The hardest part of marketing? Customer Acquisition.
What happens when your best performing channel stops growing :(
Acquisition ceilings are real, and we bump up against them all the time.
However, sometimes their self-imposed, it's because you can't figure out how to scale beyond the current limits of that channel.
Here is an excellent example from Canva on how they added real scale to one of their best-performing channels.
- How they go after new opportunities by giving people the role of a co-founder of that opportunity.
- How product and marketing worked together to break through the limits of an existing channel adding significant growth in user signups.
- and much more :)
Okay, let's talk about the subject of Acquisition Ceilings, and how you, as a growing company, can overcome them.
We talked a lot about this subject in a recent episode of the GrowthTLDR Podcast.
In part of that episode, we discussed a podcast interview Andrew Chen did with Intercom where he said this about companies, who fail to scale their customer acquisition.
[Andrew] "I think the, you know when I look at some of the high profile cases that didn't work, there's a couple of things that I think to work in concert to make them more difficult.
The first is you have an acquisition model that is a single channel, right.
Maybe that's Facebook ads, maybe that's Google ads, perhaps it's, you know, SEO, maybe it's, you know, one of these things, but you especially don't have any, you know, natural virality, natural kind of network, you know, kind of stuff in there." [/Andrew]
Now we're all smart people.
We know that it is essential that we diversify our channels. We know for high growth companies, it's essential that we have some virality, whether that's word of mouth, engineered, or both, let's be greedy, let's want both.
But I want to talk to you about how you can break through your acquisition channels, not just break through them, but smash through them, in your core channels, the ones that Brian Balfour calls out in his Power Law, the ones that will make you a successful company.
You see, sometimes those ceilings are self-imposed.
It's because we put limits on the channels ourselves because our creative thinking doesn't allow us to figure out how we can scale through the initial wins that we've had.
How we can take something, and grow it into something, much, much more significant, we put limits on their channels ourselves
that stunt our growth.
You see the best people in growth, that's all of you listening right now, know how to scale through those limits, but let's use an example, let's use Canva, as a great example of this.
Canva is a company that makes design easy; I'm sure everyone uses them, they do that by providing you with lots of tools and templates to do lots of crazy, cool design.
They have grown to a billion dollar valuation, they've grown to over 10 million users, and are growing at a rapid pace.
Now Canva has a great approach to growth.
When they want to figure out if a new channel is a potential opportunity for them, they give that channel to one or two people; they call the co-founders of that channel, and their mission is to do everything possible, just like startup founders, to prove out that channel has some viable growth opportunities for Canva.
That's how their growth team started with Andrianes, their head of growth, where he began with SEO for Canva as a viable channel, and what he did was he built lots of landing pages to talk about different use cases of Canva, and it did great.
But he did not stop at the limits of that tactic, he thought about how can I scale this in a very creative way, and what he did was something that I think is essential for high
growth companies today if they want to win at acquisition, he worked with the product team to build something into the product itself to help them scale through that channel.
They built a marketplace, which has over 50,000 templates, and all of these templates, you can imagine ranked very well in Google, bringing in a ton of organic traffic, and helped them to generate lots and lots of free users, every given month.
Product and marketing together, that's how you create real scale in terms of acquisition.
Now the best part is, not only did Canva drive a tonne more at the top of their funnel through the adaption of their product but you know what's even better, those templates actually improved their activation rate by 40% because guess what?
People love templates; it gets them to the value of your product in a
the shorter amount of time.
That's why companies like, Airtable, have built out their own template directory to help people to figure out what their product does.
That's why people like, PandaDoc, have their template directory to get people to the value of their product in a shorter amount of time increases the top, improves the bottom, that is a pretty awesome win,
And there you have it. If you are reaching the ceiling of a channel, make sure that it is not self-imposed.
Make sure you think about it from every single angle, including how you could potentially adapt your product to get more scale from that channel.
And if you like this kind of content, why not go check out
the GrowthTLDR Podcast, where we talk about content like this all of the time with people who are far smarter than me, experts in this space, you'll love it, give it a listen.