Jack on the VYPER team spoke at StartCon 2018 this year on scaling your business with Facebook ads and how we started VYPER using a leaderboard contest. Below he shares some of the key takeaways from the best speakers at the event!

This is a direct copy and paste from his notes taken while attending so there is no fluff! ENJOY?

startcon 2018 recap summary

I usually take notes no matter where I am. You never know when that 1 piece of key information will show up and align all your stars.

More often than not, I get an idea or solution to a problem in the least expected places and moments.

These are the notes I took over the few days spent at StartCon 2018. I also condensed these down a little to only include the most important information.

Please, note I did not go to all the presentations so I’m sure there were a lot of things I missed but these where the big impact talks I saw!

startcon summary

Brendan Yell – Director at Sendgrid
Email is still one of the top converting acquisition channels and Brendan shared some great stats they have collected from the users of SendGrid.

  • 3 words in the subject line for cold emails usually perform the best.
  • As a company, you need to figure out what your overall CPA (cost per acquisition) is to know how much you can spend on ads to build your email list.
  • Map out your exact funnel. Where do people first hear about you? when do they signup to your list? when do they convert?
    • Content discovery
    • Email sign up
    • How many ads do they see
    • Do they watch video content
    • When do they convert
  • A/B test 1 thing at a time. It is easy to get carried away with testing but the best thing to do is choose 1 thing at a time to A/B split test.
  • Use segmentation to get personal. Just using their first name is not good enough. You need to segment and really understand at talk to that customer’s pain point. Some easy segmentations are:
    • How often they use your product
    • How long they have been using your product
    • Lead or customer
    • Happy customer or not
  • Aim to deliver emails that are timely, relevant, personal, regional.
  • Instead of having unsubscribed, use email frequency adjustment options send daily, weekly, monthly etc.
  • More email marketing tactics and advice here
startcon summary 02

Navin Danapal – SOSV China Accelerator
Was super excited to see this talk as I find the Chinese and Indian markets to be the up and coming.

Not only do they have huge populations but the countries middle class is growing unlike the shrinking ones in the United States, Australia, and Europe.

  • The next large market to service is China with 1 trillion eCommerce spend a year now.
  • This market is lacking in SaaS and marketing products to feed this huge online economy.
  • China is a lot harder for startups to work with. One big deterrent is having to potentially hand over your product source code to the Chinese government.
  • WeChat pay integration is one of the top payment processors in the country, that along with AliPay from AliExpress.
  • 15 trillion mobile payments of which 50% are conducted through AliPay, think of it as an alternative to Stripe.
  • WeChat has differentiated from a “regular” chat app as it is a building back with a huge collection and marketplace of apps. An app within an app ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Social commerce marketing is a new marketing “term” that is building tracking. It simply means mobile experience from start to finish, no desktop browsing or purchasing involved.
    • E.g. you find the brand on social, ask them a question through WeChat, then checkout in that same conversation in WeChat.
    • How can you make your business more seamless?
    • Social engagements > content > shop > purchase  (all on mobile, mainly in WeChat)
  • Opportunities in China are
    • Ad tech
    • Software and SaaS
  • Head to Beijing, Shanghai or Taiwan if you’re a mobile and SaaS startup.
  • SOSV accelerator gives you $120k in funding and is a 6-month program. They did not say if they take equity in the presentation or on their site. Check this.
startcon summary 03

Suneet Bhatt – General Manager at CrazyEgg
I wanted to see this talk as I knew CrazyEgg had been around for over 10 years, and Suneet had been brought on recently to re-ignite the company.

  • Focus on conversion rate optimization just a little and it will make a huge difference in your company.
  • less than 30% of companies prioritize conversion rate optimization even though this can have the biggest impact on your growth.
  • Companies need to focus less on acquisition and more on conversion and retention to win into today’s marketing climate. In my personal opinion, it’s a bit of everything, improve all of these 1% a week to keep growing.
    • Acquisition
    • Conversion rate
    • Retention
  • Just spend 1 hour a week looking at your analytics and come up with 1 change to the A/B test. Week after week you will get improvements.
  • Talk to your customers
    • Why do you like our product?
    • Why do you use our product?
    • How did you find out the product?
    • What don’t you like about our product?
  • Focus on the customer. They are also people, so treat them like that, not a number. Too many people in marketing are not paying attention to the feedback they get from customers.
  • Make something people like to use. Most people use up to 700 products a year. Make yours the one they come back to time and time again.
  • Aim for someone to use your product just 1-2 times a week.
startcon summary 04

Andrew Lindsay – Business Development at Hubspot
There are some huge case studies that show how partnership marketing has helped propel companies from 0 to 100 very quickly.

Take Google partnering with Google back in the day. Without Yahoo, Google would arguably not be what it is today!

  • Partnership marketing should be a consideration if you are starting a company and looking for growth options.
  • You do need to be careful and understand the return on your time for managing these as they are extremely time-consuming.
  • Work out what the potential customers and value of a customer from the partnership will result in.
  • Avoid “Barney Partnerships”
  • Both parties have to benefit, for example.
    • Hubspot partners with sales agencies to provide customers with “done for your services”
    • Bill.com partners with Chase baking to provide invoicing services to its business banking customers.
    • VYPER partners with a content marketing agency to offer a “done for you service” so we can focus on the product.
    • Credit card companies partner up with advertising platforms to provide targeting audiences (coming to an end but good while it lasted).
  • Thank about complementary services or products that you could partner with.
  • Work out what’s in it for both sides of the deal.
  • Proceed if it makes sense!
startcon summary 05

Steve Rader – Collaborative Innovation at NASA
It was very interesting to see such a large company getting involved in a “startup” conference but I was pleasantly surprised!

  • Sometimes not even NASA can solve the problem at hand.
  • We now have access to huge pools of people that are just as talented if not more than the employees of large companies like NASA, Google Facebook, etc.
  • Larger companies can leverage these people using competitions and bounties.
  • By offering a reward for solving an issue, you are able to get the problem in front of more than just your direct team. You can draw upon millions of people’s knowledge.
  • The harder the problem that needs to be solved the larger the bounty.
  • How can you use collaborative problem-solving in your business?
  • The workforce is moving toward a contractor dominant environment and this is one way to take advantage of that.
  • Much more innovation can come from collaboration than most companies think.
  • Don’t be scared to share your problems, ideas or struggles with outside parties. A lot of the time they will have already solved those issues and can save you a lot of time or money.
  • Checklist and guide on how you can run a contest to grow your business.
startcon summary 06

Jack Paxton – Co-Founder VYPER
A few bonus tips on top of my talk on scaling with Facebook ads, viral marketing and how we started VYPER.

  • Marketing fundamentals
    • Adjust the levers you control (offer/website experience, ad creative, targeting)
    • Take your total revenue and divide it by the number of customers you have to work out a rough average LTV.
    • Figure out your cost of goods.
    • LTV – (desired profit + COGS) = your target cost per acquisition
  • How to create better creative
    • Test long vs short videos  (short usually better for ads, longer better on website/blog)
    • Grab attention first 3 seconds
    • Add text captions (most video is watched muted)
    • Storytelling in your video helps conversions
    • Have a CTA within 30sec of video
  • How to run better ads
    • Use dark posts
    • Optimize with delivery breakdown stats (placement, age, region, etc)
    • Test 2-3 creative first
    • A copy is not as important as creative so put more testing emphasis on this
    • Start targeting wide then narrow in
    • Aim for an audience size of 2-4 million on Facebook
    • Use split testing feature
  • Website improvement hacks
    • Make sure visitors can understand what your business is and does in 30sec
    • Get shows a CTA within 30 seconds
    • Be able to explain your business in 15 words
    • What can the business do for the customer

FREE Guide: Scale your business with Facebook Ads using this guide [Download]

Hopefully, this quick 10min read has saved you hours if not days. We boiled down the best talks and took the key points so get out there and start implementing.

If you want to see how VYPER contests can help improve your social media engagement and ads, watch this quick YouTube video.

Happy growth hacking and let us know below if you attended StartCon, what your favorite talk and take away was.

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