Book #14: Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg & Justin Mares


‪#‎100BooksChallenge2016‬ | Finished March 13th 2016

Favourite Take Aways

Traction is the best way to improve your chances of startup success. Traction is a sign that something is working. If you charge for your product, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it’s a growing user base.

Traction is a sign that your company is taking off. It’s obvious in your core metrics: If you have a mobile app, your download rate is growing rapidly. If you’re running a subscription service, your monthly revenue is skyrocketing. If you’re an organic bakery, your number of transactions is increasing every week.

Traction is growth. The pursuit of traction is what defines a startup.

If you’re starting a company, chances are you can build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.

Traction is a tricky thing. Initial traction is unpredictable and can happen in many different ways—nineteen by the authors count.

Nineteen Channels to achieving Traction

  1. Targeting Blogs

Popular startups like Codecademy, Mint, and reddit all got their start by targeting blogs.

2. Publicity

Publicity is the art of getting your name out there via traditional media outlets like newspapers, magazines, and TV.

3. Unconventional PR

Unconventional PR involves doing something exceptional like publicity stunts to draw media attention.

4. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) allows companies to advertise to consumers searching on Google and other search engines.

5. Social and Display Ads

Ads on popular sites like reddit, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other niche sites can be a powerful and scalable way to reach new customers.

6. Offline Ads Offline Ads

Include TV spots, radio commercials, billboards, infomercials, newspaper and magazine ads, as well as flyers and other local advertisements. These ads reach demographics that are harder to target online, like seniors, less tech-savvy consumers, and commuters.

7. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making sure your Web site shows up for key search results.

8 . Content Marketing

Many startups have blogs. However, most don’t use their blogs to get traction.

9 . Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to convert prospects while retaining and monetizing existing customers.

10. Engineering as Marketing

Using engineering resources to acquire customers is a significantly underutilized way to get traction. Successful companies have built microsites, developed widgets, and created free tools that drive thousands of leads each month.

11. Viral Marketing

Viral marketing consists of growing your customer base by encouraging your customers to refer other customers.

12. Business Development

Business development (BD) is the process of creating strategic relationships that benefit both your startup and your partner.

13 .Sales

Sales is focused primarily on creating processes to directly exchange product for dollars.

14. Affiliate Programs

Companies like HostGator, GoDaddy, and Sprout Social have robust affiliate programs that have allowed them to reach hundreds of thousands of customers in a cost-effective way.

15. Existing Platforms

Focusing on existing platforms means focusing your growth efforts on a megaplatform like Facebook, Twitter, or the App Store, and getting some of their hundreds of millions of users to use your products.

16. Trade Shows

Trade shows are a chance for companies in specific industries to show off their latest products.

17 . Offline Events

Sponsoring or running offline events—from small meetups to large conferences—can be a primary way to get traction.

18. Speaking Engagements

19. Community Building

Companies like Wikipedia and Stack Exchange have grown by forming passionate communities around their products.