AMA #2 with Anirudh Narayan – Growth Hacker on Demand who has worked with big brands like Rocket Internet and Shutterstock.

Anirudh. Could you get into detail about your experiences with Skillfeed and what you did to grow that business?

I was brought in as a performance marketer/growth hacker to bring their CPA down by $35 to $25 and Churn from 20% to 10% by year end. I was given a healthy marketing budget and had to optimize current channels and try new channels altogether. Tried 10 different channels: 2 worked where we could double down and pour in more money (CPA < $35) while the rest 8 were off the roof. That was more on top of the funnel. Created a strong drip campaign that helped activate a lot of users as well based on subjects. To give you context, Skillfeed was an educational product with 19 different subjects. So you received emails based on the category searched on the platform. Our developers were awesome
So what were the channels that worked? And could you talk a bit more about how it got the CPA down.
Twitter ads and social ads tailored based on every subject. so creative, message, campaign all tailored towards the audience. Ran 3 campaigns for one vertical (Marketing) based on keywords | followers following our competitors | interests.
My first question is about Rocket Internet. Hows it like to work with them? What was your role there ?
I was a Business development consultant brought in to launch their fashion e-commerce company in nigeria with 11 other super smart people. MBA grads and engineers from the top 10 universities (not like it matters as much but yest). It was awesome working out of an apartment with a german CEO who was 23 years old running the show like a boss. PROS: Super execution focused, highly data driven and process for everything. The motto was faster faster faster. CONS: Felt less connected to the product and culture wasn’t strong. Overall a great experience in Nigeria
Anirudh Narayan any social media strategy(facebook in general) you’d like to share, which really worked for you?
Depends on audience.Things that have worked have been based on images, messages on the image, description and overall timing of the campaign. For twitter use hashtag analysis and see which are the most relevant hashtags for your business. Start using them. You’ll see a lot of these bots automatically favoriting your tweet which increases overall engagement and goes out to their audience. Plus helps people find you organically 2)Take blog content and break it down into excerpts and push that out on twitter/facebook. 3) Asking your biggest facebook fans to change their profile pic for a day in return for goodies

Have you come up with any good strategy or theory of growth hacking for hardware?Or if you know any good materials, please share them.

My knowledge in the hardware space is limited, but check out https://www.quirky.com/. They create awesome products and they have some case studies I am sure around how they marketed some of the products
Anirudh, Can you share few more hacks that have worked for you for lead generation?
I wouldn’t call them hacks per se but yes 1) Click to tweet for engaged users 2) Exit overlay but not those obstructive ones 3) Give out your product for free in return for a blog post, track it. 4) Sumo me’s share widget that is placed on the blog. 5) Getting influencers to tweet for you in return for promoting their product. 6) Free samples
For a new technology product, which everyone is experimenting with but not many have invested in.. do you have any advice on what could help convince the first few customers to buy?
it should be the other way around. Have you found a set of customers who have a genuine problem, have tried solving it themselves and have gone in long lengths talking about it? If you are solving a genuine problem i.e. its not a vitamin but a drug then it wouldn’t be convincing anymore. But if you’re solving a problem that people care about, find those people somehow. Offline/online. Take their email address and build the product with them through feedback loops
Anirudh. You’ve been in the States and you are from India. What would be the biggest differentiators in scaling and being successful, not in terms of Infrastrucutre, but in terms of people’s behavior, habits etc.?
They’ve a general mentality of trying a ton of things and being extremely process driven. I am actually very surprised at how most entrepreneurs have a general mantra of try a ton of shit till something works. 2) Most aspiring entrepreneurs aren’t in their comfort zone. Imagine paying $1200-$1400 in rent on a monthly basis, barely saving anything and then trying to start something. So that uncomfort in general pushes people to innovate. 3) Individualistic culture and anyone can succeed. That leads to easy networking as people are open to meeting new people and bouncing off ideas. 4) The rest is just the ecosystem is built to support you if you’ve a solid idea and you’re willing to execute
Anirudh There’s been a notion going on about how Facebook’s advertising doesn’t perform well in India like it does in the US. Any thoughts?
Well my hypothesis is that its more cultural than anything. Being Indian, I feel like people want to try it if everyone is using it, the FOMO(Fear of Missing Out). But to be like I’ll be the first one to try it, that could be rare. We are also not a credit driven/capitalistic culture. The reason why I brought that up was if someone in the US sees something they like, they’ll buy it. But I might be wrong. Things are changing though. There is solid innovation taking place now and people in general are quite into the whole startup boom. My parents are using big basket, healthkart, jabong and amazon. So maybe in a few months, you might see them being early adopters for new products
Have you tried drip campaigns for B2B? If yes, what duration and frequency would you recommend?
I would recommend behavioral over drip. Duration and frequency in genenral depends on clients but if it was someone who was highly engaged, the trigger of emails should be quicker. If its someone who hasn’t been engaged early on, have a reduced time send. ?Tuesdays and Thursdays, fridays around 3 PM are good for emails
Anirudh, have you ever tried offline marketing? How did it work out?
Doing a lot of that for my course currently and did that with Lean Startup Machine. I am not a big fan of banners and any of those ads that aren’t personal. Sell through people. I try to create partnerships with people who have similar goals and then see how they can benefit from this partnership. The product is only the medium. Also, while entering new markets, the people on the ground know better. Incentivize them better, see how they can benefit from the long run and sell through them. So influencers on the ground, media partners, meetups, bloggers and all of that.

Anirudh Last from me. What do you think of the current crop of entrepreneurs from India. What are they good at? Where do they lack?

┬áDon’t know enough but we have the smartest minds in the world. The US is at 45,000 startups, we are at 4500. So we just need others to have the courage to make the shift and try. If you fail, you learnt so much and you would be in a better position to do anything after. If you succeed, then you created jobs and value for enough people around you and made a difference
Whats your #1 hack so far?
I would say quora. Helped a B2B startup get 12X times the leads by creating solid content on quora and answering questions objectively. Tracked it using UTM codes
I can give you a hack though. For your business: 1) find relevant quora topics with more than 1K views. 2) Answer it like a thought leader 3) Re-ask the question 4) Get legitimate upvotes from your community (Quora has a way to figuring it out if its being gamed) and track it
My quora account or the company’s? Either way it was close to non-existent. If you’ve a 100 topics that you can answer given three months, it might be possible. But its not like the same hack will work for everyone
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