“Everything You Know About Internet Marketing is Wrong.”

That’s Alaister Low’s straightforward introduction to his SydStart 2015 keynote presentation. Alaister is the Senior Director of Warrior Forum and Warrior Payments. Alaister shared fresh insights on internet marketing with the crowd at SydStart and especially pointed out that startups, growth, funding and PR don’t matter without customers.

“Customers are the lifeblood of every company,” – Alaister Low

The danger of the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality

Most companies have the “build it and they will come” mentality, explained Alaister. They focus majority of their time on optimizing their product but spend very little time on customer acquisition and growing the business. Alaister then followed that with a statistic — “Nine out of ten startups fail not because they don’t have a product but because they don’t have customers,” Alaister said. And that is what Warrior Forum solves.

Warrior Forum is the world’s largest internet marketing community with over a million users globally. It equips founders and marketers with the tools, knowledge and network to grow their business as fast as possible.

The problem with leveraging existing platforms to grow a company

Some of the biggest companies in the world have leveraged existing platforms and companies to grow exponentially. Alaister shared Zynga, a social gaming platform, as an example. Zynga experienced explosive growth when they leveraged on the early days of Facebook to attract users to their site. Another is Airbnb, which growth hacked Craigslist to attract guests to their listings.

A lot of companies see how successful these strategies have been and have tried to mimic it by applying the same strategy but at the wrong lifecycle of these platforms, like Facebook and Craigslist. Companies who follow early adopters in their customer acquisition strategy usually don’t experience the same success because these platforms and its users have already become more sophisticated at that point. These platforms change the customer experience and tighten themselves, making customer acquisition harder and more expensive.

Instead of learning others’ strategies and copying them when it’s too late, Alaister said, “be innovative and experiment with new strategies and be a first mover like Zynga or Airbnb.”

Lessons from the legends  

Over the past 12 months, Alaister has interviewed the most successful members of Warrior Forum and he shared their tips to help the Warrior Forum community come up with their own innovative ideas.

Noah Kagan, Founder & CEO of Appsumo and Sumome

Growth hacker Noah Kagan is one of the early employees of Facebook and Mint.com. Alaister shared Noah’s strategy for growing his email subscriber list from nine to nearly 150,000 in only 15 months. Noah used giveaways and competitions to encourage people to sign up. His contests also had a viral component where he gave incentives for people to share the contest. This approach became a success also because he selected partners who can offer relevant and targeted products as giveaways for his audience. He also used a counter and timer to generate a sense of urgency and push action.

Joanna Wiebe, Co-founder of Copyhackers.com

Joanna Wiebe earned herself the title, “Queen of Copywriting” because of the effectiveness and impact of her works. Her copies have a trademark of evoking emotions from readers in order to sell. Alaister gave a great advice, quoting what Joanna wrote in her book:

You’re not selling a product.

You’re not selling a service.

You’re not selling a solution. An app. A pair of shoes. A device. A SeeS plan. An upgrade.

Here’s the only thing you’re selling, no matter what business you’re in and what you ship: You’re selling your prospects a better version of themselves.

When you focus on how customers’ lives will change with your product, it changes the way you write. Another tip from Joanna is to use the same language as your customers to increase conversions.

Chris Hexton, CEO Getvero.com

Getvero is a trigger email marketing tool and Chris talked about transactional emails in his interview with Alaister. Transactional emails like order confirmation emails and shipping information emails have higher open and click through rates than promotional emails or newsletters. Chris said the trick is to add a call to action in your transactional emails to leverage on the exposure these types of emails are getting.

Rand Fishkin, CEO Wizard of Moz

Rand Fishkin is one of the most recognized names in the SEO industry and he shared his insight on SEO trends for 2016. He touched on two points. First, mobile optimization will be more important than desktop optimization because the number of search queries happening on mobile is becoming increasingly more than what’s happening on desktop. “This highlights the importance of mobile-friendly websites and showing your site is responsive,” said Alaister. Second, Rand talked about the rise of voice search. The rise of voice search like Apple Siri, Google Now, and Windows Cortana mimic spoken dialogue, which forces marketers to rethink how they produce content in order to appeal to the search queries.

Emerson Spartz, CEO of Spartz Media

Emerson Spartz who was dubbed “King of Virality” by The New Yorker run well known social entertainment sites like OMG.com and Dose.com. Emerson introduced viral loops and referral marketing which basically gets users to market for you. According to Emerson, the key metric to focus on is the K-Factor or the viral coefficient. If you’re able to produce a K-factor of more than 1, then you’re business will grow exponentially.

There are 2 ways to do this. One is ‘bribery’ where you offer users something when they share your site to their friends. The other is to evoke such strong emotion where users are compelled to share your content.

After sharing lessons learned from Warrior Forum’s superstars, Alaister concluded his presentation by once again reminding the audience that “Customers are the lifeblood of every company.”   

Follow Alasiter on Twitter at @AlaisterLow.

Watch Alaister’s full keynote with an All Access Digital Pass.

Watch Keynote