Do you know Noah Kagan? He’s the founder of AppSumo, Sumo.com, King Sumo, Send Fox and FAM.
Noah came to Australia in 2013 as our very first international keynote speaker at The Digital Summit. I’m a big fan of his work and I love the way he asks questions and hearing his marketing and business opinions.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Noah on The Interactive Minds podcast last week and wanted to share some of my key takeaways from the conversation.
Shiny Object Syndrome
Noah comments how he suffers from shiny object syndrome (like many of us!) and how he always thinks that the next new thing will save the business or take it to the next level. It results in creating a lot of new things. The truth is though that sometimes it’s the tried and tested things that you need to keep doing, or sometimes double down on.
For example, if you know that content marketing works well for you but you stop or reduce it to try a lot of new things, then you can’t be surprised when your numbers go down. Don’t stop doing the thing that is currently working, keep working it until it doesn’t work any more. So, in this case, keep the content marketing machine going regardless of what else you try.
When I asked Noah what he’s worked on recently that hasn’t worked, he frankly answered “Everything. Everything doesn’t work.” He goes on to say that it’s a problem with marketing, in that the boring stuff works and the things that are exciting don’t work. It takes a fairly unique scenario where new stuff works expediently. He referred to the example of some big tech companies who “spammed” a group to get early growth. This action inevitably then burned the channel for everyone else. Think of Facebook with Harvard, Airbnb with Craigslist, Hotmail with email, Slack with your company.
It’s important to stick with stuff and be consistent. Stay with it and figure it out and if you do get tired with it, then get someone else to stick with it. And if you want outcomes, it’s important that you do things professionally. We spoke about podcasting and how people are surprised when they don’t get results, but when it comes down to it, they aren’t actually spending the time needed to get results. Half an hour a week to promote a podcast isn’t enough, it’s not focussed enough to see real results. So be honest with yourself about what you’re actually working on.
On Product Launching and Growth
Noah recently launched FAM (a tool that enables automatic marketing for Shopify owners) and in hindsight said he might have handled the launch differently as whilst it didn’t fail, it didn’t quite meet their high expectations. In this case, because they had made a significant development investment, they tried a big launch which was moderately successful.
However, Noah said that if he had his time again he would build it with a smaller team and launch sooner which would have enabled them to get some customer feedback and make modifications along the way. Also, he has realised the audience disconnect between FAM and their other stable of product offerings made it harder to promote using their own customer base.
Noah believes that email marketing is here to say (at least for the next 20 years). It’s a key way that people communicate, it’s universal and it’s free. Email is not owned by one person like many of the other communication apps (think What’s App or Facebook Messenger for example). Gmail does have a big hold on it though, which is scary – they can really impact the open rates and deliverability of messages.
Noah is starting to look at email frequency more closely at the moment. He says that we are seeing many ecommerce businesses email one or two times a day which is a bit of overkill, but if you were to send your customers something weekly that they want and look forward to – would that work? Ask yourself if you are excited to read your own content. Noah is looking at being consistent, sending on the same day each week and sending their customers something that they will look forward to reading – with the aim of increasing open rates and engagement over time. He wants the team to be excited about creating it – if your team isn’t excited, how can you expect your customers to be? He mentioned an email he is enjoying at the moment called MeetGlimpse.
With a recent tool Noah has launched called SendFox, they are also trying to ensure that people who want to get your emails are actually receiving them. This involves not sending to the people who don’t open your emails by cleansing your list properly (it increases your open rates and cuts your send costs).
Organising His Week
Noah is one of those people who has a planned approach to his week. It’s something I’m keen to do more of myself. Here is how his week is organised:
- Monday – organisation day
- Tuesday – check-in with the team (meetings)
- Wednesday – strategy day
- Thursday – content, podcasts etc.
- Friday – flex (to pick up the slack or work on projects)
Our conversation included so many other great topics like Noah’s thoughts on remarketing, how to explore new channels (test and invest), how often we should push to channels, setting and monitoring KPIs, and loads more.