Andrew: Hey guys, welcome to masters in e-commerce for entrepreneurs, I’m your host Andrew Strauss I am here with Apostle, well, let’s see your is it a lot of different trades but he is the head of content at viral loops he’s also, co-founder at growth hacking university, which teaches I guess the process of marketing to hustlers right everything you need to know in the changing world he’s also, an instructor at no crunch and, head of the inbound marketing at growth rock and, let’s see what else does he do he’s just a pureblood marketer that knows tons of stuff writes great emails blogs video content overall great storytelling so, if I Apostle messed up on anything you know please you know fill me fill us in.
Apostle: So, hello from me again, I’m really flattered from the stuff that you said about me, thank you very much for that I thought he said more than enough I’m not actually right now as I’m not an ahead of the inbound marketing for growth hacks this was the first company that the co-founder of viral loops found it’s we started this company like five years ago or four years ago.
I don’t remember exactly its stuff happened and, yeah but we started this company which was a growth marketing agency and, from there we just had the idea to move on to making now like a tool something that will help our agency first so, when we had the chance and, there was a client that wanted something we said okay we will build this and, we built a short version of viral loops and, from there the rest is history for us, we moved on a lot from then, we worked a lot.
I want to believe and yeah now, I am the head of content for viral loops I’m working with a marketing team and, also, on my spare time but I want to elaborate more than that I’m into filmmaking and, you know storytelling in general this is what I do I like to create stories and, present them in every format that is possible for me.
Andrew: Right and, that’s key I think marketing in general right it’s all about storytelling it’s not so, much about selling as much as telling a story to get people, you know it’s that whole thing about cinematography, right where you have that yes you can get you in a hook and, then it brings you up to the climax you know it gets you drawn in and, then there’s that you know hero you know either somebody wins or somebody loses or you know on the moon.
Apostle: It’s funny that we started talking about that in the beginning because you know when you told me that we are going to do this on video I had to prepare something you know and, I had something in mind that I was thinking about yesterday that the reason that we like so, much video games movies superheroes is that they have not but they provide that something that most of the people lack which is a clear sense of purpose and, if they, if it wasn’t for stories we wouldn’t get that right from those movies or those movies, wouldn’t exist and, you know in marketing you can incorporate that to the things that you are trying to sell which sell okay it’s a bit of a heavy award even for me as a marketing marketer I don’t really like it so, much the sound of it.
I would like to think that I provide something to someone they’re selling and, they just pay a price for it but you know you have people that would give everything to become Batman, okay even though that Batman lost his power in the tragic in spent but then again you know button is full of purpose he has a sole purpose to do something about what he has in his mind.
You can see that in brands that create purpose like GoPro it’s because of GoPro that many people that I personally know that started doing some extreme sport they start kitesurfing they started the windsurfing or surfing, in general, doing motorbikes just because they wanted to upload a video of themselves doing something also, you have like a brand, like k-swiss which is doing a collaboration with Gary Vaynerchuk and, they put out like a Footwear, now Gary Vaynerchuk footwear because this is going to drive sales for people who have no ambition to become Gary Vaynerchuk
Andrew: They want to fill of following his footsteps, huh
Apostle: Yeah, this is the thing with storytelling it provides people with the ability to have a clear sense of ambition and, purpose, that’s why I like it
Andrew: Right and, so, that kind of brings it into kind what we’re talking about like referral marketing, I guess it’s kind of storytelling in a sense right I mean it’s uh you know if you refer people to it you are you’re loving that story so, you’re trying to bring people into that story and, hence you’re got the referral kind of marketing aspect to it then hope that which then turns into hopefully increased sales because you’re bringing those people along into the journey right?
Apostle: Oh yeah one way or another it is a story either you love the story of what you see and, you want to share it with somebody or you love the story that you create in your head about the things that will happen if you share it with someone but you will gain something that you will gain more credibility among your you know super hipster friends that haven’t yet found what you found or you know you get some money, either way, you create some stories inside your head or you receive we perceive something like a really good story and, you want to talk about it oh yes referral marketing in its essence it’s kind of based on storytelling direct or indirect
Andrew: Right! Right! so, you guys you know I mean your platform is kind of built on referral marketing right so, I mean so, take us through like some people might not what they might think referral marketing is more on the affiliate side of things like what is kind of referral marketing and, you know in terms of how that is you see in today’s marketplace increasing sales for you know e-commerce brands in general?
Apostle: So, in order to be as plain as possible in my explanation it’s like having a referral marketing program, is a way to give an incentive to people to do things with you they might know not know that they like you but giving them a present the first time that you meet them is like a very good choice to make a I mean it’s for me it’s like it’s polite so, it’s a very polite way to attract people and, get to know you it’s not something that you will get you the people on that will get them hooked on you and, they will never leave you it’s a way to say hello I’m here.
Referral marketing how it works you have a customer base you have a lack of email list and, let’s say that you blast those people somehow let’s say via email and, you say to them you know something you’re a customer and, we like you very much we thank you from the bottom of our heart so, we give you the opportunity to gain more from us so, if you know invite your friends and, family because these are the people that are going to get the invitation first it’s always happening like that so, when they invite their friends and, family and, somebody signs up or if either makes a purchase or becomes part of your email list which is something that you choose.
It’s something of your choice the way that you are going to reward people for inviting friends or the criteria they have to do to complete so, so, the thing is that you prompt your existing users to invite their friends to meet you this is what referral marketing is all about and, it’s a very strong traction channel for marketing activities I mean for it depends on the status the stage that your company or your business is but again it’s very powerful because it’s something that you don’t drink it doesn’t require so, much from people to do
Andrew: Right do you find like, what makes a good referral marketing program? is it just the knowledge that you know you’re getting the kudus pat on the back or is it a financial or you know or is it just points like what have you seen with all your campaigns that you’ve worked that people have run.
Apostle: Do you mean what makes a campaign successful?
Andrew: Yeah! here in Africa.
Apostle: I think that there is like a small group of people for every product to be sold. You can sell anything so, what makes a good referral program is to be like immediately understandable, you have to give people what they want to know which is what am I getting from this, for example, Joey wear’s have you seen that brand, it’s like underwear.
I hunt on Kickstarter they used by religion went pretty great for the pre-launch of their pre-launch they would they did a pre-launch for a Kickstarter and, it went pretty good yeah what really struck me is that when I went to the landing page of the referral campaign yeah it said invite friends equals get free pants – that people you get free pants so, this is like the pinnacle of a good referral marketing program to be able to communicate what people will get from there.
The UX, the user experience of the campaign itself it should be like really plain because people don’t have really the time to sit down and, dig deep in order to find what they have to do you have to make clear what they have to do in order to get to the to the result great user experience is always a good companionship for our marketing program and, then I would say rewards it’s very, very important and, it doesn’t do with the monetary value of the thing that you are giving it has more to do with the fact that what you’re giving is actually useful to those people.
When Dropbox had their infamous referral marketing program gave people more space, people went there to have more space on the cloud and, they prompt them to invite friends to get more space so, the viral loop that’s how the main name comes it’s embedded inside their product its part of their ecosystem on of how the thing works people when they use it so, this is also, very important the reward it has to do something with your own product I don’t really.
I’m not really a big fan of t-shirts and, branded socks and, okay maybe if I get the t-shirt all the sock I will wear inside my flat when I rest right but that doesn’t make any change inside me about the company I said oh that’s cute here I didn’t get any actual value because I also have other t-shirts that I can work where at home.
Andrew: Right! Right! yeah I guess you’re I mean it’s kind of like the same thing with Hotmail and, all these other kinds of programs you know what was it was free email nobody had free email back then and, it’s you know the same thing with PayPal and, all these other types of things I mean yes some of these things.
I mean you know the feel-good well now it’s like was buying the shoes or the socks or all these different things where they’re giving them order I mean it’s just a what is the value to you and, to your friends and, I guess on in terms of a viral loop or the referral marketing it’s you know you have similar friends and, you can kind of like are in that same group so, like if you’re going to get free disk space you know sore space well that’s good because I’ve got a lot of photos and, so, if I can earn that extra thing even though, I’m self-fulfilling my reward right it works in spades to your friends right so, that’s where I guess where your program comes into play is that you know and, then setting this up is very you know it can be time-consuming but with what you guys have I guess it makes it fairly very easy in a sense
Apostle: So, it’s pretty short the amount of time that somebody has to put inside in order to create a campaign it’s really short but you know as I told you it’s the detail, that does the whole difference I believe that if I sit down and, build a campaign in three minutes and, just let it be there I will not get the kind of results that I’m expecting
Andrew: Right how much time do you think one needs to put into a referral program like what are all the parts that one needs to think about before they even launch something like that?
Apostle: I would say that you have to start with what you are willing to give this is the end you should put a lot of thought and, also, you before even doing this you should consider if a refer marketing program is what you need at the time because getting people on board like in a huge like a huge amount of people to try something that you sell and, your product is not really worth it their time you just increase your chances of people talking bad things about your product out and, it’s nobody’s fault I understand, that somebody some people have something that it’s really new it should be it should be baggy I guess so, putting it out it’s in you know exposing it in so, many in such a crowd is not really a good idea for me I prefer to test things on small batches first
Andrew: Right, do you find so, if you if the if the if a company or a brand, doesn’t have it like they’re starting out brand new right and, they want to try and, grow does it work or a full program I mean if there’s a need I mean do they have to do paid advertising to get people to sort of in knowing about the brand, and, then getting their friends to refer it, what have you seen as you know people starting off they come in with your platform with a customer base already or can they start from scratch?
Apostle: They can start from scratch that’s all sure I mean it’s been done in the past, Robin Hood did this they had a huge pre-launch campaign which it was based on referrals again or I think it was also, Jets which is like an e-commerce platform really sure but they had pre-launch campaigns that worked their philosophy was around the Feria be more inside so, yes you can do it with the customer base of zero, you can start from scratch but again if you don’t have the budget it’s okay you can still do it and, you don’t need to do a pre-launch of 200,000 people waiting for you launch you just need people who are really interested.
If it’s like 100 or 200 of them it’s fine as long as you don’t allow them to forget about you it’s fine so, yes you can do it with zero budget and, zero people in your email list all you have to do is do the structure a good strategy that you know you have to see what kind of things you should do first know what you should leave behind for the last days of the campaign right you can outreach to bloggers to write on their blog for sure that’s for free and, if you outreach to 1,000 people, you get I guess if you are if you are writing good copy on the email and, you know how to write subject lines you get answer from at least 100 of them and, if you can write a guest post for 20 of them right or even less but again it’s free exposure it’s just part of the time you are willing to spend.
Andrew: Right! Right! so, the key is that when you want to do this on a low budget if you don’t have an ad budget to kind of do a Facebook run ads to it find out bloggers and, asked to write for their content for them for the blog and, then have that link back to you guys?
Apostle: You know yeah for me it’s not like it’s whether you want to do it or not more then I do I have the resources or not that’s the whole essence of a start-up, for example, right start-up when it starts it’s just an idea and, maybe some people but they don’t have the money what should they do they should just stand, there and, wait to rain money you then change the money.
Andrew: Right yeah and, I guess that’s the essence of a start-up right it’s really it’s thinking out of that box being create creative and, hustling to get those first users on there and, really finding out if you really have a problem that you’re solving for that and, I guess if you don’t have a problem you’re solving that I guess referral marketing for campaigns will not even do anything right?
Apostle: Yes, it’s about grabbing what you think that you own and, there’s nothing bad with that, of course, things go really bad sometimes but that’s kind of part of the game?
Andrew: Right sure you learn from those mistakes and, you iterate on that and, then yes kind of moving on right.
Apostle: Yes and, this is what you said is really important again you cannot know if some experiment you do about your federal campaign is a fail or a win because if you change something really small inside it might work and, also, if you try that same thing exactly the same thing in a later stage, it might work like charm that’s why you have to prioritize and, then iterate on things that you do you cannot just put it into the plug and, let it play.
Andrew: Right and, what is there like when the people are doing this is there a metric that they’re looking for like what do you have to have some sort of metric or a NorthStar kind of thing when you’re when you’re doing this I know that there’s a key there’s we talked about the offer but then there’s I guess you need a metric or something on that side of things to note?
Apostle: There are some kind of KPIs you know you see the K-factor which is the number of invites and, maybe I can send it to you I think I had a whole article about those numbers okay which is not really the things that I am into, about it I’m more like oriented in you know ideation of stuff, you know they pick my brain for that kind of thing.
Andrew: There are guys you know numbers and, there are guys who can create stories right?
Apostle: yes exactly!
Andrew: And, the stories that you create are the guys that figure out okay are these gonna work out to be these numbers that would, right?
Apostle: Yes, the thing is that the key factor is the number of invites that are sent from each customer and, it’s divided by the percent of conversion from each invite the key factor is maybe it’s not divided its, yeah the key factor is the number of invites sent by each customer times the percent of conversion of each invite and, this defines this is the most strong KPI you can have you can you know you can just watch it if it is close to 1 this number you’re doing very good you are almost viral realize that one person brings another person. you go above that then I don’t know what to say congratulations.
Andrew: You have a viral coefficient that is like off the charts that is that’s great, yeah I know this is awesome yeah I mean it’s a theory you know it’s some people have to really kind of like get their heads around there is a process to this right as you as you say right it’s just not something you just put it up and, wing it, you do really need to sit down with your team or if it’s just you need to know kind of what your endgame is the viral coefficient type of thing if you get that you know six S and, then if it’s not what do you have to tweak I guess in that process.
Apostle: Yes, exactly if you want to get more invites to go out you have to push that you know that you know to shape the viral coefficient in the way that you want
Andrew: Right! yeah and that’s a learning process right that could take months weeks.
Apostle: yes, to do that of course it does but we have to minimize that it’s you know to cost you some days that is wrong.
Andrew: Right yeah, for sure I guess I should have taken back the earthing right but maybe general mill general foods are one of these big conglomerates they work on these things for over years thank you
Apostle: Yes, it was in a different you know it’s it was a different reality back then right things didn’t move so, fast if you wanted to speak to somebody you should send them a letter.
Andrew: Right, yeah today are going on the postcards and, the things today.
Apostle: We are faster than we should today.
Andrew: Yeah exactly so, fast you’re like no wait what was that thing yeah my kids I mean it’s all in this whole fortnight thing now and, this is just like this is a virality you know we’re all kind of thing that is off the charts I mean it is off the charts with this thing so, anyway um cool so, hey I know that you’re a busy I know is getting ready for your day starting I did want to ask you two other quick questions kind of stuff that maybe the user so, of your tools other than viral loops what tools do you like to use in terms of you did it day to day kind of stuff.
Apostle: I like I will speak for the marketing team because this what I know we use a lot we use a sauna a lot for project management we don’t really like it we’ve tried numerous other tools but we always it was the first one that we tried running from the days of growth rocks right and, I find myself keep back coming back to this all the time right but it’s really helpful especially for me because my mind my mind is flying I’m gonna put it all down fast yeah yes I have to do this
I have my like my notebooks and, stuff right you write down a quick idea but in the end everything that has to do with the project goes back to asana and, we are all on track from there what are the tools intercom is really interesting, I like it very much right I like the idea that you can send ultra-personalized content then you can do it based on actions it’s not just the inputs that the user gives like their name or where they’re from and, stuff you can build stuff depending on actions um WordPress I guess I use it a lot for blogging which is a great tool as well a little bit it makes me mad from time to time right because I don’t know how people understand, what WordPress yeah it’s been a great asset for years for me the last five years I’ve been heavily.
Andrew: I mean I don’t want to keep you on the spot but like are there like any books or blogs or websites that you stay current with you?
Apostle: Yes, you’re talking about marketing blogs?
Andrew: yeah marketing things that yeah that you read on a day to day basis
Apostle: I from the very first time that I started with all this digital marketing thing I was reading like the classics I was reading in the Hapsburg blog I was reading the buffer blog at least Neil Patel a lot but now the thing with blogs, is that for me it got pretty saturated, in my mind not in the not around the Internet’s right because there are great things out there about marketing but now most of my information I get it from Facebook, from Facebook groups
Andrew: Yeah I find that very you know there’s a lot of really good information on there and, you can throw out questions yes and, it’s and, it’s crazy like if you are looking for answers to things or want to get answers on something like the other day I had thrown out something of like what you know what is your most confusing thing about chatbots or something like that on that on this one group and, I had like a hundred and nineteen responses, do that like what and, as you know leads into questions that I can bring it on to for shows or things like that for guests and, things like that in that nature.
Apostle: So, yes you don’t have that kind of interaction on blogs.
Andrew: Right no that you do not.
Apostle: Sometimes you know I get some comments on on our blog and, for some reason it’s not inside my daily routine to go through all the comments and, you know and, so, it’s not really accessible for me that way I don’t like it inside WordPress have you seen the comments inside WordPress it certainly you cannot, I can’t write on Facebook you have it all there and, you can type on superfast because nobody will give a damn if you are doing if you do a type or something they just want an answer and, they just want to fight you right so.
Andrew: I know they just like to pick fights I don’t know what it is it’s just yeah,
Apostle: yeah it’s like this was the thing that we were talking they need a sense of purpose right. it opens to all the people that get offended in facebook comments but happens it’s very addictive
Andrew: Right exactly it feeds off itself so, where’s the best place people can find you reach out to learn
Andrew: Online yeah,
Apostle: Yeah, at that time of the year they could be in degrees that’s sure, yes they can find me on Facebook if they search for my name I guess that you provide my full names or although they all they have to do is type in the search box my name and, they can find me there we can also, find me on Instagram which I really fond of using because I use it for my photography and my videos and, maybe they can check it out as well so the handle for I think they can send me by name again there but also, if they want to use the handle is @storyhustling it’s one word they can also, find me there and send me a message there yeah, I would prefer to me them in Greece,
Andrew: Yeah and you can show them the place here,
Apostle: Yeah people here are not back to their full-time jobs because it’s summer and, they had vacations and, stuff so, Athens right now it’s empty so, it’s nice to go outside and not have all this madness with the cars and, stuff
Andrew: So, the trick is or the time to go to Athens is basically August?
Apostle: Yes it’s kind of it’s a Damocles Schwartz you know it hangs around you yes you might be known Athenians left but it’s full of tourists so, what you want you want the local experience or you just want to hang out in a cool place.
Andrew: Right exactly that’s it cool well awesome, Basel thanks so much for coming on it was an awesome and, I hope to talk to you soon shortly
Apostle: Yes we will do it again, I liked it
Apostle: Thank you very much for having me
Andrew: Okay Cheers