Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth – by G. Weinberg and J. Mares
How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
See my lists of books for more.
Go to the Amazon page for details.
The main idea of the book should be spreading in every startup. Basically, without a traction strategy from the beginning you’ll go nowhere. You need to get traction spending the half percent of your efforts on it. It’s not enough only being product focused.
Traction is basically quantitative evidence of customer demand.
You can make guesses, but until you start running tests, it’s difficult to tell which channel is the best one for you right now.
Having a product or service that your early customers love, but having no clear way to get more traction is a major problem. To solve this problem, spend your time constructing your product or service and testing traction channels in parallel. Use the 50 % rule: spend 50 % of your time on product and 50 % on traction.
If you focus on traction from the beginning, then you can figure out very quickly if you’re on the right track.
From the perspective of getting traction, you can think about working on a product, you can think on working on a product or service in three phases:
- Making something people want: it’s getting those first customers that prove your product can get traction.
- Marketing something people want: it’s getting enough customers that you’re knocking on the door of sustainability.
- Scaling your business: it’s focusing on increasing your earnings, scaling your marketing channels, and creating a truly sustainable business.
Use the bulleye’s framework. That will help you find the channel that will get you traction. It consists in 3 steps:
- The outer ring: What’s possible. It’s focused on brainstorming every single traction channel you can use.
- The middle ring: What’s probable. It’s running cheap traction tests in the channels that seem most promising. (You can run multiple experiments at the same time.)
- The inner ring: What’s working. This final step is to focus solely on the channel that will boost your startup: your core channel. (This is the dominant channel in your traction strategy.)
Over time, all marketing channels become saturated. Tactics that once worked well will become crowded and ineffective.
The key question when analyzing the channels is, “Does this channel have enough customers to be meaningful?”
Look for customers where others aren’t looking. And constantly optimize, keeping it numerical.
You need to define your traction goal. An explicit traction goal you’re working toward.
You can choose between nineteen channels to work out:
- Targeting blogs.
- Unconventional PR.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
- Social and display ads.
- Offline ads.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)1.
- Content marketing.
- Email marketing.
- Viral marketing.
- Engineering as marketing (building tools to reach more people).
- Business development.
- Affiliate programs.
- Existing platforms.
- Trade shows.
- Offline events.
- Speaking engagements.
- Community building.