Event Recap: 500 Startups’ Weapons of Mass Distribution Conference - GO.CO Blog

The .CO team recently attended 500 Startups’ Weapons of Mass Distribution conference in San Francisco, and we have lots to share! We had a great time and learned all kinds of actionable strategies we’d like to pass on to you. But, most importantly, we had the chance to catch up and hang out with plenty of our awesome .CO-ers!

A few of the .CO-ers in attendance were:

Jon Callahan – http://joncallahan.co/

Julia Damon – http://juliadamon.co/

Wesley Kunze – Rbite.co

Max Voskresenskyy – Rbite.co

Goncalo Henriques – http://piled.co/

Steffen Maier – http://piled.co/

Josh Miramant – http://good.co/

Jonas Gundersen – http://www.aftercloud.co/

Jack Mardack – Fuz.co

We brought with us mini swag-packs for all of our members—we emailed them before telling them to find our .CO team members in our orange t-shirts so that they could collect their swag!

IMG_20140807_165920322Members @jondcallahan and @JuliaDamon joined us at #500distro and got their swag on.

IMG_20140808_124901480Josh from Good.co arranged to do a swag swap with us. He went out of his way to make sure we scored a Good.co hoodie, modeled above!

As for the conference sessions, we took notes furiously and came back with a ton of takeaways. Although the WMD conference was geared toward startups seeking tips on how to grow and gain more exposure, the strategies we learned apply to every website hoping to grow their presence. General tidbits we came back with included:

  • Prioritize projects based on ROI
  • Embrace the language of your user and adapt for each stage of the funnel
  • If you don’t have product market fit, forget about sustainable growth
  • Talk to your users – they may not always know what they want but they know what doesn’t work
  • Don’t always obsess about finding new channels, there is always room to optimize your best performing channel for more growth
  • Be obsessive with your analytics

Don’t be too bummed out if you weren’t able to attend WMD—we’ve provided some info from a few of our favorite sessions below, and passed along the links to the speakers’ presentation videos.

Rand Fishkin’s  “Cracking the SEO Code: Tricks & Tactics To Magnify Search Visibility”

Rand is the don of SEO- this session was full of actionable advice. For instance, Rand highlighted the importance of having a secure certificate https on your site – apparently registrars all raised their prices on secure certificates after Google announced this that week! These were some other important takeaways:

    • Google only counts links you editorially earn, not build
    • The ubiquity of social media means we are all content amplifiers—we should leverage our customers
    • mydomain.com/blog will bring you SEO benefits; you don’t get any from blog.mydomain.com
    • Keyword research – sometimes your customers are not on your website yet, so it’s important to go where they hang out and understand their language, i.e., Reddit.com
    • There’s no prize for just hitting publish, if you want points for your content it has to be shareable
    • Attribution models changed – set up analytics for multi-channel paths

Jean-Denis Greze, Engineering Lead, Growth & Engagement, Dropbox: “Measuring for SaaS Monetization: Choosing Metrics, Running Experiments & Deciding When To Charge”

  • Jean Denis spoke about Growth being a fundamental human problem in that “people have no idea what your app does and they don’t care about it”. Your job is to convince people why you matter.
  • He advised to focus on activation and knowing what actions people need to take in order to keep them engaged/subscribed six months down the line. Those are the metrics that you need to watch like a hawk and the actions you need to force the user to take within a few days of signing up for your product
  • He shared insights on how Dropbox split their active users into different segments and created metrics that matched the use case so they were able to tweak the product experience in a meaningful and impactful way.
  • He spoke about revisiting metrics often ecause of the changes that happen all around you all the time. He also spoke about the challenges of statistical significance – and advised us not to don’t worry about things that only work at 5% until you’re big enough for that to make a tangible difference to numbers.
  • He spoke about thinking big, making changes that will move the needle. Button colors are not going to take a company that is failing to being successful.
  • Progressive engagement – Getting users who are already hooked onto your product to do high quality actions. Wizards and tooltips are great for this. The ‘opt-in beta’ trick is a good way to announce new product features.
  • Lastly he shared views on the business models of freemium vs paid, and asked where in your funnel should you ask for credit card info? Dropbox tried different modes of trials and the free plans – he recommended testing both.

Samuel Hulick, Onboarding Expert, UserOnboard.com: “Designing a Killer First-Run Experience: Exploring the Pros & Cons of Wizards, Guided Tours & More”

  • Your customer has very little idea what your product can do for them, it’s your job to create the path up the mountain (2:10)
  • You are selling success to your customer, not features (3:30)
  • If you use tooltips, they should be one-at-a-time, shouldn’t stop you from actively doing anything in the app, and it should get you to start learning by doing (8:10)
  • Measuring accomplishments for the user — help them feel like they aren’t starting at zero (12:25)
  • Great examples of “delightful” on-boarding experiences: Shopify, Mailchimp
  • Make sure live chat support is available at the first on-board (17:00)

IMG_20140807_144358907Samuel Hulick – Useronboarding.com

We hope you enjoyed our WMD recap—we sure enjoyed attending. Sign up for our Membership Program for perks so you can have the chance to join the .CO team at a future event!