Brainstorm Possible Solutions
Now what we need to do is step three, is we need to start brainstorming some possible solutions. Alright, we want to gather everybody together and what I like to do, and we do have a formal brainstorming meeting I'll tell you this. This should happen you shouldn't necessarily need a "brainstorming meeting". I've found, I don't know about your experience in here, the best ideas to me don't come when it's like 'We're going to have a meeting where we're going to come up with ideas'. The best ideas come to me like, in the shower, while I'm at a conference listening to something else making a connection, right? If you say, okay stop everything you're doing and come up with an idea. That is a recipe for insuring that I don't think of anything at that particular moment, right? So having a 'brainstorming meeting', I think if there's a big issue going on if you want to say, okay we've decided we're going to focus on this, this is the theme, we've analyzed it and these things, so we're open to i...
deas. I think that's fine. But I almost think you're better to send everyone away and come up with the ideas. We'll talk about how we gather all of these together. But we want to brainstorm them. So that's what we're doing. We've focused, analyzed, everybody understands the why, they understand the reasoning. We told them, we've really decided that of these four growth levers, you know, kind of the theme in the area where we want you to begin to focus some of your brainstorming efforts are over here at the activation stage. We've looked from a benchmark perspective, here's where we are. We've decided we're going to break this pattern, we're doing some different things right now. Go ahead and set the scene for you team. Explain why you're focusing, explain your analysis. And then, what I recommend that you do, is you gather everybody together, once they've come up with some ideas, and you have the brainstorming, not a session where they brainstorm, but a session where people can present their ideas. Now when we did this first digital marketer, I literally went up to the whiteboard and I drew this. I drew this up on the board and I said, "Okay, we've got acquisition, activation, monetization, and retention. These are the four growth levers. Now where I want you to focus, and really where I want you bring all that you got, is here in the activation phase. Because that's the theme, but if you have any other ideas then present them now." The reason you want to do this, is invariably people are going to submit ideas that aren't necessarily in the category that you want. A lot of times, especially if you have a newer, younger team, they're going to think that it's activation, but they don't totally get it. And if you say, "Okay, all I want to hear from you is activation stuff." And they submit that idea and you say, "Yeah that's not really an activation thing, we'll get to that maybe next month". You shut them down. They don't care about my ideas. Instead, if you've got plenty of room, I want you to focus here, but still three quarters of the space you got left for any other crazy, hair-brain schemes that could come up. Now when someone presents: that's a phenomenal idea, I love that, it's not so much on the activation stage, it's really more monetization stage, but I'm going to write that down, because that's a good one. We may still want to try to see if we can fit that in this month. See? We do this so that people can see even if it's outside of the theme, they have it. So maybe it's testing new homepage opt in copy. Maybe it's launching a podcast. Maybe it's testing a Facebook video campaign. Maybe we're saying, you know on the activation site, we really need a new indoctrination series. When somebody signs up for a demo or something like that, we're getting a decent number of sign-ups but they're not showing up. So can we put some type of indoctrination series in place so they actually show up. Maybe it's having a product on-boarding series, or on-boarding people, which is what you brought up. Maybe they're like they're taking forever and the people don't know what we're doing, we're having to spend a ton of time explaining it to them. Well maybe say, let's put together a simple email series that goes out, so that when they show up for the on-boarding they're better prepared. They've got a little more context. Maybe it's we need a walk through video. Maybe from an activation standpoint, we're getting a decent number of people to activate into a trial, if we're charging a buck, what if we just made it free? Right, what if we just made it free? On monetization, you know what, we need to launch a totally new product. That's going to happen in almost every single meeting. You know what we need to do? Something completely different. Right, and you're going to like throw up a little bit in your mouth, but you need to write it down. Let's test the new webinar- let's try a new webinar. Let's roll out a new script for the sales team. I've got an idea. What about an upsell abandon series that fits an e-commerce type thing? We've got a lot of people who are hitting this page, that are leaving and not buying. Can we send them an email and say like, you bought this thing, you should have bought this thing, here's another chance? Maybe we should test a 14 day trial versus a 30 day trial. 30 days working, if we tested the 14 day trial, we'd get our money back two months earlier, maybe that would allow us scale faster. Incidentally we did test this additional marketer, 14 day trial bombed, just for what it's worth. Throw that out there. What I'm showing you here is when we did this, these are the idea that we came up with. And I did say to the team: activation is the focus. And these are all the other ideas that came up at the same time. Actually took a picture of the whiteboard and reproduced it here. We should test raising the price. Right? We should test raising the price. Retention side, ah the problem with activation is, we're just getting a lot of declines. We should have our merchant provider do a decline audit. I don't know where that idea came from, it was a great idea. We did find that, some of the ways that we were that we were doing the fraud prevention, we had it way too strict. We had an enormous number of declines on the rebill. We should have a retention person literally calling every single cancel and decline. We should have a decline recovery series, we should send out a new member welcome kit, so that when people sign up they actually get something physical. Wouldn't that be nice? And the main reason that everyone is leaving is because they don't know where to start so let's have a "start here" campaign. So when I opened up the floor for suggestions for activation this is everything that we got, right? Everything we got. Lots of ideas were good, some of the ideas were less good. Lots of them not, you know, in necessarily the best timing, but you want to do this brain dump. You absolutely want to do this brain dump. I'm going to give you a tool that's maybe a little bit more efficient than scribbling all this stuff up on a white board in just a second that will allow people to submit ideas at any time and any place. But this is where it began. So we think about just idea generation in general, if you're not talking to your customers. I know this is super basic stuff, right? Super basic stuff, but if you're not talking to your customers, you're going to be hard-pressed to come up truly great ideas that are customer-centric. I talk to customers all the time. I'm an introvert by nature, I don't necessarily enjoy walking up and talking to strangers, but if there's an industry event I go to it. And I talk to customers. When we acquired an industrial water filter manufacturing company, I knew nothing about it. I didn't know who the customers were. The very first industry event, we got a booth there so I could talk to our customers. Find out what do they want? I'm a big believer in making 100 dials. Go out there for at least the first few months. Make 100 dials, make 100 dials calling existing customers and ask them questions. I like dials because I can control dials, right? I can control dials. Talk to people who are talking to your customers. Some of the best optimization ideas that we've had have come from our customer success team, because they're talking to the customers. Talk to the people who are selling to your customers. Probably noticing a theme: talk to your customers, talk to the people talking to your customers, and talk to the people who are selling to your customers. Next to the sales people, by the way, are mildly helpful. They're not as helpful as I feel like they should be. Maybe that's just me being biased, as more of a marketer. Our vendors, however, our vendors are super helpful. If you can establish a really good vendor relationship, and find out what they're doing, if you have a vendor and they're serving the same customers, even if it's a completely unrelated business model, they're serving similar customers, what are you guys doing? What's working for you? Vendors are hugely effective, as well as your VARs, if you have a viatal resellers or any affiliates, or any referral partners. They're going to have some good ideas too. Read and listen to industry thought leaders. I mean it's worth listening to blog posts, I mean this is pretty basic, probably goes without saying. The other thing I would suggest though, is read and listen to non-industry thought leaders. What is working in other industries that are totally unrelated to yours? That's where the biggest breakthrough can come from. Right now, a digital marketer, one of our single best sources of new leads and prospects and ultimately subscribers into lab, which is our entry-level subscription, is this at the top of our home page. Join the premier online community for digital marketers. Digital marketing is constantly changing, that's why we're here. You can sign up. And it says, "Enter your email address now to get your invitation". We didn't have a lead magnet at the top, we tested that and nothing worked better than register here to request your invitation. An invitation request funnel. The reason that we created this is because I kept seeing it work in different kick starters. So working things had nothing to do with it, I'm like why do we only have to do this now? Why do we only have to do it during a pre-launch? Right? It worked for Gmail when they first out, request your invitation. We got this awesome membership. You should join, it's good and stuff. Request an invitation. People request and invitation without having any idea of what it even is that they're wanting to be invited to. Right, that doesn't make any sense at all. It didn't make any sense to me when I began to see, you know companies, you know it made sense when Gmail did it. Everybody kinda knew what Google was, they were coming out with the email. It's free, that's cool, I'll request an invitation. And now I start seeing all these no-name companies on Kick Starter and Indie Gogo and Brand New Sass. Companies putting stuff up on Product Hunt and they're request and invitation. For what? I didn't get it - but it worked. I don't have to understand why something works, to try it. Okay? I don't have to get it. I don't have to get it. I just have to know it worked for someone else, we'll give it a go. I still don't get why this works. To this day, I have no fricked clue. But it does. But it does. And we've optimized. By the way, join the premier online community for digital marketers- that headline sucks. The first one I wrote was so much better. Except that one tested better, so we're letting our customers tell us what's better opposed to my ego. To the copyrighter, right? So that's where everything on there has been fully tested, none of it makes any sense at all to me. But it works. And I would've never come up with it on my own. And if I would've seen other people in my market doing it I would have disregarded it as that's a dumb idea because I have, you know again generally you see competitors, doing something that's a little bit different and you're like 'idiots' right? But if it's unrelated to your industry, you don't bring that same baggage with you. If it's unrelated, because they're not a customer, you don't have to necessarily invalidate them. To make sure that you feel pretty good. So that's why you gotta look at other industries. See what's working at other industries, attend their events. If you're in SAS and you're not going to shop talk, which is in e-commerce event, you're crazy. Right, you're crazy. There's so many great ideas that are happening there, you're talking about the optimizations that they're doing around order form and buying process and on page upselling, you don't want to bring any of that into your environment? You're crazy. If you're in e-com and you're not going to any of the different SAS conferences, you're crazy. There's brilliant things that they're doing, in onboarding and engagement. So many smart things, you gotta bring these together. Those are just two examples. So make sure it happens. Everybody asks about surveys in terms of brainstorming, I think surveys kinda suck. And look, surveys can be great, if you are a professional survey person. If you really understand how surveys work, and how to formulate questions exceptionally well, then they can be great. But a survey in the hands of a marketer, if a great way to give a marketer permission, to just validate all their ideas. Because they'll, just intuitively, structure the questions so that people say yes, right? In general, people don't know what they want. They have no clue. They have no clue, and if you ask somebody for their opinion, they're always going to give it to you. So it's your job, we get paid the big bucks because we figure out what people want before they know they want it. Right, we get paid the big bucks and it use that term generically, but you know, you want to achieve big things, like you want to get paid the big bucks, you want to have a successful company. Figure out what people want before they know it and be willing to try something that other people say is a little bit stupid and test it. Because you just don't know. I think survey is a cop out. Who do you think, because I don't really know what you want, can you tell me what you want? I think it's a cop-out. I think it's lazy. It has it's place- micro surveys, you know on a page, where they're popping up like, hey we want to get some user insight from you. Those can be fine. You know, net promoter score, those are fine, those are great. But sending out a survey to your list saying like, how much do you want to pay for this product? Oh come on man. Do a price test, let them vote with their wallets, not with their opinions. So what I would love for you to do, I gave you some of the ideas that we had, I would love to just take, you know a couple minutes, and let's see if we can't brainstorm together. What are some ideas that you have around, let's go with activation? Right, so what are some ideas that you have to increase activation? And if you're watching, same thing if you're watching at home, I'd love to hear. Like what are some of the growth ideas, that you have? Let's see if we can't do a little bit of brainstorming, you know right here, now. Anybody got any kind of wild, crazy, hair-brained schemes? Anything they've seen lately that worked pretty well? [Audience Member]- I'll talk about a campaign we're about to launch. [Ryan Deiss]- Yeah. [Audience Member] - So we're a legal marketplace, we match consumers with solo attorneys based on the client's budget. [Ryan Deiss] - Yep. [Audience Member] - So our customer is someone who can't traditional law firms. [Ryan Deiss] - Okay. [Audience Member] And a lot of times, our customers don't even know that they can get their legal need handled at an attorney at a price that they can afford. So what we're thinking about doing is kind of plugging into what people are already doing on social media, sharing stories, and kind of talking about what are some of your legal resolutions for 2018? Just to kind of get those, ideas into people's heads of what they can accomplish for a price that they can afford. So whether that's creating a will, whether that's getting a business idea protected, and then also kind of putting a price out there to kind of turn on a light bulb for our customers. [Ryan Deiss]- Yeah, so your market is taking people who, they traditionally couldn't afford an attorney, and providing that service to them, right? And you need to generate the awareness that this exists. [Audience Member] - Exactly. [Ryan Deiss] - Right, that's the thing. So a great place to go when you're like, okay this is what we need to do, this is the challenge, this is the opportunity. Is ask, what other companies dealt with a similar opportunity in a completely different market? Right, what other companies needed to figure out, you know how to create exposure for this, and how did they do it? So when I think about the early launch of like Uber and Lyft, and these companies, they had to convince people, you know you can just by downloading this app, you can call up a car, and have a black car roll up in front of you. Now I know normally, you're probably not the person that has a chauffeured, you know town car roll up. But now you can do it. So to go back and look, in the early days, how did they do that? How did they get that awareness out? What were some things that they did? That's where some really good growth ideas can come from So analyzing the problem can absolutely trigger some different ideas, some different brainstorming that can take place with your company. Anybody else have any cool things that they're done lately that they're willing to submit? Whatcha got? [Audience Member 2]- We are a dental technology company. [Ryan Deiss]- okay. [Audience Member 2]- We provide dental diagnostics for general dentists. [Ryan Deiss] - Okay. [Audience Member 2] - We are getting into dental implant practice. [Ryan Deiss] - Okay. [Audience Member 2] - And the funny thing there is, the main value proposition, is by ordering diagnostics from us, you're improving the odds, significantly improving the odds and accuracy of treatment that you're going provide, give to a person to a patient. And they would understand this value proposition, but they would not act upon it. And the way that we got them to be activated was we told them, look, right now in order to get a CT scan, it's a very primitive, first step thing for diagnostics. You're patient is spending $400, how about we give it to you for $200? That's what they started buying into and activating and getting kind of engaged with the product. Not the main value proposition behind it. [Ryan Deiss]- Yeah because you didn't, you weren't trying to convince them on your value proposition. You were essentially suggesting to them, here's how you can make an extra $200. Yeah, so thinking about, how can we simplify a lot of these messaging? It just helps to kind of talk though, you know, the problem. And when you're leading a team, when you're going to this thing, you know what is the challenge? Who else has done this? How have we accomplished this before? Part of the reason we got in and started testing a lot more on the sampling side, because I thought, sampling it's not going to work. And then I was in a mall and there's the person at Chick Fil A with like the chicken on a stick. And you're like, okay I want it. And it's like okay that worked right? What does that have to do with doing any type of sampling from a software capacity? I knew it worked, let's give it a try. So just asking your people, what have you seen lately that worked on you? Even if it had nothing to do with it? It's a great brainstorming opportunity.