through rate and time on site.
Pursue keywords that are long-tail with low volume and higher intent to get the most out of SEO.
4.3 Keyword Research:
- Look at your competitors.
- Determine high search volume keywords.
- Prioritize content accordingly.
4.4 Content Gap Analysis:
- Compare competitors’ strategies.
- Assess your current approach.
- Build a roadmap to reach your goals.
4.5 Tools for Keyword Research:
- Google Adwords Keyword Tool
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Keyword Tool
- Bright Edge
There are two reasons why search engines use links:
- To discover web pages.
- To determine how a page rank in SERP.
4.6 Tips for Building High-Quality Backlinks:
- Seek links from quality, established sites like Forbes.
- Be relevant to your industry.
Each page title should have:
- A targeted keyword on the page.
- A brand or a company name.
The meta descriptions should increase clarity and click-through rate because a higher click-through rate improves your SEO rating.
On the other hand, the website URL has to be structured and needs to include the target keyword. Also, you should place the keyword in the image alt-text.
There are two types of PPC campaigns:
- Awareness campaigns
- Lead gen campaigns
A good growth channel has a good ROI as well as the ability to scale.
Pursue long-tail keywords with low volume and higher intent.
Companies that blog get 5x more traffic than their competitors.
5. Research and Testing
5.1 Three Things to Measure for Our Optimization Process:
- The effectiveness of the changes.
- The cost of optimization.
- The speed of experimentation.
A cool quote to remember — “if you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” — William Denning.
5.2 A Good Optimization Process Shows You:
- Where the problems are.
- What the problems are.
- Why this is a problem.
- How to turn this problem into a test hypothesis.
- How to prioritize instant fixes.
The foundation of your business should be conversion research.
Better data is everything that answers specific business questions.
5.3 Peep Laja’s 6-Step Optimization Process:
Step 1: Technical Analysis
Here you should ask yourself questions like:
- Is shit broken?
- Which browsers?
- Which devices?
- Which pages are slow?
Step 2: Heuristic Analysis
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this relevant to the user?
- Is this clear to the user?
- How does it impact the motivation of the user?
- Is there any friction?
Step 3: Digital Analytics
Questions to ask yourself:
- Where are the leaks?
- Which segments?
- What are users doing?
- Which actions correlate with higher conversions?
- How many different ways are there to achieve our goals?
Step 4: Mouse Tracking and Form Analysis
Ask yourself the following:
- Where do they click?
- How far down they scroll?
- What are the differences between devices?
- Do we have session replays?
Step 5: Qualitative Surveys
Here, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Which problems are they solving?
- How are they deciding?
- What’s holding them back?
- What else do they want to know?
Step 6: User Testing
Ask the following questions:
- What’s difficult to understand?
- What’s difficult to do?
- What goes wrong?
When user testing, never listen to them, look at what they do.
5.3 A Test is Done When:
- There is enough sample size.
- There are multiple business cycles.
- Statistical significance has been reached.
5.4 Twelve Testing Mistakes Every Marketer Makes:
- Wasting time on stupid tests.
- Thinking you know what works.
- Copying other people’s tests.
- Having a low sample size.
- Running tests on pages with too little traffic.
- Not running tests long enough (you need between 2–4 weeks of testing).
- Not testing full weeks at a time.
- Not taking advantage of third party analytics.
- Giving up after your first test for a hypothesis fails.
- Not being aware of validity threats.
- Ignoring small gains.
- Not running tests all the time.
5.5 Metrics of a testing program:
- The number of variants tested.
- Win rate.
- Average uplift per successful experiment.
Working on user’ motivation gives 5x better results than working on friction.
When you do user testing, watch what people do, not what they say.
Useful data shows you where you need to take action.
That’s everything I learned during my first week in the Growth Marketing minidegree course.
You can find more about CXL and their educational content here.
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