“You’re not going to increase your revenue, your traffic, your sales unless you take growth seriously.”
“Perfection is overrated. Nothing’s ever perfect. You’re going to continue to have to iterate, so forth, so on.”
“Why would you expect someone to just come to your website and be like hey, buy something for $1,000. Okay, here’s my credit card, right?”
– Neil Patel
He’s an entrepreneur, investor, and analytics expert.
He’s best known as the co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg.
In addition to founding companies, he’s well-regarded as a writer and a blogger.
He’s Neil Patel, and here’s my take on his top ten rules for success.
Rule number three is my personal favorite, and I’m curious to figure out which one you guys like the best. Also, as Neil is talking, if he says something that really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below and put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy.
Rule #1. Take growth seriously
Before we get started, I want to tell you one quote from a guy named Adam Nash, and it’s very important, in which “Growth is important, “and all good companies take it seriously.”
You’re not going to increase your revenue, your traffic, your sales unless you take growth seriously. For example, you know Facebook.
You know what their internal metric when they first started out was?
How many more users were they adding per day?
“You’re not going to increase your revenue, your traffic, your sales unless you take growth seriously.” – Neil Patel
And they weren’t just looking at it as a pure number. So if they had 1,000 users the first day and the second day they had another 1,000 users and then the third day they had another new 1,000 users, that’s slowing growth.
Percentage-wise, you’re not growing as fast. So their goal was to grow a faster percent than the previous day, right? If you take growth seriously, you can actually do quite well.
Rule #2. Execute fast
You need to execute, and you need to execute as fast as possible. Because the thing at the end of the day is whether you feel you have competitors or not, sooner or later you’re going to have someone, and if you can’t move fast enough, someone’s going to beat you to the punch.
So make sure whatever you’re doing, you get something out within a month or two.
If it takes you longer than that, you’re taking way too long. I created this company called Serph, and it was in Rockwell, Texas, right by Dallas. And I had this brilliant idea.
Have any of you guys heard of the Media Temple grid server solution? That was my idea a year or two before it came out. And I spent a million bucks on it trying to actually do that idea before Media Temple.
“You need to execute, and you need to execute as fast as possible.” – Neil Patel
The funny thing is I didn’t have a million bucks, so I actually had to borrow a million bucks, and I spent it on business partners who moved really slow and really weren’t the best at what they did. Within 12 months, we launched nothing.
They also had some of the problems in my previous slide, right, like financial instability and they had a family and kids of I think, like, six. So I even bought ’em a home in Rockwell, Texas that cost 200 and something thousand.
Why did I buy it instead of renting it?
I have no clue. I was stupid and young. But nonetheless, I lost over a million bucks on that of borrowed money. Not investor money, but borrowed money that I had to pay back. And it failed miserably because we never launched anything.
If you can’t launch something, someone like Media Temple’s going to beat you to the bunch, get a ton of customers, and make a lot of money. So lessons I learned from that.
Set deadlines. No matter what, you have to set deadlines.
People have to be held accountable to ’em as well, right? You can’t just set a deadline, it passes, nothing happens. Someone better be meeting ’em. If not, you know, something has to change. You also need to make sure they’re small.
If the deadline, if the milestones, goals are too big for those deadlines, they’re not going to get met, so make ’em really small and tangible. That way you can see it really well in advance if they’re actually going to be met or not. And last but not least, don’t worry about perfection.
A lot of people, like, dude, I’m going to create the most perfect version of, you know, whatever it may be. That software has a lot of buzz.
Mine’s going to be perfect. Perfection is overrated. Nothing’s ever perfect. You’re going to continue to have to iterate so forth, so on. It’s never going to be perfect. There’s always going to be issues. Just get it out there and start trying to make money.
Rule #3. Learn from mistakes
I continually learn from my mistakes and other people’s mistakes. See, entrepreneurs think that, hey, to create that billion-dollar company or hundred-million-dollar company or even million-dollar company you have to be really smart, and sure, brains is part of it, luck is a huge component.
But what I’ve learned over the years is everyone, no matter how smart you are, you’re going to fail many times and you’re going to make mistakes.
Just look at Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook worked out. His version of Snapchat that was a copycat did not work out, right? So there’s other areas in which Facebook failed, but Facebook overall as a company has done great.
“I continually learn from my mistakes and other people’s mistakes.” – Neil Patel
Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re always going to succeed with everything you try or touch. But every time you do something, you will learn new things, you will make mistakes, and if you learn from these mistakes and avoid making ’em over and over again, you’ll actually increase your odds of succeeding as time goes on.
And the best way to do this is not just to learn from your mistakes, but it’s also to learn from the mistakes of others.
Rockefeller, Carnegie, all these people who were entrepreneurs years ago in the 1800s, 1900s, they themselves used business principles and concepts that are still applicable in today’s world.
Sure, we have the internet, but the same strategies and concepts that they used are still applicable, right? So learn from their mistakes.
Learn what worked for them and what didn’t work them, why, and bring that into what you’re doing today.
Rule #4. Flip around your funnel
So conversion optimization is like dating, right? So if I go up to a random person, let’s say the lady looking down on her laptop, anyone, Unbound shirt, what’s your name? What’s your name?
Nadia, if I say will you marry me right now, chances are you’re going to say?
All right, if she was single, she would still probably say no.
Why would she say no?
Yes, she is smart, but what’s the other reason?
Audience Member: Not enough data.
Okay, not enough data, but what else?
If someone comes up to you in the middle of the street and just says, will you marry me, I don’t care if they look, they’re a Victoria’s Secret model, right? Why would you say no, or I don’t care if they’re Brad Pitt.
Audience Member: I don’t know you.
Exactly, you don’t know ’em. That’s right. Whoever said, give yourself a pat on the back. That’s the way the internet works, too.
Why would you expect someone to just come to your website and be like, hey, buy something for $1,000. Okay, here’s my credit card, right?
“People got to play around with the product a bit before they actually bought.” – Neil Patel
I wish the world worked like that, but it doesn’t. But once you get to know people, they’re much more likely to say yes, right?
Just like you date someone, get to know ’em, move in together, you ask ’em to marry you. Hopefully they say yes.
If not, you kind of wasted some time. But here’s what most funnels look like. Someone comes to your website, sign up, and you generate some sales, right? So I decided to do something. I’m like, you know what?
Why not flip around the funnel?
Why not get people to actually use a product before I actually try to charge ’em?
Put in a URL first. From there, what’s your goal?
Start creating product, right? It actually caused a 52.11% increase in signups, all by switching it around. Still asked for their credit card. Just got more signups. Why, because people got to play around with the product a bit before they actually bought.
Rule #5. Focus, focus, focus!
Focus, focus, focus. You heard the say, us Generation Y kids have ADD, right? That’s what we all say. Well, if you have ADD, you know, you got to figure out how to focus, and here’s the thing.
There isn’t enough time in the day to do multiple things. Think of it this way. I’m a single guy. I’m 27 now. And if you think about it, there’s only 24 hours in a day, seven days a week. Let’s say you sleep. I need my eight hours of sleep or I’m cranky.
It’s like, you know, you hang out with framily, whatever, maybe, you don’t really have more than 70 to 80 hours to work every single week.
“Don’t try to do two businesses at once. Focus.” – Neil Patel
If you barely have money and there’s not enough time in the day to work, right, to get everything done that needs to be done, how can you do multiple businesses and do two businesses at the same time?
It’s just not going to work.
Unless you’re Elon Musk, and I got to say, that guy’s a badass, right? Like, when people ask him, what do you do, he can say, “Oh, one of my companies competes with Toyota.”
What’s the other one do? “I compete with NASA,” right? Like, he’s a badass, and he’s the CEO of both of ’em.
And they’re billion-dollar companies. Unless you’re Elon Musk, don’t try to do two companies at once, right? He put in, when people didn’t give him money, in one interview, he’s like, “No one would give me money. “I just put in 100 million bucks of my own money,” right? Like, the guy’s really a badass, and probably none of us in this room are him, so don’t try to do two businesses at once. Focus.
Rule #6. Get personal
Idea number six. Get personal. And I got this idea from Facebook years ago. Do you remember when you were on Facebook, like, five years ago and you would see all these ads, your friend has a crush on you? You remember that?
Those guys made a killing. They were spammers, but they made a killing. And I’m not saying you should spam, but you can actually learn a lot from these kind of people.
Don’t do the shady stuff they’re doing, but take the ethical tactics that they were doing and replicate them and throw out the shady business model part. So dating sites make you feel special, very special, right?
They tell you when you go to these sites, OkCupid, Match.com, what else is there?
Tinder doesn’t do it, ’cause Tinder’s mobile-based. Actually, Tinder kind of does it. It’s geo-based, right?
They make you feel special. So if I’m logging in from Vancouver and I go to Match. I don’t know if Match is here.
It’s an IC company. It usually says, hey, there’s, you know, 5,639 singles in Vancouver. What are you waiting for, right? It’s like, oh, that’s a lot of single people in Vancouver. Maybe I should sign up. So we tested this out on timsykes.com.
I’m determined to create a millionaire trader in Las Vegas.
My only question is will it be you, right?
Tim is down to create a millionaire trader. He’s done this many times. We started using geo-based data. The signup rate actually increased quite a bit.
We decided to do the same thing on my site.
Do you want more traffic?
Hey, I’m Neil Patel. I’m determined to make a business in Las Vegas successful.
My only question is will it be you?
The best part about this is for all the people around Las Vegas or cities like that, geo-targeting’s not exact, so it may say Las Vegas even when someone’s like 30, 40 miles away.
“Personalizing a site, making people feel special like they do on the dating sites can really help you grow your revenue.” – Neil Patel
You know how many emails we were getting per day?
Like, hey, I applied. I really want to do it. I’m not based in Las Vegas, but I’m only 20 miles away. I can drive.
Traffic’s not too bad, right?
People were really engaged, like, wow, this is personal. It’s just an opportunity for someone who’s in Las Vegas. Heck, he doesn’t service and nor do I, we don’t service people in Hamburg, Germany, but if you go to the page, it’ll show up Hamburg, Germany if you’re in Hamburg, Germany, right? That’s what we do.
Then we also took this data and decided to throw it, throw out all the steps from geo, popping in the name, changing it to multiple-step process instead of single, so that way people are actually feeling special throughout the whole signup process.
You know what happened?
68% increase in engagements. So conversions jump roughly 30% from signing up, but engagement was more important. What I mean by engagement, I’m talking about LTV of the customer.
Customers were staying 68% longer, and I know that may not sound like a big deal, right, but it’s really hard to keep customers. If your customers are only staying for a year and you’re getting ’em to stay for an extra, like, seven months, that’s huge, right?
That’s seven months’ worth of extra money. So personalizing a site, making people feel special like they do on the dating sites can really help you grow your revenue.
Rule #7. Love what you do
I really love what I’m doing. Not just so much where people are like, oh, find your passion and go do it. A lot of people claim it’s something they really like.
But I enjoy marketing so much and creating companies for marketers that I work my butt off and it doesn’t seem like work, right?
I can work 70, 80-hour weeks consistently and not have to worry about it. It never stresses me out. I never feel like, oh, I should take a vacation or any of that. I really do enjoy working. I’m a workaholic.
Rule #8. Hire loyal people
So loyalty matters. Hiring good employees isn’t enough. You need to hire loyal employees because shit happens that’s just not in your control, right?
I was part of this company called Fruitcast. I put in 100 grand, me and my co-founder, and this dude came up to us with the idea.
We set up a business, we barely did any work, we just put in more of the capital. It was when podcasting was hot.
Everyone remember podcasting, that thing that no one listens to anymore?
So when podcasting was hot and you just had the iPod without the video, right, we created this company kind of like Google Adwords, but for podcast, ’cause it was taking off.
We could automatically take your podcast that you were creating and put in ads for you and do on-demand pay-per-listen model, and it was hot, right? A lot of companies were hitting us up, ad agencies. We even had a lot of buyout offers.
“Hiring good employees isn’t enough. You need to hire loyal employees” – Neil Patel
And it didn’t go through. The reason the buyout offer didn’t go through, and it was from a big search giant, you can take a guess, there’s only three, but the reason it didn’t go through, ’cause he was like, dude, why would I want to work for ’em?
That would be stupid. I like doing my own little business. And I’m like, dude, I just gave you 100 grand for this business and you’re telling me you’re not passionate about it and you don’t want to do it full time or you don’t care for it?
I’m like, why’d I give you the 100 grand for it, right? So I learned that it’s really important to have passionate people.
Like, the other thing to keep in mind is, I’ve also been through lawsuits, class action lawsuits. When you don’t have loyal people that don’t fit in with your culture, they’re going to leave you.
During my last class action lawsuit, my last and hopefully only one, we actually had no employees who left us, which is pretty amazing, right?
You’re running out of capital, customers were leaving us, and the class action lasted a long time, like over a year, and no one left us, and it was because they really fit in with culture.
We took care of ’em. Me and my co-founders do whatever we can for our team members, right, ’cause it’s like, they’re a family.
So it’s like, when you treat ’em that way, they’re going to treat you that way, and it’s a win-win situation. So lessons learned. Hire people who fit within your culture.
Tony Hsieh does a great job of this. When you’re interviewing, he’ll pay you to quit right away, and if you want to quit and take the money, you can take the money, but he knows that you’re a bad fit. Make sure everyone has similar short-term and long-term models.
People try to buy you out. If everyone on the team doesn’t have that same goal and objective, a lot of your team members won’t go, which means that your company’s not going to be valued the same.
You also need to be transparent. I’ve always been open with my team, and by being transparent, it’s helped create a good culture and a healthy one where they stick with me and I continually stick with them.
Rule #9. Be consistent
You have to keep in mind, humans are inherently lazy. When you’re blogging, you need to be consistent. If you’re going to write a post, write continually.
If you’re going to write once a week, you better write once a week. I don’t care if it’s a holiday. I don’t care if you’re sick.
If you’re going to do once a month, then stick to once a month. Worst case, you should stick to once a month, and then if you have more time, ramp it up to twice a month and once a week, et cetera.
I got lazy one time with my current blog, Quick Sprout, years ago, and I took a whole month off.
My traffic was climbing almost every single month prior to that. When I took a month off, how many months do you think it took for me to recover that traffic? Three.
I had to blog consistently every week for three months just to recuperate my traffic back to where it was versus it growing on a consistent basis.
“When you’re blogging, you need to be consistent. If you’re going to write a post, write continually.” – Neil Patel
Now sure, the blog won’t ever go to zero, but it does go down, so by continually adding more information, you’re going to find growth.
When you’re also doing this, you need to create a conversation. Well, in blogging, you can use the words you and I. It helps create a conversation, right, creates that illusion.
So if you read my content on Quick Sprout, you’ll notice a lot of yous and Is. Helps keep people engaged, makes ’em scroll longer, stay on the page, et cetera, comment, right? In essence, I’m creating a virtual conversation, and I kid you not, it works.
The other thing is don’t act smart when you blog. Dumb it down. So not only should you create a conversation by using you and I, keep it simple.
Don’t try to be more sophisticated or smarter than your readers. You need them as much as they need you.
You actually may even need ’em more, right?
So be friendly with them. Once you got the conversation piece down, you need to focus on headings, right? So you see headings.
Within your blog posts, you need to use them three to five times. This will help you break it up. It keeps it simple, right?
Rule #10. Make signing up easy
How many times have you guys signed up for a service?
Once, twice, three times?
I bet all of you guys have signed up for more than 50 services in your lifetime in which you’re putting in your name and email somewhere.
Would you agree with that?
Probably even 100, right?
What happens if I could tell you that you can sign up for a product without giving your name, email, and password?
Would you be happy, assuming it doesn’t break any privacy laws, all your information’s secure, et cetera?
Would you be happy?
Well, you can. So Buffer. Log in with Twitter, log in with Facebook, log in with LinkedIn, or log in with an email address. A lot of people are doing it. I understand, they’re a social media business, but anyone can do this.
We do this at KISSmetrics. KISSmetrics sells B2B solutions for businesses. So you would think, oh, people would use their corporate email address, you know, Facebook wouldn’t work, especially Gmail, right?
You guys wouldn’t think Gmail would work for a business that only sells to other businesses?
Well, we decided to test it out.
Sign up with your Google account. We didn’t even give another option that stated also sign up with your email.
We made you sign up with your Google account, right?
Just that one little change increased signups by 59.4%.
Then we decided to do something funny. I can see the Unbound person shaking their head. You’re going to try this, aren’t ya?
All right, try this after. It even worked better. So we decided to do something else. We’re like, you know what?
I hate signing up. I don’t mind logging into sites, but I don’t like signing up. So we decided to change a call to action button to say log in with Google, right? We got another 22% increase in signups just by changing the word from sign up to log in.
So if you take both the convertor rates, the 59 and the 22, it compounds, right? You’re looking at roughly, like, a 90-plus percent increase in conversions.
That’s not too shabby. All by just using Google. And we have customers like Microsoft, Amazon, et cetera. They all signed up through the Google funnel. And you would think people at Microsoft aren’t using Gmail.
I can prove to you they are, right? So if someone’s telling you, oh, it’s not going to work, it’s not what we’re testing, you know what, try it out.
You can’t go wrong. Just send 10% of your traffic.
What’s the worst that’s going to happen?
So try out these tactics.
It doesn’t matter if you’re e-commerce, lead gen, a service-based business. You can always test out these tactics. I’ve done it on all these types of sites and it works.
I guarantee you actually will see more growth from your business. If you don’t, you can email me, heckle me, and I’ll actually give you free advice. Take care, thanks.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Ernesto Bal asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know what did Neil say that really inspired you or really motivated you, or what did you learn from him? Please leave it in the comments, and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout-out to Cyrus Webb. Cyrus, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book and tweeting it out as well. I really, really, really appreciate it. So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love, I’ll see you soon.
Create Minimal Viable Products
Here’s a KISSmetrics story. Four years ago, which is roughly one share, maybe a bit more than that now. I think we’re up four and a half, we took a million dollars in seed funding from some angel investors. We created a version with that. It was called Version 1.0.
We were going to create a better Google Analytics, right?
Everyone use Google Analytics here?
Probably have some issues with Google Analytics, right, like, yeah, it could be better. Well, we were going to create a better version of it and we were going to charge you for it.
What was the issue?
No one wanted it because they loved how Google Analytics was free.
But I built it because I wanted it.
Terrible idea, right?
Spent a year on that. Version 2, and at this point we were running out of money, so we had to raise another round. We raised three million bucks. Version 2, only took six months this time.
Didn’t take a year. We created a Facebook analytics company off of Dave Mcclure’s AARRR metrics, you know, like the pirate, A-A-R-R-R, something like that.
That didn’t work out as well. We found out these Facebook gaming companies actually don’t make that much money or have a ton of money to spend on games.
Don’t believe me?
Look at Zynga’s stock, right? It’s in the shitter, so. It really is. These games last for, like, six months and then they go down. But that’s who I was trying to build a product for.
Learned the hard way that they have a ton of data which is costly to compute and they don’t want to spend much money at all. Version 3 took less than 30 days to launch. Funny enough, that was the version that we actually currently have.
We iterated on it, but it’s the version that people continually pay for and the business is thriving, right?
Lessons learned from this?
“When you release a product and you do the minimal viable product, what that is is you get something out there as quick as possible and you get feedback.” – Neil Patel
Create a minimal, viable product. It’s Eric Ries’, you know, like, preaching his whole thing, MVP, Lean Startup, great book.
Funny enough, he’s been an advisor to our company from day one, but it took us, like, a year and a half to get there.
I don’t know why, but, you know, we learned the hard way. As you can see, I’m on the business side, not the engineering side, and my co-founder’s also a business guy.
So, but it’s worked out. So when you release a product and you do the minimal viable product, what that is is you get something out there as quick as possible and you get feedback.
For example, when we want to launch a new feature or report, we actually survey people and just get their input, and then we’ll go create wireframes and designs that are clickable.
We won’t even develop it, and be like, hey, what do you think about this, and we’ll put fake data in there, and people are like, oh cool, I like this, or I want to see this, or I wish I could do that, blah blah blah.
We keep on iterating and eventually we’ll create a version that actually works and let people test it out with their data and iterate more until we get product market fit, which means that people are saying I’m really satisfied with your product and I’d be devastated if it no longer existed, which means that they’ll talk about your product a lot, the word of mouth marketing will spread, they’ll be willing to pay a lot more, churn will decrease, stuff like that, right? So go for product market fit.
You can Google it to look at the product market fit pyramid and how that works. And again, don’t worry about perfection when you’re doing all this kind of stuff. It just helps you get out products much faster.
People will drop off unless you give ’em a reason to stick around. So one of my buddies, Mike, we were talking and I’m like, what makes you stick around?
And we were drinking beers, and he’s like, those virus checkers, right?
He runs McAfee and Norton on his computer all the time and it actually causes him to stick around, ’cause when it tells him there’s a virus, he has to stay and find out what it is so he finishes the whole test.
Why he gets viruses on his computer?
That’s a whole different issue, right?
But he has that problem, so he’s always sticking around for McAfee. So I decided to analyze people’s websites and tell ’em that there’s errors.
As they progress, there’s more and more errors, right, assuming we find ’em. Instead of showing ’em the errors, I say put in your information, right?
“People will drop off unless you give ’em a reason to stick around.” – Neil Patel
Got more people to put in information. Gave ’em a reason to stick around because there was like, there’s errors, right? 63.5% increase in responses.
We were collecting leads. So not only were we getting more leads, but we had a 63-plus percent increase in people actually following up because we were giving ’em a reason to stick around.
Don’t Stop No Matter What
If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking for aggressive growth, there’s three things you need to do. One, you need to leverage content marketing.
Give away the best information out there. The information needs to be so good that your competitors won’t dare to copy you.
Number two, you need to create unique business deals. So everyone looks at marketing as the best way to grow. I actually see it as business development is the best way to grow.
“If you’re not willing to put in the hours and keep at it relentlessly whether you fail or you succeed, you just can’t stop no matter what.” – Neil Patel
If you can strike up interesting deals with other businesses that already have a user base, you can quickly grow and expand your user base really fast.
For example, if I run a marketing company and I’m trying to get more business owners and websites to sign up to my stuff, GoDaddy’s a perfect company to partner with ’cause they already have millions of customers.
The third tip I would say is just working really hard, in which people want to grow, but they don’t want to put in the time and energy to grow. If you’re not willing to put in the hours and keep at it relentlessly whether you fail or you succeed, you just can’t stop no matter what.