How I prioritise for growth & the cost of postponement
Certain activities — SEO, funnel optimisation, attribution — are a ticking clock. Why should you work on them sooner rather than later?
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Prioritisation, along with creativity and communication (including "convincing power"), are the most important skills for a growth marketer. It doesn't matter if you have most original ideas and can easily get the resources for them, if you're working on the wrong things.
Personally, I use a simple combination of two frameworks (Growth Model and RICE) for prioritisation.
I always start asking founders or C-Suite for their revenue goal and then I reverse engineer it with a Growth Model. That gives me the key levers to work on: what are the biggest areas of opportunities / what is the KPI we want to move?
Once I have that clarity, it's time to decide which activities to start with.
Since I've been working on growth marketing for now nearly ten years, I usually have a solid hunch on what are the lowest hanging fruits. If those were already tried, I list all possible activities to move that metric and rank them with a RICE model.
However, with a Growth + RICE models framework, compound growth and analytics initiatives could not make the cut. If your revenue goal is set for a timeframe within a year, it's likely these activities will be rated as high complexity + low impact and be discarded.
There are certain strategies — SEO, funnel optimisation, attribution — that have a clock ticking against them. Every day you don't work on them, it's another day you miss out on their results. I call that the cost of postponement.
In this article, I cover what are the growth activities you shouldn't postpone and why:
SEO is a slow burn activity that builds over time. You start working on it today, you see some minimum improvements tomorrow.
The nice thing about SEO is that once you're getting traction from it, you're unlikely to lose it. If you have your technical SEO in place (e.g. page speed, URL structure) and you're regularly publishing (and updating) relevant content, your SEO performance is likely to keep improving.
Compare it to performance marketing, where the more you spend, the harder it is to get results. Or with viral campaigns, where you get a peak of results that diminish (fast) with each passing day.
The healthiest businesses I've worked with are those that get most of their leads and users from SEO. You'd be surprised at how many obscure companies are out there with a 7-figure ARR that comes mostly from SEO.
Another reason why SEO shouldn't be postponed is that you have little control over how many users you will reach. What do I mean with that? You can only take a slice of the pie and the pie's size is fixed: it's how many people are searching for your keyword.
Let's say you own an online pet store and you build a dedicated page to rank for "toothbrushes for dogs", which has (a hypothetical) 100 daily search queries in the U.S.. At the very best, bordering on the impossible, you will get 100 daily visitors from this activity. With a 5% CTR, you're getting 5 visitors.
When you implement this idea is going to have a direct impact on the results you get. If you did it a month ago, you will get 150 visitors (5*30), but, if you launched it a year ago, you will get 1,800 visitors (5*10*12).
Funnel optimisations follow the exact train of thought of SEO. Let's say you're aiming to increase the number of registered users and the metric you're trying to move is "sign up completion rate".
Before any changes were made, your funnel looked like this, with a 40% sign up completion rate:
Your team worked on a sleek, short new sign-up page with product validation and social proof. They've managed to increase your visit-to-registration rate by 20%. Now 48% of your new visitors complete their sign up. Your funnel now looks like this:
As you can see, the absolute quantity of new visitors (1000) and the ratio of new visitors that visit the sign up page (10%) have both remained the same. Of course, they were both outside your team's project scope.
Just like with SEO results are dependent on search volume, funnel optimisations are impacted by numbers outside your control. There's a fixed reach for this project: users that make to the sign up page. Due to this, the earlier these implementations were done, the bigger the absolute results will be.
With a 20% increase rate in sign ups, after a month, you would have gained an additional 8 (48 - 40) users. After a year, that number would have been 96.
If your product grows through product-led growth or word of mouth, this difference will become even starker based on the implementation date.
Forgotten password" and "reactivation" flows are also included in funnel optimisations. They're often forgotten by product teams but they also have a compound impact on active user growth.
This section could be analytics in general, but I will die on a hill saying attribution is the most important part of analytics to have it right.
A proper UTM naming convention and taxonomy (for web-based businesses), one source of truth to avoid conversion duplication (for the ad spenders) and a mobile attribution tool (for mobile-based businesses) are vital day 1 investments. Regardless of industry or service offered, your attribution should also be able to identify up to individual user level.
Is it important to accurately track and measure campaigns? Yes, it's super important. But that's not the main reason I bang on the role of attribution.
I've seen over and over again founders and product managers underestimate the difference in user behaviour dependent on source. Users that have discovered you from content marketing are going to be likely to be significantly different from Paid Facebook users and from your referred users.
The way a user has been introduced to the product will impact how they interact with the product. If you cannot accurately slice product data per acquisition source, you'll likely make wrong "data-backed" decisions.
Therefore, if you want to use data to understand your userbase and shape your product roadmap (and I think you do), it's key to get your attribution right on day 1.
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