Visual website scraping tool: AnyPicker

This is a relatively new but pretty neat tool if you want to occasionally scrape website data, but aren’t technical. It makes scraping data relatively easy through a Chrome plugin you can use to visually identify the data you want to scrape from a website.

There’s a free version that will suffice for many marketers that only occasionally need to scrape website data, a full-featured 7-day free trial, and a monthly and annual premium plan.

Try AnyPicker or learn more here.

(I discovered it through ProductHunt, where it became the #1 Product of the Day recently. If you’re curious what other founders, marketers and makers think about the tool, check out the comments on PH.)

krisp – Mute background noise during calls (great tool for remote marketers!)

If you’re a remote marketer, and you’re oftentimes working in environments that have a lot of background noise—coffee shops, co-working spaces, bars—but occasionally need to make calls, krisp is an amazing tool to make sure your voice gets transmitted clearly, but not the background noise.

Remember the first time you tried on really good noise-cancelling headphones?

Well, the first time you try out krisp on a call, and there’s background noise—whether it’s a constant ambient noise or an unforeseen dog bark—you’ll have that same delightful experience. You’ll notice that it won’t distract the other person anymore.

They’ve got a 14-day free trial, and their pro plan is very reasonable priced. Definitely check it out!

Don’t become attached to processes. Instead, adapt fast.

If you’re part of a fast-growing startup, there’s one thing that’ll be inevitable: change.

In the very early days, you can pretty much get shit done any way you like. It’s find to do things your way. Everyone on the team is wearing many hats, and oftentimes one person is basically “3 departments”. You figure things out as you go.

As your company grows, you’ll find that there are certain things you keep figuring out again, and again, and again. And it dawns on you that you could be a lot more efficient if you deliberately design a process. You do so, and while it’s mostly not fun, you’re glad some of the more mundane and repetitive things become more efficient and overall output increases.

The next stage is new team members joining, and roles becoming a bit more specialized. You make some tweaks to your beautiful processes to allow for these new people to add value, and to reflect for the new realities.

The more your company grows, the more new team members join, the more change you’ll be faced with. And the more flexible you’ll have to become with adapting your beautifully established processes.

At times this can be painful—because whenever you have designed and defined an efficient process, it’s normal for you to want to keep doing things this way. Even if you’re someone who embraces and even craves change—process change is typically not the kind of change that’s fun. Launching a new initiative, experimenting with a new marketing channel, going after a new vertical—all of these things can be exciting and fun. But process change—where it’s basically about doing the same thing you’ve been doing so far, just differently, that’s rarely ever fun.

And if you allow yourself to get attached to processes, not only will it be not fun, it will be actually painful and exhausting.

I’ve seen this to be true for many marketers. And while we probably all nod our heads in agreement and say: Yes, yes, of course. The reality is that many of us struggle with this if we don’t intentionally cultivate a mindset that embraces change around our processes.

This typically becomes really important when you’re in the messy middle—a term Scott Belsky used to define the stage when a company is no longer a fledgling startup, but not yet a big established player in the industry.

SaaS marketing strategy

It wasn’t too long ago that you didn’t really need a SaaS marketing strategy as long as you had a good enough product and put in some hustle. Nowadays however, SaaS is already a crowded space, and the competition is only getting more and more fierce. 

It’s not enough to do some keyword research, publish a couple hundred blog posts, and sprinkle in some link building outreach. Paid ads are getting prohibitively expensive if you’re not either venture-funded or have a genius-level performance marketer on your team. (And most likely, you won’t find that kind of person, because they’d be able to earn a very cushy 6-figure income working for someone else, or just do their own thing.)

So how do you go about creating your SaaS marketing strategy?

Start with your ideal customer

You need absolute clarity on who you’re marketing to, who you’re building your product for. This requires a lot of mental and emotional discipline, because as a member of an early-stage SaaS company, you probably are able to see so many different ways how your product could benefit all kinds of people. But you need what I call ruthless focus until you’ve reached product market fit.

Your sales and marketing efforts have to be focused on the customers who are most likely to buy from you. Your positioning needs to clearly identify who those folks are. And simply put, they are the customers who care the most about the value your product delivers. You need to identify what sets these folks apart. What is it about these customers that makes them love your product more than others? How can we identify them?

Your target market is the customers who buy quickly, rarely ask for discounts and tell their friends about your offerings.

April Dunford, Obviously Awesome

In her must-read book for any serious SaaS marketer Obviously Awesome, she also shares this great thought experiment:

Suppose your company was running out of cash and if the team didn’t close a certain amount of business by the end of the month, very bad things were going to happen. What types of customers would you focus on and why? What are the characteristics of those customers that make them more likely to buy?

Who specifically would you market and sell to if you had a very limited amount of time and resources to get revenue if the survival of your company depended on it?

That’s the level of focus you want to have in the early stages of your SaaS business.

Begin […] with the smallest viable market. What’s the minimum number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort?

Godin, Seth. This Is Marketing

A common trap is to try to appeal to too big of an audience in the early stages of your startup.

The challenge for most people who seek to make an impact isn’t winning over the mass market. It’s the micro market. They bend themselves into a pretzel trying to please the anonymous masses before they have fifty or one hundred people who would miss them if they were gone.

Seth Godin

Hyper-focus is the big, unfair advantage you have when you enter the market as a tiny startup with large established players. It’s what the sling was to David when he faced Goliath.

SaaS distribution channels

Once you know who your ideal customer is, you got to figure out how to reach them. How can you get your message in front of the person that’s most likely to give your product a shot, and then actually gain enough value out of it to become a paying customer?

There are many ways to do that:

  • content marketing
  • paid ads
  • social media marketing
  • community engagement
  • cold outreach referrals
  • podcast guest tour
  • podcast sponsorships
  • email sponsorships
  • partnership marketing
  • integration marketing
  • events
  • and many more

It also very much depends on how you turn website visitors into customers. Most likely, you’ll offer a free trial or have a freemium product. If you have freemium offer that’s actually generating value for prospective customers, it’s a lot easier to actually gain some traction in your space—but you need to make sure that your freemium product won’t be too much of a distraction at your early-stage SaaS company from the main product you’re actually building.

Whatever distribution channels you choose, again, be very clear who your audience is, how you’re gonna get their attention, and how you’re going to earn their interest and trust.

Goals and KPIs

It’s also important that you have clearly defined goals and KPIs when you’re developing your SaaS marketing strategy. 

Some common KPIs:

  • website visitors
  • time on page
  • social shares
  • email subscribers
  • leads trial signups
  • trial-to-paid conversion rate
  • paying customers
  • revenue generated
  • MRR
  • ARR
  • CLTV
  • CAC
  • churn
  • expansion revenue growth %

Some of these are much substantial and meaningful for a business than others. E.g. social shares, time on page, website visitors—these are mostly vanity metrics. In the early days, this might be all you can go with, but you want to evolve to keeping track of more meaningful metrics as soon as possible.

Email subscribers and trial signups for example are a much better indicator of how your marketing is performing.

And ultimately, the number of paying customers, the amount of revenue you generate, the average customer lifetime value, etc are much more crucial for your business.

Pick one main KPI!

You can easily end up with an overwhelming spreadsheet that keeps track of all kinds of metrics. And in general, the closer you monitor your metrics, the better. But it can also create a lot of confusion and lead your efforts in different directions.

So it’s best to focus on ONE METRIC THAT TRULY MATTERS, and make sure that everyone who works with you knows what that one metric is at all times. 

Your goals and KPIs can change.

They aren’t set in stone, and you should re-evaluate and question them on a quarterly basis. Are these still the right goals? Are we still tracking the right KPIs? Is this really the most meaningful think for us to be focused on as far as marketing is concerned?

In the very early stages focusing on paying customers might not be the best choice. Instead, you want to focus on generating learnings and insights.

Actually generating revenue can be a secondary goal, as long as you have enough runway to stay afloat.

But there’s a caveat here too: If you generate insights just based on people who aren’t willing to pay you money, you can go astray. Ultimately, the person you should care about more than anyone else is the type of user that would get so much value out of using your product that they’d be happy to pay you money.

Why the Google Keyword Planner isn’t that useful for SEO research anymore

Google Keyword Planner used to be the go-to-tool for SEO 10 years ago. But they’ve been removing more and more data from the tool. It’s still a great tool, just not for SEO folks anymore. Now, it’s mostly of value to advertisers who want to run AdWords ads.

Noah Kagan on marketing planning

Notes from a recent episode of Evolving SEO with Noah Kagan.

Marketing planning:

  1. Pick a goal
  2. make a list of all the options to achieve that goal
  3. every month, review and ask
    1. what is the activity i can double?
    2. what’s the activity that i can kill?

Noah Kagan’s original marketing plan for Mint was just a simple doc.

How to execute a marketing plan

  1. Create a “system”
    system = a checklist. can be a spreadsheet. Contains all the steps that need to be executed to create the desired output/result.
  2. If somethings broken, then go in and fix it
  3. Hire people to execute
    (hiring tip: reach out to people you admire. you typically can’t hire them, but try to work on contract basis with them first. if that’s not possible, ask for a recommendation: who else is awesome? work with those people on contract basis, and if they’re great, do everything you can to hire them eventually)

Content creation vs promotion

People spend too much time creating content, but not enough time promoting it. If the people who could benefit from your content don’t hear about it, it has zero value.

Why is that? (Even though most people know this, few actually act accordingly)

Probably because when you create, it’s fun, it’s safe, you’re sitting at home creating something. Versus promotion, you’re putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to other people’s judgment. Other people will judge your work, will judge you. But that feedback is what will really make you grow.

How Noah is doing this:

  • 2 days per week for content creation
  • 1 day per week for content promotion
  • 2 open days

^ that’s how he’s doing it right now. might change in 6 months.

 

Establishing relationships with awesome people

Give presents to people. Stuff they actually want and will keep for life. Not a shirt with YOUR logo on it. Give them Alexa. Give them something that’ll always be on their desk. (More examples ~31:00)

Then follow up. Tell them you read their post and loved it, did something with it and something great happened. Stuff like that. Over time it grows into a relationship if it’s a good match.

Brandon Wells is doing Noah’s YouTube videos, Noah is paying him $2,000/month for this. Here’s an example of these videos.

 

Marketing Stack: 27 Popular Marketing Tools for Q2 2017

Let’s face it, most of us marketers have a little marketing stack addiction. There’s always another tool we love to try.

So this post caught my eye, cause it listed a bunch of popular marketing tools that people are winning with today:

  1. Hubspot (meh)
  2. Marketo
  3. Infusionsoft
  4. Vero
  5. MailChimp
  6. CallRail (yeah!)
  7. Drift (good product, but their marketing is great!)
  8. TextMagic (trigger text message notifications to new leads and customers)
  9. HotJar
  10. Visual Website Optimizer
  11. Zoho CRM (lol)
  12. Salesforce (really? wtf!)
  13. OnePage CRM
  14. Geckoboard
  15. Mouseflow (records where a visitor’s mouse flows)
  16. UserTesting
  17. Pagecritiq (fast, free landing page feedback for last-minute launches—cool idea)
  18. Groove (their content marketing is A+++)
  19. Shopify (BOOM! Great product, great marketing)
  20. Shoprocket
  21. Terminus (for running account-based marketing campaigns)
  22. Purlem (personalized domains for campaign performance tracking)
  23. Appointlet (for scheduling appointments)
  24. Yay Images (cheap but beautiful stock images)
  25. Animoto (video creation)
  26. Bablic (webpage translation for international visitors)
  27. Zapier (yeah! best in this list)

Some crappy tools in here, some great ones, and some that depend on the use case. Either way, read the full article here: The Agency Swiss Army Knife – 27 Dream Marketing Stack Tools You Can’t Afford to Miss

Prevent ads from being shown on your YouTube videos

To clarify: This post is not about blocking ads when you’re watching YouTube videos. This post is about stopping YouTube from showing ads on your YouTube videos (videos that you yourself uploaded).

It’s not enough to disable monetization of your videos. That will simply not put any money of ads YouTube displays on your videos into your pocket, and put all of it into YouTube’s / Google’s pocket.

What you need to do is go into the Advanced Settings of your YouTube channel.

Then look for “Advertisements” and make sure that “Allow advertisements to be displayed alongside my videos” is disabled (the box next to it needs to be un-checked).

Finally, scroll down and hit the “Save” button.

YouTube will now stop displaying ads in your videos. (Although this doesn’t happen immediately, so don’t be surprised if you still see ads immediately upon making this change).

For a more in-depth tutorial visit http://orgspring.com/turn-off-ads-youtube-videos/