About This Episode
Lars Lofgren is the CEO of Quick Sprout and ex-Director of Growth, and Head of Marketing at KISSmetrics. He has considerable experience in growing businesses, building high performing teams and creating actionable Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tactics for sustainable growth.
In this episode…
Lars shares his experience as a marketing professional and discusses important aspects of SaaS growth marketing and CRO, which include:
i. Key learnings gleaned from working with industry leaders like Neil Patel
ii. Things to avoid while building a SaaS business
iii. Brilliant Strategies for forming high-performance growth teams
iv. Unique CRO tactics and growth hacks to uplift web and mobile conversions
v. Impressive ways of maintaining your growth curve
vi. Actionable ideas for designing the future roadmap for success
Here is the summary of 3 key topics from the episode:
1. The key ingredients of Growth and Lars’s favorite Growth hacks
Priyam: One very fascinating statistic that I came across is Quick Sprout which was a very popular name until a while ago, of course, traffic and competitors quickly took over. The big-name which was associated with QuickSprout badly withered away. Well, that was not a very long time ago. Until recently, after you came on board, there is a metric that comes into my mind, the traffic has increased by 74% in just a couple of months. So how did you achieve this?
Lars: Yeah. It took us a couple of months. The specific increase was from February 2019. We are using the past metric as a kind of bottom. We have been working on the site since the end of last year (2018). 5 to 6 months of concentrated effort and then we saw that kind of impact.
Priyam: That’s commendable and the numbers are absolutely huge. We would love to find out what you have been doing? If you could list a few things that really worked out for you and the strategic changes that you made.
Lars: Sure. I’ll give you an easy one. Initially, the QuickSprout URLs were not set up properly.
The way our website was set up, it created a lot of junk. It would have taken years, not even months to get it right. We had to structure our website according to the keywords, date and month. There were around 1600 URLs. We deleted the blog posts which didn’t bring a lot of traffic. No matter how good they were. We kept it crisp and clean. If you look at the site now, you will see that every blog post covers a different topic. We spent a lot of time on consolidating and site clean up. We basically let go of 2/3rd of our old website’s content. As compared to 1600 URLs, now we are down to 500 URLs.
Priyam: So the idea was to go completely lean and mean?
Lars: Yes. Earlier I used to focus on volumes. Now my first priority is quality. If the content is not carrying much weight, I will just let it go. See, if you have multiple contents on the same topics then Google also gets confused about which one to rank. I learned this the hard way.
2. Building and scaling Growth teams
Priyam: The one biggest thing that I really want to learn from you is how you have built an army of growth? The idea of scaling a business sounds really nice but you, of course, need a great team to back you. What is your philosophy on this?
Lars: This is a big question. The first place to start is to find the set of people who are on the same page as you related to Growth. For me, the definition of Growth does not just comprise of marketing. Growth is a combination of Product and Marketing. It actually is an intersection between both of them. So on a day-to-day basis, the growth team actually works as a product team. Most of them include engineers, developers, designers, folks who can actually build and ship a product. The only difference is that instead of focussing on features, the team focuses on Acquisition metrics of some kind. The one thing that companies need to consider while building the growth team is if they really need a growth team.
3. The way towards optimizing your conversion through performance marketing
Priyam: Most companies today struggle with this age-old question, whether to pour money into acquisition or should they focus more on retention? What do you think is the right way to go for unrestricted growth?
Lars: This is a very important question and if as a business you don’t know the answer to that question then you probably don’t know how to do business. Some business model demands that you focus more on acquisition while some business needs the exact opposite. I’ll give you a clear rule of thumb, SaaS as a whole operates completely on retention which is what did when I was working at KISSmetrics. If you are selling a product whose demand is completely relative such as when a customer is buying a winter jacket then she might not a winter jacket until next year, this is where the acquisition part plays a heavy role.
Priyam: Fair point. I also want to understand how you focus on optimizing your conversion rate. Are there some strategies that have really stood out when it comes to mobile as well as the web?
Lars: So in my career, there is only tactic that has really worked for me. It sort of ticks all the boxes. It always works, it gives a return that you can feel, the effort is pretty low and it also works on all kinds of funnel irrespective of eCommerce, SaaS, mobile, web, etc. It’s the headline. The copy of the headline really matters as that is the first thing that your prospective customers are going to notice. Trust me it makes a lot of difference and it can help jump the signup rates by 20-30%.
During 1 hour of conversation with Lars, we got to learn quite a lot of things on marketing and growth, conversion rate optimization, designing great customer experience and how to scale a growth team when you have limited resources and tons of things to do.