Made-up marketing is the new Growth Hacking

What do you think about consultants that write courses or posts or promote themselves by saying they will increase your conversion/traffic/…. by 68% or 248% or …? ( If I will get exactly another number can I call you a liar? You didn’t even ask me about the current state of my business.)

Why not just say: “It happened ONCE, to a specific client, that went from 100 clients to 168 or 248. I can try to understand your business and grow your business too, as much as I can.”

“Made-up marketing”/”Lying marketing” is the new “Growth hacking”.

Today from Facebook (Pages) on an abandoned page:

Notification: “You had 30 new visualizations”.I go check out: “1 new visualization”.

Happened multiple times.

Facebook finds reasons to remind you and maybe you start promoting your page.

It works. Spam and other mass tactics work too (if they get 0.1-1% results is fine), but that’s not a reason to do it.

What to read next as an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, you do not learn only from books about entrepreneurship, but also from books that can make you mentally stronger, to be able to survive all the challenges entrepreneurship throws at you.

I often look for the best books to read/listen to that can really help me develop personally and professionally.

I want to get the maximum amount of knowledge for the time I invest, so I look for recommendations.

In the last year, I’ve been following The CEO Library and I got good recommendations, so I am recommending it now.

I find many “success” books to be boring or that do not apply to me. So always look for books that are written by someone that had the same challenges as you. Example:
If you are bootstrapping and want to build a lifestyle business, you will learn more from the people that had started in the same way, than the ones that raised VC investments.

I must say that I mostly read articles, than books, and I scan them, instead of reading them completely.

I get my weekly dose of inspiration from Indie Hackers, from interviews on entrepreneurs that bootstrap.

How do you choose what to read next?

Think before choosing freemium for your startup

Launched in 2010, AppFog finally gives up on freemium business model.

Over the past few months, a subset of free users have engaged in abusive actions that has negatively affected the stability and uptime for all users.

We have taken numerous steps and dedicated resources toward addressing abuse, but have come to the realization that larger changes are needed to bring AppFog back to the level of reliability our customers have every right to expect…

New customers will no longer have the option to sign up for a free plan. We will offer a trial starting very soon.

It’s nice to start by offering free accounts (even if limited), hoping that this will get you more and more users for your product, but look at the downsides.

I hear a lot this advice: “Go freemium, look at what DropBox did and it worked”. I did offer free accounts in the beginning and dropping the free accounts was a good decision for me.

1. Attracting the wrong user

In my startup, over 80% of the resources used by the free users were from Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia) with a conversion rate to paying user close to zero.

If they do decide to pay, they will be a pain and they will have a small lifetime value. A lot of them will ask for discounts and even if you give them, they still might decide not to pay. This will also mess up your projections, thinking that you have many users and that you are growing steady, but after a while seeing a lot of cancellations.

2. Wrong feedback

The free users will not only use your server resources, but also your support time, asking many questions and having all kinds of requests.

Now if you think this is feedback, you are wrong. Don’t look for feedback from the people that won’t pay for your product, because they like to talk, they like to make you work, but in the end they will still not pay and you spend quite a lot of your time working on features that would drive your product in the wrong direction.

Also, you should not give discounts easily. I have a lot of discounts requests, but

3. Undervalue your product

If you start by offering your product for free, they will want to continue to use it for free because “hey, you can afford a small free account just for me”.

Marketing on discount websites is wrong again. I offered the product for almost free (discount + fee = zero revenue) and at the end of their discounted period, 95% cancelled. And just so you know, I had a really low churn-rate with the other users.

When to choose freemium?

There are a lot of cases when freemium work, see Dropbox or Bufferapp. Depending on your product and the resources consumed it can work for you.

You can chose freemium easier if you got a big investment and you are not pressured to go on positive operational profit very fast.

Do you have use freemium model or trial based for your startup?



Getting fewer visitors to your website is a good thing

fewer visitors to your website


For the last 2 years, I watched how the traffic of my startup grow. After I had managed to get more and more visitors to my website, I started paying more attention to conversions.

The effort to increase my website conversion from 2% to 3% (that’s about 30% increase) is lower than increasing your traffic by 30%, not to mention you improve the quality of your website when you optimize it, you make it clearer to the visitors.

Having good numbers in Google Analytics is not everything though. What good is a visitor that registers, but he doesn’t know that he will eventually have to pay for your product? “On the web you can find everything for free, right?”
So I did also a few tests directing my register now button to the Pricing Page. The conversion numbers from visitor to registered user dropped yes, but the conversion from users to premium users grew significantly.

On the free tools page, 80% of the visitors didn’t even think about converting (based on geographical analysis and conversions), but they were using the tools heavily. Keep this in mind when you offer free tools. Even if the tools are free for them, they are not for me: I pay 3rd party services for some data, server power etc.

Focus on getting quality traffic

You may often find that promoting heavily in social media or posting everywhere can get your website bounce rate really high (high = bad), so measuring channels just on visits or conversion rate is not really enough.

Look at the effort spent on each channel. From some channel it’s easier to get 1000 people to visit your website, but only 5 to register and from some another channel you may work the same to get 100 people to visit your websit,e but 20 to register.
Where should you focus your marketing efforts?

Once I’ve hit my product market fit, I started going where my targeted user were. This showed in a decrease in traffic, but a lot higher quality visitors (bounce rate improved by 20% and average visit duration by 40%).


La ce sa te gandesti inainte de a lansa un proiect online

Cateva idei despre lansarea unui proiect online:

1. Lanseaza un produs functional rapid (NU perfect) si dezvolta-l cu putini useri, pentru a-l adapta in functie de feedback-ul primit.
2. Promovarea unui proiect international e mult mai grea decat a unui proiect national. In Romania ajungi mult mai usor la oameni, lumea nu e atat de bombardata de proiecte si cerinte.
3. Profita de orice oportunitate si promoveaza-te pe canale diferite (chiar daca ti se pare ca nu are sens). Oportunitatile nasc alte oportunitati.
4. Pregateste-ti bugetul de la inceput pentru un scenariu pesimist, sa poti sustine proiectul pana la punctul de profit operational 0. Investitia ti-o scoti pe termen lung.

Lasati sfaturile voastre in comment si eu voi actualiza lista cu numele vostru (si link dofollow 🙂 )

3 resurse utile si gratuite inainte sa iti faci un magazin online

Multi aud de la prieteni cu un magazin online ca le merge bine, ies bani buni si se gandesc si ei sa isi faca unul. De multe ori acesta este doar self-PR; nu crede tot ce auzi, chiar daca iti sunt prieteni.

Daca nu esti partenerul de viata sau cel mai bun prieten al meu, nu o sa iti zic ca sunt in rahat si ca am investit o gramada si nu stiu de unde sa scot banii de salarii pentru luna raspectiva. Iti voi zice “adevarul”: ca merge, ca am vanzari.

De cele mai multe ori cei care nu cunosc domeniul se arunca cu capul inainte, investesc toti banii (putini de altfel, fiindca un magazin online cere investii mici, nu?) in lansarea unui magazin, aleg solutii gresite, scumpe si nu raman cu buget de promovare.

Inainte de a te apuca sa iti faci un magazin oline, iti recomand sa citesti si sa pui intrebari pe urmatoarele site-uri:

1. Un portal de intrebari si raspunsuri: Cum imi fac magazin online cu o echipa de specialisti in spate gata sa iti raspunda la intrebarile tale.

Grupul de comert eletronic pe 2. Facebook si pe 3. Yahoo.

Oricine poate sa isi faca un magazin online, dar daca nu ai experienta, ai trei variante:

  1. (timp) Te apuci sa inveti tu (si nu e foarte greu, dar iti trebuie timp, rabdare si curiozitate sa inveti ceva nou)
  2. (echipa) Iti iei un partener care stie aceste lucruri
  3. (bani) Platesti pe cineva sa te consilieze (inainte si dupa lansare)

[RO] Afiliere prin widget BonusGate de la Sigmanet

In acest post am scris ideile mele de imbunatatire a widgetului BonusGate, program de afiliere de la Sigmanet.

Am adaugat widgetul pe (in paginile interne, unde continutul variaza) si vin cu cateva sugestii de imbunatatire:

1.  prima data cand intru pe pagina generarii widgetului, ar trebui sa fie deja un cod standard acolo si un preview. A durat cateva secunde pana sa imi dau seama ca trebuie sa apas “Continua” (Ar trebui “Genereaza”).

2.  Chiar daca targetarea se face contextual (in functie de continutul paginii – ceea ce este FOARTE BINE), as vrea sa detin controlul unor factori (exemplu vreau sa afisez doar laptopuri, sau doar produsele la promotie, sau doar cele care costa peste 1000 lei). Cineva poate considera ca poate castiga mai mult/conversie mai buna  in functie de situatie.

3.  Sa imi selectez numarul de produse afisat, iar daca acesta este mai mare decat cel care incape in widget, sa faca slide cu celelalte produse (sagesti stanga-dreapta). Si Google Adwords are de exemplu in Gmail langa anumite bannere sageti de vazut mai multe reclame. Aici ar fi foarte bine ca utilizatorul se poate vedea mai multe produse direct din siteul afiliatului. Un alt avantaj ar fi acela ca animatia automata (slide-ul) poate capta mai bine atentia.

4. Posibilitate editarii unui titlu in widget (Exemplu: Produse recomandate de Razvan), poate fi mai personal si creste rata de conversie, daca textul se afla in widget si nu langa. Utilizatorul poate crede ca nu e un BANNER standard, ci afiliatul chiar a stat si a adaugat acele produse.

5. Personalizarea culorilor este necesara. De exemplu bannerele cu border au o rata de click mai mica, afiliatul vrea sa il stearga sau sa si-l personalizeze cu siteul pe care afiseaza widgetul.

6. Mai multe modele de widgeturi (Sigmanet – your smarter choise sa poata fi mutat jos, sa aiba dimensiune diferita).

7.  buton de “COPY” al codului si selectare automata a textului din casutele de cod

8. raport de performanta cu sugestii – care widget a adus mai multe actiuni. Asta implica generarea si salvarea acelor widgeturi. Nu poti nimeri din prima care e cea mai buna combinatie de pozitie/aspect/marime, de aceea afiliatul trebuie sa aiba un suport pentru a stii ce sa imbunatateasca. In final, aduce mai multe vanzari, toti au de castigat.

9.  Nu specifica nicaieri in interfata BonusGate comisionul dat afiliatului; transparenta cred ca ar duce la popularitate si incredere. Poate fi si comision in functie de performanta.

10. Targetarea contextuala – majoritatea siteurilor nu vor fi de IT, de aceea targetarea contextuala nu va face diferenta, aici revin la punctul 2 – afiliatul vrea sa aleaga ce sa afiseze.

Do you really need millions of dollars?

I read a lot of news regarding start up projects that get millions of dollars in funding.

Personally I don’t know how to use them on any of my projects (to actually get positive return of investment). Tens of thousands of dollars, yes, but millions?

If you meet someone from an investment company, are you prepared to get millions of dollars?

Am castigat VW Golf VI de la

castigator VW Golf VIPe 28 iunie 2010 s-a incheiat licitatia pe a unei masini VW Golf VI.

Am castigat! Pe 7 iulie ma voi duce la Baia Mare sa “ridic” masina de la reprezentanta, sa ii cunosc pe cei de la si pe Chinezu care s-a ocupat de promovarea siteului in blogosfera.

Voi reveni cu poze in postul acesta cand ma voi intoarce de la Baia Mare cu masinuta.

Nu comentati anonim.